Archive for June, 2005

Digby on Bush’s Campaign Lies

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

Yes, Craig, it’s just what you’ve been waiting for! Yet another round of “Bush lied!”, this time from Digby of Hullabaloo: In our faces.

Actually does a really nice job of summing up many of the high points of Bush’s lies on Iraq during the presidential campaign. And I’m not going to apologize for calling them that. I called it a lie when Clinton claimed not to have had sex with Monica, and if that was a lie, this is every bit a lie. It really is.

I know there are plenty of people willing to tell themselves Bush was merely mistaken, but it won’t wash. It just won’t.

Best Nine Minutes of Daily Show Evar

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

Actually, I don’t think I can really support the above title; there’s been a lot of amazingly good Daily Show. But these nine minutes, as archived by Fair-Use Man (aka Norm of Onegoodmove), are up there: Words.

I guess the main reason this clip doesn’t rank up there quite as high, in my estimation, as the “as much of a dick in real life” Tucker Carlson baiting (which, technically speaking, wasn’t even Daily Show proper) or the time the Republican Congressman from Texas gave Jon the baby-sized boots with “GOP Rocks” on the soles, is that the degree of difficulty wasn’t very high. In the context of the silliness on Iraq that Cheney and Rumsfeld have been spouting lately, the jokes pretty much write themselves. Low-hanging fruit, and all that.

Oh, and that reminds me: Ed Helms in Speedos, with the “ball cam.” So yeah, “best nine minutes evar” is a stretch. But it’s still awfully good. Go thou and viewest! Yea, unto the twelfth viewing shalt thou view!

Bush’s Iraq Speech

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

So, I somehow missed the chance to listen to Bush explain what’s going on in Iraq, but from the reports I’ve seen I didn’t miss much of substance. In the comments on an earlier item, Rise Against offered the following word counts (courtesy of the Dissent blog):

Terror, Terrorism, Terrorists 33
Free, Freedom 29
Security 16
Defend, Protect 15
Election, Vote, Polls 10
Mission 9
Killers, Murderers 9
New York, September 11th 7
War 7
Insurgents 6
Violence 6
Democracy, Democratic 5
Liberty, Liberate 4
Attack 4
Dissent 1
Exit Strategy 0
Mission Accomplished 0

So, Bush used the speech to go once again to the well of linking Iraq with 9/11 in the public mind. Well, as today’s LA Times editorial puts it:

Bush might be right to now put Iraq at the center of the “global war on terror,” but it didn’t have that status before the invasion.

Meanwhile, Ryan Lizza goes into more detail in the New Republic Online on just what Bush and Karl Rove have been up to with their 9/11 comments lately, including Bush’s repeated invocations of the attacks in last night’s speech: Explain away.

Many expected that Bush would give a speech updating the American people about the war in Iraq. But instead, and not for the first time, the White House confused the need to bolster public support for an increasingly unpopular war with the need to bolster support for an increasingly unpopular president. Bush may have momentarily achieved the latter, but only at the expense of the former.

Update: This article on the speech by Ronald Brownstein of the LA Times was good, too: As war shifts, so does the message.

Beinert on Leaving Iraq

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

Peter Beinert tells it like it is on the early-exit option: Shake up the war room.

President Bush famously hates admitting mistakes. And he generally plays to his base. But on Iraq, those instincts are driving his administration off a cliff. The vast majority of Democrats, and most independents, now think Iraq was a mistake. And the calls for withdrawal are moving from the fringes of American politics to the center.

Congressional Democrats must resist those calls. As retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, a fierce critic of the war, recently explained, even a timetable for withdrawal is a terrible idea.

When Will Liberals Like Hilzoy Stop Hating America?

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

Hilzoy of Obsidian Wings offers a cogent summary of what she loves about the United States (or used to, before a morally retarded national leadership started systematically dismantling it): More things we throw away.

Eye of Sauron found in deep space.

Sunday, June 26th, 2005

Because I know John is both obsessive and a huge LOTR fan, I will ruin his life with this link, showing the Eye of Sauron has been discovered in the blackest depths of space. Which is actually pretty cool.

Downing Street Memo Recipient Michael Smith on Documents’ True Meaning

Saturday, June 25th, 2005

Journalist Michael Smith of Downing Street memo fame offers his take on what is significant in the British government’s formerly secret documents on the run-up to war: The real news in the Downing Street memos.

