Now I appreciate the fact that the local Portland Tribune is only a free newspaper, but surely there are better things to put on the front page than a story about a pair on pants that have been up a tree for three months or more?

It would seem though that such an issue is worthy of a front page slot on the Tribune here in Portland Oregon. The story by Jacob Quinn Sanders ‘investigates’ a pair of jeans that have been up a tree for a number of months. Sanders interviews several people about the pants and draws no shocking conclusions aside the fact that they will probably remain in the tree until such time as they fall out. As local interest stories go, this surely has to be one of the worst ever? Or do you know of a better one?

In a real newspaper the Oregonian reports how President Bush will basically scupper any progress that could be made on environmental issues or aid for Africa at the G8 summit being held in Scotland at the moment. Bush, who has already managed to get his part in the summit off to a bad start by falling of a bicycle, has already ruled out any US backing for ‘Kyoto-style’ deals on climate change saying instead that he would be talking to fellow leaders about new technologies as a way of tackling global warming.

I was also pleased to see Bush come under some intense fire for creating a link between the situation in Iraq and the terrorists who carried out the 9|11 attacks. There has never been a link, something which Bush himself has pointed out on a number of occasions in the past. However as domestic disquiet grows about the war in Iraq that has cost the lives of nearly 2000 American soldiers and many more Iraqis, it would seem Bush needed to find a way to convince America that the vast sums of money being spent on the war that was declared won back in May 2003, was indeed worth those lives. But in linking the insurgents in Iraq to the al-Queda terrorists responsible for the 9|11 attack Bush opened himself up to a serious backlash at home as well as abroad.

The Bush administration continued to put a brave face on a troubling situation in Afghanistan as their installed democratic government continues to struggle with the countries extremely fragile ‘American style’ democracy. The recent death of two American soldiers in Afghanistan hasn’t helped but Bush has little choice but to continue in Americas near single handed effort to bring stability to the country. Added to this earlier this year the head of the United Nations drugs control agency said efforts to tackle Afghanistan’s growing drugs trade were failing. Since the fall of the Taleban production of opium has rocketed giving rise to the worsening violence in the country as people struggle to survive and fight for control of this illegal, socially damaging but lucrative resource.

On a different note I wanted to flag up to those of you out there who enjoy watching good documentaries on TV a movie on PBS called ‘Street fight’ which covers the turbulent campaign of Cory Booker, a 32-year old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law graduate running for mayor of Newark, N.J. back in 2002 against Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent twice his age. I caught it the other night and was gripped from start to finish, shocked that such a dirty and outright criminal campaign could be conducted in a country that is so proud to be democratic and free. It’s not a republican/democrat thing either. The two candidates covered in the film are both democrat. Seriously, if you get a chance do watch this movie it really was very good if a little shocking. Watching this movie in context with America installing its ‘freedoms’ and ‘democracies’ in Afghanistan and Iraq was, I have to confess, a little depressing.

The brotherhood of the stationary pants
Bush rejects Kyoto-style G8 deal
Bush falls off a bike
Bush slammed for Iraq 9/11 link
Iraq body count
The human face of loss in Iraq
Random link to see if anyone looks at the links I post
Aljazera : Iraq Under Occupation special report
Street Fight : The PBS movie
Cory Booker for Mayor