The New York Times's liberal readership surely got indigestion over Tuesday's lead story from Baghdad by Damien Cave and Alissa Rubin, "Baghdad Starts to Exhale as Security Improves." It's even accompanied by three photos of normal life in the Iraqi capital.

Yes, this is the same New York Times that declared less than a month ago in the lead sentence to a lead editorial:

As the new season of HBO's "Real Time" began Friday night, I watched with great trepidation, especially given host Bill Maher's disgraceful special on that network back in July wherein he spent virtually two-thirds of the program bashing President Bush and anyone with an "R" next to his/her name.

With that in mind, my stomach started turning during his opening monologue as he made joke after joke about our president. I was put in further unease as he introduced his first guest, New York Times correspondent Damien Cave, currently in Baghdad, who seemed likely invited on to speak the liberal party line about how the surge is failing, and how things are much worse in Iraq than the Administration wants to admit.

Miraculously, my concerns were all for naught, for Cave, much like the Times' Baghdad bureau chief John Burns, sees good things happening in Iraq, which appeared to catch Maher off guard. For instance, when Maher asked, "What is the morale of our troops, because I know President Bush always says that the troops are steadfastly all behind him - uh, I have my doubts. What is your view?"

Cave's response was clearly not what Maher was expecting (video available here courtesy of our friend Ms. Underestimated):