American media coverage of the Downing Street memo has largely focused on the assertion by Sir Richard Dearlove, head of British foreign intelligence, that war was seen as inevitable in Washington, where “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

But another part of the memo is arguably more important. It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that “the U.S. had already begun ‘spikes of activity’ to put pressure on the regime.” This we now realize was Plan B.

Put simply, U.S. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone were dropping a lot more bombs in the hope of provoking a reaction that would give the allies an excuse to carry out a full-scale bombing campaign, an air war, the first stage of the conflict.

British government figures for the number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq in 2002 show that although virtually none were used in March and April, an average of 10 tons a month were dropped between May and August.

But these initial “spikes of activity” didn’t have the desired effect. The Iraqis didn’t retaliate. They didn’t provide the excuse Bush and Blair needed. So at the end of August, the allies dramatically intensified the bombing into what was effectively the initial air war.

The number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq by allied aircraft shot up to 54.6 tons in September alone, with the increased rates continuing into 2003.

In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq.

Esmay on US Deaths in Iraq

Friday, June 24th, 2005

In honor of my recent Downing Street Memo obsession, let’s look at another case of facts being fixed around a policy. Pro-war weblogger Dean Esmay has created a graph that long-time readers of this site will immediately recognize: Iraq combat deaths: perspective. You should click through to the large version of the image on his site to get the full effect, including his observations on the significance of the various ups and downs, but here’s a cropped and slightly reduced version for the sake of discussion:

Dean Esmay\'s US deaths in Iraq graph

And here, for comparison purposes, is the most-recent version of my own graph of US combat deaths in Iraq:

Esmay is using the same source for his data that I’ve been using for mine (the Iraq Coalition Casualties site), so it shouldn’t be surprising that the two graphs look similar. The one thing he’s doing differently with his numbers (besides avoiding my gratuitous comparison with Vietnam) is that he’s not plotting total deaths per calendar month, the way I am, but is instead giving a month-by-month daily average. (Oh, and he’s listing US and total coalition deaths as separate lines, while I do only US deaths; and he’s looking at combat deaths only, while I include non-combat fatalities. And he’s got that pretty blue background going on.)

Now, in one sense his use of a per-day average is misleading, in that it somewhat obscures the actual number of deaths involved. Glancing at his graph, you don’t see a monthly total of deaths ticking by (36, 52, 80…). Instead you see the less-alarming daily average (1.29, 1.73, 2.84…). And of course you could do the math yourself to figure out the actual number of deaths, but his labelling of the graph’s y axis makes those numbers just a tad less obvious.

The other thing that this choice of Esmay’s does is to let his graph emphasize the higher death rate in the very early days of the war. That’s because the March, 2003 numbers that make up both his and my first plotted data points actually only cover 11 days of fighting, from March 21 to March 31.

Those early days of the war were relatively deadly. On March 23, 2003, for example, 30 US troops died, most of them as part of the intense fighting that took place in and around Nasiriyah. March 2003 also saw some helicopter crashes with multiple fatalities, some friendly-fire and non-hostile vehicle accidents, and generally just a very large amount of shooting and bombing and mayhem.

What does Esmay make of this?

Note that in this first chart, ever since what was called “Major Combat Operations” (or what should probably more appropriately be called “The Invasion”), mortality has been much lower overall. We’ve never had a period as high in the number killed as the initial invasion, although we’ve had a few pretty bad days here and there.

I guess what he means is that, generally speaking, we haven’t had as many people dying in as short a period of time as we did during those first 11 days of the war. But it seems fairly silly to me to compare the first 11 days with monthly averages since then, in order to derive some hopeful observation about how mortality has been “trending” downward. We have to be sure to speak “generally,” too, since if we speak more specifically, there have been at least a few times when we’ve had short-term mortality rates higher than that of the initial invasion. For example, there was early May, 2004, when 79 US troops died in 10 days (7.9 deaths per day). Or early November, 2004, when 89 US troops died in 10 days (8.9 deaths per day). And in general, I think we’d have to recognize that the 1670 US deaths since the end of March, 2003, are fairly significant when compared to the 65 deaths that came before, even if the average daily death rate, when averaged on a per-month basis, has tended to be lower than it was during the war’s first 11 days.

