Will the Babble Be Unbroken? Not while I'm substituting for Rebecca!

So it's Saturday morning, early Saturday morning. Tired but about to end my 'broadcast day.' That's really what it feels like some nights. If you're too young, you may not know what I'm talking about. But used to, and I know one in my area still does, before a TV station stopped broadcating and went to the blank screen, they'd say: "This ends our broadcast day." Usually, they'd show mountain tops or flags while they played the national anthem. Then the screen would go to white fuzz.

I should say "Betty here." I'll get down before Rebecca gets back from vacation.

So it was a long day at work and the morning wasn't the calmest. (As a parent, it's one of those moments where you ask, "And how did you break your lunch box and why did you never tell me?" I go to open my oldest son's lunch box to put his snacks in -- he was actually hanging with my uncle, his great uncle today, they were going to go fishing. I open his lunch box and I'm holding one piece of it.) Traffic was crazy for a Friday morning. I spent my lunch hour trying to rearrange the kid's appointments with the doctor and, for the oldest two, the dentist so we could get that all out of the way in one day. I told myself that I'd grab something on the afternoon break. Instead, I snagged my panthose so bad. This wasn't your normal tear. I thought, "Okay, there's an hour and a half left of the work day. Am I going to use my break to try to rush to the drug store and get a new pair or go the ladies' room and just get through the day without any?" I decided on the latter. Though I will deny that if someone runs back to my grandmother who said it once if she said it a million times, "A lady always wears hose in public."

The deal we had was that since they were staying with their cousins tomorrow night (ha ha, I'll get to that) they and their cousins could all go to the movies tonight. I get all the kids, apologize to my uncle for rushing off with just a "Hi and bye" but we were trying to make the seven o'clock showing (actually 7:05), and I knew my sister's kids would be as much of a round up crisis as my own. So, we get there. Her youngest is saying he doesn't like cars. He does. That's all he will play with. But it's one of those, "I want to stay with my mommy moments." So we've finally got him on board and excited. I've got thirty minutes for the drive and buying the tickets and the theater is only twenty minutes from my sisters. We're headed to go and my daughter, my youngest, has no shoes and no socks.

"Where are your shoes? Go find your shoes."

She took them off to take off her socks because Mommy wasn't wearing hose. We're all on the floor looking for them and I'm saying, "Just the shoes. Just find the shoes and she can't go without socks."

We finally find them in a toy box. It's five minutes until seven. So it became, "Okay, we're going to go have pizza instead." My sister offered to tag along, but the whole point when we take each other's kids is to give the other the night off.

Pizza goes very well. The kids have a blast. But they all want the movie, including my sister's youngest. I call her and tell her I know they're going to fall asleep in the movie but that's fine and, if it's okay with her, they'll just all go back to the house with me and spend the night. (Which was fine with her.) (The second showing started at ten p.m.)

Sure enough three out of the seven are asleep within five minutes of the movie. That was fine except my youngest nephew woke up and needed to go to the bathroom. At the seven o'clock showing, I wouldn't have been as worried. Instead, I told my oldest to hold my cell phone, to start screaming holy murder and dialing 911 if anyone bothered them, and hurried to the bathroom with him. And of course, he didn't want to go into the 'girls' bathroom with me. There was no male around that I knew, so I wasn't sending him into a men's room this late at night by himself (he's five-years-old). I pick him up, and he's fussing (I don't blame him) and griping about the 'girls' room. He was so mad at me.

He was also fully awake so he ended up watching the last hour of the movie and loving it. Is it Cars? It's the thing with Paul Newman and everybody else doing the voices. (I was a lot more together earlier this evening.) So the movie's over and we're leaving.

By the time we're home, everyone's wide awake and ready to stay up all night. I made two bags of microwave popcorn, tossed it in a big plastic bowl, parked them on a big blanket in front of the TV with Finding Nemo which is a wonderful movie but I'm so sick of it, I can remember wanting to watch a favorite movie over and over when I was a kid but they really do watch their favorite movies over and over. Cars, when it comes out on DVD, is one they'll watch. Because they know it. That's how it works. Now. When I was a kid, a movie I hadn't seen? Sure, let's go.

Oh, here's my "ha ha" from way earlier. My youngest will not stay overnight with anyone except my mother. I don't know if my mother bribes her with candy or what, but any of my sisters, they have to call me. Around eight p.m. she will say she wants me. By 8:30 if she's not told I'm on the way, she will begin this piercing scream. So what I do is show up a little after eight, talk to whichever sister she is with. Have a cup of coffee. Then when I kiss her goodbye, the hope is that she'll say, "Bye-bye." But she never does. She grabs me and won't let go. So it's just easy to take her with me. She'll usually fall asleep in the car and be completely out of it by the time we get home. The first time she stayed with a sister, I'd gone to a movie and didn't have a cell phone then. I'd called before the movie to check and was planning to call after. This was my oldest sister and she wasn't going to call the theater (my younger sister would) and have them go get me. She finally mentioned our mother. That hushed my daughter and they all got in my sister's car and drove over there, dropped her off and went back home. When the movie was over, I called and, after hearing what had happened, went straight to my mother's. She was having the time of her life. She didn't want to go home with me. But that's really it, she'll stay with me or Granny and no one else. Not for a sleep over.

You know, there is someone else she'd probably stay over with, Kat. When we were all in California, she'd fall out in Kat's lap. And she won't do with anyone but me and my mother. She gets too wound up. But in California, like when we were in DC, she was just fascinated with Kat and with Kat's hair. (Kat really does have amazing hair.) She's very girly-girl, my daughter. (She doesn't get that from me.) She loves to play with hair and loves to have her hair put in plats or pulled off back and pinned up. And she loves powder. After having a little powder put on her face or her hair 'fixed,' her favorite thing is to watch you do the same. (My mother's hair is very long and when she takes it down at the end of the night, if we're there, my daughter has to see Granny's hair.) She really does love Kat. If I'm on the phone, she always wants to know if it's Granny or "Kitty Kitty" (her name for Kat). Kat's got a family vacation (she has a huge family) this month and, on the way back into the country, is going to try to swing by. My daughter fusses over her bedroom now because Kitty Kitty's coming by.

I have no idea why she turned out to be such a girly-girl. It's probably me, I probably had fun dressing her from the second she was born. My mother thinks she gets it from her mother (the one who always tells me, to this day, "A lady always wears hose in public"). I was a tough little girl. I can remember this older boy, in second grade, on the playground, pinching my butt. He did that to some other girls and they ran screaming to the teacher. I spun around, hauled off and punched him in the eye. He was in fourth grade. I didn't even think twice. (This is probably where I should say, "Two wrongs don't make a right." But if some older kid pinched my daughter on the butt and she slugged him, I wouldn't make a big deal out of it.) Recess and gym were always fun classes with me. When I got older, I played basketball and ran track. On Cosby, I always thought Denise was so pretty but I knew I was more like Vanessa.

So that was my day and aren't you all bored?

There were two things I wanted to talk about. Wait. Three. First, Kat has a wonderful post that she talked about writing Thursday and did write tonight. "My thoughts" is the title and I hope you'll check it out. Second, I never get to talk about Wally. It's late and I'm tired but I do get some e-mails asking what I think of Wally's site? Sometimes there seems to be some suggestion that I might not like it. I think people worry that since Wally and I both do humor sites, there might be some conflict? There's not. Wally's really funny. (Also a really sweet man. Honestly, I did write "kid" but that's because of my age, not Wally's. He's a mature young man.)
Wally's pretty even keeled (is that the word?) and dependable. That's great but for the longest I really wasn't too sure about him. (I'm talking before he did his site, because I knew him from a community committee we were both on where we'd all be on the phone once a week for three weeks and a number of us, including Wally, would speak during the week and I also knew him from a roundtable we did for the round-robin before his site started, and no one but C.I. knew at that point that Wally was about to start a site.) I think of him, like Robert Redford in any movie. You know how Redford's usually playing some man who's reserved? (The Way We Were makes me cry buckets. That's probably my favorite Redford film.) That's Wally.

