NEWS: Goodbye Iraq, Goodye Vaclav Havel, Goodbye Prop 8
The last convoy leaves:
The last troop movement out of Iraq, which included about 110 vehicles and 500 soldiers, began in darkness. Around 2:30 a.m., the convoy snaked out of Contingency Operating Base Adder, near the southern city of Nasiriya, and headed toward the border.
As dawn approached on Sunday, the last trucks began to cross the border into Kuwait at an outpost lighted by floodlights and secured by barbed wire.
“I just can’t wait to call my wife and kids and let them know I am safe,” said Sgt. First Class Rodolfo Ruiz just before his armored vehicle crossed over the border. “I am really feeling it now.”
Young veterans can't find work:
Veterans’ joblessness is concentrated among the young and those still serving in the National Guard or Reserve. The unemployment rate for veterans aged 20 to 24 has averaged 30 percent this year, more than double that of others the same age, though the rate for older veterans closely matches that of civilians. Reservists like Corporal Rhoden have a bleak outlook as well.
Baptists really don't want to share the Air Force Academy with other religions.
Farewell to a playwright, statesman, and velvet revolutionary:
[Vaclav Havel] came to personify the soul of the Czech nation. His moral authority and his moving use of the Czech language cast him as the dominant figure during Prague street demonstrations in 1989 and as the chief behind-the-scenes negotiator who brought about the end of more than 40 years of Communist rule and the peaceful transfer of power known as the Velvet Revolution, a revolt so smooth that it took just weeks to complete, without a single shot fired.
He was chosen as democratic Czechoslovakia’s first president — a role he insisted was more duty than aspiration — and after the country split in January 1993, he became president of the Czech Republic. He linked the country firmly to the west, clearing the way for the Czech Republic to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1999 and the European Union five years later.
Both as a dissident and as a national leader, Mr. Havel impressed the West as one of the most important political thinkers in Central Europe. He rejected the notion, posited by reform-minded Communist leaders like Mikhail S. Gorbachev in the Soviet Union and Alexander Dubcek in Czechoslovakia, that Communist rule could be made more humane.
Iranian TV broadcasts "confession" of alleged U.S. spy.
In Iowa, Santorum, Bachmann, and Perry duke it out for delicious Gingrich crumbs:
As Newt Gingrich falls back to earth -- under assault from his primary rivals, Iowa pastors and the conservative establishment -- three other Republican presidential candidates are hoping to benefit here in the Hawkeye State.
The last two weeks in Iowa before the Jan. 3 caucuses are increasingly a battle between these three, who still remain legitimate in the eyes of the grassroots, committed Iowa conservatives: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).
"It's Bachmann, Santorum and Perry who are fighting for the rock-ribbed social conservative voter at the caucus. They're the only three active campaigns out there really going after that vote," said Chuck Laudner, an Iowa operative who is running Santorum's effort in the state.
"How Ayn Rand Seduced Generations of Young Men."
Love, Honor, Cherish to begin gathering signatures to repeal Prop 8.
Michael Stipe talks AIDS, depression, and elevator music.