Saturday, March 22, 2003

Today's Hoot!
The Good Professor's post on Kurds Hemmed in by Turds reminds me of a meeting I attended more years ago than I care to remember. It was way past the end of a normal day and everyone was punchy. Then a gentleman making a presentation put up a slide which informed the audience that in order to accomplish a particular task, he needed "3 extra shifts per week". The exercise of determining which letter he left out of "shift" is left to the reader. It certainly had an ennervating effect on the audience.

On the other hand, I can think of some people for whom 3 extra "shifts" per week might prove salubrious in view of the excess quantities of that particular substance contained within their persons.
The usual idiots
Repulsive Clinton butt girl, Eleanor Clift, has weighed in with the official leftist spin. You don't need to follow the link - in a nutshell her whine is that:

  • Liberating Iraq is a Bush family vendetta against Saddam

  • Spineless South Dakota prairie dog, Tommy Daschle, is being demonized by the White House

  • United Nations good

Eleanor's chagrin about rodent boy reflects that of her masters in the Democrat leadership who had scripted his bloviations:
Sen. Tom Daschle's criticism of President Bush and his administration dusted up more controversy than the Democratic leader expected, in part because the polling the Democrats had done leading up to Daschle's comments indicated that his language would fly.

"We focus-grouped and tested the idea that Bush had failed miserably as a diplomat and most of our respondents agreed," says a Democratic leadership aide. "It seemed like the perfect approach for us." Apparently it wasn't.

Daschle was excoriated in the Monday news cycle, and seemed genuinely surprised by the furor when he stepped to the microphone for a regular press briefing in the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon.

No information on the polling was available, but several Democratic sources said that, like the Senate Democrats, the Democratic National Committee was also studying how best to appeal to the party's left-wing, anti-war base, while also appearing to support the American troops poised to cross into Iraq.

"Everything we were seeing [in the numbers] was that Bush was ripe for criticism for failing to peacefully resolve this," said a House Democratic leadership aide. "That's why so many of our people have been out there hitting him on that point. But maybe it was just bad timing."
No excrement, Sherlock. Meanwhile, Tommy got into another mixup (courtesy of Registered):

I'm deeply saddened
Why indeed?
Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post says to President Bush, Don't Go Back to the U.N.:
No one knows when this war will end. But when it does, you'll have to decide the terms. Yet in the past few days both you and Tony Blair have said you will seek a new U.N. resolution, postwar, providing for the governance of Iraq.

Why in God's name would we want to re-empower the French in deciding the postwar settlement? Why would we want to grant them influence over the terms, the powers, the duration of an occupation bought at the price of American and British blood? France, Germany and Russia did everything they could to sabotage your policy before the war. Will they want to see it succeed after the war?

The Frankfurter Allgemeine reports that on Feb. 21, Germany's U.N. ambassador, Gunter Pleuger, wrote his Foreign Ministry that the United States, blocked on a U.N. war resolution and fighting alone, would later "remorsefully return to the council" to seek help in rebuilding Iraq.
You've seen the polls: Seventy-five percent of Americans disapprove of how the United Nations handled the situation with Iraq. In December, polls showed a majority of Americans opposed to a war without U.N. backing. Today, after the U.N. debacle, 71 percent support the war regardless.

What happened? Americans finally had a look inside the sausage factory. Their image of the United Nations as a legitimating institution had always been deeply sentimental, based on the United Nations of their youth -- UNICEF, refugee help, earthquake assistance. A global Mother Teresa. That's what they thought of the United Nations, and that's why they held it in esteem and cared about what it said. Now they know that it is not UNICEF collection boxes but a committee of cynical, resentful, ex-imperial powers such as France and Russia serving their own national interests -- and delighting in frustrating America's -- without the slightest reference to the moral issues at stake. The American public understands that this is not a body with which to entrust American values or American security.
Mr. Krauthammer provides a refined assessment. I'm just an old country boy and prefer the sentiment in this oft linked picture:

Hit the road, Euroweenies!
Other unfinished business
Bill Gertz in the Washington Times - Team to search for pilot lost since first Gulf war:
Defense and intelligence agencies have formed a special unit that will go into Iraq to search for Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, a missing U.S. Navy pilot believed to have been held captive in Iraq since 1991.

Creating the special unit comes as U.S. intelligence agencies reported last week that an American pilot believed to be Capt. Speicher was spotted alive in Baghdad earlier this month.

A classified intelligence report circulated to officials March 14 stated that Capt. Speicher was seen as he was being moved in Baghdad, although officials said the sighting could not be confirmed.
And when they track down the thugs that have held him captive, it's time for a lamp post and a long rope.

If they haven't already received a bunker buster up their ventral orifice.
Who'd a thunk it?
In the Guardian of all places, James Meek provides 'You're late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious' :
Afraid that the US and Britain will abandon them, the people of Safwan did not touch the portraits and murals of Saddam Hussein hanging everywhere. It was left to the marines to tear them down. It did not mean there was not heartfelt gladness at the marines' arrival. Ajami Saadoun Khlis, whose son and brother were executed under the Saddam regime, sobbed like a child on the shoulder of the Guardian's Egyptian translator. He mopped the tears but they kept coming.

