Sunday, November 04, 2007
Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia anyone can edit, stated that I had suffered a stroke. So on Tuesday I decided to tell viewers and listeners that I was suffering from a temporary bout of Bell's palsy, that it wasn't painful and that "the doctors tell me I will be back to my usual self in the next few weeks. In the meantime, it just makes it a little harder to smile. But so does the world."
-- Amy Goodman's opening to "For Whom the Bell's Palsy Tolls" (Truthdig). The entire column is a must-read.
-- C.I. from this edition's "1 Book, 10 Minutes" which went up Thursday morning. Mike's readers Leigh and Beau started a mini-movement Thursday to have it declared the truest statement of the week and by Sunday, countless others were e-mailing this site.
Here's who helped:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot
and Dallas. We thank all for their help. We thank everyone for their help and we thank Isaiah for allowing us to use his comics.
Here's the new content:
Truest statement of the week -- this was an obvious choice even in a difficult week.
Truest statement of the week (Readers' Choice) -- Mike's readers Leigh and Beau (Beau is also a community member) led the charge for a readers' pick this week. We heard you. C.I.'s summation of a really, really bad book.
Editorial: "The surge" has worked? -- We said, "If we do it, we all go to sleep after." It was a long edition and we were thinking of C.I. who agreed that Isaiah's latest would be posted and since Kat's latest review was up, that was enough for the morning at The Common Ills. We've put this feature off over and over. Specifically, John McCain's repeated lies about the 'surge' which he damn well knows is not a solution (or a success) because he called out this nonsense in August of 2006. So desperate for votes, he'll tell any lie today.
TV: Beware the Reaper -- We were doing short features with everyone and Dona kept saying to Ava and C.I. that they could go work on their TV commentary. They didn't want to. There were too many topics to cover. We didn't understand because the show is The Reaper and they actually reviewed it last week but pulled it to offer up the harder hitting "TV: The Wall St. Journal's Entertainment Program." We honestly thought this weekend would be a breeze for them and they'd just touch up what they'd previously written. We weren't aware that they'd faxed it around for input and the overwhelming opinion of those in film and TV was that Kevin Smith needed to be put front in center. We also didn't realize that what had been, the week before, a basic review of a bad show was instead going to pull in so many elements. When I (Jim) finished reading it outloud, Rebecca probably summed up our attitude towards it best when she asked (only semi-joking), "Are you sure that's not the editorial for this edition?" They both say next week they're coasting. If they do, they've earned it. This is among their finest. (I'd rank it but then I'd get the usual angry e-mails of "How dare you forget their review of ___ and their review of ____ and their review . . .")
NYT: "Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq" -- We had a list of features going in. We didn't have time and later developments meant other things had to be covered. We'll be picking up another Obama topic shortly. In addition, a war resister feature got pulled on hold until next week. This is a piece where we're using the transcript of The New York Times' interview with Barack Obama (linked to at the end) to demonstrate how their front page article Friday should have been written. (We don't link to the article but Ty says one e-mail already asked. You can google or you can use the link to C.I.'s snapshot which contains a link to the actual article. As well as criticism of it.)
1 Book, 10 Minutes -- This went up Thursday. It's the book discussion we did October 7th and held. We weren't going to run it unless either made some sort of response. When the male half of the due told a paper last week that "a group won't even read the book," we felt we had a response. It went up about five minutes after we found out about that article, Thursday morning. The e-mails on it have been tremendous with most stating not to ever again hold something this hard hitting. We should go in and do an intro note at some point. When it went up Thursday, some e-mailing were writing things like, "You already discussed Norman Solomon and Susan Faludi's books." Yes, we did. The discussion took place weeks before that.
Mailbag -- First up, Dallas asked that we toss in Ruth of Ruth's Report. She's mentioned repeatedly in the feature and didn't get a link. Dona maintained a strict time limit. C.I. apologized after the feature for 'monopolizing' the time. It wasn't monopolized. We almost put the points made in the mailbag into the article last week but were too tired. Mike had noted last week that we'd respond to the feature and we did.
It is not and has never been about "our freedoms" -- This was our planned editorial but we honestly didn't have it -- "it" being the inspiration. When it wasn't working, repeatedly, we pulled it as the editorial and made it a feature.
