Thursday, January 18, 2007

Remembering Andi

Yesterday Andrea Parhamovich, a friend and colleague, lost her life in the streets of Baghdad. She was not there to fight, she did not even carry a weapon. Her purpose was the people of Iraq, and doing what good she could to help them build a brighter future for themselves and their country.

I won't share more now, but to say that I am thinking of you, Mulder.


[I want to thank Arwa Damon from CNN for her sensitive and caring handling of this story.]

American aid worker killed in Iraq identified

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An American woman who worked with a group promoting democracy in Iraq, killed when a convoy was attacked in Baghdad Wednesday, has been identified as Andrea "Andi" Parhamovich, of the Cleveland suburb of Perry, according to the National Democratic Institute.

Parhamovich, 28, worked as a communication strategist for NDI. Her job was to help Iraqi political party leaders and parliamentarians develop strategies to reach out to voters and constituents.

Three security people -- a Hungarian, a Croatian and an Iraqi -- were also killed in the ambush. They were employed by the Unity Resources Group.

NDI issued a press statement about Parhamovich, detailing her professional career.

A graduate of Marietta College in southeastern Ohio, Parhamovich "developed her career in political communication" with several entities, including the Massachusetts Governor's office and Department of Economic Development, Air America Radio, and the International Republican Institute in Iraq, NDI said

She joined NDI's Baghdad staff in late 2006.

NDI Chairwoman Madelein K. Albright said, "There is no more sacred roll of honor than those who have given their last full measure in support of freedom.

"Yesterday, in Iraq, Andrea Parhamovich and our security personnel were enshrined on that list. They did not see themselves as heroes, only people doing a job on behalf of a cause they believed in. They were not the enemies of anyone in Iraq; they were there to help."

Parhamovich's co-workers in Baghdad remembered their colleague's loyalty and humility, and her "tremendous integrity, personal strength and class."

"She had a silver tongue, a quick wit, and a knack for picking Oscar winners," a friend said.

One co-worker said Parhamovich lost her life the way she lived it, by doing something that she believed in.

-- CNN's Arwa Damon in Baghdad Susan Garraty in Washington contributed to this report

Friday, January 05, 2007

Quick Fire Friday

The Out-of-Towners
The empty streets and available Metro seats have faded away with the commencement of the 110th Congress (Senate, House). Making history, Representative Nancy Pelosi from California became the first woman elected Speaker of the House. My take: the hair and suit were fabulous. I hope you enjoyed the celebrations yesterday, because today you are responsible. Ah, the down side of power.

Popped My Ballon

Sure, when I picked on Senator Barack Obama for being inexperienced (see Wag the Dog comment from December 27) it was entertaining (at least to me). Senator Hillary Clinton doing it has just sucked all the fun out of it. The enemy of my enemy...?

No Sensitivity for Saddam

I find it interesting that tying a rope around a person, dropping them through a hole in the floor and watching their neck snap in half is completely acceptable, but heaven forbid you mock them before you do it. Now, THAT is cruel and inhumane.

Redeployment for Everyone

Ambassador John Negroponte is leaving Intellgience and going to the State Department, Vice Admiral Mike McConnell is leaving retirement to go to Intelligence, Zalmay Khalilzad is leaving Iraq for the U.N., Ryan Crocker is leaving Pakistan for Baghdad, Admiral William Fallon is leaving the Pacific to replace General John Abizaid in the Middle East, Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus is leaving his post overseeing the training of Iraqi security forces to take General George Casey's top spot in Iraq. No word yet on where Abizaid and Casey are going. Or, where Iraq is headed. The president says he will share more about that next week. As for the new Democrat-led Congress, all those campaign cries to bring the troops home suddenly become a call for redeployment yesterday in Speaker Pelosi's address. I guess that is the theme of the week.

Shout Out
A quick "hello and stay safe" to my friends in Baghdad who are working hard, in many cases risking their lives, to ensure a brigher future for themselves and their country.


Tags// Senate, House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton, White House News

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Mass Appeal?

Another new year, another new (almost) candidate.

Talk about town says that
Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts will file the papers required to form an exploratory committee for the 2008 presidential election; look for an official announcement tomorrow. Romney’s people say he is waiting until the conclusion of the state funeral for Gerald R. Ford out of respect for the former president.

Several polls conducted last month show Romney hovering around fourth place behind well known Republicans like Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Condoleezza Rice and Newt Gingrich. (Gallop Poll 5th, 4 percent; NBC News/Wall Street Journal 4th, 8%; ABC News/Washington Post 4th, 5%; CNN 4th, 6%. ) [
All Poll Summaries]

Romney’s potential candidacy could place religion at the forefront of the American presidential election discussion in a way we haven’t seen since the questions of John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism arose nearly half a century ago. Romney is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a.k.a. Mormon) and, as such,
may experience more ease or difficulty – depending upon the person you ask – accessing the nationwide evangelical network.