I think if he would have been in DC in September with all of us, I would've gotten to know him then. (My fear, because I can babble, can you tell? My fear was that he thought, "Who is this woman who never shuts up?" If we'd been face to face, I would've just realized that he's more reserved. He's a watcher! I just thought of Barefoot in the Park and how Jane Fonda tells Redford that there are watchers and doers and that Redford is a watcher.) When everything was going on with his grandfather -- they live in Florida, it was after the hurricane last fall and his grandfather had no power, no power in the entire neighborhood in fact, and Wally was down there trying to convince him that his home would be safe and that he really needed to be somewhere with power so to go to his mother's -- Wally's mother, Wally's grandfather's daughter -- I saw that action mode and also saw the caring that's there but not upfront the way it is in me or in a lot of people. And when I'd hear about that while we were all working on The Third Estate Sunday Review, I finally figured out, "Okay, that's Wally. He's the strong, silent type. He's a good guy."

It was so weird to meet him face to face because he really looked exactly like I'd expected. I could've drawn you a picture of Wally before I ever saw him. So, the long road to a simple answer, I like Wally a great deal and he does a wonderful job at his site. Mike can get him to be silly and goofy. (They became friends right when Mike was starting his own site.) And the two of them do love their dick jokes. But outside of having fun with Mike, he's really serious. If I hadn't heard him with Mike, I'd be reading the site and thinking, "Who is this guy?"

I think that's because, and I'm not talking out of school here, he's talked about this in an interview with Mike, he lost his father at such a young age. I know he and Cedric are really tight and they share that so I'm sure it's a bond between them. (Cedric also lost his father when he was really young.)

But I really do like (I want to say "love" but I think that would embarrass him, he really is much more silent and reserved unless he's goofing off with Mike) him -- and his site is really funny. I moan about how hard I have it because I've got to stick to my outline for Betinna and carry the storyline along each time. But he's got it pretty hard too. The way The Daily Jot works, he's grabbing some thing breaking in the news, five days a week, and trying to find a humorous slant on it. Mike was recently depressed about Democracy Now!, the whole thing really did depress him. And I'm sure Wally could relate to that because when Alito got confirmed, and we saw Democrats weren't going to fight any nomination, Wally really did take that hard. He and Mike are both very action oriented. In a, "here's a problem, here's what we'll do" figure it out kind of way. And he really did think Alito could be stopped.

And being a man of his word and a man of principle (and there I don't hesitate to use the word "man"), it really shocked him that men and women in the Senate wouldn't be the same. It was an eye opener for him and I think those can be sad to go through but we end up stronger. So, again long road to a short answer, I have a lot of respect for him. Age wise, sorry, I do see him as a kid. But he conducts himself like an adult and then some. His mother (who is very sweet and who I felt like I knew and was friends with the first time we spoke) said even as a little boy, after his father died, he was very much acting like the man of the house. The first guy she dated, two years after his father died, was a fix up from a friend and she wasn't crazy about him. They had one date and he dropped her off but wouldn't leave. Wally came into the living room, I hope it's okay to tell this story, his mother tells it, and said, "Sir, I don't like the way you're talking to my mother. It's time for you to leave." I can picture that and I can picture a grown man high tailing it out of there.

So the third thing? C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot." Before I get to that, thank you for the kind words I what I wrote about Iraq this week. I intend to write some more about it. And promise to be far less chatty. Probably not the best time to blog when you've spent the evening with children. (Not because it wasn't wonderful, it was, but because I probably had all of that in me all day just waiting to sit down and talk about with a grown up.) (My sister and I really didn't have time to talk this evening. We were trying to get the kids rounded up so I could take them to the movies.)

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

The Operation Happy Talk goes on.
Sean McFarland becomes the biggest doofus outside the administration by delcaring, "I think we have turned a corner her in Ramadi." MacFarland is both an Army Col. and a Happy Talker.
In news that's a little harder to Happy Talk,
Antonio Castaneda (AP) reports that of the 1000 Sunni soldiers who made up the May 2006 graduating class "only about 300 of them have reported for duty".
In other news from the real world,
Reuters reports that the US Congressional Budget Office predicts: "The Iraq war could cost U.S. taxpayers between $202 billion and $406 billion more over the next 10 years".
These projections come at a time when, as
Martha Burk has pointed out (Ms.), the US government has cut "[d]omestic-violence prevention by $35 million, Medicaid by $17 billion over five years and child care programs by 1.03 billion over five years."
In other costs paid,
Reuters reports 12 corpses were discovered in Tal Afar. CBS and the AP note a corpse ("shot in the chest . . . signs of torture") discovered in Azizyah".
noted earlier this morning, seven people were killed ("after Friday prayers") when a Sunni mosque in Baghdad was bombed. Meanwhile Reuters reports that a mosque in Balad Ruz was hit by mortar rounds leaving at least two dead and four wounded while a car bomber in Mosul who killed himself and five others. The AFP covers a mortar attack in Baghdad that left one person dead and nine wounded.
Shooting deaths?
Reuters notes that two policeman were killed by a sniper in Tal Afar while a minibus near Kut was attacked "with machine gun fire" resulting in five dead ("including a wwoman and a child"). Meanwhile, the AFP reports attacks in two cities: a car was "ambushed" in Tikrit by assailants who shot the father dead and wounded the son; and, in Mosul, two different attacks left a police officer dead as well as the bodyguard of a judge. And the Associated Press reports a drive-by in Baghdad that killed a taxi driver.
BBC noted the death of several Iraqi soldiers (12 at that point) in Kirkuk when they were attacked with "rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns". AFX raised the number dead to 13 (citing "colonel Mahmud Abdulla").
following yesterday's kidnapping attempt that left wrestling coach Mohammed Karim Abid Sahib dead, the AP reports that: "Iraq's national wrestling team [has] pulled out of a tournament in the United Arab Emirates".
In the United States,
Saturday July 15th is a day of action calling for Suzanne Swift to receive an honorable discharge including a protest, "at the gates of Ft. Lewis (exit 119) beginning at 12 pm with a press converence at 3 pm" in Washington state -- while in Eugen, Oregon there will be a demonstration outside the Federal Building at noon.
In DC (and across the globe -- over 22 countries), the fast led by
CODEPINK and others continues. As Thursday's The KPFA Evening News reported some Congressional members, including Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney and Lynne Woolsey took part in a one-day fast on Thursday. Ann Wright, who ressigned from the State Department on May 19, 2003 and is taking part in the actions stated: "The only reason we fast is to force us to remember what's going on here. That innocent Iraqis are dying every day, Americans are dying every day. We need to get this war ended. So, yeah, we're going to up the ante".
Wednesday July 19th, San Antonio, TX will be the location for a "public hearing held by the the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves" -- "in the Iberia Ballroom of the La Mansion Del Rio Hotel, 112 College Street, San Antonio."
There will be two panels with the first lasting from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and focused on "
roles and missions to funding requirements" and the second, lasting from 2:00 pm to 4 pm, focusing on how reserves were "involuntarily mobilized after September 11, 2001".


