Tue-Jul 29 2003
It's Seafair time again. This annual event brings many problems into
my life. The Blue Angels will be closing down the I-90 bridge right when
I need it on my busiest day. The Angels will also be violating every
local noise ordinance, all in the name of national security, with the
attendent terrorization of pets and the elderly. And my personal favorite: The U-district
parade, which never fails to gridlock my neighborhood and fill every available
parking space after a full day of work in insane heat. I have to agree with
Freedom to Fuck
he quotes Sideshow Bob :
"Air show? Buzz-cut Alabamians spewing colored smoke from their whiz jets to
strains of Rock You Like A Hurricane?'what kind of countrified rube is still
impressed by that?"
Mon-Jul 28 2003
I've finally gotten around to upgrading to Blosxom 2.0
This means I have a working RSS feed
now I have to figure out what to do with it. I can also run the spiffy new Blosxom plugins,
including goodness like comments and referrers. I've also cleaned up my HTML-or at least
that was the plan.
Sun-Jul 27 2003
Uday and Qusay Hussein, Pt.#5
US army engineers and Iraqi workers have started demolishing the mansion where
Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay were killed in a massive US military
assault four days earlier.
"Demolition began today and it will take approximately 10 days," US Lieutenant
Colonel Mike Rorex, from an engineer corps assigned to the 101st Airborne
Division that led the raid said.
"The building is structurally unsound. Its a safety hazard."
Is it just me, or is this just too weird? With all the work that needs
doing we're suddenly worried about the structural soundness of mansions?
If the owner was the informant he's got a cool $30 million to spend
on renovation. Suspicious minds might wonder if there are any ulterior motives
to the removal of all traces of the site. And of course they might be wrong.
We're All Moving to Florida
Software flaws in a leading US electronic voting system could be used to subvert
the outcome of an election, claim researchers from Johns Hopkins University and
Rice University in the US.
The researchers went through every line of code used to control a voting machine
made by Diebold Election Systems of Ohio, US. They reported finding serious
bugs that could allow one person to cast many electronic votes.
"Common voters, without any insider privileges, can cast unlimited votes without
being detected by any mechanisms within the voting system," the researchers say
in their paper.
Raise Your Right Hand
is covering the Special Session of the Florida Legislature that was called
to deal with the medical malpractice insurance "crisis". Some interesting
testimony came to light when the Legislature took the unusual step of
swearing in witnesses:
* "I am not aware of any instance where we said the problem was the enormous
amount of frivolous lawsuits," said Jeff Scott, legal counsel for the FMA
(Florida Medical Association).
* When Sandra Mortham of the Florida Medical Association testified, Campbell
demanded to know why Mortham had blamed "frivolous lawsuits" for the rise in
malpractice rates. "Certainly, I've never said that," replied Mortham, a former
House member from Largo and the FMA chief executive officer. "I don't feel I
have the information to say whether or not there are frivolous lawsuits in the
state of Florida."
* A state regulator said no, there hasn't been an explosion of frivolous
*Witness after witness denied a crush of frivolous lawsuits has crippled the
state's medical malpractice tort system.
* We fixed the frivolous lawsuit problem" in past legislative sessions,
testified Bob White, president of First Professionals Insurance.
* Insurers didn't need a cap on jury awards to be profitable.
* State data shows malpractice claims have not skyrocketed and that Florida has
more physicians than ever.
* There has been no sharp rise in medical malpractice settlements made by
* A state insurance regulator surprised senators by saying he often depended on
insurance companies' information when deciding whether to raise rates.
*Contrary to stories of doctors quitting the business, the number of licensed
doctors is increasing. A Health Department official said new applications for
new medical licenses in Florida rose from 2,261 in fiscal 2000 to 2,658 in
*Bob White, president of First Professionals Insurance Co., the state's largest
malpractice insurer, surprised senators by blaming rising premiums mainly on
new medical technologies and procedures...
*The hearings also revealed that White's company pays $500,000 a year as an
"endorsement fee" to the Florida Medical Association, the doctors group that
rallied for the cap.
*First Professionals was lobbying for the damages cap at the same time it has
"boasted to stockholders of its profits in Florida."
* The Florida Medical Association received $4.5 million in endorsements from
insurance companies to lobby for tort reform. That represents about 10% of the
DR. THOMPSON IS BACK WITH US NOW, AND READY TO RUMBLE.
