Saturday, March 01, 2003
(The French Never Went:)
"Human shield Britons quit Baghdad"
Nine of the original 11 activists decided to pull out after being given an ultimatum by Iraqi officials to station themselves at targets likely to be bombed in a war or leave the country. Among those departing last night was 68-year-old Godfrey Meynell, a former High Sheriff of Derbyshire, who admitted that he was leaving out of "cold fear". He had been summoned, along with 200 other shields from all over the world, to a meeting at a Baghdad hotel yesterday morning.
Let's see now, reminds me of a 6-year old going to the haunted house (not to diminish the wonderful qualities of 6-year-olds) - "OOH, this sounds like fun," but when we get there, we're too scared to go in.
Here's the honest version of what I imagine hearing from the twinky retreating from the human shield war protest: "I don't like the war, and I will protest this war, but if I am subject to the directions of a dictator, I won't really protest the war, and I will go back to my country where freedom is valued, for some reason - I'm really not sure if I know who is standing up for that freedom, but it's not Tony Blair, that warmonger."
Brings me back to someone who said that someone said that U.S. Marines call human shields speed bumps. Speed bumps where the concrete crumbles in the first couple of days.
How's this from the valiant professor:
Iraq's decision to force the pace was welcomed by some of the 20 Britons remaining in Baghdad. "It's only fair," said Uzma Bashir, 32, a college lecturer who is one of the team leaders.
"We've come here as shields to defend sites and now the Iraqis are asking us to make our choice."
Working on the law of averages, I'm sure that there must have been a whole lot of decent, intelligent people among the three-quarters of a million souls who marched in favour of the unchallenged continuation of Saddam Hussein's reign of terror over the people of Iraq the other weekend. Though, as ever, Christopher Hitchens pretty much hit the nail on the head when he summed it up as "the silly... led by the sinister..."
...If Madonna, Damon Albarn, Richard Gere and all the other multimillionaire mummers seeking to salve their consciences by being "anti-war" really cared, they'd start by giving half their fortunes to Oxfam. But, instead, they prefer to sit on their dungheaps of dough and point the finger at nasty, greedy Bush and Blair. Bless!
Unlike Iraq, this is a free country, and people who have chosen the most egotistical, distracting and worthless way to make a living - showbiz - have as much right as nurses, firefighters and cleaners to protest against government policies with which they disagree. But it might behove them the next time they take to the streets to spare a thought for, if not the humdrum civilians, then the singers, dancers and actors of Iraq, whose voices are silenced and whose feet are crippled by a mad ringmaster, an all-powerful philistine the like of which they will thankfully never know. Entertainers have always been "adorably" willing to admit to a dearth of practicality and common sense, and we, the long-suffering civilians, never really blame them for that - but what they have shown by their mindless, kneejerk mass opposition to the definitely inconvenient, probably hard-won liberation of Iraq is their alarming absence of imagination and empathy. And for that, in costume or out, they should truly try, just this once, to "do" shame.
I will be reading more of Julie's work. I enjoy it...There is a poetic quality to it.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was arrested Saturday in Pakistan, a senior official told The Associated Press.
At a news conference in Rawalpindi Saturday, two local leaders of the group said the FBI conducted the raid and carried out the arrest.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said a small number of FBI agents are in Pakistan but only to provide intelligence on al-Qaida or Taliban fugitives from neighboring Afghanistan.
However, Pakistani police and intelligence officials say FBI agents have been involved in nearly every important terror arrest in Pakistan.
The Pakistani government says it has handed over more than 420 al-Qaida and Taliban suspects to U.S. custody.
Onward we go.
UPDATE: Here is the picture of Evil. He is not bin Laden, but he is Second String Evil. Second String Evil is still pure Evil. We caught him today. Rock on.
Saddam receives something like the Enron (values) Award.
Does the top ten list look OK to you?
