President Obama (Wikimedia Commons)
I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.
?President Obama, February 27, 2009
Let's hope this report by the Associated Press isn't true:
The White House is offering to keep up to 10,000 troops in Iraq next year, U.S. officials say, despite opposition from many Iraqis and key Democratic Party allies who demand that President Barack Obama bring home the American military as promised.
Any extension of the military's presence, however, depends on a formal request from Baghdad ? which must weigh questions about the readiness of Iraqi security forces against fears of renewed militant attacks and unrest if U.S. soldiers stay beyond the December pullout deadline.
The AP says Iraq isn't expected to decide until at least September. But it seems to be up to Iraq. All they have to do is ask.
Already, though, the White House has worked out options to keep between 8,500 and 10,000 active-duty troops to continue training Iraqi security forces during 2012, according to senior Obama administration and U.S. military officials in interviews with The Associated Press. The figures also were noted by foreign diplomats in Baghdad briefed on the issue.
The Los Angeles Times adds:
The troops would be based around Baghdad and in a small number of other strategic locations around the country, the officials said.
Noting that Iraq had not asked yet for troops to stay, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said: "There's only so much time here available for the Iraqi government to make such a request. If they do, we will consider it. Otherwise, we are keeping on schedule."
Unless Iraq asks for a change in its 2008 agreement with the George W. Bush administration, only about 200 active-duty troops would remain as advisors after December, the officials said. More than 166,000 American troops were in Iraq in 2007 when the U.S. military presence there peaked. There are about 46,000 remaining.
No doubt some would say that reducing the number of troops from 8,000 to 10,000 is good enough, despite the fact that it wouldn't be the full withdrawal once promised, and would continue to cost American lives and money with no end in sight. And with the recently announced withdrawal from Afghanistan set to leave the number of American troops there at roughly twice the number that were there when Obama took office, and also with no full end in sight, the question would be whether Democrats are now embracing permanent war. If these reports are true. Let's hope these reports aren't true.
I'm a big fan of Doctor Who, Torchwood and Russell T. Davies, the man who brought back The Doctor and his spin off series Torchwood to the BBC. Now he's partnered up with Starz and brought Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper to America starting tonight.
?Torchwood,? premiering July 8, stars John Barrowman (?Torchwood?, ?Desperate Housewives?) as Captain Jack Harkness, Eve Myles (?Torchwood?, ?Little Dorrit") as Gwen Cooper, Mekhi Phifer (?ER?, ?Lie to Me?) as Rex Matheson and Bill Pullman (While You Were Sleeping, Independence Day) as Oswald Danes.
The last time we saw them it was in a five episode mini-series called Children of Earth, which was excellent and a big hit for BBC America. You can watch them all on Netflix Instawatch. Anyway, I have a friend that told me this new story arc gets very interesting as the show develops, but it's ten episodes long so I imagine it'll take a little longer to develop.
And the fourth season is anything but boring. This time around, the planet is in chaos and no one is dying. While eternal life seems like a cool concept, it's not. People keep aging and keep feeling pain, and hospitals and cities are overcrowded and running out of resources.
I haven't seen it yet, but I'm hoping for the best. Enjoy.
It's actually quite an interesting question. Remember the other day I wrote about the macaque monkeys (George Allen's favorite) who grabbed a professional photographer's camera and started snapping photos of themselves. Well, as TechDirt notes, it's not entirely clear how the photographer, or his photo agency. is now claiming the copyright on photos taken by someone, or some thing, else.
Technically, in most cases, whoever makes the actual work gets the copyright. That is, if you hand your camera to a stranger to take your photo, technically that stranger holds the copyright on the photo, though no one ever enforces this.
So here's the legal question: how did the copyright get assigned to Caters? I can't see how there's been a legal transfer. The monkeys were unlikely to have sold or licensed the work. I'm assuming that it's likely that the photographer, Slater, probably submitted the photos to the agency, and from a common sense view of things, that would make perfect sense. But from a letter-of-the-law view of things, Slater almost certainly does not hold the copyrights on those images, and has no legal right to then sell, license or assign them to Caters.You could try to argue that people who take photos of speeding bullets bursting balloons aren't really taking the photos - the contraption they set up is taking the photos when it senses the bullet passing. But the photographer set up the contraption, so there's a chain of custody you could use to argue that HE is really taking the photo. But with the monkey who stole the camera, there's no chain of custody - the photographer did not give the monkey the camera with the intent that the monkey snap photos like some kind of machine. Intent seems to be part of the issue here, if we're talking about non-humans snapping photos. Does it matter who owns the camera? If someone steals my camera, a person I mean, and they take photos with it, do they own the copyright to the photos from the stolen camera? Or if it's a monkey again, and I give him my camera in order to coax him to take photos, now do I own the copyright, because I intended the monkey to snap the shots? And doesn't the monkey's intent matter? Isn't this a bit like me dropping my camera accidentally and when it hits the floor it accidentally snaps a Pulitzer Prize winning photo - who gets the prize if the photo was never intended? Would it matter if I was passing the camera to a friend and we both had our hands on it when it dropped - would that mean both of us hold the copyright?
