December, 2006 link archive

Friday, December 1, 2006

'Is that all?' The Arab world is said to be "left dumbfounded" that so little came out of the Bush-Maliki summit, as the 'regional press berates' the American president, whose sole moment of truth, according to Robert Fisk, was his rejection of a "graceful exit." Plus: How about a "do over?"

With the failure of the U.S. and Iran to agree on "common concerns" in Iraq threatening to devolve into "a clash of the Titans," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signals that the U.S. is "willing to risk a breach with Russia" in pursuit of sanctions against Iran.

Laura Rozen suggests that the leak of "the Hadley memo" may have been aimed at getting people to talk about the futility of propping up the current government in Iraq, preparing 'a tilt to the Shias,' or the "redeploy and contain strategy" reportedly under consideration by the Iraq Study Group.

In response to an AP story disputed by U.S. and Iraqi military officials, which "AP continues to stand by," the Iraqi Interior Ministry has formed "a special unit to monitor news coverage" and deal with stories "deemed to be incorrect."

Glenn Greenwald boils down the essentials of 'the Tom Friedman disease' to a strategy of irresponsibility that deploys "every caveat possible" in advocating the Iraq war so that, no matter what happens, it is possible to claim to have been right.

A new report by the World Bank says that winning the opium battle in Afghanistan will take decades, and "threatens to derail" efforts at state building, as a Puerto Rican artist stages an "architectural performance" in Kabul.

Felipe Calderon takes over as Mexico's president in an 'unprecedented midnight ceremony,' amid threats by opposition lawmakers to block his inauguration, and reports that protesters in Oaxaca have been disappeared and tortured.

The State Department repudiated "off-message remarks" by one of its analysts suggesting that the "special relationship" between Britain and the U.S. was "'totally one-sided' in Washington's favor" and that Britain's role as "a bridge between Europe and America" was disappearing.

A report by the Federation of American Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council alleges that the Pentagon has been exaggerating Chinese nuclear capabilities and cherry-picking new developments out of context to justify buying a new generation of U.S. weapons.

As questions multiply in the inquiry into a Russian spy's poisoning death, Chris Floyd illuminates "the team that controlled the flow of information" in the case, and letters smuggled out of Russia purport to show the existence of a 'secret hit squad.' Plus: 'Poison plotters claim their second victim.'

University of Washington researchers find that 'Nike + iPod = surveillance,' the U.S. government subtracts North Korea from the Christmas shopping list in advance of 'Kimstock 2007,' and 'ArtPOD' makes its debut.

"Newt Gingrich sees, in terrorism, not something to be exterminated, but something to be exploited," charges Keith Olbermann, responding to the former House Speaker's ill-fated call to "reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threats of terrorism."

The first thing the Democrats should do, contends Nat Hentoff, is 'curb the president's power to torture' and protect basic freedoms, while one psychologist cancels his membership in the APA over its failure to condemn the participation of psychologists in interrogations.

Robert Reich thinks that a critical test for Democrats will be whether they can stand up to lobbying by Big Pharma and allow Medicare to use its bargaining leverage to negotiate lower drug prices, as one Democrat contemplates "raising retirement age or reducing benefits."

As 'Existing home prices tumble despite sales uptick,' Paul Krugman points to the bond market as an indicator of whether the coming 'economic storm' is likely to be as bad as the pessimists are predicting.

Although the Washington Post finds Muslims 'gaining political ground,' Michael Savage calls Rep. Keith Ellison's decision to be "sworn in" with a Quran, "the tyranny of the psycho, whacked-out minority," and residents of Katy, Texas 'use pig races to deter building of mosque.'

As the 'Parti Quebecois leader mocks Bush and Harper in TV Brokeback skit,' a Fox News' host 'Urges conservatives to attack other media,' after Howard Dean joined what NewsBusters calls the 'Democrat assault on Fox News.'

The GOP is considering introducing legislation that would define a 20-week-old fetus as a "pain-capable unborn child," but the bill is criticized as having "nothing whatsoever to do with science, or determining when fetuses can feel pain." Plus: Religious right spins news on abortion pill.

November 30

Monday, December 4, 2006

'Near a state of panic,' reports the Los Angeles Times, America's Mideast allies -- except Israel -- express "soaring concern over upheavals across the region that the United States helped ignite ... and fear that the Bush administration may make things worse."

Tom Engelhardt warns that the "phased withdrawal" contemplated by the Iraq Study Group, is no exit strategy, while former NSA head William Odom aggressively defends "cutting and running," telling a Georgia alt-weekly that "People down there in Augusta, they're just being led around by the snout."

The New York Times headlines a leaked memo as proposing a 'major adjustment in Iraq,' but Juan Cole sees more evidence that the memo's author "doesn't understand the magnitude of the crisis," as he looks to Saddam Hussein for "inspiration."

Officials at a private club decline to discuss why they were honoring Defense Secretary Rumsfeld with a gold medal, and say the secrecy surrounding the award was "to respect the wishes of the awardee."

As the Bush administration requests at least another $100 billion for war, Sen. Harry Reid says, "We're not going to do anything to limit funding," but Rep. Dennis Kucinich insists that the only way to withdraw is to "cut off funds" for a war that's "devouring" the domestic agenda."

Spending cuts are proposed in the oversight of government contracts for fraud and waste, audits which the GSA chief suggests have become a kind of terrorism, as the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction calls the "virtual pandemic" of corruption in Iraq "a second insurgency."

David Gergen admits that the 'press was guilty' of cheerleading in the run up to the Iraq war, Tim Russert asks why the president keeps invoking 'al Qaeda, al Qaeda, al Qaeda,' and "one of the primary media cheerleaders" denies any need for a "grand new strategy."

Five years after the fall of the Taliban's 'kingdom of heaven,' a U.S. government report finds American-trained Afghan police "largely incapable of carrying out routine law enforcement work," as 'Nato kills dozens of Taliban' just outside a district where a controversial truce was recently brokered.

As Jimmy Carter responds to accusations of racism and anti-semitism by a C-SPAN caller, Alexander Cockburn asks, 'When will Kristoff go to the occupied territories?'

Unable to win Senate confirmation, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton resigns, and one of his last acts as ambassador is to hold up an 'anti-slavery measure.'

Editor & Publisher finds an op-ed debate in the Washington Post over whether George Bush is the "worst president in U.S. history," or perhaps 'only fifth worst,' or just a runner up, or a work in progress, "ironic" in view of the Post's strong backing of the Iraq war.

Asking, 'Has He Started Talking to the Walls?,' Frank Rich finds the president not "merely in a state of denial" but "completely untethered from reality," while David Corn raises the possibility that Bush is becoming a "Captain Queeg-like character," stubbornly adhering to "a discredited and failing policy."

George Will is accused of some "creative editing" to make out Sen.-elect Webb as a "boor" and the president as "civil" in their "spirited conversation" on the Iraq war, but Paul Krugman wonders whether the Democrats will follow Webb's example and stand up to the "bully in chief" on Iraq.

The exchange between Bush and Webb has Peggy Noonan calling for "an outbreak of grace," while David Sirota warns that the rhetoric of "bipartisanship" distracts from identifying the players in the "People vs. Money divide that actually fuels our politics."

As Hugo Chavez wins a third term as president of Venezuela by a wide margin, Danny Schechter notes the variety of labels Reuters deployed to spin the election news.

After a "midnight, locked-door inauguration," Mexican President Felipe Calderon is reportedly facing a 'deep north-south divide' and millions who "still refuse to accept" his victory as legitimate, including the PRD party members behind an "alternate consulate" in Chicago.

A story in the Observer on U.S law enforcement complicity in the "House of Death" murders in Juarez, is praised for getting the narrative right but criticized for failing to properly credit its sources.

As the New York Times reports "some earth-shattering news," Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack hits the presidential campaign trail with a literary-themed logo.

December 1-3

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Fresh from a meeting with President Bush, an Iraqi Shiite leader known as 'Mister Death Squad' urges "tougher action," while a new insurgent video taunts Bush by saying, "You have to admit, things are falling upon your head in a mysterious way."

In 'Rumsfeld's Last Stand,' Tom Engelhardt finds the former Defense chief recommending "taking our hand off the bicycle seat" in Iraq, as a 'Census Counts 100,000 Contractors in Iraq.'

While the media drums "the idea that the U.S. war effort must keep going," the public's desire for withdrawal from Iraq is said to be portrayed as too "extreme" to merit discussion.

In presenting his 'Cut and Walk' strategy for Iraq, Nicholas Kristof spotlights 'The Shiite Zarqawi,' rumored to have been "killed a few days ago by a Sunni insurgent group."

Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates says "No, sir" when asked whether the U.S. is winning the war in Iraq, but Gates' past is seen as offering 'Hints of a Rumsfeld-ian style.'

'Iraq Views Sink To New Lows' in Harris poll, as a spokesman for Moqtada al-Sadr explains 'Why America Will Fail' in Foreign Policy.

The battle of Nasiriya is pinpointed as "the exact moment when everything in Iraq started to go wrong," while a Washington Post report finds today's Army 'Battling To Save Equipment.'

With the U.S. now said to be 'Losing the Good War,' Slate's John Dickerson speculates on why the Bush team is 'suddenly leaking,' and Ron Jacobs attempts to re-focus attention on 'A War Washington Can't Win,' now that "the pretense of liberation is over."

After "not a resignation" is "greeted ... with relief" at the U.N., Ian Williams reviews 'John Bolton's Greatest Hits.'

'God's Senator' declares his intentions on his 'Blind Ambition Tour,' accompanied by a big dough man and a priestly rainmaker.

Reports of U.S. plans for lunar occupation evoke both fighting words and nostalgia for the future.

A Vanity Fair chronicle of the Mark Foley debacle, by Gail Sheehy and Judy Bachrach, cites a Congressional staffer as believing that "the White House possibly knew something about the messages to pages" in 2003.

'Acrockalypto' The Disney marketing strategy is analyzed, for a movie whose director is called a "master of the epic snuff film" and a "walking bottle of audience-repellent."

While the Polonium Restaurant, in northern England, "has had to order extra deliveries and turn people away," the U.S. reportedly plans to make a nuclear bomb that could safely "be left on the streets of Los Angeles or Manhattan."

In explaining 'Why the Canadian Liberals elected Stephane Dion' as their new party leader, the WSWS reports that "the corporate media is [already] cautioning him not to get too carried away with promises to improve the lot of working people."

"A mysterious cabal of secular liberal plotters" has released "The Official Field Manual" for the "War on Christmas," dedicated to Fox News.

December 4

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

President Bush has formally accepted what he calls a "tough assessment" by the Iraq Study Group, which in excerpts from its full report calls the situation in Iraq "grave and deteriorating," and likely to cost more than a trillion dollars.

Tom Engelhardt argues that the report, which has already been discounted, suggests little more than 'How to Stay in Iraq,' and it "might as well be sent directly to the Baghdad morgue" -- if not supplanted by the findings of 'The People's Iraq Study Group.'

Al Gore sums up the "utter disaster" consensus, but former NYC mayor Ed Koch warns that 'Iraq Will Not Go Away.' And as the 'Death toll continues to rise,' it's reported that 10 U.S. troops were killed on Wednesday.

Reports find that Iraqi politicians don't put much stock in the Iraq Study Group, and that many of the panel's advisors have concluded "the war is essentially already lost."

Robert Bryce argues that James Baker "has made a career" out of 'Omitting the obvious,' dating back to his role in "the loss of more than $100 billion in taxpayer money during the savings and loan meltdown of the 1980s."

"I don't see a civil war in Iraq," the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq argues, in a Washington Post op-ed -- "I see debates among Iraqis."

As 'Democrats Cave on Gates Nomination,' Sen. Jeff Sessions claims that "I talk to those who've lost their lives, and they have that sense of duty and mission."

As Bush summons Blue Dogs and New Democrats to a "mutual cooperation" summit, David Sirota urges Democrats to 'Put voters ahead of Broders.'

In contrast with the "cold shower" offered by 'The Un-Rumsfeld,' Maureen Dowd finds it "chilling to see in print that the man who spent nearly four years overseeing the war did not have any idea what to do in Iraq."

In the full text of 'Neo Culpa' in Vanity Fair, David Rose argues that the neocons may be right "this time" in opposing a "precipitous withdrawal" from Iraq, and another top Democrat calls for sending more troops, as Uggabugga compares plans.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, "like a retreating army, Republicans are tearing up railroad track and planting legislative land mines to make it harder for Democrats to govern when they take power in Congress next month."

New York City's ban on trans fats prompts a food industry flack to warn that "this opens the door to caffeine, sugar, salt, alcohol, whole milk and any other ingredients these lunatics want to attack." Plus: A new mad cow case in Virginia.

FAIR accuses CNN Headline News of 'Flirting with Fascism,' after Glenn Beck 'threatens Muslims with concentration camps,' while conservative radio talker Dennis Prager exercises his "unique moral voice."

France 24, a news service billed as "the French CNN," will broadcast in English starting today, 'From Paris, with edge,' as new Nielsen numbers prompt one observer to suggest that the American CNN 'should be worried.'

Vice President Cheney is reportedly expecting a new grandchild that will have "two mommies" -- just like the book.

December 5

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Despite an "impressive rollout," the Iraq Study Group's 'Plan B' is said to put "new lipstick on a very old pig," to play "word games" on permanent bases, and to reflect 'The Moral Bankruptcy of Threatening Iraq.'

At a press conference, James Baker ruled out a "precipitous withdrawal," but that did not deter the New York Post from depicting Baker and ISG co-chair Lee Hamilton as 'Surrender Monkeys,' or dissuade President Bush from 'Beating Off the Rescue Party.'

"It's bad in Iraq. Does that help?" said Bush, when asked during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Blair, if he is still "in denial."

As 'Dems seize on Iraq report,' Sen. Russ Feingold observed on MSNBC's "Countdown" that the panel "was composed apparently entirely of people who did not have the judgment to oppose this Iraq war in the first place."

'What now, Mr. President?' editorializes the New York Daily News, after the ISG report is seen as recommending 'what Bush is already doing,' which The Economist describes as 'Managing Defeat.'

'Shrubya's Fiasco' will have no "political solution," according to Needlenose, as Rudy Giuliani calls "the idea of leaving Iraq" a "terrible mistake."

McClatchy's Jonathan Landay reports on the ISG's finding that the Bush administration has engaged in "significant under-reporting of the violence in Iraq," a story that McClatchy broke in September.

The ISG is also said to have made "four truly radical proposals" related to privatizing Iraq's national oil industry, although one expert is quoted as saying that "most of the oil companies I know of prefer their employees alive."

The Christian Science Monitor reports on a 'Quiet U.S. bid to talk to Iraqi insurgents,' while U.S. troops survive on "Silly String."

War Criminals An FBI investigator tells Stars & Stripes that the growing prevalence of gang membership in the armed forces is attributable in part to lower recruiting standards.

After John Harris described a "centrist bias" among political reporters in an interview with PressThink's Jay Rosen, Atrios commented that "acceptable positions in Official Washington range from the New Republic to the Free Republic."

On the heels of a UN study said to have brought in the verdict on trickle-down economics, comes a Brookings report said to find that '12 Million Suburbanites Live in Poverty' in the U.S.

While it's argued that John Edwards, who made an appearance Monday at a Pasadena church under investigation by the IRS, should not be "overlooked" for 2008, Harold Meyerson says it's the GOP that has a problem with 'Southern Exposure.'

Sen. Sam Brownback is said to have 'The Right Stuff' for running to the right of Sen. John McCain, whose views on Iraq are described as making him "nothing if not an independent-minded maverick."

NASA's new evidence suggesting that liquid water flows on Mars is said to amount to "the squirting gun" hinting at "an even more dramatic possibility."

