Sunni anti-Al Qaeda patrols worry about job security. Really.

AFP/Getty Images

Baghdad has promised to take 20 percent of what the U.S. military estimates to be 100,000 guards across Iraq into the Iraqi security forces and give others civilian jobs or training.

But the guards, who get paid an average $300 a month by the U.S. military, are troubled about the future even though the government in Baghdad has publicly praised their contribution to improving security and said they would be looked after.

Some government officials eye the unofficial forces, which include many former Sunni Arab insurgents, with suspicion. Some guards fear they may be arrested because of their past.

“We all want jobs in the police, but we can’t be sure,” said Amir Hardan Jadoua, 23, as another fighter waved a truck though their checkpoint. “The government never talks to us, so we’re in the dark about all decisions. We’re getting worried.”

The U.S. military will start handing control of the units to the government from October 1, when Baghdad will pay tens of thousands of guards in and around the capital. Other areas are expected to follow after that.

The article has a bit more color and depth than the usual straight-up dry stuff from Reuters. Actually admits the “revisionist” Ba’athist soldiers are motivated by the $10 a day they get from Uncle Sugar. Now, if we could only get CNN and FOX to notice that?

Senior’s airbag ‘prevents injury’

A Japanese company says it has made an airbag designed to stop elderly people injuring themselves by falling over.

The device is strapped around the body and inflates in 0.1 seconds if it detects it is accelerating towards the ground, the manufacturers say.

The airbag has been unveiled at the International Home Care and Rehabilitation Exhibition in Tokyo.

Could you use this critter for base-jumping? Without a parachute?

French rapper is acquitted of libeling the police

Composer of “dangerous” thoughts

On March 5, 2003, the door bell rang at the home of the French rapper Mohamed Bourokba, known as Hamé, and a bailiff informed him that the government was suing him for libel. The signature under the written complaint was familiar: Nicolas Sarkozy, then interior minister and now president of France.

Five years, two appeals and countless hearings later, Hamé was acquitted Tuesday.

Barring a petition to the final court of appeal by the government by Friday, the latest verdict brings to an end one of France’s most protracted and symbolic libel cases…

Sarkozy’s spokesman, Franck Louvrier, said that in a democracy the police and even the president should be “neither above nor below the law.”

But some lawyers say that a state that makes a habit of suing citizens could stifle debate – whatever the outcome in court.

Read the whole article. In addition to the details of Hamé’s case there is detail of Sarkozy’s “modern conservative” style of suing his critics.

Of course, some of this crap is laughable. Conservatives get demented over other people laughing, don’t they. But, the victims of government approbation still have to do the fund-raising to keep their freedom.

Screw the bridge [finally] – but build the Road to Nowhere

Home of the Road to Nowhere

The “Bridge to Nowhere” may have been shelved. But the “Road to Nowhere” is alive and well.

Gov. Sarah Palin let the “Road to Nowhere” go ahead because the contract had been signed.

The proposed $400 million span that would have connected the coastal city of Ketchikan to its airport on Gravina Island died after it became a symbol of congressional excess.

But the three-mile access road that was built on the island is ready for residents to take a drive to nowhere. It was paid for by some of the $223 million in federal funding that sparked ridicule among opponents of congressional “pork-barrel” spending.

Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein calls the road, which was paid for by federal tax dollars, a waste of money that could have been used to fix his city’s roads and sidewalks.

Gov. Palin could have stopped construction of this road,” said Weinstein, who wore his “Nowhere, Alaska” T-shirt to an interview with CNN.

Palin is as much of a hypocrite as most of our politicians. Being a Republican – this week – she just specializes in lies about family values, cutting taxes and not wasting money.

Of course, she’s in favor of wasting money on imperial war, killing foreigners getting in the way of Imperial Amerika and only saving money for the wealthiest corporations.

Our soldiers are coming home. To keep an eye on us.

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

This new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

You’ll love the quote from the brigade commander:

“It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home.”

Doesn’t it just warm the cockles of your heart to know our government cares so much about peace, love and our security that they’re going to station soldiers in the U.S. to back it up?

Thanks, Marc

Military increased, riots follow gangland murders in Naples

Italy ordered the deployment of 500 soldiers to tackle violent crime in response to the mafia killings of six African migrants near Naples last week.

Ignazio La Russa, the defence minister, said the majority of the troops would be sent to the area around Casal di Principe, home to the Casalesi clan, the most feared grouping within the Naples Camorra, which is suspected of 10 other killings this year. Last week’s murders led to rioting by migrants in the area…

The deployment of soldiers to the Naples hinterland is the first time the army has been used to specifically target the mafia since 1992, when troops were sent to Sicily following the murders of anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. “We need to put into play everything that can be useful in resolving the problem,” said Piero Grasso, an anti-mafia prosecutor.

Nigerian gangs have allied with the clan to deal drugs in the area, but the newspaper La Stampa said those shot dead last week in Castelvolturno were law-abiding migrants, targeted randomly “to sow terror” among foreign workers.

Sounds like one big happy family.

Buy a Mac, get One to One training, win an Emmy Award

In one of those improbable stories that sounds like a Hollywood script, a Burbank, CA elementary school teacher won an Emmy Award for his first attempt at filmmaking.

Larry Newman, a band director at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Burbank, won the award for a film called “Children’s Music Workshop: 2007 All Schools Honor Orchestra,” in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Children/Youth and Music Programming.

Newman had no previous filmmaking experience, and said that he “just purchased a high-definition camera and went to the Apple store for weekly lessons on Final Cut Pro.” The film focused on the annual concert at UCLA of 130 students who are enrolled in Newman’s Children’s Music Workshop program, and particularly on nine students in the Burbank Unified School District.

Bravo, Larry Newman.

FBI probes finance giants for fraud

The FBI is investigating Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and AIG – and their executives – as part of a broad look into possible mortgage fraud.

Earlier this month, FBI director Robert Mueller told Congress that 1,400 individual real estate lenders, brokers and appraisers were now under investigation in addition to two dozen corporations.

The FBI currently has 26 pending corporate fraud investigations involving subprime lenders,” Kelko said. Previously, CNN has reported that Countrywide is part of the investigation.

And the beat goes on. The beat goes on…