Monday, June 19, 2006

Different things

I wasn't going to post tonight but I was on the phone with Rebecca -- she had a miscarriage this weekend and write about it in "nancy keenan, rick hertzberg (the useless 1s)" -- when someone pulled up in her drive. We were still talking when her ex-husband (and current flame) got back from checking to see who it was.

It was C.I. and I told her I'd let her go but she said to wait a minute, she was laughing at this point and it was good to hear her laugh. She said to check her site in a few minutes because C.I. had brought ice cream and tabloids and there was a cover that she was putting up.

I hope she's holding up as well as she says.

We learned that Saturday night (though I think for those on the phone from the east coast it was already Sunday morning -- I don't remember very clearly, it was such a shock). She seems to be handling it but you never know how much is the public face and how much is reality. (I'm sure we've all put on a public face before, I know I have.)

So I was curious to see what had her laughing so hard and it's the cover above. In honor of the fighter Rebecca, I'll post it here as well. Maybe someone else needs a laugh tonight.

Let me change the subject before I get weepy.

Tomorrow Di-Fi co-sponsors a bill that basically does nothing. It "asks." It "asks" that Bully Boy present the Congress with some sort of Iraq plan. (I wouldn't call it an "exit plan.") It asks that Bully Boy begin a phased withdrawal. Which, he won't listen to it but if he did, just means a few come home only to send more over when the bombings or shootings get too bad. That would be his excuse. "I was happy to bring some of the troops home when it appeared Iraq was stabilizing but now they are needed back in Iraq" with a lot of "God bless you"s thrown in for good measure.

She couldn't support John Kerry's plan last week. (My other senator, Barbara Boxer could and did. It would be nice to live in a state with two Democrat senators. Instead, I live in one where I have a Democrat -- Boxer -- and one that's a Democrat in name only -- DiFi.)

It's all a shell game. I think she got spooked by realizing how much hatred there was towards her. (Trust me, it's hatred for a lot of us.) She's started trying to talk a good game. Maybe those protests outside her local offices got to her?

Not enough to set her straight, but enough to cause her to make (meaningless) noises?

I'm going to post C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and then call it night. Put on some music probably. Here's "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue.
In Baghdad, Reuters notes two bombings, a "car bomb" at "a police checkpoint" resulted in three deaths and three wounded and a "sucicide car bomber" who killed at least four others and wounded at least ten. CBS and the AP note "[a] parked car bomb" that killed five and wounded nine.
The BBC notes: "Violence is continuing in Baghdad despite the introduction of stringent new security measures last week that have seen more than 40,000 Iraqi and US forces deployed in the city." Dahr Jamail reports on the days since Bully Boy's photo-op in the Green Zone and concludes: "Each passing day only brings the people of Iraq and soldiers serving in the US military deeper into the quagmire that the brutal, despicable, tortured occupation has become."
Bombings also took place outside of Baghdad. The AP notes that three people were killed in Fallujah when a roadside bomb exploded while another roadside bomb, in Hillah, killed at least person and wounded at least four others. Reuters notes that, in Najaf, one person died from a bombing while at least five were wounded.
Reuters also reports an attack in Karbala where "a senior police officer" was shot to death and two of his bodyguards were wounded. AP identifies the man as Abdel-Shahid Saleh and notes that Saadoun Abdul-Hussein Radi, electrician, was shot to death in Amarah.
Kidnappings? Reuters reports that the Mujahideen Shura Council, which most recently claimed credit for four of the seven Saturday bombings in Baghdad, is now claiming to be holding four Russian diplomats which, Reuters notes, appears to be a reference to the June 3rd attack. The attack resulted in the death of Russian diplomat Vitaly Vitalyevich Titov and the four who were kidnapped were identified by the Russian embassy as: Feodor Zaycev, Rinat Agliulin, Anatolii Smirnov and Oleg Feodosiev. AFP reports that the Mujahideen Shura Council is also claiming that it has the two US soldiers reported to have been taken by "masked gunmen" on Friday. AFP describes it as a body that "groups eight armed factions led by Al-Qaeda."
The US military has not confirmed the abduction of the two soldiers. AFP reports that their names have been released: "Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Thomas L. Tucker, 25."Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) reported that "more than 8,000" US and Iraqis are searching for Menchaca and Tucker and the AFP notes that seven US troops have been wounded since the search began Friday.Meanwhile, CBS and AP quote Christina Menchaca, wife of Kristian, saying, "We're basically just watching the news because no one else knows anything about it, no one has heard anything about it."
On the American, Keith Maupin, who has been MIA since April 8, 2004, the AFP reports: "The Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera aired a video a week later that showed the American seated on the floor surrounded by masked gunmen. A month later it aired what it said was the execution of an American soldier, but the images were unclear and the army said it was inconclusive."
Al Jazeera is reporting that Iraq forces will be responsible for Muthanna relieving the British forces. This is the area that Japanese troops were also responsible for possibly adding creedence to the press coverage of the rumors that Japan will be announcing, prior to June 29th, that it is withdrawing all of its troops from Iraq. CBS and the AP note that Japan, England and Australia will "continue moving to "support role." The AP notes: "The decision, announced after [Nouri] al-Maliki met with Japan's ambassador, does not necessarily mean that any U.S.-led coalition forces will be withdrawn from Muthana province."
Ramadi? As noted by Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show, "major military operations" continue as "helicopters and airplanes are flying over the town." Reuters reports that "seven tanks moved along Maarif Street and July 17 Street. Two explosions were heard but the cause was not clear." Ali Hussein Mohammed is quoted as saying: "The water is totally cut off. We have to go to the river to get water. There has been no water for 24 hours and we have no gas to boil the river water to drink it."
Meanwhile, in Italy, the AFP reports that prosecutors are saying that the US marine who shot Nicola Calipari should be put on trial. Calipari had been sent to Iraq by the Italian government to rescue kidnapped Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena. Though he and Sgrena made it safely to the car, while traveling to the airport to leave Iraq, their car (or "caravan" in some reports at the time) was shot at by US forces. In the attack, Calipari was killed. Sgrena will be in New York City Friday June 23rd for an event with Amy Goodman at Columiba University. (Event starts at 7:30 p.m.)
Finally, Bully Boy is due to visit Vienna this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) and a group is attempting to organize a loud, if not welcoming, reception for him. "Bush Go Home" organizer Michael Proebsting tells the AAP: "The name George Bush, the name of the American president, has become a symbol for war crimes, for Abu Ghraib, for Guantanamo, for Jenin."