Muslim March Madness
The Iraqi force is the US-trained varsity team in the Mideast. It is taking on the JV's and it has turned out to be a bit rougher than expected. The Washington Post is reporting:
Iraqi forces’ operation to retake the city of Tikrit has stalled as troops suffer heavy casualties at the hands of Islamic State militants, raising concerns about whether the [American-trained varsity team is] ready for major offensives.
After two days of little activity on the battlefield, Iraq’s interior minister, Mohammed al-Ghabban, confirmed Monday that the offensive has “temporarily stopped.” The steady flow of caskets arriving in Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Najaf suggests a reason for the pause; cemetery workers say as many as 60 war dead have been arriving each day.
Since last week, Iraqi forces have hemmed in the Sunni militants in Tikrit, claiming control of the majority of the former Islamic State stronghold. But the operation has come at a cost, with soldiers saying the fight has been tougher than expected. As the momentum has slowed, some Iraqi officials have begun to publicly call for U.S.-led air support. [Why isn't the Iraqi Air Force or the Jordanians providing air support?]
While Iraqi officials still express confidence that they can retake the city, the stuttering offensive does not bode well for the more complex battles for the city of Mosul and for militant-held areas of Anbar province that were expected to begin in coming months.
From the Economist with some great graphics:
AMERICA is a country built by immigration, but nothing in its history compares to the rise in its Hispanic population.
Changes to immigration law in the 1960s triggered a decades-long surge in arrivals, taking the Hispanic population from just 7 million in 1970 to 57 million today, a number that is set to double by mid-century.
At that point one in four Americans will be of Latino descent.
In relation to the population of the day, there have been proportionally larger surges in the past, notably involving European migrations in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Two factors make the rise of Hispanic America different. Never before has such a large group of new arrivals lived so close to their ancestral homelands, linked to grandparents in the same time zone by cheap flights and Skype. Secondly, America is entering an era of white decline.
For almost two centuries, from the time of George Washington's presidency to the election of Ronald Reagan, whites of European descent made up at least 80% of the population. That share is below two-thirds now, and the white majority is set to become a minority by 2044.
That brings both challenges and opportunities. Today's Hispanics lag behind whites when it comes to education and wealth. But they are strikingly young, lowering America's median age and offering workers to fill the labour market when other rich countries face greying decline. Politicians too often discuss Hispanics as almost a single-issue group, as victims or villains of immigration.
But five-sixths are legal residents and recent Latino growth has been mostly from births, not new arrivals. Hispanics are dispersing across the country and their political clout will only grow: nearly 1 million US-born Latinos reach voting age annually.Will US become a bilingual country?
I only listen to two radio stations: a) a conservative talk radio station in English, but I can't listen to it when my wife is also listening; and, b) a Hispanic music station. I don't listen to the conservation talk station very much; haven't listened to it in the past week; mostly just the music station.
At the Dallas World Aquarium everything is in English and Spanish, and both are equally prominent. I assume that over time, the English signs will get smaller and by the end of the century, disappear altogether. Good, bad, or indifferent, that's the way it is in Texas.
On another note, tonight I will be watching one of two movies, either Lost in Translation or Grand Budapest Hotel. I need to watch a little Bill Murray. He stars in the first; has minor role in the latter. I have St Vincent in which he stars but it's not as good as it could have been. We'll see.
Dropping off our 8-y/o at soccer practice tonight I thought about Bill Murray. I think he would be a great soccer mom.
We heard this every time we visited the River Walk in San Antonio:
Only 779 million (no typo: almost 800 million) hits: