Monday, April 30, 2007

Terrorists/Insurgents Get Rather Shakespearian

It's hard out there for a judge:

Threats to judges and lawyers have escalated over the past 14 months in Iraq, in line with a general escalation in sectarian violence after the bombing of a Shia shrine in February 2006.

Hundreds of legal workers have left the country because of threats and persecution. This is delaying judicial processes and denying thousands of people their legal rights.

According to the Iraqi Lawyers Association (ILA), at least 210 lawyers and judges have been killed since the US-led invasion in 2003, in addition to dozens injured in attacks against them.

“Cases of adultery, honour killings, claims on property, children’s custody and divorces have led to the deaths of many Iraqi lawyers as differences of sects and their religious laws make up a big part of the prosecution or defence,” Safa’a Farouk, a lawyer and spokesman for the ILA, said.


Now, exactly whose job is it to protect these professionals?

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Finally; Some NBA Guys Agree With Me!

Remember when I said that the Heat was old and slow, and that the Lakers were young and sloppy?

Well, here's Wilbon:

A year ago they were resourceful and poised, veterans who were the epitome of old-school basketball -- even their young flash, Dwyane Wade. For the final eight days of this season, neither the spirit nor the flesh was willing and the defending champion Miami Heat simply looked old.

The Heat couldn't guard the Chicago Bulls, couldn't score on them, wasn't as strong or as swift. Miami coaches and players kept talking about playing harder and with more energy because it's easier to say that than face the notion that the challenger is simply better. Truth is, the challengers not only were more athletic and energetic, but more skillful, too. The result, shockingly, was a mismatch, a four-game sweep that eliminated the Heat in the first round.


And here's Charley Rosen:

The Lakers lacked the manpower, the maturity and the overall talent to sustain the necessary balance between intensity and precision. The Suns, on the other hand, not only live, but thrive on the cutting edge of this razor-sharp balance. And they do so because of the constituency of their roster — and because of the special genius of Steve Nash.


No doubt some intrepid staffers for Wilbon and Rosen read my post, and decided that these two fine writers need to endorse my assessment. Or they don't even know who I am and it all one big coincidence, but I like my explanation better. :)

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Judgement Day for Some Wizards

Despite what Gilbert Arenas believes, some of his teammates may have to go. Despite what Ernie Grunfeld thinks, these games do count in the evaluation process, regardless of Gilbert's or Caron Butler's status. Why? Because you don't want Gilbert, Caron and/or Antwan Jamison playing with incompatible teammates.

So today will let us know. I'm sure people are saying, "But Antwan's alone! He can't do it by himself!" Well, so is Kobe. His team managed to get one win. But wait: "The Magic got swept, and they're no more talented than the Wizards, right?" Well, what about the Heat? They've been kicking the Wizard's butts for the past two years, and they got beat by virtually the same Bulls team the Wizards beat two years ago. Bottom line, every playoff team has the opportunity to get one win.

If the Wizards cannot muster one win, at home, then changes must be considered. But let's not forget there's a hierarchy here: players who are untouchable, players who should stay, players who are on the bubble, players who are 50/50 (no real difference whether they stay or go), and anchors.

Before tonight's game, let go over who's who:

UNTOUCHABLES
Gilbert Arenas
Antwan Jamison
Caron Butler

LEASE W/THE OPTION TO BUY
Antonio Daniels
Darius Songaila
Michael Ruffin
Andre Blatche


BUBBLE PLAYERS
DeShawn Stevenson
Jarvis Hayes
Etan Thomas

50/50 PLAYERS
Donell Taylor
Mike Hall
Roger Mason
Calvin Booth

ANCHORS
Brendan Haywood

After the game, I'll begin to delve into why I put each player in each category.

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Ann Coulter's Job is Safe.

It's time to take Michelle Malkin to the "Happy Hotel."

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Media Cover-Up

It seems that news anchors like Brian Williams are having the HD process undone to stay young (and people are taking notice). (HT: TMZ)

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

That's The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Via the NYT:

In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance,
apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.


The United States has previously admitted, sometimes under pressure from federal inspectors, that some of its reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But this is the first time inspectors have found that projects officially declared a success — in some cases, as little as six months before the latest inspections — were no longer working properly.

The inspections ranged geographically from northern to southern Iraq and covered projects as varied as a maternity hospital, barracks for an Iraqi special forces unit and a power station for Baghdad International Airport.

In other words, the "happy stories" the Administration tried to push, the tales the President's supporters said the American Public weren't hearing, aren't the rosy pictures they were made to be. Ipso-facto: another lie and another example of half-assed governing.

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Turned Away

From the WashPost:

As the winds and water of Hurricane Katrina were receding, presidential confidante Karen Hughes sent a cable from her State Department office to U.S. ambassadors worldwide.

Titled "Echo-Chamber Message" -- a public relations term for talking points designed to be repeated again and again -- the Sept. 7, 2005, directive was unmistakable: Assure the scores of countries that had pledged or donated aid at the height of the disaster that their largesse had provided Americans "practical help and moral support" and "highlight the concrete benefits hurricane victims are receiving."

Many of the U.S. diplomats who received the message, however, were beginning to witness a more embarrassing reality. They knew the U.S. government was turning down many allies' offers of manpower, supplies and expertise worth untold millions of dollars. Eventually the United States also would fail to collect most of the unprecedented outpouring of international cash assistance for Katrina's victims.


France, Germany, Swizterland, Britain: they offered aid and were turned away by the US Government. In the first week. Shameful.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

"the magic has taken over the magician."

Now this is interesting:

Overt political debate in the Middle East is hostile to the American occupation of Iraq and dominated by calls for it to end sooner rather than later. No less a figure than King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, arguably the United States' closest Arab ally, has declared the occupation of Iraq "illegal" and "illegitimate". Real intentions, however, are different. States and local political groups might not admit it - because of public opinion - but they do not want to see the back of the Americans. Not yet.

For this there is a simple reason: while the US can no longer successfully manipulate regional actors to carry out its plans, regional actors have learned to use the US presence to promote their own objectives. Quietly and against the deeply held wishes of their populations, they have managed to keep the Americans engaged with the hope of some elusive victory.

The so-called axis of moderate Arab states - comprising Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan - dreads an early US withdrawal. First, because it would be widely interpreted as an American defeat, which would weaken these pro-American regimes while both energising and radicalising their populations.

There's more.

