Saturday, April 26, 2003

Today's Hoot!
The Smoking Gun reports that Madonna has run into a spot of trouble with the hacker community:
Days after Madonna took a sharp swipe at music file-sharers, the singer's web site was hacked Saturday (4/19) by an electronic interloper who posted MP3 files of every song from "American Life," the controversial performer's new album, which will be officially released Tuesday. The site,, was taken offline shortly after the attack was detected early Saturday morning and remained shut for nearly 15 hours.
Follow the link for a screenshot.

But this is more than just a web site defacement story:
[It] is an apparent response to Madonna's move last week to seed peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa with files that appeared to be cuts from her new album. In fact, the purported songs were digital decoys, with frustrated downloaders discovering only a looped tape of the singer asking, "What the fuck do you think you're doing?"
The hacked site says
"This is what the fuck I think I'm doing."
The hacked page also contained a derogatory reference to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, the federal law aimed at cracking down on digital and online piracy. In addition, the defaced page included an impromptu marriage proposal to Morgan Webb, a comely 24-year-old woman who appears on "The Screen Savers," a daily technology show airing on the cable network Tech TV.

Inevitably, Morgan has a blog.
Meanwhile back at the ranch
I see that I have been neglecting domestic political hijinks lately. By way of remedy, did you catch the latest Hillary flap? Steven Brill: Hillary Fabricated 9/11 Records:
U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton had her staff fabricate records of meetings and phone calls to families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to burnish her image as New York's leading politician on 9/11 issues, the author of a new book on how U.S. officials dealt with the aftermath of the attacks charged Sunday.
That ole gal is sure handy! But don't worry about her - she's got a good left hook:
After ignoring the story for five days, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton was finally forced to respond Thursday night to an allegation that she fabricated records of meetings with families of 9/11 victims - after Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly broke the mainstream media embargo on what some are calling the most serious charge ever lodged against the scandal-scarred former first lady.
"Brill's accusations are completely false and an obvious last ditch effort to jump-start anemic book sales," Reines said...
Hey, the records were just lost for a while, but they found them in her closet!

Then there was the latest John Kerry brouhaha:
Quoting unnamed advisers, the Times said the Bush campaign considers Kerry the most likely to win the Democratic nomination from the current field of nine candidates. The Bush team also believes Kerry is vulnerable because of his Northeastern roots and patrician air.

''He looks French,'' the newspaper quoted one adviser as saying, without elaboration.

Kerry said he laughed when he read the comment, adding: ''It means that the White House has started the personal politics of destruction, that's what it means, but it's fine.
Wanting to do my best to further the politics of personal destruction, I was getting ready to fire up Photoshop, but frankly Kerry would look really poor in a beret. Maybe a flannel shirt and tuque as Jacques, the French Canadian lumberjack, but the beret would just be too wierd.

But then a better opportunity came along when Kerry's wealthy but wacky wife popped up to deliver:
``They'll probably say he's French, he's Jewish . . . he's a monkey,'' Heinz Kerry said of her husband, whose Jewish roots recently became a campaign issue.
The only "issue" involving Kerry's "Jewish roots" is the humor surrounding the years Kerry spent telling everyone he was Irish. As Jay Nordlinger observes, I don't seem to recall any Republicans calling Joe Lieberman a Jewish monkey.

However, what will likely be an "issue" is Teresa Heinz Kerry herself. Can you say loose cannon? I knew you could!

Update: On the other hand, she should bring in the tin foil beanie vote.

Teresa Heinz Kerry - quite a few fries short of a Happy Meal
Four of a kind alert!
Merde in France and The Dissident Frogman have added some new cards to the Iraq deck.

While you are visiting Merde in France, check out French culture shining blight. I thought we were scraping the bottom of the TV barrel over here, but using the "French Barney's" tail for a dildo on TV suggests that we aren't even in the running.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Gorgeous George Alert!
That whining spiv, Georgie Galloway, has certainly turned out to be the source of much merriment. Warren Hoge in the NY Times:
More recently, however, his act has lost its following. His fellow legislators now refer to him as "the member for Baghdad Central" and ridicule him for his expressions of admiration for Saddam Hussein and his frequent glad-handing trips to the Iraqi capital.

