Saturday, September 01, 2012

Violence claimed 393 lives in Iraq in August

It's the first day of a new month.  Who failed?


Raheem Salman, Barry Malone and Alison Williams 'report' that Iraqi ministries say 164 people died in August compared to 325 in July.

That's reporting?

This would have passed in J-school?  One side says is reporting?

Iraq Body Count reports the death toll for August was 393.

164 say the ministries.  Reuters not only too lazy to keep their own count, they can't even use an independent count -- IBC -- by which to gauge the government's claim.

Who ever told them that was journalism?

Did anyone practice journalism?

AFP did.  They note the numbers are what the "government claimed," they kept their own count   (278 killed, 51 injured) and they note that their figures for June, July and August demonstrate "the death toll nationwide has been almost unchanged."  Also practicing journalism is Mohammed Tafeeq (CNN) who notes CNN's count is 270 dead last month.

Violence continued today.  Alsumaria notes that a Diyala Province roadside bombing left two soldiers injured, an attack outside of Baquba injured one security force, a Basra home invasion killed 1 judge and left his wife injured, and a Baghdad car bombing left six injured.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports that the Baghdad car bombing has claimed 2 lives and the number injured has increased to eleven.  Dropping back to Friday night, Xinhua notes that Sheikh Arif Abdul Razak and another Shi'ite cleric were shot dead while the two were leaving a mosque.  Meanwhile Dar Addustour reports police are investigating the outbreak of 46 fires in Baghdad and surrounding provinces during the last 96 hours.

The week saw Iraq execute 26 people, bringing the total the government's put to death this year to nearly a hundred.  Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and the UN called out the continued executions.  It is alleged that Nouri is forcing through executions for sectarian reasons, that the proposed amnesty law may be passed shortly and Nouri's attempting to put to death people whom the law might allow to live.   The Kuwait Times reports that about twenty people protested outside Iraq's Embassy in Kuwait "against 'sectarian-based executions'" today denouncing the targeting of Sunni prisoners.

This week also saw War Criminal Tony Blair bank more blood money as he spoke Thursday in South Africa.  Besides facing protesters, the former UK prime minister also saw Archbishop Desmond Tutu bow out of the speaking engagement with his office stating the Archbishop could not share the stage with Blair due to his Iraq War actions.  Tutu has written a column on the matter which the Observer has published:

If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth? Days before George W Bush and Tony Blair ordered the invasion of Iraq, I called the White House and spoke to Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, to urge that United Nations weapons inspectors be given more time to confirm or deny the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Should they be able to confirm finding such weapons, I argued, dismantling the threat would have the support of virtually the entire world. Ms Rice demurred, saying there was too much risk and the president would not postpone any longer.
On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers' circuit, bin Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, as Mr Bush's chief supporter, Mr Blair, confessed last week, but in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein?
The cost of the decision to rid Iraq of its by-all-accounts despotic and murderous leader has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself. Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded.
On these grounds alone, in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague.

 The political crisis continues with the latest development being reported by Al Mada: Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc has publicly stated that Nouri and his State of Law coalition are not serious about reforms.  A spokesperson for the Sadr bloc states that Nouri has had two months of talking about this reform commission with various meetings taking place and nothing has been accomplished in all that time.

Moqtada's bloc is most likely correct and this does fit with Nouri's long established pattern of promising something different than what is asked for (a national conference, in this case, and a return to the Erbil Agreement), swearing it will do the same thing and then, after a few months of distraction, it becomes clear that nothing was accomplished because Nouri never intended for it to be.

