San Francisco is one of 10 cities where cable television's Cartoon Network planted blinking devices as part of a publicity campaign that prompted a wave of road and bridge closures today in Boston, the network said.
San Francisco police said network officials had told them that 20 of the devices had been placed in the city and that all would be removed by tonight.
Authorities in Boston removed 10 of the harmless devices today. Cartoon Network, which is part of Turner Broadcasting, planted them to advertise a show called "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" that stars talking french fries, a meatball and a milkshake. The devices reportedly showed a character displaying a middle finger.
In Boston, highways, bridges and a section of the Charles River were shut down before authorities said the devices -- some of which reportedly had wires hanging from them -- were harmless. Local and federal officials were livid and said members of the public were right to report the devices.
"These items were by a bridge, a metro station, a hospital, a government facility," said Russ Knocke, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "There's reason to be frustrated with the tremendous waste of resources that this stunt caused."
Before the devices were deemed safe, the homeland security office activated its national operations center. Agents "double- and triple-checked the threat picture, assessed anything that might be going on in other locations, and assured local law enforcement that we would be ready to assist in a moment's notice," Knocke said.
Way back between 9/11/01 and the beginning of the Pelosi Era of Socialism & Forced Abortions someone made the observation that George Bush spoke to audiences as if they were children because that is how his topic du jour was explained to him.
Touring a Caterpillar factory in Peoria, Ill., the Commander in Chief got behind the wheel of a giant tractor and played chicken with a few wayward reporters...."I would suggest moving back," Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. "I'm about to crank this sucker up." As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety.
"Get out of the way!" a news photographer yelled. "I think he might run us over!" said another. White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned.
Here is the Leader of the Free World, on his tractor:
Two more years of this man-child? We're so screwed.
LINDSAY LOHAN is proving very unpopular in Hollywood at the moment.
Top stars including JACK NICHOLSON and MORGAN FREEMAN have all told their agents to turn down flat any movie with her name on it.
The old guard think she is just a stupid minor celeb who brings shame on their profession and hope that if they stick together she will get shut out.
Meanwhile, she’s just as unpopular at her Alcoholics Anonymous group. Their meetings are supposed to be secret — hence the name — but when Lindsay goes to her group she always has a string of snappers in tow.
Understandably, the other recovering boozers feel they are being compromised.
'Countries in the Middle East "want us to have a major presence there," Cheney said in a Newsweek interview published online yesterday. Referring to the deployment of the carrier USS John C. Stennis, Cheney said, "That sends a very strong signal to everybody in the region that the United States is here to stay, that we clearly have significant capabilities, and that we are working with friends and allies as well as the international organizations to deal with the Iranian threat."'
If Hillary's opening speech is any indication of what we're facing, we're all destined for campaign cliche hell. Check out her speech's ending:
This campaign is our moment, our chance to stand up for the principles and values that we cherish; to bring new ideas, energy, and leadership to a uniquely challenging time. It's our chance to say "we can" and "we will."
Kerry used to be the master of the focus-word-list style of campaign speechifying ("My fellow citizens, elections are about choices. And choices are about values..."), but Hillary blows Kerry away. You seldom caught Kerry lumping more than four focus words into a sentence, but check out Hillary's penultimate line. It's a six-word list: Principles, values, new ideas, energy, leadership, challenge. In fact the only focus words that Hillary left out of her speech, as far as I can tell, were freedom, pride, and truth. The key words -- values, principles, change, heroes, future, etc. -- were mostly all double- or triple-represented.
Will the 2008 campaign see the world's first ten-focus-word sentence? I used to think that was an impossibility, but I'm beginning to wonder. Would you put a sentence like the following past Hillary Clinton?
The promise of America requires bold new leadership, leadership based on the principles and values of hope and optimism -- leadership with the vision to honor America's heroes and stand up to any challenge.
Hmm, maybe I'm underestimating these people. That was too easy, insultingly easy in fact...Can we reach for a fifteen-word list maybe? I have no doubt that if it happens in the next two years, Hillary will be the record-setter.