When Prime Minister Tony Blair was pondering a question in Parliament this month about who in Iraq would be qualified to deliver the unconditional surrender that Britain was seeking, an anonymous legislator brought the House down by shouting, "George Galloway!"
But Georgie has always been quite a lad:
His wife Elaine left him the same year after he confessed to having sex with two other women on a charity trip to the Greek islands.
And a fast worker! It's really sad that he has been abandoned by all his old pals:
Though the antiwar contingent in Parliament is large and vocal, none of the rebellious lawmakers have come to Mr. Galloway's defense. He has been discredited by frequently replayed television footage showing him in 1994 warmly greeting Mr. Hussein and praising him with the words, "Sir, I salute your strength, your courage and your indefatigability."
Always buttering up the customers!

But he still has at least one friend, teenybopper troller Scott Ritter:
But I was also shocked because of the timing of these allegations. Having been on the receiving end of smear campaigns designed to assassinate the character of someone in opposition to the powers that be, I have grown highly suspicious of dramatic revelations conveniently timed to silence a vocal voice of dissent.
Hmm, I wonder what's in Scotty's Baghdad file?

So what's a flack for dictators to do when the main man goes down the hydroflush? Mark Steyn's given it some thought and provides - I have excellent Korea prospects - I mean career prospects:

...extremely annoyed to receive your letter demanding I return my cheque card and Platinum Visa, both cut in two. Obviously, I am as surprised as you that the cheque I paid in for £3,000,000 from the Supreme Revolutionary Council (Entertaining & Miscellaneous Account) bounced, but it is hardly my fault that I had already in good faith sent off the payment for the extensive refurbishment of my chateau. I have written in the strongest possible terms to the military governor of Baghdad in care of the Pentagon pointing out that the successor regime is most certainly responsible for the debts of its predecessor.


To: let you know that you - yes, you, Kim Jong-Il of Number 1, Glorious Father Of Our Country Avenue, Pyongyang, have been personally selected to receive this once-in-a-lifetime invitation to join our family of satisfied dictators around the world. For a simple one-time activation fee plus annual direct debit, you'll be enrolled in our elite programme entitling you to start receiving the following benefits immediately!
Georgie? Bye bye!
He's back
Has someone been slipping something in O.J. Simpson's Wheaties lately? First we were stunned by the the news of an OJ reality show, now OJ Wants to Cover Blake Trial for TV. At this rate, he'll soon be appearing naked with the Chicks.
He sobered up long enough to mount up
Ted Turner managed to crawl up on his high horse again and Tim Blair has the ultimate response. (If permalinks are bloggered, just look for the really long post on Friday.) Ted, of course, has his own agenda.

Saving the world with Ted

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Today's Hoot!
Jim DeFede in the Miami Herald - Hussein in Cuba? Let it be true:
Saddam Hussein is alive and living in Cuba.

Don't just take my word for it. I got this information straight from the April 21 issue of the Egyptian newspaper Soat el Umma, which in Arabic means Voice of the Nation.
If Hussein really was in Cuba, it would be just like the old TV show The Odd Couple. But instead of Felix and Oscar, we'd have Saddam and Fidel.


On April 6, Saddam Hussein was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. [Sound effect of cruise missile exploding.] That request came from the United States.

Deep down, he knew she was right. But he also knew that someday he would return to Iraq.

With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his longtime friend Fidel Castro. Sometime earlier, the United States had tried to throw him out, requesting that he never return.

Can two dictatorial men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?


All I can say is: ``Please, God, let it be true and I'll never ask for anything again.''

Gorgeous George
The Instapundit points to a Christian Science Monitor story (via Jay Fitzgerald) that reveals some newly discovered Iraqi documents that indicate that George Galloway was the recipient of three separate payments of $3 million each from Saddam Hussein. Hey, even MP's need some walking around money!

Meanwhile, Tim Blair has found some Galloway t-shirts. Frankly, they seem rather listless. How about this instead?

It takes cash to dress with the best!
BBC Chief Attacks U.S. Media War Coverage:
BBC Director General Greg Dyke said many U.S. television networks had lacked impartiality during the conflict and risked losing credibility if they persisted with their stance.
How embarassing! Greg must have seen CNN or caught Peter Jennings' act!

Er, wait a minute.
"Personally I was shocked while in the United States by how unquestioning the broadcast news media was during this war," Dyke said in a speech at a University of London conference.

"If Iraq proved anything, it was that the BBC cannot afford to mix patriotism and journalism. This is happening in the United States and if it continues, will undermine the credibility of the U.S. electronic news media."
Having listened to a few of the BBC's anti coalition screeds "reports" on NPR, I'd say Greg shouldn't be lecturing anyone.
A modern miracle
Cosas will burn prison if Winnie's sent to jail:
Johannesburg - The Congress of South African Students (Cosas) threatened on Thursday to do "anything" in its power to keep its honorary president Winnie Madikizela-Mandela out of jail even if it meant burning the prison holding her.
"We are prepared to do anything in our power to ensure that she is not in jail," Cosas president Julius Malema said in a statement.

