Saturday, February 22, 2003

Hacker Hijinks Alert!
A poster on Free Republic has noticed that hitting the Watch Live - Iraq Satellite TV Channel button at the Iraq Daily, demonstrates that has been owned by a hacker:

Iraqi People Wake UP!
You have been deceived.
Your false god of Saddam
cannot stand up to the
loving, mighty God of Jehovah
and his son Christ!
Saddam is the evil poison that keeps your people in bondage. He has the black heart of a killer and he has killed many of your families and friends. Go back to the peaceful ways of your religion and find peace and prosperity by rejecting evil, hatred and prejudice. Saddam is using the same techniques as Hitler. He is preaching race superiority and nationalism and fear and using your natural instinct of survival against you!
Some nice photos of the U.S.S. Saratoga too.

Tsk, what will Uday say?

UPDATE: It looks like Iraq TV allowed the domain to lapse and some enterprising person grabbed it.
Euroweenie Alert!
Ciar Byrne in the Guardian reports that:
The Sun could be forced to pay a £30,000 fine after branding the French president Jacques Chirac a "worm" in a special French edition handed out on the streets of Paris.
The tabloid's controversial stance breaks a French law that makes it a criminal offence to insult the president. Breaking the law carries a fine up 45,000 euros.
The French, who have strict privacy laws and no tradition of tabloid newspapers, are unaccustomed to such direct attacks on their politicians.

Jackanapes Chirac the worm boy

Y'all can bill me.
Capitalism Alert!
(Via Samizdata) Tom Parfitt in the Scotsman amuses with Kalashnikov gives name to 'manly' but less lethal products:
More than 70 million of his automatic rifles have been produced since 1949, but Mr Kalashnikov, now 83, has never received a kopeck in royalties.

All that is about to change.

This week, it was confirmed that Mr Kalashnikov has struck a deal with a German company allowing it to use his name on a range of "manly" products - from snowboards and umbrellas to shaving foam, watches and penknives.

In return, Marken Marketing International (MMI), with a reported annual turnover of 7 million, will give the impoverished inventor a cut of its profits.
I frankly detest logo'ed merchanidise (except for my gimme caps), but more power to him. Hmm, I wonder if Michael Moore has thought about a line of "horse's butt" apparel?
I want one!
John Hawkins reports that The VRWC Commemorative Knives Are In:
Our agents spent years searching for irreplaceable cultural artifacts from ancient cultures so we could melt them down. Then after we acquired the silver and gold we needed, we hired the finest craftsmen from poverty stricken South American countries, promised them pennies a day if they'd hand craft these knives, and of course then cheated them out of their pay.
But when will the VRWC commemorative "evil black rifles" be ready?
Drop and give me 20, maggot! (continued)

R. L. Ermey's Mail Call via Belligerent Bunny

In October, I mentioned that the Pentagon was providing training courses for would-be war correspondents. Now Matt Labash provides a report of a more refined alternative in Boot Camp for Journalists:
So as journalists gird themselves for the sequel to Desert Storm, we are being bombarded by another type of faux war story: filed from war school. War school has many of the upsides of war without all the drawbacks. It allows you to feel warlike while brushing up against military types. But no one tries to kill you. To find out how to preserve our hides should we get to the fight, scores of us have flocked to the frost-covered hills of the Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, where former British Royal Marines commandos from the U.K.-based private firm Centurion Risk Assessment Services charge $2,300 for a five-day course showing reporters how blissfully ignorant they are about war.
The Pentagon began a similar media boot camp last fall. Their version is as much about acclimating reporters to actually living with a military unit as it is about teaching survival essentials, so journalists have to wake up at dawn's crack and haul rucksacks on five-mile marches. As a result, the softer British version is known by some as "wussy war school," though in fairness to us, our Ramada Inn didn't offer room service or pay-per-view, and the pool was frozen over.

The lack of hazing, Centurion founder Paul Rees tells me from his U.K. office, is by design. Military-sponsored courses, he says, can be "too regimented, too formal--some people are frightened to go boo because they might get a barking from some officer bawling his head off all the time." That approach leaves the journalists "absolutely knackered--three quarters through the day you want to unravel your sleeping bag. We think you learn faster by having constructive, realistic training." Besides, Rees adds, his way, journalists and instructors can end the day together in a place for which they share a natural affinity--the hotel bar.

During the Falklands War, in which most Centurion instructors fought, journalists gave away their positions, Rees says. Consequently, "We used to think journalists were a pain in the ass and didn't want anything to do with them." But his men, he says, have come around after years of operating in the field with journalists (you can hire a Centurion to escort you to Baghdad for around $400 a day).

