Saturday, July 01, 2006

NYT: There is no grace, even at Graceland even in the Green Zone

Late in posting this morning due to the fact that I tried to check the public account and found an e-mail from an idiot (see previous post). That required calling a friend to find out what had been said (as opposed to what the e-mail claimed had been said) and led to a long conversation.

Billie wrote, "You're sleeping in! Good!" I wish, Billie. So let's go through today's New York Times quickly. On the front page, you see Bully Boy (is he trying for the Barbara Bush again or does he just need a hair cut really badly -- there's something sad about grown men who wear their hair like their mothers) in an embarrassing photo. World leaders shouldn't try to "bust a move." Does Priscilla Presley have an "old lady chin"?

I can't tell, she's got it covered it up. Wally wrote about this 'event' in "" yesterday. For those wondering, yes, Wally is an Elvis fan. (I didn't know that until he read "THIS JUST IN! WHERE THERE IS GREED, THERE IS BULLY BOY" to me yesterday over the phone.) Her hair does look ridiculous. One thing I would've suggested if I'd seen photos yesterday would have been that he address the color of her outfit. For someone who spent so much time (once spent) harping against Presley, it's interesting that she's wearing her own version of the white suit. God, Bully Boy's fat. I'm looking at th photo closely (Matthew Cavanaugh/European Pressphoto Agency) and after realizing that Junichio Koizumi looks (and acts) like Richard Gere in the flop (which one? I know! Give me a minute.), I noticed the overhanging waist. Mr. Jones, that's the film. Wasn't it about a mid-life crisis? The photo on the front page appears to capture several. You've got the woman, who rode her ex-husband into some semblance of fame, clearly thinking she looks classy (a mistake's she made all too frequently), you've got Lisa-Will-I-Ever-Have-A-Career? suffering fools for money, and you've got Bully Boy in mid-snort. The more I look at Presley's outfit (Priscilla) the more it looks like something she stole from the Dallas set. She tried hard but never found her own sense of style, did she? Well they got their photo all over the world and hopefully can continue to live off Elvis -- I suppose it beats working. (I'm just being snide about someone who's never been taken seriously. Wally truly was offended and probably many an Elvis fan was.) (And I can be snide as much as I want, I don't make 'tone' arguments or write for the business section of the New York Times.)

Edward Wong cover the latest scandal in "G.I.'s Investigated In Slayings of 4 And Rape In Iraq." We covered that in the snapshot yesterday. Wong writes of one G.I. admitting to it in a "counseling-type session." I have no idea whether the admission is true or not. I'm not calling Wong a liar. That was reported yesterday in the wire reports. I did wonder about the "counseling-type" sessions and whether they're in place to help (domestic abuse was one of the reasons the debriefings were created) or to ferret out information? Did the G.I. go public or did his "healer" decide to?

I'm not seeing much that wasn't in yesterday's breaking reports. Due to the time difference in Iraq, that may be expected. (I belive they broke a little after noon EST.) Wong tries to pad by noting fatality counts. With regards to the month of June, it's the first day of July. Translation, the figures aren't in yet. He writes 60. Since the military is often slow in releasing data, it's not uncommon for two, three or five to be added to the month's fatality count a few days after the press runs with the day-of-figure. He also writes of Iraqi fatalities and notes Iraq Coalition Casualty Count. I'm not seeing his figure (840) on their page. I see a notation of their estimate for deaths in June since June 7th (719) and possibly he's adding in a figure they provide for Iraqi troops and police officers killed (134, though would that qualify as civilians?). Is that how he got his estimate?

In Baghdad, the morturary has stated that they've recevied at least thirty corpses a day this month. That would put the figure at over 900 for Baghdad alone. It matters for a number of reasons including the fact that deaths do matter. Another reason is because Wong can pick up the phone and call the Baghdad morturary and ask for their figure. That's necessary if he wants to use the figure to write of 'trends.' And considering that radio reports right now say at least sixty people have died in an explosion in Baghdad, probably not the best time to write of the 'trend' where civilian fatalities are going down. (It's called "timing.") You'll note that like just about everyone in the world, he ignores the fact, reported by Nancy A. Youssef on Monday, that the American military has admitted that they are keeping track of civilians fatalities. From Youssef's article:

