Getting ready to spin the report

For months, pundits and politicians have referred to Sept. 15 as the date Army Gen. David Petraeus will present his potentially pivotal analysis of how successful the surge in U.S. forces has been in turning the tide of the war in Iraq.

But that date is merely the deadline for the progress report to be given to Congress, where partisans on both sides will use it to decide whether to force a U.S. troop withdrawal or stay the course.

Now we learn that Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are actually slated to testify before Congress on Sept. 11, the sixth anniversary of that fateful 2001 day.

The White House says the timing is purely coincidental, with the date determined by Congress’ working schedule rather than by the administration’s desire to symbolically link the war to the terror attacks — a tactic opponents have called disingenuous.

Spokesmen also said the Sept. 11 date is not yet set in stone.

The Michael Vick dogfighting scandal is likely to inflict some collateral damage on Rep. James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican who has been the leading Capitol Hill opponent to toughening penalties for violating federal animal-fighting laws.

As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee from 2001 to 2006, Sensenbrenner killed every effort that came before him to upgrade the crime — whether it involved roosters, pit bulls or any other creatures — from a misdemeanor to a felony. He says the whole issue is a state matter, not a federal one.

It was only when the Democrats took over Congress this year that the measure was finally passed in March, although it came too late to cover many of the Atlanta Falcons quarterback’s alleged acts tied to dogfighting. Bolstered by the nationwide revulsion at the cruelty revealed by the Vick case, animal-rights groups intend now to make Sensenbrenner squirm.

It’s been four years since Congress passed the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, but the law banning the import, export, sale or transport of “big cats” will finally go into effect Sept. 17.

Enacted in 2003 out of concern that the Internet trade in lions, tigers, cougars, jaguars and cheetahs was resulting in growing numbers of the dangerous wild animals in the hands of private citizens, “mom and pop” petting zoos and makeshift circuses, the law allows only zoos, circuses and researchers licensed by the federal government to trade in the creatures.

Conflict over technical details of the regulations is blamed for the delay.

When the snow falls heavy in Siberia in October, the northeastern United States better get out the boots for January. That’s not the prediction of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, but the conclusion of atmospheric scientists working for the National Science Foundation. They recently used a computer model tied to Siberian snowpack to run simulations of winters going back to 1972 to verify the connection. Basically, the snow sets up a pattern of high-pressure systems that make the U.S. Northeast and Eastern Europe colder and snowier than normal for the second half of winter.

The National Labor Relations Board — the federal outfit to which unions turn when they have grievous conflicts with management — is itself now the subject of an unfair-labor-practice complaint. Its in-house employees’ union has a big beef with the board’s general counsel, Ronald Meisburg, who the workers say has refused to negotiate with a combined bargaining unit.

Meisburg says his office does not legally have to bargain with the new unit, which is made up of four previously separate ones. The union says he does. Ultimately, it will take a court to decide.

(E-mail Lisa Hoffman at hoffmanl(at)


  1. kanawah

    The “first wave” of spin is already here. Shrubie is already out there spreading the misinformation. The news channels have been talking about his “support the war” tour. Also, I was an article about there being an office in the pentagon being set up to put out 24 by 7 misinformation about the ‘success’ in Iraq.

    It is already here. It is too late to ‘get ready’. It is hang on to your mind to prevent it from being washed.

  2. Caine

    kanawah said:
    “an article about there being an office in the pentagon being set up to put out 24 by 7 misinformation about the ‘success’ in Iraq”

    Do you mean like the Office of Special Plans? That Pentagon office was used to distort intelligence on Iraq to get the “proof” to start the war. Do a Google search on that if you have never heard of it before. I’d bet that at least 80% of Americans never knew of this office!

    What “proof” they can’t find, they’ll manufacture!


    Probably just a change of scenery to Iran. The most crooked war in our history hinges on theatre and a dreary report.

    John Hanks, Laramie, Wyoming

  4. VietnamVet

    Get ready for:

    1. Give the surge more time to work.

    2. Bundles of examples of how it IS working, ignoring the facts that it ISN’T working.

    3. Stay the course!

    4. They will follow us home, just like they did in Vietnam…opps, sorry, they will leave that lie out!

    5. We have to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here.

    6. We can’t let our brave troop’s sacrifices be for nothing.

    And so on…..?

  5. outhereinthewest

    don`t really matter what Petraeus say`s r don`t!
    If you think ol shrub n his handlers r gonna give up the toehold they got goin in the ME, THINK AGAIN!!
    case ya been in a cave fer the last few years, n aint got a clue, the reason we`re BRINGIN DEMOCRACY to Iraq, is cause they gotta lotta OIL! you KNOW democracy don`t work without OIL, dontcha?? N, also, that stuff don`t work too hot unless Haliburton does some kinda magic to it! that`s why we`re leavin them in charge!!
    N, it don`t matter how many coins r lives gotta get wasted, we DESERVE that stuff!! we can make money outta the air, n, just look how many folks we`re willin to KILL to git it!
    Oh yeah! while we`re in the neighborhood, let`s check in n see if them nasty ol Iranians`r keepin any OIL outta our control!
    WHOA!! they got a PILE of it, too!
    we think they need to experience some democracy, too! good thing we got alla these weapons real handy!! they`ll git the picture, eventually!
    after all GOD is on our side! aint he?
    Oh shit! my gas swiizzlin behemoth just ran outta gas! guess we better go n take some DEMOCRACY to some more folks!!

  6. geyser

    We’re being softened up for the actual Report, Senators, Congressmen and military Offerciers, returning from trips to Iraq, are telling the American public, fighting in Iraq is slowing down, the number of attacks are less per day and areas they have been to are much safer.
    It really doesn’t matter what these people say. These are not follow-up trips, how can they say anything when they don’t have a previous trip to compare?
    I see it as almost a moot point, we know what to be expected to be in the report. Past situations are what we can compare to.
    Everybody should know what Bush wants to see and hear, he will make it so, even if the report is blank.