Saturday, March 08, 2003

Bun fight alert!
Steve Dunleavey sums it up in the NY Post with Security Council's Rotten Show a Hans-Down Loser:
HANS Blix tells us on one hand Iraq is cooperating, on the other hand they are not cooperating enough, and yet on another hand inspectors need more time.

That makes Hans have three hands, which qualifies him for the circus.

Despite the so called "historic" nature of yesterday's Security Council meeting, it was just that - the traditional U.N. circus.
More like the freak show.
Despite the eloquent addresses by Straw, Colin Powell and Ana Palacio, the Spanish foreign minister, the minds of the clowns in the appeasement circus remained unchanged.

Let's face it, the United Nations is about as relevant as a yak in the Gobi Desert.

But someone yesterday saw the light. It was none other than Mohammed Al-Douri, the Iraqi U.N. ambassador.

"The possibility of war against Iraq seems imminent," he said.

You got that right, Mo.
But kudos to Jack Straw who cut Dominque a new one as Marcus Warren and Robin Gedye report in the Telegraph in Straw takes war to the French in vitriolic United Nations tirade. Hint to Marcus and Robin - in the vernacular, it's called "kicking ass and taking names".

And at the risk of repetitiveness:

US out of the UN and the UN out of the US

Really bad idea alert!
Michael Kelly in the NY Post reveals Where the media meet the military:
THE U.S. States armed forces will soon discover if it is possible to successfully place about 500 journalists in military units (down to the company level) going into war. This experiment in what the military calls "embedding" entails grafting what amounts to a presidential-campaign-sized press corps onto an army in combat. The question of whether this is going to work, or implode, is a matter of much conversation among the involved parties here.
They were talking about what was going to happen in a basic situation of war reporting: A firefight, say, occurs at Point A, and cameramen and photographers rush to Points B through Z to cover it.

Under the rules of embedment, this is not supposed to happen. Each cameramen and photographer, just as each reporter, is to be assigned to a specific unit, and is supposed to stay with that unit unless permitted to leave. (And none of the embedded journalists is permitted a vehicle, so as to enable them to run off to Point A from B through Z.) In embedment theory, the cameraman attached to the unit engaged in the firefight is supposed to get the picture, and everyone not attached to that unit is supposed to stay where they belong and not get the picture.
Unless the Iraq campaign is really fast, some of the newshawks are going to get killed and take some troops with them.
In the first Gulf War, the U.S. military, in collaboration with the major U.S. media companies, built a system that was designed to sharply limit direct observational reporting to a relative few journalists, overwhelmingly drawn from the ranks of big media. The permitted few were to file "pool" reports and pictures that would be made available to all media through a military clearing process.
Sounds OK to me - this isn't a picnic.
The experiment - "the huge experiment," as Blumenfeld says - this time represents an admirable attempt to do much better. A system that allows eyewitness reporting across the spectrum of conflict, no matter how constrained, has to produce a picture of war, and of the military that goes to war, more true and complete than a system that seeks to deny eyewitness reporting.
Somehow, I think the miltary objectives are rather more important than getting every reporter and photographer their own personal live action story.
The Defense Department ground rules for embedding speak of the imperative "to tell the factual story, good or bad." For the sake of that great goal, I hope the Pentagon thinks more about loosening things up a bit. ... As any White House press secretary can tell them, there is no hell quite so annoying as the hell of an infantilized media pack.
I'm supposed to care?
Tsk, brawling with the natives
Rick Scavetta reports in Stars and Stripes that Soldier stabbed in late-night brawl with Iranians. Huh? Where'd they run into Iranians?
U.S. soldiers clashed with a group of Iranians in Frankfurt early Sunday, resulting in injuries to three Americans and prompting a brigade commander to declare the city’s pub district off limits after midnight.
Ah, one of the sharia law candidates in Europe.
I've got a little list
The American Prowler's Enemy Central always delivers an enjoyable 'Enemy of the Week" column and today's installment, Fools of the Trade, is no exception. Some excerpts:
Bob Dole should invite Bill over to tea next time Elizabeth is free. It would be quite an event, having Bill visiting the Doles at the Watergate, right next door to the apartment once filled with Monica L. and the gifts she collected from a secret admirer.
The bilious Boston Globe this week unearthed secret documents confirming Kerry is lying when he now insists he's never claimed Irish ancestry. For it's right there in the Congressional Record, an entry from March 18, 1986, in which Kerry speaks of "we" who are "are fortunate to share an Irish ancestry." Not so fast, an aide named Kelley (hmm) insists. Kerry never said what the official congressional record claims he said. The remarks were written by a staffer who submitted them to a clerk for recording, entirely without Kerry's knowledge.

Kerry thus qualifies for the major leagues, joining a whale of a Yankee pitcher named David Wells, who denied any knowledge of boasts made in his new autobiography about his drunken, hungover ways the day he pitched a perfect game. So who's perfect, unless we have in mind Peter Jennings. But even he let his New York friends down this week when he ran an unusually critical report on the well-intended policies of Joseph Stalin. Stalin, Peter said, killed millions of his countrymen. (He could have said tens of millions, but that would have sounded anti-Communist.) He did not, unfortunately, produce any smoking gun. Nor was it clear that he had U.N. permission to file that report.
Who's the winner? By a nose it was the arrogant ABC newsdroid, Terry Moran. Hey, there's lots of competition out there! Hell, there was a lot of competition asking questions at the President's news conference.

