Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Slap

Thursday night on NBC, episode 2 of the mini-series The Slap airs.

Reader Ginny loves the show and asked if I'd note Ava and C.I.'s review of the show in the hopes that it might increase interest in the show.  So here it is:

TV: The Ink Blot

NBC's new mini-series The Slap is not a retelling of some of the more aggressive moments in starlet Joey Heatherton's life.  Which is too bad because that might make a lot more sense.

The basics of The Slap are that it's an eight-part mini-series with each installment focusing on one of the main characters in a richly talented cast.

Should you watch?

Absolutely.  Uma Thurman's doing a delicious walk through of her role, Zachary Quinto is amazing and anytime you have the chance to see Thandie Newton, you grab it.  (She's made a career of elevating the projects she's been in -- such as Norbit and Mission Impossible II.) Newton, Thurman and Quinto are amazing and only three members of the incredible cast.


The Slap kicks off with Hector's 40th birthday party which results in a gathering of family and friends.  During the pre-party and party,   A parents-created brat, five-year-old Hugo, attends with his terrible parents.


Let's be really clear, if you want to breast feed your five-year-old, we personally think it could qualify as child molestation.  This is not about feeding a newborn, this is about you, as a woman, needing your nipples sucked and let's not  pretend it's about anything else.

What's next?

You want to stop cutting the umbilical cord at birth? 

Maybe Mommy and baby can walk around through the child's sixth or seventh year still attached?

Now we've always had that opinion.  We've never shared it.

Even around a woman who is currently nursing her four-year-old.  (And why is that these woman are never doing this with their girls?  Only with their sons?  Again, we think this is molestation.)

We;ve never shared it because it's our opinion and because she's smart enough to do the nursing privately.

After your child has a full set of teeth, if you're still nursing, you need to do it privately.

It's not longer a 'beautiful act' but something controversial.

Something that will stigmatize your child. 

So when The Slap features Rosie nursing Hugo every time he throws a tantrum, nursing the five-year-old in full view of not only the adults but other children?

Rosie knows no boundaries.  If her stupid husband does, it's not apparent.


Rosie's husband Gary is supposed to be on our side, the left.  He may actually be because he's a sexist pig and certainly, as 2008's primaries revealed, there's a lot of sexism on our side.

How is he stupid and sexist?  He knows Harry (Quinto) and knows he is forever at odds with him. So why is he seeking out Quinto at the party.

That's just flat out stupid and being a bad guest.

The party's isn't about your cock wagging, it's about someone's birthday.

But please note, not only does the husband seek out Harry but he does so over a host of female guests he could have been talking to.

While seething about Harry being some sort of walking hard on of hyper-masculinity run amuk, that' who the weak willed husband rushes to converse with. 

Maybe they should have added a latency sub-plot to the mini-series?

Hugo is at a birthday party.  While there, the child takes a vinyl record out of the album jacket and throws it across the room (the host's favorite record), repeatedly slams a computer tablet on a table, throws tantrums when other children do not give him his way, at two different times pulls plants out of the ground in the backyard, refuses to step aside in a game of baseball after his third strike and begins swinging the bat wildly putting the other kids at risk of being hit by the bat.

This is the point that Harry slaps Hugo.

And here's why you should watch: Harry slaps Hugo.

That's what you're told happened.

You can stream the episode at Hulu and we'd suggest you do.

We'd also suggest you read the comments left for the first episode.

They sum up the slap as we have above.

But that's not really what happened.

After yelling at Hugo to put the bat down, Harry runs over to the ballgame because he's worried his kid is about to be hit in the head with the bat as Hugo refuses to put it down and is, in fact, swinging it at the other kids.  Harry takes the bat from the kid and yells at him that he needs to learn to listen to grown ups.

Then Hugo kicks Harry.

Then Harry slaps Hugo.

That's not to defend the slap.  That's not to defend Harry.

That is to say that people who think they watched -- and are happy to leave comments -- seem to have either missed what happened or decided to short-hand it.  With Rose threatening to sue Harry over slapping her child, the order of events do matter.

So why is reality so jumbled by people commenting on the episode they watched?

Because the show's become, in a single episode, a national ink blot.

And it's revealing a lot about what people think.

That includes the critics.

We've long told you the Water Cooler Set doesn't respect women.

You need look no further than their writings on The Slap.

The Guardian's Brian Moylan is among the idiots writing about Hector's attraction to a woman  who is not his wife: "dreams of having an affair with the babysitter."