The selection committee released its ranking today of the Top Ten most trusted individuals in France:
1. Saddam Hussein
2. Jacques Chirac
3. Kim Jung Il
4. Jerry Lewis
5. Adolf Hitler
6. Dominique de Villepin
7. Gerhard Schroder
8. Dan Rather
9. Anna Nicole Smith
Friday, February 28, 2003
FORMER WIT and alleged pacifist Tom Lehrer talks to the Sydney Morning Herald:
I'm not tempted to write a song about George W. Bush. I couldn't figure out what sort of song I would write. That's the problem: I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them.
Nice old man. And about Columbia:
They are calling it a disaster instead of a screw-up, which is all it was. They're calling these people heroes. The Columbia isn't a disaster. The disaster is that they're continuing this stupid program.
One of the things I'm proudest of is, on my record That Was the Year that Was in 1965, I made a joke about spending $20 billion sending some clown to the moon.
I was against the manned space program then and I'm even more against it now, that whole waste of money. And so, when seven people blow up or become confetti, then they've asked for it. They're volunteers, for one thing.
I am not a total idiot, just most of an idiot
Why do my permalinks go to the post below the one they should link to? What part of the HTML do I need to move where?
Why are my archiving settings not working? 3 days?
And how do I fix the problem of the font on the first post always being larger?
Any comments would be greatly appreciated!
UPDATE: The 3-day archive seems to work sometimes, and sometimes not, so who knows what is going on with that?
Blix: Iraq Missiles Decision Significant
UNITED NATIONS - Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said that if Iraq carries out its pledge to begin destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles Saturday — as he demanded — it was "a very significant piece of real disarmament."
Where are the other thousands of missiles and tons of chem/bio crap??
Thom Calandra states the following in his (CBS)Marketwatchdaily run-down -
With war appearing almost inevitable, investors are expressing both relief and concern about its market consequences.
Really, the whole article is a sky-is-falling view of things. Sadly, sky-is-falling on the market may turn out to be a good prediction, regardless of what all the indicators say. How can financial advisors be wrong in their predictions when they say that people are both relieved and concerned?? I guess that people could end up being both exuberant and alarmed and the advisors would be a bit off.
I am no market prognosticator, but I certainly think that the war worries are already built into the market numbers. If the war goes fast, watch out for a big rally.
Can you say, "Big Rally?"
And have you noticed that if there is anything bad happening anywhere, it is because of impending war?? Some of that may be true, but some of it is crap.
UPDATE: "Stocks Cut Gains as Iraq War Fears Return" (Reuters headline). So let's see, war fears went away this morning and came back this afternoon. It really is ridiculous.
I expect the worst from Reuters, but this is pathetic:
Market watchers said the specter of an imminent U.S. attack on Iraq is haunting Wall Street. Iraq said it would obey United Nations orders to destroy its ballistic missiles, but the United States pressed on with its military buildup in the Gulf region. (emphasis, mine)
The headline hunting was inspired by James Taranto and friends.
Suffer The Little Children
There is scandal in the state of Maine. Apparently, some public school teachers there, who oppose the war, have harassed the children of members of the Maine National Guard, who have been called up to fight in Iraq. Major Peter Rogers, a spokesman for the Maine Guard reports that children are "coming home upset, depressed, and crying." Guard officials say they have over 30 complaints that name schools, principals, teachers and guidance counselors. Some of the children are as young as 7 and they are being told by their teachers that the war with Iraq is immoral and so too are those who wage it.
This is child abuse pure and simple. These poor kids are already wrestling with the absence of a mom or dad and the fear that their parent could die in a far off land. While their parents are protecting our nation, someone evidently has to protect their kids from the dues paying members of the Maine Education Association.
This one should be easy. Fire them! Any teacher this insensitive and driven by leftist ideology should be removed from the classroom. If you agree, you can send an e-mail to J. Duke Albanese, the state Commissioner of Education at duke.albanese - at - maine.gov.
