CELEBRITY IN CHIEF AND PRINCESS BARRY O, JUST BACK FROM HIS EUROPEAN SHOPPING TRIP WHERE HE PURCHASED SILK PANTIES IN EVERY COLOR, HAS ANNOUNCED THAT THE U.S. DEBT LIMIT MUST BE RAISED.
IF IT'S NOT RAISED, HOW WILL BARRY O BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO AFFORD HIS 73% INCREASE IN THE USE OF A LIMO?
IN HIS BEST MARIE ANTOINETTE MEASURE, BARRY O ASKED, "GOOD GOD WHAT WOULD THEY HAVE ME DO? MAKE LIKE CATHARINE THE GREAT AND RIDE A REALLY BIG STALLION? ACTUALLY THAT MIGHT BE FUN? GET ME ARNE DUNCAN! TO THE LINCOLN BEDROOM IMMEDIATELY!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Another Memorial Day. Of course it's been around for 103 years, but this is our ninth during wartime, which means we're simultaneously honoring dead soldiers, while were putting new ones in the ground at Arlington Cemetery.
As of Friday, 4,454 American servicemen and women have been killed in Iraq; 1,595 in Afghanistan. That doesn't seem like a lot when you consider the more than 58,000 dead in Vietnam and over 415,000 killed in World War II, but we know that today's singular medical capabilities have allowed for tens of thousands of soldiers and Marines to live today who wouldn't have made it off the battlefield 40 years ago. Let's just say it's been a war of a hundred thousand casualties.
Taryn Davis: I guess it all started when my husband Michael was killed in Baghdad, Iraq. I was 21-years-old and basically felt ostracized from society -- even though I had family and friends around -- due to my age and it being written off because I was 21. And I found myself on the internet looking for a way to embrace this title that I held as a military widow because I already knew it signified my husband's sacrifice and my own but I wanted to find the answers on how it could one day symbolize my survival. So I typed in "widow" and it came back with "Did you mean 'window'?" Which probably discouraged most. But it led me to doing more and more research and over half of those serving now are married so we're looking at around 3,000 military widows from Iraq and Afghanistan alone and over 83% of those are under the age of 35. So I just saw this need to bring together this new generation of military widows. Not so much find them counselors, but give them peer-to-peer support, let them see other twenty and thirty and forty-something-year-old widows that really had just started out this amazing lives with their spouses and had them torn apart.
Last week, Danielle Berger (CNN -- link has text and video) reported on the American Widow Project and explained, "When a widow first makes contact with the American Widow Project, Davis sends her an introductory packet that includes her documentary film. The website provides a 24/7 hot line that allows immediate connection to another widow, information on support and services, and personal stories from women who have lost their husbands. It constantly reminds the women that they are in familiar, accepting company." And where was the president of the United States? Niles Gardiner (Telegraph of London) reports:
Sunday, on Weekend Edition, NPR became the first US mainstream news outlet to tell the truth about what the US government is working on. For weeks now, relying on the Arab press, we've noted the pressure that is taking place to extend the SOFA or develop a new arrangment. Day after day, the US press has ignored it. And, in the beggar media (the so-called alternative press), they've flat-out lied and told you nothing or told you it's all Robert Gates. Robert Gates is stepping down as the US Secretary of Defense. When that happens, who are these cowards going to hide behind to avoid placing the blame where it rightly goes?
Arango then acknowledges what a minor presensce al-Sadr's bloc is in Parliament ("roughly 40" seats out of 325) but goes on to talk about how Moqtada backed Nouri for prime minister. While that is true, Nouri became prime minister. Unless there's a vote of no-confidence, it doesn't matter if Moqtada supports him or not. (In 2007 and 2008, Moqtada openly refused to support Nouri. Didn't force his government to collapse.) If Moqtada wants to push a no-confidence vote, it needs to be remembered that Moqtada would only be 40 votes and you need to be figuring who would align with Moqtada?
Let's play this out. Say the majority of the blocs vote to extend the SOFA and keep the US military beyond 2011 and Moqtada is against that. Is that issue going to be the one Moqtada rides to a no-confidence vote? Not at all. He can't. If the bulk of the blocs votes that way why would they then turn against Nouri over it? It makes no sense.
Moqtada vowed he would not support Nouri. He also vowed that he would hold a referendum and abide by the vote. Nouri was not the number one choice in the referendum or the number two choice. But Moqtada ran with Nouri when Iran broke down the facts and handed out the orders to Moqtada. What he did in October and November is now meaningless. He can't say, "I take back my October support!" We'll note this exchange.
CONAN: Secretary Gates, who of course retires next month, but he has said if we're going to stay beyond the end of this year, we're going to have to have a request from the Iraqi government for that pretty soon. Any idea of what's the drop-dead date?
Mr. ARANGO: You know, it's funny, when you talk to the military commanders, they'll say, and they'll remark, and it's been a trend throughout the war. Like, the Iraqis march to a different time than the Americans do, and there really is no drop-dead deadline. And I guess the drop-dead deadline is December 31st because I think - which is a bit of an exaggeration, but I think as they're planning the drawdown, they will always have these contingencies, the American military to leave X amount of troops should the Iraqis finally, you know, make this request.
What will happen if there's no extension by December 31st is that any US troops in Iraq will switch to State Dept's oversight and that a significant number will be deployed to Kuwait where they would wait in limbo if the White House believed that an extension of the SOFA was going to take place (though it hadn't by December 31st). That is the actual plan at this point.
(Not my plan. I'm for all troops out now. That's the White House's plan but they don't believe it's going to take that long. They believe they'll have an extension. And, of course, the back up plan has been -- as addressed in open hearings in Congress repeatedly -- to move the troops from the umbrella of DoD to the State Dept.)
The deputy chairman of Karbala's Provincial Council disclosed that a letter of denunciation shall be handed to the U.S. Embassy due to the U.S. Army's airborne landing north of Karbala, calling on the central government to exert pressures on the U.S. army to cease its violations.
Nisayif Al-Khatabi told Aswat al-Iraq that "the U.S. forces carried out an airborne landing on house to arrest a citizen without any coordination with the local government or security forces."