What most of us really want to know, of course, is what the overall trend has been. Are we “making progress”? Is the insurgency in “its last throes”? Or are we thrashing along at pretty much the same rate of US deaths each month, or in fact seeing a slight increase over time?

Dean has this to say on that key question:

Overall, if you try to plot a trend over the entire period starting from day 1, you see a very mild upward curve, but that doesn’t really make sense. There was no organized resistance per se until several months after the initial invasion and the fall of Baghdad, and the mission of occupying forces is completely different from the mission of invading forces.

I find this passage really remarkable. The “very mild upward curve” Esmay sees is simply the objective reality that the US Iraq war death rate, over the entire course of the war, has been trending gradually upward. We’ve already seen how Esmay went out of his way to come up with an initial graph that gave him a high first data point on which to hang his preferred interpretation (that the overall trend is downward), but now, when he actually tries to fit a curve to the numbers, he realizes that it goes the other way. So what does he do? He simply rejects reality, because it “doesn’t really make sense.”

Hm. Maybe if he pokes and prods at the numbers some more, he can come up with a picture that looks more like what he wants. And indeed, that’s what he does next: he takes the four “periods” discussed by the Iraq Coalition Casualties web site (the initial invasion to the end of major combat, the end of major combat to the handover of sovereignty, the handover of sovereignty to the Iraqi elections, and the time since then), and plots the average daily death count for each period as a whole:

Dean Esmay\'s US deaths in Iraq by period graph

Now, this graph is really wacky, at least in the sense of providing any kind of apples-to-apples comparison. Note that we’re presenting four very different-sized chunks of time: The initial chunk covers about 2.3 months, the next one about 14 months, the next one about 7 months, and the last one about 4.7 months. This presentation completely obscures the overall death totals, since the periods across which the daily average is being computed can no longer be read from the graph.

But he gets what he’s really after: The downward “trend” (which again, he’s only able to get because he’s comparing the apples of the initial invasion to the oranges of the post-invasion occupation, over the course of which, even in this distorted presentation, you can see that the mortality is actually trending upward).

He concludes his analysis with the following:

My own gut tells me, frankly, that if by this time next summer the Iraqis do not have a new Constitution and have not held new elections that the formerly-privileged Sunni minority have participated in to a reasonable degree, it will probably be time to question whether the operation is ever going to succeed and start rethinking our strategy.

Until then, it seems obvious that we continue to retain the upper hand, and that the fascist insurgency is losing. Let’s hope that trend continues.

But as you can see, it’s really been his gut doing the talking all along. He ignores and massages the actual data as much as he needs to in order to make it support his a priori belief that we are, in fact, defeating the insurgency. But his own numbers clearly show that the insurgency has been getting stronger over time, rather than weaker (at least as measured by US deaths).

I’m reminded of the following graph by Dale Amon of, which he hopefully presented under the headline “We are winning” back in October of 2003:

Dale Amon\'s plot of coalition deaths in Iraq

Amon was merely premature in deriving a negative trend from the insurgency’s slow start. I haven’t checked, but I doubt he’s updated that graph lately. Esmay, revisiting the same numbers today, needs to go to considerably greater lengths to find an upbeat message, but find it he does, in a nice example of how a hard-nosed, just-the-facts conservative (update: or not; see his response in the comments) can actually compete quite nicely with a mushy-headed liberal like me when it comes to ignoring data that conflicts with his worldview.

Update: As a sort of pretty-pictures-over-facts exclamation point, Esmay links at the end of his post to the following item from weblogger Chrenkoff: The willing. It features a nice collection of flags and soldiers in stirring martial poses, illustrating the “26 other countries… doing good work for the future of Iraq.” Yes, well, I wouldn’t want to call into question the individual courage of those 33 Macedonians and 26 Kazakhstanis, and the approximately 10 Norwegians currently in-theater are doing their part, I’m sure (amazingly, it looks like every single one of them managed to fit into Chrenkoff’s photo).

Norwegian troops in Iraq

But if we’re going to talk about hard numbers, here’s the true picture: US forces currently account for about 87% of the foreign troops in Iraq. The next-largest contingent, from the UK, accounts for 5%. South Korea is 2%. The next three countries in descending order (Italy, Poland, and Ukraine) are 1.8%, 1.0%, and 0.8%, respectively — and all three of them are due to be gone before the end of the year. The manpower contributions of the other 20 countries in our grand coalition are significantly smaller than those. (See for details.)