...it is a bit problematic to be invoking international law and insisting on your right to ignore it at the same time, in the same cause, and with the same righteous indignation. International law says, "Thou shalt not use human shields." It also says, "Thou shalt not use military force without the approval of the Security Council—even if thou art the United States of America and some idiot long ago gave veto power to the French." The test of a country's commitment to international law—and the measure of its credibility when it accuses other countries of flouting international law—is whether that country obeys laws even when it has good reasons to prefer not to.
1441 is plenty of law for us to use to go in and clean up the mess.
But "only if it's multilateral" is not the copout it may seem. Not just because of concern about an anti-American backlash. And not just because obeying international law has an independent value in its own right. In the specific circumstances of this particular war, multilateral procedures can alleviate our substantive doubts.
That brings to mind Brit Hume's question to Juan Williams, "CAN YOU COUNT!?" Kinsley and his whiney friends need to acquire a brain in order to alleviate their substantive doubts.
After dawdling around for 49 seconds before ending Clifford "The Black Rhino" Etienne’s dreams of being a heavyweight contender, Tyson, who earned $5 million for all that, ahem, "work," thought it was time to tell the world how awful it is being a man who was taking a big step down from his normal $20-million work day.
His back was broken, he whimpered, showing no indication of having such an injury. He’s tired of boxing, he boo-hooed, and would rather spend his time relaxing at home and spending time with his children, drinking, and getting high. (Note to child welfare officials: When you get done with Michael Jackson, swing on over to Tyson’s place.)
We don’t know about the rest of you, but we feel pretty sure that if someone were to give us $5 million, we wouldn’t whine, not when the tax people take their cut, not when all the friends we never knew we had show up with outstretched hands, not even when the bank tells us it will take five days for the check to clear before we can tap into the money. Tyson may not believe that, but if he – or any of you, for that matter – would simply send us the $5-million check, we’ll be glad to prove it.
Thursday, February 27, 2003
Common Cause, the watchdog group that led the fight for new campaign finance laws, yesterday called on the House ethics committee to launch a probe. "The threat of conducting, or abating, a formal congressional investigation as a weapon of pressure for partisan purposes would be an especially egregious abuse of authority, and in violation of the rules," Common Cause acting president Donald J. Simon wrote in a letter to the ethics committee.
An investigation of Oxley could have broad ramifications for the House and for Washington lobbyists. Republicans privately warned they would retaliate by filing ethics charges against House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and perhaps other Democrats facing allegations of wrongdoing. The Federal Election Commission is investigating charges that Pelosi last year operated two leadership political action committees at the same time, a potential violation of election laws.
If someone is clearly unethical, that person should be kicked. No witch hunts, but if there are ethical violations, let's attack them.
Our CEO was addressing the fragile economy yesterday and he said the right thing, if all of these companies lived by traditional values and reinforced those traditional values, we would recover.
My Grandfather worked for Chrysler as a design engineer, and he always said that all of the sickness came from management and shareholders drilling in on quarterly results rather than the long-term vision of how to succeed.
A cut from the article supports that idea and perhaps we do need new regs.:
One retail expert said he expected the S.E.C. to call for an overhaul of retail accounting rules before long.
"It's the last of the wild, wild West on Wall Street," said the expert, Burt Flickinger III, managing partner of the Strategic Resource Group, a consulting firm. Gary M. Giblen, a retail analyst for C. L. King, said accounting rules for vendor allowances were among the easiest to bend. "The temptation is too great to abuse the accounting so you can deliver what the Street wants you to deliver," he said.
Two pieces from my friend Terry who is, it's fair to say, 9 out of 10 on the lefty scale, but he's fun to read:
I've said before that anyone who runs for president is arrogant. And some are much more arrogant than others based on the fact that they have no discernable qualifications whatsoever to being president.
From the current issue of Newsweek:
"I'm gonna guess it was political science, but I'm not sure, it might have been history. I'll have to check. I hadn't thought of that one." Presidential hopeful Carol Moseley Braun, when asked what she majored in during college.
and this one is a twisted gem:
bad for sports, though
I like Howard Dean. He's very bright and very articulate, appropriately low-key, and I like most of his positions. As he says on the campaign trail--"Give the Democratic Party back to the Democrats."