Pregnant Pause' News that the lesbian daughter of Vice President Cheney is expecting, is said to have "touched a nerve" in right-wing circles.

As a dinosaur punches his presidential ticket, the reputation of neanderthals takes another hit.

December 6

Friday, December 8, 2006

President Bush responds to the Iraq Study Group recommendation that the U.S. engage in direct talks with Syria and Iran by saying that they "shouldn't bother to show up" unless they are willing to meet his conditions, and Juan Cole points out that Bush's Shiite allies "really don't like" the idea of a regional conference.

Patrick Cockburn finds the "cautious words" of the report a "sharp contrast to the savagery and terror that dominate everyday life in Baghdad," but some conservatives complain that its focus is on "an exit, not a victory." Plus: If Iran, why not Hamas?

Refugees International calls the displacement of Iraqis the 'world's fastest growing refugee crisis,' as the flood of refugees face 'uneasy havens' in nearby countries where they are increasingly being perceived as an economic and social burden.

'Staring into the abyss of Iraq's future,' it's argued that 'the neocons have finished what the Vietcong started,' but Joe Conason finds one last standard bearer in Congress "calling for more troops and promising unattainable victory."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejects the ISG's attempt to link progress in Iraq to a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict or negotiations with Syria, while Reuters reports that Israel is "piqued" by Robert Gates' "oblique" disclosure of a secret long known.

The BBC finds most Middle East papers 'skeptical' over the ISG report, while the Christian Science Monitor concludes that the Arab world 'welcomes' it even though "to average Iraqis, the report seems to be an abstract exercise unlikely to end the war there anytime soon." Plus: The insurgent view.

A new study of how the British media set 'the limits of invasion journalism' with "sanitized language" highlights "the corporate media's belief in and protection of the benign reputation of western governments and their 'positive motives' in Iraq, regardless of the demonstrable truth."

Paul Krugman provides "a partial honor roll" of the Cassandras who provided early warnings that the war in Iraq was a terrible mistake but were ridiculed and ignored, and whose views have now finally become conventional wisdom.

A new maximum security prison facility, designed to reduce opportunities for "asymmetric warfare," has begun accepting detainees at Guantanamo, legislators are reportedly considering "restoring habeas corpus" rights to prisoners, and Banksy introduces Guantanamo to the Magic Kingdom.

Reviewing the Bush administration's relentless "urge to claim immunity" for or redefine its way out of crimes not yet committed, Karen Greenberg finds that the documents that make up its own torture narrative become a "trail of confessions."

A recently revealed system of "assigning terrorism scores to Americans traveling into or out of the country" that one critic termed 'Air Kafka' is said to have "no chance to correct errors and no privacy protections," and may be illegal.

To commemorate Pearl Harbor Day, the New York Times publishes a story censored and forgotten for 64 years, the president draws a problematic history lesson, and a "rhetorical device" takes center stage in Victor Davis Hanson's historical narrative.

With Hezbollah laying siege to the Lebanese government, McClatchy reports that analysts and politicians in Lebanon lay much of the blame on "U.S. failure to stop Israel's onslaught," which has left the Lebanese government crippled.

As Noam Chomsky turns 78, listen to him discuss "politicide" in Palestine and explain how the war in Iraq does not compare to Vietnam in an interview with Bob McChesney.

The House fails to pass a "fetal pain" bill, which was said to include a "back-door attack on contraception."

Rachel Sklar suggests that the reason Christopher Hitchens doesn't find women funny is that "he forgot (or doesn't know) the first rule of comedy is that the best comedy is rooted in actual truth."

Fox News jumps the gun in announcing Gov. Bill Richardson is running for president, while Sen. John McCain taps the producer of the controversial "call me" attack ad to be his campaign manager.

December 7

Monday, December 11, 2006

With Iraq entering what Thomas Ricks calls "the pure Hobbesian state, the war of all against all," the White House is denying reports that "major partners in Iraq's governing coalition are in behind-the-scenes talks to oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki."

As it's reported that Vice President Cheney is now backing the "80 percent solution," Laura Rozen points to more signs of the Salvadorization of Iraq.

Dismissing the Iraq Study Group recommendations as either "nonstarters, equivocations, ... or contradictions," packaged and promoted by a PR wizard, Frank Rich contends that its "real aim is to enact a charade of progress to pacify the public while Washington waits, no doubt in vain, for Mr. Bush to return to the real world."

After the Republican senator from Oregon reversed course, and said Bush's Iraq policy "may even be criminal," his local paper followed suit, but Alexander Cockburn sees a hardening 'liberal consensus' for more troops.

An unexpected burst of tears has Newsweek examining 'how George W. Bush has ruined the family franchise,' while Jonathan Chait finds everyone treating the president as if they were "afraid of being wished out to the cornfield." Plus: 'Sociopathic Decider Babies.'

As expected, outgoing U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, in a speech at the Truman Presidential Museum, 'fires parting shots at Bush's U.S.'

The British Foreign Office drops the phrase "war on terror," in a move experts call welcome, but "belated," as the CIA is accused of undermining the British war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Former detainees from Iraq and Afghanistan argue in a U.S. court for the right to sue Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for acts of torture by U.S. military interrogators, but the judge expresses reluctance to set precedent on the issue. Plus: Rumsfeld brings some home cookin' on his farewell tour to Iraq.

As militants form what's termed a virtual "Taliban mini-state" in Northern Pakistan, it's argued that the "Afghan-Pakistan insurgency currently bears all the hallmarks of a transboundary civil war" that risks undermining the stability of the whole border region.

In Lebanon, Robert Fisk detects 'a hint of revolution in the air,' as huge crowds of demonstrators isolate Prime Minister Siniora's cabinet in "a veritable 'green zone' in the heart of Beirut," amid fears of a possible coup and civil war.

In an interview with Spiegel, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert calls for "more dramatic measures" against Iran and declines to rule out "a military attack," while the Democrats are said to face "some hard choices" if they are serious about preventing a war with Iran.

NPR looks at the death of Jeane Kirkpatrick 'through a Kristol ball,' the Wall Street Journal's profile in courage leaves out some awkward details, and the New York Times remains politely vague about some points -- but 'somewhere, Bill the Cat is crying.'

"Don't believe the hype," urges Greg Grandin, arguing that the 'Mid-wife of the neocons,' didn't just help "turn Central America into a graveyard," she "used the region's conflicts as a form of collective therapy to work through the crisis of self-confidence provoked by Vietnam and Watergate."

Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, whose government is accused of having "murdered or disappeared more than 3,200 people" and "tortured tens of thousands more," died on International Human Rights Day, leaving Chile 'deeply divided.'

Having pushed to put a measure banning same-sex marriage on the ballot in Massachusetts, Gov. Mitt Romney now faces accusations of hypocrisy as a letter and the transcript of an interview from 1994 in which he pledged advocacy for the gay community resurface.

As the Supreme Court prepares 'to decide if executive establishments of religion may be challenged,' the New York Times details how federal cash is made available to proselytize to captive audiences, and Mt. Palomar confronts the cross.

At Sen. Inhofe's last hearing on climate change, the villain is the media, as he releases the 'Skeptic's Guide to Global Warming.' Plus: "A storm of controversy" hits science teachers' association.

Barbara Ehrenreich plots an 'exit strategy' for the war on Christmas, various outbreaks of "Santarchy" are reported, and the man himself takes a stand against "the orgy of consumption."

A 'Pokemon mutilator' is concerned to bring Ted Haggard back to reality, curious ideas of 2006 catalogued by the New York Times Magazine include the CIA's "Ziggurat of Zealotry," and the word that best sums up 2006 according to Merriam-Webster is ..."truthiness."

December 1-3

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

As a GOP consultant urges him to 'Draft Democrats' and to "start sharing the blame for what happens next," President Bush postpones the rollout of his new Iraq strategy, with one White House official telling Reuters that "this is not a sign of trouble."