I realize this leaves out the Iraqi forces we’ve been struggling to train and equip, and yes, I realize that they’re the ones we will eventually be handing this situation off to, one way or another, assuming any of them survive the insurgency’s targeted killings long enough for us to hand it off to them.

I’ve got nothing against giving all these brave soldiers their moment to pose, proud and unmaimed, under their country’s flag while someone snaps a photo. They deserve that.

Okay, we’ve now given them that. So let’s get back to talking realistically about what it’s going to take to get them out of this clusterfuck and back home.

Cleese to America

Friday, June 24th, 2005

John Cleese, besides being funny, is also my neighbor (broadly speaking). And I like to keep up on what my neighbors are doing. So here you go: To the citizens of the United States of America.

Volokh, PZ Myers on God’s Role in Creation

Friday, June 24th, 2005

Eugene Volokh takes a stray line from a Michael Shermer piece on Intelligent Design and runs with it: Is evolution a threat to religious belief? And PZ Myers of Pharyngula responds: Volokh’s question.

Rational Grounds on Corporate Astroturf

Friday, June 24th, 2005

Nothing much to say about this, but I wanted to make note of it for my own future reference more than anything else: Deceiving us has become an industrial process. Coverage of Somethingawful

Friday, June 24th, 2005

Live: Breaking News!

Do you want to know more?

Putting Torture on TV

Saturday, June 18th, 2005

Victor Navasky of the Columbia Journalism Review writes about how to break through peoples’ complacency about torture: Breaking the barrier. The comments are interesting, too.

Philosoraptor Asks If We Should Be Happy That Things Are Awful in Iraq

Saturday, June 18th, 2005

Philosoraptor provides an example of the kinds of things that pot-smoking philosophers find time to think about: Is it good that Iraq has been a disaster? He answers with a qualified affirmative, and I’m not sure I can find any flaw in his argument.

More on Downing Street Documents’ Significance

Saturday, June 18th, 2005

Here are some more links, representing the most interesting stuff I’ve read since I last updated y’all on my Downing Street Memo reading. Some of it’s up to a week old; apologies for being only sporadically obsessed.

From Think Progress: Full text of British briefing papers revealed: More evidence intel was fixed. It includes PDFs for the six additional documents that have entered the discussion recently. So far I’ve only read excerpts in news accounts, but it sounds like it continues to fill in more pieces of the picture; the legal concerns the British had about the invasion, references to the deal Tony Blair had cut with Bush at the ranch in Crawford in March, 2002, and so on. I’m still a little fuzzy on the history of when the various documents were leaked to the publlic, though I’m trying to put a clearer picture together so I can update Wikipedia’s Downing Street memo page with the details.

The Raw Story also has copies of the six documents, with some additional information on how they came to be released, and the details on how they were handled by Michael Smith, the journalist who received them from his confidential source, apparently in September, 2004: Backstory: Confirming the Downing Strett documents.

Speaking of journalist Michael Smith, he did a really interesting online chat via the Washington Post this past Thursday, June 16, 2005: Transcript: The Downing Street memo.

Michael Kinsley wrote an op-ed column questioning the memo’s significance: No smoking gun. has a nice page refuting some of the arguments against the memo’s significance, including some of those advanced by Kinsley: Reality check.

On June 12 Juan Cole had an item on the July, 2002, briefing paper (the one that was prepared in advance of the meeting summarized in the Downing Street memo): Bush and Blair committed to war in April, 2002.

Blogger Digby of Hullabaloo had some good discussion of the original memo’s significance last Sunday, June 12: The elephant.

A really good summary of the significance of all the documents was provided on Wednesday, June 15 by Slate’s Fred Kaplan (and was apparently on NPR’s Day to Day, also): Let’s go to the memo. Kaplan manages to be objective about what the documents do and don’t say, which is a pretty good trick in the current overheated rhetorical environment.

Speaking of overheated, it’s worth getting the day pass from Salon to read the views of four constitutional scholars regarding Ralph Nader’s (and others’) calls for Bush and his senior staff to be impeached based on the memo: The I-word.


More on Downing Street

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

Here are some more interesting (usual disclaimer) items on the Downing Street memo. Some are new; others are older items I’d previously overlooked.

