Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who passes the TV anchor test? Get ready for the surprise answer

First up, Vice President Joe Biden makes a surprise visit to Iraq. During the trip, he was scheduled to meet the country's leaders and with U.S. troops. But there was a distraction when the International Zone in Baghdad came under fire. A CNN reporter said the vice president wasn't injured, but it wasn't clear whether he was actually near where the attack took place because reporters aren't allowed to discuss the VP's location. That's for security reasons. Mr. Biden arrived in the Middle Eastern nation on Tuesday. He said he made the trip, in part, to show support for the Iraqi government as it takes full control of its country. All U.S. combat troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by next August.
Staying in Iraq, you probably remember this moment you're seeing over my shoulder here. That happened last year, when an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at then President George W. Bush during a press conference in the Middle Eastern nation. Muntadhar al-Zaidi -- that's him there with the sunglasses and sash -- was released from prison yesterday. He was sentenced originally to serve one year for the shoe throwing incident, but he was released three months early on good behavior.

That's a transcript above and it's how the broadcast opened. Which newscast was it?

Do you think CBS Evening News with Katie Couric? Do you think it was PBS' NewsHour?

No. Supposed and alleged adults were too busy jerking off and fingering themselves. The above is Carl Azuz, the "student news anchor" of CNN Student News. And you really have to wonder what people are getting their huge salaries for because it's not showing on the TV screen.

The Vice President of the United States was in Iraq and where was the press? On the broadcast networks -- that includes PBS -- it wasn't news. A crazed crackpot was news. But the visit to Iraq? Not news. Not important to them. A bunch of people who've mistaken their ability to almost manage reading a TV teleprompter on camera for journalism expertise.

Anthony Shadid's "In Checkpoint Scrawl, Reality's Counterpoint" (Washington Post) opens with:

The writing on the walls of Baghdad's checkpoints have little to do with reality. Grim as life is here, with everything from buildings to desiccated orchards shaded in a dull ocher, no one needs testament to that. More often, the slogans penned in graceful Arabic say what leaders of a state threatening to fail want, or what they lack.
"No to terrorism," insists graffiti to a country still haunted by it. "Respect and be respected," declares a motto of Iraqi soldiers, who habitually complain of disrespect. "No one is above the law," intones a slogan to passersby, few of whom would concur.

Probably a good idea for Shadid, when attempting to make readers trust that he can indeed read the graffiti on the walls in Baghdad not attempt to also read the tea leaves. Prophecy really doesn't belong in the Washington Post but damned if Shadid doesn't try to bring it into the paragraph immediately after the excerpt.

Better reporting this morning comes from Steven Lee Myers at the New York Times website where his "3 Arrested in Iraq Attack on Embassy" was just posted this morning (long after the print edition was put to bed). He reports that the US military states the Green Zone attack, shortly after Joe Biden arrived in the Green Zone yesterday, was "107-millimeter rockets, not mortars, as initially reported" and that the attack claimed the lives of 2 Iraqis with five more left injured. From his article:

Inside the embassy compound, a piercing "duck and cover" alarm began moments after the American military commander, Gen. Ray Odierno, told reporters traveling with Mr. Biden that security remained at its lowest levels since the war began -- despite major bomb attacks like the ones on Aug. 19 that badly damaged two government ministries and killed at least 132 people.

So three suspects were arrested and Tim Cocks and Jon Hemmings (Reuters) tell you that they've already been released and that Joe Biden continues meetings in Iraq today.

Meanwhile KVAL's Cali Bagby reports (link has text, photos and video) on a Jimmy Buffet party Oregon's Charlie Company threw in Iraq. Meanwhile Tehran Times states that Iranian pilgrims will not be going to Iraq this month for "the month of Mehr which starts from September 23 to October 23".