Does the woman, played by Makenzie Leigh, put "babysitter" down on her W2?

It's tax time, so let's wonder.

But we doubt it.

See the babysitting was done as a favor.  The woman actually works in the clinic that Hector's wife has started, the medical clinic.  But, by all means, let's reduce her to "babysitter" as if she were 14 and earning some change to purchase a One Direction poster.

What's worse than billing the woman as "a babysitter"?  Knowing she's not and doing so otherwise which Tim Goodman (Hollywood Reporter) doesin one sentence before adding, four sentences later, "Thanks to the narrator, we know that Hector has been having some dirty thoughts about Connie, the babysitter, who also happens to work at wife Aisha's clinic."

Is that really reality, Goodman?

A grown woman who is a babysitter by trade and, for spare change to purchase some as-seen-on-TV Hot Buns, works at a clinic on the side?

Then there's Uma Thurman's character Anouk who works on a soap opera and is having an affair with a new actor on the soap played by Penn Badgley.

David Sims (The Atlantic) writes, "Thurman plays a director who swans around in a beret with a boytoy actor (Penn Badgley) on her arm, sneaking a cigarette case full of joints to Hector with a wink."

How sad.

While there have been some truly talented directors in daytime TV -- Marlene Laird and Francesca James among them -- it really is a shame that Uma wasn't playing a headwriter of a soap.  Because, on TV, writers and show runners have more power than directors.  And on daytime TV, headwriters run everything -- whether they're Irma Phillips or Agnes Nixon.

So how sad that Uma's not playing a headwriter.

Oh, wait, what about that scene in the first episode, that exchange between Aisha (Thandie Newton) and Anouk (Uma Thurman).

Anouk: Something's off.

Aisha: Something's always off.  What?  You think he's shagging the head writer to get more scenes?

Anouk: Well that's how it started.

Oh, so Uma's character is the person in charge on the soap opera.  It's just that David Sims, in his sexism and stupidity, downgraded her to a soap opera director.

And when the Water Cooler Set isn't downgrading the work lives of the women, they're whining like the most selfish little piggies in the world.

Take Tim Goodman who offers this, "So we need to see that Aisha might be a little overwhelmed with her new job and thus is not putting out."  He's arguing this is done to make Harry sympathetic.


That doesn't even happen.

It happens in Tim Goodman's mind -- causing us to feel sorry for anyone he ever sleeps with.

What the first episode shows is Hector waking up and wanting to have sex with his wife who agrees.  At which point Hector goes off to the bathroom.  When he's finally out, Aisha's no longer in bed and the kids can be heard screaming (they're fighting over a game).  When he finds Aisha in the kitchen and says he thought they were going to have sex, she reminds him that they have 20 people arriving in a few hours and she's got to get the food ready and the place ready.

How is that "not putting out"?

The two will have sex -- in the kitchen -- as soon as the guests leave.

And does Tim Goodman realize he's promoting a man's 'right' to sex on demand?

Or what a sexist pig he is?

Aisha's "overwhelmed" by her "new job"?

And it means she won't 'put out'?

That drama's only going on in Goodman's head.

It has nothing to do with what's actually in the first episode.

It's really illuminating to read The Water Cooler Set and grasp that they're seeing something but it's not really what's on the screen.

Nor, as David Sims demonstrates, is it what's in the real world.  In a parenthetical, he feels the need to offer, "Okay, so Harry's a right-winger, but it barely makes sense. He thinks America should invade Iraq again?"

If Harry does think that -- was he being sarcastic possibly? -- a thought that never enters Sim's overly literal mind -- how would that make him different President Barack Obama who, last time we checked, had been ordering air bombings of Iraq since August 8th and had also sent in thousands of US troops into Iraq since June?  Who last week asked Congress for an Authorization of the Use of Military Force on Iraq and Syria?

The Water Cooler Set isn't just confused by events on the screen, they're lost in the real world as well.

The Slap is an interesting mini-series.  We need to especially note Peter Sarsgaard who's been stuck with less of a character and more of the glue holding the plots together role.  In a weaker actor's hands, Hector would cause the whole project to collapse.

And we need to be clear that Hugo's hideous behavior is a reflection on his parents.

Some commentators have offered that Hugo may have a condition that causes his poor behavior.  If so, that's something two parents should have explored with a medical team long ago.