"You just arrived," he said. "You're late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious. I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand. We came out of the grave."

"For a long time we've been saying: 'Let them come'," his wife, Zahara, said. "Last night we were afraid, but we said: 'Never mind, as long as they get rid of him, as long as they overthrow him, no problem'." Their 29-year-old son was executed in July 2001, accused of harbouring warm feelings for Iran.
The way the people of southern Iraq were abandoned to Saddam's thuggery in the UN organized "cease fire" after the first Gulf War was a digusting disgrace. I trust we will not make the same mistake again.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Bog of War Alert!
Mark Steyn in the Telegraph:
Back in Baghdad, the Independent's Robert Fisk told his readers on Thursday: "At the Alastrabak grocery store, I bought 25 loo rolls."

Ah, the bog of war. When we Bush poodles say, "Let's roll!", this is definitely not the kind of roll we have in mind. Fisk is either settling in for a long siege or padding his expenses, but I can't say this strikes me as a 25-roll war.

On the television, the network pretty boys are riding on the backs of tanks going full throttle through the southern desert, hour after hour. Will it all be over before the Independent's man is halfway through the first roll?
But aside from the yucks, Mark raises some interesting points, among which was:
It's interesting how much was clarified in the first hours of the war. On Thursday, the Palestine Liberation Front released a statement announcing the identity of the first verified casualty: PLF "1st Lieutenant" Ahmed Walid Raguib al-Baz was killed in Baghdad, "while confronting the treacherous US air bombardment on Iraq".
Actually that's pretty funny too. In case you don't remember:
The PLF is the terrorist group that, among other triumphs, hijacked the Achille Lauro back in the 1980s and pushed Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound American Jew, into the Mediterranean.
Away from the main action
Fred Francis on NBC reported that he saw "nine or 10 huge explosions" destroy the training camp of the Al Qaeda operation, Ansar al-Islam, in Northern Iraq.

It must suck to be Al Qaeda.
Hot time in the old town tonight?
The broadcast networks are claiming that "Shock and Awe" has started.

Venkman: "Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown!"
I'm so upset!
Jackanapes still doesn't get it - FRANCE THREATENS NEW UN VETO:
France would block any UN resolution giving the US and Britain the power of administration in Iraq, French President Jacques Chirac has declared.

He said France would still not support a resolution backing war at this stage and would also oppose a resolution giving Washington and London administrative power in Iraq.

"This idea of a resolution seems to me to be a way of authorising military intervention after the event, and so is not, in my point of view, fitting in the current situation," Mr Chirac said at a news conference in Brussels.

Bite me, Jacques!
Someone's confused!
You truly can't make this stuff up:
Activists from several Michiana churches gathered Thursday afternoon to protest the U.S. military action against Iraq.
"Saddam is a very confused and mixed up man," said activist Elise Bontrager. "And I think maybe that he hurts his people more than he needs to."
Perhaps a bunker buster will clarify things for him and for Elise?
Guessing Game Alert
Everyone's doing it. Knute Royce in Newsday reports the strike on the conclave of Saddam and his homeboys injured Saddam but took out number 2 son, Qusay, and moustache curser, Izzat Ibrahim. ABC News is running with:
ABCNEWS has learned that witnesses at the site of a Baghdad suburban residential complex on Wednesday night have told U.S. intelligence officials that Saddam was observed being taken from the bombed complex on a stretcher, with an oxygen mask over his face.

U.S. intelligence sources also said there had been an important lack of communication from the Iraqi leader to his government and military structure since the bombing.
There are also foreign news reports that number 1 son, Uday, had a brain hemorrhage.

Unlike malignant dwarf, Tommy Daschle, I am not deeply saddened.
The Armor is on the Move ... to the Oscars
The Hollyweird celebs are apparently a tad nervous as the AFP relates in Armoured limos for Oscars:
Police sources said security for Sunday's planned Oscars ceremony will be the tightest and most far-reaching in the Academy Awards' 75-year history, as the United States pushes ahead with its invasion of Iraq.
Yet as officials promised unprecedented security to the Oscars' 3,500 guests, some celebrities are still worried about their safety.

"We have been flooded by requests for armoured limousines to take some very famous people to the Oscars," said Rich Cooley, vice president of global operations for SecureCar Worldwide which specialises in celebrity transport.

Cooley, a former Hollywood bodyguard, offers Mercedes and BMW limousines with 450 kilograms (1,000 pounds) of extra armour plating and bullet proof glass to ward off a close-range machine-gun assault or a grenade blast.
Unfortunately, all the trappings won't raise their IQ's.
Peddling it on the street
Seeing ole Jacques' fetching outfit in the previous post reminded us of French and Germans in £1.7bn trade with Iraq
The figures show that since 1997, France and Germany have exported goods worth more than £1.7 billion to Iraq, compared to British exports worth £193 million.

Government sources claimed France and Germany interpreted UN sanctions more liberally than Britain.

