Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Other Items

On a two-day visit to Iraq, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) declared after a short walk in a market that Baghdad was becoming safer under a new security plan. But after his departure, Iraqi merchants and U.S. military officials said his upbeat assessment is far from the reality they experience every day.
McCain, who left Iraq on Monday but remained in the region, also said that "things are getting better in Iraq" and that he was "pleased with the progress that has been made," although he cautioned that there was still a difficult road ahead. However, new morgue statistics obtained by The Washington Post paint a more complicated picture and underscore the country's precarious security environment.
"This is the most dangerous area," Ahmad al-Aghaedi, the owner of a small shop that sells light fixtures in the city's Shorja market, which McCain visited, said on Tuesday. "There are snipers everywhere. Just three days ago, before the delegation arrived, they shot someone."

The above, noted by Lloyd, is from Sudarsan Raghavan's "Sum of Death Statistics: a Perilous Iraq: Merchants, U.S. Officials Take Issue With McCain's Remarks on Security Gains" (Washington Post). Oh, that Crazy John McCain. Adam Nagourney (no link, obvious reasons) offers in the New York Times this morning that The Showboat Express was no Money Train -- so far from it, that he's bringing in new fundraisers. But the train will roll on! The train must roll on! Vote Insane, Vote, John McCain! He'll give a speech next week on Iraq but the problem is the money. Of course it is, Crazy John, of course it is. (Someone should think up new titles for big donors because they aren't going to go over well. They've put as much thought and logic into this as Tom Ridge did into the color-coded terrorist alert system.) (Illustration above from Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts.)
Also in the Times, Alissa J. Rubin's "Captors Release Kidnapped Iranian Diplomat in Baghdad:"

An Iranian diplomat kidnapped by armed men wearing uniforms of the Iraqi security forces was freed here on Tuesday, Iraq's foreign minister said, adding that he continued to work to free five Iranians held separately by American military forces and was optimistic that they would be released soon.
[. . .]
Related to the de-Baathification effort, political jockeying continued around a plan to liberalize the law that currently puts sharp restrictions on access by former members of the old ruling Baathist party to positions in the current government.
An official spokesman for Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani distanced the ayatollah from reports published Monday and Tuesday saying that the marjaiya, the most senior Shiite clerics, disagreed with the plan, which was proposed jointly by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani.
Since Ayatollah Sistani rarely speaks for himself, but makes his views known through written statements and clerics affiliated with him, it can be difficult to determine his true views. However, Tuesday's comments suggested that he was backing away from wholesale criticism of the plan.
You mean Chalabi might have had 'bad information'? Shocking. Chalabi was the source for "Tuesday's comments" -- a point Rubin's article leaves out.

Turning to The Progressive, Jamie wondered if Elizabeth di Novella had an article in the new issue? No. It needs her, but she's not in the issue. Ruth Conniff's "Al Franken Gets Serious" is in the April issue of The Progressive. No, Arianna Huffington was not on Saturday Night Live. Conniff is wrong. It was Politically Incorrect (then airing on Comedy Central). It wasn't a "skit" in terms of being a one time thing. If the mistake surprises anyone watch Conniff navigate Franken's Iraq position (which she's either being kind about or doesn't know). For the record, Baby Cries a Lot left Air America Radio without ever calling for an end to the war. There's a reason for that.

Considering that The Progressive already wasted one issue on Baby Cries a Lot (where he bragged about not being that left -- something Conniff appears to be unaware of) why Conniff's wasting everyone's time with an insta-column on a DLC-er is anyone's guess?