And it's funny how all the Republicans say he would be so easy to beat. The White House is said to be almost hyperventilating over the prospects of running against Howard Dean. Then why do they keep jumping on him? George F. Will, the great Republican writer who doesn't even know how to spell Christy Mathewson's name, can hardly write a column without dissing Howard Dean. And Tom Delay is at him too. If Howard Dean is the easiest Democrat to beat since George McGovern, why are the Republicans being mean to him? I would expect a dirty-tricks campaign to sprout up soon against all the other Democrats.
But I do have a problem with one of his positions: Dean is in favor of gay and Lesbian couples being able to be legally married. Let me clarify that: he's not in favor, necessarily, of a gay man being legally able to marry a Lesbian woman. I didn't mean gay and Lesbian couples as ... well, you know what I mean.
The problem with this, I'm afraid, is that there would be a huge Republican, heterosexual backlash. And I think that backlash would lead to Republican-backed legislation for separate, but equal, public restrooms. Right now, most of us macho men don't like the idea of sharing a restroom with a gay man. But if Howard Dean gets elected, well, I could see how we could end up with six different, but equal, restrooms in every public place that has restrooms. Can you imagine what that would do, economically, to the Royals?
You'd have your men's rooms, your women's rooms, gay men's rooms, Lesbian women's rooms, crossdressing men's rooms, and crossdressing women's room. We would have utter chaos in our public institutions.
The country isn't ready for Howard Dean.
You can see that sometimes, it is impossible to reply to Terry's emails, just laugh a little, and don't get him started on Bush - He has been fueled and inspired by the NYT.
There are 20 rules in the "Pit Procedures During Race" section of the Winston Cup rulebook, but working on a backward car in the pits is not addressed.
A subsection says: "It is the responsibility of each driver to position his car within the assigned pit box." "In the box" is defined as between the lines of a team's individual box. "Outside the box" includes having the front tire on or over the outside line, having the front air dam on top or over the front line or having the rear tire on or outside the pit box line.
According to NASCAR sources, as long as the car remains within the confines of the pit box, the team can work on the car. However, any car that spins on pit road -- whether it's the driver's fault or another car's fault -- will be assessed a drive-through penalty. Once the race returns to green-flag conditions, the driver who spun out must come down pit road at the required speed and then return to the track.
You can service a backward car, but there is a penalty for spinning out on pit road. I wonder if "spinning out" is carefully defined.
Absent a proactive America, the world would continue to be exposed to his menace. We should support by every means available to us, including military options, which would limit Saddam's control of Iraq and remove him from power.
No bull. Just regime change.
The administration hasn't convinced our allies or the American public. According to a recent poll:
- 59 % of Americans believe the president should give the United Nations more time;
- 63% said Washington should not act without the support of its allies;
- 87% think 'Joe Millionaire' should have picked the other woman.
It's from Scott's Win Without War Talking Points.
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
I read Birnbaum's discussion on a press meeting with Bush. Birnbaum is not a spinner, and check out the real respect he carries for Bush.
...But the impending war with Iraq, the recession-like state of the economy, and the continuing global war against terrorism present a set of issues nearly as difficult as those Lincoln faced. Bush says he has to attack them with an outsized response. A war to topple Saddam Hussein would be his last and reluctant course, but he says he would be willing to take it. The cost of doing nothing would be too immense, he says.
Indeed, the emotional high point of the interview was the time he took to explain that, despite what some may think, he does NOT want to go to war.
"I hope we don't go to war. War is my last resort," he says. "I understand the precious cost of war."
It would be his job to hug the wives and children of dead American soldiers, he says. That isn't a cost he wants to pay in personal terms. But as a President, he made clear it was a price he would pay if the larger purposes of history, and defense of liberty, was at stake. That's what Presidents are for.
"You're looking at an optimistic soul," he says about solving the many problems he faces as the nation's chief executive.