While British companies were restricted to preserving existing Iraqi contracts, their French and German counterparts were allowed to seek out new business.
And William Safire continues holding the Frenchies' feet to the fire for their arming of Saddam's terror regime in French Connection II:
When Christiane Amanpour asked President Jacques Chirac about it on CBS's "60 Minutes," he replied: "Because The New York Times is a serious newspaper, as soon as I read this I ordered an inquiry. I can now confirm officially, after an inquiry by the French foreign ministry, France and French companies have never endorsed or even provided such material to Iraq. So I am clearly denying this allegation."

Mr. Chirac knows more than I do about trade with Iraq: in the late 1970's, he facilitated France's multibillion-dollar sale of the Osirak nuclear reactor to the rising Saddam. (After Iraq officially stated that the reactor's purpose was not to incinerate Tehran but "to eliminate Zionism," Israel destroyed it.)

Let me supply Mr. Chirac with some documentation that the Inspector Clouseau in his foreign ministry cannot find.
Geez, you'd think Jacques was a lying whore.

Our Euroweenie pals are even going to get a bennie from the war itself as Mark Landler from the NY Times relates in For France and Germany, the benefits of war:
As the war that so bitterly divided Europe finally got underway, Europeans spent Thursday debating how it might affect their economies, with some experts noting that France and Germany could end up benefiting most from the conflict they opposed.

Soon after the bombing began, a senior European Commission official declared that the war qualified as an "exceptional circumstance," which could free France and Germany from the strict limits on budget deficits they agreed to as members of Europe's monetary union. Both countries have breached those limits and face stiff fines if they do not bring their finances back into line.
To paraphrase the old joke, "We know what they are, but we're just establishing the price."

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Hey baby!
Latest from The Sun:

Wanna go out?
Better get a new double!
Reuters amuses with Saddam Curses U.S.-Led Attackers. Hmm, let's see if he mentions our moustaches:
President Saddam Hussein was quoted on Friday as cursing U.S.-led attackers and saying God would help Iraq stand firm against an invasion launched overnight from Kuwait.

"May you be cursed and may your actions fail," an Iraqi state television announcer said, reading from a statement he said was written by Saddam.
Ye doggies!
"We have found what God promised us and what he promised the believers...the ability to hold steadfast and resist in defense of justice and what is right."

"So have you and your loser friends found what your devil has promised you?"
"Loser friends"? No word on whether he also said "Gag me with a spoon."
Free Republic poster Sloth has conclusively identified the double used in the purported Saddam video:
Helen Thomas gets a gig!
Which reminds me. Another poster on Free Republic asked today what Saddam's doubles do when they aren't filling in for the Big Boy. Do they have regular jobs or do they just hang out? I think it must be the latter, because it would be rather jarring to have your waiter or accountant or taxi driver look like Saddam.

I also can't help but wonder if they have families. The other kids at school sure wouldn't give you any guff if your Dad was the spitting image of a barking mad dictator!

UPDATE: Dang it! Terpsboy beat me to it, but he has his own theory. It involves toilet paper.
I'm shocked, I tell ya!
Iraq Destroys Prohibited Scud Missile:
Today in Kuwait, Iraq destroyed one of its prohibited Scud missiles during the first day of a US-led disarmament program.

The Scud, which was destroyed with the help of US weapons experts, was the first Scud destroyed in Iraq since the mid-1990's.

"This act represents real disarmament on the part of Iraq," said UN weapons inspector Hans Blix. "We support Iraq's decision to disarm itself of these dangerous prohibited weapons."
It's the Skeptician.
Light Duty Alert!
Saddam's navy: Rusting on the Italian Riviera from Chris Wattle in the National Post:
The largest, best and perhaps the last two ships of the Iraqi navy are tied up at a dock on the Italian Riviera, where they and their crews have been impounded since at least the last Gulf War.

The corvettes Moussa Ben Noussair and Tarek Ben Ziad still fly the Iraqi flag and their crews still start up the vessels' engines every morning, but the Esmeralda-class corvettes are going nowhere and have been for almost 19 years.

Their 76-mm cannons, torpedo tubes and rocket launchers are all unarmed and the ships are doing nothing more aggressive than quietly bobbing in the waters of La Spezia, an Italian naval base.
So an odd naval cold war continues over the fate of the two corvettes, including what Mr. Ram calls "a very unofficial agreement" under which Iraq is allowed to rotate new crews into the vessels every six months.

"There's some sort of weird agreement the Italians have with Saddam, allowing him to bring in new crews and take out the old ones," he said. "It's a very weird situation."

The crews are stuck in the cramped quarters of the 70-metre-long vessels, which are sitting in the midst of Italy's second-largest naval base.

"Technically, they can't leave the ship," Mr. Ram said. "But the Italian government has relented and now lets them get off the ship --escorted by Italian secret service guys -- to go to parks or buy groceries.