Interviewed along with Ron Suskind and Ari Fleischer about 'The Decider,' Paul Begala tells "On the Media" that the difficulty the press has in understanding Bush stems from a "focus on the monkey, not the organ grinder."

As 'Democrats vow to continue funding Iraq war,' Junkiness welcomes 'The Kucinichurian Candidate.'

A military watchdog group is demanding a Pentagon inquiry into a Christian Embassy video, in which a presidential appointee calls attending Bible Study "more important than doing the job."

As Iranian President Ahmadinejad reportedly tells delegates to an international conference questioning the Holocaust that "the Zionist regime soon will be wiped out," Israeli Prime Minister Olmert makes a 'nuclear slip' that "sparks domestic fallout."

A dictator is paid military tribute in Chile, and receives editorial homage from the Washington Post, but not a state funeral, and Robert Parry explains why 'Pinochet's Death Spares the Bush Family.'

While it's argued that 'Latin American "left" has been shifting right,' Frank Gaffney's proposal that the U.S. boycott Venezuelan oil, "proved to be too extreme ... for even a Fox News panel."

Gaffney, who dubbed the ISG, 'The Iraq Surrender Group,' appears prominently among 'Neocon critics' of the report that are said to have 'a lot of explaining to do.'

Why Homeland Security would be engaged in 'Banning Mandela' and his associates from entering the U.S., is the subject of speculation by Virginia Tilley, a researcher at South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council.

Writing in Foreign Affairs on 'Saving Afghanistan,' Barnett Rubin argues that the Bush Administration "has failed to transform the region where the global terrorist threat began -- and where the global terrorist threat persists."

As Taliban leaders say they 'want no part' of peace talks, the situation in Afghanistan has reportedly put the survival of the Canadian government 'in play,' and journalists are urged to 'come clean on Arar smear.'

Although 'The Media's New Rock Star' is yet to face "the full wrath of the smear machine," he is urged to "invest in flak jackets and helmets," and is already said to be sporting "the Ahmadinejad look."

'Tom DeLay launches comeback,' having realized that "what I should be doing is to advance the conservative cause and to support Israel," as his new blog, which he says he doesn't write, remains open for comments for 75 minutes.

A retired Army general, said to be in "a Mr. Magoo minority of one" on Iraq, is currently raising money for a Leadership Institute and Museum that will bear his name.

"Call me naive," writes Lucinda Marshall, "but you'd think that when a member of Congress introduces a bill to impeach the President, it would be considered news."

December 11

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Saudi ambassador to the U.S. 'Abruptly Resigns' -- after firing a consultant who wrote a recent op-ed in the Washington Post -- signaling 'a grim "what if" should U.S. opt to leave Iraq,' and prompting the observation that "Something must be up."

As a new poll finds majority support for setting a fixed timetable, the Pentagon floats a "double down" plan, and one general says that a pullout 'Won't Be Soon,' while another describes a "50 to 100 years" war on terror.

Although 'The Decider Has Decided Not to Decide,' it's reported that he "has asked his staff to work out the details" of a change in strategy on Iraq.

McClatchy journos flee high-noon stand-off between armed camps at Muqtada al-Sadr's headquarters, while Iraqis reportedly mull 'Ways to Reduce Power' of the radical cleric.

As one by one, 'Iraqi Blogs Fall Silent,' Richard Gwyn argues that "the domino that President Bush really fears is his own reputation."

GOP presidential hopefuls are seen performing the 'Iraq Two-Step,' while Anthony Cordesman argues that time is running out on the 'One War We Can Still Win.'

After delivering 'An epitaph for the White House press corpse,' and discerning a "crisis of confidence," Press Secretary Tony Snow designs his own new moniker.

A former Air Force officer tells Salon that Christian Embassy's efforts to turn the Pentagon into a "faith-based initiative" represent "a national security threat every bit as bad as al-Qaeda, and these people should be court-martialed."

A nuclear "slip of the lip" stirs controversy, but Israel's 'Atomic Mole,' Mordechai Vanunu, reasons, "If the prime minister has said it, why should I not be allowed to say it?"

Invitations are extended to 'Meet Silvestre Reyes,' the new House Intelligence chairman, and Oregon's 'Sincere Senator Smith,' aka 'Gordo the Opportunist.'

David Sirota accuses Sen. Barack Obama of "peddling the Great Education Myth" on his 'Path to Power,' and Maureen Dowd asks, 'Will Hillzilla Crush Obambi?'

John Edwards converts "Hardball" into "batting practice," after making 'All but the announcement.'

The Washington Post's editorial stance -- then and now -- on a right-wing dictator is reviewed by Glenn Greenwald, as CNN opts for "balance" and a Canadian editor describes what was buried with Pinochet.

As a winner is crowned for 'Correction of the Year,' the author of an op-ed headlined, 'Christmas crusade is a heap of humbug,' tells a self-described "culture warrior" that "If you're going to dish it out, you should be able to take it."

With the proposal of a law that would make it illegal for Nigerians "to share a meal at a cafe with gay friends," comes the revelation that 'Soy Makes You Gay,' from a columnist who claims that "the world is rapidly becoming all-Christian."

Amid reports that Lou Reed will be performing all the songs from one of "the most depressing albums ever recorded," an interviewer describes him as "erudite, charming and just a little eccentric."

December 12

Thursday, December 14, 2006

After the Joint Chiefs of Staff call for a 'Change in War Strategy,' President Bush declared that he is "not going to be rushed."

A new poll finds that the U.S. public has "no confidence" that the war in Iraq can be won, and that it 'Wants Congress to Lead.'

While the 25,000th American casualty in Iraq is greeted with "almost complete silence" in the media, an officer who oversaw embedded journalists becomes "the first female Marine officer to be killed in Iraq."

Editor & Publisher previews the official launch of former CNN news chief Eason Jordan's new IraqSlogger site, from which Greg Mitchell learns that the top story in the Camp Victory Times is that smoking kills soldiers.

Michelle Malkin has reportedly accepted Jordan's offer to fly her to Baghdad. Scroll down to read about Jordan trumpeting the "big thumbs-up" he got from the Pentagon when he had CNN's military analysts vetted before the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

After a "political orphan" experiences bipartisan abandonment, Robert Parry takes 'A Look Back' at "the way forward."

Sen. Tim Johnson reportedly "remained in critical condition but was described as recovering," possibly averting a "complicated situation," about which Fox News' hosts offered up their prognosis.

The reported hiring of a Terry Nelson protege to serve as Rudy Giuliani's new campaign manager is The Hotline's 'Get of the Week.'

Explaining why 'This is the Time for Obama,' George Will reasons that "if you get the girl up on her tiptoes, you should kiss her," but NewsHounds finds Sen. Obama's bio to be 'Required Reading in Preparation for the Swift-boating.' Plus: DraftObama set to begin airing a TV ad in New Hampshire.

Two United Methodist pastors urge their church to reconsider 'Methodism, torture and the Presidential Library' for George W. Bush.

'New Publishing Rules' at the U.S. Geological Survey are said to be the latest indication that "the Bush administration is clamping down on scientists."

U.S. requires travelers from Canada to declare lunch bags, but an alligator seized by border agents in Arizona will reportedly be fed "chicken with vitamins," while a $1 bid wins dinner with Louisiana governor at auction.

Media reports declare the '109th Congress a success' at what is now "the most common form of legislation" -- naming post offices -- but Tom DeLay explains that conservatives don't go to Washington to "pass laws."

Although outgoing Sen. Rick Santorum's Web site is said to be "basically ... unattended," Will Bunch speculates that the defeated solon "may look back someday on his Senate stint as a blip in an otherwise long career in television."

"If the Democrats fail to win the 2008 Presidential election," argues the Black Commentator's Carl Bloice, "guess who will deserve the blame?" as a "strikingly liberal African-American" gets the 'Ways and Means.'

What Gabriel Ash describes as "a good week for the Holocaust" ends with Wolf Blitzer debating David Duke on CNN.

Greg Moses was in the audience watching the 'Dixie Chicks Come Home to Roost' in Austin -- despite a ready to "fly the coop" rumor.

