Friday, October 27, 2006

Iraq, G.O.P. crooks, Joan Baez and more

Friday! At last! :D The meetings tonight, the real Iraq Study Group! :D I'm always excited when that happens. And I'm always excited on Friday's period. Elaine found something she's going to highlight at her site (Like Maria Said Paz) and she wanted Rebecca and me to note it too because it deserves to be read for the writing and the topic. This is from John Dear's "Joan Baez, After All These Years:"

"Come back, Woodie Guthrie, Come back, Mahatma Gandhi," sang Joan Baez in her beatific soprano. "Come back to us Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. We’re marching into Selma as the bells of freedom ring."
She's been singing for peace and civil rights for forty-eight years. Originally inspired by Pete Seeger, she captured the attention of the nation in the early 1960s, her politically charged music propelling her to the cover of Time magazine long before Bob Dylan and the Beatles. To my mind, as soon as she sang "All My Trials, Lord," the 1960s were born and the culture turned a corner. Music and politics would never be the same.
Today, she's better than ever. Her voice is strong, her vision clear, and her call for peace and justice just as urgent. She continues to use her extraordinary talent for global peace and brings the power of music to the needs of the world.
Joan Baez has long been one of my heroes. She was in New Mexico last week to perform a slew of folk songs against the latest U.S. war, including Bob Dylan's "With God On Our Side," "A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall," and “It's All Over Now Baby Blue.” She also sang “Finlandia” and a moving rendition of "Amazing Grace." "Any Day Now/ Baez Sings Dylan" is my favorite of her CDs, but she has just released a great new CD, Bowery Songs, with these inspiring songs recorded live in New York.

Bowery Songs is a great CD and if you haven't heard it yet and need more persauding, check out "Kat's Korner: Joan Baez Bringing It All Back Home on Bowery Songs." A lot of people I know go way back with Joan Baez. You may know a lot of people like that too and maybe think, "She must not be my type." She is. Get Bowrey Songs and you'll hear it the second the CD starts playing. It's a live CD and you'll love it. "Joe Hill" is on it and that's a song probably everyone knows but you'll hear it and just think about what a great song it is right now. "Rexroth's Daughter" and "Christmas in Washington" are great too. You can just put the CD and listen all the way through, over and over. Sometimes, I'll put it on when I'm winding down for the night. There's not a track on the CD I don't love. So if you're looking for a CD that you'll enjoy and you've seen Bowery Songs around or thought about it, stop thinking and go get it. You won't be sorry.

Now here's a story about the latest on Scooter Libby and Plamegate, Washington Post's "In the Libby Case, A Grilling to Remember:"

If I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was not afraid of the special counsel before, the former Cheney aide, who will face Fitzgerald in a trial beginning Jan. 11, had ample reason to start quaking after yesterday's Ginsu-like legal performance.
Fitzgerald's target in the witness box was Elizabeth F. Loftus, a professor of criminology and psychology at the University of California at Irvine. For more than an hour of the pretrial hearing, Loftus calmly explained to Judge Reggie B. Walton her three decades of expertise in human memory and witness testimony. Loftus asserted that, after copious scientific research, she has found that many potential jurors do not understand the limits of memory and that Libby should be allowed to call an expert to make that clear to them.
But when Fitzgerald got his chance to cross-examine Loftus about her findings, he had her stuttering to explain her own writings and backpedaling from her earlier assertions. Citing several of her publications, footnotes and the work of her peers, Fitzgerald got Loftus to acknowledge that the methodology she had used at times in her long academic career was not that scientific, that her conclusions about memory were conflicting, and that she had exaggerated a figure and a statement from her survey of D.C. jurors that favored the defense.
Her defense-paid visit to the federal court was crucial because Libby is relying on the "memory defense" against Fitzgerald's charges that he obstructed justice and lied to investigators about his role in the leaking of a CIA operative's identity to the media. Libby's attorneys argue that he did not lie -- that he was just really busy with national security matters and forgot some of his conversations.

Poor little Scooter. Willing to take the fall for everyone provided he could get off. You know they told him that. Bully Boy can still pardon him but if people realize how bad the case against him is, Bully Boy will get a lot of flack for pardoning Scooter. So be sure and pass on to everyone that Scooter's 'expert' witness, who was supposed to make the case his whole defense rests on, imploded today.

He needs to be behind bars. They all do. They really will go down as the most crooked administration in years. Check out Jason Leopold's "Administration Officials Billed Taxpayers $1.5 Million for Private Air Travel:"

According to a 10-page letter sent to the Office of Management and Budget released late Wednesday by Congressman Henry Waxman, the senior Democrat on the House Government Affairs Committee, more than $1.5 million has been spent and billed to taxpayers so cabinet heads including Education Secretary Rodney Paige could travel on private jets to tout controversial bills like the No Child Left Behind Act. Since October 2004, much of the first-class travel by agency officials was conducted in battleground states during the height of the contentious presidential campaign. Waxman has said the administration has wasted money on luxurious travel expenses and unfairly expect taxpayers to foot the bill.
Federal regulations restrict the use of private aircraft for traveling on official business unless the trip cannot be scheduled by a commercial airliner. However, administration officials chartered private jets on 125 different occasions to travel to more than 300 different locations across the United States - most of which, Waxman says, skyrocketed during the heated election season.
For example, during the 2004 campaign, the use of private jets and helicopters "was over four times higher than in non-election years."
"In 2004, the heads of federal departments and agencies traveled on private aircraft at taxpayer expense at least 36 times to 74 locations," Waxman wrote in the letter. "Much of this travel was concentrated in electoral battleground states. In October 2004, Education Secretary Rod Paige spent $50,290 to charter a private jet to travel from Philadelphia to Kansas City. In each city, Secretary Paige hosted Town Hall events in which he called the Leave No Child Left Behind Act 'the most powerful civil rights act in the last three decades.'"

It's just one corruption scandal after another and it's the whole G.O.P. party, really. Cedric's
"The G.O.P. perp walk" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! EVERYBODY'S DOING THE G.O.P. PERP WALK!" covers only the latest court appearance of someone who left the administration to get ready for prison. It's just one thing after another with those crooks.

Beau had a question about tags. He wants to know if I'm about to drop them? I think I will next week if nothing changes. At one point, most of us were readable by technorati. Then it became less and less. Now it's just me and C.I. and this week, we both stopped being read by them. It takes awhile to do tags. So if this is how it is now and not something relating to Blogger/Blogspot's problems this week, I'll probably stop tagging. It will make posting go a lot quicker and there's no point in putting tags on if they're not going to be read. I'll probably do tags through Wendesday and then stop. There's no point in doing it if it's not going to be read.

It promotes Technorati. It's a free commercial for them. But if it's not doing anything for me, screw it. Why should I spend 10 to 16 minutes each post trying to promote something that won't even read me? I shouldn't. It's a waste of my time and it's like they're getting a free ride, so screw 'em come Wednesday.

Dad wanted me to note something. C.I.'s "And the war drags on." If you get the gina & krista round-robin, you know that Dad and me both participated in the roundtable for today's edition. That was done last night. And this morning, Dad was at the computer having his coffee when I made it downstairs and he goes, "Have you checked it out?" I hadn't. It's pretty incredible. That may not seem like a surprise but if you were participating in the roundtable, you weren't expecting it because C.I. was part of that roundtable and it was just a surprise because that was done during this and C.I. wasn't just going, "Yeah!" C.I. had a lot to say in the roundtable and, at one point, even says that no one should expect anything when "And the war drags on" went up. I really did assume that there wouldn't be much to it (that's what C.I. kept saying) so it was a real shock to read it. If you haven't, you need to. All week long, I've been dragging and when I think about what C.I.'s done this week online and offline (non-stop speaking out against the war for the last three days among other things), I really feel like I let this week kick my butt when I should have fought back. That's what next week is for. :D

Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, October 27, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, US war resister Kyle Snyder prepares to return to the US; a G.I. coffeehouse opens in Watertown, NY; Gerhard Schroder weighs in on the special relationship between Tony Blair and Bully Boy; and the barking puppet of the occupation gets his leash yanked.
Tomorrow Kyle Snyder will return to the United States,
Mike Howell reports for the Toronto Star noting that Snyder notes war resister Darrell Anderson's decision to return to the US (Anderson returned September 30th). Like Anderson, Snyder elected to self-check out of the military. For Snyder, that happened in April 2005. As Snyder explains in Michelle Mason's Breaking Ranks, military recruiters were circling throughout high school: "I had just received my high school diploma. I get off of the stage and here's another recruiter right outside the door -- waiting for me. I look back at i now and everything that I'm going through, everything that I've worked through I can retrace down to that moment that I signed the f**king contract." Snyder has addressed how the military broke its contract with him -- such as by refusing to investigate incidents of violence targeting Iraqis.
In August,
Synder explained his decision to self-check out of the US military and go to Canada to Karen Button noting, "You know, if they want to help people in Iraq . . . imagine a 15 year-old kid, for the last . . . years all he's seen is [US] military personnel with weapons going through his city. How is that child supposed to believe that the man, in that uniform is helping him? Now, if that child saw a convoy of logs being brought to his city, or a convory of water being brought to his city, still guarded, it would be a completely different situation. That's where the American military messed up. Because they forgot about the perception of civilisation. They forgot about the perception of the Iraqi people."
Kyle Snyder intends to return to the US Saturday and turn himself in. Michelle Mason's documentary
Breaking Ranks takes a look at US war resisters who have gone to Canada seeking asylum. In addition to Mason's film, more information on war resisters hoping to be granted refugee status (which the Canadian government has thus far refused to do, unlike during the Vietnam era) can be found at War Resisters Support Campaign.
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Carl Webb, Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Aidan Delgado, Ryan Johnson, Joshua Key, Katherine Jashinski, Ivan Brobeck, Robin Long, Kevin Benderman and Clifford Cornell are among those war resisters who have gone public. And that's only the names of those who have gone public. The war resistance within the military is a movement.
Earlier this week, US service members created a website, Appeal for Redress, and are attempting to collect 2000 signatures for their petition to Congress to end the illegal war. From Appeal for Redress:

An Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq
Many active duty, reserve, and guard service members are concerned about the war in Iraq and support the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation. The Appeal messages will be delivered to members of Congress at the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2007.
The wording of the Appeal for Redress is short and simple. It is patriotic and respectful in tone.
As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.
If you agree with this message,
click here.
The Appeal for Redress is sponsored by active duty service members based in the Norfolk area and by a sponsoring committee of veterans and military family members. The Sponsoring committee consists of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and Military Families Speak Out.
Members of the military have a legal right to communicate with their member of Congress. To learn more about the rights and restrictions that apply to service members
click here.
Attorneys and counselors experienced in military law are available to help service members who need assistance in countering any attempts to suppress this communication with members of Congress.
Several members of Congress have expressed interest in receiving the Appeal for Redress.
Click here to send the Appeal to your elected representatives.

Citizen Soldier announces the opening, today, of "the first soldiers' coffeehouse of the current Iraq war in Watertown, NY." More information can be found at Citizen Soldier and at Different Drummer, the name of the coffeehouse. It is a movement and for those wanting more information on the importance of the GI coffeehouse to a peace movement should view David Zeiger's Sir! No Sir! documentary.
As resistance and opposition to the illegal war spreads throughout the world spreads, Bully Boy & Friends attempts to remarket/re-brand all week.
At the start, the US State Department's Alberto Fernandez was having to eat his own words ("arrogance" and "stupidity" used to describe the war) after the White House first attempted to claim that Fernandez had suffered from mistranslation. We also heard the announcement by Tony Snow, White House flack, that the phrase "stay the course" was being stricken from the official White House language. Wednesday, the Bully Boy attempted to show how involved and concerned he was with the war Wednesday by noting the "93" US troops who had died in Iraq this month when, in fact, the US military's official count before the speech, during the speech and until Thursday morning was "91." While the White House removed one phrase from the official lexicon, Donald Rumsfeld added a new one on Thursday, "Just back off."
While the US administration played word games and offered faulty numbers, chaos and violence continued in Iraq. Despite this,
Zalmay Khalilzad (US ambassador to Iraq) and George Casey ("top US general" in Iraq) held a joint press conference where they declared that success was yet again just around that ever elusive corner and it will only take a year to a year-and-a-half for it to show up. (For those who've forgotten, the illegal war began in March 2003.)
Meanwhile a US & Iraqi raid in the Sadr City section of Baghdad, led to a barking puppet of the occupation.
Nouri al-Maliki rejected the raid, rejected the notion that he (who holds the position of commander-in-chief of the Iraqi military) had been involved in the planning of the raid, and rejected the "timelines" and "timetable" speak that Khalilzad and Casey had told reporters of the day before.
his laughable Wednesday press conference, Bully Boy was asked why al-Maliki hadn't been included in the Tuesday press conference held by Khalilzad and Casey?
His response? "I have no idea why he wasn't there," said Bully Boy the 'decider' but not the planner. He added, "I have no idea. I'm not -- I'm not the scheduler of news conferences." Once again, out of the loop.
In Iraq today,
Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) reports that Nouri al-Maliki issued "a joint statement with the U.S. ambassador [that] his government had 'timelines' for the resolution of the country's problems". The strings get pulled, the puppet plays along.
Macdonald notes: "The statement appeared aimed at dispelling the impression of mounting friction between Washington and its Iraqi allies". If the 'friction' is gone, does that leave only fiction? Bronwen Maddox (Times of London) labels the whole thing "Operation Cross Fingers" -- surely a 'strategy.'
Monday night in Baghdad, a US soldier went missing and is believed to have been kidnapped. AFP reports that the US military continues searching Baghdad "with armoured vehicles and backed by helicopter gunships" but the soldier has still not been located. AP reports that the soldier has been identified as Ahmed Qusai al-Taei.
The US press had trouble locating the 2800 mark for US troops who have died in Iraq -- a milestone passed this week. (In October 2005, passing the 2000 mark was news. Possibly the press is saving their energies for the 3,000 mark?)
2809 is the current toll since the start of the illegal war with 96 for the month. Or was until the US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was injured Thursday as a result of enemy action in Diyala province. The Soldier was transported to a coalition forces medical treatment facility and later died of wounds." That brought the monthly toll to 97 and the number who have died since the start of the illegal war to 2810. October has been the deadliest month for US troops serving in Iraq this year.
a British soldier died today near Basra due to "road traffic" according to the British Ministry of Defense. This brings the total British soldiers who've died this month in Iraq to two and the total since the start of the illegal war to 120.
Among the violence reported so far today in Iraq, is the death toll in Baquba where fighting broke out Thursday.
CBS and AP report that 43 people died ("including 24 officers" -- police officers).
CBS and AP report that, in the Diyala province, a group of nine mourners returning from a funeral in Najaf were attacked with four being shot to death and the other five being injured.
BBC notes five corpses were discovered in Mosul Thursday and that the city is now under a curfew and vehicle ban. Reuters notes that number of corpses discovered in Mosul rose to 12. AFP notes that, "Thursday and overnight," eleven corpses were discovered in Baghdad.
Reuters reports the death of one woman "when two rounds slammed into the house of a Sunni Arab member of parliament, Abdul Nasir al-Janabi, in the town of Mussayab".
The woman's death comes at a time when, as
Edith M. Lederer (AP) reports, the UN's executive director of the Development Fund for Women speaks out. Noeleen Heyzer states: "What UNIFEM is seeing on the ground -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia -- is that public space for women in these situations is shrinking. Women are becoming assassination targets when they dare dfend women's right in public decision-making."
Meanwhile a new book, Decisions: My Life in Politics, takes a look at the special relationship between Bully Boy of the US and Tony Blair of England. The book's author? Gerhard Schroder, the previous chancellor of Germany.
Jess Smee (Guardian of London) writes that the book takes a look at Blair's rush to please Bully Boy, that Blair now pays for the price for his role in the illegal war, and notes that Blair had no interest in Europe -- Gerhard writes: "Quite the opposite, the country will continue to protect its role as a translantic mediator, even if that is to the cost of the European decision-making process."
In abuse news,
Anne Plummer Flaherty (AP) reports: "The Halliburton susidary that provides food, shelter and other logistics to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan exploited federal regulations to hide details on its contract performance, according to a report released Friday."
In England,
Michael Evans (Times of London) reports the latest on the seven British soldiers accused of abused prisoners in a Basra prison -- RAF soldier Scott Hughes has testified that he saw eye gouging of a prisoner and the prisoner being kicked "in the lower back". Donald Payne, one of the seven accused soldiers, has already pleaded guilty to war-crimes. In the United States, as Linda Deutsch (AP) reports, US marine John Jodka "pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in the death of" Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52-years-old, in Al-Hamdaniyah.
In music news,
Lydia Howell (Pulse of the Twin Cities) interviews singer, musician, songwriter and activist Michael Franti who says of his trip to Iraq, "I got tired of watching the news every night with generals and politicians talking about the economic costs of war WITHOUT mentioning the human crisis there. Rather than sit around frustrated, I picked up a guitar and a camera, flew to Baghdad and played music on the street." Michael Franti & Spearhead's latest CD is Yell Fire!
Finally, Bob Watada began his latest speaking tour yesterday. He is the father of
Ehren Watada who is the first commissioned US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Below are dates through Monday:

Oct 27, 7PM

Albuquerque, NM
Location: Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice202 Harvard Dr SE
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 63
Contact: Sally-Alice Thompson, 505-268-5073, 512-463-2014,

Oct 28, 1 -- 4:30PM

Houston, TX.
Sponsor: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War , Cy-Fair Democratic Club
Location: Live Oak Friends House, 1318 West 26th StreetEntertainment by Bill Passalacqua and Hank Woji, "
Sir, No Sir"

Oct 28, 6:15PM

Houston, TX
Location: Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, 1031 East 24th Street. "Celebration of Resistance"
Sponsors: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Sherry Glover,,
(H) 832-363-1741, (C) 713-929-1132
-Bob Watada, ---- David Rovics

