Saturday, May 01, 2010

Smile pretty





For example, the Toledo Blade's editorial board argues what listeners of Diane Rehm's program were wrongly told the Kagans (or at least Fred) argued:
Hints by U.S. military leaders suggest the withdrawal might be delayed if Iraqis don't assemble a credible government soon. But that plays right into the hands of Iraqi political and business interests that want U.S. funds - about $2 billion a month - to continue to flow there. Mr. Maliki and others also want to maintain the protective American shield around themselves and their government.
America's interest is to withdraw according to schedule. There is no good reason to divert from that plan.
That is consistent with the Toledo Blade's February editorial "Don't yield to Iraqi stunts." Turning to the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace. When noting that 'NGO,' we will always note that they're not as 'independent' as they'd love to pretend, they are an arm of the US government. So what are they saying? Marina Ottaway and Danial Kaysi feel the rule of law is being ignored and that the Justice and Accountability Commission is among the worst offenders:
This decision to ban elected officials has truly taken Iraq into uncharted waters, where it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate ad hoc political decisions from those based on the legal criteria. The January 2008 law that established the JAC and defined its mandate did not foresee the possibility of banning candidates after the election and no precedent exists on which to base a decision as these are the first elections under the law. Making the decision even more political -- the post-election bans will affect Iraqiya particularly hard, as did the pre-election exclusions. With twenty-two of the candidates banned after the vote belonging to Iraqiya, it could lose its slim two-seat advantage over State of Law.
There are also questions concerning the current legal status of the JAC, whose members were nominated by the council of ministers, approved by parliament, and ratified by the presidency council -- institutions whose mandate was terminated at the end of the last parliament and are operating in a legal limbo in the transitional period until a government is formed. The situation will worsen as the transitional period stretches from the few weeks foreseen by the constitution to the many months that now appear possible.
Today Alsumaria TV reports on seven candidates banned by JAC: "Al Iraqiya List spokesman Haidar Al Mulla revealed to Alsumaria News the names of seven candidates subject to the Justice and Accountability Law. Candidates include Fallah Hassan Zaydan, Iskandar Watout, Itab Jassem Nassif, Jamal Al Batikh, Adnan Al Jinabi, Mohammed Al Karbouli and Qays Shathar Hussein while an eighth winning candidate was not named."
Another view is offered by Jim Waldo in a letter to the Duluth News Tribune where he observes, "Every day it seems we read about bombs going off in civilian settings and the marketplaces in Iraq. How long will it take before exasperated citizens put a strongman in power through voting or a coup? He might stop the carnage by temporarily suspending democracy, installing a secret police, forming a republican guard and adopting repressive measures. And he might indeed success in stopping the bombings." But, Jim Waldo feels, this is how the New Saddam Hussein is created. Alsumaria TV reports that Nouri insisted today that Iraq was at risk of "a coup" from within the region and internationally and that threats are being made of a rocket attack on the Green Zone. Save us, Nouri, save us!!!! (Yes, he does trade on the fear. It's always been his only currency.)
Turning to some of the violence reported today . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Garma roadside bombing injured two people and, dropping back to yesterday, reports a Heet roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left a second one wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing wounded six people, a Baghdad car bombing claimed 8 lives and left twenty people wounded, a Baghdad sticky bombing which wounded CTO Sadoun Seyid Qassim. Xinhua notes a Baghdad roadside bombing which claimed 2 lives and left nine people injured. Reuters notes that 1 US service member was injured by a Baghdad roadside bombing last night.
Yesterday, a subcommittee of the US House Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing on the "Status of Veterans Small Business." Calling the Economic Opportunity Subcommittee to order, Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin noted, "Today's hearing will provide the US Government Accountability Office an opportunity to update us on the ongoing work on veteran-owned small businesses, and brought the hearing to order and noted " This Subcommittee last held a hearing on veterans and small business on March 11, 2010. The focus was on the Center for Veterans Enterprise and the Subcommittee were informed about problems to do with verification -- how some businesses that were not VA-owned were making it onto the list while others which were veteran-owned but could not make the list. What's changed? They did a study, the Government Accountability Office did a study. We'll note this exchange between the Chair, GAO's William B. Shear and Ranking Member John Boozman.

Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: [. . .] Because we have, as it relates to contracting requirements, a goal of making sure that it's veteran-owned businesses that are getting this opportunity just as it is in terms of the restriction Ms. [Diane] Farrell described, they're jobs created here as the objective so I -- You know, in your written testimony, you stated that the VA had hired a contractor to assess the verification programs process and the contractor's report included recommendations. Again, we're a little concerned with the progress the VA's making on the verifications as it relates to those on the database who have been verified to be veteran-owned businesses to deal with the issue of sort of veteran shopping that we have had concerns about with the Subcommittee previously. Can you elaborate on what recommendations were given to the VA?
William B. Shear: Uhm, I will paraphrase in a way that, uhm, as you know we have a draft report and as I stated we have a draft report. And among those, the needs to really implement information technology in a way that allows for more efficient processing of these applications. You also need -- really it's development of people in terms of their ability of the guidance that they have to have in terms of how they verify businesses. So I'm -- I'm segueing a little bit into what's-what's-what we're reporting on. But-but basically that it's been very slow in this process. And the reason we think it's very important is because the preferences are meant to serve veterans and veteran owned small business and there's not an assurance that that is happening. And it's been delayed for some period of time, so just the fact that the consultant study, that it took so long until they kind of like moved in that direction is of concern to us.
Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: Mr. Boozeman?
Ranking Member John Boozemmn: Thank you, Madame Chair. Mr. Shear, Public Law 109-461 requires VA to review contracts for compliance with subcontracting proposals. Would you share GIO's view of VA's performance in implementing the provisions
William B. Shear: Subcontracting was the one part that is contained -- will be contained in our final report. And what we observed with subcontracting requirements, there's -- there's certain issues as far as the date when that becomes effective. But what we have observed to date is that the -- with respect to subcontracting VA falls very short of its goals.
If we wanted to go deeper into the hearing, we could note that you do not appear before Congress chewing (smacking) gum. It's not a possible rule, it's a rule. Smacking your gum between and during your testimony not only distracts from your testimony, it makes it appear you really aren't ready to appear before Congress and that they might need to instead seat you at the kiddie table.
Hike for our Heroes is a non-profit started by Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum who is hiking across the country to raise awareness and money for veterans issues. He explains at the website:

I am an Iraq-war veteran who is hiking 7000 miles across America to raise money for struggling veterans, and help get a national "Day of the Deployed" by getting signatures from mayors and governors across America on a custom Louisville Slugger bat

And with over 200 of the 7000 miles completed already, he has another milestone scheduled for the week: He's getting married Sunday. More information and videos can be found at Drum Hike.

William J. Booher (Indy Star) reports
that May is when Troy is set to be walking in Indiana and provides a list of some of the events including "a public barbecue May 7 at American Legion Post 252, 334 U.S. 31 S., between Main Street and Smith Valley Road." That is open to the public and begins at 12:30 in Greenwood, Indiana.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Post-election madness (and silence from one side)"
"Wounded, fallen, PTSD, wedding and other veterans issues"
"I Hate The War"
"Bully Boy & Lieberman"
"Shrimp and Pasta Salad in the Kitchen"
"Go listen to Neal Conana"
"Hacks and hacking"
"Cougar Town and crazy Hawaii throws money away"
"Terry just loves men"
"Terry Gross knows nothing about MLK"
"Hacks and hacking"
"Cougar Town and crazy Hawaii throws money away"
"make the difference"
"Leslie Gore, Kate Nash"
"Spy in the house of . . . colonial?"
"Kate Nash"
"Who? Sindey Runyan who?"
"In The Spirit"
"Whaling and other issues"
"Idiot of the Week"
"Wall St., really?"
"But he breaks just like a little girl"

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