December 13

Friday, December 15, 2006

Said to be "emboldened" by right wing critics of the ISG report, President Bush contemplates a 'deeper commitment' in Iraq and turns to Henry Kissinger for guidance.

As Juan Cole contends that the "surge tactic" is a Napoleonic mistake, Ezra Klein asks: "When will the media realize Bush doesn't care what they think, cease talking about what he should do, and begin ... talking about what he is doing?"

Sen. John McCain's call to send more troops to Iraq is seen as an election ploy cloaked in a myth of "integrity," as "the bloodbath argument" is criticized for evading "the central fact that the U.S. occupation has never been aimed at avoiding or reducing sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites."

As Michelle Malkin prepares for "Real World Baghdad," Helena Cobban raises questions about the way in which IraqSlogger "is mixing up the job of making available a free news-reporting service with that of hiring themselves out as private intel consultants."

With a new survey finding Iraqis 'in despair,' Nir Rosen interviews 'death-defying taxi drivers' who run the gauntlet between Baghdad and Aman, and a mass kidnapping in Baghdad is said to be especially confounding "because the kidnappers didn't appear to follow a sectarian agenda."

The London Times details the ongoing de facto partition of Baghdad along ethnic lines, a pattern "so pronounced that the U.S. military has drawn up a new map of Baghdad to reflect its ethno-sectarian fault lines."

The Independent reports on newly revealed testimony that appears to show the British government "must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction" and that Iraq posed no threat to the U.K. or its interests.

After Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused Pakistan of "trying to make 'slaves' of the Afghan people, the war of words moved to the press, while a review of recent books on Afghanistan yields "a pessimistic view of what the West can achieve."

Steve Clemons relays reports that Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan "has 'essentially assured' Vice President Cheney that Saudi Arabia could be moved to accept and possibly support American military action against Iran," as the Bush administration appears ready to go 'full speed ahead, with menace.'

Amid escalating fears of "of a civil war between Palestinian factions inside Gaza and the West Bank," Jonathan Cook considers why Hamas may be right to avoid 'The trap of recognizing Israel.'

After traumatic experiences as a detainee left him "a broken human being," Jose Padilla faces a competency hearing to determine whether he is fit to stand trial, a development that may help the government deflect torture allegations.

With Sen. Tim Johnson "appropriately responsive" after surgery, Democrats are said to be "trying to shake off the nightmare of possibly losing power," some news coverage of his ailment is termed "ghoulish," and PR people take the opportunity to "flack their medical expert clients."

National Intelligence Director Negroponte calibrates a death watch, and federal emergency officials envisioning "boatloads of migrants seeking refuge in Florida" run "post-Castro drills," but the Cuban leader retains significant support.

A 'repeatedly re-elected autocrat,' is leading a poll for Time's "Person of the Year," and the Republican party also gets a nod for its influence on what America "has had to endure."

An In These Times article painting Richard Dawkins as 'a godless fundamentalist,' is the latest in a string of attacks from the liberal left on the outspoken atheist, and it's argued that 'protecting democracy comes before protecting faith.'

Global warming skeptic Michael Crichton's 'poison pen' fantasy depicting a critic as a child rapist provokes a withering critique and lands him an award. Earlier: 'Crichton plugs Mother Jones."

Sen. John McCain launches a "war on blogs," introducing legislation that would make them "responsible for all activity in the comments sections and user profiles," with fines up to $300,000.

A Christmas Travel Guide concludes that "(There's No Place Like) the Homeland for the Holidays" where it's 'a code orange Christmas,' and Jesus Christ returns as a 'cover star.'

December 14

Monday, December 18, 2006

As the "grand vision" of establishing the rule of law in Iraq 'staggers beneath the weight of war,' Iraqi women are reported to face "an increased risk of rape and murder by militias," making life for them "just like being in jail."

'A battlefield called school' fails to deliver the positive news about schools in Iraq that the First Lady had requested, as a radical Sunni movement issues a call "to abolish the educational term for basic and advanced studies for the school year 2006-2007."

"A paradox that dogs the Sadr movement" according to McClatchy's Hannah Allam, is that while it has developed "a vast social services network that serves thousands of poor Shiites," the anarchy on the streets "makes it hard for the militia's commanders to rein in their men."

A recent poll of Arab attitudes toward the U.S. appears to provide evidence that the battle for "hearts and minds" is not going they way it was predicted by those who advocated for the invasion of Iraq.

The FBI catches military recruiters moonlighting as cocaine runners, and the Air Force announces that it's looking to outsource the flying of caskets from Dover AFB to commercial airlines.

The person described as "the finest secretary of defense this nation has ever had" by Vice President Cheney, gets a "traditional" sendoff.

Filed under 'Dementia' CJR Daily's Paul McLeary points out that the conviction that more troops equal victory, recently championed by John McCain, ignores a failed test case the press has also apparently forgotten, while Greg Sargent explores a "media memory hole" about who the decider is supposed to be.

Quotes attributed to some White House Christmas party attendees suggest that it's beginning to look a lot like troop surge, which, is "not a hard thing to do," according to a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

A new manual on counter-insurgencies posted online by the U.S. military appears to be at odds with some current strategies, and certain "jihadist Web sites" are already linking and mocking it. Plus: The selective use of classification.

The White House blocks publication of an op-ed by a former administration official critical of its policy on Iran, even though the CIA said the article contained no classified information.

An Israeli neoconservative with the Hudson Institute contends that "many parts of the American administration" were disappointed that Israel didn't attack Syria, while an Israeli military committee discovers that, in the war with Lebanon, Israel "did not have a plan."

Facing the increasing anxiety over the possibility of civil war, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agrees to new elections, but War in Context comments that he should have asked for conditions (scroll down), as a veiled threat looms in the background.

The New York Times reports that "Detainee 200343" had come to Iraq as an American security contractor, wound up a whistle blower and endured 97 Kafkaesque days in prison without formal charges or legal representation.

With the U.S. releasing 17 more Guantanamo detainees, the AP reports that the "vicious killers" released from the facility to other countries have been 'routinely freed,' raising questions about whether they were ever really as dangerous as the U.S. claimed.

A "year-end glut of torture movies" prompts the observation that "in the age of Abu Ghraib, the unashamed passion of torture-genre groupies is mainstream and normal."

Surveying "growing evidence" that gay-baiting is backfiring on politicians, Frank Rich finds hope that the culture wars may be toning down, but the New York Times finds Newt Gingrich working to "recenter America on the creator."

Time's choice of "You" is said to reflect badly on the state of journalism in America, as the magazine ignores the results of its own online poll, and apparently fails to let one of its own advertisers in on the joke.

The uproar surrounding 'Belgium's War of the Worlds' broadcast, termed "one of the largest hoaxes in modern media," and "more fun than real life," is seen as evidence of the continuing power of traditional broadcast TV.

With non-stop "Breaking News," CNN turns itself into the Climbers News Network.

December 15-17

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The White House denies a Washington Post report that it is 'At Odds' with the Joint Chiefs of Staff over the idea of a "surge" in troops to Iraq, aka "one big 'final' push," as the International Crisis Group releases its report on 'What to Do in Iraq.'

Violence in Iraq has "escalated at an unbelievably rapid pace," according to a military spokesman, as insurgents reportedly mount an "electrical siege" of a capital already terrorized by 'mortar wars.'

Sending more troops to Iraq draws 11 percent support in a new poll. Plus: Et tu, Alabama?

'Robert Gates Lines Up with Bush,' argues Robert Parry, and does so "without Rumsfeld's doubts and regrets."

As President Bush continues to do things 'His Way,' Steve Coll objects that "all we wanted for Christmas was a plausible Iraq strategy."

Although Bob Schieffer failed to ask Colin Powell "why now, and why not then" on "Face the Nation," Sam Husseini didn't -- and found Powell still blaming the CIA.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton offers a "slightly evolved answer" on her 2002 vote for the war, and steers clear of a presidential candidate, while a Newsweek cover story ignores the magazine's own poll.