Like a two-year-old, Karen Hughes keeps waving bye-bye -- "Visual and short!" cried Dona and we all went in search of potential topics. This won out for good reason.
FCC hearing in Seattle Friday -- We didn't have time to write about this so, fortunately for us, since Ruth had, we just excerpted.
The US State Department wants your feedback -- When Mike posts the questions from a poll (Zogby) his readers always enjoy that to see what's being asked for the upcoming poll. We include the silly State Dept. poll for that reason.
TESR Exclusive! Condi filming musical! -- C.I. noted the Waxman hearings in the snapshot the week of. Last week, they popped into a snapshot again. When discussing that with C.I., Ava and I were surprised to hear that Condi had stated the US and, "especially" the Bully Boy, were "absolutely devoted" to Israel's national security, we thought that called for noting somehow.
Nader and McKinney -- Green Party candidates? We'll know by the end of the year. Also, we tried to post the video itself of Nader speaking, we had no luck and after an hour of attempting, gave up.
Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Betty, Kat, Cedric and Rebecca wrote this and picked all selections unless otherwise noted. We thank them for it.
And that's it. We'll see you next week. We're off to eat quickly and then fall out watching a movie. (I'm pulling for the Marx Brothers' Room Service.)-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
For those who have forgotten, the White House claimed it would achieve six objectives:
Let the Iraqis lead;
Help Iraqis protect the population;
Create space for political progress;
Diversify political and economic efforts; and
Situate the strategy in a regional approach.
The press worked overtime to make it a "success." McClatchy Newspapers focused on reported Iraqi fatalities for October in Baghdad, probably the worst example, but far from the only one. Rare truth came via a foreign news service, AFP reported, "The number of Iraqis killed in insurgent and sectarian attacks" note that leaves out the Iraqi civilians killed in US air strikes "rose in October, in a blow to a nine-month-old US troop surge policy. At least 887 Iraqis were killed last month, compared to 840 in September, according to the data compiled by the Iraqi government." Prior to the official start of Operation Happy Talk on Thursday, The New York Times noted the day before,
. . . Joseph A. Christoff, the director of international affairs and trade at the Government Accountability Office, said some measure of what some see as progress in Iraq were not as clear-cut as they might seem. For example, Pentagon statistic indicated that a drop in violence in Iraq over the past several months "was primarily due to a decrease in attacks against coalition forces," Mr. Christoff said in written remarks to a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. "Attacks against Iraqi security forces and civilians have declined less than attacks against coalition forces," Mr. Christoff wrote.
In addition, there has been no 'progress' on the political front with Iraqi politicians accomplishing little and now the central government scrambling to address the border violence between Turkey and northern Iraq.
As the mainstream rushed their stories into print in an effort to be first in riding the wave of Operation Happy Talk, they also forgot the air war. Robert Parry (Consortium News) observed that "Bush's military strategy has employed its own indiscriminate firepower -- from loose 'rules of engagement' for U.S. troops, to helicopter gun ships firing on crowds, to jet air strikes, to missiles launched from Predator drones. For instance the U.S. military acknowledged on Oct. 23 that an American helicopter killed 11 people, including women and children . . ." But who in the mainstream bothered to?
They also play dumb on the very nature of 'surge' and one of the biggest playing dumb is John McCain who can't stop lying. CNN reported last week that he was crowing, "The situation has dramatically improved." Of all the lies about the escalation, McCain's may be the most offensive.
The 'surge' was a temporary measure. The US military could not maintain it and commanders in Iraq knew it was temporary and publicly discussed this. McCain couldn't have missed that.
What he now praises is exactly what he once called out.
Maybe readers remember "Whack-a-mole (Recipe for Disaster)"?
August 3, 2006 (well before the 'surge' was announced), the following exchange took place in the Senate:
Senator John McCain: So, General Abizaid, we're moving 7,500 troops into Baghdad, is that correct?
General John Abizaid: The number is closer to 3,500.
[. . .]
McCain: And where are these troops coming from?
Abizaid: Uh, the troops, the Styker Brigade, is coming down from Mosul.
McCain: From Mosul? Is the situation under control in Ramadi?