That's not to say they're overly chummy. The instructors' ringleader, Jan Mills, warns us that "the lads take a while to warm to you." And with his David Niven air and icy delivery, it sometimes seems as if Mills would rather snap our necks than teach us the Seven P's (Prior Planning Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance). As he rounds us up on the first day, one journalist tries to get too familiar too fast. "Go on and have your breakfast," Jan says, as if removing a parasite.
But when the lads warm up:
A reporter asks, If we don't have access to water, can we drink alcohol? "Leave it to a journalist to ask that," Burton says.
We watch the journalistic equivalent of snuff films--footage of journalists and other civil-disturbance attendees getting shot, maimed, mauled, and stampeded. It's a cold reminder that the world is a dangerous place.
They throw us to the cold ground, strip us of all our belongings--including our wedding rings--and let us suck on it for what feels like hours, but is only about 30 minutes. Once it's over, we all skulk off, sharing captivity stories. We talk about how we almost suffocated. The Independent's Andrew Buncombe looks steamed: "Somebody hit me in the bollocks," he says. Another reporter comes out of it with his rain-pants around his ankles. We don't want to know what happened to him.
Follow the link for more.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Borzou Daragahi of the AP reports Now You See Them, Now You Don't: Americans Are an Open Secret in Northern Iraq:
CHWAR GURNA, Iraq (AP) - The helicopter pad at this military base is one stop for the American forces said to visit northern Iraq's Kurdish zone as they quietly prepare for war to oust Saddam Hussein.

"The Americans were here just a few days ago," said Adnan Arazi, a Kurdish translator working at a guardhouse outside the base.

Just as he puffed out his chest and held his arms in a machine gun-toting pose mimicking U.S. special operations personnel, two plainclothes security officials approached.

"There are no Americans here," one told The Associated Press. "You are free to leave now."
Nothing to see here, just move along.
Everybody Sing!
The NY Post amuses with Look for the Union Label:
Underscoring the axiom that even a blind hog finds an occasional acorn, the New York Public Interest Group has just made public a most compelling list: a compilation of the state's top-spending political action committees.

But it's not about money per se.

NYPIRG and its allies noted in grave tones that the PACs spent $19 million last year on behalf of the special interests they represent. No big deal, that. There is a First Amendment, after all.

No, what's fascinating is that of the 10 top spenders, seven collect the cash they dispense to candidates for public office from public employees.
No wonder New York's elected "leaders" opt every time for higher taxes in times of fiscal stress - rather than economical government.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Worm Alert!
I couldn't figure out why the Sun spent so much time on the images for the Chirac worm animation and then ran it so slowly. I finally got a chance to speed it up by a factor of 10 and well, it's MUCH better:

Chirac the worm boy

What a toughie!
Adam Sage in the UK Times astounds with Brief handshake gets Mugabe visit off to frosty start (warning - awful registration system):
PRESIDENT CHIRAC greeted President Mugabe of Zimbabwe with the briefest of handshakes yesterday as controversy over the his (sic) visit to Paris threatened to undermine the 22nd Franco-African summit.

As M Chirac opened the two-day summit, he welcomed most the of 45 African heads of state with a kiss on each cheek and an embrace. But when Mr Mugabe arrived, M Chirac seemed to freeze.

He kept his left hand behind his back, extended his right hand for a peremptory greeting and then pointed the Zimbabwean President into the conference hall.
What, no smooch for Bobby? I wonder what Jackanapes does when he gets really angry?
It's that dang fast food again!
Ryann Connell at The Mainichi Daily News (Japan) stuns with Fast food sends schoolgirls into sexual feeding frenzy. Who knew? (Besides Scot-tee, that is.)

Hmmm, the lawsuits will certainly be more entertaining than the obesity whines.
Forget SUV's!
Jerry Flint in Forbes:
Okay, Jesus Christ would not have driven a sport utility. He would have had a 4x4 pickup with crew cab.
About damn time!
The AP is reporting that University of South Florida professor accused of terrorist sympathies arrested by FBI in Tampa:
A college professor previously accused of having terrorist ties was arrested early Thursday by federal agents.

Television reports showed University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian being led in handcuffs by authorities to the federal courthouse in Tampa after the arrest.
The only thing better than Sami doing the perp walk would be for him to make an "up close and personal" visit to Old Sparky.
Meanwhile, closer to home
At Insight Magazine, Martin Arostegui reveals From Venezuela, A Counterplot:
As Washington prepares a high-stakes military venture in the Persian Gulf, a growing physical threat is being posed by Iraq, Libya and Iran to the soft underbelly of the United States. Hundreds and possibly thousands of agents from rogue Arab nations are working hard to help President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela take control of South America's largest oil industry and create al-Qaeda-friendly terrorist bases just two hours' flying time from Miami.