Friday, March 07, 2003

The "human shield" hijinks alert continues
From Australia's, BB Gordon out of Iraqi house:
AUSTRALIAN Big Brother contestant Gordon Sloan was among a group of five international human shields evicted from Iraq today.

Mr Sloan said Iraqi officials had removed the protesters' autonomy, demanding they shield the country's power stations rather than schools and hospitals.

"We wished to have control and autonomy and they wished to remove that from us," Mr Sloan told Channel Nine.
Mr. Gordon's various applications for employment as a rocket scientist have consistently been rejected.
The clue phone is ringing, but no one's home
The AP shows us a "before and after" picture with this caption:
About a month ago, ex-addict Penny Wood avoided a prison term by agreeing to let authorities use these before-and-after photos of her to steer people away from the ravages of methamphetamine use. Now, she regrets the deal, saying the fliers have become an embarrassment for her, her children and grandchildren.
And they weren't embarassed before?
Witchcraft alert!
Margaret Wilson amuses in the Telegraph with Police accused of using witchcraft to catch fugitive:
Claims that the Zambian police removed their underpants in order to search more effectively for a fugitive are the latest bizarre revelation in a row about the role of witchcraft in the capture of Zambia's most wanted man.

Katele Kalumba, former foreign minister, vanished three months ago after his arrest was ordered on charges of plundering the nation's resources. Despite the best efforts of a large team of police and reported sightings from as far as Belgium, he was living undetected in a tent on his farm in north-western Zambia.
While it would seem merely that Hans Blix had organized the search, the explanation was more bizarre.
Police say witchcraft lay at the heart of his elusiveness and they displayed an assortment of "magical objects" found in his tent when they finally caught up with him.
Black arts, and the fear of them, bubble just below the surface of life in Zambia. Police have been accused of resorting to the services of a witchdoctor to find their man.

Mr Kalumba, 50, disappeared when Zambia's national task force investigating corruption demanded he answer questions relating to the disappearance of £12.5 million for military equipment, as well as other sums.

Police say he used two witchdoctors to achieve his invisibility and eavesdropped on them with the aid of a wooden fetish doll. They also said he used the screen of his solar-powered laptop computer. "He confirmed he was able to see what was going on through this traditional computer," said a police spokesman.

As it happened, Mr Kalumba voluntarily showed himself to the team that came searching again after a tip-off from a local man. He emerged from behind a shrub too small to hide a man, said the police, adding that he wore charms around his neck and waist.
I've got to get one of those laptops - not to mention some of the charms.
But police said that, apart from the lack of underpants and their urination on traditional herbs found at Kalumba's hideaway, it was a conventional operation.
Hmmm, I wonder how many votes Zambia gets at the UN?
Skimming the Pond Scum
An interesting press release from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:
Glendora, CA - In rapid response to the intervention of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the administration of Citrus College (California) has undone a terrible injustice - and has avoided a moral and legal nightmare. A Citrus College professor had compelled undergraduate students to write anti-war letters to President George W. Bush -penalizing the grades of students who dissented or refused to send the letters. The Citrus College administration, working closely with FIRE, resolved the situation. "When fully informed of a frightening violation of freedom of conscience, the college administration responded swiftly and boldly to restore liberty and to undo the harm already done," said Thor L. Halvorssen, FIRE’s chief executive officer.

FIRE wrote to Citrus College President Louis Zellers on March 4 to alert him that FIRE had been contacted by students in Professor Rosalyn Kahn’s Speech 106 class, a required course at the public college. FIRE received compelling documentation that Kahn had required students, to achieve full credit, to write letters to President George W. Bush "demanding" that he not go to war with Iraq. Several students requested that they be allowed to complete the assignment by expressing their own opinions, which would mean, in some cases, writing letters in support of President Bush’s foreign policy. Kahn told the students that letters supporting the president would not be acceptable and would not receive credit. Several students refused to turn in the assignment and were penalized.
There are other interesting cases at the FIRE site. I liked the one about a Shaw University professor fired for "disloyalty" to the University president.
Curse of the Pharoahs Alert!
The BBC alarms with Tourists 'jinxed' by Aborigine rock:
Tourists who have taken home pieces of rock from Uluru, Australia's most sacred Aboriginal site, may have got more than they bargained for.

Rangers at the Uluru National Park say they have been mailed thousands of rocks which their senders say have brought them bad luck.

"It's just a weird phenomenon," said park manager Brooke Watson. "They come from all over and they just keep coming every day."

Uluru - a huge red monolith in the heart of the Australian desert, previously known as Ayer's Rock - is one of the country's best known natural monuments.

But it is also an important religious site for the Aborigines, and Australian law prohibits tourists from taking personal souvenirs home with them.

