From American Progress:
At a recent private reception, President Bush asked Sen.-elect Jim Webb (D-VA), "How's your boy?" referring to Webb's son Jimmy, who is serving in Iraq. Webb answered, "I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," to which Bush responded, "That's not what I asked you." Webb "coldly" shot back, "That's between me and my boy, Mr. President." Webb later confessed that he was "tempted to slug" Bush.
"A December 7 summit at Riyadh may be the first venue for the Bush administration to negotiate directly with Iran and Syria in an effort to reduce the bloodshed in Iraq," the New York Sun speculates.
New York Times executive editor Bill Keller announced in a statement yesterday that "Times correspondents may describe the conflict in Iraq as a civil war when they and their editors believe it is appropriate." Keller added, "We expect to use the phrase sparingly and carefully, not to the exclusion of other formulations, not for dramatic effect."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) said yesterday "that unless the Bush administration admits that the war in Iraq is a 'failure,' it will never develop a strategy to leave the country successfully."
"About $2 billion worth of Army and Marine Corps equipment -- from rifles to tanks -- is wearing out or being destroyed every month in Iraq and Afghanistan," USA Today reports. "The wear and tear may lead to future equipment shortages and cutbacks in more advanced weapons."
Iraq's parliament yesterday voted to keep the country under a state of emergency for 30 more days. A U.S. military spokesman told reporters that he expects to see "'elevated levels of violence' as a result of the car bombings that killed more than 200 people in Sadr City, a Shiite district in northeast Baghdad."
The world will "fall 5 million short" of their goal to provide universal access to AIDS medicines for 9.8 million AIDS/HIV patients by 2010, according to a report by the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition. "The rhetoric from public health officials is good, but the follow-through is abysmal," said one official.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) promised to do away with the Do-Nothing Congress by putting in "some hours here that haven't been put in in a long time." That means "being here more days in the week and we start off this year with seven weeks without a break. That hasn't been done in many, many years here."
And finally: iPod diplomacy. "The U.S. government's first-ever effort to use trade sanctions to personally aggravate a foreign president expressly targets items believed to be favored by" North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, including "iPods, plasma televisions and Segway electric scooters."