AMERICA'S PRINCESS, BARRY O, IS VERY, VERY WORRIED. BARRY O IS ABOUT TO TURN 50 AND -- WELL LET'S LET BARRY O TELL IT, "BY 50 MARILYN MONROE WAS DEAD. AND JUDY. ALL THE SEXY AND TALENTED WOMEN. I FEEL LIKE SOPHIA LOREN OR SOMETHING, ABOUT TO DIE A TRAGIC DEATH."
WHEN INFORMED THAT SOPHIA LOREN WAS, IN FACT, STILL ALIVE, THE FOLLOWING EXCHANGE ENSUED.
PRINCESS BARRY O: NO, SHE'S NOT.
US: YES, SHE IS.
PRINCESS BARRY O: I KNOW THESE THINGS. SHE'S DEAD.
US: SHE'S ALIVE.
PRINCESS BARRY O: OH DOODLE ME IN FRENCH! JAY! JAY! JAY, HONEY, CAN YOU STEP OVER HERE FOR A MINUTE. JAY, IS SOPHIA LOREN DEAD OR ALIVE?
STITCH BITCH JAY CARNEY: ALIVE.
PRINCESS BARRY O: HUH? I MEAN, YES! THAT IS JUST WHAT I WAS TELLING THESE REPORTERS!
WITH THAT BARRY O STRAIGHTENED HIS WIG, SMOOTHED OUT HIS SKIRT AND SASHAYED OUT THE DOOR.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
The full text of the Senators' letter is below:
July 20, 2011
The Honorable Dave Heineman
Chair, National Governors Association
444 North Capitol Street
Washington, DC 20001-1512
Dear Governor Heineman:
As you know, there has been a disturbing rise in suicide rates among veterans and members of the military. We are sure you find this trend as troubling as we do. As we continue our work to provide all the needed resources and services to assist servicemembers and veterans with mental health concerns, we ask for your assistance in this effort.
One of the most significant obstacles to understanding veteran suicide is the lack of information available regarding these individuals. In many cases the Department of Veterans Affairs does not even know that a veteran has died if that individual was not enrolled in VA health care. This makes it very difficult for researchers and mental health professionals to study the information and design effective, targeted campaigns to prevent suicide.
This is a result of the fact that only 16 states provide information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Violent Death Reporting System. VA has also been working with the states to create a direct link between the states and VA to communicate information about veteran suicide, but so far only nine states have reached such an agreement with the Department.
Thank you for your assistance, we look forward to working with you on behalf of the nation's veterans.
So, yes, that makes the start of acknowledged negotiations major news. (Even if the New York Times runs a paragraph by AP and refuses to file their own story on the issue. Talk about caught sleeping on the job -- and, no, that's not a slam at Tim Arango who is pursuing a different story and doing follow ups. He is not the only one who could have written the story and when Mullen went into Iraq, he did so with reporters.)
Jane Arraf (Al Jazeera) observes, "After weeks of wrangling and lots of US pressure it appears to be a breakthrough. After a five hour meeting in presidential compound here in Baghdad there was an announcement that a deal has been reached that presence of US military trainers would be raised in parliament." And as noted yesterday, Jane Arraf Tweeted about the big meet-up so refer to her Twitter feed for many more details about what was discussed by the Iraqi political blocs beyond US troops. And, if you visited her feed this morning, you saw that the supposed official stated position of the Sadr bloc is they're not going to block the move if everyone else goes along with it (US troops in Iraq beyond 2011) but that she (Arraf) was meeting up with a Sadr official to find out what their position actually entails.
Of the negotiations, Press TV notes, "The move, which is opposed by the Iraqi people, comes after a visit to Baghdad by the outgoing Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, who has urged the al-Maliki government to make a decision whether it wants an extended presence of American forces in Iraq." This week in Baghdad, a petition calling on US forces to leave Iraq at the end of the year got 2.5 million signatures. Another number is offered by Stars & Stripes, "The U.S. has offered to keep up to 10,000 troops in Iraq beyond the year-end deadline." As Dar Addustour notes, the meet-up of the political blocs took place at Jalal Talabani's home (Talabani is the President of Iraq).
Mohammed Tawfeeq and CNN quote the Deputy Prime Minister Ruz Nouri Shawees stating, "After extensive discussions, the leaders of the political blocs headed by Iraq's President Jalal Talabani have agreed to let the Iraqi government start negotiations with the American side only on the issues of training and under the Strategic Framework Agreement." In an active and functioning media, that statement alone would result in multiple columns, analysis and discussions. As it is, it will probably sail right over most heads (the meaning of it). Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) elaborates further, "The leaders agreed that any request to keep U.S. military trainers in Iraq would fall under a general security agreement with the United States and would not require signing a new accord to keep U.S. troops in the country into 2012, according to Talabani's office. U.S. military and diplomatic officials in Iraq did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday night."
The only non-Iraqi press outlet I see offering analysis of the news at this point is the editorial board of the Khaleej Times:
With pressure coming in from Washington to decide at the earliest if it wants the remaining troops to stay or leave, Maliki faces a tough task. His tenuously cobbled coalition government is at a risk of falling apart in case a decision is made in favour of retaining American forces for longer than the December 2011 deadline. Facing violent opposition from some of his coalition partners -- concerning further prolonging of US forces in the country -- Maliki is in a catch-22 position in trying to choose the lesser of the two evils. For the security in Iraq is far from stable and is in fact worse than before, according to a recent report presented before the US Congress. According to the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart W. Bowen Junior, the security situation is at an all time low.
Though an earlier military assessment in May lauded the improvement in security, it was misleading and based on a comparative assessment of the situation to that in 2007. As a matter of fact, according to Bowen, Iraq is facing enhanced security threat from Shia militant factions that have contributed to the spread of violence and instability. An increase in targeted killings of US soldiers and Iraqi officials and attacks in Baghdad over the past many months is testament to the fact. In addition, the Iraqi military capability is as yet not on track.
The start of negotiations is major news. And it did come late yesterday. So some needed to play catch up today. Understandable. If they, in fact, caught up.
Mike picked Matty Rothschild as Idiot of the Week and boy had Matty earned that honor. A month or so back, Matty was going to get ripped apart by me over his so-called concern for civil liberties. If you're concerned for civil liberties and do a "McCarthy Watch," you do that the same regardless of who is in the White House. He can rip Bush apart, he just can't call out Princess Barack. Now because Matthew called out the Libyan War and (rightly) noted it was an impeachable crime, I wrongly thought he had left the Cult of St. Barack and was more than willng to table the critique of how he does a McCarthyism Watch when it's Barack and when it's Bush.
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