"If it means burning the prison she is locked in, so be it."
OK! But I feel bad for the other prisoners.
"We are still convinced that Mama (Madikizela-Mandela) is innocent and she did not do anything wrong," Malema said.
Sorry Julius, but Mama is an inveterate crook and thug. The miraculous thing is that she got convicted in the first place and that, so far, the ANC and related organizations have abided by the legal results. More details by following the link.
Grand Canyon Alert!
The Dixie Chicks are appearing without clothes on the cover of next week's Entertainment Weekly:
Band members Martie Maguire, Emily Robison and Natalie Maines say they dreamed up the gimmick to defend themselves against the backlash over Maines' crack ...
Readers can indeed thank the usually corpulent Miss Maines for apparently bringing in a body double for the photo session.

Hmm, is that what they mean by gravitas?

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Making a buck off the pervs
James Taranto at Best of the Web alerts us to the fact that The Independent is opening a peep show for a special clientele. Here's a preview of the featured act.

He's at it again!

Which reminds me, Salon's stock price is down to a nickel a share.

(Hat tip to unknown graphic artist)
Get in the Rolls, it's time to go to McDonald's!
(Via Drudge) According to CNN, O.J. reality TV show in the works:
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- O.J. Simpson -- acquitted in 1995 in the killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman -- is preparing for his debut as the star of his own "Osbournes"-esque reality show.

Fort Worth, Texas-based Urban America Television Network said it will distribute a 13-week series about the former football great to its 75 independent broadcast TV station affiliates starting in June, according to a story in The Hollywood Reporter.

The series will chronicle Simpson's daily life in Miami using footage collected over several months of filming in 2001 and 2002.
That'll certainly be "must see" TV. Maybe he and Anna Nicole can get together a tag team.
Piker alert!
David Blair reports in the Telegraph - Memo from Saddam: We can't afford to pay Galloway more. What a cheapskate. Didn't he know Georgie had expenses?
George Galloway shared the same barber as Saddam's psychopathic son Uday, according to a newspaper report.

The MP used to hand over £200 in US dollars to have his locks trimmed, it's alleged.

He even had blond highlights done by Baghdad hotel barber Marwan Ali.

Marwan said Galloway became a regular after Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz's bodyguards introduced them.

He said: "I have cut Mr Galloway's hair maybe 10 times. He pays me dollars 300 for one haircut. Very nice man."

But Marwan claimed Galloway's wife Amineh was furious when he gave the MP blond tips.
Hey, you have to look your best when you're trashing the West.
And speaking of San Francisco
Terence Jeffrey at - Return of the San Francisco Democrats:
It ought to be a maxim of Democratic strategy: Never send your presidential candidate to San Francisco.
Nineteen years ago, San Francisco hosted the Democratic convention that nominated Mondale. His acceptance speech included a whining plea to replace President Reagan's policy of countering Soviet aggression with a renewed policy of appeasement.

"Every other president talked with the Soviets and negotiated arms control," Mondale told a crowd led by Mario Cuomo and Jesse Jackson. "Why has this administration failed? Why haven't they tried? Why can't they understand the cry of Americans and human beings for sense and sanity in control of these god-awful weapons? Why? Why?"

At the Republican convention in Dallas, U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, a Democratic hawk, gave Mondale what for. "When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues," said Kirkpatrick, "the San Francisco Democrats didn't blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States. But then, they always blame America first."
Kirkpatrick's imagery stuck: San Francisco Democrats were the Party of Appeasement.

Kerry, the current Democratic frontrunner, had a San Francisco moment just before the war.

A decorated Vietnam veteran, Kerry had earlier adopted optimal positioning for a Democratic nominee. He blamed President Bush for failing to restore a boom economy, but voted to authorize Bush to use force against Iraq.

"By standing with the president," said Kerry, "Congress will demonstrate that our nation is united in its determination to take away Saddam Hussein's deadly arsenal, by peaceful means if we can, by force if we must."

But a room full of San Franciscans was too great a temptation for Kerry.

In a March 13 speech to the Commonwealth Club, he avoided direct discussion of the impending war. But while advocating alternative energy sources, he let loose this applause line: "In the decades to come we should not ever have to have young Americans sent to any part of the world to defend and die for America's gluttony on fossil fuel."