The death of civilians at the hands of U.S. troops has fueled the insurgency in Iraq, according to a top-level U.S. military commander, who said U.S. officials began keeping records of these deaths last summer.
Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who as head of the Multinational Force-Iraq is the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, said the number of civilian dead and wounded is an important measurement of how effectively U.S. forces are interacting with the Iraqi people.
"We have people who were on the fence or supported us who in the last two years or three years have in fact decided to strike out against us. And you have to ask: Why is that? And I would argue in many instances we are our own worst enemy,'' Chiarelli said.
Chiarelli said he reviews the figures daily. If fewer civilians are killed, "I think that will make our soldiers safer,'' Chiarelli said.
U.S. officials previously have said they don't keep track of civilian causalities, and Iraqi officials stopped releasing numbers of U.S.-caused casualties after Knight Ridder reported in September 2004 that the Iraqi Ministry of Health had attributed more than twice as many civilian deaths to the actions of U.S. forces than to "terrorist'' attacks during the period from June to September 2004.

I believe that's the fifth time this week we've noted Youssef's article. Why others don't feel Youssef's scoop that the military is indeed keeping track of civilian fatalities isn't news is a question you should put them -- and some did. Mike has a column on this in Sunday's Polly's Brew so check your inboxes for it Sunday.

In the meantime we get nonsense instead of Youssef. E-mails note several bits of nonsense popular today. The Brave Bill Keller. The Times repeatedly met (social occassion meetings, not journalistic ones) on the financial spying story with the White House and various flunkies. Bill Keller's roaring like a lion but they had the story months and months ago, they didn't print all they could confirm and they were happy to suppress it and suppress it. This isn't a journalistic highpoint (and friends at the Times can't believe how it's being passed off as that). Keller's in no danger, the paper's in no danger. The White House won't charge them. (If they do and it's received well, panic.) The White House needs a whipping boy and the Times needs to do something to demonstrate they aren't still the Timid (actually printing reality would help there). This is mutual self-stroking case, why people want to turn it into a First Amendment issue (especially considering the paper of no record's record) is beyond me. Maybe it makes them feel good.

There's another nonsense story that we'll bite our tongue because it's such huge nonsense and so many are taken in. (Clue, check the validity of the thing you're citing as "proof." Check the sample size, check where the sample comes from. Also check basic facts. For instance, this site didn't start in 1999 and if some 'measurement' is stating we did then they have problems with their measurements.)

This entry's taking too long. Mainly because I keep going through the e-mails and writing comments (in e-mails and here) on the suggested links. For anyone who missed it, we don't celebrate, even in a single sentence, frauds and phonies, racists and homophobes here. There's a link to something that oversimplifies Steinem (Steinem is not any of the four) and works in another bit of praise for the biggest fraud of all who dumbed herself down for 'the masses' (while ripping off a book available only in French and damn lucky that she slid by with so little calling her on it -- now that she's dead maybe someone will?). I like Steinem so I have no interest in what it's an oversimplification about her and I have always despised Fraud-an so I have no desire to link to something siting her yet again in uncritical terms. Homophobe, racist, fraud and phoney. Queen of the rip-offs. Some of her crowd went neo-conservative, some went into hiding. We'll all be better off when they simply die off.

Gloria Steinem we're always happy to highlight. Things on Gloria Steinem that set her up against Fraud-an or oversimplify Steinem's position, not interested. Never will be.

Here's the opening of Michael Ratner's "For His Eyes Only: Bush's Secret Crimes" (The Nation) which we will gladly note:

The Justice Department has finally taken decisive action in the mounting legal challenges to the President Bush's domestic spying program. But there's only one problem: It has acted to defend illegal spying, not stop it.
On June 15, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block the New Jersey Attorney General from demanding that telephone companies answer whether they have broken the law by providing records to the National Security Agency (NSA). On behalf of the Bush Administration, government attorneys argued that New Jersey cannot investigate whether the phone companies broke the law, because this could compromise national security.
Government attorneys used the same argument in May to demand a federal court drop a case challenging warrantless domestic wiretapping--without even hearing the evidence. They declared that the court case itself would compromise national security. The Bush Administration demanded the judge throw out the case without any more review.

Ruth's planning to write something. She's got Law and Disorder and two other programs and that's it. I've told her, "Take the weekend off, if you want to." It's not her fault that no one was interested in discussing Iraq this week. She's going to try for a report (mainly, my opinion, because Law and Disorder is her favorite program and she wants to get the word out on it). (Ratner is a co-host of the program, for any who are wondering about the transistion.)