Oct 29, 1PM
Austin, TXPM
Sponsor: Code Pink/Austin, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66
Contact: Fran Hanlon, 512-454-6572,
Peter Ravella, 512-220-1740Heidi Turpin, (C)512-565-2242,

Oct 29, 5:30PM
Austin, TX
Café Caffeine -- 206 West Mary
Sponsors: Code Pink, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Doug Zachary,, (C) 512-791-9824
Heidi Turpin, (C) 512-565-2242,
Fran Hanlon (H) 512-454-6572, ,

Oct 30

Austin High Schools

Oct 31, 7-9PM
Norman, OK
Location: Cleveland County Fairgrounds - Lobby
615 E. Robinson
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Jeri Reed, 405-307-0352, cell 405-606-9598,

A full schedule can be found at Veterans for Peace and those interested in hosting a Bob Watada speaking engagement in their area are urged to contact Doug Zachary.
More information on Watada and other war resisters can be found at
Courage to Resist.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Thursday and late starting this. Not in much mood after last night. F-ing Blogger/Blogspot went out. Elaine called me and I checked the bottom of my screen and it had a "can not connect" message so I waited for hours and nothing. Finally, I went to bed leaving the computer on and the screen with the post up so I wouldn't lose it. Leigh Ann wondered about the time on the post -- that's when I started it and around when I completed it. But it was published this morning around six a.m.

It also didn't help to read The Common Ills today. :D That's what all the talk of 'new media' should be bringing if you as me. "Bully Boy doesn't know the number of US fatalities but timid media can't tell you that" is just explosive. And I loved "Knickmeyer raised the issue (that Gen. Casey ignored)" too but let me stay on the first one. Who else is noting that Bully Boy, trying to look like he cares, can't get the figures right when he cites deaths in Iraq?

If you're going to say "93" deaths to get credit for 'caring,' you better have your damn figures right. He didn't. It was the usual 'can't be bothered' attitude from the Bully Boy. Or maybe, like his mother, his 'beautiful mind' can't be bothered.

How can that happen anyway? The people all decide to look the other way and keep their mouths shut when the figure was 91 and not 93?

Has anything changed since the illegal war started or are we all expected to cover for him and act like he's all his press once said he was?

He's a jerk and a joke and he exposed that yesterday but who was there to call him on it?

By the way, the toll's up to 97 now.

I was reading this at After Downing St.:

NEW YORK A federal judge ruled today that graphic pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released over government claims that they could damage America's image. Last year a Republican senator conceded that they contained scenes of "rape and murder" and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said they included acts that were "blatantly sadistic."
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered the release of certain pictures in a 50-page decision that said terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven they "do not need pretexts for their barbarism."
The ACLU has sought the release of 87 photographs and four videotapes taken at the prison as part of an October 2003 lawsuit demanding information on the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody and the transfer of prisoners to countries known to use torture.

It's from a thing written by Greg Mitchell that David Swanson posted. I wonder how many people realize that we never saw all of the photos? As bad as what we saw was, it wasn't the worst there was. Now that's coming out. You have to wonder how Bully Boy & Friends will try to spin this. But he's got a lot of friends, like Norah O'Donnell. This is from Media Matters'
"MSNBC's O'Donnell cherry-picked poll to suggest public divided over likely outcomes of Democratic Congress:"

On the October 26 edition of MSNBC News Live, MSNBC chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell cherry-picked a new USA Today/Gallup poll in order to baselessly suggest that the public is divided over the prospect of a Democratic Congress. O'Donnell noted that the poll showed that 82 percent of respondents believed that, if Democrats gained enough seats in the midterm elections to take control of the Congress, they would set a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq -- something, O'Donnell said, "two-thirds of people" support. O'Donnell then noted that 63 percent of respondents in the poll believed Democrats would raise taxes, adding, "[T]hree-quarters of the American people disapprove of that."
However, O'Donnell did not address the fact that a larger percentage of respondents identified increasing the minimum wage, investigating the Bush administration, and rejecting President Bush's judicial nominees as actions that a Democratic Congress would likely take than identified raising taxes. Of those potential actions, the vast majority of respondents favored an increase in the minimum wage, while respondents were split over whether they approved of "major investigations of the Bush administration" and the rejection of "most of President Bush's nominations for federal judges."
Overall, of the seven actions a majority of respondents believed a Democratic Congress would most likely take, four received strong support, two received split support, and only one -- an increase in federal taxes -- was opposed by most respondents. Therefore, by citing only the action least favored by respondents in addition to the issue of withdrawal from Iraq, O'Donnell baselessly suggested that the public has conflicting views about whether a Democratic takeover of Congress would be a good thing. O'Donnell used the cherry-picked poll results to advance the
argument that Bush and Republicans "want the message to be 'T and T' -- terrorism and taxes." She then asked Democratic strategist Michael Feldman, a former senior adviser to Vice President Al Gore, "And what about that optimism by the president? Are you guys dancing in the end zones before you've scored your touchdown?"

I read that one to C.I. over the phone and was asked, "What's this end zone dancing?" I thought, okay, I'm the sports guy, let me explain it.

Wrong. C.I. was talking about how Nora O'Donnell was parroting the Bully Boy. C.I. said it was in the dopey speech Bully Boy gave yesterday. This is from the NYT transcript:

But that's not what I see when I'm on the campaign trail. You know, we've got some people dancing in the end zone here in Washington, D.C., measuring their drapes.

Norah O'Donnell's a good little lapdoggie, she takes Bully Boy's words and uses them as if they're her own. Shes'a real piece of work and has been for years. We're lucky to have Media Matters calling her out.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, October 26, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the puppet's bark continues to resonate, the American troops toll continues to rise as October becomes the month with the highest number of US military fatalities for 2006, and John Howard, prime minister of Australia tries to spin a new excuse for Australia's continued involvement in the Iraq war.

"There are two options. One is everybody out by midnight tonight, and the second option is everybody out by midnight tomorrow. I don't think it's cutting and running, I think it's getting out,"
Seymour Hersh stated to Matthew Hays (Montreal Mirror) summarizing the realities of Iraq today.

From reality to joke, John Howard. As
Peter Hartcher (Sydney Morning Herald) observers of the coming parliament elections in Australia: "The war in Iraq, also unpopular, is another live risk for Howard. . . . beccause it is such an unpopular policy, Howard cannot win on Iraq." No, he cannot. So apparently he's going for the jokes. AAP reports: "Australian troops must stay in Iraq to maintain the country's friendship with the United States". Can someone get John Howard to a self-esteem class quickly? Somewhere a mother asks, "John Howard if everybody jumped off a cliff, would you?"

From Australian joke to American joke, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
AP reports that Rummy wants people to "just back off" on this talk of benchmarks or timelines or, probably, even stopping the violence. "Just back off!" hollers Rummy who actually did promise you a cakewalk if not rose garden. Meanwhile, Peter Pace (US Joint Chiefs of Staff chair) was reported by AFP to have stated yesterday that 'another war' would require "brute force" due to other options being "tied down in Iraq".
"Just back off!" hollers Rummy, "just back off!"

Writing of the reality on the ground in Iraq,
Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) observes: "The greatest American mistake was to turn what could have been presented as liberation into an occupation. The US effectively dissolved the Iraqi state. It has since been said by US generals -- many of whom now claim to have been opponents of the invasion all along -- that given a larger US army and a more competent occupation regime, all might still have been well. This is doubtful."

Cockburn also notes that "the Iraqi government has always been weak. For this, the US and Britain were largely responsible." Which brings us to the shock still greeting Wednesday's bark from the occupation puppet. James Hider and Tom Baldwin (Times of London) note: "Nouri al-Maliki anxious to prove he is not a US puppet, criticised a heavy-handed American raid on the Shia militia stronghold in Sadr City, made without his knowledge. He also repudiated the US assertion 24 hours earlier that his Government has 12 months to quell Iraq's nascent civil war. 'This government represents the will of the people and no one has the right to impose a timetable on it,'
he said." As
Nancy A. Yousseff (McClatchy Newspapers) noted: "U.S. officials and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are increasingly at odds over strategy and goals". As the AFP noted yesterday, "The joint force did not say whether they had captured their main target." Today Paul Holmes and Mariam Karouny (Reuters) report that the target "escaped" according to al-Maliki. The barking puppet has gotten a lot of press in the last two days. He may need to save the clippings for his scrapbook because,
Raed Jarrar and Robert Dreyfuss discussed with Amy Goodman on Monday's Democracy Now!, the puppet may be about to be replaced by the US government.

Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes that the US military death toll in Iraq has "reached the highest level in nearly two years on Thursday following the deaths of four U.S. Marines and one Navy sailor in volatile Anbar province." The US military announced: "One Sailor assigned to 3rd Naval Construction Regiment, two Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 and two Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Wednesday from injuries sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The BBC notes that Bully Boy "on Wednesday admitted being seriously concerned about the scale of American casualties." Not 'seriously concerned' enough to get the number of American fatalities correct. Some people are seriously concerned such as Diana Unger who spoke to CBS' Byron Pitts about her son David Unger: "My son died in a country that I have no idea, really, why we're even there" and, of the Bully Boy, "Unless he puts his daughters over there and he has that real fear everyday of not wanting to turn on the television, that fear that gets into your heart and your head, he can't fathom what that means."