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America & Iraq: Definitely Not a "War"

You know, if daveawayfromhome keeps making good points, I'll never be able to write anything relevant about the NBA:

No. 21: "it is possible to win the War On Terror.

"For now we'll also put aside the idea that there even is some sort of a Orwellian "war" on terror (no. 6), and I'll just say that I think WWII has warped the American way of thinking about war. Wars are almost never that neatly ended. Hell, even WWII wasnt neatly ended, since it spawned the Cold War, which spawned the Korean War (still going on) and the Viet Nam War (repercussions of which are still being felt in this very war in Iraq), and the mess that was Afghanistan in the 1980's, which led to a base of operations for bin Laden which led to 9-11.

But terrorists are not soldiers. They are criminals, murderers and thugs, who have turned to violence to get their way (or vengeance for not getting there way, or both). Bush has made many mistakes since 9-11, but I suspect that one of the biggies will turn out to be the legitimization of al-Queda by treating them with the seriousness one would give to a rogue nation. They are serious, but they are police serious, not military serious. Or, rather, they werent military serious, until the Bush Administration gave them sovereignty.


To piggyback on this: we should call a spade a spade on this "war" thing. It's really an occupation, isn't it? As that DailyKos diarist put it, the difference between war and occupation is very simple:

In war, your objective is to seize (or defend) territory, kill or capture the enemy, and (hopefully) depose the enemy government.

In an occupation, your objective is to subjugate and manage a foreign population with peace and stability, while building up infrastructure in and/or exploiting the resources of that population.

So really, which "thing" do people believe the US military is doing right now? War isn't about peace, it's what happens when peace fails. When two countries can't make peace, the bigger/stronger/smarter/richer one destroys the other one. Peace prevents war and you can't "war" somebody to make peace with you (surrender isn't peace).

Because the Iraq government isn't exactly our enemy, because Saddam is dead, and because our mission was never to seize any territory in Iraq, it's safe to say America is involved in an occupation.

One thing I'm certain of: it isn't a war.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Democratic Caucus Pimpslaps David Broder

Read the response here. Background: WashPost opinion writer David Broder basically said Sen. Reid's comments (including the one where he said we have militarily lost in Iraq) makes him as incompetent as US Attn. Gen. Alberto Gonzales.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

"There was nothing else they could do."

Mike Wise on the Wiz-kids: don't stress on whether or not they can win this series, they just don't have the horses; instead concentrate on getting a team together to make a serious run (which means some players will have to go).

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Heat Are Old & Slow; The Lakers Are Young & Sloppy

After watching both the Heat and Lakers get their butts kicked last night (by the Bulls and Suns respectively) make me sorta sad...sad that they didn't right their ships righted when they had a chance.

If the NBA Playoffs do anything for the teams who don't make it to the Conference Finals, it's that it shows them why they can't win it all and gives them clues as to what they can do to improve themselves.

Since Miami won last year, this lesson is more suitable for L.A. But Miami still has their issues.

  1. Dwayne Wade can't play fancy-free: the injury has forced him to become a shooter. That hurts the team overall (I'll explain in a minute) but for Wade in particular, it drastically limits his game. So now he's playing like Ray Allen, except Allen is a better shooter.
  2. Shaq isn't dominating: getting a 30-point game now from him will be a shock, where once it was a certainty. He should be insulted by the fact that Chicago has dared to cover him with only one player, and if he is he has yet to translate that into the frustration needed to fire him and his team up. But then again, he's won three rings in L.A. and one in Miami; he's proven he can win as long as his coach has a brain and his wingman is talented with a manageable ego. I get the feeling that during the third period of every game he may be thinking, "What the Hell do I have to prove?"
  3. The rest of the team is crappy: they are a mix of decent role players, even-steven scrubs and has-been stars. Some might say these three types are interchangeable. I say they are too old and un-athletic to keep up with the younger, hungrier Bulls. Did Pat Riley think that a group of veterans who never won a ring would play like it's a contract year once they finally got to the promised land? Most of these guys should have either been traded or encouraged to retired.
  4. The Heat depend on fouls to win: last year they benefited the most from going to the line. When they went more then the opponent, they won a vast majority of the time; when it was even they had a slight edge and when they went less then their opponent a loss was inevitable. So you have a "Slasher Supreme" in Wade and the Most Dominant Center in Shaq, players who game hinges on the foul line because it gives them free throws and puts the defenders in foul trouble. Well guess what the Bulls have been doing the past two games? If you said "putting the stars in foul trouble and making the team shoot jumpers" than give yourself a cookie.

The Lakers are a different animal: It's a one-man band masquerading as a well-oiled team. Meanwhile Phoenix is the opposite: people claim that Nash is everything, but it's clear that he's just a crucial component like everyone else on the Suns.

Anyway: I barely saw any resemblance of the famed Triangle Offense that Lakers coach Phil Jackson is known for. And I cringe every time I hear pundits say that Kwame Brown is key to their success (you have to be kidding me? He has terrible hands). Plus, whatever happened to having big guards? Wasn't that a Jackson staple? Jordan Farmar and Smush Parker would never had made the Jordan Era Bull's roster, and even during the Shaq&Kobe Laker Days they would have been Point Guard Option #3. Here, they are the #1 and #2 choice. Who exactly are they going to post up, Earl Boykins?

So if having the wrong tools for the Triangle wasn't bad enough, the youth and inexperience of this club is forcing Kobe to be "T-Mac in his Orlando Days." As in "I gotta score 50pts to keep us in the game." And we all know this will help give the supporting cast the confidence to beat the Suns; after all they're waiting to be knocked off, right?

In a funny way, the Lakers and Heat would benefit from another trade with each other: the Lakers could definitely use some old-timers who know how to play, and the Heat need some more youth and energy.

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Putting Your Stamp on the Issues


"Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski is taking the weeklong challenge to raise awareness about the difficulty of feeding a family on a food stamp budget." That challenge? To live off of $21 for the week — "the same amount that the state's average food stamp recipient spends weekly on groceries".

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Bush vs. Himself

Courtesy of the Daily Show.

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Going Against the Logic Trap

Many retired generals support the Democrat's resolution regarding Iraq.

The problem is Bush's logic trap: he keeps saying that he'll only listen to generals on the ground, and that allows him to dismiss the retired generals (some who either retired in protest or were let go for not speaking the company line). But the little known secret is that protocol and just plain respect usually prevents military officers from contradicting their Commander in Chief (at least in public). So the President does not have to worry about his "commanders on the ground" voicing any substantive dissent.