The President spoke Tuesday afternoon to nine business journalists from TV and magazines. He was flanked by some of his top advisers, including Glenn Hubbard, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; Steve Friedman, his top economic aide; Mitch Daniels, the White House budget office director; and Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff. Not one of these staffers said a word, however. The President did all the talking. It was obvious who is the boss and who makes the decisions. Skeptics can giggle up their sleeves at Bush's abilities all they want. But if they had sat with us in the Roosevelt Room today, they would see they're wrong.
I do think that Bush is more challenged than almost all of the presidents in U.S. history, partly because of the place in history but partly because The Vicious People don't seem to have the values, sensibility or even rationality that would allow them to be as optimistic as Bush and act in the best interest of our country.
As I said, plenty of rational criticism can and should be thrown his way, but let's stop The Vicious People.
UPDATE from MRC: Dennis Miller says, “The Nazi signs have got to stop. If you're in a peace march and the guy next to you has a sign saying that 'Bush is Hitler,' forget the peace thing for a second and beat his ass, because he (Bush) is not Hitler.”
Here's the teaser--
Credibility isn't just about punishing those who cross you. It's also about honoring promises, and telling the truth, areas where the Bush administration has problems.
TK sent me his response to the article:
Well, from the headline, I thought Krugman had finally figured out Clinton and was wanting to write a historical piece on the intelligence failings of
the Clinton Administration. But, alas, I just read an article on the intelligence failings of Paul Krugman. We're in more trouble than I
thought, if Krugman is the truth detector around here. When he uses phrases such as "much of the world" and "around the world," substitute "my snotty
nosed liberal crybaby friends and me" as a more appropriate control group for his hypotheses.
THE COST OF WAR: $320 PER CITIZEN
Way too high, right? Pull the troops back. We'll be OK - The French have a carrier only a few days away.
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
From the NY DailyNews:
War Talk from Kid Rock
"Why is everybody trying to stop the war? George Bush ain't been saying, 'You all, make s-y records.' Politicians and music don't mix. It's like whisky and wine. (Musicians) ought to stay out of it."
But it doesn't take much nudging to hear the Kid's policy analysis. "We got to kill that mother-(bleeper) Saddam," he says. "Slit his throat. Kill him and the guy in North Korea."
Are some women and children going to die? "Yeah. But is doing the right thing. You got money, you sit around talking about peace. People who don't have money need some help."
Not that Kid Rock's opinion is any more valid than the other celebrities, but will anyone hold Sheryl Crow accountable for her useful idiocy?
UPDATE: I received an email from a very kind reader - quite insightful:
A comment came to mind as I read the NY daily news post; an even more acurate answer to the nydaily newsquestion "are women and children going to die?" might be: "Are women and children GOING to die? Hey, I've got news for you newspapers and tv; women and children ARE dying in Iraq, and have been dying for thirty four years, in Iraq, when Saddam took complete control of the government. But hey, as one attendee of a SF "peace" rally said on his sign 'Saddam kills his own people; its none of our business' ".
That bit of wisdom is right on the money. Time to roll.
Bush rushing to war? Nonsense.
This excerpt is good, but you should read the whole thing:
The other day I caught Sen. Hillary Clinton on some show from Albany, N.Y., where she said, with a knowing intonation, that obviously there were people in the Bush administration who had "an old score" to settle with Saddam Hussein. Many in the audience nodded appreciatively, as if being initiated into the secret of a grudge match. There are indeed people in the administration who never shared the prevailing Republican view that the last Gulf War was ended on acceptable or durable terms. But in eight of the intervening years Sen. Clinton's husband was president of the United States, and it can hardly have escaped her notice that he called several times for the forcible disarmament of Saddam Hussein, stated roundly that Saddam pursued the acquisition of weapons of genocide only in order to use them, bombed Iraq for its part in a murder-attempt on a former president, urged the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act (which carried the Senate nem con), and bombed Iraq again during every day of his own impeachment trial in the same deliberative body. True, he didn't always consult the United Nations so painstakingly. But then, nor was he confronted by a "peace" movement filling the streets and calling him an addict of aggression.