In Tal Afar a man with an "explosive-laden belt" killed himself and left two Iraqi soldiers wounded,
Reuters reports.


BBC reports at least eight police officers were killed by "gunmen" in one attack in Baquba with 25 more wounded and 20 missing while another "attack on a checkpoint" left an additional six police officers dead and ten wounded. Reuters puts the number of missing police officers from the first attack in the previous sentence at fifty and notes that "an Arab local official" was shot dead in Mosul. Update: Reuters raised the number killed in the attack listed first in the first sentence to 28 with the wounded staying the same (25) -- no mention of any change in the figures for the missing. The fighting in Baquba is ongoing and AP notes 30 killed and 42 wounded in their most recent update. KUNA reports that Saad Shalash, a journalist and professor, and his wife (name not supplied) were shot dead in Amiriyah.


Reuters reports seven corpses ("shot and bound") were discovered in Mosul yesterday. CNN reports that ten corpses ("bullet-riddled") were discovered in Baghdad Wednesday.

On Iraqi fatalities,
CBS and AP note "more than 961 Iraqis have been killed in war-related violence this month, the highest level since The Associated Press began tracking civilian deaths in April 2005. That amounts to an average of more than 41 each day, compared with a daily average of about 27 since April 2005, as more Iraqis fall prey to sectarian death squads affiliated with militias. The AP count includes civilians, government officials and police and security forces, and is considered a minimum based on AP reporting. The actual number is likely higher, as many killings go unreported. The United Nations has said 100 Iraqis are being killed each day."

In legal news,
AP reports that John J. Jodka has entered a plea of guilty "to charges of assault and obstruction of justice in the [April] death of . . . Hashim Ibrahim Awad in the Iraq town of Hamdaniya." As CBS and AP note, Jodka's plea follows that of Melson J. Baco who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy: "The group approached a house where the insurgent was believed to be hiding, but when someone inside woke up, the Marines instead went to another home and grabbed 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad, Bacos said. The squad took Awad to a roadside hole and shot him before planting a shovel and AK-47 to make it appear he was an insurgent placing a bomb, Bacos said. He was sentenced to a year's confinement; murder and other charges were dropped."

In other legal news,
CNN reports: "Five companies, including a subsidiary of military contract giant Halliburton, billed the U.S. government a total of $62.1 million for administrative operations, which is more than twice the amount those companise spent directly on the projects in Iraq that they had been contracted for, according to a report released Monday by the Office of the Special Inspecter General for Iraq Reconstruction." Earlier, James Glanz (New York Times) reported on the same government estimate noting: "Overhead costs have consumed more than half the budget of some reconstruction projects in Iraq . . . leaving far less money than expected to provide the oil, water and electricity needed to improve the lives of Iraqis."

In peace news,
Cindy Sheehan and Medea Benjamin are among those who continue speaking out. Denny Boyles (Fresno Bee) reports that Sheehan spoke at Fresno State, Satellite Student Union, yesterday to a "near-capacity and supportive crowd for more than an hour, talking about not only the loss of her son, but what she said was the loss of rights suffered by everyone in America." Boyles quotes Sheehan: "Last summer I felt my role was to convince people that the war is a lie, based on lies. Now, I've seen polls that show most Americans believe that to be true. My job is to activiate those who disagree with Bush and get them to act for peace." Video of her speaking to press before her speech can be found here (KFSN). The day before Cindy Sheehan was speaking truth in Iowa City and O.Kay Henderson, of Radio Iowa, has an audio report here.

Medea Benjamin spoke at Ohil University yesterday. In a Q&A with The Post, Benjamin was asked about her thoughts on the importance of protesting with the interviewing noting that Benjamin was "removed from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 2004, Pres. George W. Bush's second inauguration and a Congressional speech by Iraq's Prime Minister (Nouri al-Maliki) this past July, all for anti-war protesting." Benjamin's response: When governments realize they don't have the backing of their people, they start to find a way out . . . It's both the (continued violence) on the ground in Iraq coupled with loss of support for this war that is forcing even George Bush to start looking for alternatives. Many times, for activists, it feels like we're not effective. It feels like we're being ignored or ridiculed or marginalized, which we often are by the mainstream media, but in the end it's often times the protestors who end up convincing the general public of their opinions and changing history, and I think that's what we're saying now."

". . . truth is often denied at first, then grudgingly accepted until it becomes comventional wisdom,"
Danny Schechter News Dissector notes writing about the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq (at BuzzFlash): "There is a word missing in most of the coverage of Iraq. It's a ghost-laden word that conjures up distressing memories that Washington and most of our media prefer to keep in that proverbial 'lock box,' hidden away in dusty archives and footage libraries. The word is Vietnam. Its absence was never more noticeable than in the coverage this past weekend of the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, marked in Vietnam with celebrations, but largely ignored in America where CNN led with the story of a bride who went missing when she had second thoughts. Is this denial or is it deliberate?"

In sweat shop labor news,
David Phinney (IPS) takes a look at the construction of the US Embassy in Baghdad and quotes John Owen stating, "Every U.S. labour law was broken." And in other human rights news, Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) looks at what effect the illegal war in Iraq has had on Syria: "silence public demands for democratic reformers here."

Bob Watada beging his latest speaking tour today. He is the father of
Ehren Watada who is the first commissioned US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Below are dates through Sunday:

Oct 26, 7PMPhoenix, AZ Location: TBASponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 75Contact: John Henry, 602-400-9179, 408-704-0192,

Oct 27, 7PMAlbuquerque, NMLocation: Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice202 Harvard Dr SESponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 63Contact: Sally-Alice Thompson, 505-268-5073, 512-463-2014,

Oct 28, 1 -- 4:30PMHouston, TX.Sponsor: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War , Cy-Fair Democratic ClubLocation: Live Oak Friends House, 1318 West 26th StreetEntertainment by Bill Passalacqua and Hank Woji, "
Sir, No Sir"

Oct 28, 6:15PM

Houston, TX
Location: Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, 1031 East 24th Street. "Celebration of Resistance"
Sponsors: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Sherry Glover,,(H) 832-363-1741, (C) 713-929-1132
-Bob Watada, ---- David Rovics

Oct 29, 1PM
Austin, TXPM
Sponsor: Code Pink/Austin, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66
Contact: Fran Hanlon, 512-454-6572,
Peter Ravella, 512-220-1740Heidi Turpin, (C)512-565-2242,

Oct 29, 5:30PM
Austin, TX
Café Caffeine -- 206 West Mary
Sponsors: Code Pink, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Doug Zachary,, (C) 512-791-9824Heidi Turpin, (C) 512-565-2242,
Fran Hanlon (H) 512-454-6572, ,

full schedule can be found at Veterans for Peace and those interested in hosting a Bob Watada speaking engagement in their area are urged to contact Doug Zachary. More information on Watada and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.

Two notes: Those in need of the press brieifing in Baghdad on October 24th can
click here for the US military's transcript. [The briefing was quoted in yesterday's snapshot.]
Second note, community one. Blogger/Blogspot went down yesterday. Elaine's
"Daniel Ellsberg, the Mamas and the Papas, Iraq" went up (though she did not know that until she got up this morning -- she assumed when she got the error message that the post was lost). Mike's "Iraq and Tony picks 12 of his favorite Ava & C.I. TV reviews" went up this morning -- he left the computer on all night because he couldn't save or publish and didn't want to lost his post. Rebecca wasn't able to get in (she posts later) but plans to post tonight. Ruth wasn't able to log on (and guest blog at Kat's site). She hopes to do that tonight but it's iffy. Wally's "THIS JUST IN! IRAQ RESPONDS!" and Cedric's "Iraq hollers back to the Bully Boy (humor)" also went up yesterday to round that topic out.

cindy sheehangold star families for peace
danny schechter

medea benjamin

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Iraq and Tony picks 12 of his favorite Ava & C.I. TV reviews

Hump day, hump day, get out of my way. :D Almost Friday and don't forget we get an extra hour this week. :D That's if you fall-back-and-spring-forward. If you don't live in daylight savings time, you get the same number of hours. Sucks to be you this weekend, true, but you can laugh at the rest of us this spring when we all lose 1 hour. :D

My buddy Tony made a list he wanted posted (and I think he also wanted to help me out because he knows how short I am on time). These are his twelve favorite Ava and C.I. reviews "for the 2005 season" which he lets their reviews from January 2005 through the start of the fall season in 2005 cover. With each choice he provided his favorite part.