Betty babbling on

How about that Rebecca? Wasn't "is there a price tag on your ass?" something?

As good as it was, it's not why I'm late in posting. Sherry e-mailed thinking I wasn't posting because of the fact that I wanted to be sure everyone read Rebecca's post. (From the e-mails, everyone did.) The reason I'm late is because I made a committment to get a chapter up this week. That's hard anytime but especially when filling in. (I love filling in.)

C.I. and Kat both called this evening (together) and said, "Let's hear it." So I gave them scraps I had so far and they were kind enough to point out that Robert Novak had already been dressed up as Mary Pickford (I'd had him dressed up as Garbo in the drafts I was working on).

So with a lot of encouragement, I managed to finish and post the latest chapter "The War Paint Council." I think it's funny. I'm not sure of the spelling of Sherman and Leona's last name (or names if they spell it differently) but I thought, "What the heck."

It's up. I wish I thought it was as funny as Kat and C.I. do. After I'd started picking a paragraph here and there and doctoring a sentence, I called them back and read the version that went up. They were laughing and encouraging.

Is it any good? I never know. On the one hand, I hope someone who stumbles across it finds something that makes them grin or laugh. But I know that not everyone reads Thomas Friedman and you may need to read him (I'm not recommending it) to get what I'm trying to do. (You may not.)

Whenever one first goes up, all I know is that I'm not happy with it. "For" or "from"? I posted the chapter, then went back and changed that. Then changed it again.

Then I realized, I'd only end up chaning more and more so I should leave it alone. And, by the way, Betty here subbing for Rebecca while she's on vacation. Probably should have put that in the first sentence.

But no, I never know when it goes up what anyone's going to think. When I'm writing it, I'm focused on what I want to say. When I hit the "publish post" button is when I really start to think about whether anyone will think it's funny or not.

Sometimes they do (the community and a number of visitors are very kind) and sometimes they don't (I get patches of hate mail from time to time -- that's fine as long as they aren't being racist or making threats).

Elaine's back from her vacation (but I don't think she's posting tonight -- it's late and she has last night's post up but nothing new) and I wanted to say that I thought Sunny did a wonderful job filling in. I really enjoyed reading Sunny's writing.

And I enjoy your e-mails that you're sending care of this site too. I hope no one's upset when I say, "I can't answer that now." I really would love to answer some questions about Betinna. I will go ahead and say that in August, unless something changes, the Friedman will hit the fan. This is what a number of things have been leading up to. And following that, Betinna will begin seeing Elaine as a patient. That's all I can say.

Well, I can say the novel will end in November of 2008. Will the site end then? I don't know. I have so much fun here that I wonder if when the novel wraps up, maybe I should then just blog?

It really is fun doing this. Rebecca's kind and says not to worry about anything -- typos, language, you name it. So there's a freedom here that I don't have at my own site where there are things I want to say but can't because I always have to factor in if it's something Betinna would do?

This is so much more fun. All I knew when I logged on was that I'd include the Iraq snapshot at the end. That's so much easier than grabbing the legal pads, the outline, Thomas Friedman's columns and then attempting to figure out what I can write based on all that.

Goldie wrote a lovely e-mail about Friday's post wondering if I was in favor of censorship? No. But I am in favor of responsibility and the world didn't end because Timberlake bared Jackson's breast at the Superbowl but I did think it was embarrassing for her and, by proxy, for Black women.

But I will add, sorry, Goldie, that I do think parents need to figure out what they're okay with. If you're okay with everything, that's fine. I'm not going to tell you how to raise your children, don't tell me how to raise mine. But a lot of people who aren't fine with everything get bent out of shape when their child sees or hears something that they (the parents) could have prevented exposure to in the first place.

What worries me the most is the continued glamorization of violence. That's in so many songs today, in the words stumbling from the Bully Boy's lips and in our 'journalism.'

Take Janet's breast. I would have been far less offended if a man hadn't been ripping her blouse off. When you add in that she's Black and he was White and there's a whole history there in this country, it was just too much for me. I didn't contact the FCC or the network. (I did contact ABC when they were attempting to have Justin host a Motown special right after that. I found that offensive.) If Janet had ripped off her own blouse, I would've rolled my eyes.

I bet many would have. I think that was part of the violence in our culture. They're supposedly singing a song and there's Justin ripping off her blouse. That's not sexy. In a video, maybe it would have been. In front of a large, present audience, it was one more time when a woman was treated as meat and it was one more time when a Black woman was offered up for the fantasies of others by a White male.

Janet's breast itself didn't concern too much. I honestly don't remember it. I'm sure it was lovely. But we were watching, my family, and I and there was just a stunned silence the moment after Timberlake ripped her blouse. Then there was a lot of talk about how offensive that was in terms of race.

That's where I went right away myself. But I also brought up the issue of they were attempting to be sexy and how is a man ripping off a woman's blouse to a crowd of people (many of them male) sexy?

Janet stopped being an artist in that moment and was nothing but a flesh offering.

Had she ripped her own blouse, I would've rolled my eyes. But there were a number of dynamics involved (rape and violence being only two) and I remember my own first reaction, while everyone sat in silence, was to immediately look at my sons who were both playing with their backs to the TV. (My daughter was asleep in my lap.)

Not all the kids missed it. My nephews and nieces were glued to the TV when it happened. I don't think they're damaged for life but I also think I would be worried about it if we all hadn't been present and discussing it.

I know parents can't always do that. When the kids are watching cartoons, I'm in the kitchen cooking dinner or fixing breakfast. That's why it's PBS Kids. I don't have to worry about the violence. My oldest hears about shows on TV from his friends and sometimes he'll want to watch them. He asked about Everybody Hates Chris and I told him, "I'm willing to bet there are things you will see that you know you will not do unless you want to be punished. Remember that. Now go watch it."

Why? I've heard good things about it and there are so few TV shows with Blacks on them and even fewer where there's more than one character. With that show, it's Chris' story. I wouldn't let his younger brother watch it alone. (Or with his brother.)

There are a lot more shows that I say no to. For instance, he's in elementary school, who's watching Desperate Housewives? I said, "No, you are not watching that. Why do you want to watch it? What did you hear?" He said they "do" a "lot of things." He means sex which he's not old enough to grasp. But it was summer and he'd heard about it all last year so he wanted to check it out. He knew "no" meant "no." We did watch Lost together because that was a show he'd heard about too. It was over his head. If I had the time, he could watch whatever he wanted because I'd sit down and watch it with him and after we could discuss it. But I don't have that time and he needs a life outside of TV.

When he's Goldie's age, he'll have more freedom. But he's not a teenager and he doesn't need to be waiting for some 'racy' bit that he's not going to understand and will probably screw with his head. (I'll tell a story about a friend sometime and how her head got screwed with when she was a kid.)

We have two TVs in the house. One is my room and is only on if the kids are in here in with me. The other is in the living room. That makes it easier for me to know what's being watched. As they get older, if they want their own TVs, it'll be fine. (But I'm not paying for cable. That was my oldest's reaction to my job promotion. He asked, "Are you going to make more money?" When I said I was he said, "Yes! Cable!" We've got bills that are necessary and we have other things to take care of before I'll pay for cable.)

Online, I've got AOL and have the child protection on. He complains about that, my oldest, so I gave him password and told him I'd be checking on where he went so he better keep it clean. He came running into the kitchen last weekend, very upset. He'd gone to a site from a search and he was convinced I was going to say "No more computer!"