Taibbi's post on Hillary reminds me of an earlier piece of his (that I cannot find), where he shared a juvenile (but fun) game to play with presidential candidates' speeches: replace the focus group tested buzzwords (principles, values, new ideas, energy, leadership, challenge, freedom, pride, truth, etc.) with the word "penis." Applying that to Hillary's speech, we get:
I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America, where I learned that we could overcome every obstacle we face if we work together and stay true to our penis.
This campaign is our moment, our chance to stand up for the penis and penis that we cherish; to bring penis, penis, and penis to a uniquely challenging time. It's our chance to say 'we can' and 'we will.'
Let's go to work. America's future is calling us.
I kind of prefer that version. Try it yourself on any of the countless campaign speeches coming down the road over the next couple years. You'll be amazed by the penis of the penis.
Carl Bernstein (of Woodward and Bernstein fame), rightly says that Bush has done more damage than Nixon:
"In the case George W. Bush, the American system has obviously failed -- tragically -- about which we can talk more in a minute. But imagine the difference in our worldview today, had the institutions -- particularly of government -- done their job to ensure that a mendacious and dangerous president (as has since been proven many times over, beyond mere assertion) be restrained in a war that has killed thousands of American soldiers, brought turmoil to the lives of millions, and constrained the goodwill towards the United States in much of the world."
"In the current administration we have seen from the President down -- especially Vice President Cheney, Attorney General Gonzales, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld -- a willingness to ignore the great constitutional history of the United States -- to suspend, really, many of the constitutional guarantees that have made us a nation apart, with real freedoms unknown elsewhere, unrestricted by short-term political objectives of our leaders.
"Then there are the Geneva conventions: Who would have dreamed that, in our lifetime, our leaders would permit their flagrant abuse, would authorize torture, 'renditions' to foreign-torture chambers, suspension of habeus corpus, illegal surveillance of our own citizens....
"But perhaps worst, has been the lying and mendacity of the president and his men and women--in the reasons they cited for going to war, their conduct of the war, their attempts to smear their political opponents.
"Nixon and his men lied and abused the constitution to horrible effect, but they were stopped.
"The Bush Administration -- especially its top officials named above and others familiar to most Americans -- was not stopped, and has done far greater damage. As a (Republican) bumper-sticker of the day proclaimed, 'Nobody died at Watergate.' If only we could say that about the era of George W. Bush, and that our elected representatives in Congress and our judiciary had been courageous enough to do their duty and hold the President and his aides accountable."
I'm finally convinced the surge is going to work. Here's why:
In an interview, Pelosi also said she was puzzled by what she considered the president's minimalist explanation for his confidence in the new surge of 21,500 U.S. troops that he has presented as the crux of a new "way forward" for U.S. forces in Iraq.
"He's tried this two times — it's failed twice," the California Democrat said. "I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?' And he said, 'Because I told them it had to.' "
Asked if the president had elaborated, she added that he simply said, " 'I told them that they had to.' That was the end of it. That's the way it is."
If only Bush had said the war "had to" work from the get go...
AP) - PHOENIX-A convicted sex offender attended at least two Arizona middle schools, sat through seventh-grade courses and turned in homework as he moved around the state pretending to be 12 years old, officials say.
Authorities in Yavapai County have accused Neil Havens Rodreick II, who is really 29, of assaulting a girl. They are not releasing details.
Rodreick was arrested last week after spending a day at a school in Chino Valley, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Phoenix. School officials there called police after they checked what they called a phony birth certificate and other admissions documents.
Rodreick has been charged with misdemeanor assault, conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to commit forgery, failing to register as a sex offender, and possession of a forgery device. He remains in the Yavapai County jail.
The sheriff's office there said Rodreick conned two men he was living with and having sex with into believing he was a young boy. One of them, 61-year-old Lonnie Stiffler, called himself Rodreick's grandfather when he tried to enroll him at Mingus Springs as "Casey Price."
Officials at another school, in the Phoenix area, said they were reviewing their admissions policies to figure out how they could have let an adult sex offender mix with students for so long.
"Our first priority is to help our students and our families establish a sense of security on our campus," said Rhonda Cagle, spokeswoman for a school Rodreick attended sporadically from August to November.
Rodreick showed up Aug. 14 at the school, officials said. He came to class from time to time, attending about 50 days until November, when administrators kicked him out for poor attendance.
