Today's Blogs

The Toll Truth

Bloggers are weighing in on a new report that the death toll from sectarian violence in Iraq has topped 1,300. They are also reveling in Anna Nicole Smith’s day in the Supreme Court and befuddled by the creation of a Catholic town in Florida.

The toll truth: An article in the Washington Post cites morgue officials in reporting that more than 1,300 people have been killed in Iraq since the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra, a famed Shiite shrine. The Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia of Moqtada al-Sadr, is purported to be behind many of the killings. “The bulk of the previously known deaths were caused by bombings and other large-scale attacks. But the scene at the morgue and accounts related by relatives indicated that most of the bloodletting came at the hands of self-styled executioners,” the article says.

At Indisputable Truth, liberal Zach Gates is horrified by the death toll: “This is not a small roadbump … Over a thousand people don’t die in under a week of riots only to be followed by immediate peace. These attacks will continue. Let’s just all pray the government will work hard to keep it from turning into an all out war.” Conservative Andrew Sullivan argues that we’re already there: “1,300 dead in a few days is not a portent of civil war. It is civil war. The question is whether it can now be stopped. Imagine if 16,000 Americans had been slaughtered in a few days in sectarian conflict. Would you call it peace?”

John, a liberal at A Lie a Day, blames the violence on the presence of U.S. forces. “This is a Civil War that will be fought in a very unconventional manner as long as the US has forces in the theater.” While at Religion of Peace?, conservative Xyba blames the Sunni and Shia divide for the violence: “Notice the term used [in the article] ‘the Sunni infidel.’ This is how the Sunni’s and Shiite’s view each other’s relationship in Islam. It is the source of what will be the violence that will dominate Islam for the foreseeable future …”

At A Blog For All, conservative Lawhawk refuses to give in to defeatism. “Anyone who thinks that the Iraqi endeavor is doomed to failure only wants to see the worst. Let’s recall what spurred the horrible bloodletting—an attack and destruction of a holy religious shrine that resulted in that group attacking its religious opponents. The butchers bill must be laid at the feet of the perpetrators of the attack on the Golden Dome mosque.”

At Reaction, liberal Brit Michael J.W. Stickings implores readers not to forget the human cost of the war. “[T]hese are real human beings who are being slaughtered. Whatever our positions on the war … let’s not forget this human cost.”

Read more about sectarian violence in Iraq. Slate explains how Sunnis and Shiites tell each other apart.

Anna, Anna, Anna, Anna, Anna Nicole: Ex-Playmate turned reality-TV star turned weight-loss spokeswoman Anna Nicole Smith attended the oral arguments of her case at the Supreme Court today. Since the death of her husband, Texas oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall II, Smith has been battling his son for her share of the $1.6 billion inheritance.

At the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, Dow Jones Newswires Supreme Court reporter Mark Anderson weighed in before the hearing: “Despite the buzz over Smith’s appearance, onlookers who get inside the Court’s staid chambers may fight back zzzzzzzz’s listening to Smith’s case; the ex-stripper’s appeal deals with the decidedly un-sexy matters of federal court jurisdiction and probate law.”

Calling Anna Nicole Smith’s appearance at the Supreme Court an “area of real critical importance to the veritable zeitgeist,” Crusader AXE at The Defeatists! writes, “What after all is the sense of being a big shot in the [oil business] if you can’t disinherit your scheming  conniving kids and give everything to a stripper … ?”

At Wonkette, new Wonkettes David Lat and Alex Pareene asked spectators outside the court to send them dispatches, and chided Americans for their celeb worship: “Polls show that 57 percent of Americans can’t even name a single Supreme Court justice, to say nothing of recognize one on the street. But Anna Nicole Smith—she’s a household name.”

Read more about Anna Nicole Smith’s visit to the Supreme Court. Listen to or read Dahlia Lithwick’s assessment of Anna Nicole’s case.

Deliverance from evil, in 30 minutes or less: The founder of Domino’s pizza, Tom Monaghan, is building a “Catholic utopia” in south Florida. With its founder worried about “catastrophic cultural collapse,” Ave Maria will be governed according to Catholic principles: No one will be able to purchase birth control or watch X-rated channels in the town. Critics worried about violations of separation of church and state are already crying foul.

At Being! Or Nothingness, Notre Dame student Stephen smartly commented: “This venture is an exercise in retreat. It’s saying ‘We don’t want to be sullied by all that reality out there, so we’ll come here and build our own world with our rules and then we’ll be safe and happy … with none of that secular intrusion.’ Bah! I’m thinking of moving there and opening a Hooters.”

At The Airing of Grievances Frank Costanza is thankful he has boycotted Domino’s pizza for the past 10 years. “I say Monaghan should join ranks with the crazies at Christian Exodus and stay far, far away from the rest of us. South Carolina? Florida swamp land? What’s the difference? Pick one and bother me no more.” And Daki at Headmeat and Headbones called the city the “one place I can never visit.”

The planned community has at least one defender. At For God, for Country, and for Yale, Conservative Yale football player Stephen hopes towns like Ave Maria will spring up around the country. “Bring back the Holy Roman Empire. Bring back kings being subservient to the Pope. Let us brush off Dictatus Papae and try to set the world straight again,” he writes.

Read more about Ave Maria.