We went and looked. It's a site he shouldn't have been at. He went there through a search, I used the "back" button and it wasn't his fault. We talked about the site and I told him not to worry about it because it wasn't his fault.

So that's to answer Goldie's questions.

I'll post the snapshot and then I'm going to bed. I can't believe how late it is.

C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

If you missed it, all is well and good in Iraq.
Or that's the latest Operation Happy Talk spin we're all supposed to get behind. The Associated Press leads the pack (I'm sure the Times will grab the baton tomorrow) in trumpeting the fact that a single province is now under Iraqi control. Any questions about the nature of this province could be put to rest by noting the dwindling coalition's fatality figures for that province (non-existant) but reality must never mar happy talk. As AFP notes: "Aside from Basra, most southern provinces are considered fairly stable and several are slated for security handovers in the next few months -- though coalition force officials admit that immediately following the handovers security may decline as insurgents test the system."
Which is why the AP trumpets the 'small' number of US troops who've lost their lives thus far this month (11) while burying the fact that Iraqi witnesses saw a US helicopter shot down today. ("Iraqi authorities said the helicopter was shot down near Youssifiyah, 12 miles southwest of Baghdad in an area where al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgents operate. The Iraqis spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to media.") Reuters notes the helicopter was on a "combat air patrol."
Things look peaceful?
Earlier today, the AP reported on a bombing of a village council headquarters in Baghdad (bicycle bomb, at least four council members left dead) and the shooting death of a police officer -- in the city under a month's "crackdown." Terry McCarthy (ABC -- America) reports on how fake identification sells for the US equivalent of ten and fifteen dollars and many Iraqis are puchasing them to reduce risk to their lives at checkpoints. McCarthy reports: "Now many Iraqis carry two IDs in their pockets and will produce one or the other, depending on who is asking for it." Packing your fake i.d.? Don't forget your gun. Mariam Karouny (Reuters) takes a look at the conditions that lead many of Baghdad's seven million to arm themselves as the chaos and violence continues around the country and in the capital.
That's reality and some correspondents (such as reportedly one with the New York Times) calling the Bully Boy and his 'plan' for Iraq "delusional" at a college appearance is meaningless when he continues to churn out the sort of nonsense at his paying job that prolongs the delusion.
Other bombs across the country. Reuters reports bombs in Mosul (roadside, five wounded) where a bomber took his own life and six others in a city council in Abi Saida while a car bomb killed four people and wounded at least nineteen; a car bomber took his own life and that of three others in Kirkuk (at least eight more wounded); and mortar rounds in Baghdad left two wounded. The AFP reports a bomb in Baghdad took the lives of five "municipal road sweepers."Kidnappings?
The AP reports a kidnapping attempt on a wrestler and wrestling coach that left the coach, Mohammed Karim Abid Sahib, dead (the wrestler managed to escape).
Reuters notes three corpses discovered near Muqdadiya (three brothers who had been kidnapped the day before).
And in the United States, Joe Biden is raising doubts about Nouri al-Maliki's efforts as prime minister.
But surely, the most important point today is that a restive province with little violence will now be babysat by Iraqi forces (who may find it not so restive, as the AFP noted). And surely, mainstream correspondents will continue to churn out the spin that prolongs the illegal war while wanting points for being "brave" while speaking to college audiences.


is there a price tag on your ass?

is there a press tag on your ass, are you uninformed or just too tired?

that's my question amy goodman of democracy now.

and it's been my question for some time.

but i was waiting to see what would be the last straw?

the gaza coverage 2 weeks ago almost was the lost straw.

but now it's hit a new low so i'm blogging while on vacation as a result of this crap.

so democracy now sends out this little 'daily digest.' in it, it tells you what was on the show, what shows amy goodman's going to be on (and, as wally noted, tells you to write and say you enjoyed her appearance) and it gives you her upcoming appearances.

i came in late to the show. i had the book (exception to the rulers) as a gift from c.i. and, as it is with a lot of books from c.i., i let it sit and sit without opening it. then c.i. started up the common ills and kept linking to the show, so i started watching.

the quality's gone down hill for some time. but i'd probably keep my mouth shut if the 'daily digest' wasn't linking to a blog that is infamous for being sexist (and had a number of women leave and start their own community last summer), wasn't infamous for not including people of color (cedric wrote about this but i had already heard about it from t when i started blogging - the first thing she did was tell me about her own experience at that hideous blog - i'm white woman and i was out of the loop that this happened at all let alone that it was fairly common), infamous for rumors of play-for-pay ads/endorsements and in the midst of some scandal every other moment.

is it 'indymedia'? no, it's not. it's a partisan democratic site.

so why is democracy now urging you to go there repeatedly in each 'daily digest'?

the most obvious reason is that some 1 wants a little pay to play and thinks she can pay with 'traffic' and hopes that people will comment on the nonsense thread to make the operator realize how important she and her show are and maybe it will actually get some coverage.

now if it had been atrios, i don't think any 1 would have blinked. if it had been any other site (besides the blogfather that apparently birthed him out the ass - oh i said butt baby! i'll get slammed the same way janeane was!) it wouldn't have meant shit to anybody.

but to scrape and bow to that blog?

that's what this is and that's why the question is: is there a price tag on your ass, are you too tired or are you just uninformed?

i avoided speaking to c.i. about this for a number of reasons. mainly because i wasn't in the mood for an 'in fairness' conversation.

i don't care if it's an out of control intern.

i don't care if the cia infiltrated show with an intern.

that 'daily digest' represents the show, therefore it represents her.

now at common dreams, 2 writers wrote a wonderful thing about her a few months back (april) and there was no link provided to that story in the daily digest.

what she's providing a link to isn't anything worth linking to. what is it 2, 3 paragraphs and then a bunch of comments from people who don't follow the show?

every 1 knows about the bill clinton interview in november of 2000. if you know the title 'democracy now' then you know about that interview.

so when you see a thread where people mention that interview and (with few exceptions) only that interview, then you're not dealing with people who follow the show.

you're dealing with people who think 'better weigh in! i don't watch it! what do i know? oh, bill clinton!'

that was 6 years ago. if that's the only thing people can think of (and for most that is all) that's a sign of something. maybe that they don't watch it or maybe that it's just not memorable.

let's explore that thing above. kat didn't delink to the show today. she didn't have to, she never provided a link to on her blog roll. she would link to certain things if she felt they were worth noting (and she didn't feel that most of the time). that's been my approach here as well.

so here's the reason for that, noted with kat's permission. kat has no idea what happened on 9/11 but she has no reason to dismiss people from offering their take - after all that's all the so called public record is.

so amy goodman interviewed david ray griffin. he has a theory about 9/11 and it's a well known theory. his writing sells.

so what's the problem?

the problem is, she only brought him on after people showed up at her book tour and repeatedly put her on the spot asking her way she 'miss indymedia' refused to offer anything that challenged the official version of 9/11?

so under repeated and intense pressure she finally decides to have david ray griffin on the show.

now how does she thank her loyal fans?

does she probe him with an extended interview?

no, not really. because less than 1/2 way it become a 'debate.'

if she didn't want the man on the show, don't have him on the show.

it's that simple.

but she had him on the show, supposedly to talk about his book and his theories about 9/11.

now there's a whole back story to that interview and how it was supposed to be a joint interview with the woman who was suing bully boy for his alleged complicity in 9/11 (which amy goodman misrepresented on her show - the law suit) but they got split up. instead of being interviewed together, amy goodman split up the woman and griffin.

now that's a problem. she only brought the author on because fans of the show pressed her into doing so and then she practices ambush journalism which is somehow supposed to endear her to the fans she's attempting to please/satisfy by bringing on griffin?

