The Skinny: Moonwalk Out Of Iraq?

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U.S. pop star Michael Jackson performs at his concert in the Dinamo stadium in Moscow, on Sept.17, 1996. The show is part of Jackson's History World tour. At his peak, Jackson had the world spellbound.
AP

The Skinny is Hillary Profita's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.



The Pentagon's secret review of U.S. military options in Iraq boils down to this: "Go Big," "Go Long" or "Go Home." In other words, writes the Washington Post today: "Send in more troops, shrink the force but stay longer, or pull out, according to senior defense officials."

The likely recommendation from the group will be the "Go Big but Short While Transitioning to Go Long," (those are the words of "one defense official," not mine) which "could backfire if Iraqis suspect it is really a way for the United States to moonwalk out of Iraq — that is, to imitate singer Michael Jackson's trademark move of appearing to move forward while actually sliding backward."

I was prepared for some vaguely sports-related analogies to come along, but I really never expected a Michael Jackson-moonwalk analogy. Anyway, the Post notes that the "GBSWTGL" plan "may be remarkably close" to the recommendation expected from the Iraq Study Group, whose findings are expected to be released next month.

More On Sunny Iraq

When Baghdad fell in less than a month, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was lauded for his invasion plan — one that emphasized "speed over mass." The criticism came after that, however, when the plan appeared not to provide enough postwar security. That's partly why, according to the Los Angeles Times' front page today, a "key Army manual" is being revised to reject Rumsfeld's doctrine and instead advise that "in addition to defeating the enemy, military units must focus on providing security for the population — even during major combat."

Still At The Starting Gate

If you are a C-SPAN watcher, get ready for some plays on that phrase "No child left behind" during floor statements. The No Child Left Behind Act is — yes, you guessed it — leaving some children behind, as Congress considers re-authorization. The Washington Post's front page highlights the results of not one, but six recent studies that concur the achievement gap between minority and white students "remain perplexing and persistent."

Notably, the president has been arguing otherwise in public speeches, acknowledging setbacks in the program — intended to close gaps by 2014 — but saying, specifically, at a North Carolina school last month: "The gap is closing."

Research has revealed that the achievement gap between boys and girls is decreasing, as support for both private and public single-sex classes and schools is "gaining favor across the nation," the Los Angeles Times reports.

New guidelines from the Department of Education are set to take effect this week that will give public schools "more leeway to offer single-sex curricula will probably accelerate the move toward single-sex classrooms, experts said." The practice is not without controversy, however, writes the Times, just words away from yet another Michael Jackson moonwalking analogy: "Critics contend the practice is a slide backward, one that could reinforce stereotypes and lead to different and unequal classroom experiences."

Iowa Serves Up Bambi-Burgers

While USA Today reports that food banks are working with less food this year in advance of the holidays, when demand is higher, Iowa is utilizing its overpopulation of deer to feed the hungry (or those with "low food security.") Available government commodities such as milk and cheese are down by 55 percent since last year — that, along with another USDA emergency food aid program — supplies about a quarter of food banks' food.

Iowa's Help Us Stop Hunger program was initiated three years ago to address an "exploding deer population" and, at the same time, provide for a growing population of needy people in the state, writes the Wall Street Journal. This year, food banks expect to receive more than 250,000 pounds of venison from local hunters.

Conveniently, this story is also not without useful puns: One owner of a meat locker that handles some of the donated venison noted "that it's cheaper for the state to pay for a pound of lean deer meat to feed the hungry than for a pound of similarly lean beef. 'You get more bang for your buck,' he says."

They Don't All Live In Their Parents' Basement

In our inaugural edition of The Skinny, we noted the rocket-like success of Rocketboom vlogger (video-blogger) Amanda Congdon, who has inked deals with HBO and, more recently, ABC News. Today, we bring you another tale of blogger makes good — this time a blogger well-known in, well, the blogosphere, has ended up on the veritable mountaintop of media attention — the front page of the New York Times.

Brian Stelter — the 21-year-old proprietor of TVNewser, a blog about unique techniques in automobile repair … I had you going there for a second, didn't I? No, it's about television news, and just about everyone and their brother in the industry reads it. (One ABC exec: "It would not surprise me if I refreshed my browser 30 to 40 times a day.") Not a bad accomplishment for a college student, who now faces the wrath of network publicists: "The network publicists generally know his class schedule — afternoons on Tuesdays and Thursdays — and barrage him with material, which they often expect him to post within minutes."