Abizaid: Uh, the situation in Ramadi, is better than it was two months ago.McCain: Is the situation under control in Ramadi?
Abizaid: I think the situation in Ramadi is workable.
McCain: And the troops from Ramadi came from Falluja, isn't that correct?
Abizaid: I can't say senator, I know that --
McCain: Well that's my information. What I worry about is we're playing a game of whack-a-mole here. We move troops from -- It flares up, we move troops there. Everybody knows we've got big problems in Ramadi and I said, "Where you gonna get the troops?" 'Well we're going to have to move them from Falluja.' Now we're going to have to move troops into Baghdad from someplace else. It's very disturbing.
The escalation largely focused on Baghdad and Al-Anbar and now the drawdown is taking place. Exactly what is that but McCain's own definition of whack-a-mole?
Senator Crazy spoke some rare truths in August of 2006. Today he hopes America missed it or forgot it.
The 'surge' was a failure, never achieving its six objectives. It was a temporary measure that allowed the White House to play whack-a-mole and now it is winding down. It achieved nothing diplomatically and it made no lasting difference. Someone might need to ask Senator Crazy about those facts.
Illustration from Isaiah's "Bully Boy & the Showboat Express."
Apparently learning somewhat from their highly public embarrassment of embracing Studio 60 Yada-Yada-Yada last fall, the Water Cooler Set decided no more praise for high brow crap and instead went in search of low brow crap. In the CW's Reaper, they found it. We'd say viewers should run from it but, as with the 'brain' child of Aaron Sorkin's, they already have.
Long before Nikki Reed got cut from the show, Reaper was obviously going to be crap. Even the premise was questionable. As we noted last May: "
As bad as that is, nothing is as hopeless as the CW which wants to offer both an update of Dakatari (entitled Life Is Wild -- but without the cross-eyed Clarence or Judy the chimp) and Touched by an Angel in reverse: instead of working for God, the lead works for the devil (Reaper starring Bret Harrison) by retrieving evil souls that have escaped from hell. We question the premise of the latter -- not only because just titling the Robert Blake vehicle Helltown was too much for some viewers but also because why would Satan be despondent that evil souls were making it back to the earth and doing bad things? Lucifer with a soft spot? We've only met the Dark Angel's female approximate, so maybe we're missing something.
But the more Kevin Smith got involved, the crappier it became. The show now plays like the musings of its "creative consultant" Smith. In other words, viewers are likely to feel like they'd been slipped a "chocolate covered pretzel" that was anything but.
Though his participation is truly minimal the entire thing plays as if someone's attempted to channel him and therein lies the problem because Smith is not that talented and to call the Opie & Anthony regular "vulgar" is to understate the problem. Like Quentin Tarantino, Smith showed up on the indie scene a "boy genius" with far too much love of words and far too little common sense. What carried Tarantino onto a career was the visual talent. Smith has none as film after film has demonstrated. It's as though you're watching cutting room floor left overs from old Hal Roach Studio one reelers only instead of physical comedy, the characters just talk and talk. His first film Clerks came at a time when too many Syd Field devotees had dropped characterization for on-the-nose dialogue propelling plot points. It was refreshing and, along with Chasing Amy, remains not only his best work but a strong credit. The rest has been one horrible experience after another. Salma Hayeck is reduced to nothing in Dogma because he has no visual sense and, like Mallrats, depends upon sh*t humor that is neither funny nor original. It does make audiences uncomfortable and weaken anything else he has to offer. From there he went to self-parody (Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) less than a decade after his career started, imitation John Hughes (Jersey Girl) and finally a sequel to Clerks. None were hits commercially and all were badly shot films buried under a weight of excessive dialogue. In fairness, we might need to note that he's also made a strong foray into bad TV -- guesting on such offerings as Yes, Dear and Moronic Mars.