In other words: this story should hold alot of weight with every American, every single one...except those connected to the Bush Administration.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Good LOST Opening

I do like the "cold opening," but sometimes I wish LOST had an opening more like this.

Of course, you need a long-ass song to get the entire cast in it, plus with people dying all the time there'd be constant changeover.

And while we're using the wonder that is YouTube, let me say I always thought Clark Kent had something to do with the Flight 815 crash.

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A Hidden Agenda Behind the Attorney Purge


Was the purpose of having "93 Karl Roves" to suppress the black vote?


It's a possibility considering the disdain Republicans have had for the proverbial black voter (meaning those who don't completely adopt the conservative philosophy).


Considering that Ken Melman's attempt to woo black voters failed, and considering after the Democrats took back Congress Republicans put people like Trent Lott (he of "we would be better off if a anti-segregationist had become president" fame), and considering the horrible response to Hurricane Katrina (where the majority of people affected were black), it is really a stretch to think the White House Brain Trust decided to make it more difficult for blacks (who don't vote for Republicans in droves anyway) to get to the ballot box?

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Mexico City Votes to Legalise Abortions

America's not the only place where abortion is a hot topic:

Mexico City's legislative assembly has voted to legalise abortion in the city, the capital of the world's second-largest Roman Catholic country.

Lawmakers voted 46 to 19 in favour of the bill that will permit abortions of pregnancies in the first 12 weeks.

Mexico City previously allowed abortion only in cases of rape, if the woman's life was at risk or if there were signs of severe defects in the foetus.

Opponents of the abortion law have said they will challenge it in the courts.

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Wall We Need Is Some Understanding

Eugene Robinson on the Iraq Wallapalooza:

Walls divide; they do not unite. Walls give concrete expression to hatreds and prejudices, establishing them as artifacts not of the mind but of the landscape. When I was The Post's London correspondent in the early 1990s, I covered the Northern Ireland conflict. The first thing I went to see in Belfast was the notorious "peace line" between the Falls Road, a Catholic stronghold, and Shankill Road, a Protestant redoubt. Everything looked the same on both sides -- the houses, the shops, the people -- yet it was as if they were two different countries. Animosities had been passed down through generations. Even now, 15 years later, a civil exchange between two of the leading antagonists -- Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams -- is big news.

How many years will it take to get to that point in Baghdad?

Very. Good. Question.

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Give DC Some Voting Rights

Monday, April 23, 2007

Not Making Any Comrades Here


Fred Kaplan on how President Bush can't even manage good relations with Russia.

Seriously, now: Russia? We've been dealing with them since the Cold War! How can you not know how to work them? I thought Bush was supposed to be a fan of Reagan; well I guess there's a difference between being a fan of someone and being a student of someone.

Also note that Kaplan says that the rise in oil has helped the Russia economy. To understand the importance of this information, let's do a mini-flashback: In order to defeat communism, America made deals with dictators, up-and-coming terrorists, and drug dealers (hey we sided with communist Russia to fight Nazi Germany, so sometimes you gotta make the hard decision). Well, communism dies and the countries (like Russia) who banked on that type of governance went downhill; meanwhile the bad guys we were in bed with were abandoned because we didn't need them anymore.

Unfortunately, the fact that many of these dictators, up-and-coming terrorists and drug dealers either (A) had influence in their anti-Western government or (B) had access to their nations natural reserves played a part in the mess known as "War on Terror." By that I mean abandoning these people to die at their enemies' feet didn't make the West popular, and made America a future target of terrorism and not really loved in the Middle East.

Anyway, now it's come full circle: Bush goes to war with the Middle East (really, has he ever been able to discern a good person from the Middle East from a bad one?), the foreign oil companies (many which are owned or centralized in the Middle East) react by raising prices, and look who benefits? Good ol' former communist Russia. Who remembers how America bankrupted and crippled them so they could become the sole super-power.

Is it far-fetched to think there are some pissed-off Russians looking for payback? Maybe not alot, maybe just five guys, but if they somehow get into power...let's just say that the Bush Administration's current screwups may have helped create the next enemy of the future.

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Not Like a Fox, But Still Crazy

Presidential wannabe John McCain chooses the worst possible guy to be part of his gloabal warming team. But then again, this is the same guy who thought downtown Baghdad was like Kings Dominion.

People still call him a maverick? Why? Bad decisions don't make you a maverick.

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I Know It's Innocent, but...


How pissed was Kirsten Dunst when she saw this? Yeah, I know, they broke up a minute ago...but word was she really though Mr. Gyllenhaal was the one and she just broke up with another dude (before the Spider-Man 3 premiere, no less) and I don't know about anyone else, but I'm sure she doesn't want to hear about or see her ex swapping spit with the Ex-Ms. Brad Pitt.


On Ms. Aniston's side though: after losing Brad to Jolie (and being attached to the Dodgeball Guy), she deserves a little sumthin'-sumthin'.

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Maybe a Prequel Instead?

"X-Files" fans shouldn't bank on a movie sequel anytime soon. Yikes.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Please Fix the NBA Playoffs

Watching the slow slaughter of the weaker playoff teams may make money for the League and some teams, but it's not necessarily good basketball.

Two options:

1. Condense the league to 20 teams and keep the playoffs the same. It'll still be long, but now the talent pool is better. Or...

2. Redo the playoffs either by only letting the top six teams from each Conference in (with such a diluted pool, you really want the best of the best) or by changing the format of the playoffs to something quicker or more entertaining: First Round = One-and-Done; Second Round = Best of Three; Conference Finals = Best of Five and NBA Finals = Best of Seven.

But since money's at stake here, I won't hold my breath. It's going to be up to the GMs to put together better, more competitive teams.

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Dawn of the Fred

Despite the fact that he's a conservative (and he helped John McClain save the airport), there's things about Fred Thompson that would piss off the modern day, "you-better-follow-my-checklist-to-a-'T'" conservative. Things like his connections to John McCain, campaign-finance reform, and Clinton's impeachment (to name a few).

How long will the McCain-hating, Clinton-loathing, homophobic, anti-trial lawyer wing of the Republican Party ignore Thompson's "shortcomings?" Or are we in a some new age where as long as it's a Republican, it doesn't matter if they support things the base typically hates?

It's hard to take a political party seriously when they can't hold their own candidates (potential or not) to the standards they set for the American public.