HE IS FREE OF THE HIDEOUS PAIN THAT HAS PLAGUED HIM AND HIS LOVED ONES
SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL. BUT IT IS GONE NOW. THINGS HAVE CHANGED.
The Rumsfield-Cheney axis has self-destructed right in front of our eyes, along
with the once-proud Perle-Wolfowitz bund that is turning to wax. They somehow
managed to blow it all, like a gang of kids on a looting spree, between
January and July, or even less. It is genuinely incredible. The U.S. Treasury
is empty, we are losing that stupid, fraudulent chickencrap War in Iraq, and
every country in the world except a handful of Corrupt Brits despises us. We
are losers, and that is the one unforgiveable sin in America.
Beyond that, we have lost the respect of the world and lost two disastrous wars
in three years. Afghanistan is lost, Iraq is a permanent war Zone, our national
Economy is crashing all around us, the Pentagon's "war strategy" has failed
miserably, nobody has any money to spend, and our once-mighty U.S. America is
paralyzed by Mutinies in Iraq and even Fort Bragg.
The American nation is in the worst condition I can remember in my lifetime, and
our prospects for the immediate future are even worse. I am surprised and
embarrassed to be a part of the first American generation to leave the country
in far worse shape than it was when we first came into it. Our highway system
is crumbling, our police are dishonest, our children are poor, our vaunted
Social Security, once the envy of the world, has been looted and neglected and
destroyed by the same gang of ignorant greed-crazed bastards who brought us
Vietnam, Afghanistan, the disastrous Gaza Strip and ignominious defeat all over
The Stock Market will never come back, our Armies will never again be No. 1, and
our children will drink filthy water for the rest of our lives.
The Bush family must be very proud of themselves today, but I am not. Big
Darkness, soon come. Take my word for it.
Fri-Jul 25 2003
Uday and Qusay Hussein, Pt.#4
If I were the son of a sociopathic dictator and noted paranoid I think
I would want my own look-a-likes just like dad. I could even have one
of their dental records secretly substituted for mine, just in case.
Though convincing my double to get into a firefight with the 101st Airborne
might present some difficulties.
The Things I Wonder About
What happened to the Koran
written in Saddam's blood?
Uday and Qusay Hussein, Pt.#3
Q: Thank you. General, I'd like to try and see if you could address more of the
first question which we had from our colleague up front. The Americans are
specialists in surrounding places, keeping people in them, holding up for a
week, if necessary, to make them surrender. These guys only had, it appears,
AK-47s, and you had immense amount of firepower. Surely, the possibility of the
immense amount of information they could have given coalition forces, not to
mention the trials that they could have been put on for war crimes, held out a
much greater possibility of victory for you if you could have surrounded that
house and just sat there until they came out, even if they were prepared to
GEN. SANCHEZ: Sir, that is speculation.
Next slide (sic).
Q: No, sir, it's an operational question. Surely you must have considered this
much more seriously than you suggested.
GEN. SANCHEZ: Yes, it was considered, and we chose the course of action that we
Q: Why, sir?
GEN. SANCHEZ: Next slide -- or, next question, please.
Gosh, that certainly clears everything up for me.
Full General Sanchez Press Briefing
Uday and Qusay Hussein, Pt.#2, or Yea, What he Said
At that press conference there was a gentleman who asked an extremely important
question which was answered by Sanchez with "that is speculation. Next
question." I later found out that the man in front of me was Fisk and the
question he asked which we all want to be answered was: why was the decision
made to attack with a force that would have been capable of annihilating a city
block? Why did they opt for killing them when they knew their importance as
sources of information on all sorts of things and the wish all Iraqis have that
they be put thru trial?
Fisk started the ball rolling, sanchez was asked the same question at least 5
times in different ways and with it the question of how to prove this to the
Iraqi people. And what do we get? Meaningless militareses. Beyond
Thu-Jul 24 2003
Uday and Qusay Hussein.
The general said the mission began at 10 a.m. July 22 as a "cordon-and-knock
operation," in which coalition troops secure an area then knock and ask if the
individuals they are looking for are in the residence. In this instance, troops
"knocked" using a bullhorn to order everyone out of the building. When they got
no response, soldiers entered the home at 10:10 a.m. local time.
"Immediately upon entering the building, shots were fired," Sanchez said. "We
immediately determined that the targeted individuals were barricaded in the
fortified portion of the building, which was the second floor, and they started
engaging with small arms," believed to be AK-47 rifles.