We really don't blame Rosie.  She's too caught up in her devotion for Hugo to realize how inappropriate she's behaving in terms of the nursing.  It was really up to Gary to speak up and tell his wife, "Look, no boy wants to be called a 'titty baby' by his peers.  It's past time you stopped breast feeding our child.  If you aren't ready to stop yet, at least don't do it around others so our child is not taunted at school as the 'little baby' who still breast feeds."

NBC's The Slap is a worthy mini-series that will make you think.  Like the Water Cooler Set, you may end up thinking poorly. Or it may make you gather real insight.  For example, the slap wasn't the crime of the party.  The crime was that two parents brought along their brat and allowed him to run wild making everyone uncomfortable and ultimately the reaction to his behavior (the slap) ended the birthday party.  The Slap is less about a physical altercation and more about bad manners.

Again, The Slap airs Thursday nights on ABC.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Wednesday:  
Wednesday, February 18, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, BBC News blows the whistle on the White House's big summit, US President Barack Obama continues to make everything about himself, US Secretary of State John Kerry tries to sound smart (but doesn't come off that way), State Dept Marie Harf continues to come under fire for her remarks (surprise: we defend her remarks), possible candidate for the GOP's presidential nomination Jeb Bush finds he does have to talk Iraq (including the past), and much more.

Andrew Buncombe and Michael Day (Independent) quote US President Barack Obama declaring today, "We are not at war with Islam."  Of course, yesterday speaking to the National Press Club, as Jason Ditz ( noted, Attorney General Eric Holder declared the US was "not in a time of war."  The full quote actually is, "Now we're not in a time of war, I understand that."

Let's there's Iraq, Afghanistan, The Drone War, still Libya . . .

What world is Eric Holder living in because it's not the rest of us occupy.

His statement is so astounding it could be key in a committal hearing.

But Eric need not worry because what is the current administration if not a living tribute and salute to John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces?

If Vice President Joe Biden isn't garnering attention for groping some man or woman, it's because one of the other members of the administration opened their mouth.

Today, at Barack's big summit, for example, there was John Kerry who appears bound and determined to end his career as a laughing stock.  Doubt it?

Secretary of State John Kerry:  We’re here for a simple, transcendent reason: To safeguard the future for our people, all of our citizens, and to safeguard it from people who slaughter children, innocent children in a Pakistani school; people who pin price tags on little girls in Iraq and sell them into slavery; people who put a devout Muslim from Jordan in a fiery cage for all to see; people who send young women into the markets in Nigeria with orders to blow themselves up; people who murder Jews in France and Christians in Egypt just because they belong to a different faith; people who execute a good and brave Japanese man because his government pledged humanitarian assistance -- I repeat humanitarian assistance -- to help the hurting and the homeless in the Middle East; people who kidnap a young woman from Arizona who perceived God in the eyes of the suffering and who dedicated her life to helping people in need in Syria. 

It's the sentence that never ends.

But long before he's left you gasping for breath, he's already made a complete ass out of himself.

"We're here for a simple, transcendent reason."

Are we here for a "simple reason" or for a "transcendent reason"?

Because, thing is, they're at odds.

It can't be both.

Does John know the English language?

Transcendent is mystical or spiritual or incomparable or peerless or unparalleled or unsurpassed or divine or . . .

None of that is simple.

As usual, John's efforts to try to come across erudite not only give them impression that he's stuffy but also that he's deeply stupid.

"Simple" said it all -- both for John Kerry and for the point he was trying to make.

But Mr. Fussy never can leave well enough alone, can he?

Barack's administration's become a lot like the weather -- if you don't like the current buffoon in the spotlight for whatever idiocy or faux pas just wait a few minutes and another member of the administration will take their place.

The embarrassing and multi-day summit the administration has staged is part of the buffoonery -- at least a response to it.

Barack's failure to join other world leaders in Paris for a Freedom March last January left him feeling a little pissy at the global criticism of his absence.  Which, "a former US intelligence official" tells Tara McKelvey (BBC News), is why the summit is taking place: "to tamp down criticism of Mr Obama for not being at the Paris march."  McKelvey reports:

Still the planning seems a bit chaotic. Invitations to the summit went out to foreign embassies on 29 January, a State Department official told me.
At an event at the Atlantic Council in Washington on the following day, European officials said they still weren't sure which minister would be appropriate to send to Washington.
Even those who are passionate about the goals of the summit - combating violent extremism - wonder about the optics - a term the Washington political class use to describe how an event is perceived.
One participant, a former State Department official, says there isn't enough time to coordinate ministers for public appearances - one of the main goals for this kind of event.