Arab advisers now are reinforcing a sizable contingent of Cubans in efforts to reorganize Venezuela's security services, assimilate its industries based on totalitarian models and repress a popular opposition movement. "What happens in Venezuela may affect how you fight a war in Iraq," Gen. James Hill of U.S. Southern Command is reported recently to have told his colleague at U.S. Central Command, Gen. Tommy Franks.

"Chavez is planning to coordinate an anti-American strategy with terrorist states," says Venezuela's former ambassador to Libya, Julio Cesar Pineda, who reveals correspondence between the Venezuelan president and Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi about the need to "solidify" ties between liberation movements in the Middle East and Latin America and use oil as an economic weapon.

Exhorting his countrymen to return to their "Arab roots," Chavez has paid state visits to Libya, Iraq and Iran and signed a series of mutual-cooperation treaties with the rogue governments whose operatives now are flooding into Venezuela. There they can blend into an ethnic Arab community estimated at half-a-million.
Meanwhile, Iraqi VIPs, moving under the protection of Chavez's secret police -- the Department of Intelligence Security and Prevention (DISIP) -- came to the attention of Venezuela's regular military when government agents tried to use air-force planes to fly five of Saddam Hussein's agents into the interior of the country. Military pilots requested special clearances before allowing the Iraqis onto the C-130s.

Military sources also report that the recently arrived group of Libyans is billeted at the Macuto Sheraton Hotel in La Guaira, which they share with Cuban commandos who have been conducting strike-breaking operations around the nation's oil ports. Local units of the National Guard, the branch of the Venezuelan armed forces responsible for internal security, were reported to be refusing government orders to repress strikers.

According to Capt. Jose Ballabes of the merchant-marine union, the Cubans improvised floating concentration camps on board oil tankers, threatening officers and crews to get them to move the paralyzed vessels. When the Venezuelans still resisted, "such methods as sleep deprivation, often used against political dissidents in Cuba, are being systematically employed against our people," says Ballabes.
Some related news from James Anderson of the AP - Venezuelan Strike Leader Detained by Gunmen Identified as Secret Police:
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - General strike leader Carlos Fernandez was seized at a restaurant by gunmen who identified themselves as secret police agents, Venezuela's largest business federation said.

Fernandez, president of the Fedecamaras business chamber, was the co-leader of a two-month strike that sought President Hugo Chavez's ouster.
The arrest followed the slayings and possible torture of three dissident Venezuelan soldiers and an opposition activist this week.

Human rights groups warned a continuing impasse between Chavez and opponents demanding early elections could lead to more violence.

All four bodies were found in the suburbs of Caracas with their hands tied and their faces wrapped with tape.

Darwin Arguello, Angel Salas and Felix Pinto and opposition activist Zaida Peraza, 25, had multiple bullet wounds and showed signs of torture, Raul Yepez, the deputy director of Venezuela's forensics police, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, a witness to the abductions saw the victims being forced into two vehicles by men wearing ski masks, not far from the plaza that has become the central rallying point of the opposition. Yepez said the abduction took place on Saturday night.
The biggest penalty of the UN caused delay over Iraq is that all the rats are playing while the cat is otherwise occupied. As I've said before, can't we spare a Predator and a few Hellfires to send Thug Hugo on his way? Hell's only half full.

UPDATE: As usual, Devil's Excrement has all the dirt on Hugo's latest thuggery.
Full Noggin Alert!
The NY Daily News amuses with TV prez acts up in war ad. Yep, it's Martin "Excrement Cranium" Sheen:
Actor Martin Sheen, who plays fictional President Josiah Bartlet on NBC's "The West Wing," is headlining a new anti-war ad campaign.
But while humorous, the best laugh is:
The group was beaten to the domain That site urges nuking Baghdad and says "this message NOT brought to you by actors that think we care what they say."
"Hey Saddam! You order mushrooms with that Pizza?"
What a surprise!
Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post reports that Inspectors faulting Iraqi follow-up:
President Saddam Hussein’s government, apparently emboldened by antiwar sentiment at the U.N. Security Council and in worldwide street protests, has not followed through on its promises of increased cooperation with U.N. arms inspectors, according to inspectors in Iraq.
"The antiwar demonstrations across the world reflect a new chapter in the global balance of power," the paper said in an editorial earlier this week. "Everyone has noted that a new multipolar world is emerging. Iraq, with its oil, its resistance, its wise leaders and its strategic vision, is an important and fundamental actor in this multipolar world."
Dream on.