Three soldiers were injured on the stairs and another outside the building
before the unit withdrew and called in a quick-reaction force and "heavy
The injured soldiers were evacuated within minutes. At this point, ground
commanders decided it was appropriate to "prep the objective prior to reentry,"
Sanchez said. In military speak, this means to use heavier firepower to make
the situation safer for the soldiers on the ground. In this case, commanders
called for the use of OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters and their 2.75-inch
rockets, Mark-19 grenade launchers, AT-4 rockets, and helicopter- and humvee-
mounted .50-caliber machine guns.
At noon, the general explained, soldiers attempted entry again and again took
fire from the second floor and chose to withdraw. Clearly, further "preparatory
fires" were called for.
At 1 p.m., forces on the ground fired 10 tube-launched optically tracked wire-
guided missiles, commonly called TOWs, into the house. "We believe that it is
likely that the TOW missile attack was what wound up killing three of the
adults," Sanchez said.
At this point, he explained, officials considered using heavier weapons, such as
those on AH-64 Apache helicopters and Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, which
were standing by, but decided against that course of action because of the risk
of unintended damage to the surrounding neighborhood.
Twenty-one minutes later, forces again entered the home, took fire as they
reached the second floor, and "killed the remaining individual."
Officials went to great lengths to confirm that two of the bodies were those of
Uday and Qusay. Sanchez said that four separate senior members of the former
regime identified the bodies independently, including number four on the list,
Abid Hamid Mahmud, Saddam Hussein's personal secretary.
Officials studied x-rays that showed old wounds on one of the bodies were
consistent with injuries Uday Hussein was known to have suffered in an earlier
assassination attempt that left him partially paralyzed. Dental records also
provided conclusive evidence of the identities of the two. Sanchez explained
that because of damage to the body, dental records provided a 90 percent match
for Uday. But dental records showed a 100 percent match for Qusay.
I certainly won't mourn the deaths of the Hussein brothers-they were loathsome
wastes of skin who certainly deserved far worse. But we would have been far
better served if we could have captured the dickheads alive. Iraqis are deeply
suspicious and nothing says "Their asses are definitely grass" like trotting
live post-overlords out for public viewing. Plus they could be put on trial
for their crimes. They might even know where those darn WMDs are. So I have
a couple of questions:
A: News reports have stated that U.S. forces surrounded the house/villa with
over 200 soldiers. Couldn't they have been a little more patient and spent more
than 3 hours trying to capture the brothers? I'm not suggesting more soldiers
should have been risked, but what would be the downside of trying to outwait them?
B: How about tear gas?
C: How about methodically destroying the house by ramming it with tanks?
D: Why did we knock at 10am? Why not stake the house out until nightfall and
enter covertly at 3am? If they try to run capturing them from vehicles would
be easier than a semi-fortified house.
And the one thing I'd really like to know:
E: How the hell did we get their dental records?
Best Spam This Week
"This Guy is Insane" from "Salary Increase".
Oh yea, those two go together. They seem to be selling me a
real estate investment plan. It must be OK, they're a
"Member of the Real Estate Chamber".
Mon-Jul 21 2003
The Ninth Ward
The staff of life in the Ninth Ward is the po-boy, limp with gravy, hot sauce
and Blue Plate mayonnaise, washed down with a draft beer-no particular brand,
as long as it's cheap. Dessert is a Hubig's Pie (388 calories), baked across
the border in the Eighth Ward. Half the people are drunk by noon, a quarter
suffer from vague but incapacitating diseases causing crusty skin inflammations
and dementia, a third would rather endure root canals instead of missing their
daily soap operas. Everybody is Catholic or a voodoo variant thereof. As the
saying goes, people from the Ninth Ward don't mind dying, either because
they've already had so much fun or because they'll try anything once.
Sat-Jul 19 2003
A Closer Look At Bush's Facts in the State of the Union
In this column, I will examine the publicly available evidence relating to this
and other statements in the State of the Union concerning Saddam's WMDs.
Obviously, I do not have access to the classified information the President
doubtless relied upon. But much of the relevant information he drew from
appears to have been declassified, and made available for inquiring minds.
What I found, in critically examining Bush's evidence, is not pretty. The
African uranium matter is merely indicative of larger problems, and troubling
questions of potential and widespread criminality when taking the nation to
war. It appears that not only the Niger uranium hoax, but most everything else
that Bush said about Saddam Hussein's weapons was false, fabricated,
exaggerated, or phony.
