July 29th, 2005


Iraq goes without.

According to the Iraqi Ministry of Trade, there are serious shortages of rice, oil, tea, sugar, and washing powder throughout all regions of Iraq.

Why do these shortages exist? According to their spokesman:
"This situation has been exacerbated by the continuing shortages in water and electricity, and now increasingly in fuel such as gas, kerosene and petrol."

If you want to fill the gas tank in Iraq, you have to get in line and stay there for hours.

So, what we're talking about are major shortages throughout the entirity of Iraq in rice, oil, tea, sugar, washing powder, gas, electricity, kerosene... and this is according to the Iraqi government themselves. Apparently, about 60% of Iraqis are dependent on the food ration.

From a recent article in the Financial Times, Iraqis are having to sell their most basic posessions just to have enough food for their family. Oh... and food costs have tripled, with supplies unable to keep up with the demand.

"Like many Iraqis, the Hadis depend on food rations distributed by the government. Sometimes the sugar they receive has been hardened by rainwater and the rice is crawling with maggots. The soap is so harsh it causes rashes. . . Families in Baghdad have received no sugar or baby milk since January. Newspapers have also begun reporting that the tea and flour hand-outs contain metal filings and that people have fallen ill after consuming food rations."

Infact, one Iraqi weblogger notes that many Iraqis aren't receiving their food rations at all.

Iraq's electricity ministry has said that attacks have led to a reduction in the electricity supplies to Baghdad and nearby southern provinces, with power in Baghdad down to a half an hour of electricity followed by a six-hour blackout. What that also means is that much of Baghdad is without running water, or only has it intermintermittently... and when there is water, it's sputtering out of the faucet, contaminated by raw sewage, and generally unsafe to drink.

In short, as the summer continues, a bad situation is only getting worse. Unlivable, arguably.

Bush blows off Boy Scouts.

George W. Bush, who last year failed to attend a scheduled speech in front of the annual Boy Scout Jamboree, was supposed to give a speech this year in front of them to make up for last year's brushoff. The scouts, who lost four of their members a few days back in a freak electrical accident, badly needed some kind of encouragement. Fortunately the president lived just 50 miles away, a few minutes away using the presidential helicopter.

The Boy Scouts waited in long lines to be screened to go into a field, where they camped out, waiting for the president to arrive. Their wait stretched into to the late afternoon, when they were finally notified that the president would not be attending this year either. Temperatures were in the upper 90's with high humidity, so by the time the bad news came, over 300 of the those waiting for the president had to be hospitalized from heat-related ailments, dehydration, fatigue and lightheadedness. Soldiers from Fort A.P. Hill helped carry sick scouts on stretchers to the hospital and emergency workers from surrounding jurisdictions were called in to help treat and transport them.

You'd think that the president would've attended. After all, the Boy Scout Jamboree is a matter of national security, right?!

Who knows... maybe Bush is just toughening them up for Iran.