1) "TV: Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey Reporting for Two Hours of Self-Love" -- where Ava and C.I. review the 'musical' 'special' Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty.
As the "special" continued, the entertainment casualities continued to pile up, far too many to mention. (Maybe Nightline can do a special on that?) But among the more noteable fatalities would have to be Simpson's laughable attempt to cover Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking." While stamping across the stage and sticking out her nothing to brag about ass,Simpson managed to chirp each word correctly even while never demonstrating that she had the first inkling as to what the song was actually about. It was as though you were watching a five-year-old scuffle around in Mommy's high heels.
Which is puzzling when you consider another fatality -- "God Bless America." Who knew it was an ode to orgasms?
Watching little Jessie wet her lips and tousle her mane (as a person she makes a great little pony), we were left to wonder what that or heaving bossoms had to do with either God or a country. Simpson apparently learnt the song at Our Lady of Lap Dance.

2) "TV review: Law & Order: Trial by Jury" -- the theme of that week's edition was the 60s and Ava and C.I. attempted to fit into the theme and ended up with one of their best reviews.
Making what we're sure was a brave acting choice, Amy Carlson sports cleavage often. Since the show provides no backstory for any of the characters, we invented our own.
Carlson's Kelly Gaffney (who thinks up these names?) (or were they "ripped from the phone book?") was a mousy, flat chested thing throughout high school and college. As her gift for getting into law school, her boyfriend, Lance Beverly, paid for implants. Alas, Kelly was so overjoyed at the prospect of permanently strapping on two floatation devices, she failed to check and see where Lance, a poor boy from uptown, got the money. Turns out he was dealing crack. Kelly found this out after he was arrested. She took an an oath, then and there, to clean up the streets and to wait for Lance to finish serving his term. But he got shanked in prison, probably for having the name Lance Beverly, and now she's left with only the sense of purpose and the memory of him. So every time she lifts and drops the implants, she's doing it to remember him. She must think of him constantly.
Carlson won a daytime Emmy for playing Josie on Another World in 1998. Her big moment, that no doubt cinched the win, was when Josie, four months pregnant, got shoved out a window, fell five stories, landed on a trampoline and miscarried. After that, it's no surprise Carlson's drained. Which explains her low key, some might say non-existant, characterization at present.

3) "TV Review: CSI Miami" -- Ava and C.I. take on film producer turned TV producerJerry Bruckenheimer
So he took his tired act into another medium and, possibly a little bitter over the way the whole thing worked out, he's not interested in uplifting you, he's interested in playing to your darkestthoughts about society, freedom and the state of the world.Reactionary has apparently worked for him. He's quite the success on TV. (We hear Simpson cackling from the grave, "Couldn't make it in the big league without me!") If sex scenes give you the heebie jeebies, where do you head? Why CBS of course. And it's there that he's become the Tiny Tim to the Depends-set as he tiptoes through the perceived depravity of the world today much to the amusement of arm chair victims of the cultural wars.

4) "TV Review: The Simple Life" -- Ava and C.I. check out Paris & Nicole.
"Where the hell are we?" is the last thing you hear as the opening credits end at the start of Fox's "reality" show The Simple Life. If you've missed the show, let's us put you wise, hell is apparently portable and seems to follow Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie around.
If you haven't seen the show, it stars Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie who attempt to pass themselves off as both modern day debs and humans. We're not sure which is the harder to swallow. And we swear, when we sat down to watch the show and make our notes, we had no idea that offscreen drama would put the show in the newspapers. Call it synchronicity. (But don't call it synergy!)
Actually, it's called The Simple Life 3: The Interns. And the joke here is that Paris & Nicole have to get jobs or learn skills beyond bitchiness.

5) "TV: Super Stripper or Super Chicken, we weigh in on Smallville" -- Ava and C.I. tackled the pecs and tease that is Smallville.
Remember how Lex Luther's father ended up in Clark's body and how we're not going into details. Just know it happened. This gives Tom Welling the opportunity to strut around shirtless for a bit (which seems to be the main purpose of the show). He's wearing pants and nothing else. And he primps in the mirror. Then he pulls out his waistband and sneaks a peak inside the pants to see what's Clark's packing (remember Lex Luther's father is now in Clark's body). (Has been for hours and hours but apparently Clark didn't need to piss at any point so it's news to Lex Daddy what Clark's packing.)
Looking up, Welling does a self-satisified smirk. And we're left thinking, "We are watching a show about Clark Kent, right?" Size queens and shirtless scenes, oh my.
Then it's time to make a phone call to allow for more shirtless time. Lot of flexing of the arms. Then Annette O'Toole enters as Martha.
And the writers apparently didn't think that mother Martha would notice that it wasn't Clark. Oh sure, he seems a little different. Martha even asks if he's going out since he's all dressed up.
At that point we fell to ground laughing, folks. Why? Well other than the slacks, Clark's not wearing anything. All dressed to go out? What is he, Super Stripper?

6) "TV Review OC: The arm pit of body wash operettas" -- Ava and C.I. coined "body wash operettas" for the teen 'dramas' that don't have enough pathos to qualify as 'soap opera.'
Possibly to hide from the audience the fact that, although playing "high schooler" Ryan, he's basically three years from thirty, McKenzie cultivates an interesting look. We're seeing it as a hommage to Velma from Scooby Doo. Though we've heard the endless Mary Ann and Ginger debates, we kind of thought the verdict of who the hottie was on Scooby Doo had been long ago settled? Always ready to fight a losing battle, which is so in keeping with the lead character of this show, McKenzie builds the case for Velma as "stylish" with his hommage to her haircut. (We're hoping a future "dramatic twist" involves Ryan getting glasses so he can really nail the look!)
But even something like stealing a simple haicut gets overdone on this show: it's so fussed over that it negates the simplicity of the hair cut. All the Bed Head products in the world will not allow the bangs to retain their careful curl (we're guessing a steam curling wand) in the California heat and still look so beauty parlor fresh. It's kind of like the tousled, pixie haircut we saw on TV this week. The one that caused us to note, "Patty Duke looks really good these days! And the hair, it's like she's saluting Twiggy or early Golide Hawn." Then as Patty moved down a street singing, words came up on the screen and we discovered we were watching not Patty, but a kid named Jesse McCartney. For a Patty Duke, he looks really good.
He is so The OC. An underdeveloped boy lusting after women. The Cookies told us "Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys Do" and goodness if this show didn't take the message to heart. Which explains Adam Brody who looks like a regular kid. We could note, of course, that TV offers many regular kids who are male. Females who go above size three are the ones rendered invisible.

7) "TV Review: Reba" -- Ava and C.I. take on the laugh-free zone populated by Bully Boy supporter Reba McEntire.
That a professional singer could deliver her lines in the same pattern with the same emphasis makes us seriously question how talented Reba McEntire is as a singer? She's like a teacher on the Peanuts cartoons but enuciating a little more clearly.
It doesn't matter what the line is, she's saying it her usual bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah. And you can't miss the sneak to the audience that seems to say, "Ain't I funny! Don't I tickle you!"
It's as though The Brady Bunch's Susan Olson's body grew but not her mind or her talent.

8) "TV Review: Peter Jennings Reporter leaves a bad taste" -- Ava and C.I. take on the supposed look at Peter Jennings' reporting that played like a Lifetime Intimate Portrait:
Remember how viewers were left hanging as to whom Fox was speaking of that silenced him? Well now it's time for Jennings' report on little league baseball and child abuse. The clips highlighted in the montage, 3 minutes and 31 seconds, focus on a father, Chris, and a son, Jeremy. Their last name isn't provided in this special (it was in the original reporting that Jennings did). We see Chris threaten his son and we're told about abuse (Jennings confronts Chris on camera about his threats and Chris admits he beats his son). What does that segment call for?
If Jennings were around, from what all said on camera, we think it would call for an update. That was some time ago, the baseball special. But we're not given an update because not only do viewers not get to savor Jennings' reporting, they aren't treated to any real reporting from this special. (For the record, Jeremy just completed a season playing baseball for Hagerstown Community College and Chris has a listed phone number. We're having a hard time believing ABC News couldn't track down what we did and actually get one of them on camera for some sort of update.)
We think even the most optimistic viewer must have given up any hope of a "tribute" that honored what Jennings stood for (we're told constantly what he stood for -- interest in the world and in covering the news). Apparently no one left at ABC News is too concerned with what interested Jennings.

9) "TV Review: Dateline New York ... Warm Fuzzy" -- Ava and C.I. put you wise to the "news" program Dateline.
Ever wonder why the compartive nobody Brian Williams was picked over Stone Phillips to sit in the anchor chair at Nightly News? We can't be sure but we think it might have to do with the fact that Williams, unlike Phillips, isn't prone to wearing bulky sweaters, with busy patterns, on camera which make him look like Angela Landsbury gearing up for Murder She Wrote: The Reunion!
Maybe they thought it would make him come off like the Mr. Rogers of the news crowd? The show wants nothing more than to give you a case of the warm fuzzies.
Phillips still posseses the best (and sharpest) set of cheek bones of anyone in the "news" set on TV (eat your heart out, Diane Sawyer) but his work on Dateline is all "soft focus." Fuzzy little bits of footage with Phillips doing the Oprah glum-nod, the Oprah dazzling-smile while the voice overs soak every moment in total cheese.
Dateline's a strange sort of "news" program. It's as though, in topic choice and delivery, you're at the kitchen table, sharing a cup of coffee with Ethel Mertz who's catching you up on the goings on in the building.