(fyi, bonnie faulkner has interviewed david ray griffin many times on her show guns and butter and she's never felt the need to ambush him or make sure she did some sort of wink to the listeners to let them know she wasn't buying it. gore vidal's written about that nonsense and it is nonsense. if you're bringing them on your show and you're a journalist, you bring them on to hear their story, not to ridicule them or allow them to be ridiculed.)

she says there's a debate and the other guest is brought on in the 2nd segment. he hasn't heard griffing comments. how can be there a debate if he hasn't paid attention and 'rush transcript' doesn't excuse some of the points that don't make it in.

what is the 'okay!' amy goodman suddenly screams in the middle of david ray griffin's talk? who is she talking to? it's not in the transcript. but i remember, when kat told me about this bit of shit interview going online, and listening. i listened and read along (you can google it and do the same) and the 'okay!' reads 'okay' as though she's saying 'yes continue' but that's not what it is. the whole damn thing smacks of that moment in bullworth where warren beatty's telling the corporate newscaster to listen to the voice in her ear piece and save her job.

that being a movie, the woman doesn't.

in reality, on our brave show, amy goodman's screaming 'okay!' what is that about?

she needs to explain why she's so excited and who's she's speaking to in the middle of an interview while a guest is answering a question.

the whole thing played like a call in.

and i'm not aware of guests coming on to discuss their work and having people join the interview in the midst of it to refute the guest. that certainly didn't happen with thomas friedman when not only did no guest challenge him but the host appeared asleep for most of the interview.

and since she screams that 'okay!' some 1 needs to explain why it's 'okay' in the transcript.

that's bad and that's why kat had no interest in ever putting the show on her blogroll. but what's bad is what the hell is happening to the show?

bill richardson, who basically told amy goodman to go to hell at the dnc convention in 2004, gets his ass kissed this year by the same amy goodman. he doesn't want to talk to about wen ho lee, though his finger prints are all over that (and much worse, read greg palast). he wants to be president in 2008 and she's blowing verbal kisses to him. that's a problem.

it gets worse. betty wrote about thomas friedman's appearance on democracy now without having heard it. kat told her what he said while it was going on, they were on the phone, betty listens to it in the car during the evening.

betty hears the interview and can't believe it. she told herself that since betinna (the character in her online novel) would only hear thomas friedman's side (as he spoke into the phone), it was okay for her novel.

but exactly why did amy goodman let friedman trash hugo chavez in explicit terms and never challenge him?

why did she let juan gonzales do the heavy lifting with michael gordon when he (gordon) snapped at her?

i thought this was our brave voice. so why's she doing these softballs?

why is thomas friedman even on to begin with? he's not a brave left voice. so if you're not going to challenge him, why have him on?

i didn't need his spewing. that interview pissed me off.

then came gaza. where an israeli guest who used to be in the israeli government (ben-ami) gripes about the way he's treated on the show and she says she's sorry. on air.

what's up with that?

he's allowed to talk over the other guests, he's allowed to lecture and pick what's he's going to respond to and yet he still has to have his baby temper tantrum and she's saying 'i'm sorry'?

what she should have said was, 'too bad.' what she could have done was ignore his tantrum.

what is this ass kiss now?

that's not democracy now.

and the gaza reporting was flawed and remains so.

maybe she's tired.

maybe she's trying to make sure that all the npr stations that won't carry the show will carry it if she goes for 'balance.'

people shouting at each other is what we got on crossfire so why she thinks we benefit from listening to that is beyond me.

the interview with david ray griffin has to be heard to be believed.

personally, i believe the planes brought down the towers. i'm a recovering mainstream media junkie. but i'm not opposed to hearing some 1 present an alternative case. certainly the bully boy has lied about everything else and the mainstream press has given him plenty of cover.

i think that david ray griffin's theory is more valid than the laughable 'shit' (to use bob kerrey's term) that the official 911 commission churned out.

if you pay attention, you'll note that joan mellen's never been a guest, that the brave indy program won't go there or address jfk.

now it can mention on malcolm x's assassination, a line or 2 here and there. but they have no interest in the jfk assassination.

but to get back to 9/11, a guest presenting an argument and a caller (i use that for a reason and most are aware of another interview in which some 1 was invited on another program but decided not to appear only to show up on the phone in the midst of an interview to dismiss the claims) who trashes every 1 as a conspiracist (christic institue most famously), what was she thinking?

was she thinking there would be a dialogue?

no. she had to know it would be 'this is what i think' by 1 guest and another snorting (as he does during the interview) and going 'wrong!'

that's not a dicussion, it's not even a debate. that's bullshit debate. that's the sort of debate you see in middle school. it's not a real debate. it's a dog and pony show. and she didn't even know her facts accusing david ray griffin of saying that a reporter didn't exist when that was another author.

so i'm not a big fan of the so-called debates and discussions on that show.

but what about when they get facts wrong?

c.i. was very kind last week and waited until edward wong repeated a falsehood twice in print. only the 2nd time did c.i. call wong out. ('NYT: 'Facts is hard' Edward Wong demonstrates'). thing is, democracy now repeated that falsehood and they continue to do so. steven green wasn't arrested last week.

do your fucking research. good god, c.i. provided more details on that online than anyone except sandra lupien (i'm assuming that because c.i.'s given all credit in personal conversations to lupien's broadcast). last week, on monday, c.i. linked to the government press release and wrote about how steven green was arrested on june 30th.

the new york times ran a correction on wong's articles so why can't amy goodman get it right?

c.i. didn't call out that show on it (but did correct them in the highlight). they continue to get it wrong. even after the new york times corrected their own mistake.

democracy now, which mike pointed out 2 sundays ago wasn't interested in covering nancy a. youssef's explosive story that the us government was keeping a body count on iraqis, despite the lies and denials they issued, can't get their facts right.

now you can pin it on a new intern or new staff member, but really, get your fucking facts straight or just go off the air.

i'm not in the mood for crappy journalism.

we need real journalism and if the show provide some, fine and dandy. but this nonsense of not even knowing the right day for when someone was arrested when it's in a government press release? i mean come on.

worry a little less about kissing ass online to a big blogger and worry a little more about doing your damn job. get your shit together or pack it in.

i'm sick of the bullshit, i'm sick of the nonsense.

and when they want to promote a blog that's run women off, that's not friendly to african-americans and that's surrounded with rumors of how they drop endorsements of candidates for money (and forget the rumors, the fact that they're playing kid gloves with the likes of war hawk mark warner is disgusting enough).

now maybe, like when steven green was arrested, goodman doesn't know this.

well she needs to. and she needs to be providing a lot more supervision to that show because the quality has sunk. little less word of mouth, little more work.

this community is furious about the repeated blog link (which is an endorsement). cedric wondered how much that had to do with the fact that the common ills and mike promote the hell out of that show? i'm sure that's part of it, but it's a small part. the larger issue is that they do so much damage these days.

what was that coverage of the mexican elections?

it was encouraging advocacy. and let me tell you how that's playing out at the resort i'm in (not in mexico), welathy, old right-wingers are laughing at reports that, from america, mexicans or mexican-americans are going to stream into mexico for protests.


it damages the cause of the immigration issue here.

forget the flags of mexico at the protests, that's a totem, that's honoring your ancestors.

but when you're leaving this country to go protest the elections in mexico, you're putting a 'trash me, trash my issue' sign on your back for every right winger and you damn well better believe the right wing press will pick up on it and the centrist press (the big press) will play it that way as well.

how? 'they say they want to be a part of this country but look what they're doing!'

do i think there's anything wrong with it? no.

but i know image. i know p.r. and that's going to hurt the immigration cause in this country.

every hater and every on the fencer is going to hear about people leaving america to go participate and they're attitude is going to be, 'well, i guess we know where there loyalties are.'

it's the last damn thing the immigration cause in this country needs. but at the bar, this prick had printed up some newsletter he was e-mailed and was laughing about it, a prediction that millions were going to stream across the border into mexico to protest the elections.

this isn't 'joe 6 pack.' this is a filthy rich prick.

i've said before the left needs to do some reality wake ups and i'll say it again.

this resort isn't the sort of place i'd go to on my own. (and elaine was full of complaints about it.)
(she was correct on every 1.) i have my own money, i earned it. but with fly boy, i am exposed to those wealthy base that funds those publications, organizations, et al because that's the sort of the crowd that goes to these places.

in fact, let me talk about that and 2 other things. (mike's not posting until i get this up.)

