Iraqi blogstorm; $100 laptop developed for developing world; Iraqi bloggers vs the 'Iranian horde'; Diebold CEO quits under fire

 Images Global CranklaptopThe One Laptop Per Child nonprofit organization is supporting the distribution of a Linux-based $100 laptop, which will soon go out to children in Brazil, Thailand, Egypt and Nigeria. It also has a hand-cranked power generator, which is a brilliant idea.

Forbes: Intel's Barrett Dismisses $100 Laptop As 'Gadget'

LONDON - It's a crank. Intel Chairman Craig Barrett has dismissed a WiFi-enabled, Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop aimed at bringing computers to developing economies as a "$100 gadget". The lime-green devices run on electromotive energy from a wind-up mechanism--thus allowing the machines to be used in areas lacking a regular power supply.

Bit of a jackass, then. See also PCWorld.com - Kids' Laptop Hits World Spotlight. Pic source from the oddly negative article carried in Vermont Guardian.

By 2007, five to ten million of these laptops will have been shipped to developing countries. By the year after that, the number is expected to have grown ten-fold. What is not known is whether this project will mark a new phase in the spread of knowledge, or whether hundreds of millions of children will become slaves to their little green boxes instead of playing in the backyard.

The Man was Here: WaPo: "CIA scours blogs for useful intelligence: Some `secrets' can be found in plain view." Well at least I know the CIA has already been here a couple times. So it's not breaking news.

 Opinions Images 1134180110 Stoner Articles Images 1133499407 99.2Ten stoner ideas for peace in Iraq: Brilliant. Air conditioners, kind bud, Xbox 360s with extra controllers, Madden 2006, Marshmallows, kegs of Budweiser, acoustic guitars and whores. Shrewd strategy. "I guarantee this much: Give a 16-year-old Sunni the choice between killing himself and spending his life playing videogame football, and he’ll make the right choice every time." BSnews.org also features the "Bush War Plan Clearly Written In Crayon."

DeLay is hurting Republicans in vulnerable districts. Ouch. Sweet.

The blogosphere may be unreasonably carried away with Paul Hackett's chances in the Ohio senate race, given his low name ID. Rep. Sherrod Brown seems to be leading in polls.

Polls in Iraq seem oddly positive. I doubt their scientific value. "'Failure' Most Popular Term Sending Traffic From Google To US White House Site".

Bite the patting hand: Rightwingers are angry when the NY Times Magazine carried a story titled "Conservative Blogs are more Effective." Weird.

Elections in wars may not work: Haaretz/Reuters: Gaza gunmen fire on PA security compound, storm election HQ. "The Wall of Hate" is a film about the West Bank partition wall that Israel is constructing.

Iraq blogstorm and the 'Iranian occupation': Check out Iraq Blog Count for an index. A friend of mine was saying that all these blogs and Internet things complicate the situation, but I strongly disagree because I think we get a real good sense of the mentality and the situation of Iraqis, just by looking through a few of them. Baghdad Burning by Riverbend is of course well-known now, and excellent. The Iranian Occupation bit is interesting:

The agony of the long war with Iran is what makes the current situation in Iraq so difficult to bear- especially this last year. The occupation has ceased to be American. It is American in face, and militarily, but in essence it has metamorphosed slowly but surely into an Iranian one.

It began, of course, with Badir’s Brigade and the several Iran-based political parties which followed behind the American tanks in April 2003. It continues today with a skewed referendum, and a constitution that will guarantee a southern Iraqi state modeled on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Of course all this talk about the US dropping chemical weapons makes it more 'complicated.' Would the Baghdad Burning book -- now on its way -- seem more credible somehow? Truth-about-iraqis.blogspot.com has a anguished rant whose tone rings very true. And this one too:

This is not Iraq. The only Iraq I can identify with is the Iraq that rages in the hearts of those who defend its honor, who die defending its honor, those who fight the Iranian horde, the US oppressor.

.....In any case, everything is coming tumbling down. The war lies, the GOP, right wing radio, the illusionists, the nazis and their WASP allies, the zionist war machine, and the racist white-hood wearing commentators.

