Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Feb 19th, 2011

Summary: Taliban gunmen detonated explosives in front of a Kabul Bank branch and then stormed the building in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, killing several people and injuring scores of others. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 19, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that Joseph Stack, a software engineer with a long-standing grudge against the Internal Revenue Service, crashed a small plane into an office building housing IRS employees in Austin, Texas.

Jul 25th, 2010

Summary: Two U.S. Navy personnel have gone missing in action in Afghanistan. According to a Taliban spokesman, on sailor was killed in a brief firefight and the other captured. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on July 25, 2009 Aubrey Immelman reported that Taliban fighters armed with suicide vests and automatic weapons, for the second time in a week, attacked a provincial capital in eastern Afghanistan, triggering hours-long gunbattles that left seven militants dead.

Jan 19th, 2010

Summary: In the biggest attack in months, Taliban militants struck in the heart of the Afghan capital of Kabul, launching suicide attacks at key government targets in a clear sign the insurgents plan to escalate their fight as the U.S. and its allies ramp up their own campaign to end the war. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 19, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that President George W. Bush presided over the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades, according to an analysis of key data, with economists across the ideological spectrum increasingly viewing his two terms as a time of little progress on the nation’s thorniest fiscal challenges. Specifically, the number of jobs in the nation increased by about 2 percent during Bush’s tenure, the most tepid growth over any eight-year span since data collection began seven decades ago. Gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic output, grew at the slowest pace for a period of that length since the Truman administration. And Americans’ incomes grew more slowly than in any presidency since the 1960s, other than that of Bush’s father George H. W. Bush.

Dec 31st, 2009

Summary: Afghans took to the streets to protest civilian casualties, chanting “Death to Obama, down with Karzai.” … Attacks in Afghanistan killed eight American civilians including CIA employees, four Canadian soldiers, and a Canadian journalist. … Coordinated explosions in Iraq killed 23 people and wounded an Iraqi provincial governor in the worst violence in months. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 31, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that Michele Bachmann, Minnesota’s 6th District representative in Congress, made a strong showing in several “Year in Review” lists — no easy feat, considering the U.S. House of Representatives has 435 members, each vying for media attention.

Oct 28th, 2009

Summary: Taliban militants wearing suicide vests and armed with assault rifles and grenades attacked a residential hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing five U.N. staff members, including an American. … A car bomb coinciding with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first official visit to Pakistan struck a busy market in Peshawar, killing 100 people, mostly women and children. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the 10th day of his write-in campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman reported that the University of Minnesota newspaper, the Minnesota Daily, editorialized that in view of Bachmann’s assertion on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews that Barack Obama might have “anti-American views” and that the media should investigate which members of Congress also hold anti-American views, students should make campaign contributions to Bachmann’s Democratic opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg or to her Republican write-in challenger Aubrey Immelman.

Summary: Hundreds of insurgents armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades nearly overran a U.S. outpost near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, killing eight U.S. soldiers and capturing more than 20 Afghan security forces in the deadliest assault against U.S. troops in more than a year. … Stephanie Smith of Cold Spring, Minnesota, was left paralyzed in 2007 after eating a hamburger tainted by E. coli. …. On the 25th day after losing his 2008 primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman, in line with his focus on national security, reported the killing of a senior al-Qaida in Iraq bombing mastermind, the withdrawal of Polish forces from Iraq, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s first public appearance in more than a month amid speculation about his health.

Summary: The Pentagon has identified the captured American soldier who went missing from his forward operating base in Afghanistan as Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, Ketchum, Idaho, a member of 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska. … One-year retrospective: On the fifth day of his campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination as House of Representatives candidate in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman highlighted the growing mortgage crisis, noting that from a small-government, fiscally conservative perspective it is difficult to support the Bush administration plan to bail out mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Nov 17th, 2008

Summary: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has offered to provide safe passage and security for the Taliban’s reclusive leader, Mullah Omar, if he agrees to enter peace talks, and said the U.S. and other Western nations could leave the country or oust him if they disagree. Taliban militants later rejected the offer, saying there would be no negotiations until foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

Oct 30th, 2008

Summary: On the 12th day of his write-in campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, in line with his focus on national security, Aubrey Immelman reported a suicide bombing attack on the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture targeting foreign advisers in Kabul, the downing of a U.S. helicopter in central Afghanistan, the killing of two U.S. soldiers in northern Afghanistan by a suicide bomber wearing a police uniform, and ongoing violence in Iraq.