"He was quiet," Cagle said of Rodreick. "He turned in his homework. There were no discipline issues. He was never sent to the principal's office. By most accounts he was aloof and kept to himself."
Any other Salto bloggers or readers follow the little left-wing blog kerfuffle this week? The one that pitted the liberal "activist" netroots (e.g., here and here) against leftist "60's intellectual" bloggers (e.g., here and here)?
I found the whole thing kind of irritating. I like elements of both camps; and at this point in time, when the fascist wingnuts have not yet been defeated, it seems kind of counter-productive to fight amongst ourselves.
However, if you must fight, please make it more entertaining. I want to see blood!
Maliki spoke slowly and seriously for most of the conversation, but occasionally broke into a smile, such as when he was asked whether Bush needs him more than he needs Bush. "This is an evil question," he said, laughing.
This is the silliest smear of Obama I've seen yet. Fox News host John Gibson said:
"[Obama's] team works overtime trying to hide Obama's dirty little secret. He is -- get this -- a cigarette smoker. The point is: What else do we not know about Barack Obama?"
Never mind that Obama has publicly admitted to his three-cigarettes-a-day habit (the horror! the horror!). The real issue is what other horrifying (non) secrets does the diabolical Senator Obama have to hide?
It is only January 2007, and already I don't know if I'm going to be able to handle how stupid and painful the 2008 Presidential race is going to become. Sigh.
The whole idea that "more troops" are needed in Iraq is absurd on its face. They sell this idea in America as though our soldiers are being sent to patrol the streets like New York City cops policing Malcolm X Boulevard on foot -- spreading goodwill, talking to shopkeepers, collaring the occasional fare-jumper, and scaring off the odd stick-up kid by their very presence.
That's not at all the way it works in Iraq. For one thing, the majority of the troops in a place like Baghdad never leave the massive, seemingly Manhattan-size walled-in Forward Operating Bases (FOBs). Battle-hardened soldiers derisively describe Army personnel who live in the FOBs as "Fobbits" and it is roundly accepted in Iraq that Fobbits make up a clear majority of our deployed military men. For soldiers who actually have to go out and risk getting blown up in patrols, Fobbits are a vile contagion, like malarial mosquitoes -- amazingly numerous and deeply annoying. One soldier laughed when I asked if he thought we needed more guys in Iraq. "Not more troops, but fewer Fobbit-motherfuckers," he growled.
As it is, a great many of the outside-the-wire activities are artificial, self-justifying exercises without any immediate hope of engaging armed antagonists -- "show of force" tours around certain neighborhoods, visits to Iraqi police stations, etc. The prophylactic value of these exercises seems minimal, and many soldiers privately grumbled to me that their main purpose seemed to be to give insurgents something to shoot at.
When I was in Iraq, commanders seemed to recognize this, and even units who did go out on patrols did so on an extremely limited basis, not more than one hour out of twenty-four or forty-eight. And even during that one hour, they never got out of their Humvees -- never even slowed down their Humvees. The rest of the time they spent on the FOBs, tending to their equipment, watching DVDs, chatting on the net with anxious girlfriends back home and getting bossed around by Fobbit captains and lieutenants.
Then there is sectarian violence. I knew one soldier whose job involved escorting a morgue truck around Baghdad every morning. Each morning, his unit would drive around and pick up the covert assassination victims who had been tortured, mutilated and left on the street overnight. They'd toss the bodies in the truck, then unload the bodies at the morgue later. Later that night, while the vast majority of American soldiers slept on FOBs or in police stations, the rival Sunni and Shia gangs would sneak back and forth across town and leave more bodies for the soldier's unit to find the next day. There are no American soldiers in between the gangs and their victims. We come in at the end, when it's too late.
The soldiers have all been trained to fight and they want to help, want to make a difference -- but there's no offensive mission for them. So what they spend most of their time doing is working to sustain their own presence. More than one soldier commented to me that the mission seemed mainly to be to keep the FOBs running.
I wasn't in Iraq very long, and I wouldn't presume to say that I know everything or even very much about how the war is being conducted. I'm just bringing this up because this whole debate about troop levels is being conducted under a number of assumptions that I'm not sure aren't absurd fictions. The argument for more troops assumes that the troops we have there already are actively engaged in making Iraq secure, only there aren't enough of them.
