Today's Blogs

A Shiite Triumph?

Bloggers discuss the preliminary results from the Iraqi elections; they also take in the NYC transit strike and react to Time’s “Persons of the Year”—Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates.

A Shiite triumph?: Preliminary tallies from the Iraqi elections suggest that the conservative Shiite alliance currently in charge has garnered even more power, while a secular group led by former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, the U.S. favorite, has performed dismally; former U.S. favorite Ahmad Chalabi also seems to have done poorly. Leaders of the Sunni minority are claiming that the results are fraudulent and are asking for another election. Conclusive results won’t be available until the end of the month.

Secular-minded Iraqis are disconsolate. “Having had the opportunity of a front-row seat during the INC years, I find it heartbreaking that Chalabi—without whom these elections would have never happened—be so crushed,” mournsTalisman Gate’s Nibras Kazimi, who worked alongside Chalabi. Kazimi also notes, “Even people like Abdel-Karim Al-Mohammadawi, the so-called ‘Prince of the Marshes,’ who bravely fought Saddam for 15 years under terrible odds, will walk away with nothing.” Iraq Rising’s London-based Akba bemoans, “Iraq Rising.. More like Iraq dying.. Blogg closed.” And The Iraqi Vote’s Vahal Abdulrahman, an Iraqi Kurd in Washington, D.C., laments, “When I say these results are disastrous, it is because I know that Iranian mullahs are smiling and the former members of the Ba’th Party are smiling.”

Many are wondering how to respond to the partial nature of the tallies. Iraq the Model’s Omar and Mohammed document the confusion created by the election commission’s inconsistent announcements. A Knight’s Blog’s conservative Paladin is annoyed by what he perceives as veiled threats by unhappy Sunnis and urges patience: “[T]he Sunnis participated in the election, with the fallback position that if it didn’t go their way — at least reach some minimal threshold of power — then they could always go back to blowing up children. This is basically electoral blackmail, and was fairly predictable.” And No End But Victory’s Hassan Kharrufa, an Iraqi who doesn’t want to live under Shiite dominance, writes, “I was very happy that I voted, and I think that doing it again, is going to mark this one as a failure. I don’t want that.”

Read more about elections in Iraq.

Strike hikes: New York City’s transit workers went on strike today. The city comptroller estimates that the strike’s first week will cost the city $1.6 billion.

Many transit riders are outraged. Earlier in the day, InstaPundit’s libertarian Glen Reynolds noted numerous insulting comments on Transit Worker, the strikers’ unofficial blog. Although the comments have been since been removed, Reynolds still has a representative sample: “I have a 16 month old son who will be taken to day care today in his STROLLER. In 20 degree weather. I am paid hourly and will lose today’s salary,” wrote one commenter. A Blog for All’s conservative Lawhawk, a New Jersey resident, writes, “I’m not quite sure why people think that [the transit workers’ leader Roger] Toussaint is a master tactician or even a good negotiator. The point of good negotiating is making all sides think that they’ve gotten a good deal. Toussaint hasn’t gotten a damn thing except 6 million people grumbling.” And New Yorker Opinionista advises a rude lawyer who was shoving his way to a cab and “bitching loudly into his cell phone about how the MTA workers should have their homes incinerated and their families flogged for putting him through this ordeal and costing him billable time” to “feel more than free to protest the strike’s grave injustice via seppuku, self-immolation, rat poison in your latte.”

But some bloggers are delighted. “Wow. transit strikes rock…Thank jebus I have an extra day for the math test!” exclaimsCrestfallen Delicacy’s Vikki_Valentine, a 15 year old Brooklynite. “I say good for them! I wish you luck, folks. If, as reports indicate, your strike is illegal — I’ll only respect you that much more,” effuses Kansas City libertarian/anarchist Brad Spangler. And media blog Gawker has all kinds of cheery pointers about strike souvenirs, strike sex, and free coffee for commuters.

Read more about the transit strike; read the Gothamist’s news roundup.

U3: Bloggers are responding to Time’s choice of Bill and Melinda Gates and U2’s Bono as “Persons of the Year.”

On FishBowl NY, MediaBistro’s blog, Rachel posts a comment from a woman who believes that ordinary Americans, who contributed about $3 billion to Katrina victims, deserve more recognition. Betsy Newmark, a North Carolina history teacher, exhorts Bono and the Gateses to read this Paul Theroux column against aid to Africa and adds, “I would like to see a discussion between Bono and James Shikwati, an Kenyan economist who thinks that foreign aid to Africa does more harm than good because it removes the incentives for building up their own institutions to respond to crises.” And conservative diva Michelle Malkin questions why the Iraqi, Ukrainian, and Lebanese people weren’t chosen.

Read more about Time’s Persons of the Year.

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