In this morning's New York Times, Alissa J. Rubin's "3 G.I.'s Die in Iraq's North; Baghdad Civilian Toll Falls" runs on A11 and, unlike some, Rubin doesn't need to wipe the egg off her face because she didn't ignore the reality that the US military regularly holds death announcements until after those first-day-of-the-month-look-back stories run. She also notes that yesterday's Diyala attack targeting police col. Faris al-Emairy "was the fourth assassination attempt on Colonel Emairy, who said he joined the police force two years ago and that he had been a member of the Republican Gaurd, an elite unit during Saddam Hussein's rule."
Right below Rubin's article is a brief AFP excerpt entitled "CBS Identifies 'Curveball'" which may be most interesting for giving the impression that Rafid Ahmed Alwan was a good student: "It said that he had studied chemical engineering but had lied about being in charge of a plant making mobile biological weapons." Really? "60 Minutes has learned that Alwan's university records indicate he did study chemical engineering but earned nearly all low marks, mostly 50s." Bob Simon's report airs Sunday on CBS.
As Ruth notes, PBS' Bill Moyers Journal, tonight in most markets Moyers examines how FCC chair Kevin Martin's push to deregulate the communications industry will threaten minority ownership and that Moyers will also provide a commentary regarding press coverage of peace rallies. PBS' NOW with David Brancaccio (also Friday night in most markets, check local listings) looks at farming and asks, "Can local farmers change course and crops and still survive in a shifting economy?" Brancaccio interviews Bill McKibben and Steven L. Hopp is also interviewed on the program while online Hopp and Barbara Kingsolver and Camille Kingsolver offer an excerpt of their new book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
War resister Joshua Key told his story in The Deserter's Tale and Josh Getlin reports in today's Los Angeles Times that Key's book is among those optioned to tell the story of the illegal war on the big screen (Hotchkiss in the excerpt below is Jody Hotchkiss, literary agent at Jody Hotchkiss & Assoc.):
Denise Bukowski, Key's literary agent, said Key's book received heavy attention from the interantional press. It didn't blame Iraq atrocities on a bunch of a bad apples but on systemic abuses by the U.S. military. Moreover, the author came across as a decent, patriotic kid from Oklahoma who felt betrayed by his own country. "But then [Hotchkiss hit a brick wall in Hollywood," Bukowski said.
Hotchkiss heard comments that Key's book "just wasn't right" for one studio or another. He was told that the subject was too volatile, that people supported the troops and could not sympathize with a deserter.
Enter Eric Jordan, an independent Canadian filmmaker. His company, the Film Works, produced "Beowulf and Grendel," and he was eager to option Key's book. He said the tale had particular resonance for Canada, which has a long tradition of providing refuge and asylum for political refugees.
"I didn't set out to make a pro-Iraq war movie or an anti-Iraq war movie," Jordan said. "I wanted to make a movie about people under pressure, real people, and the fact that this is complex world.
"Just imagine what this kid went through, never dreaming he'd desert the U.S. Army. That's a great book -- and a great movie."
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