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Best of Both Worlds

I've said before that sometimes it's good when the sports world and the political world come together. But I'd never thought it would lead to this.

Does Obama even know who Gilbert Arenas is?

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Win As Early As Possible

It's a no-brainer; the winner of Game 1 and Game 2 in the NBA Playoffs has over an 80% chance of winning the series. In a best-of-seven series, the home team is 76-4 and road team is 5-1.

Of course winning Game 1 is good too, it's just favors the home team more. So I guess the best way to advance in the NBA Playoffs is: get home court advantage and win the first game.

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"There Goes My Hero..."

Wall's Well That Ends Well

Just as soon as I mention the Great Wall of Iraq, the Prime Minister says, "I don't think so." Go figure.

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Wizards Report Card 2007: The Best of the Rest

As far as I can see, the Wiz-kids need to employ a "no easy baskets" rule and communitcate better overall on defense if they want to win this game. Anywho, on to the rest of the team:

Calvin Booth: A better shooter than he looks, can block shots and good for 6 fouls. It's be nice to see him in a lineup with Butler and Songalia/Blatche. Grade: C-

Mike Hall: He just came on, and he hasn't played that much. No need to evaluate him until we get a more consistent look. Grade: Incomplete.

Roger Mason: A surprisingly good three-point shooter (of the spot-up or swing-the-ball-to variety) and a decent defender. Needs a more defined role though. Grade: Incomplete.

Michael Ruffin: Mr. Intangible, and besides that snaffu at the end of the Toronto game, has a good basketball IQ. But he's still not the most mobile player. Grade: C

Donell Taylor: The times he's played he's been good, but he hasn't played alot. Not really sure if he's a combo guard or a specific position guard who's being forced to change his role because Arenas is down. Grade: Incomplete.

2007 Season View: At full strength, this team could have made the Eastern Conference Finals. But there were to many instances during the season when they were at full strength that they didn't close the deal. I don't think they will ever be a defensive dynamo, but they need to learn to play smarter defense and better team defense if they ever want to reach the Finals. And, having a "killer instinct" wouldn't hurt.

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The Pope Writes a Best-Seller?

Who knew the Pope's an author? Well, he is, and he wrote a book that (in part) responds to the "Da Vinci Code" theory of Jesus.

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Looking For the Silver Lining

From the WashPost:

BAGHDAD, April 21 -- Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said the ongoing increase of nearly 30,000 U.S. troops in the country has achieved "modest progress" but has also met with setbacks such as a rise in devastating suicide bombings and other problems that leave uncertain whether his counterinsurgency strategy will ultimately succeed.


Assessing the first two months of the U.S. and Iraqi plan to pacify the capital, senior American commanders -- including Petraeus; Adm. William J. Fallon, head of U.S. forces in the Middle East; Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of military operations in Iraq; and top regional commanders -- see mixed results. They said that while an increase in U.S. and Iraqi troops has improved security in Baghdad and Anbar province, attacks have risen sharply elsewhere. Critical now, they said in interviews this week, is for Iraqi leaders to forge the political compromises needed for long-term stability.

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Can You Give a Team Some Love?


Nobody but the always uplifting DCOptimist has the Wizards doing anything of note in today's series. I know it's hard, but let's not forget that (A) Cleveland is a one-man band, (B) they did not significantly alter there roster since last year, and (C) their coach is not know as a "chess master" in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Wizards have essentially scraped their old playbook; this is nothing like the team who played them earlier this season let alone in the last playoffs.


I would have preferred at least 15 games for the "new-look" Wizards to gel, but then again, I would have liked it if Arenas and Butler never got hurt in the first place. So you gotta do what you gotta do.


Anyway, I'll finish my grades on the extra players and the season and have it up around halftime.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Baghdad Needs Another Timmy

From NYT, via Michael Moore:

The Fallujah city council chairman, a critic of al-Qaida who took the job after his three predecessors were assassinated, was killed on Saturday, the latest blow in a violent internal Sunni struggle for control of an insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad.

In the capital, U.S. and Iraqi officials defended plans to build a barrier around a Sunni enclave to protect its inhabitants from surrounding Shiite areas, while residents expressed concern it would isolate the community.

Sami Abdul-Amir al-Jumaili was gunned down by attackers in a passing car as he was walking outside his home in central Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, according to police.

His assassination came a month after he agreed to take the dangerous job -- the only person willing to do so -- with promises to improve services and work with the Americans to ease traffic-clogging checkpoints in the city with a population of an estimated 150,000 to 200,000.



President Bush can't get a war czar, Iraq can't keep a Fallujah city council chairman. How can progress happen when they can't even keep their positions filled?

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

From the New York Times:

American military commanders in Baghdad are trying a radical new strategy to quell the widening sectarian violence by building a 12-foot-high, three-mile-long wall separating a historic Sunni enclave from Shiite neighborhoods.

Soldiers in the Adhamiya district of northern Baghdad, a Sunni Arab stronghold, began construction of the wall last week and expect to finish it within a month. Iraqi Army soldiers would then control movement through a few checkpoints. The wall has already drawn intense criticism from residents of the neighborhood, who say that it will increase sectarian tensions and that it is part of a plan by the Shiite-led Iraqi government to box in the minority Sunnis.


I guess the back-up plan in case the Surge doesn't work is to "wall up" Iraq. But seriously, how does these create peace? Won't this just separate the sects, leading to a build-up of hostilities for another generation? And also, doesn't this move represent a "surrender" of sorts, because we couldn't get everyone to play nice?

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Alyssa Explains It All

Well, not all, but Ms. Milano talks about some things she believes men don't know about women. 10 in fact.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"a very bad day in Iraq."

Four large bombs exploded in mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 164 people and wounding scores — the deadliest day in the city since the start of the U.S.-Iraqi campaign to pacify the capital two months ago...

...U.S. officials had cited a slight decrease in sectarian killings in Baghdad since the U.S.-Iraqi crackdown was launched Feb. 14. But the past week has seen several spectacular attacks on the capital, including a suicide bombing inside parliament and a powerful blast that collapsed a landmark bridge across the Tigris River.

"There have been in the past week or two, a couple of days in which the violence has really spiked. Any time that happens it concerns us but it's a little early to draw any trend-type conclusions," Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said Wednesday in Washington.

"We've always said that there are going to be good days and bad days ahead. With respect to casualties, this had been a very bad day," he added.