"Otherwise, they're completely cordoned off by the Italian secret service. No one in the port can talk to them."
Well it beats meeting a bunker buster up close and personal.
Today's Hoot!
Liane Bonin at Entertainment Weekly provides Jerry Rigged:
A Jerry Lewis hoax fools French President Chirac. A Los Angeles radio DJ posing as the American comedian discusses the war in Iraq with France's leader.
Follow the link for the hijinks, but I liked this part:
Chirac also expressed appreciation for at least one of Bush's prewar tactics: ''Without the boys [the military] sent over there, we would not have had the result of Saddam accepting to disarm. But now that we've achieved that, we can avoid war. The United States has to be very careful, because if people hold this against them, it's not good for the equilibrium of the world.''
Jackanapes is even a bigger idiot than I had guessed.
The limited strike last night was apparently to take out Saddam and a few of his cronies. The results aren't clear but a somewhat dubious tape of Saddam showed up on Iraqi TV a few hours later. You decide if it looks like our old pal:

Saddam or body double?

The real party starts later. Be there or be square.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Maybe it's the pervs!
Bugging Devices Found in EU Offices
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Electronic bugging devices were found in offices used by several countries, including France and Germany, in a building where a European Union (news - web sites) summit will open Thursday, EU officials said.

The EU is investigating the bugging in a headquarters building but does not yet know who was behind it, EU spokesman Dominique-George Marro said Wednesday. He declined to name the other nations whose offices were bugged.

The French newspaper Le Figaro broke the story Wednesday, saying Belgian police identified the bugs as American. That report could not be confirmed immediately.
OK, Gerhard, Jacques! Whose X10 wireless cameras are these?
We have a contender!
Iraq War Protester Dies in Golden Gate Bridge Fall
A man protesting the looming U.S. war on Iraq fell to his death from San Francisco's famed Golden Gate Bridge on Wednesday as he was hanging a banner, officials said.

"He appears to have been hanging a banner of some kind," said California Highway Patrol officer Timothy Willock. "We're not sure if he decided to jump or slipped while he was, you know, hanging the banner. That's unclear right now."
Wait, stop, don't!
Today's Hoot!
Protester picks wrong spot to lock himself
A man spent hours chained to the wrong building Tuesday in an ill-planned effort to protest war with Iraq, police said.

Jody Mason padlocked himself to an entrance of the Washington State Grange building at 924 Capitol Way S., thinking it was a sub-office of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Grange employees found him about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday and asked what he was doing.

He told employees he'd chained himself to the building in civil disobedience Monday night after listening to President Bush's televised ultimatum to Saddam Hussein.

Mason padlocked one end of the chain around his neck and the other to a door, which opens to a bottom-floor office. He told onlookers he was protesting Bush's foreign and domestic policies. He had affixed a sign to the building reading, "Reduce Deficit."

Grange employees explained that he was at the wrong building. The Grange is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that advocates for residents in rural areas.

"I don't think that's ever happened before," said Larry Clark, Grange communications director.
Police officers used heavy-duty bolt cutters to free Mason.

"He asked for help because he didn't have the key," Olympia police Cmdr. Steve Nelson said.
Line forms on the right
15 Iraqi soldiers surrender to US troops in neighbouring Kuwait
Do what I say or the clown gets it!
An Indonesian Muslim protester points his toy gun to Ronald McDonald during an anti-war demonstration at a McDonald's restaurant in Jakarta, Wednesday, March 19, 2003. Muslims in Indonesia - the world's most populous Islamic nation - warned that a war in Iraq could cause more terrorist attacks across the world. (AP Photo/Ade Irn)

He's more than a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
The Usual Idiots
Sheryl "Chest for Brains" Crow apparently took a page from Babs' book and posted some bloviations on Iraq on her fan website. After Drudge linked it, it mysteriously disappeared, but still lives on in the Google cache (which Drudge has now linked).
There are many questions that beg to be asked. Some are being asked rhetorically by many journalists, including a great writer at the New York Times by the name of Daniel Friedman.
Drudge says "Sorry, Thomas". Gawd, she even writes in the same earnest 5th grader style that Babs uses. (Yeah, I know they both likely have someone on the payroll to churn the stuff out, but they sign it.)

In a further shocker, the Vichy Chicks' manager, Simon Renshaw, is apparently telling Country Music radio stations that the Chicks are victims of a right wing conspiracy.
That's what their manager, Simon Renshaw, has told country music stations being pressured to drop the Chicks' music after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush last week.
Brainiac's background:
Simon Renshaw, a manager at the Firm, which represents such acts as the Dixie Chicks, Korn and Limp Bizkit.
After Simon gets his designer tin foil beanie fitted, maybe he'll take a look at the demographics of the Chicks' former audience and figure out that they differ a bit from Limp Bizkit fans. Of course, after taking a 5 megaton hit in the wallet, I expect Simon would say anything.
Ruh Oh!
Reuters reports Iraqi Deputies Vow to Die for Iraq and Saddam.

OK by me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Another hoot!
Someone felt the need for a press release:
The Only Thing French About French's(R) Mustard Is The Name!