Excuse me? Was Kerry inferring the war he voted for was about oil?
Maybe it's all the fog?
And speaking of boobs and tubes
Bill Carter in the NY Times reports on Strong Ratings for 'Mr. Personality':
Just when viewers who hate reality television shows were praying that the list of flops since January might kill the genre and make it safe to remove their hands from their eyes, Monica Lewinsky and 20 young guys in masks turned up on the Fox network Monday night, and, in the jargon of the business, popped a number.
Er, popped a number?
"Mr. Personality" brought in more than 12 million viewers, which placed it in the front ranks of Fox's lineup of shows. More important for Fox, it proved an especially strong draw with younger adult viewers, the group preferred by many advertisers.
Much blather about "reality" shows and then:
Then there's the Monica factor. "I think some people probably wanted to see what Monica was up to," said Mark Stewart, the executive vice president and director for strategy and channel planning at the big media agency Universal McCann...
Dang, I guess I missed it. But all this reminds me of an email I got recently:
Due to the popularity of the Survivor shows, Idaho is planning to do its own show, entitled "Survivor - Idaho Style."

The contestants will start in Bonners Ferry, travel to Sandpoint, Coeur d'Alene, Worley, over to Orofino, Lewiston, Winchester and Grangeville, down to Cascade, Boise and Glenn's Ferry. They will then proceed to Hailey and Pocatello, then on to Driggs, over to Rexburg, Soda Springs and Blackfoot. From there, they will proceed to Dubois, Salmon and finally back to Bonners Ferry.

Each will be driving a pink Volvo with a bumper sticker that reads "I'm gay, I'm a vegetarian, I voted for Al Gore, George Strait sucks, Hillary in 2004, Protect the Wolves, and I'm here to confiscate your guns."

The first one to make it back to Bonners Ferry alive wins!!!!
Hmmm, doesn't sound very PC. They'll probably have to change the setup to contestants driving around San Francisco in an SUV with a "Nuke the Whales" bumpersticker.
Isn't that special?
The AP enlightens with Malvo Freely Confessed, Even Laughed, Prosecutors Say:
Prosecutors say the teenage suspect linked to a string of sniper shootings in the Washington, D.C. area, willingly confessed to some of the shootings during a police interview last fall.

In legal briefs made public Tuesday, prosecutors say Lee Boyd Malvo laughed as he recalled shooting an FBI analyst in the head and chuckled about the reaction of a boy he shot at and missed.
I wonder how laughing boy is going to like "Old Sparky"?
It's the boob tube
Jose Martinez in the NY Daily News - Anchors riding Iraq airwaves:
Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather hit the Iraqi airwaves this week as part of a U.S.-led effort to use television to educate Iraqis about democracy.

Freed for the first time in decades from state-controlled television, Iraq can now receive a nightly dose of "Iraq and the World."

"It's not the kind of media they're used to seeing," said Norman Pattiz, chairman of the federal Broadcasting Board of Governors.

The initial two-hour broadcast included news clips from ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS translated into Arabic. Fans of Fox news can get their fix with clips from Brit Hume's "Special Report" - but sorry, no Geraldo.
"Iraq and the World" is financed by the U.S. government, which is using military cargo planes to beam the commercial-free broadcast into Saddam Hussein's former stomping grounds.

The show isn't likely to be a ratings hit - only 10% of Iraq's 24 million people own a TV. And critics are questioning how Iraqis will take to American programming that might be viewed as propaganda.
"Might be?" Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, and PBS are propaganda. Just not American.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Look what's under the rock!
The Sun weighs in (two articles) on the Georgie Galloway story mentioned below:
There have long been questions over the way a nonentity backbencher like Galloway could afford his lavish lifestyle of fast cars and fast women.

His constant travel, always first class, could never be funded by an MP’s pay or from proceeds of his litigious pursuit of so-called defamation claims.

Galloway is a silver-tongued bully who has always been surrounded by a cloud of suspicion over his shifty activities, his manipulation of other people’s cash and his readiness to punch anyone he could not sue.

He left a slippery trail of scandal wherever he went, from the finances of the once mighty charity War on Want to the funding of his local constituency Labour Party.

Once, while quizzed too closely for comfort on his dodgy dealings, he amazed journalists by admitting extra-marital "carnal" relations to put them off the money trail.
Well, that one's understandable - he's married to Yasser Arafat's niece.