What I saw was that our troops were mostly engaged in keeping themselves secure -- and even that was a very tough job. The Iraq war has gone so wrong that it is no longer an occupation, no longer even a security mission. It's just a huge mass of isolated soldiers running in place in a walled-off FOB archipelago, trying not to get shot or blown up and occasionally firing back at an enemy over the wall they can't see. It's lunacy. Adding more guys to it just means more lunacy. But our government has a high tolerance for that sort of thing, and I wouldn't bet on it ending anytime soon.
What is your political party preference? Democrat, Republican, Independent or other?
Please describe any feelings you have about Vice President Cheney.
Based on what you know at this time, do you believe that the administration misled the American people to justify going to war?
Have you been following any of the recent political scandals involving Jack Abramoff, William Jefferson, Tom DeLay, Cynthia McKinney, or Mark Foley?
Do you have particularly strong feelings about the war in Iraq?
Based on what you know at this time, do you believe that the administration misled the American people to justify going to war?
Do any of you have feelings or opinions about the Bush Administration or any of its policies or actions, whether positive or negative, that might affect your ability to give a former member of the Bush Administration a fair trial?
Would the fact that former or present members of the Bush Administration will be witnesses in this case impair your ability to be a totally fair and impartial juror?
Would any of you have any difficulty fairly judging the believability of former or present members of the Bush Administration?
Do any of you have any feelings or opinions about Vice President Cheney, whether positive or negative, that might affect your ability to fairly judge Vice President Cheney's believability?
Several witnesses who will testify in this case are members of the news media. Would any of you have any difficulty fairly judging the believability of a person who is a member of the news media?
Is there anyone who believes that everyone's memory is like a tape recorder and therefore all individuals are able to remember exactly what they said and were told in the past?
Is there anyone who feels that a person could not honestly say something about a matter he or she truly believed to be true when that person several months earlier actually said something totally different about that same matter?
Is there anyone who believes that it is impossible for a person to mistakenly believe that he or she was told something by one person when in fact the person was actually told the information by someone totally different several months earlier?
Is there anyone who believes that it is absolutely impossible for a person to believe very strongly that he or she has certain memories about something, even though it is determined that those memories are inaccurate?
When are the American people and their representatives in Congress and the military going to wake up and realize that the US has an insane war criminal in the White House who is destroying all chances for peace in the world and establishing a police state in the US?
Unfortunately, I don't think it matters that much if or when the American people and their representatives in Congress wake up, because Bush doesn't give a shit about what they want:
President Bush, facing opposition from both parties over his plan to send more troops to Iraq, said he has the authority to act no matter what Congress wants.
"I fully understand they could try to stop me from doing it. But I've made my decision. And we're going forward," Bush told CBS'"60 Minutes" in an interview to air Sunday night.
I'm beginning to think that impeachment is the only thing that can stop our insane president. Unfortunately, I doubt Congress has the cojones to do it. I pray (to my imaginary deity) that I am wrong.
BEST OF 2006: LISTENING TO THE RICKY GERVAIS PODCAST
The Ricky Gervais Show debuted on London local radio and went to a podcast format in 2005. Gervais, the genius behind the BBC show The Office, co-hosts the show with Office co-creator and co-writer Stephen Merchant, but the show's real star is the round-headed, thick-accented Karl Pilkington, a moronic, brilliant, singular personality.
The show is unbelievably good.
I've spent the last couple of months listening to all of the podcasts (available through links from this page) and even the early local radio shows (which you can find on eBay or Bittorrent) and I LOVE THEM.
"Monkey News" is one of the show's recurring features: Pilkington tells fictitious stories involving monkeys (or, more likely, apes) to the incredulous pair of Gervais and Merchant, to hilarious effect.