But it gets better:
Iraqi officials, displaying a similar confidence, have shifted their message from "We are complying" to a more insistent call for the lifting of economic sanctions imposed after Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

U.N. officials and diplomats here express belief that Hussein’s government may have misread the position of most council members or may be seeking to continue a game of brinkmanship by parceling out concessions at the last minute to stymie U.S. efforts to generate consensus for military action.

"They are feeling: The world opinion is with us. We can resist further pressure. We have time. We can play with the U.S. and U.K.," a U.N. official said. "This is very dangerous."
I wouldn't be selling Saddam any life insurance policies.
Chirac est un ver!
(Via American RealPolitik) The UK's Sun storms Paris:
THE Sun is handing out a special edition of the paper on the streets of Paris today.

In it we ask the French people if they are ashamed of their spineless President, Jacques 'Le Worm' Chirac:

Chirac the worm

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Today's nip of the grape
Australian Whites and Reds - Wine Without a Yellow Streak

Fantastic News Alert!!!!!!
WorldNetDaily has the story:
Winnie Mandela to be 'human shield'

Nelson's ex-wife, convicted of helping murder child, wants to protect Iraqi kids

Winnie Mandela, ex-wife of South Africa's former leader Nelson Mandela - and long known for her open advocacy of torturing rivals, as well as for her 1991 conviction for being an accessory to the brutal murder of a 14-year-old boy - wants to travel to Iraq to become a "human shield" so she can protect Iraqi children from American attacks, according to the South African Press Association.
And News24 (SA) reports:
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has suggested that not only should African National Women's League president Winnie Madikizela-Mandela be used as a human shield in Iraq - she should move there permanently.

DA chief whip Douglas Gibson said in a statement today - in reaction to a suggestion on Tuesday by Madikizela-Mandela that she travel to Iraq as a human shield: "I challenge Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to live up to her offer to travel to Iraq as a human shield. She has become a stranger to the corridors of parliament and she will not be missed. Perhaps she should resign and move permanently to Iraq."
Winnie, after you make the obligatory fun tour of Uday's dungeons, please keep us posted on the exact location you are shielding!

Paging Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, and Jimmy Carter! You aren't going to let ole Winnie put you to shame, are ya?
Trendoid Alert!
Tim Blair gives fair warning:
And so on, and on, and on. One woman stood and yelled "Bullshit!" about five times, according to my informant in the crowd. Most just prayed for an early death. I might post more of this tomorrow, if you readers displease me. Be warned!
Apparently it was the so-called "Little Folksinger", Ani DiFranco, delivering a high pitched whine on politics and world affairs.

Now us country folk don't have all the cultural advantages of our city cousins, so I was previously unaware of this modern marvel.

A midget in more ways than one!

But a little research was disheartening. "Ani" apparently views herself as some sort of modern day folk singer/poet/bard. Hold the hootenanny though, she's really, really awful:
i'm always trying to get there
i never really get there
to that quiet place where i accept myself
instead i'm deep inside some high school
locker room no clothing
popping the zits of my self-loathing under fluorescent lights
and the bell sounds
and the lights flash
and there's all these questions milling around
and you're too ashamed to ask
you're taking up lots of space
your shit is everywhere
your breath is all up in my face
your hands are swarming in the air
you're the first one out the car and then
you're the loudest one in the bar
tell me, is there something wrong, girlfriend?
what's with this new version of who you are?
Please roll down the car window before you barf. Thanks!

However, even worse news is provided by Ani's label, Righteous Babe Records. Yep, there are other artistes in the stable, and as hard as it is to believe, some are worse than Ani! How about Bitch and Animal?
NYC-based duo Bitch and Animal dish out a sexually charged mix of socially conscious and politically daring performance art, laced with biting wit and a provocative twist. Or as they describe it, "tribal chick hoedown funk poetry with a political wedge and bass line edge."
Ah, "performance art" - the domain of the loud and talentless. All's not lost though! While visiting Righteous Babe, check out the hippie hats.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Fifth Column News
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Troops harassed by 'ratbag' protesters:
The head of the Australian Defence Association today said he feared more Australian troops would be vilified by "ratbag" protesters because of their involvement in a possible war against Iraq and called for . (sic)

The Defence Force confirmed today that a Townsville soldier had been harassed by people opposed to war in Iraq and labelled a "warmonger" while in uniform.

General Peter Cosgrove, Australian Defence Force chief, said he was aware of the attack, but was confident similar incidents would be limited and that troops would handle them diplomatically.
Hopefully by kicking some ratbag ass.
Unique boycott alert!
The Political State Report explains it - SC: NAACP exempts Prez candidates from boycott:
In an effort to end the nettlesome question of how the Confederate flag boycott will effect the South Carolina Democratic primary Post and Courier reports today that the State NAACP President James Gallman said Monday that candidates who support the boycott can spend money here on their races.
Gallman further states that the exception to the boycott existed all along:

The stance is not a change in policy, Gallman stressed, since the NAACP has allowed its members to spend money in South Carolina during the boycott as long as they are conducting "business that is vital to their success."
The NAACP further states that they never clarified their position on the boycott before because nobody asked them to.

