Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I'm starting with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" which gives you all the news you need for today:

Violence and chaos continue. Monday on KPFA's Flashpoints, Dahr Jamail told Nora Barrows-Friedman, "It really is horrible to try to keep in context the level of violence . . . Here we are doing it again with no end in sight and I wonder just how long we'll continue doing it? . . . Things are not just staying the same in Iraq, it's getting exponentially worse."
How long before the mainstream press admits that?
In kidnapping news, Raad al-Harith and his body guards have been released. al-Harith is the deputy electricity minister in Iraq who
was kidnapped Tuesday. The AFP reports that, "after being held for 10 hour," the bodyguards and al-Hareth were released but that is not the case with regards to Taiseer Najeh Awad al-Mashhadni who was kidnapped Saturday. al-Mashhadani's kidnappers, the AFP reports, "issued demands including special protection for Shiite places" and "called for the release of detainees in US custody and a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops".
Both al-Harith and al-Mashhadni were kidnapped in Baghdad. Remember Baghdad? The "crackdown"? The press seems to have largely forgotten it. As the
AFP notes regarding the continued bombings in Baghdad: "The series of blasts come despite an ongoing security plan that has put some 50,000 Iraqi soldiers and police, backed by US forces on the streets."
Basra, which was also placed under a state of emergency also appears largely forgotten.
Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "The state of emergency ended Saturday, but residents said that little had changed: Shiite militias and tribes still control the city's streets, political factions still fight for control of the city, and Shiite Muslim militias still threaten Sunni Muslims with death. Morgue officials report that the number of people killed in sectarian violence remains unchanged."
Baghdad? The
BBC reports that a car bomb near a mosque resulted in at least six dead and at least 17 wounded. AFP notes a bomb "outside a restaurant . . . noteworthy for the massive banners praising Shiite martyrs it displayed" that killed at least one and wounded at least seven as well as another bomb that went off in a market and wounded at least ten peopole. Reuters notes a car bomb in Kirkuk that left three wounded and a roadside bomb that left two wounded. In Mosul, AFP reports, a police officer and a civilian lost their lives when a car bomb exploded (at least four other people were wounded).
Near Kirkuk,
AFP reports, "a headless male corpse" was discovered. Reuters reports the discovery of two corpses in Kerbala. AP notes the discovery of a corpse ("shot in the head) in Baghdad.
Shooting deaths?
AFP reports a Kurd was killed while driving his car in Kirkuk. In Mosul, Reuters counts four dead from gun shots. In Baghdad, AP reports that a drive by targeted a Shi-ite family, "killing a 12-year-old boy and wounding his brother and two other relatives."
Reuters reports that the central morgue in Baghdad places the body count for June at 1,595. Abdul Razzaq al-Obaidi states: "June is the highest month in terms of receiving cases of violence since" the Februrary 22nd bombing of the Golden Mosque.
To underscore, the waves of Operation Happy Talk that the peace plan/scam was a 'turning point,' that the death of Zarqawi/"Zarqawi" was a 'turning point,' go down the list -- there has been no 'turning point.'
On Tuesday, Iraq's justice minister Hashim Abdul-Rahman al-Shebli made a call for an independent investigation into the alleged rape of an under-age Iraqi female as well as her alleged murder and that of three of her family members. Today, the Associated Press reports, Nouri al-Maliki (Iraq prime minister and puppet of the illegal occupation) is following al-Shebi's call for an independent investigation. Canada's CBC notes that today was the first time he spoke publicly on the matter . This despite the fact that Green was arrested Friday (news broke on Monday) and the US announced the investigation on Friday. Though various reports mention the alleged involvement of others, thus far only Steven D. Green has been charged. Today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Sandra Lupien noted that the military has gone from referring to Green having an alleged "personality disorder" to his having an "anti-social personality disorder." Lebanon's The Daily Star reports that Safiyya al-Suhail and Ayda al-Sharif (both serve in Iraq's parliament, both are women) are asserting that al-Maliki needs to appear before parliament "to give assurances the US troops would be punished."

What did I do today? Went to work, went to campus for classes and to do some research in the library. I hate summer classes. Spoke to Jess on the phone for a real long time. I asked him flat out, "Jess, are you moving out to the West coast?" He loves it out there and so does Ty. It's weird because NYC and Boston aren't that close. It's not like Jess was just down the street but California!!!!

Jim thinks Jess is going to announce that shortly. I think Jess and Ty are both going to announce it. I don't blame them. It's fun out there and C.I.'s got the room for them. But it will be sad if Jess says he's moving. (Ty plays personal stuff so close to the vest I bet I'd only learn he was staying out there the day it was time for him to come back or maybe the day after.) Now Jim and Dona are out there too. Maybe that's why I'm down? I've still got classes and everyone's out there having fun: Jess, Ty, Jim, Dona, Ava, Kat and C.I. Nina told me I was in the darkest mood and that's why I've listened to Cowboy Junkies over and over today. If I wasn't in class or at work, I've listened to Early 21st Century Blues over and over.

