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Friday, July 13, 2007

*US House backs Iraq withdrawal




"The US House of Representatives has voted in favour of pulling most combat troops out of Iraq by April 2008, defying the threat of a presidential veto.
The move came hours after the Bush administration
conceded that an interim assessment showed the
Iraqi government was making only limited progress
on military and political issues.





























The Democrat-controlled house approved the troop
withdrawal measure, 223 in favour to 201 against.
The legislation would require combat troops to begin
pulling out within 120 days, with a full withdrawal
completed by April 1, 2008.

A poll has showed more than 70 per cent of Americans
favour withdrawing nearly all US troops by April [AF


The measure says only a limited residual force

would remain to train Iraqi troops, protect US

assets and fight al-Qaeda and other groups.

Earlier George Bush, who has ruled out any

immediate shift in policy, sought to defend his

troop "surge" strategy in Iraq, saying he would

wait until a fuller report is delivered by the head

of US forces there in September.


"I believe we can succeed in Iraq, and I know

we must,"' Bush said at a White House news

conference at which he stressed the interim

nature of the report. The much-anticipated

assessment released on Thursday said that the

security situation in Iraq remained "complex and

extremely challenging", and that the level of

violence had "undermined efforts to achieve

political reconciliation". "Amid such violence, it

became significantly harder for Iraqi leaders to

make the difficult compromises necessary to

foster reconciliation," it added.


Benchmarks




The interim assessment said only eight of

the 18 US benchmarks in Iraq have been

achieved satisfactorily.


It said progress on eight other benchmarks,

intended to grade Iraqi political and security

developments, had been unsatisfactory, while

progress on two others had been mixed.


The interim report gave a bleak assessment
of progress in Iraq [EPA]


The interim report gave a bleak assessment
of progress in Iraq [EPA]



The report found that the US-backed

government had failed to achieve goals

considered necessary to bring sectarian

violence under control, such as passing

legislation to divide the nation's oil revenues.

But despite the bleak tone, Bush said he

continued to have confidence in Nuri al-Maliki,

the Iraqi prime minister.


"Yeah, I've got confidence in him, but I also

understand how difficult it is. I'm not making

the excuses, but it is hard," said Bush.


Bush highlighted the benchmarks that had been

satisfactorily achieved, including the Iraqi

government's co-operation in letting Iraqi forces

combat anti-US fighters and money spent to

train and equip its forces.


But Hoda Abdel Hamid, Al Jazeera's Baghdad

correspondent, said military people on the ground

– both American and Iraqis – have told her that

co-operation is well below levels Bush might expect.


She said: "A lot of recruits do not show up for work.


"The Iraqis are more reluctant to go into

neighbourhoods because of sectarian reasons and

other times because they just don't have the equipment.


"Sometimes they don't have bulletproof vests,

they don't have bulletproof cars and sometimes

they don't really have bullets."


Breaking ranks

Bush signalled he would veto any legislation
requiring a "hasty" withdrawal [EPA]




The report came as several prominent Republicans

broke ranks with Bush on Iraq, saying the so-called

troop "surge" was not working and it was time to

rethink US policy.



Asked about waning Republican support, Bush

said he took what was said into account. "I value

the advice of those senators, I appreciate their

concerns ... and I will continue listening to them."


But he said he would also waiting to hear from General

David Petraeus, the most senior US commander in

Iraq, in September.


Some analysts have suggested Bush is trying to shift

blame for failure of the so-called "surge" on to the

military. Speaking before the vote on withdrawing

troops in the House of Representatives, Bush signalled

that he would veto any legislation requiring what he

described as a hasty pull-out from Iraq.


"I don't think Congress ought to be running the war," he said.


"The idea of [Congress] telling our military how to conduct

operations, for example, or how to deal with troop strength,

I don't think it makes sense today, nor do I think it's a good

precedent for the future."


A USA Today/Gallup poll this week showed more than

seven in 10 Americans favour withdrawing nearly all

US troops by April."