Bush repeatedly, in his State of the Union, presented beliefs, estimates, and
educated guesses as established fact. Genuine facts are truths that can be
known or are observable, and the distance between fact and belief is
uncertainty, which can be infinite. Authentic facts are not based on hopes or
wishes or even probabilities. Now it is little wonder that none of these
purported WMDs has been discovered in Iraq.
So egregious and serious are Bush's misrepresentations that they appear to be a
deliberate effort to mislead Congress and the public. So arrogant and secretive
is the Bush White House that only a special prosecutor can effectively answer
and address these troubling matters. Since the Independent Counsel statute has
expired, the burden is on President Bush to appoint a special prosecutor - and
if he fails to do so, he should be held accountable by Congress and the public.
Thu-Jul 17 2003
Don't Hold Back, Just Say What You Mean
There appears to be no end. There appears to be a limitless supply of lies and
half-truths and misinformations BushCo can invent on the spot, and is now a
good time to recall how Clinton was savaged and vilified and attacked and
impeached because he lied about having big dumb sex with a rather unappealing
And yet here is BushCo, openly and shamelessly lying about leading this nation
into a vile and petroleum-drunk war, massacring tens of thousands, killing
hundreds of U.S. soldiers (and counting), gutting the budget, favoring the rich
with useless tax cuts, hiding and prevaricating and dodging and treated the
First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution the way a
crusty abusive Catholic priest treats an altar boy.
This is where you have to laugh. This is where you applaud. Stand up and cheer,
for it has been a masterful performance, a rather unprecedented series of major
cover-ups and well-orchestrated PR maneuvers and outright fabrications
unmatched in recent history. Hell, the epic scale of BushCo's atrocities make
Clinton's little oral-sex fixation seem like a jaywalking violation.
Is now the time? Is this is where we start to notice how it is all coming
unraveled, Bush's snide web of lies just too flagrant and too insulting for too
long, CIA directors and intelligence experts and military leaders and
scientists and the like all coming forward now to refute any number of false
BushCo claims, the chinks in the armor now becoming cracks and fissures and
flubs and stumbles and ultimate raging implosions?
Is this why impeachment proceedings have yet to begin in earnest against BushCo?
Because we're just too stunned, too frozen in disbelief at the mounting
mountains of evidence that we have been duped and misled and lied to on a scale
we can't really begin to assimilate? Could very well be.
Because the tower of lies, oh how it teeters, how it quivers, how it feels oh so
ready to fall.
Now that is one fine rant.
Wed-Jul 16 2003
Tue-Jul 15 2003
Mon-Jul 14 2003
I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but the title Dude, Where's My
Car? can be traced to a line in The Big Lebowski, when Sobchak asks Lebowski:
"Where's your car, Dude?" And even though most of Dude, Where's My Car? makes
even Bill and Ted seem like a subdued, autumnal work of the subtle Japanese
master of cinema, Yasujiro Ozu, Dude has become a cult film, and the title of
the movie alone is worth the price of admission. And coming in the year 2000,
it clearly signaled that Dude would span the turn of the century. The totally
awesome title of the sequel alone--Seriously, Dude, Where's My Car? (planned
for release in 2004)--should insure that Dude lasts well into the new
you might want (or need) to know about the word "Dude".
Via Kaedrin Weblog
Sat-Jul 12 2003
Sausage attack: Faulty intelligence or none at all
Intelligence sources indicated that the Pirates might have "cooked" intelligence
to justify the whacking of the Italian Sausage and might have misled baseball
fans by misrepresenting the threat posed by the Italian Sausage. Others have
suggested that the Pirates relied on either faulty intelligence or no
intelligence whatsoever. "Really brainless," is how one official described the
Such allegations gained credibility when it was revealed that the Pirates relied
on documents they knew were forged to justify their attack on the Italian
Sausage. Pirates envoy Joseph Wilson, who investigated claims that the Italian
Sausage had illegally obtained onions and roasted peppers, said he reported
that fact to the Pirates more than a year ago, but that the Pirates ignored it
because it didn't justify the team's plans regarding the Italian Sausage.
The Pirates said they might have been mistaken about the Italian Sausage's
attempts to acquire onions and roasted peppers, but they were confident that
claims that the Italian Sausage had stockpiled large reserves of forbidden
mustard and relish would prove to be true in coming months. The BBC has
reported that British officials do not believe that any mustard or relish will
be found in the Italian Sausage's possession.
