About 5 American soldiers a day have been dying recently, and it sure seems like every day we find a pile of 50 bodies somewhere in Iraq of the recently murdered. A recent informal panel of academics assembled at 12:10 AM today seemed only able to conclude that its a total mess. Josh Marshall has a good observation, as it seems all there are regarding Iraq are good observations and no good solutions.
If you watch the video of the moments leading up to Saddam Hussein's execution, am I wrong that it bears a certain resemblance to the terrorist snuff films we've watched out of Iraq over the last three years? A dark, dank room. The executioners wear not uniforms of any sort, either civilian or military, but street clothes and ski masks. We now learn that the executioners were apparently taken from the population of southern Iraq, the country's Shi'a heartland, where Saddam's repression was most severe. And in an apt symbolic statement on what the Iraq War is about, two of the executioners who saw Saddam off started hailing Moktada al Sadr in Saddam's face as they prepared to hang him. Remember, al Sadr's Mahdi Army is the force the 'surge' of new US troops is meant to crush next year. That's where we are.
Paul Krugman recently argued that when economists cant agree on which way the indicators are pointing we're probably shifting directions. At the very least it seems we're at risk of a significant downturn. That said, things are looking up for working people relative to how things have been for the last 6 years as Democrats seem prepared to increase the minimum wage, pass an expansion in workers rights to unionize, and to examine possible solutions to the health care crisis.
USC will defeat Michigan today. The PAC 10 will send Arizona, UCLA, UW, Oregon, and Washington State to the NCAA tournament in basketball. I have no clue who will win the World Series except to say that Detroit looks good again and that Santana and Liriano are one hell of a 1-2 punch. The Mariners will finish with roughly a 0.500 record as they produce runs and Felix Hernandez begins to look like a top pitcher, however a lack of depth in the pitching staff creates too many problems for them to be a real contender.
The Democratic Legislature will allow Kulongoski to accomplish something, a nice change from his previous term. It looks like Kulongoski is preparing an aggressive agenda on health care and gay rights, hopefully a coalition can be built to pass some meaningful legislation in these areas among others. The State will enact a plan to build a bypass road arround Dundee, they will toll both the bypass and 99W. Consequently revolution will break out in Dundee requiring the Oregon National Guard to quell the chaos. Unfortunately the Oregon National Guard is in Iraq and unavailable.
Putin will confirm the trend that Russia is currently headed on by declaring himself Czar after inviting the entire Duma to a buffet of polonium laced food. Its ok though because Bush looked into his soul.
Barack Obama will decide not to run for President, towards the end of the year the primary campaigns for 2008 will be kicked into full gear. The Democratic field will include Kucinich, Hillary, Edwards, Biden, Vilsac, and Richardson. The Republican field will include Newt, St McCain, Huckabee, Brownback, and Romney. I wont comment in this post on who either Party will nominate because that happens in 2008.