Whether out of remorse or misfortune, it seems that many of those picking up illegal pieces of rock cannot wait to get rid of them - regardless of the expense.
I'd say chipping off pieces and taking them home is incredibly poor form, but "bad luck"? Wait, it gets even weirder:
Most of the rocks sent back to the park end up being destroyed, as a result of Australia's strict quarantine laws.

But when they can, park rangers and local Aborigines hold ceremonies to put some of the pieces back on Uluru.
I can understand the quarantine laws, but how do you "destroy" rocks? And ceremonies? Time to beam me up.

And to me it is still Ayer's Rock.
Languedoc liberal alert!
Today Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D - Baghdad) is planning to vent a little over foreign policy. She will ask why Rosa Luxembourg and the Spartacist League are not being supported in their strike against war. Ooops, wrong speech.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will sharply challenge the Bush administration's conduct of foreign policy today in a speech that urges the United States to use its influence to promote "democratic values" around the globe.
I'd say that turfing out Saddam fits that description nicely.
Staking out a role as her party's top critic of a war in Iraq, the San Francisco congresswoman will unambiguously reaffirm her opposition to an attack on Iraq in a high-profile address to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

"I do not believe that going to war now is the best way to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction," Pelosi says in an advance copy of her speech provided Thursday to The Chronicle. "Before going to war, we must exhaust all alternatives, such as the continuation of inspections, diplomacy and the leverage provided by the threat of military action."
Nancy apparently hasn't been keeping up on current events. Hell, she hasn't been keeping up on 12 years of Iraq history.

And stand by for the obligatory "I'm really reasonable" weaseling:
"I am not in the category of people who say, no war under any circumstances, " Pelosi told reporters early Thursday, hours before the president's nationally televised press conference. "I am just saying at this time, is this the best remedy to the problem that we have?"

Pelosi returned this weekend from a trip to Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey, where she met with troops and military leaders, and called on Turkey -- in the event of war -- to allow Americans to use its land as a staging area for soldiers.

"Even though I oppose the war now, I still would have hoped that the Turks would have accepted our troops there," Pelosi said.
The only problem, Nancy, is that you would never get around to military action - no matter how long Saddam pissed in your soup.

And can you imagine being a soldier and having to put on a smiling face when this back-stabbing sleazoid comes to visit the troops?
More good news
The Washington Times observes that Press corps doyenne gets no notice:
A long-running Washington tradition apparently ended last night when, for the first time in memory, the doyenne of the White House press corps was not called on in a presidential press conference.

Syndicated columnist Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since John F. Kennedy, was relegated to the third row in last night's East Room event and - if the memory of press corps veterans is accurate - received her first presidential snub.
And it's long overdue. This whining apologist for terrorists of all stripes is a perpetual disgrace in the Ari Fleischer daily briefings. We can expect her to really be on her broom in today's briefing.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

They didn't have things like this when I was a kid!
Fla. Mayor Warns 'Girls Gone Wild' Crew:
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - If girls go wild, they'll go to jail - and so will those who videotape them baring it all, says the mayor of America's top spring break destination.

The creators of the "Girls Gone Wild" videos are planning a live pay-per-view broadcast next Thursday from an undisclosed spring break destination. In the videos, college-age women bare their breasts while partying.
Pay-per-view flashing! Hmm, I wonder if Saddam's Streakers over at Wingnuts Baring Witness will give it a try? Nah, no one would pay to see them.
Don't show 'em the hole cards unless they pay
Stephen Pollard has an interesting theory in the Telegraph:
If there is a stick to be grasped, you can rely on the BBC to take hold of the wrong end of it. Reporting the latest round of UN manoeuvrings, the corporation's diplomatic correspondent tells us that the British ambassador is trying to find a "compromise" resolution that, by giving Saddam Hussein a final, final, final deadline (one should write "final" 18 times, given that there have already been 17 UN resolutions passed), will both put him to the test and draw France, Germany and Russia into the fold.

Quite the opposite. The purpose of a new resolution is not to issue more deadlines, but to present the so-called axis of weasels with a clear choice. If they are unable to bring themselves even to sign up to this final deadline, their sophistry will be exposed. Their motives will be seen to be based not on weapons inspectors and timing, but on a belief that no action should be taken against Saddam at all. The Prime Minister will thus be handed a strong argument (and some domestic political cover) for supporting American action without a further UN mandate.

Despite the coverage of the Bush-Blair relationship, President George W Bush has been concerned all along to preserve Mr Blair's political capital. Indeed, just before the anti-war march, the Prime Minister took a call from Condoleezza Rice, Mr Bush's National Security Adviser. The content of that call has not been revealed until now. The President, she told him, understood that, with most of the Labour Party and the majority of the country opposed to his policy, his position was precarious. But, she continued, he was far too important an ally to lose.

