Videos of the Week: Stephen Colbert Testifies in Congress on Migrant Labor

Here is the first part where Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert announced his impending appearance at the House Committee.  Also a first hand look at the hard work he did in an American farm packing corn and picking beans.  Now we know why he does not eat salad.
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Fallback Position – Migrant Worker Pt. 2
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News
Then he showed up at the House Committee Judiciary | Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, & International Law, where he was apparently invited by the chairperson. Below is the clip of his 5 minute or so testimony.
CNN reports that Republicans on the subcommittee were not impressed or swayed by Colbert’s appearance.”Maybe we should be spending less time watching Comedy Central and more time considering all the real jobs that are out there — ones that require real hard labor and ones that don’t involve sitting behind a desk,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.   

Here is the last part, where Rep. John Conyers D-MI., asks Stephen Colbert to leave the hearing. But not before he plugged in the Colbert-Stewart rallies in Washington, DC on October 30 and reminisced about the last time the Committee had a full house and had so many cameras (during the impeachment hearings apparently).

States of Conflict in I’Af/Pak: By the Numbers

President Barack Obama (center) with Afghan Pr...Image via WikipediaBrookings recently released an interesting set of numbers on our priority posts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  See States Of Conflict: An Update on Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan

Trends in Iraq

Iraqi Civilian Deaths from War:
Aug. 2008: 450;
Aug. 2009: 300;
Aug. 2010: 400

Iraqi Security Force Deaths:
Aug. 2008: 80;
Aug. 2009: 40;
Aug. 2010: 80

U.S. Troop Deaths:
Aug. 2008: 23;
Aug. 2009: 7;
Aug. 2010: 3

U.S. Troops in Iraq (in thousands):
Aug. 2008: 148;
Aug. 2009: 130;
Aug. 2010: 50

Iraqi Security Forces (in thousands):
Aug. 2008: 515;
Aug. 2009: 650;
Aug. 2010: 670

Oil Production (in millions of barrels per day):
Aug. 2008: 2.5;
Aug. 2009: 2.5;
Aug. 2010: 2.3

Electricity Production (average megawatts, official grid; prewar: 4,000):
Aug. 2008: 4,000;
Aug. 2009: 6,500;
Aug. 2010: 6,400

Telephone Subscribers (in millions):
Aug. 2008: 14;
Aug. 2009: 20;
Aug. 2010: 21

Trends in Afghanistan

U.S./Total Foreign Troops (in thousands):
Aug. 2008: 31/61;
Aug. 2009: 62/97;
Aug. 2010: 100/141

Afghan Army/Police Forces (in thousands):
Aug. 2008: 79/80;
Aug. 2009: 100/85;
Aug. 2010: 134/109

U.S. Government Civilians:
Aug. 2008: 274;
Aug. 2009: 624;
Aug. 2010: 1,005

U.S./Total NATO Coalition Deaths:
Aug. 2008: 22/46;
Aug. 2009: 51/77;
Aug. 2010: 55/79

Afghan Civilian Deaths from War:
Aug. 2008: 65;
Aug. 2009: 230;
Aug. 2010: 150

Afghanistan’s Global Rank for Corruption (out of 180 nations; prior year data; source: Transparency International);
Aug. 2008: 172;
Aug. 2009: 176;
Aug. 2010: 179

G.D.P. Growth (annual percentage):
Aug. 2008: 9;
Aug. 2009: 13;
Aug. 2010: 16

Monthly Pay for New Afghan Soldier (in dollars; includes combat pay):
Aug. 2008: 100;
Aug. 2009: 110;
Aug. 2010: 250

Monthly Pay for Afghan Prosecutor (in dollars):
Aug. 2008: 80;
Aug. 2009: 85;
Aug. 2010: 86

Trends in Pakistan
Attacks by Insurgents:
Aug. 2008: 312;
Aug. 2009: 226;
Aug. 2010: 194

Pakistani Forces Involved in Counterinsurgency (2010 figures reduced because of flood relief operations):
Aug. 2008: 120,000;
Aug. 2009: 150,000;
Aug. 2010: 100,000

Militant Deaths from U.S. Drone attacks (monthly average);
Aug. 2008: 10;
Aug. 2009: 30;
Aug. 2010: 45

U.S. Aid to Pakistan (in billions of dollars per year);
Aug. 2008: 2.0;
Aug. 2009: 3.0;
Aug. 2010: 3.6

Popularity of President Asif Ali Zardari (percentage of Pakistanis expressing approval; spring data):
Aug. 2008: 64;
Aug. 2009: 32;
Aug. 2010: 20

Quote: My life became one of full disclosure.

Jonathan Hopkins is a former United States Army captain who was honorably discharged in August 2010. Mr. Hopkins graduated fourth in his class at West Point. He was deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan, earning three Bronze Stars, including one for valor. He is now a graduate student at Georgetown University’s security studies program. Below is an excerpt from his piece in NYT:

Four months after being found out, and 10 months prior to leaving the Army, I found myself with a boyfriend for the first time in my life, because I was no longer scared to have such a relationship. He and I attended social events and dinners with my peers. I talked about him at work. My life became one of full disclosure.

Amid all of that, the unit continued to function and I continued to be respected for the work I did. Many, from both companies I commanded, approached me to say that they didn’t care if I was gay — they thought I was one of the best commanders they’d ever had. And unbeknownst to me, many had guessed I was probably gay all along. Most didn’t care about my sexuality. I was accepted by most of them, as was my boyfriend, and I had never been happier in the military. Nothing collapsed, no one stopped talking to me, the Earth spun on its axis, and the unit prepared to fight another day.

Read the whole thing here.