PRINCESS BRAT WANTS TO BE APPOINTED SENATOR. SHE WANTS IT SO BAD THAT, AS SHE POINTED OUT TO THESE REPORTERS WITH A WRINKLED NOSE, "I HAD LUNCH WITH AL SHARPTON IN HARLEM AND MY FAMILY IS NOTORIOUS FOR BEING VERY PLESSY V. FERGUSON WHEN IT COMES TO RACE RELATIONS."
PRINCESS BRAT, PICTURED BELOW, DID NOT LIKE BEING QUIZZED ABOUT HER VOTING RECORD.
"I'VE NEVER HELD OFFICE," CAROLINE CRIED, "OF COURSE I HAVE A LOUSY VOTING RECORD."
BUT THESE REPORTERS WERE SPEAKING OF PRINCESS BRAT'S REFUSAL TO VOTE IN ELECTIONS. SINCE 1988, 38 TIMES SHE SHOULD VOTED AND SHE MISSED APPROXIMATELY 1/2.
"SO?" ASKED PRINCESS BRAT.
WELL, IF YOU'RE GIVEN THE SENATE SEAT, PEOPLE WOULD EXPECT YOU TO VOTE.
"LOOK, BUBS, I'VE GOT BRUNCH WITH SARAH JESSICA 1ST THING TOMORROW, YOU WANT TO WRAP THIS UP?"
THIS COMES AS OUR COLLEAGUE PHILISSA CRAMER POINTS OUT THAT CAROLINE KENNEDY'S NEVER BEEN WHAT ANYONE WOULD CALL A HARD WORKER:
Back in 2004, when Kennedy stepped down from her DOE position, David Herszenhorn wrote in the Times:
This week, Wayne Barrett argues in the Village Voice that Kennedy's reported fundraising totals at the DOE are merely "hype." Kennedy's resume is now being exaggerated by Klein and others to make her appear skilled, when in fact her "aura" underpinned her fundraising success, Barrett writes:
FOR THOSE WHO FEAR THAT CAROLINE KENNEDY MIGHT BE GIVEN A POSITION SHE DIDN'T EARN, CBS' JULIE CHEN STEPPED FORWARD TO DEFEND HER. THAT WOULD BE JULIE OF THE I-SLEPT-WITH-MY-MARRIED-BOSS-AND-ENDED-UP-WITH-A-CAREER-AND-HIM-AS-A-HUSBAND. YEAH, JULIE, YOU'RE A ROLE MODEL.
The Committee to Protect Journalists released their end-of-year analysis today and "the deadliest country in the world for the press" is . . . For the sixth year in a row, the 'honor' goes to Iraq:
All of those killed in Iraq were local journalists working for domestic news outlets. The victims included Shihab al-Tamimi, head of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate, who died from injuries suffered in a targeted shooting in Baghdad. Soran Mama Hama, a reporter for Livin magazine, was targeted by gunmen in front of his home after reporting on prostitution and corruption in Kirkuk.
Two media support workers also died in Iraq during the year. Since the beginning of the war in March 2003, 136 journalists and 51 media workers have been killed, making it the deadliest conflict for the press in recent history.
The 11 journalists CPJ lists as killed in Iraq in 2008 are Alaa Abdul-Karim al-Fartoosi in Balad January 29th, Shihab al-Tamimi in Baghdad February 27th, Jassim al-Batat in Basra April 25th, Sarwa Abdul-Wahab in Mosul May 4th, Wissam Ali Ouda in Baghdad May 21st, Haidar al-Hussein in Diyala Province May 22nd, Mohieldin Al-Naqeeb in Mosul June 17th, Soran Mama Hama in Kirkuk July 21st, and in Mosul -- on September 13th -- Musab Mahmmod al-Ezawi, Ahmed Salim and Ihab Mu'd.
Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zeidi is currently imprisoned following his tossing two shoes at the Bully Boy of the United States on Sunday. Yesterday Randall Joyce (CBS News) observed, "He has disappeared into an Iraqi legal system that is deeply flawed and, at times, intentionally confusing. If transparency is the standard for a good court system, then Iraq's is the opposite. Opaque doesn't begin to describe it." Joyce noted that Muntader was not present in Iraq's Central Court as had been announced and that family and lawers were instead given second-hand accounts. Joyce explained, "Al-Zeidi's family was informed at today's hearing that he is being held in a jail in the Green Zone, but when our crew went to that facility they were told he had never been there. So far, no member of his family has seen him and we have no idea of his physical condition. There is no explanation so far as to why the hearing took place a day earlier than planned at a secret location without the presence of al-Zeidi's legal team or family." Today Randall Joyce notes that Muntader's attorneys are still being prevented from seeing their client as is his family: "Family members have expressed concern that al-Zeidi may have been severely beaten after the incident and is being hidden from view to keep the nature of his injuries from the public. His continued detention is becoming a political issue here in Baghdad, where thousands have marched demanding his release. The television channel he works for continues to run extended programs featuring interviews and phone call-in segments demanding his release." According to Joyce, the law under which Muntader might be prosecuted "existed before the U.S. invasion". One question should be why Saddam-era guidelines are being followed after Saddam has not only been disposed but also executed? Another would be where's the evidence? AFP reports that the judge is stating, "The shoes were examined by the Iraqi and American security services and then destroyed." If true, the shoes -- or alleged shoes -- were never examined by the court and cannot be presented as evidence. Wisam Mohammed (Reuters) reports puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki says Muntader has apologized for throwing the shoes. And he did so in writing -- al-Maliki claims. Which may or may not be true (as with most of al-Maliki's claims). But they've produced a written confession! After denying Muntader access to his attorneys and, of course, after beating him. Jormana Karadsheh (CNN) portrays the written confession as a request "for leniency" and allows Yaseen al-Majeed -- spokesperson for the puppet -- to babble on without ever making the point that neither his family nor his attorneys have been allowed to see Muntader. Riyadh Suhail (Saudi Gazette) notes Dergham al-Zeidi, Muntader's brother, states he's been told "his brother's hands and ribs are fractured and he has eyes and leg injuries."
Yesterday Zain Verjee (CNN) interviewed US Secretary of State Condi Rice for Anderson Cooper 360 and the topic of Muntader was raised. From the transcript at the State Dept website:
Zain Verjee: Staying in Iraq, the shoe-throwing incident, it was really a symbol in so many ways in the Arab world of utter contempt --
Condi Rice: Yeah --
Zain Verjee: -- for President Bush.
Condi Rice: And it was one journalist among several who were sitting there respectfully, and I hope it isn't allowed over time to obscure the fact that this was the President of the United States standing in Baghdad next to the democratically elected Shia Prime Minister of a multiconfessional Iraq that has just signed agreements of friendship and cooperation with the United States for the long term.
Zain Verjee: But the man may have been one journalist, but he was viewed throughout much of the Arab world as a real hero.
Condi Rice: Oh, I --
Zain Verjee: My question is --
Condi Rice: I have heard so many people --
Zain Verjee: My question to you is --
Condi Rice: Yes?
Zain Verjee: -- does it bother you that with all the diplomacy that you've done, President Bush's policies, the policies that you've carried out --
Condi Rice: Zain --
Zain Verjee: that the US is so loathed around the world?
Condi Rice: Zain, the United States is not loathed. The policies of the United States are sometimes not liked. People don't like that we've had to say hard things and do hard things about terrorism. People don't like that we've spoken fiercely for the right of Israel to defend itself at the same time that we've advocated for a Palestinian state. But I have to go back. So many people in and around when that incident happened told me how embarrassed they were by the fact that that had happened. But the crux --
Zain Verjee: But didn't it upset you? Didn't it?