Despite that, Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said, "We are confident that
evidence that the Italian Sausage had a mustard and relish program will
surface. I know some of you think we said the Italian Sausage actually had
mustard and relish. Whether it had them or not, it is revisionist history to
suggest that the Italian Sausage did not pose a threat to the Pirates."
Meanwhile, the Pirates turned their attention to other encased meat products,
warning the Bratwurst that it was concerned about the sausage's attempts to
developed a beer-related cooking system.
Car Slobs Beware
Litter bags -- Design and distribution by department authorized -- Violations --
The department shall design and produce a litter bag bearing the statewide
anti-litter symbol and a statement of the penalties prescribed herein for
littering in this state. Such litter bags shall be distributed by the
department of licensing at no charge to the owner of every licensed vehicle in
this state at the time and place of license renewal. The department of ecology
shall make such litter bags available to the owners of water craft in this
state and shall also provide such litter bags at no charge at points of entry
into this state and at visitor centers to the operators of incoming vehicles
and watercraft. The owner of any vehicle or watercraft who fails to keep and
use a litter bag in his vehicle or watercraft shall be guilty of a violation of
this section and shall be subject to a fine as provided in this chapter
[1981 c 260 § 15. Prior: 1979 c 158 § 219; 1979 c 94 § 6; 1971 ex.s. c 307 §
I couldn't quite believe this law existed, so I looked it up. Apparently it is
illegal in Washington State to have a messy car. What's next, a sock-wearing
Fri-Jul 11 2003
I Have Got to Get a Digital Camera
Seen out on deliveries today:
3 fighter jets coming in LOW over I-5 to land at Boeing field.
A 6-foot-plus bald black man in a beige cocktail dress and ripped
The 2 kids walking their bikes with a live chicken standing on
on of the seats.
Sun-Jul 06 2003
Protected from Geography
A library child-porn filter prevents
accessing the evil that is Toppenish, Wa.
Via The Null Device
The Dog Ate My WMDs
The scandal that laid Bill Clinton low centered around his lying under oath
about sex. The scandal which took down Richard Nixon was certainly more
profound, as he was accused of misusing the CIA and FBI to spy on political
opponents while paying off people to lie about his actions. Lying under oath
and misusing the intelligence community are both serious transgressions, to be
sure. The matter of Iraq's weapons program, however, leaves both of these in
George W. Bush and his people used the fear and terror that still roils within
the American people in the aftermath of September 11 to fob off an unnerving
fiction about a faraway nation, and then used that fiction to justify a war
that killed thousands and thousands of people.
Latter-day justifications about 'liberating' the Iraqi people or demonstrating
the strength of America to the world do not obscure this fact. They lied us
into a war that, beyond the death toll, served as the greatest Al Qaeda
recruiting drive in the history of the world. They lied about a war that cost
billions of dollars which could have been better used to bolster America's
amazingly substandard anti-terror defenses. They are attempting, in the
aftermath, to misuse the CIA by blaming them for all of it.
Blaming the CIA will not solve this problem, for the CIA is well able to defend
itself. Quashing investigations in the House will not stem the questions that
come now at a fast and furious clip.
They lied. Period. Trust a teacher on this. We can spot liars who have not done
their homework a mile away.
Sat-Jul 05 2003
Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq
LIE #8: "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between
100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough to fill 16,000
- Secretary of State Colin Powell, Feb. 5 2003, in
remarks to the UN Security Council.
FACT: Putting aside the glaring fact that not one drop of this massive stockpile
has been found, as previously reported on AlterNet the United States' own
intelligence reports show that these stocks - if they existed - were well past
their use-by date and therefore useless as weapon fodder.
Via Matt Welch
Color Me Geek
One of things that never fails to irk me is underestimation of the size
of the galaxy. No sci-fi super-villain is content with ruling a few solar
systems, or even a chunk of a spiral arm. Oh no, they have to rule
the entire galaxy. This always gets my goat because the galaxy
is huge beyond imagination. The Milky Way galaxy has some 200,000,000,000
stars, at least that many planets, and is 90,000 light years across. Running
an empire on that sort of scale would require near-instantaneous teleportation
and communication, and then you would have to deal with controlling a population
of trillions with access to a galaxy-wide transportation network and Internet.
But I'm over-analyzing, because none of the shows or books that misuse the
notion of "ruling the galaxy" give the reality of the situation a smidgen of thought.
