The All New Friday Roundup

 PHOTO: Roger Clemens

(Because some folks were too hungover Wednesday to do one)

This has been covered elsewhere on the news but it’s great to see a group show some real balls for once:

New Campaign By Billboard Liberation Front

The Billboard Liberation Front today announced a major new advertising improvement campaign executed on behalf of clients AT&T and the National Security Agency. Focusing on billboards in the San Francisco area, this improvement action is designed to promote and celebrate the innovative collaboration of these two global communications giants.

View the Flickr photostream of Billboard Liberation Front.

Reminds me of the billboard ban in Sao Paulo a year or so back, which is quite a triumph for one of the largest cities in an new powerhouse like Brazil.

Glad to see Denmark carrying the torch of free speech even further.

Quite an indictment of the failures of the State Dept in Iraq — “Departure Assessment of Embassy Baghdad” Memo

That civilian progress, and the Pax Americana, will not be achieved with the Foreign Service and the State Department’s bureaucracy at the helm of America’s number one policy consideration. You are simply not up to the task, and many of you will readily and honestly admit it. I believe that a better job can be done. It is simply that we have brought to Iraq the worst of America — our bureaucrats — and failed to apply, as President Roosevelt once did, the high-caliber leadership class and intellectual talent, whose rallying has defined all of America’s finest hours.
[…]
Foreign Service officers, with ludicrously little management experience by any standard other than your own, are not equipped to manage programs, hundreds of millions in funds, and expert human capital assets needed to assist the Government of Iraq to stand up. It is apparent that, other than diplomacy, your only expertise is your own bureaucracy, which inherently makes State Department personnel unable to think outside the box or beyond the paths they have previously taken.

Thomas PM Barnett’s evaluation.

Bush urges Turks to end offensive in Iraq quickly.

Turkey resists US demands that it end offensive in Iraq
That’s all well and good that they’re flapping their lips but it seems that Turkey is starting to take itself more seriously as a major player for regional stability and no amount of talk on our side will help. We lost our diplomatic leverage when they refused us airstrips at the beginning of the war and by not handling the PKK situation more effectively, might end up destabilizing the one peaceful part of Iraq through negligence.

Baseball star faces FBI inquiry
I’m glad to see that Congress really has nothing better to do until election season is over than grill a retired baseball star over what he did to his own body (and probably to its detriment). There’s nothing else to talk about is there? No economic woes, no ongoing wars, nothing interesting at all occurring in this country other than berating some baseball player. I’m starting to rethink submitting my tax forms.

Prince Harry On Afghan Front Line
Good for Harry. Sad that it was leaked out and might put him and others around him at greater danger.

US embrace of Musharraf irks Pakistanis
Yes, we’re so good at this democracy things. Let’s please have more double standards and meddle where we’re not wanted.

Pakistanis say the Bush administration is grossly misjudging the political mood in Pakistan and squandering an opportunity to win support from the Pakistani public for its fight against terrorism. The opposition parties that won the Feb. 18 parliamentary elections say they are moderate and pro-American. By working with them, analysts say, Washington could gain a vital, new ally.

The Global Crop Diversity Trust — Our post-apocalypse insurance policy, if anyone is around to use it.

The Next Slum? — Thought-provoking article on what the American landscape could became if things get very bad in the housing market.

The subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Fundamental changes in American life may turn today’s McMansions into tomorrow’s tenements.

Olympics water diversion threatens millions

Beijing is facing a water crisis and it is fighting for water with neighbouring cities, including Tianjin and Zhangjiakou,” said Wang Jian, a Beijing government employee and activist on water issues. “The price of water does not reflect its true value, but the government has decided to control the price in order to maintain a harmonious society in the run-up to the Olympics.

I love the Chinese government. They really don’t care (except the official in this article). It would be very interesting if this Olympic Games becomes a breaking point for the disenfranchised citizenry of China.

Flickr photo of Roger Clemens by Mike Tigas 

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