Here is fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop

The Billie Holiday Guide

Often there is laughter where you expect tears, kickass strength in the rendering of a weak lyric, and almost always, not too far beneath the surface, a smoldering sensuality. The following is a selection representing all of these moods, evidence of why Billie Holiday is still, almost 50 years after her death, one of the greatest artists our culture has produced.

Probably no real news here for fans, but for those that were looking for some insight and highlights of this great artist it is a terrific intro resource.

Does the truth matter? Was Musab al-Zarqawi really part of Al-Quida or was he just a self labeled instigator and madman? The right is kicking up a lot of dust regarding his importance and there is little doubt that one less sociopath on the playing field is good news, but like much of what this administration and the right-wing lap dogs have done in the past with every conceivable event is create another urban legend and the main stream press has showed its usual reluctance to call it the way it is. One is left to dig for the news, U.S. Military Kills Zarqawi

The Sunni insurgency has mostly been run by Iraqis opposed to both the U.S. occupation and the prospect of Shiite rule of Iraq. Zarqawi played at best a supporting role. At one point, it seemed like Zarqawi's willingness to engage in big, bloody attacks against Shiites was genuinely exacerbating what was then a nascent sectarian war in Iraq. Maybe he was making a real difference then. But nowadays that sectarian war isn't so nascent anymore, and Sunnis and Shiites are capable of killing each other by the dozens each day without Zarqawi's help. One can hope that getting rid of Zarqawi will change things, but it seems unlikely.

Fred Kaplan does a stellar job of covering al-Zarqawi's death and the implications, A Window of Opportunity

Does this mean that national unity lies around the corner? That's doubtful, and not just because Iraq has turned too many illusory corners these past three years for anyone to take seriously the sighting of another. Zarqawi exacerbated ethnic tensions and helped ignite them in mass violence; triggering a civil war was central to his strategy. But he didn't create those tensions, nor are they likely to vanish along with him. Fires rage on, regardless of what happens to the man who lit the match.

As for future fires, there's no shortage of matches in Iraq these days—or of people willing to light them.

For a long time now, analysts and several officials have noted that jihadist followers of Zarqawi's comprise asmall segment of the insurgency but commit a larger percentage of the most violent acts. Nobody has been precise about how the numbers break down. I doubt if anyone really knows. At the very least, we may be about to find out.

Rather then turning a corner maybe things will shift a few degrees, enough so that our troops can be redeployed. None of this arm chair analysis would be necessary if Bush would have been less obsessed with political manipulations and more focused on making decisive tactical decisions in the battle against terrorism when the administration knew that Musab al-Zarqawi was in the Kurdish controlled area of Iraq, US 'allowed Zarqawi to escape'

Mr Scheuer was a CIA agent for 22 years – six of them as head of the agency's Osama bin Laden unit – until he resigned in 2004.

He told Four Corners that during 2002, the Bush Administration received detailed intelligence about Zarqawi's training camp in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Mr Scheuer claims that a July 2002 plan to destroy the camp lapsed because "it was more important not to give the Europeans the impression we were gunslingers".

"Mr Bush had Zarqawi in his sights almost every day for a year before the invasion of Iraq and he didn't shoot because they were wining and dining the French in an effort to get them to assist us in the invasion of Iraq," he told Four Corners.

"Almost every day we sent a package to the White House that had overhead imagery of the house he was staying in. It was a terrorist training camp . . . experimenting with ricin and anthrax . . . any collateral damage there would have been terrorists."

During the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, Zarqawi's presence in the north of the country was used by US officials to link Saddam Hussein to terrorism.

Zarqawi has twice been sentenced to death by Jordan's state security court.

He was first sentenced in absentia in November 2004 for planning the murder of a US diplomat in Jordan. The second sentence, last December, concerned plans to attack a border post between Iraq and Jordan.

From what I have seen of the Bush apologist camp's writings, Zarqawi is gettting the Katrina treatment. Anything bad that happened after Bush failed to step up and take responsibility is someboby's, anybody's fault, but Bush. Brown: E-mail shows Bush glad FEMA took Katrina flak

The September 2005 e-mail reads: "I did hear of one reference to you, at the Cabinet meeting yesterday. I wasn't there, but I heard someone commented that the press was sure beating up on Mike Brown, to which the president replied, 'I'd rather they beat up on him than me or Chertoff.' "

The sender adds, "Congratulations on doing a great job of diverting hostile fire away from the leader."

Reid Calls for More Intelligence Oversight

Reid said Democrats will take new steps to hold senior Bush administration officials accountable for their statements on Iran, similar to their fight to hold them accountable for their statements about the Iraq war.

"All of us as Americans need to review how the Bush Administration cherry-picked and hyped the case for war with Iraq to sell it to Congress and the American people, so we can make sure it never happens again," Reid said.

Pretty sad state of affairs when a senator has to make a public announcement about the lack of accountability of a president and whether he is being truthful about issues at the heart of our national security. If Bush wants to lie most Americans would probably prefer that he lie about interns rather then issues of real import.
Conservatives continue to play the character assassination game and are shocked when it comes back to haunt them. I would make some nice little plea about not calling conservatives Nazis, but when they day in and day out wade hip deep into fascism and the rhetoric of social darwinism they have no one to blame but themselves for garnering the reputation of one of histories worse political movements. In their daily attempts to manipulate and manufacture news they remind me slightly more of Stalinists. Maybe they've just cherry picked bits and pieces of the different brands of authoritarianism that they like, similar in their approach to intelligence.
Agiprop has some examples of the finest deepest thinking of the internet prostitutes for conservatism, Defending the Indefensible

Malkin: The MSM never has Ann, the real victim here, on TV so she can attack harpies like the 9/11 widows.

Rightwing Nuthouse: I myself ignore Ann so therefore nobody really hears her attacks anyway, and besides, she only does these things to please her audience so she can sell lots of books and make lots of money … nothing wrong with that, right? Oh, and the 9/11 widows are stupid bitches.

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter cry.

Strange Fruit lyrics by Lewis Allen and Sonny White