Robert T. French's All American Dream Lives On

WAYNE, N.J., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Recently there has been some confusion as to the origin of French's mustard. For the record, French's would like to say, there is nothing more American than French's mustard.
New Jersey-based Reckitt Benckiser Inc., the maker of French's mustard, is a leading North American manufacturer, marketer and distributor of household and food products.
My, my


Not far from the ruins of the World Trade Center and with the NYPD and diplomatic immunity to protect him, Iraq Envoy: No Safe Place for Americans in War
Iraq's U.N. ambassador said on Tuesday that no place would be safe for Americans if the United States launched a war against Baghdad.

"This is a war, my dear. This is a war. So how can you have a safe place in the war?" Iraqi envoy Mohammed Aldouri told Reuters Television when asked if there would be repercussions for the United States in the event of war.
You sweet talker, you.

UPDATE: LGF points to an even better picture.
High Pitched Whines
News from the land of waffles -Iraqis sue over first Gulf War:
SEVEN Iraqi families have filed a lawsuit against former US president George Bush, father of the current president, and three other US leaders for alleged crimes during the first Gulf War in 1991, a lawmaker said.

The lawsuit cites Bush senior, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and retired US Army General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led operation Desert Storm against Baghdad, said deputy Patrick Moriau.
The action was brought under Belgium's universal competence law, which allows legal proceedings against people accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide, regardless of their nationality or location.
Er, Patrick, I have your lawsuit right here.

Saving the best for last, Moore goes gunning for Sony:
PORCINE provocateur Michael Moore is howling that the Oscars are fixed.

Moore - whose popular anti-gun movie "Bowling for Columbine" has been nominated in the Best Documentary category - is lashing out at Sony Pictures Classics for allegedly rigging the contest so he's destined to lose.

The wide-bottomed windbag claims Sony, which is distributing rival documentary prize contender "Winged Migration," a boring French bird flick, is exploiting Academy rules to ensure "Columbine" strikes out.
I wonder if he would like some donuts with his whine?
Old Fool Alert!
No it isn't Jimmy Carter, but that's close. Crazy Uncle Wally has piped up with more of his great insights:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A U.S. invasion of Iraq would destroy the United Nations, former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite said.

While in town Friday to support his cousin, Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Kay Barnes, in her bid for re-election, Cronkite said a U.S. invasion would plunge this country into financial chaos. He agreed that Saddam Hussein is dangerous, but said American diplomacy has been poor.

"We have shown arrogance, almost an egotism, in our conduct of foreign policy so that we have alienated most of our former allies in the world," Cronkite said. "I think (it) is going to get us in very serious trouble."

The 86-year-old Cronkite, who was the anchor of the CBS Evening News from 1962-81, asked why American troops couldn't remain on Iraq's doorstep. They would be ready to respond instantly if Saddam showed evidence of atomic, biological or chemical weapons, he said.
After all these years, he still hasn't got a clue.
Today's Hoot!
Lloyd Grove in the Washington Post:
Guests at Mark and Ali Russell's annual St. Patrick's Day house party were charmed Sunday by 79-year-old Lenora Tomalin, a feisty supporter of President Bush and his take-no-prisoners stance toward Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

But they were shocked when Tomalin identified herself -- to the likes of Tim Russert and Maureen Orth, Chris and Kathleen Matthews, and Joe diGenovan and Victoria Toensing -- as the mother of Susan Sarandon.
Ruh Oh!
"I am a conservative. I voted for George W. Bush and I simply agree with most everything he has said," Tomalin told us yesterday from the Northern Virginia home of keyboardist John Carroll, her son-in-law, and daughter Meredith Carroll, one of Sarandon's eight siblings. "It's not that I'm pro-war. It's just that I think that I trust my government more than I would empathize with the government of Iraq."

Of Sarandon's anti-Bush activism, Tomalin said: "That's a given. That's the way she thinks. That's what Hollywood thinks. We don't agree, but I respect her -- more than she does me." But surely, we suggested, Tomalin's 56-year-old eldest child respects her mother's opinions. "Wanna bet?"
"When I visit Susan, I tread on eggs," Tomalin said. "The most difficult time was during the election of 2000. I live in Florida, and I was a Republican poll-watcher in Polk County. Afterward, I was sitting at the breakfast table with Jack Henry, my then-13-year-old grandson, and he looked over at me, with the sweetest little smile on his face, and said, 'I hear you voted for Bush.' I looked up at Susan, who's standing at the sink, and she says, 'All he wants to know is: How could you have voted for Bush?' And I thought, 'I'm not going to discuss my politics with a 13-year-old who has been brainwashed!'
Free Jack Henry!

Tomalin -- a fan of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Vice President Cheney -- added that she was bitterly disappointed last Christmas when she was visiting Washington and unable to arrange a tour of the White House decorations. "I tried everybody, and nothing could be done for me," she said. "I'll go to my grave angry about that."

But she's planning a return trip in May, and somehow we think that the somebody at the White House -- Karl Rove, are you reading this? -- will find a way to make an old lady happy.
I should think so! But it's a good thing she won't see the men's room.

We aim to please
Poodle Alert!
Bill Hoffmann reports in the NY Post that Pretzel Plea is French Twist-ed:
March 18, 2003 -- Now the French are making it personal - urging people to send pretzels to President Bush, in the apparent hope he'll choke to death.