The Latin American Herald Tribune notes, "More than 50 countries since Tuesday have been participating in the summit in Washington and on Thursday many foreign and interior ministers will be on hand to share experiences of integration, education and police coordination in battling extremists."  Oriana Pawlyk (Military Times) notes one group that's not "actively" present: The Pentagon. Which might be a good thing for reasons we'll go into later.

Ian Hanchett ( notes US House Rep (and Iraq War veteran) Tulsi Gabbard appeared on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto and offered this take on the summit:

Unless you accurately identify who your enemy is, then you can’t come up with an effective strategy, a winning strategy to defeat that enemy. My concern here with the summit that’s happening right now in Washington is that it really is a diversion from what our real focus needs to be, and that focus is on this Islamic extremist threat that is posed not only to the United States and the American people, but around the world. From what we’ve heard so far, the administration is really claiming that the motivation or the — the thing that’s fueling this terrorism, around the world, is something that has to do with poverty, has to do with a lack of jobs, or lack of access to education, really a materialistic motivation. And therefore, they are proposing that the solution must be to alleviate poverty around the world, to continue this failed Bush and Obama policy of nation building. The danger here is, again, that you’re not identifying the threat, and you’re not identifying the fact that they are not fueled by a materialistic motivation, it’s actually a theological, this radical Islamic ideology that is allowing them to continue to recruit, that is allowing them to continue to grow in strength and really that’s really fueling these horrific terrorist activities around the world.

You can agree with Gabbard's points or not.  I largely disagree with her (on ways to combat IS) but what's she stated, she's stated clearly which puts her miles ahead of Barack.

Speaking at the close of today's summit, he declared, "My point is this:  As Americans, we are strong and we are resilient."

Anytime you deliver 13 long, rambling sentences and then have to offer "My point is," you've failed as a public speaker.  In a speech, you make your "point" immediately and then develop it.

Here's Barack at his worst, at his most preening and at his most dangerous:

Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy.  They try to portray themselves as religious leaders -- holy warriors in defense of Islam.  That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.”  And they propagate the notion that America -- and the West, generally -- is at war with Islam.  That’s how they recruit.  That’s how they try to radicalize young people.  We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie.  Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek.  They are not religious leaders -- they’re terrorists.  (Applause.)  And we are not at war with Islam.  We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.  (Applause.)

Most will miss it.

They missed as Iraq slid into one political crises after another and the Islamic State was able to enter the country and grab a foothold.

We didn't miss it.

And we don't miss the embarrassment in Barack's remarks above.

First on the name "Islamic State."  When the Weather Underground dubbed themselves that, they weren't claiming they controlled the weather or spoke for the four elements.

If that's confusing to Barack he could ask 'just a guy in my neighborhood' Bill Ayers.  Weren't they just at MSNBC host Alex Wagner's wedding this past summer?  Of course, Bill Ayers is a useless little bitch -- arm candy that went sour over the years.  Bernardine Dohrn is the thinker (and the doer) in that couple and always has been.  But, with help from Bernardine, even Bill could probably clarify that point for Barack.

Second, and this is the important part, Barack's not a Muslim.

This has been stated and stated repeatedly.  So much so that some, over the years (Naomi Klein, for example) have noted that the denials come off insulting -- as though there's something wrong with Islam or being a Muslim.

Any religion has degrees.

For example, categories of Judaism in the United States today would include Chasidic, Orthodox, Reform and Conservative.

There are many examples of violent wings of religion in the US.  You have a strand of Christianity who believe its acceptable to kill doctors and blow up clinics where abortions are performed.  You have a semi-lighter strand that doesn't believe in carrying those activities out themselves but does believe in applauding them.

Religion's a complex issue and people can easily get their feelings hurt -- rational people as well as radicals who may or may not resort to violence.

Which is why religion needs to be spoken of carefully.

Barack's not a Muslim.

Why is he speaking?

He claims there's no US war on Islam.

But if you ask people around the world, you'd find a significant number disagree.

Some would point out that Islam has been the chief characteristic for the wars the US has carried out since 2001.

Does that mean the US government is at war with or declared war on Islam?

It doesn't have to.

I don't personally believe that the US government is making a point to go after a religion.  I do feel they're making a point to go after resources but that's an argument for another day.

