While Americans have been focused on the growing crisis surrounding the Trump administration’s tangled web of ties to Russia, the good news coming from Iraq has gone largely unnoticed. After successfully liberating eastern Mosul from ISIS fighters, Iraqi forces have launched their final offensive to retake the western of the city from the Islamic State. With close support from U.S. advisers and bolstered by Shiite militia units, some 40,000 Iraqi troops hope to eliminate the remaining, well-entrenched ISIS gunmen over the next six months.
The progress in freeing the city of some 800,000 people captured by the Islamic State in 2014 has brought a new sense of optimism. As Rukmini Callimachi reported two weeks ago for the New York Times, in eastern Mosul “the streets were busy with civilian traffic” and remarking “what stunned me is quickly life has returned.” In Baghdad on Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis promised, “The coalition forces are in support of this operation and we will continue…with the accelerated effort to destroy ISIS.” Meanwhile on state run television, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced “a new dawn” while urging his troops “to move bravely forward to liberate what is left of the city.”
But the one voice that has been silent about the positive developments from Mosul is the one you’d normally least expect.
To ban news organizations from the White House because you dont like the truth, or are so syphilitic that you dont know what the truth is any longer, is pure totalitarianism. This cannot be allowed and one day the dorks who worship this foul mouthed tawdry ignoramus will realize this and turn on him also. Already the bankrupt dope is at 38% approval after 24 days of smelling up the Oval Office with his polluted screeds. How much farther south can this dreadful worm sink?
Two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down laws against same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. Before that ruling, 36 states (plus the District of Columbia and Guam) already issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This disparity allowed scientists to study the effects of the change, and the results showed an interesting benefit.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins compared suicide rates over time in states that legalized gay marriage, with states that did not.
Things are different in Trump’s America, especially for travelers. It looks like ICE and CPB alike are feeling newly empowered, although what they are supposed to be doing differently under the Trump Administration is still a bit blurry–but here are some things that simply don’t seem alright at all that have happened lately:
Border Patrol Agents Stop Domestic Travelers at New York AirportNow, CPB can explain that they were working with ICE to try to locate an individual asked to leave the country, but somehow, this sure looked to people caught up in it rather like they were being asked to sort out whether their “papers were in order”. The law cited referred to persons or items arriving from outside the US–but this was a domestic flight. This really feels twisted, to me.
Tonight a bunch of overpaid actors and actresses are going to engage in an orgy of self-congratulations about how wonderful they are. Many of them will forget their actual place in the world to take the opportunity to make political statements, irritating half the country that voted for Donald Trump, and even many of us who didn’t.
I haven’t watched the Oscars since that awful movie Shakespeare in Love won best picture*. If the director had any integrity, he would’ve burned every print available and thrown himself on the pyre before allowing Miramax to distribute it. That it won the year after the even more awful American Beauty won best picture was the final straw.
If you truly love the movies, TCM has two great films back-to-back tonight:
The character called Al Franken would occasionally say things that a Senate candidate named Al Franken would not. Nor would the Senate candidate Al Franken necessarily want every word he uttered when brainstorming with other writers on S.N.L. to become public. Franken’s opponent in his first Senate campaign, in 2008, tried to make an issue of all this—thinking, or at least hoping, that the clean-living people of Minnesota might find the whole business a bit postmodern.
It almost worked. Franken had to go through a recount and a state Supreme Court battle before taking his seat several months late. He was comfortably re-elected in 2014.
This is Al Franken’s moment. Four years from now, he’ll be 69, younger than Trump or Hillary during the 2016 campaign. Four years after that, and he’ll be too old. As recently as, say, six months ago, I would have said that, however much I might admire Al Franken, the idea of a comedian (a comedian on purpose) as president was beneath the dignity of the United States. But we have learned more recently that nothing is beneath the dignity of the United States.