Nice, supportive words, for which Mr Blair was no doubt grateful. But they contained a twist. If, Miss Rice continued, the Prime Minister judged that he needed to soften his tone and, in particular, distance himself from Mr Bush, the President was relaxed. The reason, as Miss Rice put it, was that the bigger picture required that the Prime Minister preserve as much political capital as possible. Both Mr Blair and Miss Rice knew what the "bigger picture" was without it having to be spelt out. The bigger picture is Iran.
Follow the link for the Iran story, which is very important, but the winner for me is:
Well-connected advisers tell me that if, as now seems likely, the UN refuses to back action against terror, Mr Bush will announce a "temporary" suspension of America's membership, to be accompanied by an offer: if the UN gets its act together and carries out long-overdue reforms, America (and its money) will return. But if there is no reform, the temporary withdrawal will, de facto, become permanent.
Hot damn! Now we're talking.

US out of the UN and the UN out of the US
Wingnut Alert!
News4 in Washington DC amuses with this bon mot:
Capitol Reopens After Short Incident
Suspicious Protester Wraps Himself In Duct Tape

WASHINGTON -- Parts of the U.S. Capitol were closed off Thursday afternoon because of a suspicious protester.

News4 has learned a person wearing long white robes was in the area of the first floor of the Capitol and was holding some type of protest.

Witnesses said the man was wrapping himself in duct tape and talking about why the United States should not engage in a conflict with Iraq.
The man was taken into custody and the building has since reopened.
Can't they get anything right? The approved protesting technique is that you first take off all your clothes (long white robes included). Then you put on the duct tape. Hopefully lots of it. Especially if you are rather hirsute.
Big surprise alert!
Carol Emert in the SF Chronicle talks to some "Languedoc liberals" in French-wine drinkers weigh in on war drumbeats. (They sure love that drum don't they?)
France staunchly opposes a war with Iraq.

Anti-French sentiment spawns calls to boycott French goods.

How do Bay Area residents respond?

"I will deliberately go out of my way to buy French wine, and lots of other French stuff, just to piss off the Republicans," says Ted Loewenberg of San Francisco.

Loewenberg and his family recently purchased a house in France, "and I'm mighty glad we did," he says.

Call them the "Languedoc liberals" -- that's the form the Bay Area's "latte liberals" are taking at dinnertime these days, just to spite Dennis Hastert and his ilk.
One can't help but wish that M Loewenberg has acquired a Peugot to go with his new house. I wonder if they make Peugot limousines? We wouldn't want Teddy to be discommoded.
The vitriol inspired Stripe Demarest, a Livermore freelance writer, to uncork a fruity red Caves des Papes from the Rhone Valley a couple of weekends ago, which she and her partner, Elizabeth Gilliam, enjoyed with some homemade portobello-ricotta ravioli.

Until recently, the couple purchased wine without regard to the country of origin. Now they buy only French.

"We'd really hoped up to this point that (geopolitical events) would turn around of their own accord, but now we feel we have to do even small things to say we don't think this (war) is a great idea," says Demarest.
Saffron Stripe alert!
Tod Brilliant of Roshambo Winery & Gallery in Healdsburg is the first to admit that anti-war activism "might be a case of preaching to the choir."

But that hasn't stopped Brilliant and his wife Naomi, who founded Roshambo in 1998, from running anti-war ads in the North Bay Bohemian newspaper. and Wine Country This Week magazine.
Ah, the renowned North Bay Bohemian - you really can't make this stuff up.

I hope these members of the drone class have laid on some "grief counselors" for when the rocket goes up.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Dang crystal set alert!
Nick Grace at Clandestine Radio Watch says U.S. Psyop Radio Shifts Focus:
[Mar 4] The United States Central Command quietly shifted its psychological operations (psyop) broadcasts from the Iraqi military based in Southern Iraq to the Iraqi public. The shift, which went unreported by the mainstream press, signals a major development in military strategy that underscores the resolve of the Bush administration in seeking Baghdad's disarmament.

Information Radio, which is broadcast from the EC-130E Commando Solo aircraft, now targets the general public of Iraq. Approximately 360,000 newly redesigned leaflets advertising the program and its broadcast schedule, according to the Central Command, were dropped over the cities of An Nasiriyah, Rumaylah, and Al Basrah on March 1. The cities are located south of Baghdad within the southern "No Fly Zone" enforced by U.S. and U.K. coalition jets.

"In times of crisis," one of the new leaflets states, "Tune into 'Information Radio' for important news and information. Coalition Forces Support the Iraqi people in their desire to remove Saddam and his Regime. The Coalition wishes no harm to the innocent Iraqi civilians."

Says another, "The Coalition stands with the Iraqi people against Saddam. For your safety stay in your homes away from military targets. The Coalition does not target civilians. Listen to Information Radio for more information."

Information Radio broadcasts, which began in mid-December 2002, previously aired messages urging Iraqi soldiers to "make the decision" and support efforts to halt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Its broadcasts, CRW has noted, were not intended for a civilian audience.
More on the clandestine radio stations broadcasting to Iraq by following the link.
They stole my title!
This New Airline Should Be a Hoot:
Hooters has sprouted wings -- and not the spicy hot kind.

