From AP, via the Baltimore Sun:
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- An American hostage pleaded for his life with a rifle pointed at his head in a video released today while 11 Iraqi police died in fierce clashes and gunmen assassinated a senior judge in slayings highlighting security risks ahead of this weekend's elections.
On a day that the U.S. military said six American soldiers had died, interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi also said the time was not right to talk of a U.S. troop withdrawal and that Iraq must first build up its security forces to confront the insurgents...
Then, RossK at Gazetteer blogs about a recent Riverbend posting where basic human services (like, water) are being used as a bribery point to get Iraqis out to vote. Shorter Riverbend: "You vote for our guy, we'll turn your water back on."
There's no question that a threshold is being crossed this coming Sunday in Iraq. The concept of "threshold crossing" is usually a metaphor reserved for hope and anticipation of the future, though. Iraqis (and yes, many Americans) are approaching this threshold with a sense of resignation and dread.