Source: Al Jazeera and agencies


_________________________________________________________________

As of right now I am in support of us pulling back out troops.
We have been there for a long time and if it isn't working yet
...I don't know if it ever will. Apart of me wants our troops to
stay to help them get established and have their democracy
...but it doesn't seem that is what they want or that right now
it is even possible. I think we have lots of issues that should
be taken care of right here in our own country. Imagine if we
had put half the effort ,required of our troops over these long
years, into ending poverty or violence. Those are just a few
deas. But you get my point. It is just hard for me to understand
sometimes why soooo much effort, time, and money has been
spent on this effort. Please help me to understand!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Alex's Lemonade stand for Cancer

I saw a precious commercial for Alex's Lemonade stand. You may be wondering what's the big deal? Well, read this and you will understand.

Here is the touching story behind this childs desire to raise money to fight cancer!

____________________________________________________________________

ABOUT ALEX'S LEMONADE STAND
In 2000, a 4 year old cancer patient named Alexandra "Alex" Scott announced a seemingly simple idea -she was holding a lemonade stand to raise money to help "her doctors" find a cure for kids with cancer. The idea was put into action by Alex and her older brother, Patrick, when they set up the first "Alex's Lemonade Stand for Childhood Cancer" on their front lawn in July of 2000.

For the next four years, despite her deteriorating health, Alex held an annual lemonade stand to raise money for childhood cancer research. Following her inspirational example, thousands of lemonade stands and other fundraising events have been held across the country by children, schools, businesses, and organizations, all to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for childhood cancer. On August 1st, 2004, Alex died peacefully at the age of 8 -- she had raised over $1 million for childhood cancer research in her short lifetime.

Alex's spirited determination to raise awareness and money for all childhood cancer while she bravely fought her own deadly battle with cancer has inspired thousands of people, from all walks of life to raise money and give to her cause. Alex's family and supporters are committed to continuing her inspiring legacy through Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501c3 charity. As of June 2007, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $12 million for childhood cancer research. The result -- Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has given millions of dollars for childhood cancer research across the country!

________________________________________________________________

please visit the link below to see how you can be apart of the solution!

www.Alexslemonade.com

Sunday, July 8, 2007

*Kids today...WHAT IS GOING ON???

"Preteens allegedly kidnap baby, demand ransom

ENID, Oklahoma (AP) -- Detectives arrested a 12-year-old girl and her 10-year-old sister for allegedly abducting their neighbor's 1-year-old son and demanding $200,000 for his return.
art.kidnap.koco.jpg

Authorities escort two sisters, ages 10 and 12. The girls are accused of abducting their neighbor's baby.

Brandon Wells was back at home Thursday night, hours after intruders broke into his family's residence and took him while his mother, Sheila Wells, slept, police said.

"I've been doing this 18 1/2 years, and this is the first time I know of when a 10- and a 12-year-old kidnapped a 1-year-old," said police Capt. Dean Grassino. "It definitely ranks up there with the unusual crimes."

"If you want to see your son again then you won't call police and report him missing and you will leave $200,000 on the sofa tonight and we will return your son back safe," the note read, according to police.

The girls appeared in Garfield County District Court on Thursday afternoon and were taken to Community Intervention Center for juveniles. They have not been formally charged.

"I know they're so young, but they need to learn from their mistakes," Wells said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

"If you want to see your son again then you won't call police and report him missing and you will leave $200,000 on the sofa tonight and we will return your son back safe," the note read, according to police.

The girls appeared in Garfield County District Court on Thursday afternoon and were taken to Community Intervention Center for juveniles. They have not been formally charged.

"I know they're so young, but they need to learn from their mistakes," Wells said."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

__________________________________________________________________

This is a crazy story! I wonder what gave these kids this idea? It also makes me wonder how kids can think that they can get away with this...or if they thought they were doing it as a joke....what gave them the idea that it was funny? What do you think? Do you think the media or video games or some other influence causes kids to behave like this? Do you think it is parents who don't teach their kids how to respect others? It just all makes me wonder. This is just one story but I am sure there are many others with children acting out in ways as outrageous as this. What can we do to change the course of a generation?