Open Thread

Halliburton firm responsible for 231 electrical shocks in two yearsSeems like Haliburton spin-off , is responsible for not properly grounding electrical facilities in Iraq. Story by John Byrne, in Raw Story. 

U.S. troops in Iraq suffered electrical shocks about every three days in a two-year period, according to an internal Defense Contract Management Agency report obtained by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a McClatchy newspaper -- or 231 incidents in all, from a single company, the former Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root.

The 45-page document -- a high-level request for corrective action generated last fall -- found that Texas-based military contractor KBR Inc. failed to properly ground and bond its electrical systems, which contributed to soldiers "receiving shocks in KBR-maintained facilities on average once every three days since data was available in Sept. 2006," a release said.

The report comes just a day after Halliburton was fined more than $500 million for bribery in Nigeria.

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Raw story also carries this:

Officials are worried of an international crisis as a CIA station chief faces allegations that he drugged and raped at least two Muslim women, ABC News reports.

"It has the potential to be quite explosive if it's not handled well by the United States government," Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Isobel Coleman said. "This isn't the type of thing that's going to be easily pushed under the carpet."

And the reports that Blackwater is being told to leave Iraq.

MOSUL, Iraq, Jan. 28 -- The Iraqi government has informed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that it will not issue a new operating license to Blackwater Worldwide, the embassy's primary security company, which has come under scrutiny for allegedly using excessive force while protecting American diplomats, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Wednesday.

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And here's a link to a petition  calling for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor

 Dear Attorney General Eric Holder,


We the undersigned citizens of the United States hereby formally petition you to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in torture and other war crimes. ...

The full petition is online at

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A change is long overdue and from all accounts Change is on the way, not only on the public stage but in the White House. as well. IHT covers this one. Obama settles into a more informal White House, by Sheryl Gay Stolbert. 

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is back under his control yet?

U.S. troops in Iraq suffered electrical shocks about every three days in a two-year period

.I'm sure this was very promotive of keeping routine sanitary measures in an environment which defines 'difficult', at best. 

The failed regime must be held to account.



"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

Iraq, Afghanistan VA Patients Exceed 400,000

As the number of veterans seeking health care continues to rise, the VA is straining to meet demands.

Amid talk of a drawdown of troops in Iraq, new statistics from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) show that US casualties are still climbing quickly. Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield injuries and deaths number 81,361, up from 72,043 last January, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Veterans for Common Sense (VCS). Veteran patients - including those who didn't seek care until their return home - shot up to 400,304 (from 263,909 in December 2007).

For the thousands of soldiers flooding the VA, mental illness tops the list of ailments. Forty-five percent of VA patients have already been diagnosed with mental health conditions, including a startling 105,000 diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These data do not include the incalculable number of mentally ill veterans who have not received a diagnosis or haven't sought treatment at the VA.

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

A discussion is ongoing now on the NPR Kojo Naambe show. They are discussing how NFL football players frequently have side effects as a result of suffering repeated concussions. I found this link to the story. It's a blog post directing leaders to an article on the subject in Scientific America.


The Lingering Effects of Concussions

An interesting article in this months Scientific American explores the lasting effects that concussions have on football players. 

The article cites research confirming that players who sustained three more more concussions were three times as likely to develop clinical depression and players as a group who suffered from concussions were five times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairments and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

The article has a very informative interview with Kevin Guskiewicz, program director of the Center for Retired Athletes (CSRA) based at the University of North Carolina about the link between head trauma and difficulties suffered by athletes even years later.

Click concussion article for further information.

Here is a link to the website, which looks quite interesting.


Has there been any mention of who supplied the Containerized Housing Units? I looked through the contracts data we have compiled but didn't find anything. Unfortunately, many of the contracts listed are under "Life Support" which is a rather broad category.

You are really a better person to check this out than me.


This new statue has been erected in Tikrit Iraq to commemorate the shoe attack on President George Bush when he visited the country last year.

Iraqi Shoe Hurler Inspires Art in Saddam Hometown

Shoe of force: Iraqi sculptor creates work to `honor' man who took aim at Bush

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

Blackwater says it could leave Iraq with 72 hours

Blackwater Worldwide, which guards American diplomats in Iraq, said Thursday it would be prepared to leave that country within 72 hours after Iraqi officials denied the North Carolina-based company an operating license because of a deadly shooting spree in Baghdad.

But Blackwater founder Erik Prince told The Associated Press that while losing the State Department contract would hurt the company, the move would cause more harm to the diplomats it has protected since soon after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

"Our abrupt departure would far more hurt the reconstruction team and the diplomats trying to rebuild the country than it would hurt us as a business," Prince said Thursday in an exclusive interview with the AP.

I believe I mentioned 'Arrogance', who the F' does prince think he is and what he's got?

Blackwater Is Not Our Military Force, They're Hired Guns!!

Looks like he just took a Huge Slap at the Capabilities of our U.S Military, apparently the Army, Marines,Sailors, and Air force can't Compete with the 'mercs' and his highness the little 'prince'!!!!!!!

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

This video is courtesy of MSNBC. Obama takes on Wall Street for Corporate Greed and the need for regualtions. 


Huffington Post carries the story.

President Barack Obama responded Thursday to a front page story in the New York Times which reported that Wall Street handed out $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year, calling the payments "outrageous"