Among Foreign Policy's 'Top Ten Stories You Missed in 2006' is 'U.S. Funds the Taliban' in Afghanistan, where public disgust at judicial bribery is said to be "stoking nostalgia."

An Afghan provincal governor loses his job after a 'bumper crop' comes in, while America's own "biggest cash crop" is said to be "more valuable than corn and wheat combined."

'The Highwaymen' The Texas Observer reports that the Lone Star State "has begun paying millions of dollars in 'stipends' to companies because they weren't picked" to build new privatized toll roads.

Ralph Nader is 'Going Postal' over efforts to privatize post offices and "convert ... USPS civil service jobs into minimum wage jobs so that Republican contractors can pocket the savings."

Word of the biggest increase in inflation since 1974 is accompanied by "some serious concerns about the growth of exotic mortgages."

As 'The Other Israel Lobby' aims to take on AIPAC, efforts to "to make progress on the basis of divisions in the Palestinian national movement" are said to have "backfired spectacularly," and Israelis are banned from picking up Palestinian hitchhikers in the West Bank.

In cleaning house, the Overseers of New Life Church say that they are "are open to receiving current information relevant to either Rev. Haggard's recovery process or any concerns" about other staffers who are "falling in his footsteps."

Reports that the 'U.S. Army might break Goodyear strike' are seen by The Nation's John Nichols as part of an 'An Executive Branch Assault on the Constitution.'

As 'Objections to Bush library mount' at SMU, the Secret Service is said to be anticipating "an unprecedented post-presidency" for George W. Bush.

December 18

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Washington Post reports that President Bush, in an interview with the paper, "said he has not yet made a decision about a new strategy for Iraq and would wait" for Defense Secretary Gates "to return from a trip there to assess the situation," but a widely-circulated AP article jumped the gun, as did Robert Reich.

As it's reminded that 'Bush said Kerry proposal to increase size of military would make the country "less safe,"' Craig Crawford argues that, despite yet another "listening offensive" on Iraq, "there is nothing short of an intervention under way" in the White House, over what Joseph Galloway describes as "surging deeper into quicksand."

At his last press conference of the year, President Bush said that "There's got to be a specific mission that can be accomplished with the addition of more troops before, you know, I agree on that strategy."

Bush, who is said to be "not interested in extraction" from 'The Bunker,' also urged Americans to "go shopping more," after signing new "tax relief" legislation.

Alexander Cockburn repeats his prediction that "the role of the Democrats will be to ease through a troop increase," while Tariq Ali maintains that "the war has already been lost, together with half a million Iraqi lives."

The Los Angeles Times reports that the announced retirement of Gen. John Abizaid is "likely to make way for a change in military strategy," as Unclaimed Territory chronicles 'The death of another talking point.'

A classified document obtained by Time puts 'Syria in Bush's Crosshairs' for another experiment in "democracy promotion," during what a Wall Street Journal article says, "should be Condoleezza Rice's moment."

A Guardian report sees 'Dark days ahead for Kabul' and for "Bush's favourite Muslim democrat."

Maureen Dowd ponders "the lack of intellectual urgency about our Middle East wars" -- and whether the questions being asked of top officials by Congressional Quarterly's Jeff Stein are "just too darn hard."

'Only the Jailers Are Safe,' editorializes the New York Times, reviewing the case of Detainee 200343, and the Justice Department's perfect record in failing to prosecute civilian contractors accused of abusing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With Vice President 'Cheney to Be Defense Witness in CIA Case,' speculation centers on what will happen when 'Dick Takes the Stand.'

From within "the new North Carolina," comes a House Committee's pro-oil Earth Day project to counter "myth-information" -- but there's also an "A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science."

A baggage screening incident at LAX is said to raise the question, "If a baby can get through, what the hell else can get through?" in the TSA's 'Theater of the Absurd.'

As Time Warner is seen "celebrating the loss of their gatekeeper function," an "Independence Day" video makes the case for net neutrality, but "a front group for the telecom industry" reportedly "injects a bit of confusion into the argument."

After it was reported that a Houston 'Swift Boat contributor' provided two-thirds of the money for last-minute attack ads in the Minnesota gubernatorial race, the state is invited to 'meet Bob Perry,' the "newly crowned sugar daddy of national politics."

As 'Science fiction goes political,' the 'New Right Dystopianism' is seen as conservative "wish fulfillment."

December 19

Thursday, December 21, 2006

At a press conference in which he explained what "microphone being loud means," President Bush reportedly "showed no indication that he was inclined to change goals or pull out of Iraq."

As Baghdad police recover a 'Record number of bodies,' Sidney Blumenthal goes 'Behind Bush's "new way forward"' -- devised by a "rump group of neocons" -- and Fox takes the hand-off in time for the holidays.

With the Pentagon reportedly seeking '$99.7 Billion More' to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's argued that 'This is where George Bush gets dangerous.'

A Bush campaign donor, who says that he broke out of an Iraqi jail in "the Chicago way," reportedly celebrated his escape with pizza and cold beer.

Ted Rall unfolds his pull out and pick up the tab strategy for Iraq, but NPR's Jackie Northam continues to amplify "the best shot possible for U.S. success."

The coverage of Defense Secretary Gates's visit to Baghdad, during which he met with "regular" troops, is said to resemble that found in official 'State media.'

When the U.S. handed over control of Najaf to Iraqi forces, the event was marked with "a bloody flourish."

Although it's predicted that U.S. combat deaths in Iraq 'Could Top 9/11 Toll On Christmas,' Iraq was voted 'No. 1 in 2006' -- but not in Geov Parrish's list of 'The Year's Most Overhyped Stories.'

As a "Cinderella moment" approaches, the FBI reveals that "John Winston Lennon is a British citizen and a former member of the Beatles singing group."

"The recovery in New Orleans has gone about as well as the war in Iraq," concludes Bob Herbert, after visiting the Lower Ninth Ward, and Margaret Kimberley discovers that Katrina victims "now must look on as a new group replaces them."

A new study by the Center for Responsible Lending reportedly 'Predicts Foreclosure for 1 in 5 Subprime Loans,' which "now make up more than a quarter of the mortgage market."

Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford expresses solidarity with Venezuela's 'Black' Santa, but Christian Parenti says, 'Move Over, Hugo Chavez,' and make way for Bolivia's "trump card."

House Democrats 'Fill in the Blanks' for their first-100-hours agenda, and Bob Geiger analyzes the "70 percent kill-rate" for Democratic measures defeated in 2006 by the 109th Congress.

As Florida Governor Jeb Bush assesses his future, a Gallup poll finds that a third of Democrats say they "have never heard of" Sen. Barack Obama, although another 14 percent "said the name sounded familiar."

Turkmenbashi the Late The death of Saparmurat Niyazov, whose gold statue of himself "revolves so it always faces the sun," and who "ordered his people to gnaw bones," elicited a 'muted world reaction.'

December 20

Friday, December 22, 2006

As six more U.S. soldiers are killed in Iraq, at the end of a week that reportedly saw "250 political murders," McClatchy's Hannah Allam explains how 'Palestinians have become targets in Iraq's chaos.'

The Washington Post reports that the Iraqi Prime Minister said it's up to the U.S. generals to decide on the need for a troop surge, while it's argued that a surge carries with it the risk of facing "uprisings on two fronts" (scroll down).

Leading Democrats no longer support a surge, but Sen. Joe Lieberman officially endorses escalation in Iraq, purportedly on advice from "U.S. military commanders on the ground," as he relinquishes his position in one centrist Senate group to form another -- described as "a salon."

In an interview with the AP, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says "Iraq is 'worth the investment' in American lives and dollars," and contends that the U.S. can still win, even though the president has suggested that, at the moment, we are neither winning nor losing. Plus: 'Send in the Calvary.'

The author of a book that Bush says he is reading, gives the president 'A Congo Lesson,' pointing out some instructive similarities "between King Leopold's disastrous invasion of Congo and the war in Iraq."