Reaper rips it all off but most closely follows one of Smith's critical hits, Clerks. Chasing Amy was a one-time offering from Smith, who may be most famous for attempting to insert a rape storyline (of Black Cat) in Marvel comics (instead of making it a storyline, he made it a character 'detail' under pressure from Marvel). Women are regularly reduced to the smallest of stereotypes in his work unless they can suffer violence. Chasing Amy came about because he was on the indie lecture scene with the director of Go Fish and Smith got confronted with the reality that, no, lesbians do not want to sleep with men. It was such a huge blow to his ego that he penned Chasing Amy and made sure his alter-ego didn't suffer the same harsh reality he did. Credit for what made it onscreen goes primarily to the actors (Joey Lauren Adams, Ben Affleck and Jason Lee -- especially to Joey Lauren Adams) and to David Klein who was responsible for the look of the movie while Smith was interested in other things on the set.
Smith's attitude for women is channeled and reinforced in Reaper. But Clerks is the template. In that film, two clerks, Dante and Randall, are caught in dead end jobs. All the excitement and joy comes from Randall and his explosive, free association rants. In bad news for Reaper, they go with sad sack Dante whom they name Sam Oliver.
Reaper is one of two new shows being billed "slacker" this season. Slacker, Clerks and Reality Bites were the best of that film crop with only Reality Bites actually bothering to create characters (in fairness, it had Winona Ryder, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Stiller and Ethan Hawke in the cast). Though all made a profit, none were considered blockbusters and the slacker theme either disappeared from most films or was pushed off on supporting characters. Despite those realities, TV has spent over a decade trying to work the theme.
That's really no surprise when you consider that the male slacker is a stereotype who can't connect with women, lacks direction in life and serves as little more than a function. Those attributes describe the bulk of TV characters in any era. This season NBC offers Chuck (which, as Mike noted, we really think is a show worth watching) and CW offers Reaper with the Water Cooler Set billing both as slacker shows. Like the title character, Chuck has ambitions and the series succeeds. Reaper's Sam Oliver has no ambitions and the show just sits there on the stained couch aimlessly.
The backstory is that Sam's parents promised their first child to the devil for a favor. At 21, Sam is informed of the promise and that he's now laboring for Satan when not working at a Home Depot-esque store. Sam whines a lot and mopes a lot and he never gets anything accomplished other than shooting the breeze with his all male posse which is even more immature than he is.
But, as the non-stop TV ads tell you, critics are hailing it. What exactly are they hailing?
Male riffs. Don't call it banter. Tired lines on tired topics that make one long for the non-insight of Dawson and Joey. It's hard to watch the series and not grasp how little the CW knows their audience. The WB and UPN merged to form CW and UPN really had nothing to offer. That didn't stop CW from turning Friday nights over to faux wrestling killing any excitement for the net-lette. And they've been working overtime to run off women. A self-described female geek at ABC told us on the phone Saturday that despite a huge crush on one of the leads, she had to give up watching Supernatural this year because it was just too angry. (She noted that the boys now strip often so we might need to update our joke about Supernatural being like gay porn where the leads forget to undress.) She couldn't understand what was going on?
What's going on is nothing new and has been going on at all the networks but may be most notable with CW which, in its WB incarnation, had a strong female base of viewers. Part of the reason for that was characters like Buffy, Jen, Piper, Phoebe and, of course, The Gilmor Girls. Those women drove their own lives. These days, it's all like the really lame cell phone commercial where the father attempts to bluster and intimidate a young man going out on a date with his daughter. The whole depowering and devaluing of women has so taken over the culture that it's even used in marketing.
On Reaper, there's really just one 'main' female character: Andi Prendergast. She's played by Missy Peregrym and it's difficult to determine, even after reading the scripts, whether it's her bad acting or the lousy writing that are to blame. But knowing some of the details of Nikki Reed's brief involvement with the series, we'll give Prendergast a pass because even if she does have talent, it won't show up on this show.
What does show up is an aimless, tired streak that would turn off all viewers -- as well as the CW's thinking they can cheat their core audience by casting a too-pretty boy lead and that's enough to interest female viewers. As if, week after week, women will tune in to watch a Ken doll and go weak in the knees.
The only slacker film with heat was written by a woman (Helen Childress) and Ethan Hawke's character Troy not only slept around, he fought a battle between his desire for Winona Ryder's Lelaina and his fear that a sexual relationship would destroy the only real friendship he had. Sam Oliver is Dante moping around and mildly excited about someday dating Andi. In one episode, when she invites him out (yes, that is how pathetic he is, he can't shut up about her but he can't do anything about that) and makes it clear they will be spending the night alone, Sam looks not excited but nervous. You sort of picture him rushing off to purchase a blow up doll for practice.