In a related story, Dean Wormer has placed the presidential candidates on "double secret probation" citing a little known codicil in the Faber College constitution.
Road Trip!
A little whiff of Napoleon
I was so entranced by the post on French Foreign Minister, Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin, who seems to think he's Napoleon's revenge; that I had to create a graphic:

It smells like Napoleon!

"There is not a day that goes by without me inhaling the perfume of the discreet violet" - the flower that symbolised loyalty to Napoleon.
Welcome to the 21st century, pal.
More deja vu
Paul Greenberg in the Washington Times says it's a Return to the 1930's:
History keeps coming back, sometimes like a bad dinner. In case you missed the '30s, you could experience it again last week watching the Security Council at the United Nations, which begins to bear an uncanny resemblance to the late League of Nations.

Listening to the calm, neutral, simultaneous translation of the Security Council's proceedings over calm, neutral, simultaneous NPR, one was struck by how exactly this attempt to disarm Iraq paralleled the world's efforts in the 1920s to make Germany disarm - in compliance with that defeated country's obligations under the Versailles Treaty.

Both regimes swore they were complying. And both were engaged in purely a paper exercise. An old joke, circa 1930: A German who works in a perambulator factory decides to sneak out the parts one by one so he can build his own baby buggy at home, but every time he puts all the parts together, all he gets is a machine gun.
Yikes! I hope some Iraqi working in a pharmaceutical factory doesn't try to make his own cough syrup!
Weak grip on reality alert!
Islam Online amuses with "Human Shields" Hold First War Council in Baghdad:
BAGHDAD, February 18 ( & News Agencies) - The first "war council" opened late Monday, February 17, in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, with the "human shields" planning to select their targets carefully and split up into different units while coordinating the action once the battle gets underway.

For Ben, a 25-year-old American, there's a lot of work to be done. "We have no plan. We don't have an organization. We don't have a leadership," he admitted at the opening of a first war council of the "human shields" who have come to Baghdad, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
But there's lots of pungent wingnuttery on display.
Gathered in a smoke-filled hall of a Baghdad hotel, they have come from around the world in a bid to keep at bay the armada mobilized around Iraq by the United States and Britain.

Westerners in Palestinian keffiyehs (head covers) and dungarees mingle with Islamic scarves worn by young women from Turkey, as some 30 activists huddle in a circle to debate how to combat the mighty war machine.

"We have to decide where, when and how we want to be human shields," he told the meeting on the first floor of the Andalous Hotel.
Gordon, a young and athletic man, reasons that they should be careful with the choice of sites to be protected.

"We should choose the best sites. If we go to a purification plant, it should be the one that produces the best water," he recommends to his fellow human shields.

A fellow American, Bruce, who sports a tan, is worried and says they must deploy quickly. He proposes drawing up a list of priority targets.

"It gives us hope in the future," said Ross, pointing to the group of young men and women who have come from as far a field as New York, London and Istanbul to fight against all odds.

Godfrey Meynell, in his late 60s, says he had no hesitation in joining the "crusade", although the grueling double-decker bus journey from London has left his legs weak.
May I suggest hanging out around Saddam's "palaces"? You can view unique "cultural treasures" before you get vaporized.

But one good idea came out of the clambake.
"We have written to ask (former South African president) Nelson Mandela to join us here in Baghdad as a voice for peace," said Canadian Roberta Taman, a leading member of the first group, which arrived in Baghdad a week ago.

"We have not had a response from him yet, but we know that he has said he would come to Baghdad if he was invited. So we have extended that invitation and are waiting to hear from him," she told a press conference.
Somehow I think that Nellie will ask for a raincheck.

If even one soldier gets a hangnail because of these airheads, I propose they be shot as enemy spies.
One big family!
Luke Harding in the Guardian astounds with Iraqi defence minister 'under house arrest' :
Saddam Hussein was last night reported to have placed his defence minister and close relative under house arrest in an extraordinary move apparently designed to prevent a coup.

Iraqi opposition newspapers, citing sources in Baghdad, yesterday claimed that the head of the Iraqi military, Lieutenant-General Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Jabburi Tai, was now effectively a prisoner in his home in the capital.

The minister's apparent detention, also reported by Cairo-based al-Ahram newspaper, is surprising. He is not only a member of President Saddam's inner circle, but also a close relative by marriage. His daughter is married to Qusay Hussein, the dictator's 36-year-old younger son - considered by many as his heir apparent.