1st off, this word of mouth scheme (playing cozy with a 'big blog') that's pissing people off. let me share with you some research from a few years back. i worked with a company that did business with the public. they had a really bad image and they were suffering.

they wanted to creat a new image.

we did research on that. here's what we found out. it's eaier to keep your customers than to go after new 1s. 'easier' means cheaper.

why do you lose customers?

think about some where you used to go. you may have left because something new opened up. you may have left because you lost interest. those were answers from our polling. but it was slightly over 50% that stated they left because they felt they were ignored, dismissed or in some way treated rudely.

that's what's going on with this ass-kiss link in the 'daily digest' - it's going to hurt them. they'll lose listeners or readers who will never come back.

and it's not even an article on amy goodman. it's not an interview. it's just 2 or 3 lousy paragraphs and she's risking her credibility and the show's promoting that blog hoping that traffic and additional posts that her loyal faithful will give to that post will lead to more coverage at that site that's ignored her for the most part.

that may happen. i doubt it. unless she's going to give air kisses to every dem the way she did with bill richardson. but what it is doing is pisisng people off. and those people, they won't come back. she's losing them. she's sending them packing.

elaine's going to tackle another angle, by the way. she should be home or on the way home as i'm typing this (from the airport).

now because i was plugging the show people in fly boy's crowd knew about it. i stopped plugging it a long time ago and only linked when mike would beg to me. but my mother-in-law didn't know that. she knows every 1 ('that matters') and was working on some funding as a favor to me. i called her up yesterday and told her to stop it.

she has. why? because i asked her to but also because big blog is run by 'squeak.' i didn't realize c.i. didn't come up with that name. (c.i. never presented it as though it was original.) that's what big blogger's called by the big families in the united states. 'squeak.'

(c.i. is part of the big families as most members know.)

my mother-in-law mentioned the 'social climber' post that c.i. did on squeak. and i didn't even know she followed the common ills? she doesn't. that was some thing that got bandied around because it was funny and because it represented that class's way of thinking.

he is an obvious social climber.

he won't get far. obvious social climber's don't.

i'm not of that class. having money doesn't make you part of it. (i'd argue marriage doesn't - based on when fly boy, who is part of it, and i were married.) you're born into it. wherever in the world, you're born into it.

c.i. and ava were born into it. they can navigate it beautifully. jim will tell me some social story about ava and i will think, 'i know just what you mean, i remember college days with c.i.'

that class has their own code. you can't break into it, you can't 'crash the gates.' and when you reveal your ambition, you're seen as a social climber and that's about the worst thing you can be in their eyes.

i'm not insulting ava or c.i. (or fly boy). they can't help what they were born into. they're the wacky 1s that are embraced for that. (my mother-in-law calls c.i. a socialist in a fond way and c.i.'s not socialist - nothing wrong with being 1, but c.i.'s not 1 - but that's the sort of way they're seen, as the do gooders. and it's seen as their quirk, their lark.)

there are rules and c.i. knows them very well and always has. c.i. can tell you the exact standing at any given moment of any 1. when a press reported wealthy heir embarrassed herself, c.i. explained that the wealth was gone long ago and only the 'idiot press' still thinks the heir has wealth.

amy goodman's hurting herself with her viewers and listeners by trying to play ass kiss with squeak. but the more damaging thing is what her efforts have done to her image among the 'people who matter'. goodman's not low on the social scale. if she was, she wouldn't have gotten so far. (that's the truth, sorry to pop any bubbles. if it helps, i did quite well but i did better after i married fly boy. clients that wouldn't have returned my calls suddenly wanted to do business.) she has a pedigree. she could become 1 of the big success stories (by the way, i had new appreciation for eddie muphy's trading places after i married fly boy). attaching herself to a social climber in any form hurts her. to quote my mother-in-law 'that's just not done.'

i heard that over and over when fly boy and i were married. and yes, we are getting remarried which is why i started calling her my mother-in-law awhile back (instead of my ex-mother-in-law). we plan a small ceremony of just friends and his parents.

but there are guidelines and there are rules. can you break them? ava and c.i. do. they get away with it. (fly boy's not quite the rebel they are but for that crowd, he's a rebel.) but they were born in. and they're not going to do anything that embarrasses themselves or any of their crowd.

that's why c.i. really doesn't approach journalism criticism from the point of view of an editor or a reporter. c.i.'s coming at it from the higher level. that's the way it was growing up, the talk.

but let's drop back to some things are not done.

1 thing is those out of the set should never think they're in or that they're getting in. if you must think it, for god's sake don't say it. to do so is to be labeled a social climber. that's akin to being labeled a pedophile in the general population. there's nothing worse.

the minute that happens, you are a joke and you will remain a joke.

the best advice c.i. gave me when i married fly boy was, 'don't need anyone. the only power you will have is the fact that people think you don't care about them. if they think that, they'll find you interesting. if they know you want to be liked, you won't be.'

(2nd best advice? 'nolan miller doesn't costume this set. there is a very limited number of deisgners that are accepted, they aren't the 1s that pop up on tv or in the fashion pages. don't wear something new to impress unless it's a gala.' which really is true. i've never seen so many worn clothes outside this set. you don't want anything looking to new because it indicates that you've just 'arrived.')

so the point here is she's associating herself with a social climber and that's going to hurt her. my mother in law is probably black balling her as i type (fly boy nods yes).

as for squeak, he's going to get some press play (note the working press, earning pay checks, unless they come from the established moneyed set, are just the servants. that's how they see them.) and then he's going to realize, after the 2008 election, how unimportant he is. that's happened repeatedly to social climbers. maybe he can parlay it in a celeb set but he's got no power because he's revealed that he wants power.

the few that do manage to rise up, do it understanding the code and the biggest part is that you don't show ambition to rise. you keep your head down, focus on the work and keep your nose clean.

i want to talk about the trashing c.i. had from some 1 recently and i'll just note that in that 'lovely' retold story, the jerk forgot to explain that, years ago, he made a very clumsy, very drunken pass at c.i. and was turned down. not because he was seen as the hired help (c.i. doesn't look at it that way) but because he had really bad breath. he had some dental work done shortly after and possibly the odor resulted from a rotting tooth but he had really bad breath. (and was very drunk and basically attempted to maul c.i. and even friends know you don't just grab c.i. ava's the same way and she came from a much more physically demonstrative family. i told dona to say: 'i'm going to give you a hug' when she explained that she'd hugged ava and ava had just stiffened up. that's what i did for years with c.i. because it wasn't a touchy-feely background and that really is awkward to them when that kind of physical contact comes out of the blue.)