Bush fainted and fell off a sofa in January 2002 after gagging on a pretzel, leading a new Web site, - and yes, they spell it "bretzel" - to tell people to barrage the White House with the salty snacks. It's selling bags of pretzels for $7.50 each, which it will then mail en masse to Washington.
Those Frenchies sure are a hoot!

Le Bozo
You got it, pal
William Hague in The Spectator:
This surely is the crucial point. Americans are not warlike people, but they will now go after rogue states and terrorists because, if they don’t, no one else will. All over the world, America takes on responsibilities because others shirk them. They got involved in Kosovo because Europeans had neither the means nor the ability to sort it out. They pursue a ‘one-sided’ policy on Israel because without it the Jews would be driven into the sea. They need a huge increase in military spending partly because France, Germany and others are not prepared to spend a penny more themselves.

What the present crisis underlines is that Western Europe is losing its influence. In the coming decades, the greatest growth of manufacturing will be in China, the fastest growth of population in the Middle East and India, and the strongest enterprise culture and greatest military power will remain in America. The sound we can hear from Paris and Berlin is not the march of ever closer union, but the rage of ever closer impotence. Once again, when the world gets dangerous, it is the Americans, British and Australians who respond. The vacuum left by others leaves us no choice. And if America leads us yet again in destroying another murdering despot, I will join the woman in Tucson who has no knowledge of where I live, in saying, ‘God Bless America.’
Once again the Anglosphere has to clean up after the children.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Good Riddance
Rachel Corrie, 23, from Olympia, Wash., a member of the 'International Solidarity Movement,' burns a mock U.S. flag during a rally in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah in this Feb. 15, 2003 file photo. Corrie was run over and crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer Sunday, March 16, 2003, while she was trying to stop it from tearing down a building in the Rafah refugee camp, witnesses said. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

And there are going to be lots more opportunities for demonstrating Darwinism in action:

Jean Weber blocks traffic leading into Boston as protesters against possible U.S. war with Iraq demonstrate in Boston, Massachusetts March 15, 2003. Weber was later taken away in handcuffs by the Massachusetts State Police. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Pond Scum
Brian Sayre at Frontpage Magazine discusses the Leftwing "Peace" Saboteurs:
"We have to prepare to continue the struggle," cried Richard Becker, a member of both the steering committee for International A.N.S.W.E.R. and the communist Workers' World Party. Although the A.N.S.W.E.R.-organized crowd at the March 15th rally in San Francisco was smaller than in previous demonstrations, the cries from the podium were much sharper. Becker called for direct action, civil disobedience all over the city, should the United States begin a war with Iraq. But the anti-war demonstrators hadn't waited for Becker. Plans for direct action on the day of the war have been in place for weeks.

According to websites used for radical organizing, large-scale attempts to disrupt everyday life are planned in at least four cities. In New York, demonstrators plan to "inaugurate a campaign of civil resistance." In Washington, D.C., there will be "direct action oriented, unpermitted demonstrations." In Los Angeles, the call has gone out for "a creative rampage." And in San Francisco; participants are being told to plan to stay out all night, and continue their actions the next day (source: Should a war begin abroad, Americans can expect trouble at home.

I received a taste of that trouble on March 15th, when I attended the protest in San Francisco, and witnessed the 'civil disobedience' afterwards. Not that the disobedience was particularly civil. Over a thousand people set off on an unpermitted march after the main event, blocking off traffic during rush hour and defying police orders to disperse. Even after arrests were made, the remnant of the crowd would simply retreat, reform, and continue elsewhere. The disorder only ended after over one hundred and fifty people were arrested and detained, some six hours after the original demonstration began.

At the latest string of anti-war protests, it's hard to decide what to cover. Anti-Semitism abounds (note to protestors - 'Israel' is not spelled with a swastika; and the swastika is not equivalent to the Star of David). Everyone's got a different conspiracy theory (one large banner read: "9-11 = Inside Job / U.S. Fascists Guilty"). And the aisles are lined with over a dozen communist groups, selling their propaganda (if I can figure out the difference between the Maoist Internationalist Movement and the Progressive Labor Party, I'll tell you which group was desecrating the flag). But I came for the anarchists, the "No War But The Class War" contingent, who had put out a call for a black bloc - an organizing tactic that had led to arrests and property damage in the recent past, an organizing tactic that enabled the riots at the Seattle WTO protest in 1999.
While they often play lip service to 'non-violent civil disobedience', this is code, dependent on a particular anarchist understanding of non-violence. As the infamous communiqué from the Seattle rioters contended, "property destruction is not a violent activity unless it destroys lives or causes pain in the process. By this definition, private property--especially corporate private property--is itself infinitely more violent than any action taken against it." Therefore, when a member of the black bloc calls for 'non-violent direct action', this does not bar property damage in any way whatsoever. He feels perfectly entitled to chuck a non-violent brick through the window of your violent storefront; to bring peace with a bat to your belligerent parked car.
If this were simply a matter of speech, Americans would both tolerate and protect it. More than a dozen different communist groups at Saturday's main rally were free to hawk their newspapers to whoever wanted to buy, as is their right. But through their direct action and black bloc tactics, anarchists and their radical brethren cross from speaking to acting - and while there is a right to free speech, there is no right to free action. The police of this nation will do their jobs, but prosecutors, legislators, and the American public have to team up to ensure they don't have to do their jobs over again, and again, and again, as long as the threat of terrorism exists. The plans have been laid; the black blocs are coming. Let's ensure that they only come once.
These punk thugs have getting away with this ever since the Seattle riots. It'll be interesting to see how many big city mayors have the gumption to handle it. And how many citizens have to handle it on their own,
Reuters amuses with Recycler Traded Cans for Booze?
A Los Angeles recycler that catered to homeless alcoholics by exchanging the bottles and cans they dug out of people's trash for coupons for a nearby liquor store has been shut down as a nuisance, city officials said on Friday.
"The story here sounds like fiction, but it is fact," Delgadillo said. "The concept of protecting the environment became hideously distorted as transients were given coupons for a liquor store instead of money for their cans and bottles."