Reports of the general's arrest came amid signs of growing apprehension in Baghdad that the Iraqi army, including the elite Republican Guard, might desert in the event of an attack on Iraq.
One big sick twisted dysfunctional family.

Monday, February 17, 2003

The Cheese Wizard Gets a Surprise
Michael Settle in The Herald (UK) amuses with Chirac finding pro-US stances hard to stomach:
Amid the mocha coffee and the petits four, Jacques Chirac lost the argument. Shortly afterwards at his press conference, he lost his temper too.

Sources keeping a delicate diplomatic distance in the grand European Council dining room reported that Monsieur le President was steadily being forced into a corner.

Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, fully aware that the international body's future is on the line, began by appealing to the 15 EU leaders to act together. The international community, he said, demanded that their leaders unite around a common line.

He also told it to the heads of government straight: that if Saddam Hussein continued with his defiance, then the security council would have no option but to face up to its responsibilities - confront the Baghdad regime with military force.

At Mr Annan's hawkish stance, Mr Chirac stood up and, with Gallic passion, began a defence of the French position.

Flinging his arms up and down, he declared that war was a terrible thing and that thousands of innocent people would lose their lives in a second Gulf war. "It is a question of life and death," he said.

The Big Cheese!

It was suggested that, at this point, the most dramatic moment of the evening occurred. Silvio Berlusconi, the diminutive Italian premier, eyeballed Mr Chirac and insisted: "I'm just as concerned about life and death as you are."

He asked the French president to consider what happened to innocent people in Bali and in New York's twin towers.

Then, the normally mild-mannered Bertie Ahern, the taoiseach, interjected and pointed out that the only person getting away with defying the will of the international community was Saddam.

He added that the weapons inspectors could not go on indefinitely.
Follow the link for all the rest, but Jackanapes got his bottom paddled big time. My favorite line was from Tony Blair:
Looking at his colleagues one by one, he told them bluntly: "There is no intelligence agency of any government around this table that does not know that the government of Iraq has weapons of mass destruction."
So what's a corrupt old hack to do? Why kick up a hissy fit of course! He held a press conference where he whined about the Eastern European countries supporting the USA.
In a few well chosen mal mots, the French premier let rip, saying: "They missed a great opportunity to shut up."

He went on in his best professorial tone: "These countries have not been very well-behaved". They had acted "recklessly" by not appreciating the "danger of aligning themselves too rapidly with the American position".
And aside from this buffoon, the French foreign minister, Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin thinks he's the successor to Napoleon. And check this out:
"There is not a day that goes by without me inhaling the perfume of the discreet violet” - the flower that symbolised loyalty to Napoleon.

I know it's the French, but this exceeds even my expectations. Someone buy them a bottle of plonk and tell 'em we'll give 'em a call if we feel the need for a good whine!
Terror Drone Alert!
I'd seen the news reports, but Israel Insider is the first I saw to report this:
Six Hamas members killed when their terror drone explodes

Six senior Hamas members were killed Sunday afternoon in Gaza City as they were preparing an unmanned drone for use on an intelligence gathering or terror mission.
The six Hamas members were killed when they went to open the trunk of a car parked in the Zeitoun neighborhood south of Gaza City, news agencies reported. The circumstances of the "mysterious explosion" were not clear, and it was originally reported that the Hamas members were killed in a "work accident" as they unpacked or assembled the contents of the trunk - a pilotless remote control miniature airplane.

Palestinian sources reported that an Israeli helicopter was hovering overhead, but there were no reports of missiles being fired at the car. Hamas officials charged Israel with targeting members of their organization, either by booby-trapping the unmanned drone they had received or by destroying it by remote control from an IDF drone hovering overhead.

In a statement issued hours after the incident, Hamas admitted that its men had been working on a small remote-controlled plane, which they evidently planned to use in an attack.
Bwahaha - I guess we won't see them down at the hobby shop anymore! Terror Drones, an apt description.
It's deja vu all over again!
Drudge had it yesterday, but in today's NY Times, Jim Rutenberg reports that Liberal Radio Is Planned by Rich Group of Democrats:
A group of wealthy Democratic donors is planning to start a liberal radio network to counterbalance the conservative tenor of radio programs like "The Rush Limbaugh Show."