(for the first 2 years of college, anytime i hugged c.i. out of the blue, and i'm a hugger, c.i. would go stiff as a board. it was just a totally new experience.)

now maybe she's completely unaware of the links to squeak (repeated links) but that's too bad. she's been tarred and feathered by them. she's a social climber by association. she may as well have gone the home shopping network with joan rivers to sell some gaudy jewelry.

(a woman c.i. knows, who is a name, is smart enough to keep a distance from squeak. she was raised in money, she knows the rules too. amy goodman would have been smart to have sought out advice from that woman - whom she knows.)

so every 1 who's bothered can take comfort in that. as my mother-in-law said repeatedly on the phone, 'some things just aren't done.' (and amy goodman should have known that.)

shit this thing is long and i'm on vacation. i'm not doing links. i've got a blank space for a c.i. entry that i will put in but other than that, i'm not doing links.

squeak blackballed himself the 2nd he said he was crashing the gates. it didn't help that he's not attractive and that his voice is in the female range. but he's hurt his own cause with his naked desire to be part of a big set. (i'm not of that set. please. after my divorce, a lot of people stopped talking to me. that was fine with me in most cases - 2 women did shock me because i had thought that we were real friends. i'm sure that once news leaks out that fly boy and i are remarrying, they'll call me up and say, 'where have you been?' this time i won't make the mistake of assuming that they're friends. there was also a cold shoulder from most of the neighbors who didn't take well to the idea that i got the house in the divorce settlement - the only thing i asked for. but it was 'family property' and so i got and get sneers from many neighbors.)

amy goodman made her name by keeping her head down and focusing on the work. that's pretty much all destroyed (the image) by associating herself with squeak. that's how it works.

i've delinked. every 1 has but c.i. who probably won't delink. if the community says 'no more,' the show won't be noted any more but c.i. was raised to believe that you tolerate imperfections in others and there won't be any delinking there. there also won't be any trashing of the show there. (again, that's how it's done. if c.i. were to trash it, it would be done with a whisper. if you want to understand this set, read edith wharton. nothing's really changed. and, not surprisingly, wharton was c.i.'s favorite dead author. i could not get how that stuff would work when we were reading her in college and c.i. would give me that 'i'm going to be patient here' look and explain and explain.)

it's a different world. i'm not a part of it. i have been an observer by friendship and by marriage. for instance, an example, as most people who come here know, i have a name on this site. it was my legal name at 1 time. it's not my business name and it's not my maiden name. it's not what's on my driver's lic. now. c.i. said, 'oh rebecca, don't use your real name. what if you and fly boy get back together.' people in that set don't look for press. (so when you see some 1 popping up in the press, it's a sure sign that some 1's got money problems.)

many moths ago, sherry told me that c.i. and i both got an online link from the new york times. c.i. was embarrassed by that ('people know me'), my attitude was 'they didn't put my name in!' i'm rebecca winters here (winters is from my 1st marriage, the 1 that was annulled). it says so on the site. they name all these people and then they say something like 'sex and politics and screeds and attitude writes' and i was like, 'where is my name!' i was raised differently and getting your name mentioned was some thing big.

fly boy's making a point in my ear, reading over my shoulder, and i don't understand it. if i do, i may add it later or in a few days. thanks so much to betty who has been subbing for me. she's done a wonderful job. thanks to mike and wally for their phone calls. (hint, hint, c.i. i haven't heard 1 word from you!) (i'm joking, i knew c.i. wasn't going to phone while elaine was here. that was our time to bond and c.i. wasn't going to 'butt in'.) fly boy says hi to sherry & marlene.
i'll say the vacation's lasting at least 1 more week. take care everybody.


Note from Betty (with quote from Rebecca)

Betty here. Not saying much tonight. This is Rebecca's site. Sunny called wondering what she was supposed to write about? I hadn't thought of it and planned to share what I thought about today's events. But she got me to thinking that I am filling in so I told her to hold on and I'd call back. I called Recca and told her what was going on.

Direct quote: "What the fuck!" She told Elaine and she asked me to pass on to Sunny not to worry about blogging. She'll be getting back late tommorrow and she'll deal with it tomorrow night. (Sunny said, "Thank God.")

I don't know if Cedric knows about it but I know when he finds out his attitude's going to be, "I saw it coming." He did too. Rebecca told me to write what I wanted about it but I'm thinking about C.I. and how this is one more piece of dog poop that C.I.'s going to have to clean up so I'm not going to say anything.

I don't want to do anything that's going to make C.I. feel boxed in. I've read several e-mails from community members and I know people are really intense about this so I don't want to add to that. There was one e-mail I'll note but not name that said it was wrong for a mass e-mail to urge us to visit a site but if C.I. continued to promote that show, C.I. was promoting that site the show promoted.

Members hate that site. (I don't care for it because Black people really aren't it's audience and that's always been real clear.) They might as well have put: "Click here and donate to the Jeb Bush campaign for president" in their mass e-mail because that might actually have made a few people laugh. This just ticked off everyone.

So I won't be blogging tomorrow night and Rebecca's going to try to blog. She said she also intendes to do some "house keeping" (which would probably mean her blogroll).


My Iraq op-ed

I told Mike I was tired and not sure I had much to blog on tonight. He kindly offered to let me do what Elaine usually does, they're "blog twins" going through the headlines of Democracy Now! and picking out headlines to discuss. I really appretiate that (thank you, Mike). By the way, this is Betty, filling in for Rebecca.

Dozens Dead in Iraq Violence
Dozens of people are dead following a wave of attacks targeting Shiite and Sunni areas of Baghdad. On Sunday, at least forty-two people were killed when masked gunmen attacked a Sunni neighborhood. Within hours, at least nineteen people were killed and fifty-nine wounded when two car bombs hit a Shiite mosque in northern Baghdad.

Okay, let's dive into this. In March 2003, the three year mark of the illegal war passed. 2544 American troops have died. How many more have to die? I look at my three kids, two boys and a girl, and I'm thinking are they going to be serving in the Bully Boy's illegal war of choice? When does this war end?

We're there because of lies. That's important and shouldn't be forgotten but exactly why are we still there? I know Rebecca has a lot of young readers and I want to say to you guys, I know you're opposed to the war, but do you think about that? That this war may go on and on? Some of you are in high school and some are in junior high? Are our elected leaders and our mainstream press so pig-headed and stubborn that they don't even blink at the figure 2544 and are willing to add more to that count year after year?

And if you're one of Rebecca's older readers and you have kids, are you willing to let your kids go to Iraq and die because Bully Boy lied the nation into war?

I read this site and I know people like Goldie and her mother are active. I'm not trying to say that you all do not do your part because I know you do. I know you will continue to do your part and more. But what I'm talking about isn't activism here. That's really important. I go to rallies (with my kids), I phone my representatives offices, I talk about the war to my friends and my family and I did the fast on the Fourth of July. That's all important and, like you, I'm willing to do more.

But what I'm talking about here is, where exactly do the "brilliant minds" supporting this war think the end is?

Things haven't gotten better in Iraq.

There is no end for the war. Either the administration is planning to stay in Iraq forever or they are insane and can't grasp that the US presence only increases the violence.

Either way, that's bad news for you and me, for the children, for everyon. And I'm just focusing on Americans here. I'll talk about Iraqis on the next headline.

But it's not just that the administration and most Republicans in Congress are willing to let this war drag on forever, it's also that most Democrats in Congress won't oppose the war.