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White House Wants First Dibs


I haven't talked much about the White House's involvement with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the firing of those eight attorneys. Quick recap: 8 US attorneys were fired, which isn't so weird (with every new administration, the old attorneys are always replaced) except that since Reagan only about five have ever been let go during a president's second term. That made the Democrats suspicious, and their suspicions seemed to justified because it turns out in a few of these cases, attorneys appeared to be fired for either not prosecuting Democrats or for continuing to prosecute Republicans (or people connected to Republicans).


The popular theory is that Karl Rove was using US attorneys for political means: specifically, to keep Republicans in a permanent majority by covering up for corrupt Republicans and bringing indictment after indictment on Democrats (regardless of whether or not they were actually corrupt).


Alberto Gonzales (Mr. 2-Minutes) denies that he did anything wrong. But then again, he denied that he directly involved in the firings until one of his ex-employees testified to the exact opposite. So now Congress wants Gonzales to talk to them, and even though he was hesitant at first, Gonzales now seems eager (perhaps because he knows if more ex-and current employees testify before him, he made find it hard to come up with a believable story).


So anyway, this ordeal has reached the White House because some of the emails the House has asked for involve correspondence with Gonzales and (to everyone's surprise) the Republican National Committee. A recently as last week, the White House has said that they lost some of the emails (about 500).




Yowza.

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Better Find That Prom Date Early...

This is kinda disturbing:

Mother Nature has always ensured that male births outnumber female ones, but the gap has been gradually narrowing over the past three decades in the U.S. and Japan, according to a new study.

Researchers suspect the decline in male births can be explained, at least in part, by paternal exposure to environmental toxins, such as certain pesticides, heavy metals, solvents or dioxins — chemical byproducts produced during incineration or the manufacture of other chemicals.


In the US, we've gone from a ratio of 105.5 boys for every 100 girls to a ratio of 104.6 guys for every 100 girls. And considering that males have a lower life expectancy than females, this change is bigger than it looks.

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A Special Kind of Stupid


Conservative pundit Debbie Schlussel believes that the shooter of the VA Tech incident may be Pakistani (even though reports initially say he was South Korean) and that this may have been part of a larger, sinister terrorist plot.


Obviously, this is a very lame attempt to tie this incident to 9/11. BTW, Schlussel also believes that Barack Obama is the wrong candidate to have for president (because his middle name is Hussein).

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

1415...

OK, I just went through something that turns out to be more disturbing than I first theorized.

I used information from Iraq Coalition Casualties, specifically the chart of "Military Fatalities by Month."

There are currently 3308 dead US soldiers over the course of 1490 days. That averages out to be 2.2 dead soldiers a day.

If we go by the President's actions and words, our soldiers will not come home as long as Bush is in the White House. By my count, that's 643 days (from now until Jan. 20th, 2009).

If 2.2 soldiers have died per day so far, in 643 days an estimated 1,415 more soldiers will lose their life before Bush officially leaves office. That would, theoretically, put the grand total at 4,723.

Is the possibility of losing 1,415 more lives worth supporting a strategy that doesn't seem to be working? Whether you support complete withdrawal or simply a new tactic, there has to be some drastic change in Iraq or we're just doing the same ol'/same 'ol.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Czar Search


Fred Kaplan makes a good point on the Bush Administration's failure to secure a "war czar:"



Let's be clear about the significance of these refusals. Generals do not become generals by being demure. They are, as a rule, confident, opinionated, and in many cases, arrogant. Retired generals like to talk with other retired generals about how they would handle one foul-up or another if they were still in command.

In other words, if some retired generals out there had a great idea about how to solve the mess in Iraq, and if the president offered them the authority to do what they wanted to do, few of them would hesitate to step up and take charge.

The fact that Bush has found no takers suggests one of three possibilities: The generals don't have any great ideas; they don't believe they'd really be given carte blanche; or, most likely, to some degree, both.

At first, I took the snubs to mean: "Bush can't find someone willing to be the latest Iraq scapegoat." Now there's Kaplan's theory: our best military minds can't see a good way out of this mess.


If that's true, what can politicians and their inexperienced cronies hope to accomplish?

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Know When to Hold Them...

From Reuters (via Michael Moore):

In a move likely to irritate Tehran, the government has decided not to release five Iranians captured in Iraq, a newspaper reported on Friday.

The Washington Post said that after intense internal debate, the Bush administration had decided to keep the Iranians in custody and make them go through a periodic six-month review process used for the other 250 foreign detainees held in Iraq.

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Salt in the Wound

If my fellow Wizards fans need some firing up after Sunday's game, this is one story that should help with that:

This is for my people. I wasn't going to say anything but today's Zards loss put me over the top. On Saturday night, I was repping it to the death at Smith Point. I was reading how Prince William broke up with his lady on my Razr, when someone brushes by me who looks familiar. It was Kirk Hinrich. Then right next to him comes in Chris Duhon. They were wearing sweat suits and trying to get their drink on...they went straight for the back bar. I look at Hinrich and shout "Least favorite player in the NBA." Then it hits me, it's almost 1 am. The Wizards-Bulls game is on at 1 pm the next day on national tv with the 2nd seed on the line. How are Hinrich and Duhon out drinking this late the night before??? The answer: no respect. Then they went and blew us out by 109 points on Sunday. Unreal.

The reason I am writing this is I want it to get back to the Zards how they were disresepected to the point where one of the best players on the team who took Lil' Gilbert's spot on the Olympic team thought so little of the game that he went to get bent with that boozhound Duhon and some sexy time with the 2 seed on the line on national TV. I want Michael Lee or Ivan Carter to drop that knowledge to Clueless Eddie Jordan (who looks like a man who just found out his 18 year-old daughter is pregnant). You don't believe me? Call Smith Point and ask Bo if Hinrich stopped by. We need some fire, son! We need something. I am tired of looking at Washington sports teams and seeing the image of Jeff George being dragged on the ground by Ebeneezer Ekuban while Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen watch. Someone needs to say: I know we lost Gilbert and Caron, but you know what? We'll still punch you in the mouth. COME ON!!!!!


I know I was pissed off after I read this. I wonder if the WashPost beat writers will pass the story on to the players and the coach.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

The Wizards Finally Win.

Thank God. They really needed this one; I was beginning to think they'd never win a game with Arenas and Butler out.

