Special guest host? Nah, It’s just me.
Special edition? You bet. We’re in Central time now, folks.
Welcome to the Four at Four, at Five (Four Central).
President Bush and Iraqi (puppet) Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki have agreed that an agreement over troop reductions can be reached…or something ambiguous like that.
The long-term agreement had been held up by differences over issues like the extent of Iraqi control over American military operations, the right of American soldiers to detain suspects without the approval of Iraqi authorities and Iraqi demands for a timetable for withdrawal.
But in a statement, the White House said Mr. Bush and Mr. Maliki had agreed “that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals – such as the resumption of Iraqi security control in their cities and provinces and the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq.”
The White House offered no specific dates for troop cuts, but the inclusion of even just a reference to a time horizon is a significant concession by the Bush administration, which has long resisted setting a timetable for cuts in combat forces. It is a tacit admission that the United States’ military presence in Iraq is not endless.
Call me a cynic, but that doesn’t sound like a concession at all. Putting a candle in a cowpie doesn’t make it a chocolate cake, it just makes it a pile of shit with a candle.
A California poll shows only 42% favor a ban on gay marriage, an initiative that will appear on the ballot in November. On Wednesday the state’s high court ruled in favor of allowing the proposed ban to be on the ballot, which has been in development since the court first overturned the previous ban as being unconstitutional. Of course, an initiative to name a sewage plant after George W. Bush will also be on the ballot…so there should be plenty of people at the polls…
Good news out of Citigroup, as the banking giant lost only $2.5 billion in the second quarter…leading its stock to rise 9% as the loss wasn’t nearly as bad as they projected.
But it’s hard to get too enthusiastic about clearing a low bar. It was Citi’s third straight quarterly loss and neither JPMorgan nor Wells Fargo managed to notch a profit gain compared to last year. Meanwhile, the brokerage Merrill Lynch & Co. reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss. And next week, Wachovia Corp. and Washington Mutual Inc. are anticipated to reveal losses, too, with Bank of America Corp. expected to report a steep profit decline.
Citigroup, the nation’s largest banking company by assets, lost the equivalent of 54 cents per share in the April-June period. In the same timeframe last year, the bank earned $6.23 billion, or $1.24 per share.
Israel has arrested six Arabs in an alleged plot to attack George Bush’s helicopter, and according to Israel’s intelligence agency they were trying to form an al Qaeda organization in Israel.
Israel’s Shin Bet counter-intelligence agency said one of the suspects had used his mobile phone to film helicopters at a sports stadium in Jerusalem that was used as a landing site for Bush’s delegation.
The suspect then posted queries on Web sites frequented by al Qaeda operatives, asking for guidance on how to shoot down the helicopters, the agency said in a statement.
Bush visited Israel in January and again in May.
So…they waited until months after his visits to arrest these guys? Or they are just finding out this information after the opportunities had passed?