The self-described "delightfully tacky" restaurant chain said it will launch Hooters Air on Thursday, flying two orange-and-white Boeing 737s with its owl logo on the tail from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach, S.C., with two Hooters Girls aboard.
In addition to the three full-fledged flight attendants, two Hooters Girls, in their "uniforms" of tight T-shirts and shorts, will assist with food and beverages, the company said.
Bad ideas are never in short supply. But stock up on any logo'ed items now - you will be able to sell them on eBay shortly.
Springtime for Saddam
Hugo Gordon writing in the National Post doesn't need Mel Brooks for America has escaped the UN's snare:
Things are going splendidly at the United Nations -- splendidly, that is, for those of us keen to see the organization debunked and diminished, and not sure it wouldn't be best demolished altogether.
As this happy prospect was unfolding this weekend, the Washington air softened, birds at last began to sing, and once-massive piles of snow that have kept the U.S. capital in frigid stasis for weeks suddenly trickled away down the drain. Winter is over at the White House and it's springtime for Saddam.

No matter what happens at UN headquarters in New York, Mr. Bush is ready to roll. It's true, as Charles Krauthammer mentioned last week, that it's absurd to be waiting with baited breath to see if countries such as Guinea support or oppose the war on terrorism. But we should exhale, because ultimately it makes no difference. U.S. officials are letting it be known that if there are not enough Yes votes in the bag by Friday next week, Washington will skip the vote and move directly to war.

Whichever way the Security Council swings, the UN is finished as a snare for the legitimate exercise of American power. If the Council rejects the new resolution, it will be ignored. If it votes Aye, it will do so -- in plain view of the world -- only because it prefers to hang on to Mr. Bush's coattails than eat his dust.

In neither case, however, will it be plausible to argue that the exercise of American power in U.S. national security interests is subject to UN approval. Mr. Bush, gent that he is, has given the UN the face-saving opportunity to come along for the ride. But the disposition of real power amounts to this: Security Council members can take it or leave it, while Mr. Bush can take or leave them. There is a world of difference.

We have waited a long time -- much too long -- for this blessed outcome.

Screw the U.N.
Today's Hoot!
Hey Martin Sheen, how does it feel to have this dedicated for you?

Cool, but it would have been more apt to dedicate one of the latrines.
More CBS Wingnuttery
According to Elizabeth Jensen in the LA Times, Fake accent for 'voice' of Hussein? :
Steve Winfield is a listed member of the Screen Actors Guild and, according to the owner of the "Fabulous Voices" Web site on which he once appeared, a translator with a particular flair for foreign accents.

Last week, for 17 million TV viewers, he was also the voice of Saddam Hussein during Dan Rather's exclusive CBS News interview of the Iraqi leader. Apparently putting on an Arabic accent, Winfield -- who spoke with a seemingly everyday North American accent when he talked briefly to a reporter this week -- read Hussein's answers to Rather's questions.

The translation was "100% accurate," CBS News said in a statement, describing Winfield as one of four translators it hired. The accent, CBS said, was meant to provide "a voice compatible with the piece." A network spokeswoman said Winfield was supplied by a translation service; she said she does not know whether Winfield in fact speaks Arabic.
In a word: Why?
Sensitivity Alert!
The Liverpool Daily Post reports that Pig tales ban is 'about respect':
A headteacher yesterday defended her decision to ban books which contained stories about pigs from some classes in case it offended Muslims.

The Three Little Pigs and other stories have been removed from classes for under-sevens at Park Road Junior Infant and Nursery School in Batley, West Yorkshire.
Headteacher Barbara Harris said in a statement: "Recently the headteacher has been aware of an occasion where young Muslim children in a class were read stories about pigs. This could have caused offence to religious sensitivities."

Mrs Harris said she sent a memo to staff that fiction books containing pigs should be removed from Early Years and Key Stage One classrooms.
"I very much regret that anyone should find this controversial as all we are doing is trying to ensure that all of our children are awarded the respect that all human beings deserve."
Good thing the tykes didn't see School superintendent kisses a pig in book-reading promo.

That's all folks!
Pond Scum
Andrea Peyser in the NY Post lets us know about the Council Kook-Fest:
Bet you didn't know that the Bush folks caused the Chicago nightclub stampede that killed 21 people.

Or that the concept of evil is "archaic." Or that the biggest threat to America "is not Iraq - it's our government."

These insults and idiocies were not lobbed among pals huddling in a basement, nor by megaphone-wielding hotheads assembled before the United Nations. Instead, a familiar roster of leftist kooks, conspiracy theorists and community activists was invited last Wednesday, like an honored delegation, into the asylum that has become City Hall.

They lent their voices - some whiny, some paranoid, others simply clueless or ill-informed - in support of a wildly divisive proposal to have the New York City Council adopt a resolution opposing war with Iraq.

Such measures have passed in places such as Chicago and Los Angeles. But championing such a document in a city so recently violated by terrorism is too potentially offensive and fraught with political peril. Except, of course, for nouveau political hacks who might benefit from standing against Bush.