Georgie's always been a very busy boy:
Galloway, 48, first entered politics aged 26 in his home town of Dundee - where he flew the PLO flag over the town hall and withdraw the city’s hospitality to visiting NATO warships.
A vicious anti-Israeli ranter, he boasted that he sometimes dreamed he was part of an army wading ashore waving a Kalashnikov and driving the Jewish nation into the sea.
But he has a sensitive heart.
...he remarked about the shy, gentle way Saddam greeted him, eyes downcast in his desert bunker.

"There, in a corner of the room, glancing shyly downwards briefly as I strode towards him, was the most demonised man on the planet," he wrote.

"He has a gentle handshake and is surprisingly diffident."

Galloway remarks on the way nervous servants were sweating despite the air-conditioning.
Three guesses why the servants were sweating, dingbat.

Your 15 minutes are way over, Georgie.
A modest proposal
Charles Krauthammer in the WaPo - Lift the Sanctions Now:
But if the State Department sentimentalists who worship at the shrine of the United Nations insist on a pilgrimage to Turtle Bay, we should go to the Security Council and submit a one-line resolution: "Whereas the sanctions were imposed on the regime of Saddam Hussein; whereas that regime is no more; whereas sanctions are now needlessly preventing Iraq's economic recovery; the sanctions are hereby abolished."

No "modalities." No negotiations. No deals. Dare France and Russia to veto.
More by following the link.

And Jack Kemp in a similar vein - De nova in Iraq:
Let's get one thing straight from the outset about Iraq. The Iraqi people need wait upon no one - military general, foreign government or international organization - to govern themselves, engage in commerce domestically and sell their property on world markets. Sovereignty resides in the Iraqi people and cannot be conferred by any outside entity or authority.

It will not be the United Nations that confers legitimacy on the new Iraqi government; formal diplomatic recognition will come about the old-fashioned way - one nation at a time as the new Iraqi government exchanges ambassadors, signs treaties and engages in commerce and trade on a bilateral basis with individual countries around the world.
Well that will certainly cut down on the UN bureaucrats' walking around money.
Well looky here!
Andrew Sullivan reveals Paid by Saddam:
If this turns out to be true, it's a bombshell. The chief left-wing anti-war campaigner in Britain's parliament, Labour Party MP George Galloway, has his name on several documents discovered in Baghdad by the Daily Telegraph. The documents allegedly show a huge pay-off scheme from Saddam's oil profits to the anti-war activist - worth up to $500,000 a year - in return for his political work in defense of Saddam. Here are the relevant documents. Here are details of the alleged Jordanian go-between.
More details by following the links. It doesn't surprise me, Georgie is one of those irrepressible types who always has a scam going.

And he was also one of the characters who got together the weekend after 9/11 to form the Stop the War coalition.

UPDATE: David Blair reveals How I found the papers in a looted foreign ministry office and Georgie opts for the tin foil beanie defense and threatens to sue.

Hmmm, I wonder if he paid the taxes on his loot?

UPDATE 2: I posted the Sun's take on Georgie up above.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Poor Impulse Control Alert!
What's with the ladies and motor vehicles? Jealous Woman Crashes Mercedes Into Boyfriend's House:
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. -- A woman crashed her Mercedes through her boyfriend's garage door Saturday and attacked him with a baseball bat after she became suspicious that he was with another woman, authorities said.
When he didn't answer his door or telephone, she rammed the garage door several times, crawled through a 3-foot opening and went up to the bedroom, where she threw drawers, knocked over a lamp and ripped a picture from a wall, Robinson said.

Holmes also attempted to attack a woman who was at the home, Robinson said.
Can you say hanky panky?

Meanwhile, out in Oakland - Fan allegedly threw cell from second deck of stadium:
A 24-year-old man accused of throwing a cell phone that hit Texas right fielder Carl Everett in the back of the head during a game faces a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
"I don't think this guy wanted to wake up on Easter morning in prison,'' Rinetti said. "Hopefully he learned a valuable lesson.''
He threw his cell phone? And yes, spirituous liquors were involved.

Everyone needs a hobby
Quebec man suing Loto-Quebec for not winning:
SHERBROOKE, Que. (CP) -- A Quebec man is suing Loto-Quebec, saying it fooled him and that the provincial lottery only sells losing tickets.

The man, who is on welfare, spent $840 last March on a variety of tickets that didn't win. He is now suing Loto-Quebec for $879.58.
He shouldn't be such a piker. How about some punitive damages?