The Iraq lie is simply too heavy a burden.

Sow it buddy, then drink the rotten milk of human waste.

Nefarious is as nefarious will do.

I think it makes a major, positive, difference -- although the terrible experience of Khaled Jarrar when he was captured by the Interior Ministry, and his additional troubles because they found out about his blog, were an example of how it can hurt the writers. But we wouldn't know about what it's really like inside the New Security Organs of Iraq without people like him.

For more, consider Aunt Najma's A Star from Mosul (with many relatives blogging too), Treasure of Baghdad, Free Iraq ("The US's pre-emptive occupation of Iraq will see to it that the Lion of Babylon rises again" sweet) and Iraqi Rebel.

David Ignatius likes the eschatological-conspiracy angle in "Breaking the Assassins." Thanks for obfuscating reality with a bunch of grand gibberish. Can Rummy defeat the Cult of the Assassins? Sure!

Ethnically pure militias: Bloomberg service: Bush's Strategy, Iraq's New Army Challenged by Ethnic Militias

The Defense Department's intelligence agency says there are dozens of loosely organized Shiite armies in southern Iraq, Kurdish militias in the north that function like a regular army, and as many as 20,000 Sunni fighters who are part of the violent insurgency in Iraq's four central provinces.

..... ``The situation continues to deteriorate,'' said Anthony Cordesman of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. ``It's a matter of the militias, new political organizations, Shiite groups'' and Iraqi security forces becoming ``forces for revenge or reprisal.''

....Leslie Gelb, former assistant secretary of state and former president of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, said most of the militias pay first allegiance to their ethnic or tribal group. ``It's not an Iraqi army,'' said Gelb, who visited Iraq for 10 days earlier this year. Kurds are loyal to Kurds, Shiite militias resembling ``mafia operations'' run the south, ``the central region has the insurgency, and Baghdad is all mixed up,'' he said.

Patrick Lang, former chief analyst for the Middle East at the Defense Intelligence Agency, said Iraq's different ethnic groups ``will not serve together'' in national army units. ``They tried it and it didn't work, and now they're going back to ethnically pure units,'' he said, citing Defense Department officials he declined to identify. Lang, a retired colonel in the Army's Green Berets, is now president of Global Resources Group, a Washington-based consulting firm.

"Islamic leaders unveil action plan to rescue a 'nation in crisis'." Baghdad Press Club investigated as a central node of paid military propaganda.

Cheney visits Auschwitz and secret CIA Poland camp on same trip? Oy vey. FT: Allegations of secret US jails in Europe are 'credible'. Guardian: Investigator links Europe's spy agencies to CIA flights. Ireland On-Line 'Signs suggest US illegally held detainees in Europe' especially Poland and Romania. Take it with a grain of salt, but Wayne Madsen's report on Cheney visiting secret camps in Poland (Dec. 13) around his visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi extermination camp last January. Not sure if it's a true report, but if it is true, a very dark irony.

Iran talks a big game: But this Haaretz article makes it all too clear that their economic situation is excellent, and they can count on Russia and China to help them in the UN if things get hairy. Ahmadinejad can continue to smile while the world argues. True.

The Horatio Alger NAMBLA chapter: Larry Beinhart's "Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin" looks interesting. In particular, for example, he establishes that Horatio Alger was a pedophile, and was a pedophilic minister before he got chased out of Brewster, Massachusetts, and admitted to it. That's established, then the spin dissection starts. Weird. And maybe that's more widely known, but I never heard of it. Also claims that the NYC chapter of NAMBLA is the Horatio Alger chapter. Creepy.

Vote Spoofing: The War at Home: Diebold chief executive Wally O'Dell resigns, as more questions about company conduct and illegal trading have come up. There are lawsuits happening as people claim that Diebold failed to get its modified voting machine software correctly certified on some occasions. In North Caroline, the EFF has filed a lawsuit. O'Dell was the guy who claimed he would help 'deliver' Ohio's electoral votes to Bush.

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