In 2008, if we get a Democrat for president and he or she is sworn in January 2009, do you think the troops are coming home?

If you're in high school or junior high, that may seem like a long way away, but it's less than three years and when only twelve Democratic senators (and one independent) can call for withdrawal in a year's time, how is that party going to find the guts to pull the plug on the illegal war?

They're not.

In 2009, if the Democrats win the presidency and have continued being so cowardly, they won't pull out the troops because they'll be afraid that they'll be called "cut and run" so they'll make some prolonged exit plan that lasts three or four years. Let's say after the Democratic president is sworn in, they go with a three year option, okay? That's 2012.

That's nine years.

This was was sold on lies and marketed with spin like "cakewalk." Nine years.

Unless Congress starts being responsive, we could be looking at nine years or more.

Probe: Senior Officers Negligent Over Haditha Killings
Meanwhile, a high-ranking military probe has concluded senior Marine officers were negligent in investigating last year’s massacre of twenty-four Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha. The investigator, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, says the officers failed to question inaccurate and misleading information when it was first reported to them. Chiarelli has recommended unspecified disciplinary action. If charged, the Marine officers would be among the most senior US military officials to be brought to justice since the start of the Iraq war.

Does that help win "hearts and minds"? It doesn't. If you follow C.I.'s "Iraq snapshots" each day, you know things are better. You know things are worse for Iraqis. Corspes popping up all over, day after day, with signs of torture, bombs going off, people being kidnapped, drive-bys, gunned down.

Things get progressively worse for them. Would you believe, if you were them, that the US was ever leaving? With Abu Ghraib, Haditha, murders at check points (including the pregnant woman on her way to the hospital to give birth), and now rape, would you trust them?

And those are only the events that are publicly reported.

When Dahr Jamail says that these publicized crimes aren't uncommon, well he's been on the ground in Iraq. He communicates with Iraqis, people like you or me, not elected people (or 'elected' people). He knows what Iraqis are thinking and feeling about the ongoing occupation and about the occupiers.

People are dying . . . It's hot here. It's summer, it's hot. But in Iraq, it's a bit hotter. And the electricty goes in and out. People sleep on the roofs to get out of the heat and then a plane comes over and bombs. This happened just this weekend (again) with people being reported dead as a result.

What do you think about that? You're a kid and you lost your sister or your brother or your mother or your father or two of them, or three, or whatever combination. There's no, "Oh, that's okay. I love the American forces."

You see them and you see someone who killed a member of your family.

It's past time for Iraqis to be allowed to determine their course. The US needs to leave. Iraq needs to create their own laws (not be stuck with those "Bremer laws" that turn their country into a neocon experiment factory).

Even on a good day, if you're an Iraqi, you can't forget that your country isn't your country because Iraqis aren't in charge. Iraq is occupied and, even on a good day, that's not going to make things better or go over well. In polls of Iraqis, they repeatedly state that they want US forces to withdraw. Do we think they don't know what's right for their country?

It's their country. Until it is turned over to them, they will continue to resist the occuyping power.

I'll close out tonight with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Violence and chaos continue.
Bombings, shootings, corpses, kidnappings -- characteristics of daily life in Iraq -- continue while the miliary releases the name of the five US troops charged this weekend in the Mahmoudiya incident and Iraq attempts to overturn the immunity law that exempts suspects from being charged in and by Iraq (foreign troops and contractors).
AFP notes that a car bomb in Baghdad killed at least ten and left at least fifty-one wounded. The Associated Press notes that this car bomb happened "near a repair shop on the edge of . . . Sadr City". Al Jazeera notes the second bombing which occurred "outside a restaurant near the central bank in central Baghdad" resulting in at least six dead and at least 28 wounded. A third bomb, roadside, resulted in the wounding of five police officers according to Reuters.
Also in Baghdad,
CBS and AP note that a bus was "ambushed" with the seven people on it killed (six passengers and the driver) and the bus set on fire.
As Brian Edwards-Tiekert noted today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, "violence came despite a security crackdown in the capital raising new questions about the effectiveness of the police and Iraqi army."
Outside of Baghdad,
Al Jazeera notes a roadside bomb in Hillah killed one police officer and wounded four while, in Kirkuk, "a sucide truck bomb struck an office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan" leaving five dead and twelve wounded. Reuters reports a roadside bomb in Yusifya that took the life of one person and left two more wounded; and a car bomb in Baquba that left eleven wounded. CBS and the AP note a bomb in Mahmoudiya that left ten wounded and a car bomb in Ramadi that wounded four US troops.
BBC notes that Adnan Iskandar al-Mahdawi ("member of the provincial council in Diyala province") is dead as a result of a drive-by. CBS and AP report that, in Baghdad, a doctor was "forced . . . out of his car . . . and killed in front of his family."
Reuters notes two attacks in Baghdad -- one which left three police officers dead and wounded another and a second where two "bodyguards of a judge" were killed and three were wounded.
Reuters reports five corpses were found in Suwayra, one in Kut ("shotgun wounds") and one near Dugail ("gunshot wounds . . . signs of torture") while CBS and AP note the discovery of "two bullet-riddled" corpses in Baghdad and notes five corpses, not one, discovered in Kut.
Reuters notes that "an agriculture official" was kidnapped in Dujail.
Associated Press reports that the latest five charged in the incident involving the alleged rape of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza as well as her murder, and that of three members of her family, are Paul E. Cortez, Anthony W. Yribe, James P. Barker, Jesse V. Spielman, and Bryan L. Howard. Yribe is identified as the one who, as Amy Goodman noted on Democracy Now!, is "charged with dereliction of duty for failing to report the crime." The AP notes that "[t]he others face more serious charges as participants" as well as the fact that two of the five charged are sergeants (Cortez and Yribe). The five join Steven D. Green who was charged on June 30th.
The names of the five are released as
Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports that the US crafted laws for Iraq are facing a challenge according to Wigdan Michael (human rights minister in Iraq) who states "We're very serious about" requesting the "United Nations . . . end immunity from local law for U.S. troops". Michael tells Karouny: "One of the reasons for this is the U.N. resolution, which gives the multinational force soldiers immunity. Without punishment, you get violations. This happens when there is no punishment."
In peace news,
Amy Goodman and Medea Benjamin discussed the Troops Home Fast today. Benjamin stated: ". . . we think this fast is one way that they can do it. We've had people who have read about the fast in the paper, and they're in West Palm Beach, for example, and just jumped on a plane and came and joined us. We have a woman from Vancouver, in Washington state, who heard about the fast and decided that she had to do something more, came and joined us for this week. People who thought they were going to fast for one day have ended up fasting for the entire week and are going into their second week. This can really be a catalyst if people join. Every day we have hundreds more signing up on the troopshomefast.org website and saying they want to participate."
In other peace news, Ehren Watada's mother
Carolyn Ho has stated, of her son's refusal to deploy to Iraq for the illegal war, "He is sending that message to all the armed forces, the message that they need to examine carefully the war they are choosing to fight." Ehren's father, Bob Watada, is comparing the fight against the charges the military has brought against his son to a competition and tells Alyssa S. Navares (Honolulu Star Bulletin), "I have always been one of those dads at every game and practice . . . Although I whip him in a singles match, together we pravail on the court. And trust me, we're going to do it again when we fight these charges."
Reuters is reporting that 200 ex-police officers ("fired . . . for forgery and bribery") stormed the Muthanna governor's office "demanding they be reinstated in their jobs in the southern city of Samawa, the capital of Muthanna province."