Tess notes EveryOneGroup's "Gays in Iraq, Asylum for the Iraqi activist Anwar Basim Saleh" (Indybay Media):

Anwar Basim Saleh, the 21-year old Iraqi gay activist from Baghdad, is at present in Holland, where he has applied for asylum.
Anwar, before leaving his country of origin, was the coordinator of a “safe house” for homosexuals working alongside the Iraqi LGBT organization. He was arrested in February 2009 by members of the Iraqi Interior Ministry (Badr Corps) for his role in the association. He was badly beaten up, tortured and he suffered a serious trauma after the long period of detention and the abuse he was subjected to.
He was put under investigation and interrogated over and over again about his role as an LGBT activist and his involvement in the running of a “safe house” in Iraq, where persecuted homosexuals are secretly taken in and offered assistance.
During his detention he met five other members of this organization who have been sentenced to death for the same reason. During a visit to the jail of an Iraqi LGBT volunteer, Anwar handed over a letter with a desperate appeal: “save me from the death penalty.
Iraqi LGBT immediately paid the authorities 5,000 dollars in bail to obtain the young man’s release. As soon as he was released from jail on April 14th, 2009, Anwar immediately got on a plane to Paris, thus fleeing his homeland where he would have undergone an unjust trial, and would most likely have been sentenced to death.
After a few months without any help from the French institutions, associations and authorities (while begging on the streets and living as a tramp), Anwar (who speaks no other languages but his own) left France, and on June 22nd entered Dutch territory. He approached the police authorities in Rotterdam of his own accord, and after telling them his story, they sent him to the local refugee office, which gave him shelter at Terabil asylum centre on June 24th.
On September 2nd, 2009, Anwar was sent for by the Justice Ministry to discuss his asylum application, and was informed that according to the Dublin Regulation, it is up to France to decide whether or not to grant him refugee status.
Anwar, who is still in Holland, begged them to reconsider his application in Holland (where other homosexual originating from Arab countries have taken refuge) to avoid having to make yet another traumatic move and long wait before he learns his fate.

Like Kat, I've been asked to note the following:

An Evening with Janis Ian

Thursday, October 22, 2009

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Click Graphic to Purchase Tickets

Back to Calendar
An Evening with Janis Ian
Thursday, October 22, 2009
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Click Graphic to Purchase Tickets

Janis Ian live is a great concert. She really delivers a show. If you've never seen her in concert, you're missing out. As Kat notes, my friend estimates it's been ten years since Janis has played Dallas. (I have no idea. I'd guess she toured there with Breaking Silence but I'd be surprised if she did for her Windham Hill releases -- I could be wrong, those are guesses and labeled as such.) Janis is a great talent, a strong songwriter, a real artist and a wonderful person. She really puts on a show and this is supposed to be an intimate setting, a small venue. ___ knows we have community members in the D-FW area and I've agreed to note this once a week until the date if he'll write a piece for this Friday's gina & krista round-robin. So he's working on a piece about studio recording that'll run Friday.

We'll close with this from Chris Hedges' "Stop Begging Obama to Be Obama and Get Mad" (Information Clearing House):

The right-wing accusations against Barack Obama are true. He is a socialist, although he practices socialism for corporations. He is squandering the country's future with deficits that can never be repaid. He has retained and even bolstered our surveillance state to spy on Americans. He is forcing us to buy into a health care system that will enrich corporations and expand the abuse of our for-profit medical care. He will not stanch unemployment. He will not end our wars. He will not rebuild the nation. He is a tool of the corporate state.
The right wing is not wrong. It is not the problem. We are the problem. If we do not tap into the justifiable anger sweeping across the nation, if we do not militantly push back against corporate fraud and imperial wars that we cannot win or afford, the political vacuum we have created will be filled with right-wing lunatics and proto-fascists. The goons will inherit power not because they are astute, but because we are weak and inept.
Violence is a dark undercurrent of American history. It is exacerbated by war and economic decline. Violence is spreading outward from the killing fields in Iraq and Afghanistan to slowly tear apart individuals, families and communities. There is no immunity. The longer the wars continue, the longer the members of our working class are transformed by corporate overlords into serfs, the more violence will dominate the landscape. The slide into chaos and a police state will become inevitable.
The soldiers and Marines who return from Iraq and Afghanistan are often traumatized and then shipped back a few months later to be traumatized again. This was less frequent in Vietnam. Veterans, when they get out, search for the usual escape routes of alienation, addictions and medication. But there is also the escape route of violence. We risk creating a homegrown Freikorps, the demobilized German soldiers from World War I who violently tore down the edifice of the Weimar Republic and helped open the way to Nazism.

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