10) "TV Review: Body Washing the Stump: One Tree Hill" -- Ava and C.I. explain the appeal of 'boy' stars.
It's also a tradition that these "boy" stars aren't really all that good looking. They're, if they are lucky, in a cute phase. It's always a brief one. And chunky waists and male pattern baldness linger just around the corner, but for their moment in time, millions of adolescents (of both genders) think they're "hot." They get all excited over a Jack Wild (H.R. Pufnstuf) one moment and a Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) the next. Remember, Leonardo DiCaprio was "too hot" to become a TV star. Kirk Cameron was Mr. Big Star. Then the shine faded and Cameron's "left behind" while Leo goes on to become the biggest male movie star of the 90s.
That's how it works because, on some level, even the fans don't think the "boys" are sexy. What they are is "safe." And when they're on a "safe" show like One Tree Hill that thinks the height of daring is a card saying a woman must kiss someone in the room (remember, these are high school students), they're beyond "safe" -- they're wearing gold plated chastity belts. The little doggies are down there, kiddies, but don't worry, they're kept on a short leash. Translation, like Ken dolls, they have no life below the belt.
So the kids are left to create fantasies. "Oh, I bet Lucas smells fresh and minty! Like a toothpaste! Imagine if I was walking on a beach holding hands with him!" "Oh, Nathan, is so sweet, I bet his arm pits never stink! We could be so happy together in our non-perspiring, kiss on the cheek world!" With such an active fantasy life, it's no surprise that the same viewers can convince themselves that either Lafferty or Chad Michael Murray can act.

11) "TV Review: Make Room for Bully" -- Ava and C.I. take on Bully Boy's televised press conference in July of 2005.
After two weeks of body wash operettas, it was like a spray of Axe on our skins to watch something where thirty-year-olds didn't pretend to be high schoolers. And we were so excited to discover that Tuesday night would feature a brave programming choice in a nation grown timid -- Make Room for Bully!
That's what we dubbed it because, honestly, we must have missed the opening credits. Our apologies to our loyal readers for that but, believe us, no one regrets that more than we do. We've tried to imagine the theme song that played over those opening credits:
He's screwed up Afghanistan
Turned Iraq into the killing land
Make Room for Bully
Make Room for Bully
Bully Boy is on his way.
We pictured that theme playing while he wonders around the oval office, shaking hands, flipping the bird and choking on pretzels. We especially liked the choking on the pretzel because it would be kind of like when Dick Van Dyke would trip during the opening credits of The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Tuesday was innovative television like we haven't seen since Julia Louis Dreyfuss tried to do her show in real time. Make Room for Bully appeared to run in real time as well. And no laugh track! It takes a brave spirit to put on a sitcom without the canned laughter. You're never sure if the folks watching at home will get it if you don't have laughs-a-plenty blasting through their speakers.

12) "TV Review: Veronica Mars is from Mars" -- Ava and C.I. tackle Mornic Mars.
Feel for Kristen Bell. Really feel for her. She's twenty-five and stuck playing a headstrong and plucky high schooler. On TV -- which means her character, Veronica Mars, is a real drip. As if a 25 year-old trying to portray Shirley Temple sans curls isn't difficult enough, it gets worse, oh does it get worse. Sexual tensions flies all around Veronica, but none of it is aimed at her. She's like a straight woman hoping for a hook up at a Cher concert.
Veronica Mars, for those who've missed it, airs on UPN although Friday night an episode we like to call the "Knock Down That Closet Door, Mary!" aired on CBS. Since this is no Joan of Arcadia, you can forgive viewers who were caught unaware and left to wonder if same-sex flirting is the new machismo for the young male set?
Like a less disrobed version of Oz, Friday night was all about the boys. The episode offers a poker game before the main titles which allows the fellows to get to know each other. Weevil catches your attention early on. (No, we're not making that name up.) Played by a 22 year-old Francis Capra, all we can say is he's a long, long way from his great-grandfather's It's a Wonderful Life. Right away, Weevil sets the tone telling a cigar sucking Logan, (23 year-old Jason Dohring) "You look pretty comfortable with that thing in your mouth."
We're imagining the usually staid CBS Friday night viewers asking one another, "Honey, did I hear that right?" Yes, you did. And hold onto the bran, there's more coming. Banter, the type one may be more used to coming from the mouths of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, gets tossed around quicker than the cards in said poker game. The climax to the scene, or maybe just more intense foreplay, is Weevil winning only to find that the five thousand dollars is gone. He's starts making noises about turning the other boys upside down ("and inside out?").
Weevil's supposed to be bad ass. He works hard to establish that point and possibly he could frighten a few on Rodeo Drive -- which must be the "street" he hails from. Here's a tip for Weevil, a pout is not a sneer no matter how many times you utilize it.
So this "bad ass" has just learned he's out five thousand dollars. Thinking things are about to get nasty? Maybe, but not in any traditional way that the CBS viewers are used to. No fista-cuffs, no blood shed. But clothing, that gets shed.
Weevil insists that the four boys strip. And naturally, none of them have any objection to that because Straight Outta Malibu might get all . . . what exactly? on their asses.The camera's on their asses. Or on two of their boxer clad asses -- Logan's and Duncan's (Teddy Dunn, age officially unknown but we're told he's 24) . The camera really lingers on the cheeks before pulling back to note all four boys standing in boxers (apparently they phoned one another that morning in a "Boxer or briefs?" conference call) while Weevil pouts at them, making noises about how he will get his money out of them one way or another, and Sean (Kevin Sheridan, 23 years old) moans, "This is the worst game of strip poker ever!"
Before you get your hopes up (or other things) calm down and remember it's not HBO, it's broadcast TV.
But don't get too disappointed, all that's happened before the credits will be relived repeatedly in flashback as various boys get to retell their version of Chippindales Poker.

I can think of some more I would've picked for my own 12 but I think Tony made some good choices. If you haven't read them before, you're probably laughing your butt off right now. If you like to laugh, you're probably laughing even if you have already read them. (I am.) Their TV reviews are the most popular feature every week at The Third Estate Sunday Review.

The basic story is this -- C.I. was with them for the first edition and worked on every edition since then. But that wasn't planned. Jim wanted a TV thing for the first edition. C.I. wasn't even watching. They did a review together, Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I. and continued that for the first few weeks but the stuff that was making it in was Ava and C.I.'s stuff. The stuffy in the reviews people were writing in about and talking to them about were Ava and C.I.'s comments. More and more, after the first week, it was Ava and C.I.'s review. Ava (Jim's written about this) was feeling tired of having to fight for her point of view and C.I. was backing her up. So it was becoming Ava and C.I.'s thing and then it was their thing. Then Jim noticed, from e-mails, that the readers were really going crazy for what Ava and C.I. were doing. (They offer "a" feminist critique -- they always say not "the.") So a few weeks (Jim thinks it was four) after the site started, they started noting the reviews were just Ava and C.I.'s writing.

They really go for the collaborative writing there and had intended for that to be true for everything but there was no denying that the reviews were all Ava and C.I. They missed one week when they did a review/response to a film criticism. They made up for that the following week with two reviews. They've done about 90 reviews now.

I hope you liked Tony's list. It was a pain to type up. :D And to get the links. But I think it was a nice way to get over hump day.

Now we can get all serious and talk about war profiting. I really recommend everyone see the movie Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers which is on DVD and that you share it with your friends. This is a really important documentary about who is getting rich off the war. There's a guy in it who talks about how there were living things (parasites) in the water they were furnishing the soldiers with to bathe and shower in. There's another scene about how the company that got the contract for the laundry services actually returned all the clothes dirtier than when they went out over and over. And a soldier talks about how he tried to wash his own clothes in the sink to get them clean and got in trouble for it. Nobody needed to do a good job, none of the contractors winning bids, they just needed to turn in their overpriced bills.

