Humanitarian worker in Iraq says things have gotten worse: "This week, Rick McDowell of the American Friends Service Committee visited the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram to talk about his time in Iraq. McDowell and his wife, Mary Trotochaud, were part of an assessment team for a consortium of faith-based humanitarian agencies. .. McDowell's job had been to assess the conditions in Iraq and see how humanitarian resources were being used, as well as to work with new Iraqi non-governmental organizations and help with larger projects such as water sanitation.
What he saw wasn't good. "In the past two years, rather than seeing an improvement in services, (Iraqis are) seeing a continual decline in those services," McDowell said. That's gone hand in hand with a decline in security. ..
On one hand, people were thrilled that Saddam's regime was overthrown. On the other hand, McDowell said, "I don't know anybody that would tell you conditions are better. They are worse. Obviously, there were problems under the regime. But they could walk the streets. Their kids could go to school. They felt safe - as long as they didn't engage in politics." ..
[Iraqi security forces must be built up.] The other thing that should happen, he said, is the United States should clearly announce its intention to leave. McDowell was in Maine to request that Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe include an amendment to the Iraq supplemental appropriations bill that states the United States' intent to pull both its troops and its bases out of Iraq. "The reality is there will always be insurgents in Iraq as long as we have bases there," McDowell said. He's not asking to include a timeline in the statement - just to state intent. The president has already said America plans to withdraw troops, but McDowell said it's worth making the proclamation as well.
"That creates space, not only in Iraq, but in the region, and I think in the world," McDowell said. "It's saying that we do not have imperial designs."" 10:49:48 PM
Neoconning the Media: A Very Short History of Neoconservatism: Good summary by Eric Alterman. After reviewing the think tanks and media outlets, he concludes: "Despite the fact that the collapse of the Soviet Union had demonstrated just how fundamentally wrong had been their analysis of the relative power of both superpowers for most of their existence -- they, nevertheless, were the ones with actionable ideas lying around when it came time to find an appropriately macho-tinged response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. ..
They lost Communism but found terrorism and embraced the unashamed promotion of global empire. .. Their war on Iraq has proven a catastrophe by almost any available measure but they are already planning another adventure in Iran. Every few years, we read of some set of events that imply the "end of Neoconservatism." Don't believe the hype. It would be hard to imagine a more profound rebuke to their world view than the various events that have followed in the wake of the Iraqi invasion.
The United States is now less safe, poorer, more hated and more constrained in its ability to fight terrorism than it was before the tragic loss of blood and treasure the war has demanded. And yet the Neocons have admitted almost no mistakes and continue to be rewarded with plum posts in the Bush administration. What doesn't kill them just makes them stronger. In their example lies many lessons for liberals, alas." 10:00:25 PM
$100 computers are on the way: Interview with Advanced Micro Devices CEO Hector Ruiz. "The PIC was our first attempt to do something different. I think that will continue to morph into a new generation of products. We have a PIC 2 and a PIC 3 on the road map. All those products will improve the (computing) power and value, while at the same time lowering the cost.
Low-price computer design is meant to help provide Internet access to people in emerging markets. I don't think a $100 computer is out of the question in a three-year time frame. A lot of people forget that the first cell phones came out at $3,000 to $4,000 dollars and today are free. I think there's going to be some of that same kind of movement with computing and communications devices.
It's important for us to not lose sight of the segment that today doesn't have any products built for it. The trickle-down effect of desktops and laptops into that segment just doesn't work. I believe that we have an opportunity to use our x86 know-how and capability to really build products for that segment. That will be the PIC at the beginning, and there will be more. I think, within three years, it's not at all unreasonable to think of a $100 laptop for that segment. " 8:42:19 AM