I know the announcer must have noticed, but did Jamison seem to just be hanging out there? He passed up at least three open shots between the third and fourth quarters. Maybe Eddie Jordan is saving him for the playoffs.

Also, the EJ version of the Princeton Offense seems to be running smoother now. I mean, there's gotta be a reason Antonio Daniels is making so many assists. I guess the team got too used to Arenas saving their butts, and kinda abandoned the PO for awhile. So, in that regard, I suppose it's a good thing that we get to see how they can play without a clutch player like Arenas.

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Food For Thought

It's takes an exceptional movie to stun a critic like Stephen Hunter:

I am not making this up. I couldn't make this up. My imagination isn't powerful enough.

I just saw a movie in which a pack of french fries, a wad of ground beef and a milkshake save the world -- or at least, New Jersey -- from a psychotic giant exercise machine built 70,000 years ago by aliens.

The rest of the review ain't bad either.

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Very. Good. Point.

Eugene Robinson on the Imus fallout and it's relationship to other forms of vulgar language:


For young black hip-hop artists to use such language to demean black women is similarly deplorable -- and, I would argue, even more damaging. But come on, people, don't deceive yourselves that it's precisely the same thing. Don't pretend that 388 years of history -- since the first shackled African slaves arrived at Jamestown -- never happened. The First Amendment notwithstanding, it has always been the case that some speech has been off-limits to some people. I remember a time when black people couldn't say "I'd like to vote, please." Now, white people can't say "nappy-headed hos." You'll survive.

Amen. The "they did it too" argument is little more than an excuse. But don't worry; the Black Community will deal with the vulgar elements that have infiltrated Hip-Hop sooner or later.

UPDATE: Colbert I. King came in a little late, but he also makes a good point about Imus' apologists:


To shift the argument, as some have done, from Imus to the legitimacy of the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson criticizing Imus, given their own past insensitive remarks, is a smoke screen. The National Association of Black Journalists led the outcry against Imus. We didn't need Sharpton or Jackson to tell us how we should feel about Imus's insults or how to recognize what is morally wrong.

What is needed, however, is for people to come off the sidelines when they see an injustice and, even if they aren't affected, to have the courage and enough regard for their fellow human beings to stand up for what's right.


UPDATE 2: And over in ESPN's Page 2, Todd Boyd echoes Robinson's points:

Yet Imus and hip-hop really don't have much in common. Imus was host of a radio show that focused on the real news of the day, while hip-hop is a fictionalized form of cultural expression. Imus is real, featuring real guests and humor based on real topics. However loudly hip-hop might claim to be real, it is not real; it is a form of representation. This is why so few rappers use the names on their birth certificates when performing. Rappers are in essence characters performing a fictional life. Though the culture is rooted in the notion and style of authenticity, it is decidedly fictional. If not, the cops could arrest every rapper who talks about selling drugs or killing someone in his or her lyrics. So we should be judging hip-hop the same way we judge a novel, a movie, or a television show, and to do so means we have to afford hip-hop the same latitude we afford any other form of artistic expression...

...Rappers have long been held accountable because of their speech. For people who do not really pay attention to hip-hop, but only focus on stereotypes of the culture, this is something they might not be aware of. Here are but a few examples: In 1990, The 2 Live Crew was arrested, taken to court and eventually acquitted on obscenity charges. In 1992, then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton blasted rapper Sista Souljah and her lyrics, comparing Souljah's words to that of former Klansman David Duke. Ice T's single "Cop Killer" was deleted from the album "Body Count" and his band bearing the same name as the album was dropped by Time Warner because of the controversial song. William Bennett and the late C. Delores Tucker prompted congressional hearings on the impact of gangsta rap music in 1994, hearings that eventually lead to Time Warner selling its shares in Interscope Records and its rap subsidiary Death Row Records. Jennifer Lopez came under fire for her use of the n-word in the remix to her song "I'm Real" in 2001. A Nelly concert planned for Spelman College in 2004 was canceled because some of the women at this historically black woman's college felt his video for the song "Tip Drill" was demeaning to black women. Jadakiss received a great deal of heat for his rhetorical question "Why did Bush knock down the towers?" on his 2004 single "Why? "


So let me summarize: "Don't stress, white media. We got this."

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wilbon on Imus

Most people don't like it when two worlds collide, but I do: you get to see how they appraoch a similar issue. The Imus/Rutgers story has merged the political and sports worlds (temporarily) and so the best of both fields get to visit on another's home turf.

Michael Wilbon (from the sports world, naturally) chimes in on Imus:

Already a little squeamish about appearing on the show, Ripken's decision to tell Imus no became an easy one after the latest spewing. "It was set up by the publisher, but I said no because I don't want anybody to perceive that I condone those comments because I don't," Ripken said in a telephone conversation yesterday. "And if you go on that show, that's exactly what the perception would be..."

...Imus, not surprisingly, is trying to frame the discussion in a way that paints him as a good guy who did a stupid thing, which might be okay if he wasn't such a serial offender. Yes, Imus routinely has riveting political discussions, as recently as last fall when he engaged Harold Ford, then running for the U.S. Senate, in conversations about running for office as a young black man in the South, in this case Tennessee. When Imus says he's not unfamiliar with black people, he's telling the truth. He's not some idiot segregationist who seals himself off from black people, which is what
makes these episodes even more disgusting.


If you believe the bosses at Viacom and NBC Universal have any guts, and I'm not sure I do, then you might believe the suspension represents a warning of zero tolerance from here on in and that Imus is one more incident from being dumped. And while I'm not agitating for Imus to be fired, I'd certainly raise a toast if it happens. Until then, what Imus has prompted is a necessary national conversation. The meeting with the Rutgers women is necessary -- so is the vigil to stand over him and remind him that even if he doesn't get it, many of us do.



Like I said, sometimes it's good when worlds collide. BTW, MSNBC and CBS have suspended Imus (which takes him off the TV and airwaves) for two weeks, but this punishment is dubious because in two weeks the "Sweeps" Period begins. Also, some major advertisers have also jumped ship.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The War *Over* Iraq

President Bush came out today threatening to veto any spending bill that has withdrawal connected to it, then turns around and tries to offer an olive branch in the name of compromise.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi aren't having it. Reid even invokes the Pope, who has all but called for the US to leave.

Eventually, one side of this struggle will get their way. Will it be Bush, who wants to conduct the war as sees fit with no interference, or Congress, who says that they are co-equal and want their considerations (which includes everything from fully supplying troops to redeployment to withdrawal) to be heard and weighted?