Like everything else about Sam and the show, the date doesn't happen. This allows Sam to whine to Satan about not having control of his weekends but it's not like Sam would do anything with them if he could. He doesn't do anything with the time he does have. He spends it with his male cheerleading section of supporting characters. His type actually appears in a more complex manner on Chuck, but it's supporting character Morgan.
And that's why the NBC show succeeds where Reaper fails. Chuck works for a number of reasons but largely because there is heat between Zachary Levi (Chuck) and Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah) onscreen and an actual impediment to the two becoming a couple (as opposed to cowardice on the part of Chuck -- the kind of cowardice that is a hallmark of Sam Oliver). Like 30 Rock last year, there's enough support at the top of NBC that we can wait to review the show but we've got to mention that Strahovski did more with one word ("Ann") in a scene full of tension than most performers do with a lengthy monologue and we also have to note that Monday's broadcast is a must-see.
Sam Oliver has lots of words. Too many, in fact, and no one ever tells him to shut up (a function that Chuck's Major John Casey fulfills). So audiences are left to play that role. The easiest way to shut Sam up is not to watch and the ever declining ratings suggest that's the option most are going for.
Actor Bret Harrison played verbose and sexually stunted on The Loop as well and that was cancelled. The thing that made the sitcom watchable were the female characters (played by Mimi Rogers and Joy Osmanski) who seemed to grasp that when playing opposite an actor reciting lines with no concept of backstory or meaning, they could easily steal the scenes (which they did). Apparently to prevent Harrison from being upstaged, the other roles have been cast in what we like to think of 'irregulars.' Like the cheap socks and shoes in strip malls because they really aren't up to the quality required for full price. Chief among them is Ray Wise who plays the devil and seems to think he's this decade's Dean Stockwell when the reality is he only demonstrates why this is the biggest role of his entire career.
So why the praise from the Water Cooler Set? The ads list Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times and a host of others. Tim Golden (San Francisco Chronicle) took to pimping it again this week and proved especially dense about the decline in ratings for network TV when, as examples of outstanding cable shows, he quickly names The Closer, Saving Grace and Damages. Apparently good at checking out the overall numbers but lousy at checking out the demographics, Golden failed to notice the audience make up or the fact that all three star women playing strong characters. Where are the strong women on broadcast TV?
The reality is Reaper is crap just as last year's pimped show from Sorkin was crap. Anyone looking to enjoy an hour won't enjoy Reaper but the Water Cooler Set hasn't known how to sniff out a hit in years. Kevin Smith's name got attached to this show and the Water Cooler Set started drooling. Film critics wouldn't. Film critics are well aware that with the Weinstein's nixing everything he's offered of late, TV is the natural refuge for Smith. But the Water Cooler Set hears "Kevin Smith" and thinks "hot property." It's another 'boy genius'! And if he's really done little on the show, what does that matter when he's so obviously responsible for its birth? It's also true that the Water Cooler Set cares very little about women. Occasionally Alessandra Stanley will call out TV's lousy opportunities for women these days, but that really doesn't get picked up by the Water Cooler Set and you sort of picture the (male) majority rolling their eyes. Stanley came to TV criticism from another beat while the majority of the Water Cooler Set begin professional life in the roles and will die in them. They started out pimply, adolescent males desperate to see themselves on the small screen and that desire still explains the reception they give to most shows. You get the feeling the mini-series genre died in part because the set had trouble thinking past a one hour segment.
They're there for the boys, always. Which is why Katie Couric attacker Bill Carter was fawning over Brian Williams in The New York Times Saturday. Bri-Bri, such a news "man," was hosting Saturday Night Live and wasn't it wonderful and proof of how Regular Joe he was? No, it was an embarrassment. Fire fighters who caught the broadcast will no doubt pay closer to attention to his news reading on them since his portrayal was so patronizing, Democrats (and Republicans) will note the smarmy sketch he participated in (Mike Gravel plots to kidnap Hillary and the other Dems are in quick agreement!), one offense after another. Carter, so quick to carry NBC's water for them in the Katie attacks, is still carrying NBC's water and can't point out the obvious that a news anchor doesn't sully the anchor chair by doing sketch comedy. (In a sidenote, Amy Poehler has improved immensely as anchor this season. We promised friends with SNL we'd note that at some point so there it is.) Could you imagine the pile-up if Couric decided to host either SNL or Mad-TV? From both the Docker Boys and our media watchdogs like CounterSpin?