The group, led by Sheldon and Anita Drobny, venture capitalists from Chicago who have been major campaign donors for Bill Clinton and Al Gore, is in talks with Al Franken, the comedian and author of "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot." It hopes to enlist other well-known entertainers with a liberal point of view for a 14-hour, daily slate of commercial programs that would heavily rely on comedy and political satire.
The article has more on these starry-eyed whiners, but what puzzles me is how they can have failed to notice that there already is a liberal radio network.
Leisurely Lunch Alert!
Cynthia R. Fagen in the NY Post stuns with French Prez Offers Bush Surrender Tips:
French President Jacques Chirac warned that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would only inflame terrorism by giving rise to "little bin Ladens" - and also offered President Bush "friendly advice" how to back off from war.
What are they going to do that they aren't already doing, Jackanapes? I guess he's been spending too much time at lunch.
"I really like the United States," said Chirac, drawing on his years working as a forklift operator in St. Louis and a soda jerk at a Howard Johnson's.

"I love junk food, and I always come home with a few extra pounds. When I hear people say I am anti-American, I'm sad - not angry, but really sad."
How do you feel when they say you're a corrupt asshat?
He also offered Bush "friendly advice" how to bow out gracefully if Saddam comes clean with U.N. weapons inspectors.

"Mr. Bush can say two things: First, 'Thanks to my intervention, Iraq has been disarmed,' and second, 'I achieved all that without spilling any blood.'"

Chirac also said he didn't think Iraq was in possession of nuclear weapons.

"Are there other weapons of mass destruction? That's probable. We have to find and destroy them," he said.

In fact, U.N. resolutions require Iraq to destroy such arms itself.
Jackanapes thinks it's all a big game of Clue. Hey, maybe it was Uday in the library with the anthrax.
Out of lockstep alert!
The NY Times amuses with A Fox News Ad Roils Some Readers of The Nation:
Many readers of The Nation, a magazine of the political left, seek shelter in its pages from what they consider the news media's conservative bias. So executives at the magazine anticipated some criticism when they accepted a full-page advertisement from the Fox News channel, one of those outlets considered to fall in the enemy camp.

What they did not expect after accepting a back-page ad (and $8,100) from Fox News was roughly 250 vehemently angry letters, e-mail messages and phone calls, and more than 50 subscription cancellations.

"The words that they're using are outraged, shocked, confused, absolutely appalled, dismayed and dumbfounded," said Ellen Bollinger, vice president for advertising at the magazine.

One e-mail message even read, "It is like an ad for Klan News."
I'm sure the readers of The Nation have very "refined sensibilities". I wonder what caused such outrage?
"We're fair and balanced," said Robert Zimmerman, a spokesman at Fox News in New York. "Why wouldn't we advertise in The Nation?"

The ad, in the issue dated Feb. 17, thanked America for making Fox the highest-rated cable news network.
Aw, poor babies!

Sunday, February 16, 2003

One News (NZ) reports that Turkey tells Iraq time's up:
The Turkish government gave Baghdad an ultimatum on Monday, saying time was up for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Ankara could do no more.

The Anatolia agency reported the ultimatum came in the form of a message for Saddam delivered to Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz during a stopover at Istanbul airport by his Turkish counterpart, Mehmet Ali Sahin.
According to Anatolia, Aziz was told that Saddam Hussein must take drastic decisions that will surprise the world.

Aziz's Turkish counterpart, Mehmet Ali Sahin, told Aziz: "There is no time left... Turkey had done what it could for peace", according to Anatolia.
"The most important steps towards peace must now be taken by Iraq," he said.

Sahin added that explanations provided to the United Nations Security Council by Iraq about its weapons capabilities were "insufficient" and "bigger steps must be taken", Anatolia reported.
I wonder if Jacques would like cheese with his whine?
Barry Renfrew in the Washington Post reports that NATO Ends Split Over Defense of Turkey:
BRUSSELS, Belgium - NATO agreed to end a damaging split Sunday over U.S. plans for war on Iraq that created the West's biggest rift since the Cold War, but European Union leaders faced a bruising summit, with France showing no sign of backing down in its opposition.

The alliance of the United States and 15 other nations finally reached agreement late Sunday after a month of wrangling after France was shut out of talks. The other holdouts, Germany and Belgium, then dropped objections to begin planning to defend Turkey in the event of an attack by neighboring Iraq, NATO officials said.

"Alliance solidarity has prevailed," NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson said. "We have been able collectively to overcome the impasse."
Maybe the Frenchies could stay away permanently.
"They say it's your birthday"
Richard Spencer in the Telegraph amuses with North Korea honours 'Dear Leader' :
North Koreans go to bed hungry, their power supplies are breaking down and their leader has threatened to reduce the whole country to ashes. But they danced in the streets of the capital to celebrate his birthday yesterday.

The "Dear Leader", Kim Jong-il, was not seen in public, but his birthday - he was 61 - is a public holiday celebrated with fireworks, music played through public address systems and praise in the official media.

In addition to the usual rally in Pyongyang there were some artistic touches. There was a mass performance of a dance that can only be described as halfway between Come Dancing-style ballroom and slow disco.

