Early in the morning on December 6, two missiles, fired without warning from an unmanned U.S. drone, struck a house in the small village of Mubarak Shahi in northwest Pakistan. A Pakistani security official told the press that three “militants” had been killed. Another official reported four dead. There was no independent verification of the victims’ identities. (“US drone kills at least 3 militants in Pakistan,” AFP, December 6, 2012)
This news generated only a faint ripple in the U.S. media.
Such assassinations from above have become routine, normalized. Since taking office in 2008, the Obama administration has greatly stepped up the number of unmanned drone attacks, launching more than 300 against Pakistan alone—six times the number ordered by Bush—as well as dozens more against Yemen, Somalia, and perhaps other countries in the region. Drones have been used over Libya and are being used in spy operations against Iran. They’re being deployed from dozens of secret facilities in the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia, directed from operational hubs in the U.S.—where the buttons are pushed and the missiles launched, thousands of miles away from the bloodshed.
More than 2,500 people have been murdered in these drone attacks over the past decade.
"Live from the Artist's Den" on Hulu features Rufus Wainwright. The main page (Hulu) presents it as a tribute to his mother. It's not. It's his new album ("Out of the Game") plus a tribute to his mother (singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle who performed with her sister Anna McGarrigle).
'Out of the Game,' the title track, is a good song and I'd rank it up there with 'Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk' and 'Foolish Thing' and 'California.'
On to movies. Gary e-mailed about a movie he thought I'd like. I do like it. I thought I had written about it but it looks like I didn't. I'm not going to now because it's going to be on Ann and my top ten for the year. Which is a good time to note that if you don't like the list we come up with, you need to weigh in before we make our choices and write up our piece.
Each year, a few films make the list because of e-mails. Someone will write an impassioned e-mail that will either make us rethink a film or remind us of one we'd forgotten. E-mails can also help rank. Although right now we're pretty sure what's going to be number one. It's a comedy, a popcorn movie and one that's done very well. They should be the easiest thing in the world to make but they're not and to do one that stays funny throughout and doesn't get heavy or message-y or lose it's tone? That's pretty difficult. So we've picked that as the year's best and are currently debating what the other 9 slots will be.
It can have been on the big screen this year but it has to have had a home video release. That's non-debatable for our list. There's one animation film that we loved that will make the list. I don't know if there will be more than one but there's an animated film that surprised us repeatedly and was really a great film.
So that's your heads up if you want to weigh in. You can also leave a comment. Or just a title. It doesn't mean your film choice makes our list, it does mean that Ann and I discuss it and consider it.
Again, a few do make the list each year due to that.
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"