Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Iraq Talk in Congress - "Blah, blah, blah..."

General Petraeus: man of the hour! Photo by Charlie Archambault, from USN&WR.

Today's Congressional testimony delivered by Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker served as a good refresher for the people that didn't pay attention to even a shred of last month's coverage on the Iraq war.

Now it looks official that Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army (which by all accounts appears far more effective, organized and disciplined than Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's mostly S.I.I.C.-allied Iraqi Army), along with a myriad of other militias, will furthermore be crammed into a nominal catch-phrase: "Special Groups." Needless to say, this is sure to make the endless hunt for "bad guys" all the more confusing.

Update, 4/10, 12:34 p.m. - I should probably consider Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki responsible for the Iraq Army, huh? At the moment I couldn't really tell you how S.I.I.C.'s armed wing, the Badr Organization, fits into the whole "special groups" vs. Iraq Army thing - whether they're a "special group" or serial infiltrators (and, judging by the news coverage surrounding the latest bout of fighting in Basra, serial deserters) of the Army. I'm guessing that they're both...

11:29 p.m.

Bush speaks!

And the war's critics put the pressure on him.

"The president has taken us into a failed war, he's taken us deeply into debt and that debt is taking us into recession," said Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, according to BBC. "We need some answers from the president."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Thoughts On Trying the Torch Take-Down, 81% Dissatisfied, the Pregnant Man, and the "Good Ship" Debate

I just want to weigh in on a few things I've come across over the last couple of days.

1. Mad props go to the Free Tibet protesters who went for the Olympic torch-snatch and also tried to extinguish the torch today as Konnie Huq (surrounded by a coterie of security guards) jogged through London to commemorate the games. And let me remind you - this is jolly old England here. Judging by this, protesters should have something spectacular in store for Mount Everest.

2. I enjoyed the word choice of the latest NY Times/CBS Poll, which concluded that 81% of Americans polled say that "things have pretty seriously gotten off the wrong track" in the U.S. On the other hand, 19% believe that "things in this country are generally going in the right direction." Let me just say that 100% of me is not surprised at the results.

3. On Friday, I had a novel thought: Whatever would happen if a man got pregnant? The only example I had ever seen was that of California Governor Arnold Scwarzenegger, in the 1994 film "Junior." But lo and behold, on the very day I had this thought, the New York Post ran an article about a pregnant man named Thomas Beatie! I knew I could rely on the Post for something.

4. Josh Kurp, Five Best impresario and Copy Chief for New School Free Press (ooh, and contender for next year's Editor-in-Chief), just e-mailed me and some others an mp3 of "Good Ship Venus," a delightful and bawdy sailor's tune. Going by title alone, the song struck me as the precursor to Shirley Temple's "On the Good Ship, Lollipop." Kurp wrote back, "Peter, Peter, Peter, if you knew anything about Shirley Temple, you'd know the 'Good Ship Lollipop' refers to an airplane." True, true! I saw the video! But you see, that only proves my point further - here we see the modern "Good Ship Venus" of the industrial age, naturally sapped of its original aura (i.e. sex on the boat). Thoughts?