Sabbaticals For Everyone!

Leaping at the chance for prolonged vacations, Venezuela's National Assembly is giving Chavez power to rule by decree for 18 months. This, however, is not a reason "atomic scientists" have advanced the doomsday clock by two minutes.

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that 18 months from now there will be a decree of "Rule by Decrees in Perpetuity." For the good of the Bolivaran revolution.

In other news, US & Iraqi forces are taking on the Mahdi Army. WaPo reports Sadr's top aide has been arrested. I thought this sentiment might have come from Chuck Hagel:

[he] "condemns the operation,"

and ..."After that we will take dangerous decisions that will not have any benefits for the country," the spokesman warned.

but no, it was Sadr who said it. Meanwhile, WaTi reports Mahdi Militia Under Siege in Sadr City. The difference in emphasis in the two papers' reports is amazing.