Condi Rice: No, no, only the focus of those who are supposed to be reporting for history didn't focus on the historical moment, which is what this was -- the President of the United States in Baghdad, for goodness sake, with a freely elected prime minister in a show of friendship. It didn't get reported that the Iraqi band spent apparently several -- all night trying to learn our national anthem and did it really rather well.
No, she's not that stupid. She is an educated woman and she knows damn well that the history books do not spend pages and pages on how the British band played "The World Turned Upside Down" as the British surrendered at Yorktown in 1781 -- or how many hours of practice the band had. She knows that, November 5, 1913, when then Col. Teddy Rossevelt landed in Argentina on the Rosario, the military band played both the US and the Argentine national anthems but that's not really a main item in the history books -- nor is how long the band practiced before their performance. The things she refers to are the details -- as she well knows -- while the news is the shoe toss. At the State Dept today Sean McCormack parroted and referenced Rice's really bad interview. As the head of the alleged diplomatic arm of the US plays the fool, Reporters Without Borders started calling for the release of Muntadar on Tuesday:
We obviously regret that the journalist used this method of protest against the politics of the American press. But for humanitarian reasons and to ease tension, we call for the release of Muntadar al-Zaidi who has been held by the Iraqi authorities for two days.
Given the controvery surrounding this incident, we urge the Iraqi security services to guarantee the physical wellbeing of this journalist, who was clearly injured during his arrest.
While we do not approve of this kind of behaviour as a means of expressing an opinion or convictions, the relaxed way in which George W Bush spoke about the incident afterwards, should give the Iraqi authorities all the more reason to show leniency.
The Wall St. Journal's Baghdad Life blog reminds that the issue in Iraq isn't just the Bully Boy of the United States, "the jokes also include Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who held out his hand to try to block the second shoe thrown at Mr. Bush." On al-Maliki, Martin Sieff (UPI) declares, "The plotters arrested in Iraq's Interior Ministry did not pose a serious threat to the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. But the very existence of the plot throws enormous doubt over the survival and stability of Iraq's 3-year-old democratic system, once the main combat force of the U.S. armed forces leaves the country." Coup! Oh goodness! Oh nonsense. Al Jazeera reports that Ministry of Interior's Abdul-Karim Khalaf for the record "dismissed suggestions that they [those arrested] had been plotting a coup." Aseel Kami and Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) add that "Khalaf ridiculed speculation about a coup" and declared, "Suggesting there is a coup going on in Iraq is like saying an ant is going out to arrest an elephant." Al Jazeera notes: "Brigadier-General Alaa al-Taei, the ministry's head of public relations, said those arrested were not accused of plotting a coup, but were suspected of planning to burn down the ministry, possibly to destroy evidence again" while MP Abbas al-Bayati states, "I think talking about a coup is an exaggeration." Campbell Robertson and Tariq Maher (New York Times) broke the story and set the pattern for over reliance on official whispers. Sudarsan Raghavan and Qais Mizher (Washington Post) stuck with the facts: "It was unclear precisely why the officials were arrested. Some said it was because they were involved in corruption involving the issuing of fake documents and car license plates. Others described a more diabolical plot to resurrect al-Awda, or the Reutrn, a party composed of Hussein's loyalists that has been banned by the government. . . . Also unknown was whether the officials were trying to plot the overthrow of Maliki, who has been trying to cement his power in recent months, raising tensions with various political parties." Oliver August (Times of London) noted a problem with the reported versions early on, "Contrary to media reports that an elite military unit controlled by the Prime Minister made the arrests, the ministry spokesman said, 'The officers were connected to the Baath Party [once run by Saddam Hussein[ and they were arrested by our forces inside the ministry'." Raheem Salman and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) added, "Western officials have described Maliki a religious Shiite, as deeply suspicious of a coup by Iraqi security officers, many of whom are secular and nostalgic for the old Iraqi army. The prime minister has long sought to consolidate his power and control of the army and police. All security forces now report back to his office."
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