Authorities initially had some trouble shutting down the site because no Los Angeles city ordinance prohibits exchanging recyclable items for coupons. "It's okay to give out coupons but they were only for use at the liquor store," Eric Moses, a spokesman for Delgadillo, said. "The allegation is that they weren't buying Ho-Hos (packaged snacks), they were buying 40 ouncers."
There's always a party pooper!
Smooth Move Alert!
Dan Mangan in the NY Post reveals China's Fatal Secret:
Scientists are furious that China hid a mysterious illness that raged there for months, preventing them from getting an early jump on the pneumonia-like disease that has affected hundreds - including a doctor who visited New York City last week.

"People are upset about this," one American epidemiologist told The Post on the condition of anonymity.

"Things were concealed, they were hidden from the rest of the world. We didn't know how bad it was."

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome has drawn worldwide attention and been called a global "threat" by health officials in the past week after nearly 200 people fell ill, mainly in Southeast Asia.
The syndrome apparently first began appearing in November in China's Guandong Province, where 305 people suffered from symptoms that include high fever and difficulty breathing.

And the Chinese only recently have begun discussing the outbreak with outside health officials, who are conducting an intensive effort to track the disease.

China yesterday gave the World Health Organization written observations about the spread of the syndrome.

But University of Michigan epidemiologist Arnold Monto said the delay meant that health officials are nearly five months behind in discovering the syndrome's cause, finding medicine to combat it and taking steps to prevent its spread.
One can't help but wonder where it got "stuck" in the Communist Chinese bureaucracy.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Time for the Cricket World Cup News!
Neil Manthorp reports in the Telegraph that Olonga goes into hiding to dodge secret police:
Henry Olonga's international career came to an end last night in dramatic circumstances with a secret journey to a safe house somewhere in South Africa. He will hide until he is able to start a new life in a different country.

The amiable fast bowler's last few hours as an international cricketer were spent nervously looking over his shoulder for a tap on the shoulder that could have threatened his life.

Seven plainclothes officers from Zimbabwe's secret police, believed to be from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), arrived in East London on Friday and were entertained by World Cup hosts during Zimbabwe's 74-run defeat by Sri Lanka yesterday.

Their real purpose for being in the sleepy, coastal town was more sinister than watching their country's emotionally ravaged cricket team bow out of the World Cup. Olonga has received numerous threats during the last month but this one was different. He had been told the officers intended to "escort him home", where a likely charge of treason awaited. The punishment for treason in Zimbabwe is death.
Ole Bobby Mugabe's mustachio must be twitching at a furious rate.
Hot Buns Banned!
No, it's not just another cheesy ploy to increase my search engine hit rate. Chris Hastings and Elizabeth Day report in the Telegraph that:
Schools across Britain have been ordered by local authorities to abandon the ancient tradition of serving hot cross buns at Easter so as not to offend children of non-Christian faiths.

Some councils are refusing to hand out the traditional treats because they fear that the symbol of the cross will spark complaints from Jewish, Hindu and Muslim pupils or their families.

Officials in the London borough of Tower Hamlets decided to remove the buns from menus this year after criticism over its decision to serve pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. A spokesman for the Labour-run council claimed that there had been "a lot" of complaints but did not have a figure.

The spokesman added: "We are moving away from a religious theme for Easter and will not be doing hot cross buns. We can't risk a similar outcry over Easter like the kind we had on Pancake Day. We will probably be serving naan breads instead."
Naan breads? Naan breads are traditionally used as an accompaniment to Indian cuisine, particularly Balti recipe dishes. Many Naans are often teardrop shaped and include kalonghi seeds (black onion seeds) or fennel as an added seasoning in the standard recipe.
Liverpool council, which is controlled by the Liberal Democrats, also told The Telegraph that the symbol of the cross had the "potential to offend" and buns will no longer be served to children.

Despite this ruling, the council confirmed that it will continue to organise special menus to celebrate events as diverse as the Chinese New Year, Italian National Day and Russian Independence Day.