First up, from today’s LA Times: New memos detail early plans for invading Iraq (login required; cypherpunk98/cypherpunk works for now). The article gives details from six additional documents obtained by the Sunday Times; they describe internal British government discussions of U.S. plans for war dating to March, 2002.

More dots filled in; I’d recommend Craig read it to see if he can still connect them in a way that looks like anything other than an early decision for war. But I suspect he may have reached the point where it’s easier not to pay attention; evidence that disconfirms deeply held beliefs can be a real pain in the ass, what with the need to keep erasing the picture you’ve previously formed so you can redraw the lines in a more convoluted fashion.

Eric Boehlert in Slate, who’s been doing a better job than most at keeping up on this story, had a piece yesterday that provides more details on the slow pace of media coverage: AP dropped the ball on the Downing memo (one-day pass required). Among the things he links to are this article from the ombudsman at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Downing Street memo’s route to paper, which discusses, among other things, how that newspaper came to publish a strikingly backboned editorial back on Memorial Day that talked about the memo, and tied it in with a larger point about the Iraq war being — like Vietnam — a “mistake” in which young people were being sent to die in “a war that should never have happened.”

Finally, I can’t believe I missed this back when it first appeared, but on May 19 (!) Juan Cole had an article in Salon that put the Downing Street memo in context, citing the events that took place in the run-up to war and showing how they fit in perfectly with the memo’s revelations: The lies that led to war.

A key observation:

The Bush administration, and some credulous or loyal members of the press, have long tried to blame U.S. intelligence services for exaggerating the Iraq threat and thus misleading the president into going to war. That position was always weak, and it is now revealed as laughable. President Bush was not misled by shoddy intelligence. Rather, he insisted on getting the intelligence that would support the war on which he had already decided.

I think that’s the heart of my disagreement with Craig these days: he persists in giving Bush the benefit of the doubt on this question, pointing to things like the reports of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Bush’s WMD commission as proving it was bad intelligence, not Bush’s bad judgment, that put us in the position we’re in today in Iraq. Bush was forced to go to war by Saddam’s failure to comply with resolution 1441, the argument goes, and by the UN’s failure to hold Saddam accountable.

As Cole says, that position was weak at the time the war began. It was obvious (at least to me) what was going on from the way Bush disengaged from the UN process just when it seemed most clearly to be working (where “working” is defined as “reducing the threat represented by Saddam’s WMD to a negligible level, at a minute fraction of the cost of going to war”).

Weak then, but indeed, laughable now. With each new piece of documentation that comes out, the picture gets clearer. The British government’s private communications from that time provide detailed, repeated confirmation of Bush’s early decision for war.

Crystal ball time. As this evidence grows stronger, the Bush team’s defenders will retreat to their ultimate fallback position: Sure Saddam didn’t actually have WMD. Sure the UN effort wasn’t made in a good faith search for an alternative to war. But Bush knew Saddam was a threat, and that one day, sooner or later, he was going to do something very bad to the United States. So he decided to stop him. Whether Bush actually reached that decision in 1998 or 2000 or 2001 or 2002 (or when he actually says he reached it, in 2003) is unimportant. What is important is that it was his decision, he made it, and we’re better off because of it.

Which is something like a belief in Creationism: It’s unfalsifiable. It’s based on a hypothetical prediction of what would have happened if we hadn’t removed Saddam by force, and no matter how bad the actual debacle of the Iraq war becomes, Bush and his supporters will always be able to imagine something worse.

Imaginary thinking is what they’re good at. It’s reality that they — and their supporters — have a hard time getting their heads around.

Fucking with the Message of God

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

Here’s a funky site that the spirtually complex J.A.Y.S.O.N. passed on to me the other day: It features such insights as this one:

Walking to what he after three years still thought of as “the new school”, Jeff Phillips realized that he had gotten used to how much his stomach hurt every morning. [Mamou, LA]

Weirdly variant takes on religion have been on my mind lately. My wife has been reading Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, feeding me choice tidbits; when she’s done I hope to read it myself. It apparently concerns the actions of some members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, an offshoot sect of the Mormon church that believes in things like forced marriages of 14-year-old girls to aging patriarchs who already have lots of wives, and abandoning teenage boys on the side of the road in order to adjust the sect’s male-female ratio to facilitate the aforementioned polygyny.