This is a highlight on that sort of thing, Heather Wokusch's "How the Bush Family Makes a Killing from George's Presidency:"

Halliburton scored almost $1.2 billion in revenue from contracts related to Iraq in the third quarter of 2006, leading one analyst to comment: "Iraq was better than expected ... Overall, there is nothing really to question or be skeptical about.
I think the results are very good."
Very good indeed. An estimated 655,000 dead Iraqis, over 3,000 dead coalition troops, billions stolen from Iraq's coffers, a country battered by civil war - but Halliburton turned a profit, so the results are very good.
Very good certainly for Vice President Dick Cheney, who resigned from Halliburton in 2000 with a $33.7 million retirement package (not bad for roughly four years of work). In a stunning conflict of interest, Cheney still holds more than 400,000 stock options in the company. Why pursue diplomacy when you can rake in a personal fortune from war?
Yet Cheney isn't the only one who has benefited from the Bush administration's destructive policies. The Bush family has done quite nicely too. Just a few examples:
Bush Sr.: Bush's dad has strong connections to the Carlyle Group, a massive private equity investment firm whose Chairman Emeritus is Frank Carlucci, a former college roommate of Donald Rumsfeld's and former Defense Secretary under Ronald Reagan. Imagine the pull Carlucci has with today's White House.
But Carlucci has another secret weapon - Bush Sr. Amid conflict-of-interest allegations, the elder Bush resigned from the Carlyle Group in 2003, but reportedly remains on retainer, opening doors to lucrative profits in the Middle East and elsewhere. Bush Sr.'s specialty is Saudi Arabia; in fact, he was at a Carlyle investment conference with Osama bin Laden's estranged brother, Shafiq bin Laden, when the 9/11 attacks took place.
Carlyle specializes in military and security investments, and with Bush Jr. in office, the company's profits have soared; it received $677 million in contracts in 2002, then a whopping $2.1 billion in 2003. Carlyle's investors currently enjoy an equity capital pool of over 44 billion dollars.
In January 2006, Bush Sr. wrote China's Foreign Affairs Ministry that it would be "beneficial to the comprehensive development of Sino-US relations" if Beijing approved the sale of a Chinese bank to a consortium which included Carlyle. Bluntly put,
Bush Sr. asked China to grant Carlyle a lucrative business deal or risk his son's wrath. Foreign policy at its finest.
William H. T. "Bucky" Bush: George's "Uncle Bucky" joined the board of military contractor Engineered Support Systems Inc. (ESSI) in 2000 and perhaps not surprisingly, the value of the company's governmental contracts has strongly increased with Bush Jr. in office. Uncle Bucky earns monthly consulting fees as well as options to buy stock at favorable prices, and considering that ESSI's stock tripled two weeks after 9/11 then settled into comfy territory, it's safe to say that George's uncle is doing quite well. In fact, Bucky cashed out on 8,438 stock options in January 2005, earning himself a cool $450,000 in the process. As of 2005, he still owned options on 45,000 more shares of the company's stock and accrues more each year.
War is profitable for ESSI, or as an executive explained: "The increasing likelihood for a
prolonged military involvement in Southwest Asia by U.S. forces well into 2006 has created a fertile environment for the type of support ... products and services that we offer."

Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. C.I. was speaking today and told me I'd get the link in a phone call but I don't need a link. That's to a press conference C.I.'s quoting from.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, October 25, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Bully Boy expresses disappointment with Iraq -- forgetting he's responsible -- and also reveals he can't count, the puppet of the occupation snarls, Appeal for Redress is up an running and what did George Casey say?
Starting with peace news. As
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reports, Appeal for Redress is up and running: "More than 100 U.S. service members have signed a rare appeal urging Congress to support the 'prompt withdrawal' of all American troops and bases from Iraq" and that the action's goal is to gather 2,000 signatures to the appeal before presenting it to Congress. Drew Brown (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the target date for delivery to Congress is MLK Day (Monday, January 15, 2007). [Readers of the New York Times who are wondering where this in their paper, it's right there on page A13, a whopping one paragraph -- from AP -- in National Briefing.]
Appeal for Redress:

An Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq
Many active duty, reserve, and guard service members are concerned about the war in Iraq and support the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation. The Appeal messages will be delivered to members of Congress at the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2007.
The wording of the Appeal for Redress is short and simple. It is patriotic and respectful in tone.
As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.
If you agree with this message,
click here.
The Appeal for Redress is sponsored by active duty service members based in the Norfolk area and by a sponsoring committee of veterans and military family members. The Sponsoring committee consists of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and Military Families Speak Out.
Members of the military have a legal right to communicate with their member of Congress. To learn more about the rights and restrictions that apply to service members
click here.
Attorneys and counselors experienced in military law are available to help service members who need assistance in countering any attempts to suppress this communication with members of Congress.
Several members of Congress have expressed interest in receiving the Appeal for Redress.
Click here to send the Appeal to your elected representatives.

Ehren Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, is quoted by Drew Brown: "The kinds of resistance and opposition and outrage that military people are now beginning to express has been simmering for quite a while. But it's about to just burst out in huge waves." Ehren Watada is the first commissioned US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. His father, Bob Watada, is beginning his third speaking tour to raise awareness of his son's case [an Article 32 hearing recommended court-martial, no decision has yet been annouced]. This speaking tour will last from October 26 through November 17th. Below are dates through Sunday:

Oct 26, 7PM
Phoenix, AZ Location: TBA
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 75
Contact: John Henry, 602-400-9179, 408-704-0192,

Oct 27, 7PM
Albuquerque, NM
Location: Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
202 Harvard Dr SE
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 63
Contact: Sally-Alice Thompson, 505-268-5073, 512-463-2014,

Oct 28, 1 -- 4:30PM
Houston, TX.
Sponsor: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War , Cy-Fair Democratic Club
Location: Live Oak Friends House, 1318 West 26th Street
Entertainment by Bill Passalacqua and Hank Woji, "
Sir, No Sir"

Oct 28, 6:15PM
Houston, TX
Location: Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, 1031 East 24th Street. "Celebration of Resistance"
Sponsors: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Sherry Glover,,
(H) 832-363-1741,
(C) 713-929-1132
-Bob Watada, ---- David Rovics

Oct 29, 1PM
Austin, TXPM
Sponsor: Code Pink/Austin, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66
Contact: Fran Hanlon, 512-454-6572,
Peter Ravella, 512-220-1740
Heidi Turpin, (C)512-565-2242,

Oct 29, 5:30PM
Austin, TX
Café Caffeine -- 206 West Mary
Sponsors: Code Pink, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Doug Zachary,,
(C) 512-791-9824Heidi Turpin,
(C) 512-565-2242,
Fran Hanlon (H) 512-454-6572, ,

