Last year at the now-defunct Revolution, I noticed (and naturally reported) that even though Wal-mart owns my area (the nearest non-Wal-mart department store is an hour’s drive in any direction), the parking lots at the two stores close to me were surprisingly empty during the week before Christmas when you would have expected them to be over-flowing. It turned out that Wal-mart didn’t have a very good season last year; sales were down some 3-4%, which gave WM’s corporate honchos the willies.
Given that my little survey seemed to have some validity in the real world, I decided to do it again this year and here are the results: Mixed. Continue reading
For a year before Bush launched the invasion of Iraq he pretended that he hadn’t made up his mind even as his neocon inner circle was toting up the oil revenues they would control when the war was won. For the last few weeks since the November election he’s been playing the same game, stalling and making believe he’s “studying the problem”. A graf in an AP story and a report from Reuters would suggest that that particular cat’s in the bag and the bag’s in the river. First, Reuters:
The Pentagon is expected to send 3,500 troops into Kuwait to stand ready for use in Iraq, senior defense officials said on Tuesday as the Bush administration weighs adjusting force levels in the war.The “call-forward” force was requested by Army Gen. John Abizaid, head of the military command responsible for the Middle East, and must be approved by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The first contingent of the “surge” is being put in place, and the pretense that it may not happen because Gates has yet to give his approval is thinner than the skin over an anorexic’s ribcage, especially given that the AP has this: Continue reading