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Tuesday's early contenders...

Paul Coletti | 08:42 UK time, Tuesday, 12 December 2006

This is the time of day when we take a look around the blogs, newspapers, radio, forums, messageboards and even some mainstream media organisations to see what topics could be candidates for talking points on WHYS . . . I hope you can join us, we need listeners to help us in this task.

Read on for some early ideas.

Another terrible bombing in Iraq. The bomber used the cowardly method of enticing people to his van with the prospect of work. It's a spectacular death toll - 45 according to cnn.com but the BBC is claiming 60 as I write - but they find on average 50 bodies every day killed by other more underhand means. Is there anything that can be done to stop the terrorists? Diarists (blog posters to you and I) at DailyKos are livid but the comment about the Saudis supplying many of the insurgents caught my eye. Is the solution as simple as coalition troop withdrawal or would that just turn the place into a free-for-all for every gun-wielding warlord under the sun? Do things have to get a whole lot worse before they get a whole lot better?

Iranians have been shouting "Death to the Dictator" and, shock, they're NOT talking about George W. Bush! It's a story that's playing well on US blogs and FOX News at the moment: it appears that a few students aren't happy with their president's stance on Holocaust Denial which could be summed up as: deny it and host a conference questioning its existence. Video is viewable here. I'm not sure if this is a signal that Iran's very young population are embarassed by their leader's views or is this about the right to voice your opinions no matter how contrary they are to historical fact? At least one angry blogger has spotted the fact that some ultra-orthodox Jews were also present at the conference to support President Ahmadinejad's views.

Global Warming is on the agenda again with just about every major news outlet carrying this story. US researchers, funded by NASA, are predicting a complete absence of ice on the North Pole by 2040. A graphic image depicting this is viewable here. Can you imagine the Earth with no shiny white cap on top? No ice means no seals which means no polar bears. It also means plankton and krill disappear which means no whales. Is this just another round of eco scare-mogering or is it yet another vivid warning which the world may well ignore? Do you trust all the data you are given about global warming?

Political infighting in Gaza has turned nasty resulting in the death of three children and their bodyguard. Secular Fatah and Islamic Hamas are clashing: the dead children's father was a prominent member of Fatah. Is this an ominous sign of trouble brewing within the nascent Palestinian government? Will Iran's $250 million help calm the situation?

Kofi Annan has delivered a strongly-worded rebuke to the USA in his farewell speech. Is this just sour grapes from a man who is clearly uncomfortable with his ten year tenure or has he hit the nail on the head?

Other bits n' bobs . . .

Blog funding. It's a week old this story, but it appears that US politicians are waking up to the power of bloggers (if this link asks for a login then try going to www.bugmenot.com). Several big name bloggers were paid "consulting fees" by American political parties. As someone who has followed the blogging scene since about '96 I'm horrified . . what happened to speaking truth to power? Hilary Clinton has already hired bloggers for her 2008 campaign. Does this mean bloggers will lose their independent voice? Will citizen journalism sink into the same depths as their MSM rivals they so love to mock? This graphic from the NY Times has a complete breakdown of who got what from whom?

Only in America! is an overused phrase especially popular with smug European media eiltes but I have to apply it to the proposed Texas law to allow blind people to hunt. Or am I being too judgemental? Why shouldn't the blind be allowed to enjoy what is one of America's most traditional pastimes? Are we sometimes too patronising towards those with disabilities?

According to this report more tigers are kept as pets in the USA than exist in the wild? Initially I thought this was something of a disgrace but upon reflection maybe this is a good thing? If the Tiger's natural habitat continues to decline maybe keeping these magnificent animals as pets is the future of their conservation? Of course, there's always the danger that you'll get eaten when you go walkies.


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