While he may utilize his conservative credentials to dispell the notion of the typical northeastern liberal (see John Kerry here), the governor has also put great emphasis on developing more left-leaning associated programs like universal health care (and I use that term loosely). Last spring, Romney
signed legislation that “through a private, market-based reform will make health insurance available to every resident of Massachusetts within the next three years.” [Summary of Legislation]

Among his other accomplishments,
Romney also lists running billion dollar surpluses in the state budget, replenishing the state’s rainy day fund, providing tax relief for senior citizens, successfully navigating the federal base closing process to preserve all major military bases in Massachusetts and enacting some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the state’s history.

Before becoming the top dog in Massachusetts, Romney served as the CEO of the organizing committee for the
XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake, City Utah. Shortly before the games, a number of International Olympic Committee members were forced to resign after it was discovered they had inappropriately accepted gifts in return for supporting Salt Lake City’s bid. Many credit Romney for saving the games from scandal.


Tags// Governor Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Senator John McCain, Condoleezza Rice, Newt Gingrich, Polling Report

Friday, December 29, 2006

Turn Out The Lights

You will not fill these seats again, Saddam.

Al-Qadisiyyah Parade Ground ۰ Baghdad, Iraq
Photo: Trish Conrad, 2006

News Flash

According to ABC news, the Department of Defense has stated it will maintain custody (turning eventually into joint U.S.-Iraqi custody) of the former president until the time of his execution to prevent any possible last minute escape or attack. Meanwhile, Saddam's legal team has filed documents with the U.S. District Court in Washington requesting a stay of execution. This looks to be of no avail as Iraqi state television has now declared that the execution will take place bebtween 9:30 and 10 pm Eastern tonight.



Thursday, December 28, 2006

Heads Up

Hints abound that the government of Iraq could carry out the death sentence of Saddam Hussayn Abdalmajid al-Tikriti before the crystal ball descends upon Times Square. There may be a rush to "conclude this business" before the Eid al-Adha (or Festival/Feast of Sacrifice that takes place upon the conclusion of the Hajj) that will take place on (about) December 31.

Keeping an ear to the ground....


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

News Flash

MSNBC is now reporting that the Edwards campaign confirms the senator is going to run for president and will announce in New Orleans tomorrow. Sounds mighty familiar.


Heads Up

Word on the street is
Senator John Edwards will announce his second run for the White House in New Orleans this week.

If you are hankering to see the hunky former senator, you can check him out on his first "campaign" swing across the country (a.k.a. early primary states).

Thursday - December 28, 2006 - Des Moines, IA
Friday - December 29, 2006 - Portsmouth, NH
Friday - December 29, 2006 - Reno, NV
Saturday - December 30, 2006 - West Columbia, SC
Saturday - December 30, 2006 - Chapel Hill, NC

Visit his
events site for the free tickets required for entry.

This comes on the heels of the
Research 2000 for KCCI TV poll conducted in Iowa last week that shows Edwards in a tie with Oprah favorite Senator Barack Obama - topping the list at 22 percent each. Homeboy Governor Tom Vilsack gets the show with 12 percent. (Complete Poll)

As for a poll of this blogger conducted today, Edwards comes in first for candidates I most like to watch (not necessarily hear, mind you), and Obama still leads all contenders in the created product (à la
Wag the Dog) race.

Ah, all this fun and we're still two years out....


Senator John Edwards, Senator Barack Obama, Governor Tom Vilsack

Media Coverage// KCCI TV

In Memorium

Condolences are extended to the family, friends and colleagues of President Gerald R. Ford who passed away yesterday at the age of 93.

In a brief
statement, President Bush referred to Ford as "a great man who devoted the best years of his life in serving the United States. He was a true gentleman who reflected the best in America's character." (Video)

Watch a look back at the life of America's 38th President.


Tags// President Gerald R. Ford, White House News

Media Coverage// CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Washington Post

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Final Countdown

Iraq’s Cassation Panel, the country’s highest appeals court, gave new meaning to the phrase “final countdown” today when it upheld the death sentence of Saddam Hussayn Abdalmajid al-Tikriti for the killing of 148 Shiites in the city of Dujail, Iraq. Chief Judge Aref Shahin said the sentence must be implemented within 30 days and that it could take place any day starting tomorrow.

In a press gaggle, White House spokesperson Scott Stanzel said, "Today marks an important milestone in the Iraqi people's efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law, and the Iraqis deserve praise for continuing to utilize the institutions of democracy to pursue justice. Saddam Hussein has received due process and legal rights that he denied the Iraqi people for so long. So this is an important day for the Iraqi people."

Whether or not this will have any substantive impact on the country of Iraq and its ongoing struggle to overcome sectarian violence and the shortcomings of its current government, it is at least a signal that the “Saddam era” could be truly coming to an end.

Expecting all sides to predict a rise in violence. Some will be shooting their guns toward the sky, some toward each other.


Saddam Hussayn Abdalmajid al-Tikriti, Chief Judge Aref Shahin, Iraqi High Criminal Court Law, White House News, Dujail, Iraq

Media Coverage//
AP, CNN, Reuters, NY Times, Al Jazeera, Fox News Video, BBC Video

Your days may be numbered….