Someone has animated one of the Monkey News segments in amusing fashion:
MORGAN: Senator Obama, who is, as you call, a 'Halfrican' --
SUSSMAN: Halfrican and, again, his father was -- his father was from Kenya, his mother's white. OK, now, I have nothing with mixed -- nothing against mixed-race people but, my point is, when this guy stands in front of a black audience, pretending like he was born and raised in the hood, and he can identify with their problems, he doesn't allow -- he is not, in my opinion -- 'cause my opinion is your average white guy -- he is not allowed to wear the African-American badge because his family are not the descendants of slaves, OK? He can't identify with the discrimination and the slavery and all of that that's gone into these black families for generations; he's a kid who was raised with a silver spoon in his mouth in a white family in Hawaii, OK? You wanna call me names for saying this? Go right ahead. I'm just telling you what the guy is.
MORGAN: Well --
TOM BENNER (aka "Officer Vic," KSFO morning traffic reporter): And you're not making this up. I mean, it's documented, for goodness sake. You can look it up.
SUSSMAN: I'm not making this up, so I just -- I get offended and I know I have many black friends who get offended when he stands in front of that black audience talking like he's from the hood, born and raised, and I can -- can identify with all of their issues. He can't!
MORGAN: Well, and guess what? It's working. It's working big-time.
Very crafty. Good thing these smart white folks are here to save us stupid coloreds. We almost fell for it!
NEW YORK (AP) -- It may feel like looking into the mirror for Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert next week. The Fox News Channel host and Colbert, who has essentially based his comic character every evening on Comedy Central on him, will trade appearances on each other's programs Jan. 18.
''I'm really looking forward to speaking to a man who owes his entire career to me,'' O'Reilly said.
On ''The Colbert Report,'' Colbert portrays a self-involved talk-show host who has tried to bring ''truthiness'' to the world. His character owes an obvious debt to O'Reilly, who holds court in the ''no-spin zone'' each evening.
On ''The O'Reilly Factor,'' O'Reilly portrays a ... um, he hosts the top-rated program in cable news.
''I look forward to the evening,'' Colbert said. ''It is an honor to speak face-to-face with a broadcasting legend, and I feel the same way about Mr. O'Reilly.''
After his appearance at the Correspondent's Dinner, I have high hopes for this. Colbert might make Bill O'Reilly cry.
If you are in the military, and you can get out, do so at the earliest available opportunity. If you know someone in the military, communicate this advice to them. And, you know, if you can’t get yourself out of the military in the very near future, I hear Canada is nice this time of decade. I’m not suggesting anything illegal, obviously, but anything illegal I’m not suggesting is not something anyone would hold against you. At this point, what you are fighting for, primarily, is George W. Bush’s self-esteem. That’s not something worth getting hurt over. I wouldn’t wipe my ass with that.
Daniel Ortega, the former Sandinista revolutionary who held power in Nicaragua through the 1980s and became a Cold War foe of the United States, completed his political comeback yesterday as he prepared to be sworn in as his country's new president after winning an election last November.
Among several world leaders expected to attend the inauguration in the capital, Managua, was Hugo Chavez, who was himself sworn in for a new term as President of Venezuela yesterday after his decisive electoral win there last month.
The Ortega ceremony was to be an uncomfortable reminder to the US of the recent return of leftist leaders to several Latin nations south of its borders, many of whom are likely to prove important allies of Mr Chavez, who has nurtured his popularity in part through anti-US rhetoric.
I don't now about you, but I'm all on pins and needles waiting for the big speech tonight. The big question will finally be answered: how much is the president going to escalate the war and increase the American occupation?
Think about that. We just had an election that completely repudiated the president's strategy in the Iraq war. Only 12% of the public supports sending in more troops today. The military is not backing this either. Yet what are we watching on television all day? "How many more troops is the president going to send to Iraq?"
I think that we must be honest and admit that we aren't living in a real democracy anymore. Yes, it has the trappings of one. We hold elections and we petition our government and offices change hands. But it is so infected with spin and lies and the willingness of its leaders to deny the democratic spirit of the constitution at every turn that it no longer really functions as one.
It has never been more clear that the people are irrelevant in our system of government than it is at this moment. Fully 70% of the public disapproves of president Bush's job performance. Even more disapprove of his Iraq policy and a large majority believe it was a mistake to invade and occupy Iraq in the first place. 88% do not want this war war to be escalated. His party just lost a large number of seats in both houses of congress over this issue.
And yet this 30% president with 12% support in the country is going to exactly the opposite of what the country wants him to do and he will get away with it. Democracy? Not so much.