And then in London. there's Fugitive caught after appearing on TV game show:
LONDON (AP) - An Irish fugitive wanted on charges of causing death by dangerous driving was arrested by police in London after he appeared on a TV game show, winning its top prize.

At a court hearing today, a judge ordered that Michael Furlong, 26, be extradited back to Ireland to face the charges.

Police sources later said Furlong was recognized by viewers of the Channel 4 game show Boys and Girls when he was plucked from the audience to participate. He went on to win the 100,000-pound ($235,000) prize offered by the battle of the sexes game in an edition of the show broadcast two weeks ago.
Furlong, who wore jeans and a black T-shirt with "Available" written on it for the hearing at Bow Street Magistrate's Court, was placed in police custody. No date was fixed for his return to Ireland.
All dressed up and no place to go.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

All the usual idiots
Grandstanding bloviator, Rep. Chris Shays drops into Iraq for a photo op:
Bucking protests from the U.S. military and the State Department, Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., crossed over the Kuwait border into Iraq (news - web sites) Wednesday and complained that humanitarian aid isn't getting to the Iraqi people fast enough.
"I had to use the Save the Children's network to get in. And (the State Department) led me to believe I was doing something that they didn't want me to do," he said. "I saw a lot of poverty, I saw a lot of bad living conditions ... I just wish other members of Congress had seen what I got to see."
Poverty in Iraq! I'm shocked! Fortunately Chris spared us a detailed account of his thought processes.

I can't say the same for G. Pascal Zachary in the SF Chronicle who provides unintended levity with Secession! Why stick around? The Bay Area is already a nation unto itself:
"I tell my friends I'm safe in the Bay Area," one German said. "People here even apologize to me for what Americans are doing in Iraq. They say they are sorry."

"Berkeley isn't America, and neither is San Francisco or Oakland," a second German added. A third interjected, "I don't think I would live anywhere else."

Listening to the conversation, I felt glad to be a resident of the Bay Area ...
The Nader saga illustrates the dilemma of Bay Area "social democrats." We are, like children in an English novel, not to be seen nor heard.

I wish to propose an immodest remedy for this sorry situation: We, the people of the Bay Area, need to leave the United States. We are held prisoner by a foreign power, colonized by an alien civilization. We require cultural and social self-determination. We demand, in short, a declaration of independence -- and our own nation.
Zack, don't let the door hit you where the Lord split you.
It's just our pals alert!
David Harrison in the Telegraph - German spies offered help to Saddam in run-up to war:
Germany's intelligence services attempted to build closer links to Saddam's secret service during the build-up to war last year, documents from the bombed Iraqi intelligence HQ in Baghdad obtained by The Telegraph reveal.
My, my - someone's been naughty.
Ruh Ro!
Chinese SARS patients hidden:
BEIJING - Chinese authorities ordered doctors in Beijing to hide patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, from World Health Organization (WHO) experts last week in an attempt to downplay the epidemic, Chinese doctors and other sources said yesterday.

Authorities transferred about 40 SARS patients to a hotel on the grounds of one hospital and at another facility bundled more than 30 SARS patients into ambulances to prevent the WHO team from finding them, the sources said.
"It was done to avoid detection by the WHO. We drove the patients around Beijing," said a senior medical official at the hospital. "We were ordered by the Beijing government."
As I have mentioned before, they also still just make up their economic statistics. Sounds like the bad old days.

Hmmm, I wonder if it is safe to shop at Wal-Mart?
Comments are casters up
My comment service, SquawkBox, has been down for the last two days. I have removed the links for the moment to improve page load times. We'll see if they recover on Monday.
No shame alert!
Cuban intellectuals ask for end to criticism:
HAVANA -A group of world-renowned Cuban intellectuals released a letter to their colleagues around the world Saturday, asking them to stop criticizing harsh measures recently employed here.

Titled Message from Havana to our friends in faraway places, the letter was published Saturday in the Communist Party daily Granma.

Signed by 27 of Cuba's best-known cultural figures, the letter describes the ''surprise and pain'' felt when liberal intellectuals around the world criticized Cuba for its crackdown on dissidents and the executions of three ferry hijackers.
Hey, we understand.
Antonio Jorge, a Cuba expert at Florida International University, said he was not surprised by the letter.

''All these people who signed this letter are long-time loyalists of Fidel Castro,'' said Jorge, who teaches economics and international relations. ``These people are almost state functionaries, who are totally committed to the goals and values of the Communist Party in Cuba.''
And we all know about those "goals and values".