That paragraph has a bunch of punch.
MRC is good at catching the good Letterman lists. This was good.
UPDATE: I love this quote from the Flake Release:
“Norah Jones won a handful of awards last night for a song called “Don’t Know Why.” I think that could probably describe a lot of taxpayers trying to figure out why their tax dollars are going to the Grammy Foundation.”
I never heard of "Don't Know Why," and the Grammy foundation sucks.
Judy practiced what George Bernard Shaw put to words. This statement was taped over her desk. "This is the true joy of life-that being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. That being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live, I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It's a splendid torch which I've got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
Awesome. Did Shaw live up to this? I'd like to think so, and I know Judy did, teaching our children.
Is the Liberal Party gone forever?
"I doubt it," said Democratic former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who had the party's backing for his three terms. "Maybe they'll come back with a different title."
Here is the producer's explanation:
With a war in Iraq almost certain, it's time to pump up the troops and get America ready to support them in their fight. There's no better song than "Bombs Over Baghdad" to do just that. Take one fast-paced rap song by Outkast, remix with some Rage Against The Machine, add killer video, and you've got "Bomb Saddam".
I started collecting material for a new video in late 2002. The production started in January and didn't finish until late February. I had corrupt videos, some bad images and a busted hard drive that made me almost give up early on. After I got though all that I tried various material to the song to see what worked best. This time I went with all videos and no still images. It's not that I didn't get some terrific pictures sent in, but I wanted to try something different. I'm looking forward to using the cool photos everyone sent me in future videos.
This one goes out to the men and women currently inside and surrounding Iraq. You should know that we're all behind you when the time comes to "Bomb Saddam"!
-- Grouchy --
Check out this peacenik's no-blood-for-oil effort at listing songs that you can listen to if you cannot stand the idea of a free Iraq. Here is his odd review of the Outkast song:
2. "Bombs Over Baghdad," Outkast This song, from Outkast's 1999 Stankonia, is completely nonsensical and ridiculous, like Bush's foreign policy. The saving grace, though, is that it makes you want to shake your ass and get rowdy, which is a key feature of any serious war anthem. And it offers sound military advice to those proud Americans who will be traveling halfway round the world to defend our right to cheap, readily available fossil fuels: "Don't pull the thang out unless you plan to bang - Don't even bang unless you plan to hit something." Donald Rumsfeld couldn't have said it better.
I have news: If you want good war music, you need to go classical. Shostakovich's 10th is a portrait of Stalin's tyranny that could not be written until after Stalin's death. Listen to the 10th, and you will hear what an Iraqi might write today about Saddam, if given the same cultural background.
My friend Terry got me to go back and listen to Mahler's 6th. I need to review Mahler's biographies, but most the experts say that this was not war music. If you want to directly hear the tragedy of war, that is what the 6th is, complete with the incredible war march of the first movement. (My daughter was helping me sort my CD's the other day. We don't sort alphabetically, but we do keep the classical separate from the hard rock. She put Mahler's 3rd in with my rock and I caught that: "Why did you put the Mahler in with the rock." "Mahler sounds like a rock man." I had to tell her that she was right about that, MAHLER would be a cool rock band name, but she should have known because the disc was too informative with abundant text on what you would listen to...)
Now, if you want a triumphant war symphony, Beethoven's 3rd is it. I am forgetting my music history a bit, but I believe that this was originally dedicated to Napoleon, but later, Beethoven shredded that dedication and the symphony was nicknamed "Eroica," dedicated to generic heroes. Beethoven appreciated the French revolutionary ideas of Napoleon, but got upset when Napolean crowned himself emporor. The first movement has a furious complexity. The second is a wonderful militaristic funeral march with an incredibly intense peak. The third is laughing at the defeated enemy and the fourth is an intense celebration of victory.
OK, enough on this, but my point is that if I want music, I'll listen to the music, THE SOUND, and that is why I like some groups whose lyrics are terribly disagreeable...I'm here for the music. If I wanted the poetry, I'll go buy an F'in book.