An art exhibition featured works like "The Great General is the Sun of our Nation" and "The Embrace of the Leader is the Sun to all Soldiers" according to the state Korean Central News Agency.
Sounds like a real snoozer. How about "Dear Leader is a Sun of a Gun" or "Dear Leader, Pass the Rice!"?
Leading officials attended a flower show. All 17,000 pot plants exhibited were Kimjongilias, a species bred and named in the leader's honour.

The "units" and families who had grown them were congratulated by KCNA for having "brought them into full bloom beautifully despite the unfavourable natural climatic conditions".
And not eating them.
Metafisking Modo
(Via Andrew Sullivan) Catherine Seipp in the Washingtonian Online says Maureen Dowd is Too Cute for Words:
I wasn’t the only one who noticed Dowd’s precious column that day. "Little Miss Dowd says ‘Ick,’ " Lucianne Goldberg noted on her Web site, summing up not only Dowd’s inane tone of that moment but pretty much everything the New York Times’s star columnist has written after September 11. That things are changing at a dizzying pace seems to have thrown her for a loop. You could stuff all Dowd’s anti-whack-Iraq columns into a hat and pull one out at random; odds are "Little Miss Dowd Says ‘Ick’ " would be the theme in a nutshell.
But I’d say that it’s her condescension, even more than her superficiality and silliness, that so rankles readers. I don’t know Dowd, and I live in Los Angeles, not Washington, so I only see her when the Times flies her out to the summer TV press tour every July.

She cuts a memorable figure because she attends press conferences in a bizarrely casual getup: tank top over sports bra over sweatpants over running shoes, with hair up in a clip and - this part never varies - sunglasses worn indoors.
The mind reels at the vision.
Today's Hoot!
Bruce Feirstein in the New York Observer says New Yorkers, Unite! Stand Up for Our Boldface Bloviators:
Dear Concerned Citizen:
As I write this, we face a grave and growing crisis in America. Not just war. Or terrorism. Or the ever-increasing proliferation of those twin weapons of mass destruction: nuclear bombs and S.U.V.’s. No. We face a danger far more threatening: The comedian Janeane Garofalo is not being taken seriously with regard to her pronouncements on American foreign policy.

Yes, that’s right: According to her interview with Howard Kurtz in The Washington Post, Ms. Garofalo has become the subject of ridicule and scorn as she fights to have her viewpoints considered with the proper gravitas.

"I’m being treated like a child," she complained, adding, "Now that I’m sober I watch a lot of news."

Tragic? You bet. Especially since Ms. Garafolo knows for an absolute fact that Saddam Hussein isn’t hiding any weapons of mass destruction.


As with all great causes, it’s important to understand the roots of this terrible tragedy.

There are some?fascist, imperialist, big-oil, warmongering, anti-abortion, environment-plundering, fat-cat corporate Republicans?who would blame this backlash on Bill Clinton and his fixation on Hollywood.

But as Mr. Clinton would say: "That would be wrong."

As Sean Penn so sagely points out, celebrities "intuit" things. They feel. Therefore, they know. And it’s not their fault that?until now?no one has ever questioned this received wisdom.

One day they’re being asked, "What’s it like to work with Woody?", and the next it’s "So what do you think of the Maastricht agreement?"


Remember: Janeane Garofalo could have been a White House Scholar. She could have had a Nobel Peace Prize. She could have dedicated her life to helping the poor. Instead, she gave it all up for you and a Cable ACE Award.
Hit the road, Kofi!
Jim Hoagland in the NY Post tugs at the heartstrings in Kofi vs. Condi:
KOFI Annan sounds as worried and as frustrated as I have ever heard him in conversations that span 30 years. "We are in a time crunch," the secretary-general of the United Nations says. "Everyone needs to lower their voices and to proceed deliberately. Giving the impression of bullying others will not resolve the problem of Iraq."

Although Annan, the consummate diplomat, does not label any country as the source of bullying, his exasperation with U.S. pressure to act is clear.
Sophie Cannon's problem is that acting on anything is completely out of character:
I have to say that I found the program valuable for providing a glimpse into the inner workings of the UN. And what a cushy gig it is. They travel the world on private jets, attend lots of cocktail parties, wear gorgeous clothes, schmooze with world leaders, eat and drink only the finest, and yes, occasionally drop by some dirt-poor Third World country and make overtures towards the dictator at hand. I think I learned more about the fabulous lifestyle of a top-ranking UN employee, than I did about Kofi Annan, but it sure beat ''Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.''
Hey, Kofi! Why don't you "proceed deliberately" on spiffing up the ole resume? It's looking rather shabby as it is.

Kofi's resume