Whether you agree with the perception or not, that the US is at war with Islam, you need to be aware the perception is out there.

And while a number of us are aware Barack never knows when to shut his mouth and feels the whole world needs him uncesnored on Knaye West, the Superbowl, this and that, the reality is that his inflated ego does a lot of harm.

Today, he decided to speak on behalf of Muslims.

And he's not a Muslim.

How do you think that plays in the Middle East?

The man who's bombing Iraq, the man whose drones are killing civilians in Yemen and Pakistan and elsewhere, this man declared today -- this non-Muslim -- what is and isn't Islam, what is and isn't the proper practice.

How do you think that plays out?

There's a good chance that Barack put his big foot in his big mouth yet again and only did more damage.

Last week, we noted the words of Rania Al-Abdullah, Queen of Jordan.  In far less words than Barack used, she made similar points.  But she has standing.  She is a member of the region.  She is a Muslim.

She has standing.

She's not an outsider finger-pointing.

The White House and the State Dept failed to highlight the very important speech -- which was news in the Arab world -- that she gave.  They were too busy focusing on bombs but, clearly, Barack's speech writer(s) did study Rania Al-Abdullah's speech.

I'm not really seeing how a foreigner and non-Muslim telling the world what Islam is and isn't scores points.  I do see how it might antagonize and how it might backfire.

Barack's become the White man that wants to discuss racism as long as he can dictate the terms and define the boundaries.  Maybe it's his 'typical White person' grandma rubbing off on him?

I have no idea.

But when you're already dropping bombs on Muslims -- civilians as well as your so-called targets -- maybe you don't also get the right to speak for them or to define their religion to the world?

And maybe when you attempt either, you only inflame and anger people who might have been on the fence.  Maybe your refusal to give Muslims the basic respect they deserve only serves to radicalize others?

Last week, we covered the Queen of Jordan's speech in two snapshots because it was so important and so needed.  Again, clearly Barack's speechwriter(s) agreed with that assessment.

But while we covered it, the State Dept refused to even acknowledge it -- the same for the White House.

For this summit to have had any value, the White House should have invited Rainia Al-Abdullah to speak.

Instead of hearing from someone with personal experience and wisdom, Barack wanted to show boat.

I hope his ego got fed because nothing was accomplished with his remarks other than portraying the President of the United States as someone who would lecture Muslims and 'explain' to them what Islam really is about.

In addition, someone should clarify to the White House speech writers that a laundry list is not a speech.  And that for this function, the flourishes should have been kept to a minimum and the focus should have been on what can be done.

The White House speech writers may be paid to listen to Barack drone on but the international audience wasn't.

He needs to make his main points and do so quickly.

Barack wasn't the only one getting attention for a speech today.

There was also Jeb Bush who we were just noting in yesterday's snapshot -- specifically how he couldn't avoid the subject of Iraq -- even in part.

Stephen Collinson (CNN) observes:

Democrats are vowing to tether him to the controversial decisions of his brother, President George W. Bush, who they blame for starting a war in Iraq on false pretenses and for presiding over a disastrous occupation that cost trillions of dollars, thousands of U.S. and Iraqi lives and destabilized the region.
The challenges of addressing his family's foreign policy legacy are clear to Bush, who is already trying to defuse them.
    "I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make," Bush said Wednesday. "But I am my own man -- and my views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences."

    Igor Bobic (Huffington Post) reports:

    "There were mistakes in Iraq for sure," the likely presidential candidate said in a Q&A session at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. "Using the intelligence capability that everybody embraced about weapons of mass destruction turns out to not be accurate. Not creating an environment of security after the successful taking out of [Iraqi dictator Saddam] Hussein was a mistake because Iraqis wanted security more than anything else."
    "But my brother's administration, through the surge, which was one of the most heroic acts of courage politically that any president's done because there was no support for this, it was hugely successful, it created a stability when the new president came in," he added.

    That talking point can be defeated very easily.

    It can also be addressed stupidly which is probably how my side (the left) will handle it.

    They will insist that the 'surge' was a failure and blah blah blah.

    And in doing so they will anger military families and military members and veterans who rightly know that the US military succeeded with the 'surge.'

    They did everything they were tasked to do, everything they were trained to do.

    But Bully Boy Bush insisted the 'surge' had to take place to allow the political issues in Iraq to be resolved.

    Don't we love how Oval Office occupants pretend to care about the political issues in Iraq?