My friends seem to be on a pottymouth kick. For
your amusement and gratification-The Bad Motherfucker Wallet
Via the BigMoboDaddy
Fri-Jul 04 2003
The Dog has Caught the Car, Pt. 2
a sobering take on the growing mess
(don't say "quagmire"!) in Iraq.
...Time and again, the Bush Administration was told: you need allies, you need
help. They refused it, again and again. Now, Bremer, in his best Westmoreland
circa 1966 mode, is begging for more men. He can't have them. Politically, it
would be devestating, and tactically, it would only provide more targets
without providing the security he needs to provide.
Our intelligence in Iraq is abysmal. CENTCOM officials are either lying or
genuinely stating that they have no clue as to who we are fighting. I have no
idea what is more frightening. But to not know who the enemy is after three
months is amazing, and not in the good, naked woman on the bed way. It's clear
that this resistance goes way beyond anything Saddam and his cronies could have
cooked up. Because while the Baathists are taking their shots. average Iraqis
are turning their backs. Some clearly are afraid of retribution, but there are
many more who react with glee at every attack.
We are rounding up people in their sleep and taking 10 AK's in battalion and
brigade sized sweeps. Use the combat power of a US battalion to grab, what,
five sleepy guys and their rifles and the attacks grow? There may be up to one
million potential guerrillas and supporters. Not only that, but the kids are
tossing rocks and laughing at our wounded and dead. We are losing the
population more and more each day.
The fatal error of Bush's "Bring 'em On" comment is that besides its cheap talk
and bully posturing, is that it isn't true. We cannot handle what they're
throwing at us. We don't know who they are and we aren't killing them in
number. They wound and kill Americans every day and escape. They aren't being
Every US unit is under daily observation. They cannot move, cannot buy a DVD,
without people noticing and recording it. The Iraqis are passing information to
the guerrillas without pause. Foreign volunteers are flooding into Iraq as they
did in Spain in 1936. They have over 135,000 American targets and a friendly
population to work with. Unlike Afghanistan where Arab volunteers were pointed
out by the locals to the Americans.
The request for troops is a political minefield and one which places the Army at
it's limits. The war was supposed to be over, 50,000 men getting their Iraqi
visas puts that to the lie once and for all. It would awaken opposition to the
war and not solve the problem.
Bush may be able to spin his way out of the missing WMD issue. But American
troops getting attacked and killed every day, day after day, is a problem that
isn't going to succumb to good P.R.
That One Looter Must Have Been Real Busy
the up and down (and up and up) estimates of Iraqi Museum losses.
U.S. and Iraqi officials have confirmed the theft of at least 6,000 artifacts
from Iraq's National Museum of Antiquities during a prolonged looting spree as
U.S. forces entered Baghdad two months ago, a leading archaeologist said
University of Chicago archaeologist McGuire Gibson said the U.S. Bureau of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement told him June 13 that the official count of
missing items had reached 6,000 and was climbing as museum and Customs
investigators proceeded with an inventory of three looted storerooms.
The June 13 total was double the number of stolen items reported by Customs a
week earlier, and Gibson suggested the final tally could be "far, far worse."
Customs could not immediately obtain an updated report, a spokesman said.
The mid-June count was the latest in a confusing chain of seemingly
contradictory estimates of losses at the museum, the principal repository of
artifacts from thousands of Iraqi archaeological sites documenting human
history from the dawn of civilization 7,000 years ago to the pinnacle of
It now appears, however, that although the losses were not nearly as grave as
early reports indicated, they go far beyond the 33 items known to have been
taken from the museum's display halls. Gibson said looters sacked two
ground-floor storerooms and broke into a third in the basement. Two other
storerooms appear to have been untouched. ...
Looters broke into the downtown Baghdad museum and sacked it for several days in
early April as U.S. forces toppled the government of Saddam Hussein and took
possession of the Iraqi capital. U.S. soldiers were harshly criticized for
standing idle as the looters rampaged through the building. ...
Reporters and investigators arriving in the first days after the looting saw a
virtually empty museum that had been thoroughly trashed. They assumed the
worst, Gibson said, an impression that the museum staff did not seek to dispel.
In fact, the staff -- anticipating possible looting -- had spirited away a huge
portion of the inventory, including almost everything portable in the display
collection, and stashed it either in the basement or in off-site bunkers,
Gibson said. Staff had also hidden a gold collection in a Central Bank vault
during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and never removed it.