Charles Barron, chairman of the higher education committee, Deputy Majority Leader Bill Perkins and Bill DeBlasio, a Clinton administration operative, are part of a faction of leftist darlings savvy in the ways of cheap fame. They win visibility with often toothless pronouncements that are, nonetheless, attractive to certain constituents and news outlets. Barron and Perkins recently drew headlines by welcoming Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe into City Hall, ignoring international outrage over his racist and economically ruinous policies.
They never met a anti-American dictator they didn't like. They never heard a proposal to weaken this country they didn't like.
Yet Another Islamic Summit Alert!
Iraq Envoy Dubs Kuwait 'Monkey' at Islamic Summit:
DOHA (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein's right-hand man brought uproar to an emergency Islamic summit on Wednesday, calling a Kuwaiti representative a "monkey" and a "traitor."

"Shut up you minion, you (U.S.) agent, you monkey. You are addressing Iraq," the second-in-command of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council Izzat Ibrahim spat out before he was interrupted by the leader of summit host Qatar.
No one expects manners from one of Saddam's anal warts, but Izzy is a snappy dresser.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Bean counter hoot!
Hugh Williamson and Tony Major in the Financial Times report that Germany attacks ratings agencies as 'insensitive':
German politicians yesterday called for curbs on international ratings agencies, which they claimed did not understand Germany's business culture and may have been influenced by the diplomatic rift between Berlin and Washington.

Rainer Wend, who is a senior member of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrat party, said: "We have to ask ourselves whether the ratings agencies are really sensitive to German business practices, or whether they only operate on the basis of Anglo-American business principles."
His criticisms were echoed by Joachim Poss, the SPD's parliamentary finance spokesman, who said the "significant influence" of these agencies in Germany was a problem. "They don't understand our business culture," he said.
OK, I'll bite. What are the differentiating features of German business culture?
Last week, Standard and Poor's cut ThyssenKrupp's credit rating to "junk" status because of a rising pension funding gap. The company insisted the move was "incomprehensible".

Last month, S&P warned it might downgrade the ratings of a dozen European companies because tumbling markets had eroded the value of pension funds. As well as Thyssen, two other German groups were named - Deutsche Post and the industrial gases company Linde.
Hmm, they have huge pension fund liabilities and they don't want S&P to notice. Sounds tres Euro! Especially the solution:
Politicians welcomed last week's announcement by Hans Eichel, finance minister, that he might introduce tighter controls on ratings agencies. These could include a code of conduct for agencies operating in Germany.
Here's the new code - No ratings can embarrass the SPD. I also liked the political canard about the "diplomatic rift". One problem though:
Jürgen Berblinger, head of Moody's in Germany, rejected the suggestions of political influence, and pointed out that all its ratings of European companies "were made by European analysts based in Europe".
The SPD apparently hasn't realized that cooked books aren't particularly appetizing.
I've gone over to the dark side!
The Instapundit is all over the "Raging Cow" (see 1, 2, 3). Since I'm a gung-ho trendy kind of guy who would enjoy a "milk-based product with an attitude", I've decided to join up. Here's my poster:

Stand waaaaay back!

Which reminds me - who killed Mr. Pibb?
A whole truckload of wackiness!
People, keep it straight! Yesterday was the new moon, not the full moon!

Madonna Gets Kid Friendly - Uh Oh!

Woman charged with corruption of minors, lewdness - Missing instruction manual alert!
A 35-year-old West Pottsgrove woman displayed an artificial penis, in a sexual nature, to three juveniles, chased them and hit one child on the head with it, according to court documents.
German artist to open doggie brothel - Arf!

Wedding-Brawl Blues - Be my guest.

Most Americans Believe In Hell, Few Expect To Go There - Amen.

Inside the deluded world of the 'human shields' - A whole truckload all by itself.
Later, a £500 donation from a well-wisher in Istanbul was squandered on boxes of Prozac in a misguided attempt to cheer up the war-weary Iraqi civilians.
Today's Hoot!
John Hawkins has fun with the clue challenged:
Doug: peace is my gun!

Doug: i am a paecemaker!

Doug: look my details!!!!

Doug: cia agents use icq??

HolyWarrior: A peacemaker huh? That's what the Americans who keep emailing me say -- Oh shoot Saddam -- oh tells us where the anthrax is hidden and we will send you to America, put you in a mansion and introduce you to someone named Britney Spears who scandalously uncovers herself like an infidel. They all think I'll talk because I met some American soldiers in the Gulf War after my men tried to surrender to a broken down tank we thought was an American robot warrior -- but I don't crack so easily!

Doug: but im from brazil!!!!!! we dont aprove bush´war!! our president is socialist!!

HolyWarrior: You say that now -- they all say that at first, but then the Americans whisper their sweet, sweet lies and the next thing you know it's bye bye Iraq, hello Uncle Sam can you chop down some more of our rain forest to use it to make DVD players and Coca-Cola?
Much more nutty rich goodness by following the link.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Such a deal!
The Washington Post Service reports Many states use 'jock tax' so those who play will pay:
When Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez stepped onto the field at the All-Star Game last July in Milwaukee, there was a huge cheer from the crowd.

There may have been cheering at the Wisconsin Department of Revenue as well: By appearing in the event, Rodriguez obligated himself to pay more than $8,000 in Wisconsin income taxes.

