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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Busted!

There are some moments when collaborative journalism really does shine.

A commenter at Kos -- jem6x -- seems to have found the conclusive evidence that Howard Kaloogian's photograph of "Baghdad" is in a suburb of Istanbul.

Late Update: Okay, put a fork in him. This guy's done. Below I've taken the image of peaceful "Baghdad" which candidate Kaloogian posted on his website and said he himself took. Below that I added the image of the Istanbul suburb unearthed by the commenter on Kos's site. (The image is of the Istanbul suburb of Bakirkoy and comes originally from this site.)



As I've tried to note here with these arrows, this is at least a four point match.

Late Update: Howard Kaloogian's Baghdad bamboozlement should probably generate some renewed traffic to Howardisaliar.com.

Wow. This is sad, pathetic, hilarious and altogether true to form. Hugh Hewitt, whose show I used to go on to yell and get yelled at, wants courage props for broadcasting from a studio in New York City.

Some of us hang here every day. Even my dog Simon does.

Maybe congressional candidate Howard Kaloogian's website is just being deluged by visitors trying to get a look at the picture he took of "Baghdad" on his recent sight-seeing visit. But it sure looks like his campaign has taken the page in question off the site. (Needless to say, we archived a copy.) Sure looks like this bozo was trying to pass off a picture from Turkey as one showing how great things are going in Baghdad. We shall see.

Jack Abramoff apologizes to court for bad language in one of his bad films. That and other news of the day in today's Daily Muck.

TPM Reader JD reports in directly from Baghdad on Howard Kaloogian's website bamboozlement ...

Why is this pic definitely not of Baghdad?

As you say, the script is wrong and there are Turkish letters instead of Arabic (“NOTER” is Turkish for “Notary” by the way), including that telltale Turkish “Ç” on the yellow sign on the right.

My four Baghdad staffers tell me the cobblestones on the pedestrian walkway do not exist in Iraq, and anyway, they know every corner in Iraq in this simply is not here.

The blue metal and glass commercial structure at right does not reflect technology in the dilapidated Saddam-nurtured command economy -- “we never had this!,” as a staffer adds.

The buildings and taxi are much too nice (“maybe Baghdad in 100 years!” as one of them guffaws); the garb is all wrong; and everything is much too clean for a city greatly straining to meet basic service needs.

The pedestrians are much too relaxed; especially the couple at lower left, with the woman who would be questioned/arrested for indecency being dressed like that. (“This is impossible, to go out like that!,” as a female translator of ours relays the obvious.)

In short, they all just laughed, but wherever this is exactly they would like to make a tourism visit. So if the Congressman lets us know, they’d appreciate it. Seemingly, the Congressman relays a photograph of Turkey – perhaps that was a stop on his ill-informed trip?


Really curious how all this plays out tomorrow.

Okay, in for a dime in for a dollar.

Back to this alleged photo of peaceful Baghdad taken by California congressional candidate Howard Kaloogian. (Read the post below, if you haven't already. It'll be hard to follow this post without that background.)

Like a lot readers who've written in in response to the post below and a lot of commenters on other sites, I really feel like this looks like this photograph wasn't taken in Baghdad but rather somewhere in Turkey. But as is so often the case in life, this seems like one of those cases where a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. So I've held back.

But the more I hear from readers the more I think this might actually be a photograph taken in Turkey.

This picture below is a blown up section from the upper right hand portion of the original photo on Kaloogian's website.



With the white arrows I've highlighted what appear to be cedillas under the roman 'C' and 'S' on the yellow sign.

Add in the other contextual clues and that looks very much like the Turkish alphabet. And in fact the letters 'C A R S I' (which seems to be what this sign says) make a word in Turkish, 'carsi' which means 'shopping center' or 'market.'

It really all does seem to fall into place, doesn't it?

Late Update: A commenter at Will Bunch's site points out that the "Edo" sign on the lower left (see the full size photo in the original post) appears to be that of this Turkish ice cream company. Turkish alphabet, Turkish words, Turkish fast food franchises. Eventually you've got to wonder whether this photograph might have been taken in Turkey.

Even Later Update: Now there's some Kaloogian bamboozlement humor too.

Okay, this is good for a laugh on a slow news night.

(And just to be clear, I'm a little late to this party. Will Bunch, a diarist at Kos's site and another at DU are already all over it.)

Howard Kaloogian, one of the wingers trying to replace Duke Cunningham out in San Diego, has this picture of Baghdad that he took on a recent trip to Iraq posted on his campaign website.



With the picture Kaloogian writes: "We took this photo of dowtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism."

But is that really Baghdad? Now, I'm always a bit leery of these online mysteries. Because I've certainly never been to Baghdad. And I couldn't tell you if a street was in Baghdad or Damascus or Cairo for that matter.

But do you see any Arabic script in this photograph?

My recollection is that on major highways in Iraq the major signs have written in Arabic and also in English.

But this appears to be a city square and every street and store sign I can see is written in roman script, not Arabic. In any case, the issue is less the presence of roman script than the lack of Arabic script.

Others at the sites I mentioned above point out that the woman in pink on the lower left is a bit more provocatively dressed than you might expect in the increasingly sharia-fied Iraq. The billboard on the upper right appears to feature a likeness of some modern-day Pippi Longstocking and the other billboard down the road doesn't look quite right either.

Now, none of those latter points would make me wonder, not being familiar enough with what your average Baghdad street scene looks like. But the absence of Arabic script makes me really curious.

The one thing I really don't get is how Kaloogian could really be so stupid as to post a picture which he claims is of Baghdad and have it not really be from Baghdad. Certainly, it's possible to take a photograph in Baghdad and not have billowing black smoke and ambulances or anyone blown apart. And if you look at Kaloogian's page it seems pretty clear he did go to Iraq. That level of needless stupidity seems hard to fathom. And it's the only thing that makes me think that -- lack of Arabic script notwithstanding -- it must really be Baghdad.

So let's have at it.

What do people make of this photo?

There will be a lot more to say when all the dust settles. But one very happy result of the just-concluding Israeli election is the body blow it has dealt to the Likud. According to this Reuters report, Likud looks set to win a mere 12 seats in the next Knesset. Kadima, the new party Sharon founded just before his stroke, will probably get 30 or just over and Labor will get between 20 to 22.

It's not that the right has collapsed. Some of this is just a matter of reshuffling. Yisrael Beiteinu, a right-wing immigrant party will likely get 12-13 seats too. Still though, for a party that's dominated Israeli politics since the mid-1970s, it's a devastating result.

With Netanyahu now at the helm of this broken party, well ... it really couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

The Haaretz headline sums it up: Center-Left 62-66 seats, Right 48-51.

Late Update: Jo-Ann Mort, who unlike me knows a lot about this stuff, previews the coming coalition negotiations.

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