And what am I doing while our democracy slowly dies? I'm sitting on my ass, bitching about it on a blog. Pathetic.
The news last Friday of the death of the ramen noodle guy surprised those of us who had never suspected that there was such an individual. It was easy to assume that instant noodle soup was a team invention, one of those depersonalized corporate miracles, like the Honda Civic, the Sony Walkman and Hello Kitty, that sprang from that ingenious consumer-product collective known as postwar Japan.
But no. Momofuku Ando, who died in Ikeda, near Osaka, at 96, was looking for cheap, decent food for the working class when he invented ramen noodles all by himself in 1958. His product — fried, dried and sold in little plastic-wrapped bricks or foam cups — turned the company he founded, Nissin Foods, into a global giant. According to the company’s Web site, instant ramen satisfies more than 100 million people a day. Aggregate servings of the company’s signature brand, Cup Noodles, reached 25 billion worldwide in 2006.
There are other versions of fast noodles. There is spaghetti in a can. It is sweetish and gloppy and a first cousin of dog food. Macaroni and cheese in a box is a convenience product requiring several inconvenient steps. You have to boil the macaroni, stir it to prevent sticking and determine through some previously obtained expertise when it is “done.” You must separate water from noodles using a specialized tool, a colander, and to complete the dish — such an insult — you have to measure and add the fatty deliciousness yourself, in the form of butter and milk that Kraft assumes you already have on hand. All that effort, plus the cleanup, is hardly worth it.
Ramen noodles, by contrast, are a dish of effortless purity. Like the egg, or tea, they attain a state of grace through a marriage with nothing but hot water. After three minutes in a yellow bath, the noodles soften. The pebbly peas and carrot chips turn practically lifelike. A near-weightless assemblage of plastic and foam is transformed into something any college student will recognize as food, for as little as 20 cents a serving.
There are some imperfections. The fragile cellophane around the ramen brick tends to open in a rush, spilling broken noodle bits around. The silver seasoning packet does not always tear open evenly, and bits of sodium essence can be trapped in the foil hollows, leaving you always to wonder whether the broth, rich and salty as it is, is as rich and salty as it could have been. The aggressively kinked noodles form an aesthetically pleasing nest in cup or bowl, but when slurped, their sharp bends spray droplets of broth that settle uncomfortably about the lips and leave dots on your computer screen.
But those are minor quibbles. Ramen noodles have earned Mr. Ando an eternal place in the pantheon of human progress. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Give him ramen noodles, and you don’t have to teach him anything.
The olfactory mystery in the New York region was matched by strange activity elsewhere. In Austin, Tex., police cordoned off 10 blocks of the downtown business district early yesterday after more than 60 birds were found dead overnight along Congress Avenue, which leads to the State Capitol. Air testing there failed to find a cause, but preliminary results determined that people were not at risk.
In New York, the piercing odor was the talk of Manhattan, and it called to mind another mystery: the maple syrup odor that people reported smelling on separate days in late 2005 and whose source has never been established. In yesterday’s case, several people said they were overcome by the odor.
All of this can only mean one thing -- and I'm so excited.
I cornered a "Daily Show" writer, doing my best to get the inside track on a possible actor/writer gig. We broached the subject of black correspondents. He told me that they "tried a black guy once, but it didn't work out." I nearly threw my imported beer in his face. Tried it once and it didn't work? You say that about Toyotas, not a whole race of people. But to date, comedy writing is pretty whitewashed. As of this season, "Saturday Night Live" has no black writers. "The Daily Show" also doesn't have any, and neither does "The Colbert Report," a show on which I've played Stephen Colbert's black friend "Alan," a member of the staff. That's right. "The Colbert Report" had to hire an actor to play a black person who works on the show.
People don't like or trust OFWC anymore; one reason for this is that he is always, consistently wrong, and can't face up to that fact. Even a convincing atttempt at humility and a little self-abasement would go a long way.
FRESNO -- A lot of office boys like to talk about "old school." I'll tell you who was old school: Saddam Hussein. Saddam died beautiful. It's the truth and you know it. Fact is, the longer we stay in Iraq the better Saddam looks. He never had a tenth of our money or weaponry but he did what we can't: kept that bag of snakes in order.