It seems to be human nature to fuck with the message of God. Mormonism itself, for all that it has many devout, upstanding adherants, strikes me as a prime example of that. I can’t see any other way to read the life story of Joseph Smith than as that of an opinionated kid who really wanted to bring more Old Testament-style fire and brimstone to the practice of Christianity, and told a chain of preposterous lies in order to accomplish it.

You can see a similar process happening with Westboro Baptist, which I came across the other day via this funny posting by C. Monks of Utter Wonder: Fashion highs and lows of the Westboro Baptist Church.

At first I couldn’t tell if the church was real, or was a parody like Landover Baptist, but after some investigation I’m forced to conclude that Westboro Baptist, along with its spiritual leader, Pastor Fred Phelps, are all too real. For one thing, I don’t think the droll subversives who create sites like Landover Baptist would stoop to this kind of child abuse just to make a point:

child abuse

What is it in human nature that makes us so anxious to imbue God with our own hatreds and fears, then use our faith as a stick to beat up on each other? I thought about that yesterday while browsing the FAQs posted by Tim Boucher, Occult Investigator. They include the folllowing:

Are you aware that you’re going to hell?

I’m absolutely dumb-founded by people who call themselves Christians but who go out of their way to be spiteful and mean-spirited. If you can show me how that is part of Christ’s message of love and forgiveness, I will eat my hat. And when I poop it out, I will eat the poop.

Christianity itself, from a certain perspective, is based on a perversion of Christ’s original teachings. The Church as a political entity isn’t based on Christ as much as it’s based on Paul, and a strong case can be made (and in fact, has been made, by A. Victor Garaffa of The pauline conspiracy) that Paul actually pulled off a coup de main, overthrowing the disciples of Jesus and erecting in their place a church that more-closely matched his own authoritarian leanings.

From what I’ve seen of the religious mutations taking place in my own time, I find that explanation easy to believe.

The Meta-meta Story on the Downing Street Memo

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

A few more Downing Street memo links: From Eric Boehlert at Salon (one-day pass required): Bush lied about war? Nope, no news there! And from the Sunday Times of London: Ministers were told of need for Gulf war.

That last one features a new twist: It seems the Times of London has published most of a secret briefing paper that was distributed at the meeting summarized by the original Downing Street memo. I’m sure Bush defenders will be all over certain parts of it; the following quote, for example:

Although no political decisions have been taken, US military planners have drafted options for the US Government to undertake an invasion of Iraq.

Bush critics, on the other hand, will likely focus on passages like this:

A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden.

It’s a real crowd-pleaser. This top-secret document has something for everyone!

Jumping back to the story about the briefing paper that I linked to above (before I linked to the actual briefing paper), I also like how the Times of London is now reporting on the US media’s reporting on the previous Times of London reporting on the original memo:

The Downing Street memo burst into the mainstream American media only last week after it was raised at a joint Bush-Blair press conference, forcing the prime minister to insist that “the facts were not fixed in any shape or form at all”.

I also like the following:

John Conyers, the Democratic congressman who drafted the letter to Bush, has now written to Dearlove asking him to say whether or not it was accurate that he believed the intelligence was being “fixed” around the policy. He also asked the former MI6 chief precisely when Bush and Blair had agreed to invade Iraq and whether it is true they agreed to “manufacture” the UN ultimatum in order to justify the war.

He and other Democratic congressmen plan to hold their own inquiry this Thursday with witnesses including Joe Wilson, the American former ambassador who went to Niger to investigate claims that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium ore for its nuclear weapons programme.

Yay! We have Joe Wilson to kick around some more!

Triumph Thinks the Michael Jackson Trial is Great… for Him to Poop On!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

So, I guess there was some sort of trial up the road in Santa Maria that ended yesterday? At least, I noticed that at one point in the afternoon the same dumb program, in which a swarm of helicopters follwed a line of black SUVs, was on every channel.


It’s a little late, but Triumph is always good for a laugh. Courtesy of anti-copyright superhero Norm of One Good Move (I think he has a spandex suit in the closet that says “Fair Use Man!” in bold letters across the chest): Triumph The Insult Comic Dog and MJ Fans.

Iapetus Ridge Followup

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

I previously talked about the weird-ass equatorial ridge on Saturn’s moon Iapetus. I’ve been waiting to hear what wacky theories real scientists come up with to explain it (after getting tired of the differently-wacky theories non-scientists were coming up with), and it seems that Paulo C.C. Freire has one: Did Iapetus consume one of Saturn’s rings?