Britain is accused of trying to provoke a civil war in the Occupied Territories, as the U.S. is reported to be "quietly inserting itself into the growing conflict between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza and the West Bank."

Rejecting a White House effort to block its publication, the New York Times finally publishes the redacted version of an op-ed critical of the Bush administration's failure to engage in serious discussions with Iran.

As the Veterans Affairs Secretary floats the idea of a draft, a 'modest proposal' for balancing war and education is put forward.

Marines are charged with murder for last year's shooting deaths in Haditha, but some residents of Haditha question whether the servicemen will really face justice in the U.S., and the press is accused of having "dropped the ball" on the story. Earlier: 'Rules of Engagement.'

Faulted for his company's failed reconstruction projects in Iraq, Parsons' CEO notes that "We've lost no business over it ... In fact, the very people who are criticizing us are giving us more work," but the Defense inspector general's audit continues.

Given that deficit reduction in the 90s may have "greased the rails for Mr. Bush's irresponsibility," Paul Krugman argues that the Democrats should prioritize spending that can "improve Americans' lives" and demonstrate "the benefits of good government."

Media reports suggesting that Bush supports an increase in the minimum wage are said to ignore the potential significance of the conditions he is demanding.

Joe Scarborough 'introduces the i-word,' but CJR Daily's Paul McLeary finds a conservative change of course on blaming the media for the bad news from Iraq less substantial than it appears, and conservative talker Mike Gallagher wishes administration critics to "a detention camp."

Salon finds Newt Gingrich "running away from his former friends," to position himself for the presidential nomination, even though he has been "anything but an outsider," while for Joe Conason, his "flimsy philosophizing" on free speech simply fails 'the laugh test.'

In a recess appointment, President Bush names Warren Bell, a contributor to the National Review, head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, raising concerns of a return to earlier controversies. Plus: 'C-SPAN's Potty-Mouth Broadcast.'

As a Bush appointee to the Holocaust Museum is condemned for remarks targeting a Muslim congressman, Rep. Virgil Goode is 'not apologizing' for his warning about the threat of Muslim immigration, although Juan Cole argues that what's at stake is "nothing to do with immigration."

Reviewing the "Left Behind" video game, Matt Taibbi is mesmerized by its marketing prayers, while a survey of earlier comments on violence by Tim LaHaye leaves one critic wondering about 'Principles Left Behind?'

December 21

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Contribution Countdown! Just five more days to get a tax-deductible donation to Cursor and Media Transparency on this year's books.

As 'War Critics See New Resistance by Bush' to changing course in Iraq, Sen. John Kerry argues the recklessness of "refusing to flip when it's obvious that your course of action is a flop."

The 'Old Iraq Strategy Lives On' in weekly State Department progress reports, outsourced to BearingPoint, Inc., the same contractor that is advising the Iraqi Oil Ministry on a new law to facilitate privatization.

It's reported that Hurricane Katrina waste could top $2 billion in 2007, thanks to "multimillion dollar contracts to politically connected firms."

As Christmas casualties send the U.S.' death toll in Iraq higher than the 9/11 count, Sen. Joe Biden announces that he will 'fight any Iraq troop boost,' and William Kristol predicts that President Bush's plan for troop levels in Iraq "will not be a short term surge." Plus: Bush's biggest 'Lies and Obfuscations' in 2006.

With the year winding down, the White House 'Lawyers Up,' and Bush is seen surrounding himself with 'Blazer Boys.'

As the AP sticks to the script, Jay Rosen, revisiting 'Ron Suskind's Scoop,' suggests that U.S.' problems in Iraq may be due "not to a lack of realism, but to the total breakdown of reality-based policy making," and asks: "what could the press have done differently?"

British and Iraqi troops reportedly stormed a rogue police station in Basra, where a "serious crimes unit" was "living up to its name," while to the north, 'Hundreds Disappear' into Kurdish prisons.

As leading Shiites resist a U.S. plan to isolate Muqtada al-Sadr, Jon Basil Utley ponders 'Who Might Be Shooting at Both Sides?' and Georgie Anne Geyer beholds 'another face of evil in Iraq.'

An Iraqi appeals court, upholding a death sentence, rules that Saddam Hussein can be hanged "any day" within the next 30 days.

With Los Angeles reeling from Afghan heroin blowback, addicts are being warned to "only use half or three-quarters" as much of "the purest in the world," which has also reportedly become the "drug of choice" in 'Heroin UK.'

McClatchy reports from Mogadishu as Ethiopian troops flood into Somalia, where it's predicted they'll encounter the same sort of quagmire bedeviling U.S. forces in Iraq.

While Anonymous Liberal analyzes ' The Paradox at the Heart of Modern Politics,' Robert Parry sees the "war on terror" morphing into a 'Global War on Radicals,' aka 'A Battle for Global Values.'

After Turkmenistan names a successor to the "only man who mattered," analysts weigh the "best-case scenario" against "the doomsday one."

'Kiss the Ring' Ryan Lizza profiles "the new kingmaker of the Democratic party," and it's estimated that "the next presidential election may be the most difficult in history for a long-shot candidate."

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison 'thrills crowd in Dearborn,' and Sen.-elect James Webb tells the New York Times that information about his dust up with President Bush, "was something that emanated from the White House. I did not say anything about this for two weeks. I said nothing publicly at all."

A Wichita reporter concludes that the city "was once hip" because it was mentioned in an antiwar poem by Allen Ginsberg.

As the world bids 'Goodbye, Godfather,' Robert Hilburn argues that "if anything," James Brown's "impact on modern pop music is underrated."

For anyone who ever saw 'Mr. Brown' perform live in his prime, it's said that "no one else came close." And, The Sweet Science awards a 'Ten-Count.'

December 23-25

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Make a 2006 tax-deductible contribution of $50 or more to Cursor and Media Transparency and get a free T-shirt.

Setting Sun He succeeded and then pardoned Richard Nixon, was saved by a gay man from assassination, was once called "our greatest president," and will be buried in a locale said to resemble "a small skating rink."

David Broder's column praising the Ford legacy omits mention of his administration's role in Iran's nuclear program, its weighing the merits of warrantless wiretapping, and the '70's Terror Playbook' ginned up by two aides.

Jonathan Schwarz wonders how many mainstream media stories about Ford "will mention that he gave Indonesia a green light to invade East Timor on December 6, 1975?"

Ethiopian forces march on Mogadishu, with U.S. backing, and State Department officials are instructed to "play down the invasion" of Somalia.

Saddam Hussein urges Iraqis "not to hate" occupying forces, Baathists threaten to target U.S. interests "everywhere" if he is executed, and Human Rights Watch contends that "Imposing the death penalty, indefensible in any case, is especially wrong after such unfair proceedings."

As 'Hundreds of Iraqis Apply to Kill Saddam,' a Baghdad carpenter reflects on having "never made so many coffins a day," and a soldier's sister exercises 'The Freedoms My Brother Is Defending.'

After attending "a party in the Green Zone," Christopher Hitchens is moved to reflect on "the astonishing actual and potential wealth of the country," and to condemn "the idea that we could even consider abandoning such a keystone state."

David Ignatius is branded a 'Loser' for his column on how President Bush is 'Still Playing to Win in Iraq,' Jeff Cohen, in an adaptation from "Cable News Confidential," finds that "many in the media ... have not relinquished their war drums," and Robert Parry investigates 'The GOP's $3 Billion Propaganda Organ.'

The Pentagon's desire to recruit overseas is seen as a scheme though which neocon fundee 'Max Boot Gets His "Freedom Legion."'

Israel reportedly 'Breaks Promise to U.S.' to halt settlement home construction in the Palestinian territories, while 'Hezbollah rises from ruins' in the slums of south Beirut.

'A Palestinian view' takes Jimmy Carter to task for his description of Israel on NPR as "a wonderful democracy with equal treatment of all citizens," while Tony Karon argues that Carter's use of the word apartheid "is not only morally valid; it is essential."