Carl wondered if the hate mail from visitors was getting to me and the reason we hadn't noted Margaret Kimberley this week? We're noting her on Saturdays now. Thursdays, it often comes out (The Black Commentator) after the DN! entry is completed. Friday's would be ideal but I'm dead tired from the "And the war drags on . . ." entries on Thursday nights. So we'll make Saturday her day. From her latest, entitled "McKinney, Jackson Lee: Separated at Birth" (The Black Commentator):

How odd that the White House would quote McKinney, even mistakenly. She was used as the Republican’s favorite punching bag, called everything but a child of God and was even criticized for her hairstyle. McKinney has been one of the most outspoken if not the most outspoken critic of the administration's foreign policy. The White House and their allies were gleeful about her troubles, and yet they had the gall to use her name in order to bolster their arguments in favor of the occupation of Iraq.
The Capitol Hill police made a federal case out of the McKinney incident by claiming that a new hairstyle made the Congresswoman unidentifiable. Jackson Lee has a hairstyle similar to McKinney's older look, hence the confusion for white America.
McKinney was dismissed, ridiculed and called crazy when she said she was the victim of racial profiling. She was certainly proven right when the White House used her name for its own purposes. The woman who was treated like public enemy number one was suddenly quoted when the powers thought she might be useful to them.
The moral of this story is clear. It doesn't matter what McKinney, Jackson Lee or any other black person does or achieves. One is a former college professor and the other an attorney who graduated from an Ivy League school. Both are United States congressional representatives. Tony Snow doesn’t think either one of them is worthy of respect or consideration of any kind. One is indistinguishable from the other and they will be treated the same, with disdain, regardless of their opinions, actions, or CBC monitor grades. Apparently it is true. We all do look alike.

That's the conclusion, please read the entire commentary if you haven't already. (And note that I rarely say that. It's worth reading.) We'll be noting her on Saturdays. On Mondays, we'll note another piece from The Black Commentator because we're not noting it enough. (My opinion.) We'll probably also be noting Kim Gandy on Saturday (every two because her column is biweekly). From her latest "Are You Pre-Pregnant?" (Below the Belt, NOW):

I know you've all been waiting for this week's "Below the Belt" update on what's in style on the right-wing runway. While fashion magazines are paying close attention to recent wide belt trends, NOW is tuning into the latest blunders in this season's Bush & Co. collection. As usual, it's far from haute couture, and it's definitely cramping women's style.
How about that barefoot-in-the-kitchen pre-pregnant look? Last month, Bush and his co-designers kicked off the season with new federal guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control--urging women of certain ages to behave as if they are pre-pregnant at all times, and to take daily precautions to make their bodies the best baby-makers around. The must-have accessory for this pre-pregnant ensemble is a bottle of folic acid vitamins. Chic, no? To heck with keeping chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes under control in the interest of your ability live a long and healthy life--do it for the babies our government is so eager to see you incubate!
That pre-conceptive, Victorian-esque style is just one in a series of attempts by Bush & Co. to bring back old trends that are unfit for revival.
And how can we leave out their new designs for education--sex-segregated public schools--appearing in state legislature across the country? Last week, the Michigan State Senate voted to amend the state's anti-segregation Civil Rights Act to allow single gender public schools, classes and programs. The
bill passed 32-5 last Thursday, a punch-in-the-face kind of tribute to the 34th anniversary of Title IX's passage. Bush & Co., predictably, was hot to the segregation-codification trend two years ago, when the administration proposed federal endorsement of single sex public schools across the country. Maybe it's just me, but I thought the whole separate-but-equal approach to education went out like using narcotics in children's cough medicine--permanently, because it wasn't a good idea in the first place.

NOW is celebrating forty years and to read more about that, see "The National Organization for Women Celebrates 40 Fabulous Years."

(Saturdays are being carved out for Kimberley and Gandy because otherwise it will be, "Okay, not time, next entry" and I'll end up forgetting. If there's a voice that you feel we're not noting enough, we can carve out a spot on Sundays for two which is why that's the current poll in the gina & krista round-robin. You need to vote by Thursday morning if you have a suggestion. As I noted in the round-robin, this should be reserved for voices that aren't commenting on Iraq with the majority of their writing. If they're commenting on Iraq, they can be worked into an entry or the Iraq snapshot. Gandy and Kimberley have not been silent on the war but they write about a number of topics so it's more difficult to work them lately.)

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