She came to the White House unexpectedly and never stopped being herself, unlike those before her who could have passed for inflatable life-sized dolls permanently positioned to stare adoringly at their husbands.
Betty Ford spoke openly about everything, from equal rights for women to abortion to what she would do if her 18-year-old daughter were sexually active. Even more, by example, she went beyond politics and set new standards for openness about her own life.
After a mastectomy for breast cancer, she spoke about it in public and wrote an article for me in McCalls to encourage women to go for early screening.
Then, in July 1978, I published a piece, ?Betty Ford: Her Long Struggle with a Lonely Marriage.? Mrs. Ford had just been hospitalized for addiction to alcohol and tranquilizers after years of suffering with a pinched nerve in her neck.
Knowing that pinched nerves often result from emotional stress, I asked Myra MacPherson, who knew Mrs. Ford well, to interview her friends, family and physicians about that possible explanation.
They told of her distress that, after looking forward to retirement togetherness after his Presidency, her husband was still away from home politicking 200 nights a year.
Our conclusion: ?Like other wives of ambitious men, she had to raise her children with little emotional support from her husband. After 30 years, the price she has paid for a life of loneliness and stress is painfully clear to everyone?with the possible exception of the one person she needs most.?
The aftermath has stayed in my mind ever since.
Several years later, although anxious that Mrs. Ford might have been upset by our piece, I asked Myra MacPherson to interview her again.
?The reason I?m seeing you,? Mrs. Ford told her, ?is that 1978 article. I sent copies of it to every politician?s wife I know.?
Betty Ford, who died today at 93, was one of the most honest and caring women ever to live in the White House
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An undercover investigation from a staff member of the organization Truth Wins Out has revealed that the clinic run by Dr. Marcus Bachmann, husband of Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, is providing discredited “ex-gay” reparative therapy. Dr. Marcus Bachmann has been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, after a ThinkProgress report documenting his past comments referring to gays as ”barbarians” and an NBC News report that revealed Bachmann and Associates had taken $137,000 in federal Medicaid funds over the past five years despite Michele Bachmann’s strident anti-government stance. John Becker of Truth Wins Out, who went undercover at Bachmann & Associates, writes:
Based on my experiences at Bachmann & Associates, there can no longer be any doubt that Marcus Bachmann?s state- and federally-funded clinic endorses and practices reparative therapy aimed at changing a gay person?s sexual orientation, despite the fact that such ?therapy? is widely discredited by the scientific and medical communities. It?s time for Michele and Marcus Bachmann to stop denying, dodging, and stonewalling. They owe it to all Americans to provide a full and honest explanation for their embrace of these dangerous and fraudulent practices.
The scrutiny of the Bachmanns’ extreme anti-gay views has only increased in the past 24 hours, following Bachmann’s decision to sign an extreme anti-gay, anti-Muslim pledge put forward a key Iowa group, the Iowa FAMiLY Leader.
There were very few groups that came out of the late 80′s and early 90′s boy band craze[...]
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The Republican freakout over the National Labor Relations Board continued this week, with the House Education and Workforce Committee holding a hearing on the NLRB's proposed rule changes to streamline elections by reducing frivolous legislation and abuses.
If the NLRB won't do just what they want, Republicans say they'll find other means to preserve the ability of employers to stonewall and intimidate:
Republicans will seek to stop the rule with legislation, Representative Robert Andrews, a New Jersey Democrat, said yesterday in a conference call with reporters.
?We are going to exercise everything in our toolbox? to ?block this,? Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican and committee chairman, told reporters after the hearing.
Here's an interesting factoid about Kline. According to OpenSecrets, his top 2010 donor was Boeing, which is locked in its own dispute with the NLRB. Also in his top 10 were Koch Industries and Walmart.
Republicans impeached Clinton, stole the 2000 election, question Obama’s citizenship, wreck the economy for political gain, use legislation to keep the poor and people of color from voting, and talk about states rights and seccession. (Above–Clinton impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.) Our political disputes today are not about just policy differences that are open [...]
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Former First Lady Betty Ford has died at the age of 93. [...]
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