Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State of the Union

Shaker Heights is already hit by the sub prime mortgage meltdown

The Shrub gave his State of the Union speech last night; I didn't watch it - what the fuck does he know? Instead, I re-read this article:
The streets are empty. Trash rustles down the road past rusted barbecues, abandoned furniture, sagging homes and gardens turned to weed.

This is Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland and a town ravaged by the sub prime mortgage crisis roiling the United States.

Faded "for sale" signs sit in front of deserted houses. The residents are gone, either in search of new jobs after the factories shut down, or in shame after being evicted for missing their mortgage payments.

A red, white and blue American flag flies over windows and doors which have been boarded up to keep the drug dealers away.

Thieves have stripped many homes of the plumbing, the doors, the windows, the aluminum siding.

The police station parking lot is full. The officers, who have seen their numbers triple since 2006, are coming back from their rounds. They speak of installing alarms in some of the homes claimed by squatters.

The rest of the story here.

And, of course, this shit hasn't even slowed down:
BAGHDAD — A suicide car bomb exploded near an American patrol in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, a day after Sunni Arab guerrillas killed five American soldiers during an ambush on a convoy in Mosul.

There were no American casualties in the latest attack, but one Iraqi was killed and 15 others were wounded, the military said in a statement. The attack is the latest sign that the main front of the insurgency has shifted to northern Iraq.

On Monday, the Sunni Arab guerrillas ambushed the American convoy with a roadside bomb, then sprayed survivors with machine-gun fire from perches in a nearby mosque.

It was the second devastating attack on United States forces this month, bringing the number of fatalities to 36 this year. While American deaths have fallen sharply in Baghdad and Anbar Province, they have not slowed in the north. Three-fifths of the American service members killed this year were in three provinces dominated by Sunni Arabs north of Baghdad.

Three weeks ago, a house rigged with explosives killed six soldiers in Diyala Province.

And there's still this:

Photo by Clayton James Cubitt