April 30, 2003
Iraqis Protest Shooting of Iraqis by U.S. Soldiers; U.S. Soldiers Shoot Them
FALLUJAH, -- In a second incident in as many days, U.S. troops fired on Iraqi protesters protesting the shooting and killing of Iraqi protesters by U.S. troops the day before. Two protesters were killed.
Meanwhile, Donald Rumsfeld addressed is from one of the Presidential palaces in Baghdad. "Iraq belongs to you," he said. "It's only the bullets that belong to us."
Tomorrow, President Bush will stand on the deck of a really big aircraft carrier and announce that the war is over. "We've licked this whole thing," he said today.
He was later heard to mutter, "If only we could get those Iraqis to stop shooting at us."
Posted by Tom Burka at 12:58 PM
Iraqis Celebrate; U.S. Soldiers Shoot Them
A small horde, group, or mass of Iraqis were either protesting the occupation of a school by U.S. forces or unwisely celebrating the birthday of Saddam Hussein when U.S soldiers in the school opened fire and either killed 13 or 15 of them or killed some of them while others were killed by what was called "celebratory gunfire."
Soldiers in an elevated, enclosed schoolroom, unaware of either the lack of firecrackers in Baghdad or the practice of firing guns into the air to celebrate an event, apparently mistook the "celebratory gunfire"-- bullets fired up into the air that, obeying the laws of gravity, return to earth and accidentally revisit the shooter -- for "noncelebratory gunfire" -- in other words, people trying to kill them -- and killed members of the birthday party.
News accounts differ. Some said the Iraqis were unarmed; others said that they were shooting off the guns into the air to protest the presence of U.S. soldiers in the schoolhouse; other said they were firing into the air to celebrate Hussein's birthday; others said that the Iraqis were dancing around a maypole and occasionally playing London bridge; one account said that Iraqis were threatening American forces with nuclear weapons and water pistols. The Washington post squared all of these accounts by simply reporting: "Details remained murky."
Posted by Tom Burka at 12:44 PM
April 29, 2003
Bush Signs Pact With Terrorist Group; White House Analysts Conclude That U.S. Must Invade Self
In light of President's Bush's repeated statements that nations that are against terrorism are "for us," and that nations that deal with terrorists are "against us," Senior White House officials have reluctantly concluded that a contract between the United States and a terrorist group on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations means that the United States will have to declare war on itself unless the United States ignores its own demands that the agreement be terminated "or else."
"President Bush has repeatedly stated that countries that harbor, promote or support terrorism are against us and will be considered a hostile regime," said Theodore Shmeckman, a senior White House advisor. "The People's Mujahedeen is a large terrorist organization that has killed Americans in the past and supported the takeover of the American Embassy in Iran years ago. By contracting with them to allow their continued existence, we have just become a hostile regime. We have weapons of mass destruction, and we're a super-superpower. We're very dangerous, we pose a great threat to ourselves, and we must be stopped at all costs."
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:02 AM
April 28, 2003
Bush Insists Tax Cuts Will Cure SARS
At a speech today before the ASA ("Association of Stupid Americans"), Bush said, "Tax cuts will cure SARS. That much we know. If we don't pass this tax cut, God knows how many people will needlessly die because we failed to act -- to act now -- to give people the tax cuts that will stop this disease and heal the world's sick."
Bush did not merely suggest that tax cuts would cure SARS: he also said tax cuts would cure the common cold, stimulate the economy, revive tired, aching muscles, bring peace to the Middle East, and give pigs wings.
Posted by Tom Burka at 12:38 PM
April 26, 2003
WHO Convenes Emergency Meeting of Hollywood Screenwriters to Combat SARS
In a move some called desperate and others hailed as an attempt at a creative solution to a difficult problem, the World Health Organization formed a "think tank" of Hollywood screenwriters and directors to craft strategies that would stem the spread of the pulmonary disease SARS.
George Lucas proposed naming the initiative "SARS Wars," and said that, with some luck, they could "drag the thing out" for a good twenty to twenty-five years, turning it into "a surefire franchise." "The merchandising possibilities alone are staggering," he added.
Other had more useful suggestions. Director Michael Bay (Armageddon) suggested rounding up all the people suspected of having the disease, blasting them off into space, marooning them on a giant asteroid, and then sending a team of blue-collar oil rig workers to blow them up.
Writer-director James Cameron (Terminator, Terminator 2) suggested sending a killer robot with an Austrian accent back in time to track down and annihilate the doctor who originally treated the disease and exposed countless people by jetting around the globe before returning to Hong Kong and dying from the illness. "It might not eradicate the disease altogether," Cameron said, "but it might go a long way towards discouraging rank stupidity."
Robert Towne (Chinatown) said he said some good ideas but hadn't yet come up with a good story structure. "I've got one or two plot points, but that's it." He then asked some questions about the Chinese water supply and whether any orange groves existed near Hong Kong. "They're probably the key to the whole thing," he said.
Roman Polansky (Chinatown") was unable to attend the conference because it was held in Los Angeles.
Michael Crichton (The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park) suggested making a female virus that's like a black widow -- "it mates with the male virus and eats the male during the sex act" -- that has infertile viral progeny, killing off the species. When told the virus was asexual, Crichton pooh-poohed the whole thing. "Nobody's really asexual," he said. "it's all about sex. Survival. Reproduction. Nature finds a way. Haven't you read just one of my books?"