Rodriguez and hundreds of other athletes and entertainers are finding that some of their biggest fans are state tax collectors. A growing number of states -- and some cities as well -- are aggressively pursuing high-income nonresidents who earn income from within the states' borders.

This ultimate commuter tax -- often dubbed the "jock tax" -- is creating a major headache for its targets and has spawned a cottage industry of accountants and bookkeepers who advise high-profile figures on how to minimize their state taxes, prepare returns and make payments for taxes they cannot escape.

Players sometimes move to different states, which accountants say can help when it comes to items like signing bonuses, but they have little choice about where they play their games.

"It's a nightmare," said Ronald Rubin, a certified public accountant in Bethesda, Md., who does tax returns for several professional athletes. "You have some players filing 12 or 14 state income tax returns."
Everyone needs a hobby. But it isn't just the big bucks guys:
Agents and others, though, say many marginal players, who may have careers lasting only a few years and paychecks far smaller than A-Rod's, can see a significant portion of their earnings drained away by the jock tax. The tax also applies to coaches, trainers, equipment managers and others who travel with the team, though many of them make fairly modest salaries.
Somehow, I don't think H&R Block can handle 12 or 14 State tax returns. And how long before the revenuers figure out that they could do the same to ordinary business people who travel?
Stunning News Alert!
Sky News shocks with:


French President Jacques Chirac has said that Iraq must co-operate more actively with United Nations weapons inspectors.

More to follow...

Last Updated: 09:49 UK, Monday March 03, 2003
As the noted sage, Willy Wonka, said, "The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last."
Pond Scum
Amygdala notices some interesting timing:
Some interesting history:
In Britain, according to organizer John Rees, several hundred activists first got together the weekend after Sept. 11. Most were from the hard core of the British left -- the Socialist Workers Party, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the anti-capitalist organization Globalized Resistance, along with Labor Party legislators Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway. Within weeks, they had combined with representatives from two more important elements -- Britain's growing Muslim community and its militant trade unions. By October they had a name: the Stop the War Coalition.
Mind the timing here: getting together to protest the weekend after September 11th. September 11th was a Tuesday. Four days later, people hadn't finished dying in the rubble, yet, the plume covered NYC, and these folks -- who do not, mind, speak for most of the protesters this past month -- were already deep into planning. People who did come out to protest in the past month or so might want to be aware of this.
And these folks are planning "direct action" when the liberation of Iraq starts.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Thespian Alert!
Lin Anderson at the Iconoclast amuses with ARISTOPHANES? GESUNDHEIT! -- More Inanity From The Anti-War Crowd....:
March 02, 2003: A small-college theater professor of my acquaintance (the college is small; he has a little height on him) is busily spending this weekend preparing his emotion-charged charges for Monday's big worldwide, super-semi-simultaneous performance of Aristophanes' classic opus, Lysistrata.
This Athenian outpouring is being coordinated by the "Lysistrata Project," which advertises that more than 900 readings of Aristophanes' ancient play will be conducted on Monday by theater groups around the world. While this sounds like a lot, I'm guessing it's about the same number of regional theater productions of The Fantasticks scheduled for the same date, and most likely well under the pace set by Monday's backwater stagings of You're A Good Man Charlie Brown.

Oh, and in case you didn't know, the point of the exercise is naturally to protest the war in Iraq -- even though there isn't exactly a war in Iraq yet. You'd think these people could at least wait until the thing gets started to decide if it's worth protesting or not.
As the story of Lysistrata unfolds, hostilities have been going on way too long to please the women's collective and so to, um, mount a protest against the conflict, this distaff gaggle of Greeks declare a moratorium on playing "Hide the Piroski" until the battle at last comes to its blessed end.

As far as Greek comedies go, Lysistrata is actually pretty entertaining in that special way that anything involving sex can be. It is certainly more entertaining than Aristophanes' other efforts, which include "The Clouds," "The Birds" and "The Frogs" -- all of which are unleavened by any saucy talk at all about erections.

Aristophanes is, however, the perfect author for women of the Left for whom concern about animals, the environment, and the extremely-careful doling-out of woo-hoo are pretty much all in a day's work.
More by following the link.
Comedy Alert!
Kim Sengupta in the Independent:
It was supposed to be the day when Iraq demonstrated it was disarming, but it soon degenerated into the confusion, with touches of farce, that has characterised much of the United Nations weapons inspectors' mission in Iraq since they returned four months ago.
Fer sure.
Last night Demetrius Perricos, the head of Unmovic, the UN monitoring and verification commission, announced that the destruction of Iraq's al-Samoud 2 missiles had begun - but instead of four, the inspectors had succeeded in wrecking only one. Apparently the casing was too thick, and a heavier bulldozer had to be brought in. The UN has agreed a timetable with Iraq for the destruction of the remaining 119-odd (the inspectors' estimate - Baghdad claims about 72), with their accompanying equipment, motors, blueprints and production line, but if yesterday was any guide, the project may take longer than expected.
Ya think?
...thus began the now familiar show of journalists chasing him and his inspectors around Baghdad and beyond while alarmed pedestrians dived for cover.
Just before 1pm the UN convoy of seven vehicles with their Iraqi minders set off, followed by the media, for their "secret" destination: the Al-Taji camp, north of Baghdad. On the way were forebodings of the now seemingly inevitable conflict, trainloads of armour and artillery heading south-east towards Basra.
The media were kept out by the soldiers guarding the vast, sprawling complex, and they were also quick to turn away four large trucks which arrived soon afterwards, carrying rocket launchers.
I wonder why they were there? Probably just needed some "supplies".
Trucks were also coming out of the complex, carrying, among other items, dozens of beds, mattresses and rolls of barbed wire, a sign of soldiers being relocated as Iraq prepares for an American-led invasion.