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Gonzales Gets an Invite

Mr. 2-Minutes has been issued a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee:

Attached is a subpoena for documents and electronic information that we previously requested from the Department in connection with the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the recent termination of several United States Attorneys and related matters, which the Department has furnished to us thus far only in redacted form, or has told the Subcommittee is was withholding. The subpoena is being issued pursuant to authority granted by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial Administrative Law on March 21, 2007.

I appreciate your cooperation in voluntarily supplying a number of documents in response to the Subcommittee's request. As we have written and told you and your staff on a number of occasions, however and reiterated most recently in our letters of March 22, March 28, and April 2, 2007, the incomplete response we have received thus far falls far short of what is needed for the Subcommittee and Committee to effectively exercise their oversight responsibilities in ascertaining the truth behind the very serious concerns that have been raised regarding this matter.


Let's see how the White House responds to this.

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Putting a Target on "The Grandmother"

Operation: Destroy Pelosi has begun: Republican Rep. Eric Cantor has stepped in as the leader of this campaign, and he's not playing with kid gloves (ThinkProgess goes into his attacks some more).

The purpose of this strategy is obvious: until the last election, Republican had no person to identify Democrats with. Using Kennedy is tired and old; John Kerry isn't running for anything; attacking Hilary isn't garnishing anymore support than usual and Harry Reid has been pretty resilient to attacks (and the Senate Republican know they have to get along if they want any of their legislation to see the light of day). And, of course, none of these people have been overseas recently. But with Pelosi as Speaker of the House, the Republicans have someone tangible to target. To the more partisan ones, using her as a symbol of the negative side of the Democratic Party (which she isn't) is no different than making bin Laden the Unofficial Spokesman for Islamic Terrorism.

They hope to tarnish the image of the post-2004 Democrats as do-nothing (for the people) and overreaching (and their criticism and investigation of the Bush Administration). And if these attacks stick and make it to the mainstream media consistently, Pelosi may become a liability to the party...and a distraction for Democrats who want to re-take the White House.

That being said, I think Pelosi will be OK.

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Robinson on Imus

Eugene Robinson on Imus' current dilemma:

But I'd rather lock him in a room with the parents of those Rutgers kids and let him try to explain himself. I'm not sure that kicking him off the air would accomplish much of anything, since there would still be plenty of morning radio jocks spewing racism, misogyny and other forms of cruelty for the amusement of gridlock-bound commuters. Howard Stern, another radio superstar who has expanded into television, recently held a degrading "Miss Black Howard Stern" contest.

Drive-time radio has become a free-fire zone, a forum for crude and objectionable speech that would be out of bounds anywhere else. There's an intimacy about radio. The medium creates the illusion of privacy -- it's just the jock and his or her entourage speaking to you, the listener, alone in your car where nobody else can hear.


It's that intimacy that usually isolates radio people from the impact of their words. To them, they might as well be talking out loud during their shower. The twist, or course, is that they depend on a vast audience in order for them to keep broadcasting their thoughts on the airwaves.

Add that to the fact that many radio shows have a demographic that even they aren't aware of (I'm sure Imus has black listeners, at least before this incident) and that dependence on the audience potentially magnifies.

All radio personalities, not just Imus, need to keep this in mind.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Broken Clock Moment: Joe Klein

Things have gotten so bad for President Bush, Joe Klein has turned on him:

When Bush came to office--installed by the Supreme Court after receiving fewer votes than Al Gore--I speculated that the new President would have to govern in a bipartisan manner to be successful. He chose the opposite path, and his hyper-partisanship has proved to be a travesty of governance and a comprehensive failure. I've tried to be respectful of the man and the office, but the three defining sins of the Bush Administration--arrogance, incompetence, cynicism--are congenital: they're part of his personality. They're not likely to change. And it is increasingly difficult to imagine yet another two years of slow bleed with a leader so clearly unfit to lead.


I'd say that the words that come after "I've tried to be respectful of the man and the office" pretty much reflect the sentiments of a majority of progressives, liberals and Democrats in America. Part of me is curious to see if Mr. Klein will call for impeachment in a future article, but won't hold my breath. I will, however, give Mr. Klein some props for being able to admit he's was wrong, even if he didn't actually say the words "I was wrong."

But this still won't persuade me to re-new my Time membership. No way.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dead Wrong

From the Washington Post:

Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides "all confirmed" that Hussein's regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a declassified Defense Department report released yesterday...

...The report's release came on the same day that Vice President Cheney, appearing on Rush Limbaugh's radio program, repeated his allegation that al-Qaeda was operating inside Iraq "before we ever launched" the war, under the direction of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist killed last June.

In other words, Cheney's claims were dead wrong. How long will it be before the mainstream media calls Cheney on his outrageous proclamations? And how soon until the Bush supporters launch an attack on Sen. Carl Levin, the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman who requested the release of these documents?

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Wizards Report Card 2007: Pinch the Bench

With Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas out, and the season likely a wash, let's look at the Wizard's bench now:

KEY BENCH PLAYERS

Antonio Daniels: Again, his started of kinda rocky. But this time around his resiliency has really shown. Last nights game against the Bobcats showed that he can run a team if necessary (and with Gilbert out, he'll have to. Bottom line: he's a good scorer and defender, but hasn't had the playing time to make me say he can do this every night. Grade: C

Jarvis Hayes: My winner for the Tyronne Nesby "Even-Steven Player of the Year" award. Factoring his injuries, his 3 years in the league almost equates to one full season of playing (which may account for some of his mental mistakes). I personally think he's destined to be one of Crucial Playoff Role Players, but it remains to be seen when that's gonna happen, and if it's gonna happen with the Wizards. Grade: C

Andray Blatche: We can excuse some of his early mistakes, with him being sidelined due to almost dying an all. Has the potential to be everything Wiz fans wanted Kwame Brown to be with none of the emotional baggage. Still raw, but definitely worth keeping. Grade: C

Darius Songaila: Based on his performances so far, could be a crucial weapon of the bench. Seems to have the right balance of offense and defense that caoch Eddie Jordan has been looking for in his players. Has instantly become a post option. Grade: C+

OVERALL: This group could spell the starter during games, but I'm not sure that any of them is ready to be a "starter-sub" (as in, start in place of an injured Starter for a long period of time). Still, they're good enough to "git 'er done" on any given night (assuming the Starters have done their jobs). Grade: C

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Please Don't Let This Be "The Plot" for the New Indiana Jones Movie

ATHENS, Greece - Archaeologists on a Greek island have discovered a large Roman-era tomb containing gold jewelry, pottery and bronze offerings, officials said Wednesday. The building, near the village of Fiscardo on Kefalonia, contained five burials including a large vaulted grave and a stone coffin, a Culture Ministry announcement said.

