Tuesday, May 25, 2004

It's got a lovely bunch of coconuts

Go to today's Today's Papers column in Slate for a bunch of what seem to me to be VERY important tidbits.

#1: USA Today did something clever: "USA Today's subhead artfully captures the moment, "Occupation Will End Soon; Troops Remain Indefinitely." (Contrast this to the horrible Slate subheads I've complained about on Slate's Fray.)

#2: Again, from today's Today's Papers: "What do the papers do when a much-anticipated presidential speech turns out to be vacuous? They play it big and straight anyway—and in the process help mislead readers." TP regularly does a good job of pointing out a very few of the many places I feel the media's letting us down. Sadly, few people actually supposed to be receiving the information (read: everyone in the US) doesn't read TP... or watch or read the news at all. There'd be problem enough making informed public decisions with a straightforward media. How screwed are we with a misleading one?

#3: Did you LISTEN to Bush's speech? Vacuous. I agree. I figured out that's why I wasn't offended. I'd heard it all before, so there was nothing new to get angry about...

#4: #3, of course, is not directly one of the revelations from TP. But it's related...

#5: The one thing I was actually kinda excited about in the speech, the apparent shift in Iraqi sovereignty plans: no dice. As recently as April it was reported that the sovereignty would be partial. Prezzy Prez G-Dub promised "full sovereignty" yesterday so forcefully, I actually believed this was a shift! Doh. TP reveals today that "articles inside the papers say that the draft Security Council resolution the U.S. and Britain offered yesterday doesn't give it. Most crucially, it doesn't give the still unnamed temporary government the power to ask foreign troops to leave or to overrule missions." And actually reading selections from a search of the White House website confirms that there will not be "full sovereignty" given over today if by that term, you mean both "full" and "sovereignty", although the White House has been maintaining that it will give full sovereignty over on June 30th for at least a while...

#6: Recovering from my shock at the fact that "our" "President's" plan for Iraqi "sovereignty" comes with sovereignty not included (clue: start at the bottom of the transcript and work up), another TP tidbit is, somewhat unsurprisingly, the claims that Gen. Sanchez, allied commander in Iraq, "was going to be replaced anyway, and, you know, it just happened to be now, and no, we never planned to promote him, but if we ever did, we don't now, and that's completely irrelevant to what's been in the news and polls today, and to reiterate, everything's normal, everything's fine, things are completely under control" are bunk and they were not planning on pulling Sanchez, or delaying his promotion, at least according to several different sources TP synthesizes.

#7: Bush's numbers keep dropping. Yaaaaaay. If only Kerry weren't... well, where to start. But maybe Bush's numbers will get low enough that the "Left" will finally feel "safe" to vote for, well, you know, the Left candidate (Nader). Nader is not the perfect person everyone seems to demand a 3rd party candidate be. But I believe in his policies, no matter how drily (dryly? no, hm (sp)) he voices them. You know, a candidate unlike Kerry, who doesn't say "Well, I'm against gay marriage, but for civil unions, but yes I attended a gay marriage recently, but no that doesn't mean I support it, because marriage is between a man and a woman, but we shouldn't take away people's rights." I don't mind so much the man's (Kerry's) qualified, complicated answers; some things are complicated and require qualification. The problem is, he's qualifiedly equivocal on things I strongly believe in. (Is it just me, or is it REALLY bad when your candidate STARTS his major campaigning equivocally? If you can't make bold promises before you're elected, when are you going to make them? Much less bold decisions. As West Wing has "shown", once you're elected, you don't start fulfilling your promises, you start worrying about burning bridges for your re-election campaign, and midterms...)

#8: Wow, this is longer than I planned. Let's speed it up. TP Revelation 8: The Pentagon's claims of the isolatedness of abuse takes another hit, as another person has stepped forward and said he was abused (at Gitmo). Unfortunately, the Pentagon claims as always that they investigate all credible claims. This guy, I'm sure they say indulgently, just doesn't have credible claims... just like the 3(?) Iraqi Reuters employees, the AP employee, the Afghan police colonel... (ps Hey, Afghanistan, remember them? Maybe we could get the world community to follow through on their aid to Afghanistan if we drew attention to it again; out of media, out of mind. Maybe if MTV did a "I Love The 00s" or "I Love the Places We Bombed Right Before This One" -- instant nostalgia could finally do some good!)

#9: Still rambling... Apparently (still in TP) some military officers didn't like the un-Geneva-like behavior at Abu Ghraib, so they signed off on a document with the CIA that puts prisoners not supervised under the Red Cross off-the-books (so thus, they don't have to deny the Red Cross access -- they can just deny the prisoners exist). (Apparently the CIA signer was "James Bond." A nom de guerre? If so, a) is this legal, and b) in any case, can we find out if this was simply to keep any subsequent investigation from finding this CIA agent easily, or is her/his name realy James Bond? Additional bonus unresolved question: Would the agent then go by Jimmy Bond, or whatever stupid name the added cast member to the "I was born to jump the shark" series, The Lone Gunmen?)

#10: Lab closing in 15 minutes... promise to go home and work immediately after class slipping from a small fib to a large self-deception... TP's last point is that the ~2,000 missing pages from the Congress' copy of the Taguba report on US prisoner abuses may include a section ("Draft Update") explicitly for SecDef "Known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns" Rummy, who said he never read the report (and perhaps added, "I may or may not have been the SecDef when it happened, or indeed, the SecDef right now. And let me tell you exactly why "I'm under oath" doesn't mean what you think it does..."") (..."i do not think that word means what you think it means"... couldn't resist!) Important follow-up that pesos'll get you dollars will not be done soon by NYT, WaPo, or other major media: Did he perjure himself? What are the real facts here? Did they make a draft for him that he didn't bother to read? Isn't that bad too? (Similarly, the missing 2,000 pages is a "clerical error" or some such.)

(and not from TP but your super-bonus question for my current readership of nowt: Didn't Slate say classifying the Taguba report might've been illegal? Yes, Fred Kaplan did! Direct link to his source: here. What's up with this? If true, shouldn't someone report it on mainstream news? And shouldn't the attempt of the gov't to reclassify the report be illegal, only doubly so? sorry no link -- heard it on NPR this morning...)

And as the computer lab closes, so does this entry...

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