In the 80s, women began disappearing from the TV audience in large numbers. They're disappearing in droves again. It took Susan Faludi, and not the Water Cooler Set, to explain why. As with most things, they're working without a net and without a brain.
The New York Times
Friday, November 2, 2007
"Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq"
by Michael R. Gordon and Jeff Zeleny
Presidential candidate and US Senator Barack Obama who is perceived as an 'anti-war' candidate by some announced that he would not commit to a withdrawal, declared that he was comfortable sending US troops back into Iraq after a withdrawal started and lacked clarity on exactly what a withdrawal under a President Obama would mean.
Declaring that "there are no good options in Iraq," Senator Obama went on to explain that even with his 16 month plan for withdrawal, he would continue to keep US troops in Iraq, agreeing that he would "leave behind residual force" even after what he is billing as a "troop withdrawal."
"Even something as simple as protecting our embassy is going to be dependent on what is the security environment in Baghdad. If there is some sense of security, then that means one level of force. If you continue to have significant sectarian conflict, that means another, but this is an area where Senator Clinton and I do have a significant contrast," Senator Obama offered contrasting himself with his chief opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination. "I do think it is important for us not only to protect our embassy, but also to engage in counter-terrorism activities. We’ve seen progress against AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq], but they are a resilient group and there’s the possibility that they might try to set up new bases. I think that we should have some strike capability. But that is a very narrow mission, that we get in the business of counter terrorism as opposed to counter insurgency and even on the training and logistics front, what I have said is, if we have not seen progress politically, then our training approach should be greatly circumscribed or eliminated."
The Senator insisted, "I want to be absolutely clear about this, because this has come up in a series of debates: I will remove all our combat troops, we will have troops there to protect our embassies and our civilian forces and we will engage in counter terrorism activities. How large that force is, whether it’s located inside Iraq or as an over the horizon force is going to depend on what our military situation is."
The positon of the majority of Americans in poll after poll is that all US troops need to be brought home by 2008. Senator Obama's strategy calls for bringing some troops home, should he be elected president, in his first sixteen months; however, he is not, by his own words, an advocate of a "Out of Iraq" strategy.
While maintaining that he would remove all combat troops in sixteen months he did agree that the forces left behind to fight "terrorists" would be performing "a combat function."
He also spoke of deployment, and presumably bases, "in places like Kuwait" in order "to strike at terrorist targets successfully."
Returning the topic of leaving US forces in Iraq even after what he's billed as a "withdrawal," the Senator delcared, "As commander in chief, I’m not going to leave trainers unprotected. In our counterterrorism efforts, I’m not going to have a situation where our efforts can’t be successful. We will structure those forces so they can be successful. We would still have human intelligence capabilities on the ground. Some of them would be civilian, as opposed to military, some would be operating out of our bases as well as our signal intelligence.
The senator also admitted that he was comfortable with sending troops back into Iraq after what he's terming a "withdrawal" though he wanted to split hairs on what constituted "armed force."
In what will be seen as a blow to his Democratic-center-slightly-left admirers such as the editor and publisher of The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Senator Obama touched on the topic that led to a brief flurry of disappointment when he refused to take all options off the table regarding Iran. In the interview yesterday, he repeated, "I don't think the president of the United States takes military options off the table." In addition, he also endorsed the Bully Boy's unproven claim that the Iranian government is equipping the resistance by declaring, "Iran has shown no inclination to back off of their support of Shia militias as a consequence of the threats that they've been receiving from the Bush and Cheney administration."
All in all, a candidate our readers can rest assured will not rock the boat or fundamentally change the current direction of the country.
That's the story they could have written based upon the interview conducted by Michael Gordon and Jeff Zeleny. As C.I. noted in Friday's "Iraq snapshot," the interview the reporters conducted hit harder than the sop they wrote up on it that ran on Friday's front page of the paper.