full schedule can be found at Veterans for Peace and those interested in hosting a Bob Watada speaking engagement in their area are urged to contact Doug Zachary.
As Seitz (Ehren Watada's attorney) noted, this is a resistance that is growing. Those caught by surprise or needing more historical information should refer to David Zieger's documentary
Sir! No Sir! which captures the resistance within the military during Vietnam. Today, the list includes Watada, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Mark Wilkerson, Carl Webb, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Robin Long, Katherine Jashinski, Agustin Aguayo, Ivan Brobeck, Ryan Johnson, Clifford Cornell, and many more. Information on US war resisters in Canada can be found at War Resisters Support Campaign and information on war resisters who have gone public can be found at Courage to Resist.
Resistance within the military is only one wave of today's peace movement. Continuing to speak out, Cindy Sheehan was at the University of Iowa yesterday.
Matt Nelson (The Daily Iowan) reports that Sheehan spoke on the difference one person can make and stated: "People asked why I haven't gone away; my 15 minutes are up. I'm doing this to bring the troops home, and they're not home yet. And when they come home, I'm still not going away." Hieu Pham (Iowa City-Press Citizen) reports Sheehan reflected on the time since the first Camp Casey (August 2005), "I've seen a huge change since we started this last August . . . People have been more courageous and demonstrative". Which is true, even if takes desk jockey gas bags awhile to notice the huge shift going on. Diane Heldt (The Gazette) notes that Sheehan "was interrupted with applause several times during her speech and got a standing ovation at the end."
Another example of today's peace movement is protests and demonstrations.
Amy Kingsley (YES! Weekly) reports on protests in Greensboro, NC when Bully Boy came to town. The second protest drew an estimated 75 people who were prevented from marching with the claim that the area was a "secure zone." Along with preventing the march, Kingsley reports, a protest who lived in the area was prevented to enter by police "even as his neighbors moved about unencumbered by legal restrictions. The disparate treatment of protesters and other community members contradicsts Secret Service procedure."
If the whole thing reminds you of Steve Howard and John Blair, you're not alone. If you're asking who, click here for
Bill Johnson's article.
From tales of bullying to the Bully Boy himself, today he held a press conference in an attempt to take control of the topic of the war. Speaking of the war, Bully Boy declared, "
I'm not satisfied either." Nor is the world. In their partial transcript, CNN notes that Bully Boy stated: "This month we've lost 93 service members in Iraq; the most since October of 2005." Thus far, and true when the Bully Boy spoke, the US military has announced no troop deaths today. Iraq Coalition Casualities list 91 as US troops who have died thus far this month and notes: "Latest Military Fatality Date: Oct. 24, 2006." In yesterday's Washington Post, Ellen Knickmeyer noted the official count was 87. Yesterday, AFP also listed the count at 87. This morning, a sidebar to Nancy A. Youssef's article (McClatchy Newspapers via Detroit Free Press) noted: "The U.S. military said Tuesday that four more U.S. troops had died raising the month's toll to 91." Can Bully Boy count?
Those thinking he was counting 'coalition' troops should note that
one British soldier has died this month and two classified as "other." That would be 94, not 93.
What we're left with is the usual bumbling from the Bully Boy who knows he has to say something about Iraq and the fatalities but doesn't even care enough (or maybe his preppers don't) to get the figures correct.
"I care," the Bully Boy was attempting to say, "I care about all 93 troops that have died this month." The fact that he couldn't even get the figure correct once again calls his supposed sincerity and compassion into question.
On the count since the start of the illegal war,
CNN was the first news organization to call the 2800 mark and now AP tries to play catch up but does so as an aside -- third paragraph: "The military Tuesday announced the deaths of two more U.S. Marines, a sailor and a soldier. Since the start of the war, more than 2,800 U.S. service members have died in Iraq." Iraq Coalition Casualties puts the toll at 2804. The 2800 mark was passed and with very little attention. Possibly, anyone in the mainstream news brave enough to point out that Bully Boy couldn't even get the fatalities for the month correct could also note the passing of 2800?
The speech itself? Not worthy of much comment. The usual bubble-view from Bully Boy. Here are two sentences in a row, that anyone hearing them may wonder: "
We did not expect the Iraqi army, including the Republican Guard, to melt away in the way that it did in the face of advancing coalition forces. Despite these early setbacks, some very important progress was made in the midst of an incredibly violent period."
Did you catch it?
Bully Boy calls one of the setbacks the fact that Iraqis and Americans did not die in confrontations due to the fact that "the Iraqi army, including the Republican Guard" melted "away . . . in the face of advancing coalition forces." If the attempt at a feel-good speech fools anyone, they have only themselves to blame. Watch to see which domestic (US) outlets look the other way to make it look as though anything the Bully Boy said was worth hearing.
Sam Knight (Times of London) notes that Bully Boy billed his speech "an explanation to the American people" -- the people are going to need an explanation to explain today's explanation.
Today's reported violence includes,
according to Reuters, four corpses discovered in Mahmudiya ("bound and gagged"), a police officer shot (wounded) in Diwaniya where four people were also wounded when a grenade was tossed into their home, a car bomb in Husayba killed two and injured two more, three Iraqi soldiers were killed by a bomb in Tal Afar (three more wounded) while a roadside bomb in Baghdad wounded two police officers. An earlier report by Reuters also noted two police officers killed by a car bomb in Baquba and a mortar round in Yusufiya that killed at least one person and wounded three more.
The main focus on violence today is on a pre-dawn raid by the US military. The
US military described it thusly: "Special Iraqi Army forces, supported by Coalition advisors, conducted a raid authorized by the Government of Iraq Oct. 25 in Sadr City, Baghdad to capture a top illegal armed group commander directing widespread death-squad activity throughout eastern Baghdad. During the raid, Iraqi Army froces came under fire and had to defend themselves. They requested support from Coalition aircraft which used precision gunfire only to eliminate the enemy threat."
Nearly every word in the statement is under question. "Authorized by the government of Iraq"?
Al Jazeera reports that puppet of the occupation (and the official commander-in-chief of the Iraqi army) Nouri al-Maliki held a press conference today to say that the raid came without his approval. AP reports that "al-Maliki disavowed the operation, saying he had not been consulted and insisiting 'that it will not be repeated'." CBS and AP note that "Al-Maliki, who is commander in chief of Iraq's army, heatedly denied he knew anything about the raid and would make sure it didn't happen again." In fact, every major news outlets notes that al-Maliki states he was not consulted. [In fact, the Washington Post's Ellen Knickmeyer noted in yesterday's press conference held by Khalilzad and Casey, "General Casey has repeatedly said resolving the milita issue will take a military and political approach. But Prime Minister Maliki has made clear that he doesn't want any kind of U.S. military action against the militias. He said that specificially, and he's blocked you from entering Sadr City." Note, this was stated before the pre-dawn raid took place.] John Ward Anderson (Washington Post) notes that the Sadr City section of Baghdad is home to "2.5 million residents". Another key point is that the Iraqi military was on the ground and calling in air strikes which, on the face of it, seems unlikely. All the more so when the BBC reports: "But Iraqi police said the US troops shot at them while they were trying to take people injured in the raid to hospital." From helicopters? Doubtful.
In terms of the dead and injured,
CBS' Lara Logan notes "at least five people were killed and 18 injured." Looking at the confusion and noting one of Bully Boy's talking points today was: "we're winning and we will win," those who remembered many attempts to control the news (the Jessica Lynch story, US forces pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussein . . .), it's reasonable to wonder if the hope hadn't been a glorified photo-op that would allow Bully Boy to boast in today's speech? If it were an attempt to deliver another wave of Operation Happy Talk, "wipeout" -- AFP notes: "The joint force did not say whether they had captured their main target."
In terms of other fallout, al-Maliki, as
Reuters reports, had been all candy canes and moon pies prior to the raid but noted today that, despite US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and US general George Casey's claims, he (al-Maliki) did not agree to any "timelines" or "timetable." al-Maliki's not the only one disowning yesterday's statements. As John F. Burns (New York Times) and other rightly reported, yesterday Casey's comments indicated "that he might call for an increase in American troop levels in Baghdad". As usual, when reality frightens the public, it's time to eat the words. So today George Casey is chewing. As John Ward Anderson (Washington Post) reports, Casey issued a statement today "clarifying that he had not asked for more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq. The statement said that news reports of Casey's comments at the joint press conference with Khalilzad on Tuesday 'inferred' that Casey said more troops might be needed to quell violence in Iraq. 'Quite frankly, that is the wrong impression,' the statement said."
The wrong impression? From Wednesday's press conference (dictacted -- I'll hunt down a link for it and add it to this later today):

John F. Burns: John Burns, New York Times. This one's for General Casey. We heard last week from Genereal Caldwell about the need to refocus and adapt the Baghdad Security Plan, and there's been much discussion as to what that would mean. Can you address the question of troop levels and whether additional troop levels, if necessary, would be American, whether those are Iraqi? And if American, would that involve holdovers for some of the units now in the country? And could you go on from that to discuss the question of your timeline for the drawdown of American troops and how that will be affected by the adjustments you make in Baghdad?
George Casey: Well, welcome back, John.
John F. Burns: Just the question you wanted.
George Casey: Just one question, all right? The Baghdad Security Plan -- we are already -- I mean, we continuously adapt. We review this weekly. General Chiarelli and General Thurman, who are conducting the tactical operations with me . . . than that -- and we already have taken adjustments inside that to react to what the enemy's doing and to put us in a position to deal with things that we think they're going to do. I'm not going to get into specifics of what we're going to do with the Baghdad Security Plan, because I don't necessarily want to tell . . . what we're getting ready to do here with the enemy. That said, I think you can expect us to continue to hold onto the focus areas with the Iraqi security forces and to follow through on what we're trying to do here on the build phase, to put -- to help with the basic -- improve basic services for the population of Baghdad. Now, do we need more troops to do that? Maybe. And as I've said all along, if we do, I will ask for the troops I need, both coalition and Iraqi. But I think it's important for all of us to understand right now that we're not going to have total security here in Baghdad until the major political issues that are dividing the country are resolved. And the political leaders understand that, and they are wrestling with that part of it. But as with the militia issue, all of this -- what we're doing here takes an integrated, political and military effort to achieve decisive results, and that's what we're working with the Iraqis to do. I don't know if I got them all, John, but that's as close as I can get.
John F. Burns: A timeline for American --
George Casey: A timeline -- I think -- you know, I said a year or so ago that if the conditions on the ground continued the way they were going that I thought we'd have fairly substantial reductions in coalition forces. We began that reduction in December of last year with the off-ramp of two brigades. We were proceeding along that line until really the end of June, early July when it became apparent that, as I said, the Iraqi security forces were about halfway through a three-year, three-step process, that they weren't going to be able to make -- have the impact on the security situation in Baghdad that was needed to give this new government some breathing room. And so I reversed what I was doing, and we've committed these forces here, and they've had a very decisive impact on what's going on here in Baghdad So I still very strongly believe that we need to continue to reduce our forces as the Iraqis continue to improve, because we need to get out of their way. The Iraqis are getting better. Their leaders are feeling more responsible for the security in Iraq, and they want to take the reins, and I think we need to do that. But I can't tell you right now until we get through Ramadan here and the rest of this when that might be.

We'll note one more thing from that conference Tuesday:

Lara Logan: Lara Logan, CBS News. Ambassador Khalilzad, if I can ask you, please, has Muqtada al-Sadr actually agreed to any of the plans that you've outlined here? Has there been any direct contact between him and U.S. representatives? Because him and all of his ministers who control key ministries, like the Ministry of Health, say that they refuse still to have any direct contact with the U.S. And if that is the case, then how are we expected to believe that they will support this plan in any way? And to General Casey, can I ask you, please, can we have an honest assessment of the Iraqi security forces? Because when we're on the ground with your commanders, they tell us that when they try and order up an operation and ask for the Iraqi battalion or the Iraqi brigade, they're lucky if they get 40, 50 percent of the guys who are actually there. They have soldiers and policemen who are coming in collecting their pay checks and not showing up. The special inspector general of Iraq says there is no mechanism in place, and hasn't been for three years, to determine what forces show up, what don't, what the levels of attrition are, who is actually operationally capable. So the numbers really are a lie, and we want the truth, and your soldiers on the ground want the truth out there.

The response? Casey pouted: "The numbers aren't a lie". Khalilzad? Double-talk.