The following community sites -- plus On The Wilder Side -- updated last night and today:

Hal David has passed away today.    He was 91-years-old and famous for the songs he wrote with Burt Bacharach.  The two began writing together in 1957.   In Joe Smith's Off The Record: An Oral History of Popular Music (Warner Books, 1988), Burt reflected on starting out as a songwriter:

When I began writing, it seemed everyone was bouncing around.  It was almost incestuous.  I'd write with Hal David three times a week, and then I'd switch off and write with Bob Hilliard in the morning, and then in the afternoon Bob would write with same composer Hal had just finished with.  And on and on like that.
[. . .]
With Hal, of course, it became quite successful.  And fun, both of us sitting in a room staring at each other.  I'm a very slow writer.  I've always been very slow.  I can really labor over something.  And Hal wasn't exteremly fast either, so we were a good match. 
But I must say, that first year it was very hard.  A lot of rejections.  Playing a song and somebody stopping you after eight bars! I remember going to see Connie Francis, and she lifted the needle of the demo.

At his website, Davis wrote, "I am fortunate to have enjoyed a long-time collaboration with Burt Bacharach. Burt is a man of many talents - a masterful arranger, an outstanding conductor, but first and foremost a brilliant composer. Among songwriters there are many tune writers but just a handful of composers. He is one of the few. "

Their first hit was Marty Robbins' "The Story of My Life" in 1957.  Other hits followed but it was in the sixties and early seventies that they really made their mark.

In the US, Dionne Warwick quickly became the premiere interpreter of their songs and first hit with their "Don't Make Me Over" and followed that with countless hits including "Anyone Who Had A Heart," "Walk On By," "I Say a Little Prayer" (which Aretha would take back onto the charts in the 70s), "I'll Never Fall In Love Again," "Do You Know The Way To San Jose," and many more.  While Dionne was charting in the US, girl singers in England were hitting with the Bacharach & Davis songs.  Cillia Black would turn "Anyone Who Had A Heart" into a major hit in England and Sandy Shaw would do the same with "Always Something There To Remind Me."  After Dionne had recorded it as a B-side, Dusty Springfield would take "Wishin' and Hopin'" and it became a worldwide hit (top ten in the US).   Dusty would have another huge, worldwide hit when she recorded "The Look Of Love" for the soundtrack of 1967's Casino Royale.

In England, Cillia Black would give the songwriters their first number one with her cover of "Anyone Who Had A Heart"in 1964; however, they wouldn't reach number one in the US until Herb Alpert's first vocal hit (Alpert mainly did instrumentals) "This Guy's In Love With You."  That held the number one spot for four weeks begining with the week of June 22, 1968.   In 1970, they'd get another song at the top of the charts, again for four weeks, with "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head."  B.J. Thomas recorded the song, the theme to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the composition went on to win an Academy Award -- only the second number one hit in the rock era to win an Academy Award (the first was "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing").

At his website, Hal David wrote:

I have heard it said that we have a style of our own. If we do, it is never consciously contrived. Certainly "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and "What's New, Pussycat?" are as far apart as the North Pole and the South Pole. The same thing can be said of "Alfie" and "Wives and Lovers." They are poles apart. The main thing we try to do is find an original approach to whatever song we are writing. Being different just to be different is plain foolishness. We never do that. Anything that takes away from the emotion we are trying to express, we discard. If the song isn't honest you may fool yourself, but you will never fool the public-at least, not for long. If we in truth do have a style it is because, in our search for originality, we have not written to a particular formula. When we achieve the freshness we are looking for, it's a wonderful feeling. Here is one of our more timeless songs, writen in 1965.

 And he went on to quote the lyrics to their huge hit "What The World Needs Now Is Love."

Burt told Joe Smith:

People don't always hear the same thing in the same song.  A perfect example is the song, "What the World Needs Now Is Love." I didn't believe in that song very much.  I wrote it, I guess I must have liked it a little, so I finished it and played it for Dionne -- who didn't love it either.  And when she said she didn't love it, then I really didn't love it.
Well, when we were getting ready to cut Jackie DeShannon, Hal said, "Play that song, 'What the World Needs Now Is Love'." Hal's really good like that. He believes in the song.
And then I heard Jackie sing it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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