These were followed soon afterwards by soldiers, hundreds of them, emptying the camp. Most of them were young recruits who served from eight in the morning until two in the afternoon before returning home to their families.

"Well, we can expect the Americans to attack at 2.05 then", said a reporter. "The Iraqis will be off by then." The soldiers gave victory signs as they trotted out, chanting: "My blood, my spirit, I shall die for you O Saddam." But they were anything but menacing, apologising profusely when they knocked into photographers, smiles rather than scowls on their faces.
You really can't make this stuff up!
Ecoweenie Alert!
C.C. Kraemer at Tech Central Station - Man vs. Beast:
At Camp Pendleton in Southern California, the U.S. Marine Corps' premier amphibious training base, troops practice the type of beach assault they might one day have to execute on a distant, foreign shore. They swiftly approach across the waves in amphibious vehicles and eventually hit the beach where they, like generations of battle-hardened Marines before them, board a bus that will take them to another part of the base where they continue their training.
Er, let me guess.
Before they can even fire a shot, Marines who are training to kill must tread tenderly on their beach because of the presence the gnatcatcher. That unfortunately named creature is protected by the Endangered Species Act. This small gray songbird is found on roughly 50,000 of the 126,000 acres at Camp Pendleton, so the Marines have to play gracious hosts.

Certainly a case could be made that the real endangered species in this conflict is the U.S. Marine.
Got that one right. For similar foolishness see this post from last July. As I said then - Did we declare a croquet tournament when I wasn't looking?
Dear Leader is Worried!
And it's because his championship crown for El Primo Nutjob Head of State is being endangered by Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi has always had quite an act as I observed back in July. Now he goes to an Arab Summit and gets into a televised slanging match with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Well, at least this time we got to see pictures of his vaunted female bodyguards.
Pond Scum
As Dean Esmay suggests:
Do not click here unless you want your blood pressure to shoot up over 500.
Subhuman Shields Time Again
The Greatest Jeneration covers the latest antics of the shield squad in British human shields run for home! Between them discovering it might be dangerous (zounds!) and the delusions of Ken "Mama's Boy" O'Keefe, things seem to be falling apart for the forces of wingnuttery.

But not to worry! Zev Chafets provides the answer in Those human shields need some star power:
Imagine what would happen today if a similar group - call them the Lincoln Navigator Brigade - sprang from the ranks of celebrity America and joined O'Keefe's deployment in Iraq. Picture Janeane Garafalo and Rob Reiner lying spread-eagled on the roof of a Baghdad powdered milk factory; Sheryl Crow and Ed Asner blocking U.S. tanks from entering Basra; Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Puff Daddy and the Smothers Brothers chained to the gates of Saddam Hussein's presidential palace.
Be still my heart! Please let it be so!
What's needed now is some organization. I think Scott Ritter, another ex-leatherneck peacenik, would make a great recruiter. Let him convene a summit of the anti-war celebrities (or their agents) at the Beverly Hills Burger King and ask for volunteers.

For commander of the Lincoln Navigator Brigade, I nominate rap star 50 Cent, from Musicians United to Win Without War. Unlike, say, Jessica Lange, 50 Cent has significant combat experience; he recently was stabbed and shot. And according to Rolling Stone, he makes "inspirational music for gunplay."

His fellow celebrity shields might need a little inspiration - especially if Franks hasn't kept up his subscription to People magazine.
Be there or be square, y'all!
Is it time yet?
Niles Latham in the NY Post:
March 2, 2003 -- WASHINGTON - Tomorrow evening was earmarked weeks ago as the optimum time for the United States to strike Iraq because of a moonless sky and cool weather.

An attack almost certainly won't happen because of ongoing diplomacy.
Appears to be true - I reset my "prediction" counter in the header based on my latest unfounded guess. But there's still some action:
A different kind of warfare is being waged using computer codes, phantom radio programs, exotic technology and electronic pulses. And it has been going on for months, sources say.
Many more details are in an AP article by Anick Jesdanun - Strides in technology magnify info war potential, but there likely isn't much you haven't heard before.
"One thing I can tell you for sure: People who really know about these programs can't tell you about these programs," said Bruce Berkowitz, a senior analyst with Rand.
Ya think?

The article does reference the mildly amusing online CENTCOM archive of leaflets that have been dropped.