WaPo Supports ‘1,300 Killed’ Report

A week ago, I was surprised to see the Wasington Post go out on a limb and publish that over 3 times the widely reported official number of nearly 400 Iraqis had been killed in the days of violence following the destruction of the al-Askariya mosque.

Numbers as high as the Post’s reported 1,300 dead have yet to be mentioned anywhere else in the media and even the venerable Post itself seemingly retreated from its initial reporting — apparently garnered from Iraqi morgue reports.

Today, they’re back, and they appear to have trimmed the number to 1,000, without being “clear whether that covered only Baghdad or all of Iraq.”
So Jaafari’s competent in his U.S. style manipulation of facts, but will anybody else please report a number different from the official government lie? Or us ol’ Rumsfeld still somehow succeeding at instilling fear in the media — fear to tell the truth?

Recent Polls Blast War Effort

BBC World Service: extensive global survey reveals majority skeptical about war in Iraq. (download .pdf)

Zogby: 72% of U.S. Troops in iraq say End War in 2006

CBS News: Bush Job Approval at 34% = lowest ever
(was 35% post-Katrina)

Could we be looking at “defeat and retreat?”

BREAKING: President Bush to ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas Tuesday:

“…. my policy has not changed. To summarize it, as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.”

+ Zogby breaks down his poll.

1,300 – How did WaPo get this number?

Washington Post February 28, 2006

When does solid reporting trump the “official word?” and Where is backup evidence to support the Post’s number? Today, most news outlets are reporting the Iraqi Cabinet’s official number of civilians killed since the bombing of the Askariya mosque in Samarra last week. Finally, this afternoon, AP has added some clarification, including the 1,300 number reported in the Washington Post:

The Iraqi Cabinet said 379 people had been killed and 458 wounded in reprisal attacks in the week since bombers destroyed the golden dome atop an important Shiite shrine in the predominantly Sunni Muslim central city of Samarra.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that more than 1,300 Iraqis had been killed since the shrine attack, but the Cabinet statement described that account as “inaccurate and exaggerated.” The Post cited figures from the Baghdad central morgue, but an official there told The Associated Press that as of Sunday night they had received only 249 bodies tied to the violence. The Post figure appeared high based on police and hospital reports from the major population centers at the time of the attacks.

Riverbend: “Volatile Days” – a report from her neighborhood in Baghdad
Al Jazeera: “Iraqi Bloggers Tell of Violence, Hope”
TimesUK: “Bomb Blasts Kill 55 on Eve of Bush Visit to India

AP: “Multiple Bombings Kill At Least 66 in Baghdad” – 2/28

Port Portenders

Is it just me, or is Bush revelling in the fact that both parties in Congress are actually coming together over something.

The administration realizes that the only way they’ll get anything accomplished, be it domestically, or in the middle east, is to go to extremes and then meet in the middle. (See the cutting off funds to Palestinians v. Hamas not recognizing Israel debate).

I’d say the screen is firmly in place for Bush’s new programs to proceed unquestioned, despite Donald Rumsfeld‘s curiously revealing speech last Friday at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The administration plays this game so well, with EVERYONE buying into pump-fakes by Frist, et al, that headlines are even floating with echoes of Bush’s threat to veto a vote against the port deal.
Ha! I mean the likelihood of this President vetoing ANYTHING is even more remote than the odds on my favorite baseball team winning the world series.

Bush and Congress are hardly in cahoots. I’m not buying it for a second — seeing his cronies snuggling up with Dems is his dream come true. The potential difficulties with corporate ownership of ports of entry, on the other hand, is an entirely different (and actually pertinent) issue.

UPDATE: Eben Kaplan at the Council on Foreign Relations breaks down the ports (non)issue. AP: Bush Unaware of Port Deal Until After Approval — is it really any surprise that most if not all Bush administration decision go down without our presidoesn’ts knowledge???

Politicked Off

With this post, I begin a more concerted effort to broaden the content of this blog. After all, politics is boring and for the most part useless, right? From now on, I pledge to address the more provocative, inspiring, and enabling elements that make this existence circa 2006 so damn exciting.

One look at my del.icio.us links opens a door to a new dimension of new media tools and concepts that have either enhanced my experience as a consumer and producer of a world of content or have been put on the backburner until i have more time to check them out. Additionally I invite one and all to steal my .opml file of the news and blog feeds I regularly peruse (thanks, Dave). Grab it here, import it to your newsreader, and try not to drown.

I originally intended this site to be a news aggregator, enabling the user to delve into a fully customizeable sampling of “everything between.” Sure, it was somewhat motivated by my disgust for the unreal extremism of our two-party system and the sheer irrelevance of the main talking points that were established to decide the 2004 prez election for black or for white.

After early talks with developers and other aspiring minds, I ditched enterprise for edumacation and have since been in grad school. But others have since beaten me to it, dirty work and all!
Gabe Rivera has done the best job with Memeorandum and Tech.Memeorandum.

Memeorandum refreshed every five minutes and features the most blogged-about articles (or posts) at any given time. As Rivera explains, the algorithm is based on the amount of recognition, or linked references a particular article gets throughout the blogosphere at any given time. This is why many of the same blogs appear regularly. Last fall I e-mailed Gabe as I was suspicious that some bloggers were they manipulating the algorithm? Or was I just narcissitically jealous that I couldn’t get up there no matter how many sites I trackbacked (I have since received a few referrals from the couple times I’ve appeared in memeorandum, if only momentarily). He reassured me that that was not the case — some bloggers just consistently are linked to and mirrored throughout the blogosphere. The shameless Michelle Malkin, seems to appear in memeorandum “headlines,” just as often if not more than AP or New York Times — and I would argue that this is thanks to her strategy of leaving all of her blog entries open to “trackbacks” and only a select few open to comments.

Technorati founder Dave Sifry noted in his February “State of the Blogosphere” report (a must-read) the fact that traditional media web sites (New York Times, Yahoo! News, Washington Post) GREATLY overshadow blogs in regard to measuring “authority,” or number of linked references.

The 150,000 or so well-read blogs represent what Sifry calls the magic middle: “A realm of topical authority and significant posting and conversation within the blogosphere.”

Together these statistics illustrate the effectiveness of blogs in shaping news and bringing the citizen voice to the forefront, while continuing to rely primarily on information published by the traditionally trusty broadsheet stalwarts.

In lieu of breaking out on yet another tangent… i’m gonna quit procrastinating — next time i’ll bring out some REALLY fun toys to play with, promise 😉