Online, there's nothing from it (the Lewis Black feature may be posed online). In print? The Cindy Sheehan article will probably be worth reading. Those who miss Salim Muwakkil should know he's got an article in the issue. Stab's focusing on the very pressing issue of Jet Blue. Apparently, ignoring Abeer (while trashing feminists for not being as serious as she thinks she is) wasn't enough for her, she's apparently attempting to set a record for the longest a columnist can go without addressing Iraq. (Twice as shameful when you consider that The Progressive was the national home of Molly Ivins.) If the scribble seems familiar, it's been online since February. No, not at The Progressive. Another issue that might need to be raised -- was the scribble so 'cute' or 'funny' when offered in February that it cuts it as a piece in print? (Answer "no.")
Marci notes Joe Maniscalo's "'No More Iraq War,' Kids Cry -- Youngsters Lead Peace Parade Through Brooklyn" (Carroll Cobble Courier via Common Dreams)

A cadre of enthusiastic youngsters carrying homemade banners and balloons called for an end to the Iraq war this weekend in a kid-centric "peace parade" stretching from the playgrounds of Carroll Park to the arch at Grand Army Plaza."Money for schools, not for war," the children shouted from their Razor scooters and inline skates as they moved up Union Street. "Impeach Bush."
Adults from Midwood to Park Slope including members of Brooklyn Parents for Peace, First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn, the New York State Green Party and a drum corps called The Himalayas accompanied the kids, filling three-quarters of the block between Smith Street and 3rd Avenue at the outset of the march.
One Carroll Gardens mom said that her 10, 9 and seven-year-old children knew "quite a bit about the war" and that she was worried about what effect the conflict is having on them.
"They talk about it at school," she said. "They see it in the newspaper, they see it on TV. I don't know if they understand all the difficulties involved in it, but I think it's hard to portray war as good for kids."
At Sixth Avenue, onlookers outside the Union Market applauded and cheered on the children while moms on porches unfurled banners denouncing the Bush agenda.
Automobile horns and joggers flashing peace signs greeted the marchers at 7th Avenue.
By the time the procession reached 8th Avenue, the kids were shouting "Stop the war now, we want our money back."

Marci also notes, "Kids aren't apathetic today despite the lie The Nation spent the last 2 years pushing." No, they aren't.
Brandon notes "this is a bit late" but suggests Cindy Sheehan's "Three Years Ago Today" (BuzzFlash):

Three years ago today, I didn't know the term "broken heart" wasn't figurative, but literal. I didn't know the pain of childbirth was a cakewalk compared to the pain of child-death. I didn't know a person could scream so long and so loud without having a heart attack or stroke. I didn't know a person could even survive such psychic shock. I didn't know a person could actually become a stronger person after such a debilitating pain; a pain that just becomes a constant dull agonizing ache.
Three years ago today, Casey was alive and didn't know that it was his last day on this earth. Casey and seven of his buddies, including Mike Mitchell, whose family has become intertwined with ours in grief and resolve to end this devastating war, were unaware that Bloody King George had numbered their days and their numbers were soon to be up.
To me, three years ago today is a lifetime away, but yet seems so close. To me, the world was a vastly different place three years ago today. Today is another beautiful Northern California day. Sun shining, birds singing, neighbors living their lives not even aware that the paradigm shifted for the Sheehans on April 4, 2004. But today, the air is less sweet and even though the birds still sing as though Casey were alive, their songs don't sound the same to me.
How many families in Iraq and America will be affected by George's war of terror today or tomorrow? How many are in a state of shock, disbelief, and pain today because of yesterday? How long are we the people going to allow Congress and King George off the hook for this unremitting and unrelenting pain and destruction?
Today, tomorrow, yesterday, and forever, I will miss and mourn Casey.
My son, my friend, and my hero.
Casey Sheehan's body passed away on April 3, 2004. He lives on and continues to inspire through his mother's actions. So it's never "too late" to note something by Sheehan. While she and New York kids try to end the war, Mustafa Mahmoud (Reuters) reports "11 electricity plant workers in northern Iraq" were shot dead today. And Reuters is also reporting:
Iran will free 15 Britons captured on March 23 in what Tehran says was Iranian waters, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday.

The e-mail address for this site is