I really do love that CD. I love the guitar playing which is mainly Michael Timmins. And sometimes Alan Anton lays down a really good base line. Margo Timmins has an amazing voice. It's like water. That's what I think of when she sings. Her voice just flows and spreads out. We did a quick review of this CD at The Third Estate Sunday Review.

I'll just add some stuff to that. My favorite track on the CD is number six, "You're Missing." But I love them all except "I Don't Want To Be A Soldier." The more I listen and listen, the more irritated I am when Rebel comes in with his rap. It's like when Blondie was on some award show with these rappers. Some voices mix well. But Margo Timmins voice is really enough and when Rebel comes on, he just drags it down to me. Most of the time, I skip that track (number 10). I like John Lennon (he wrote the song) but I just don't care for the rap. It's like this nice wave and I'm sure some rapper could come along and ride it but Rebel just sinks it.

"You're Missing" was written by Bruce Springsteen. Dad's got the CD that's on (Springsteen's The Rising) and it's nice enough on there but I really think the Junkies do it better. They're more into the song with the music and the vocal. Springsteen's into it but they're like in it. They just float through that song. I even like "One" even though I'm sick to death of Bono. (Who doesn't sing on it the way he does on Mary J. Blige's cover -- and he ruins it.) They do it really good, so good that even though Bono co-wrote it, I love it. (I'm really sick to death of Bono.)

Michael Timmins wrote some cool songs for the CD too. "This World Dreams Of" is probably my favorite of his. The band's really alive on that song and there are these blues notes the guitar's hitting that I really love. "I hate to take the easy way out, now people" is probably my favorite part of the song.

I talked to Elaine yesterday, of course. She was over here for the Fourth. All day long I was thinking, "I wonder what Elaine thinks about . . ." She's on vacation. Out of the country. Maybe that's why I'm in a mood too?

Nina thinks I'm just bummed because everyone's on vacation (Rebecca as well). I'm sure that's part of it. I wish I was on vacation. I'm so burned out on classes. I felt like I was going to nod off today and ended up pulling out the new Rolling Stone. Johnny Depp's on the cover. That's all I can tell you. I flipped through (on the back row) and mainly just stared at the pages day dreaming. I saw a Q&A with the guy from Dashboard Confessional and thought I should get his new CD. Then I started making a list of CDs I wished I had.

I got to about fifty and then class was, thankfully, over. Tony called me a "big mope" and said I was walking around like I was asleep all day. Probably was. 2008 is so far away but I guess I've been thinking about it and how everyone's like "Oh we'll go dark in November of 2008." That kind of makes me sad. Especially today. Sometimes people will go, "Mike, don't you get tired of staying up all Saturday night each week working with everyone on The Third Estate Sunday Review?" And I'm like, you don't know how much fun it is. It's a lot of fun. We laugh a lot, we argue a lot and it's just a lot of fun.

I don't think it's fun for Ava and C.I. They have to turn out a TV commentary each week and that's got to get old. There's pressure and all because that's what most people come to the site to read. That's why they haven't taken that week off that Jim promised them although I know Jim's glad they haven't taken it yet. But they're not crazy about TV to begin with and to have to write something . . . They always say the writing is the easiest part, it's the watching that kills them. Sometimes, they put off watching it until we're working on the edition and then they'll disappear for about 45 minutes to watch the show (they skip commercials). If they can make time to watch it earlier in the week, they're always in a better mood because that's out of the way. But both of them are really too busy and squeezing that hour (or half-hour) can be a problem. If they watch it early in the week, they'll usually make calls and get scripts or past episodes and some inside gossip. "TV: TESR Investigates: NYC" was their latest and they were really pissed when Jim asked them to do another CSI. They think this ends the coverage because they've reviewed them all now. Tony said this was his favorite one. :D I laughed a lot when I read it too.

So I think why I'm down in the dumps ("mopey" Tony said) was because with everyone off and doing stuff, I just really got how it is going to end at some point.

It's like that song "You're Missing."

Shirts in the closet
Shoes in the hall
Mama's in the kitchen
Baby and all
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you're missing

Everybody's become such a good friend. I'm sure we'll still be in touch and all but there's a difference between being in touch and spending X number of hours on the phone or together working on an edition. It's like when I was half-way through eleventh grade and realized that after senior year, sports were going to be over. I tried not to think about it but it was always there nagging me.

So that's my mood today. Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz because even though Elaine's on vacation, Sunny's filling in for her. I told Sunny to call if she had any problems, questions or just needed to talk to someone. I'm sure she'll do a great job.