Spiegel chronicles 'The Double Life of Abu Khaled,' a Palestinian fighter who's 'Fatah by day,' but works for 'Uncle Hamas' by night.

Mike Whitney analyzes 'Washington's Game in Turkmenistan,' where acting president Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov reportedly 'looks like a lock' in February elections.

McClatchy's sale of the Star Tribune to private equity firm Avista, for less than one-half of the 1998 purchase price, was called "inexplicable and disappointing" by one newspaper analyst, and reportedly "caught most employees at the paper off-guard and angered some newsroom employees."

The "winners" of the 2006 'P.U.-litzer Prizes' are announced, along with the National Journal's 'Awards of Excellence,' Media Matters' list of the year's 'Most Outrageous Comments,' and the Black Agenda Report's 'Selected Predictions, 2007.'

The Securities and Exchange Commission wraps up "a holiday present to corporate America," as executive pay on Wall Street is said to have reached the level of "insanity on steroids," in the era of skybox charity.

While the Apollo Theater will reportedly get one last look at Soul CEO No. 1, who "split the funk atom" and made strange bedfellows share headlines, it's recalled that at least one town gave him a 'hard time.'

December 26

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Three More Days!-- to make a 2006 tax-deductible contribution to Cursor and Media Transparency, which published 68 original articles this year, with your help.

Slate's Timothy Noah examines 'Washington's Jones' for a "one line" legacy, and as plans for an extended funeral are announced, William Bennett asks the late Gerald Ford to "show a little more decency," following Bob Woodward's revelation that 'Ford disagreed with Bush about invading Iraq.'

Although Ford reportedly told Bush last October that he supported the war, the New York Daily News' Tom DeFrank quotes Ford as having told him, "we shouldn't have put the basis on weapons of mass destruction. That was a bad mistake. Where does [Bush] get his advice?"

While "there were lessons galore to be learned from Vietnam," Bob Herbert argues that "Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Cheney, like frat boys skipping an important lecture, managed to ignore them." Plus: The 'Nixon Resignation Outtakes.'

'What if Reagan had beaten Ford?' asks a New Hampshire columnist, recalling his state's 1976 primary, and Alexander Cockburn speculates that a Ford victory over Carter would have "blunted" some neocon crusades.

With Democrats preparing to 'Take on Political Risks' of running Congress, and President Bush "building expectations that will be hard to meet no matter what he unveils," Esquire covers "The Meaning of Life."

'Iraqis brace for Hussein execution,' media moguls ponder "the self-defining question of the month," and a Fox News' question of the day is: "Why Wait To Hang Him?"

As a new poll finds that a majority of adults in six nations, including the U.S., want all troops out of Iraq, a U.S. military officer tells the New York Times that Iraq "is no longer America's war," but at Arlington National Cemetery, Thomas Schaller can 'Hear the silence of Section 60.'

Mogadishu falls, with residents anticipating the "return of the warlords," prompting a prediction regarding a "U.S.-sponsored bloodbath."

As John Edwards announces his presidential candidacy in New Orleans' Upper Ninth Ward, the Wall Street Journal reports that Edwards hopes poverty is a winning message.

CEOs are underpaid, tuition hikes deserve 'Three Cheers,' and Lou Dobbs has a 'Secret Life,' according to articles in a new magazine published by the American Enterprise Institute.

Entrepreneurs in Nunavut, who cater to American sport hunters, are reportedly "concerned" over the Bush Administration's proposal to declare polar bears a "threatened" species.

As government watchdogs feel the wrath of bosses, a revolving door prediction comes true for a former environmental top dog, soon to be 'Shilling for Shell.'

Editor & Publisher's Dave Astor observes that, even as public 'Opinion Swings Left,' "conservative voices continue to outnumber liberal ones" in syndicated features.

Police suspect suicide in the death of a radio host and prominent free speech attorney, described as "a thorn in the side of the neocons."

The line formed at midnight for James Brown's last gig, at the venue where the 'Father of Funk' once "bet every penny he had on himself."

December 27

Friday, December 29, 2006

Next update January 2, 2007.

Begin 2007 with a wise investment of $50 or more and spend the rest of the year in style.

The 'War toll hits home' in "Military City," as the 3000th U.S. soldier is killed in Iraq.

Following the execution of Saddam Hussein, President Bush praised 'fair trials and the rule of law,' 77 people reportedly died in bomb attacks in Iraq, and a U.S. soldier stationed there asked: "So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?"

Richard Nixon's "only real friend" changed his tune on the reasons for the pardon in a taped interview with Bob Woodward, but what are termed "the nine most important words of Ford's career" receive as little mention as his 'handling of the end of the Vietnam war.'

Since her return to Baghdad last month, McClatchy's Hannah Allam has found even the toughest of her Iraqi colleagues hitting their breaking point in a city where neighborhoods have largely degenerated into "cordoned-off enclaves in various stages of deadly sectarian cleansing."

"Democracy Now!" reviews 'a deadly year for journalists,' during which 55 were killed "in direct connection to their work."

Fox News is caught having "inadvertently told the truth about public opinion on the Iraq war" in reporting Cindy Sheehan's arrest Thursday during a "peace surge" near Crawford, Texas, and the ranch where President Bush reportedly "worked nearly three hours." Plus: The Fox Noose Channel?

Although troops in Baghdad and even the new Secretary of Defense may lack "the urge to surge," and despite the risks of escalation, Bush is reportedly considering 'up to 20,000 more troops for Iraq,' unable, in Matthew Yglesias' view, to escape from the "prison of his own denial."

Moving past the media "'surge' protectors," John Edwards targets the "McCain Doctrine of escalation in Iraq," but Fox News and MSNBC focus on what's in his wallet. Plus: Was New Orleans just a backdrop?

Linking the war in Iraq to 9/11, Sen. Joseph Lieberman endorses the call for more troops in Iraq, insists that "a larger war is emerging," and issues what Glenn Greenwald calls a virtual 'declaration of war on Iran.' Plus 'Apocalyptic man' warns of "a new Hitler rising in Iran."

In an interview with the National Interest, Iran's U.N. Ambassador responds to the imposition of sanctions, and attributes the lack of serious dialogue on Iraq to Washington's approach to the people of the Middle East as "somehow less than human."

After two years of "globe-trotting" as America's top diplomat, Condoleezza Rice is judged, even by "staunch supporters," to have had "little positive to show for her work." Earlier: Rice explains why the U.S. can't talk to Iran.

Democrats are thought likely to "revisit detainees' rights," as John Dean considers what Congressional Democrats can do 'when the Bush administration stonewalls their efforts to undertake oversight.'

With the White House preparing for 'an execution as early as this weekend," and right wing bloggers reportedly "drooling" in anticipation -- despite warnings that hanging Saddam Hussein will lead to greater unrest -- Chris Floyd sees the real goal as 'burying America's collusion with Saddam.'

In his obituary for the Republican revolution of 1994, Paul Krugman notes that while the revolution failed on its own terms, by merely degrading government instead of shrinking it, "bad policy ideas are like cockroaches: you can flush them down the toilet, but they keep coming back."

As the New York Times explains how "golden hello" packages help make executives "whole," David Sirota finds reasons to expect 'some hearings on CEO pay' in the new Congress.

'The Secrets in Ikea's Closet' An article from Le Monde Diplomatique finds that the corporation, not the worker, "is the main beneficiary of the semblance of social responsibility embodied in its code of conduct."

Branded restrooms debut in Times Square, Berlin debates selling the naming rights to 'Hitler's stadium,' and the Department of Defense appropriates the "Epic of Gilgamesh" to explain "post-deployment health evaluation and management."

Susan Jacoby criticizes the way "atheism and secularism are still largely excluded from public dialogue about the proper role of religion in American politics," as a consulting firm advises Democrats to abandon the phrase "separation of church and state." Plus: 'The Myths of Disbelief.'

As it's explained that the capture of Osama bin Laden is "a success that hasn't occurred yet," President Bush beats out some stiff competition in an AP poll for "villain of the year."

December 28

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