UPDATE: Here are the lyrics to the Outkast song. As I said, I will go buy a book.
Monday, February 24, 2003
I especially enjoyed the end:
Are we getting discretion from our former presidents? No. Mr. Carter is often most critical when outside our country. A few months ago he received the Nobel Peace Prize, and the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Gunnar Berge, announced that the honor "can also be interpreted as a criticism" of the Bush administration. Mr. Carter not only accepted the award under these circumstances; he used his speech to subtly cast doubt on the administration's actions and intentions regarding Iraq. Mr. Carter tours Europe giving help to those who oppose the American government's intentions; at his home in Georgia, he tells a British tabloid he admires its "Not in My Name" campaign to increase world opposition to the U.S. government.
Mr. Clinton, on the other hand, has taken to telling the world that "we should let Blix lead us to come together." Mr. Clinton calls Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, "a tough honest guy who is trying to find the truth." Does Mr. Clinton speak of the American president with such approbation? No. He treats President Bush with equal parts derision and faux sympathy.
He has taken to offering virtually minute-by-minute play-by-play on the administration's decisions, usually on cable. He seems to enjoy putting himself forward as the current president's obvious superior. He is more thoughtful, more experienced. He speaks from a great height.
Why are Messrs. Clinton and Carter so careless? Don't they know that their behavior gives cover to foreign leaders as trying to block administration fortunes in the U.N. and elsewhere? Don't they know that it shows Saddam maybe he doesn't have to change, because America is torn and divided?
Why do they do this? A hunger for relevance, you say. A need for attention. Maybe. But those are personal needs and not worthy of a former president at a time of danger. One wonders: Does Mr. Clinton talk about Iraq and Osama so much because he is trying to hide in plain sight his own failures? He had eight years to get serious about them. He punted and dodged. The louder he talks now the more activist he seems then. But this is no time for legacy-spinning.
Messrs. Clinton and Carter might ponder that they themselves in their own times of crisis benefited greatly from the discretion of the presidents who preceded them, Mr. Carter at key moments during the Iran hostage crisis and Mr. Clinton at many points including--well, for a solid year during the Monica scandal, George Bush 41 was urged every day to speak out about what Bill Clinton had done to the presidency. And Mr. Bush wouldn't say boo. Would've been bad for the country, didn't want to make it worse.
Mr. Clinton and Mr. Carter are, truly, the anti-Ikes. They want their tongue lashings to be in public, for all the world to see. No matter the precariousness of the moment or the satisfaction of what foes in which caves.
Lucky for JFK he had Eisenhower. Lucky he didn't have them.
We are missing that sense of discretion from the former presidents.
A sad story all the way around. The foundation that supported the transplants seems to set out a reasonable explanation. Maybe I am gullable, but this seems reasonable. I also suspect that some lawyers wanted to preserve the body for the autopsy.
The big question I have out of all this is about how transplant priorities are determined. I'll bet there are normally good operating rules, but this case is very strange - Lots of sick people will be immigrating now.
CBS News anchor Dan Rather said he had an exclusive three-hour interview with Saddam and that the Iraqi leader envisioned a debate with Bush along the lines of U.S. presidential campaign debates.
"I am ready to conduct a direct dialogue -- a debate -- with your president. I will say what I want and he will say what he wants," Saddam was quoted as saying.
"This will be an opportunity for him, if he's committed to war, this will be an opportunity to convince the world."
"This is something proposed in earnest, " Saddam said. "Out of my respect for the people of the United States and my respect for the people of Iraq and the people of the world. I call for this because war is not a joke."
War is not a joke, but this debate would be hilarious.
Rather said he found Saddam to be outwardly calm but expecting that war will come.
"He know that the time for the invasion is very near. He takes seriously what President Bush has been saying," Rather said.
......but thank Heaven for the French and Germans.