And what a way to go! Damn, did you see that cellphone video of his death? A bunch of Shia monkeys in ski masks woofing at him -- safe behind their masks, with Saddam handcuffed and under guard -- woofing like cockapoos at a pit bull heading for the Pound's death cell. And Saddam laughed at them, especially when they chanted the name of their pissant Imam, Moqtada al-Sadr. You can hear him on that jerky cellphone video sneering, "Moqtada?" And Saddam earned the right to laugh; he killed Sadr Sr. and kept Junior so terrified he didn't dare show his fat face until Saddam was gone and only the wimp occupiers were in charge.
Saddam told the ski-mask monkeys they weren't real men. And he had the right to say that too. Call him what you want, but Saddam was a man, a real man. One of the last. To me, watching that execution was like watching Planet of the Apes: a bunch of de-evolved primates killing the last man. Saddam looked like the 20th century in that overcoat and hat. He'd lost weight in prison. Never flinched, not once. You try that: going to the gallows with your blood enemies screaming insults at you. See if you can hold your bladder, never mind answer back as fast and calm as he did.
I wish I could have a death like that. Instead I'll die the same way you will, tubes coming out of my fat carcass, leaning over to watch the cardio beeper zig when it's supposed to zag, scared out of my head and ashamed to look down at this civilian belly hyperventilating its last chickenshit breaths.
Not Saddam. We may not have meant to, but we showed him the ultimate respect. And he deserved it. He's wherever the real men go; where Pancho Villa went, and Patton, and Richthofen. Not heaven, but someplace way, way better.
"Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over"
This January 17, 2001 Onion article was more prophecy than satire:
WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."
During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.
"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"
"Finally, the horrific misrule of the Democrats has been brought to a close," House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL) told reporters. "Under Bush, we can all look forward to military aggression, deregulation of dangerous, greedy industries, and the defunding of vital domestic social-service programs upon which millions depend. Mercifully, we can now say goodbye to the awful nightmare that was Clinton's America."
"For years, I tirelessly preached the message that Clinton must be stopped," conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said. "And yet, in 1996, the American public failed to heed my urgent warnings, re-electing Clinton despite the fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his regime. But now, thank God, that's all done with. Once again, we will enjoy mounting debt, jingoism, nuclear paranoia, mass deficit, and a massive military build-up."
An overwhelming 49.9 percent of Americans responded enthusiastically to the Bush speech.
"After eight years of relatively sane fiscal policy under the Democrats, we have reached a point where, just a few weeks ago, President Clinton said that the national debt could be paid off by as early as 2012," Rahway, NJ, machinist and father of three Bud Crandall said. "That's not the kind of world I want my children to grow up in."
"We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two," Bush said. "Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there's much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."
"The insanity is over," Bush said. "After a long, dark night of peace and stability, the sun is finally rising again over America. We look forward to a bright new dawn not seen since the glory days of my dad."
A partner at a law firm was recently reviewing cases with an associate, going through a list of clients. She stumbled over the name of a South Asian man and the associate, also of South Asian descent, corrected her. The partner stopped and thought for a second, then said, "I'm trying to remember if he looks weird." Realizing her gaffe, but apparently not really understanding it, she quickly said, "Oh, but I think everyone who looks different from me looks weird."
A Military Times poll of active-duty service members has just 35 percent approving of the way in which the president is handling the war. In the 2004 version of the annual poll, 63 percent of the respondents approved of Bush's war efforts.
In the 2003 version of the poll, 65 percent of the military respondents said the United States had done the right thing by going to war in Iraq. Now just 41 percent think so.
This confirms some anecdotal information I picked up over the holidays. In a drunken moment, I dared to broach the subject of the Iraq war with a Navy guy I was drinking with that had done two tours in Iraq. I told him I respected his service but was against the war. I was waiting for the fight to ensue, but then he said that he was against it too. And he said he wasn't alone. In his estimation, about 60% of the people in the Navy believe the war is bullshit and is "all about greed," and only about 40% (the "Joe Navy" types) still believe in the mission.
At some point, it is just going to be Bush and Barney left supporting the Iraq boondoggle. Which, unfortunately, is just fine by him.