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Rocky II

While Salt Lake City's mayor first public bout against a conservative (that time being Bill O-Reilly) was short and barely memorable, the match-up he (and most people) wanted (between him and Sean Hannity) seems to becoming more of a reality.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Good Idea...Let's Not Do It

Joe Biden wants President Bush to leave office early, but thinks that would be bad...because Dick Cheney will just take over (the office of the President).

Such a statement is just another example of why that Biden makes a better sacrificial lamb than an executive.

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The Magnificent Bastard Strikes Again!

From "last throes" to this:

John McCain is 70, Rudy Giuliani has been married three times and Mitt Romney is Mormon—not a problem for being president, Vice President Dick Cheney says.


I suppose not, when the candidate is a fellow Republican. But to Cheney's credit, age has never been a factor for Republicans (the older the better). Considering the likes of Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh have had multiple spouses, I'm sure the Republican (if not the conservative) base will overlook it. As for religion: well the country overcame JFK being a Catholic (I can't believe people actually said he would have taken orders directly from the Pope) and Joe Lieberman being Jewish VP candidate (note: both of these where Democrats at the time), so maybe they can deal with a Mormon.

I guess what I'm saying is: the GOP, as it stands right now, is probably willing to overlook some traditionally conservative (read: WASP) "character flaws" in order to keep the White House. But no way would they let a 70-yr-old Mormon Democrat on his third wife go unscathed in a campaign.

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Reality...or Just News?

The "college students pelt Karl Rove" story is making it's way through the mainstream media. First, let me say that the video accompanying this story (1) has nothing indicated that it was showing American University; (2) did not show Karl Rove; and (3) doesn't prove without a shadow of a doubt that anyone threw anything.

But the piece of evidence that leads me to say nothing really happened is this: they didn't arrest anyone. I'm quite sure that, given the current political climate, if someone threw something in Karl Rove's direction and was identified, that person would have been taken into custody. He is, after all, a White House Official.

That being said, here's a counter-story to the alleged events.

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The Pot and the Kettle

While some conservatives (and President Bush) decry Speaker of the House Pelosi's trip to Syria, they should note (as Think Progress did) that during the Clinton Era, then-Speaker Dennis Hastert actually went abroad to tell another nation to "bypass" the president.

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Changes @ CNN

The O'Briens will no longer be anchors at CNN (but they will still have jobs there).

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

He's Not Taking Off to Spend Time With His Family...Yet

Mr. 2-Minute Man has cancelled a trip with the family in order to talk to the Senate. Of course, the sooner he goes "on record" the sooner his current and former subordinates will have a template (his) to use for their possible testimony. So time is of the essence.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

The Black Jesus?

Maybe not, but a sculpture portraying Barack Obama as the Son of God doesn't have everyone bowing in reverence.

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I'm Sure They Don't Teach This In Broadcast Journalism.

Apparently, Bill O'Reilly doesn't believe that his show require his guests to do anything but agree with everything he says. If if you don't agree, he cuts you off.

I say this because that's what happened when a retired Colonel with 29 years of military experience refused to play his game of "If You Disagree With Bush on the Iraq War, You Hate America."

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Stalk Anything

John Cusack has a stalker...and no, she wasn't holding a radio over her head outside his house.

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Far From a Model Mom

From MSNBC.com:

TAYLOR, Mich. - A woman’s five children were in protective custody after she was charged with offering to let an undercover investigator have sex with her 7-year-old daughter.

The 33-year-old woman, from the Detroit suburb of Taylor, was arrested Friday night after bringing the girl to a hotel in Romulus, near Detroit Metropolitan Airport, where she had agreed to meet the investigator, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department said.

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"93 Karl Roves"

Now this is an interesting editorial. From the Boston Globe:



THE SUSPICION that partisan politics motivated at least some of the Bush administration's firings of eight US attorneys sharpened this week. Former Justice Department aide Kyle Sampson told the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday that "the distinction between political and performance-related reasons for removing a US attorney is, in my view, largely artificial." If senators accept this state of affairs, they should close down their inquiry into the purge and accept a new reality: that US attorneys are not objective enforcers of the laws but part of a president's political machine -- 93 Karl Roves with prosecutorial powers.

But if the committee rejects that, it should explore further two major disclosures by Sampson. One was that, contrary to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's past denial of involvement in the sackings, Gonzales conferred with Sampson several times about them. Confirmation of his falsehood strengthens the case for Gonzales's resignation.

The other revelation by Sampson was that Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, approached Gonzales about three of the US attorneys who were canned. One of them was ultimately replaced by an aide to Rove. The Senate should move quickly to get Rove to testify before it -- under oath, with a transcript -- even if this requires a subpoena.


Let's skip the "disclosure" revelations for right now (I'm sure there are people who could argue it better than me anyway) even though they have a slight connection to the following. Instead, let's delve into the (probable) political motivations involved.

It's interesting how the Globe phrased the situation: "93 Karl Roves." As the editorial suggests, the issue here isn't that President Bush/Alberto Gonzales put in people they liked; it's that they put in people who could use their ability as US attorneys to advance particular political agendas. One theory floating around ( both the Internet and the airwaves) is that Bush simply wanted "93 Karl Roves" to help influence and control voting in local districts. More to the point: use the system to insure that Republicans (or at the very least, "loyal Bushies") seize power and keep it.

It's an outrageous claim, but a probable one considering that the Bush Administration has been so adamant in withholding aides and staff members from talking to Congress (whether under oath with transcripts or not). If this was nothing more than innocent re-arranging, than the Democratic Congress will lose a lot of face (especially with those who doubt that they are not doing enough to address the Iraq War). It's not like Bush or his people to pass up a good opportunity to make the Democratic Party look bad; and since the name-calling doesn't seem to be sticking, what would be a better setup then this? Obviously, someone is hiding something.

So the question that now has to be posed is: Does "serving at the will of the President" mean bending the law to his preferred political philosophy? The answer people give will speak as to how long this scandal lasts.

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