When U.S. authorities took their first close look at the damage, it appeared the
finest artifacts had been "cherry-picked" by thieves with inside knowledge.
Some U.S. officials suggested that staff members might have been complicit.
"This was unfortunate" but easily explained, Gibson said. Bitterly offended by
U.S. forces' failure to protect the museum from the looters, staffers "were not
going to give information on where things were," he added.
Although the display collection lost only a few heavy, nonremovable artifacts
that were either cut in pieces or ripped from their pedestals, the overall toll
was much worse. Staff members began to inventory the museum's five storerooms
in May. Losses there numbered in the thousands.
Both ground-floor storerooms had been looted, Gibson said. One housed the study
collection, while the other held shelved artifacts and about 10 steel trunks
containing as-yet unnumbered material from recent digs. All the trunks had been
opened and emptied, Gibson said.
Two basement storerooms appeared to be untouched, including one containing most
of the museum's priceless collection of cuneiform tablets, Gibson said. The
third had been breached, however, and contained "some of the most important
stuff in the museum, including pottery and ivory inlays," he added.
@#%*! It's a Four-Letter Summer
...Pardon our French, but--what the heck is going on?
Darned if we know. But the ascendance of the word expresses our topsy-turvy,
mish-mash moment like nothing else. It's a non-stop cultural infusion in a
culture pushed to the brink by infusion. Is our economy doing well, or
terribly? Is your apartment the best investment you ever made, or a pitiful
relic of a soon-to-burst bubble? Did we win the war, or not? Are we the
luckiest nation on earth, or the most ... fucked? If you've ever said, "Oh,
fu-uck, honey ," then you know what we're talking about. Everything around us
has been merged into one big sentimental glob--with a decided core of rage.
"Fuck" is the new "the"
Via the inestimable MZ
Thu-Jul 03 2003
Bandwagon, Jumping On I Am
Dubya's search for WMDs now has it's own 404 page
Via Boing Boing
and the mailing list that cannot be named.
Tue-Jul 01 2003
...These days, NGOs are supposed to do nothing more than quietly pass out care
packages with a big "brought to you by the US" logo attached - in
public-private partnerships with Bechtel and Halliburton, of course.
That is the message of "NGO Watch", an initiative of the American Enterprise
Institute and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies that
takes aim at the growing political influence of the non-profit sector. The
stated purpose of the website, launched on June 11, is to "bring clarity and
accountability to the burgeoning world of NGOs". In fact, it is a McCarthyite
blacklist, telling tales on any NGO that dares speak against Bush
administration policies or in support of international treaties opposed by the
This bizarre initiative takes as its premise the idea that there is something
sinister about "unelected" groups of citizens getting together to try to
influence their government. "The extraordinary growth of advocacy NGOs in
liberal democracies has the potential to undermine the sovereignty of
constitutional democracies," the site claims.
Coming from the AEI, this is not without irony. As Raj Patel, policy analyst at
the California-based NGO Food First, points out: "The American Enterprise
Institute is an NGO itself and it is supported by the most powerful
corporations on the planet. They are accountable only to their board, which
includes Motorola, American Express and ExxonMobil."
As for influence, few peddle it quite like the AEI, whose looniest of ideas have
a habit of becoming Bush administration policy. And no wonder. Richard Perle,
member and former chairman of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board, is an AEI
fellow, along with Lynne Cheney, the wife of the vice-president, and the Bush
administration is crowded with former AEI fellows. As President Bush said at an
AEI dinner in February: "At the American Enterprise Institute, some of the
finest minds in our nation are at work on some of the greatest challenges to
our nation. You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such
In other words, the AEI is more than a think-tank - it's Bush's outsourced
brain. Taken together with Natsios's statements, this attack on the non-profit
sector marks the emergence of a new Bush doctrine: NGOs should be nothing more
than the charity wing of the military, silently mopping up after wars and
famines. Their job is not to ask how these tragedies could have been averted,
or to advocate solutions. And it is certainly not to join anti-war and
globalisation movements pushing for real political change.
AEI pundits are news show staples. They never fail to elicit from me rolling of eyes
and exclamations of "bullshit".
And apropos of nothing, the NGOWATCH website
looks like hammered crap.
Now *That* Is a Hobby
America is coming in second in the High Weirdness race. May I present
the Elegant Gothic Lolitas
Original Lead Via Boing Boing