Other councils not serving hot cross buns include York, where Labour is the largest group, and Wolverhampton, which is Labour-run. Officials in Wakefield, which is also controlled by Labour, have decided it would be more appropriate to tailor the Easter menu to information technology.

"We are not serving hot cross buns at all," said a spokesman. "Each term we try to come up with a menu which encourages children to think about different issues. This Easter term we chose information technology and did not even consider putting hot cross buns on the menu."
I''ll bite - does the information technology menu have "chips" instead?

Hmmm, something occurs to me.
Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP and former shadow home secretary who is a Roman Catholic convert, described the ban as "appalling and absurd". "These people are silly asses," she said.
Thanks Ann, that's what I was thinking.

More foolishness by following the link. And the Common Sense Door Prize goes to the Muslim Council of Britain who called the decision "very, very bizarre".
How can that be?
The BBC reports that 'Chemical Ali' given command:
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has put a general notorious for his involvement in the gassing of the Kurds in charge of stopping any southern invasion.

A BBC correspondent in Baghdad, Andrew Gilligan, says the appointment of General Ali Hassan al-Majid to command Basra could be aimed at intimidating US and UK troops expected to invade that area should war be declared.

General Majid - a cousin of Saddam Hussein - is known as "Chemical Ali" for his role in the attacks on Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988 in which at least 5,000 people were killed in a single day.
But Saddam says that Iraq has no chemical weapons anymore. He wouldn't lie, would he?
You don't need a poll (unless you're Team Clinton)
Dick Morris in the NY Post, Poll: Get on with it:
March 16, 2003 -- SUPPORT for military action to disarm Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power is higher than it has been in the past six months, but Americans are getting antsy about the endless diplomatic delays.

The latest FoxNews/Opinion Dynamics survey showed that 71 percent support invading Iraq - with a new high of 54 percent strongly supporting it - but Americans want it done now.
By 74 percent to 21 percent, Americans now say the United States, not the United Nations, should make the final call on what action to take against Iraq - and they don't like the delay.
Those standing in the way of prompt U.S. action can expect to suffer for it. By 57 percent to 29 percent, taxpayers (read U.N. dues-payers) feel the United Nations will have become irrelevant if it fails to enforce its resolutions requiring Iraqi disarmament. And almost half of all voters favor a boycott of French and German products.
Maybe that's why Hillary has been hanging around the military lately.
The Rumsfeld Effect
(Via Kathy Kinsley) The Telegraph profiles Donald Rumsfeld in The Straight Talker:
A headline in Friday's Washington Post captures perfectly the Rumsfeld Effect: "Anti-US Sentiment Abates in South Korea; Change Follows Rumsfeld Suggestion of Troop Cut". Change Follows Rumsfeld Suggestion: there's a slogan for the age, and it's fast becoming the First Law of Post-9/11 Geopolitics.

"The anti-American demonstrations here have suddenly gone poof," began the Post reporter in Seoul. "The official line from the South Korean government is: Yankees stay here." What brought about this remarkable transformation? Why, a passing remark, an extemporaneous musing; in other words, "a suggestion from Defense Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld that US troops may be cut and repositioned."

Other politicians sweat for weeks over a major 90-minute policy speech, hire the best writers, craft memorable phrases, and nobody notices. If you want to "re-shape the debate", as the cliche has it, all you need is a casual aside from Rummy. The concept of "old Europe" barely existed until Rumsfeld used it as a throwaway line a month and a half ago. Within a week, it became the dominant regional paradigm. Belgium - Old Europe. Bulgaria - New Europe. The entire map of the continent suddenly fell into place for the first time since the Cold War. Even those who indignantly huffed about this unacceptable insult seemed unable to resist confirming the truth of it.
Funny how a little straight talk flushes out the fools.
For those who think world affairs can use a bracing shot of candour, Rumsfeld is the star of this war. A year ago, National Review put him on the cover in an illustration mimicking the famous poster of the last big wartime pin-up, Betty Grable. Women said he was their favourite sex symbol of the new war - notwithstanding his age (70), his suits (off the peg), his rimless specs, or his unavailability (he's been married to his high-school sweetheart for almost five decades).

In the weeks after September 11, Rummy's wry warmonger routine was perfectly in tune with the national mood: at a time when others found it difficult to find the right pitch, he made himself an emblem of American resolve. At one Pentagon briefing, some showboating reporter noted that human rights groups had objected to the dropping of cluster bombs and demanded to know why the US was using them. "They're being used on frontline al-Qa'eda and Taliban troops to try to kill them," replied Rumsfeld.
And the clue phone was heard ringing in the press room.
Right now, on Old Europe, South Korea and much else, Rummy's getting it right. Mrs Thatcher used to say, a propos Viscount Whitelaw, "Every Prime Minister needs a Willie". Every President needs a Rummy. We have had a six-month Powell interlude. The Rumsfeld phase is about to resume.
About damn time. Much more by following the link.

UPDATE: This article is by Mark Steyn but the Telegraph apparently left off the byline.