    At any rate, Bully Boy Bush had given Nouri al-Maliki (forever thug and then-prime minister) a set of benchmarks to meet so he could show progress in Iraq to the US Congress.

    The 'surge' was supposed to provide the room, the space, for the political to be dealt with.

    The US military did not fail in the 'surge.'

    The White House failed.

    Bully Boy Bush failed.

    American troops risked their lives -- some lost their lives during the surge -- and did so to provide space for political solutions.

    But none came, no political solutions came.

    And that White House -- just like the current one -- just accepted it.

    Didn't use the diplomatic tool box to force political movement.

    Bully Boy Bush sent thousand of US troops into Iraq for the 'surge' and then failed to follow up on what the 'surge' was supposed to allow time for.

    That's how you talk about the 'surge' because it's reality.

    It's also how you talk about it if you're interested in pulling in voters as opposed to just preaching to your own tiny church.

    Jeb could craft a winning response (I'm not here to help a Bush) that would tamp down briefly on criticism -- it wouldn't be a political response, it would be a personal one and he and his team can ponder that on their own.

    But note how AP opens their coverage of Jeb's remarks today:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Wednesday there can be no diplomacy with Islamic State militants, but only a U.S.-led coalition of Middle Eastern countries committed to "tightening the noose and taking them out."

    And that's why he can't avoid Iraq or his brother's actions with regards to Iraq.

    He wants to suggest what needs to take place.

    Most Americans -- as the polls demonstrate -- believe the Iraq War was a mistake.

    He can't suggest future movement and be credible without acknowledging serious mistakes.

    It's been noted by many Democratic observers that Hillary can't run on Barack and win.  There's not enough political support in the country for that.  Most -- check the polls -- have felt for some time now that the country was headed in the wrong direction -- on the economy and other factors.

    She's going to have to distance herself if she runs for the DNC nomination.  Jeb and Hillary both are going to have to distance themselves if they want to win the White House.

    Sadly, these are the two who appear to be the 'hope' for America at this point.

    In yesterday's snapshot, we noted State Dept spokesperson Marie Harf and Jen Psaki and this lead to an e-mail from Newsbusters about Geoffrey Dickens' analysis of the lack of coverage on Harf's remarks from the networks.

    I have no problem noting that item or linking to it.

    But from the e-mail, it's clear I wasn't clear.

    I think it's karma that Marie's being mocked.

    I think it's fitting.

    But not because I think she said something crazy.  This is also where I disagree with US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard who we noted much, much earlier.

    Marie's right: Jobs are needed in Iraq.  (And she meant Syria as well but our focus is Iraq.)

    Marie's comments weren't crazy.  Not to me.

    That Newsbusters finds them so is not surprising, they look at the world from a different angle and that's good and it's good that we are all aware of that angle because we can toss things around in our minds and see what we back up and believe in.

    For me, that's Marie's comments.

    Her failure as spokesperson to note this in all the months since June go to why she deserves to be made fun of.

    She hasn't done her job.

    In fairness to her, and to Jen Psaki, the State Dept hasn't done its job.  John Kerry confused himself with Secretary of Defense and Barack has stupidly allowed that to take place -- even encouraged it.

    In June, Barack noted the only solution for Iraq was a political solution, not a military one.

    A political one involves jobs.

    Iraq has a very young population and it has a very unemployed population.

    I think we pitched, for three years, that Nouri needed to stop importing nurses from other countries and start educating Iraqis to take these positions.  Nouri finally seized on it after the April elections when he was desperate for a third term.

    Iraq has all of these foreigners pouring into the country to do various jobs (and a number of them are victimized -- but that's another story).  This shouldn't be happening when Iraq's unemployment rate is in the double digits.

    Marie is correct: Jobs are needed.

    There are many other issues that could also help -- this is the political solution that Barack can talk about but apparently never order anyone in the administration to work on.

    'They just need jobs' is an oversimplification.  It's not what Marie Harf meant.  She was attempting to speak -- no one ever gets a chance to speak clearly when they're opposite motor mouth Chris Matthews -- about the landscape of changes that could make a huge difference in Iraq.

    She's taken a lot of flack for her remarks.

    And I don't shed a tear because she and the State Dept should have been selling this all along.  They wait over half a year after Barack's given his 'political solution required' speech (which was a strong one, by the way) to attempt to expand on it.

    So that's on them.

    Lastly, Margaret Griffis ( counts 194 violent deaths in Iraq today.