Saddam believes that if it comes to war, Iraq will have to "absorb a tremendous first and maybe second punch from the United States and its allies" but his country will be able to withstand that punch and emerge undefeated, Rather said, adding that Saddam did not accept that he lost the 1991 Gulf war.
He may be thinking that we'll quit after the first punch? Can you imagine the torture of a 3-hour interview with Rather? It almost makes you feel sorry for Saddam.
UPDATE: Scott says that Dan is happy with the career boost.
It may be jazz, but the little I heard was a little elevatorish, and I am puzzled why the album won the top prize. I think that show is like an internal party, like a company awards show, and does not have a lot to do with the art and the impact of the artists.
Sunday, February 23, 2003
Democrats Unified in Attack on Bush
I'll save you the time - Article goes on to say that the Dims have no idea what to do about the economy, global warming and cooling, defense of our borders, disarming tyrants, but they know that Bush is the enemy. (They would also like to raise our taxes and are unified on that.)
04 will be a bunch of fun.
Headline of the Year (THANK YOU, REUTERS):
Saddam Says Bush Lacks Manhood and Chivalry
The Iraqis will not be easy - Saddam has inspired (allowed) them to be angered:
"The Iraqi (citizen) is not easy when he is angry. The Iraqis are angered by the behavior of their enemy that has not kept within the minimum of manhood and chivalry," Saddam told a Lebanese delegation.
We can credit his bold talk to people who have good intentions but not much sensibility:
Saddam later met Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general who has been an opponent of a U.S.-led war against Iraq.
INA said that during the talks Saddam saluted anti-war protesters who have staged mass rallies across the world.
I'd like to see someone tell Ramsey that he best be vacating Baghdad because, as Taranto has said, Saddam has had his last, last, last, last, last, last chance...
UPDATE: How about this 1999 Salon article on Clark, "Ramsey Clark, the war criminal's best friend"?
My favorite, the #88, won at The Rock today.
It was one heck of a thrill
Too bad Daytona wasn't this good.
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Dale Jarrett outfoxed Kurt Busch during the final laps Sunday and won the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway.
Busch had the strongest car late in the race, leading 150 laps with few challenges from the rest of the field after he got up front.
But Jarrett came on strong at the end, passing Busch 10 laps from the finish by first pinning him against the wall, then using lapped traffic to box him in and slide on past.
Busch regained the lead with five laps to go, passing him after a stirring side-by-side duel.
Jarrett, conserving his tires while Busch burned rubber trying to keep the lead, went by him one more time and led the final three laps for his 31st career victory.
I know this sounds stupid, but I was on the edge of my seat. 7 laps to go, and one of the anouncers said, "Meeeeeen, I thiiiink mah heartbeeet just elevated."
It was good and DJ is a REAL American. After the race, does he talk about the victory? No, that was a day at the office, he was bragging about what his kids were succeeding at these days. He is a great person and that is why I root for him. That is why I love to root against Jeff Gordon (I hope to buy one of those "ANYBODY BUT JEFF" shirts for the Kansas race this fall).
UPDATE: My wife says that Kurt Busch looks like Pee Wee Herman, so I guess he has his new name. I feel bad about that because he's a pretty nice guy and he was a good sport about losing today.
Middle America and Europe
Francesco Vitelli observed that Europhobia is strongest in Middle America, where people have the least personal contact with real live Europeans. And Glenn Reynolds, blogger for Tennessee, has taken it personally. I thought Francesco's observation was worth relaying but, for the record, I don't agree. Glenn Reynolds is scarily well informed about Europe, and he has quite enough contact with at least one real live European: me.
The touchiness of Middle Americans is interesting, however. Which makes me wonder: how much is their hostility toward the European establishment an proxy for their resentment of the coastal elites in the US? Witness this email, from Carl Heppenstall in Overland Park, Kansas.
It is one thing to have the Europe argument, but to promote the picture of an intellectual capital vacuum between the coasts is ruthless and probably weakens all of your arguments. Some of us in the middle would be glad to have many of the people on the coasts go join the Europeans in their swamp of lost relativism.