Buzz Meritt (Producer: Dragnet 2: Joe Friday Takes A Vacation, Remake of Flintstones 3 (the movie), working on a sequel to The In-Laws called The In-laws-In-Law, Gilligan's Island: The Becoming) said, "We could do that whole Fantastic Voyage thing. Shrink a team of scientists and a microscopic sub -- a handsome guy, a babe, some bald-headed genius, maybe someone else for comedic relief -- inject them into the body of someone with SARS. They grapple with the virus while, unbeknownst to them , a member of their own team -- who's say, a secret fundamentalist religious nut who believes SARS was God's plan to bring about the end of the world -- is working to sabotage them -- and then there's the whole potential for romance between the lead guy and the girl. And it's complicated because even though he's falling for her, and she for him, the guy they've been injected to is her fiance. Man, that's just brilliant. Anyway, it works out, they get a sample of the virus and witness how it works so they know how to defeat it -- they get out and we create nanorobots or something to inject into everyone else that stops them from getting it. Something like that." He got up to make a quick cell phone call to "his people," adding "whether or not you use it -- it's mine."
Posted by Tom Burka at 10:34 PM
April 25, 2003
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il Discovered Just to Be Doing Bad Dr. Evil Impression
"I big fan," Kim Jong Il said, "I just have some fun." He explained that people had simply misinterpeted him when he threatened to blow things up, and that was simply portraying Dr. Evil, the famed madman from the Austin Powers movies. He put a stubby pinky finger to hs lips and said, "I blow up Califohnia unless you give me . . .. a bazill-yun dollah. Bwa-ha-ha-ha."
Jong Il said that the U.S. had misunderstood him. "Bad joke, maybe. Maybe in bad taste. I sorry. We no have nuclear weapon," he said. "We just bunch guys try have fun on slow day, like anyone else. We have some small missile, yes, that we like take out when things dull, blow something up, pass time, you know? Not that different than American."
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:41 AM
April 24, 2003
Indiana Husband Claims Wife Has WMD, Wants Regime Change and $100 Billion For Rebuilding
Gerald Fishenbote declared today that his wife possessed serious "weapons of mass destruction," declared that she was dangerous, and asked the White House for urgent intervention to prevent her from using them. He also asserted that his wife was a ruthless dictator who unrelentingly tortured him with a social calendar that included dinners with unbearable couples and saddled him with inhumane tasks that turned him into a virtual slave during those few hours when he wasn't working to bring home money, which she controlled completely and spent on whatever she deemed appropriate. He told congressional leaders in his district and the White House switchboard that he was "pretty sure" she had a nuclear arms program, and possessed a stockpile of dangerous chemical and biological weapons that she kept "behind the bathroom mirror."
He asked for a rapid deployment of U.S. troops, and $100 billion dollars for rebuilding his home after the invasion. "Either that," he said, "or maybe just redo the kitchen."
Posted by Tom Burka at 6:16 PM
April 22, 2003
Angry Rumsfeld Crushes Reporter's Left Testicle
In a stunning display of his supremacy over the media, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld crushed the left testicle of a reporter as his sole response to what he later said was "an annoying, time-wasting, meaningless question."
The reporter, Daniel Kingsly of The Sacramento Sludge, later said, in tones several octaves higher than usual, that "these are the risks you take as a pool reporter when you ask a question that maybe you shouldn't have. Secretary Rumsfeld was fully justified in ripping my testicle off and I am just hoping that he will give me the opportunity to come back and thank him for my very just, very deserved punishment."
That morning's press conference started normally. The Secretary took some simple questions regarding the number of troops stationed in Iraq and whether Rumsfeld was pleased that the POWs had returned home vefore he called upon Kingsly. Kingsly asked, "My question is twofold: First, are we really rebuilding Iraq or are we just saying that, and, second: if we dictate to the Iraqis the nature of their democratic government, that's not truly democratic, is it?" There was a pause before Secretary Rumsfeld suddenly reached into the press pool, ripped Kingsly's testicle from his body, crushed it, and held it up for the rest of the press pool to see.
"Ok?" said Rumsfeld. "Any more smart-alecky questions?" He later told the press pool, "Don't think I can't get to an ovary if I have to."
After Kingsly had been medically evacuated, the press conference resumed. The first question was "How does it feel to have managed such a perfect execution of Hussein's demise?"
Posted by Tom Burka at 10:44 AM
April 18, 2003
First Free Election in Baghdad Results in Election of George W. Bush; Angry Iraqis Claim They "Intended to Vote For Pat Buchanan"
Baghdad, April 18 - The installation of democracy appeared stalled here after election returns from the first free election in Baghdad appeared to indicate that 100% of Iraqis had voted for President George W. Bush.
The White House seemed perplexed and denied that the administration of the elections by what it called "the independent interim government" was tainted or improper.
Donald Rumsfeld appeared irritated at any suggestion of impropriety. "The voting process was very simple. You punched a hole in a card next to the name of the person whom you wanted to lead . The cards were collected, and the holes were counted. And apparently, there were a lot of holes in those little cards, all for the same guy. End of story."
Angry Iraqis protested outside of Baghdad's Liberty Square, saying that the ballots had been confusing, and should have been in Arabic, at the very least. Some Iraqis claimed that the ballots that they had been given had only one hole that could be punched. Others said that it was unclear to them, after years of living under Saddam Hussein, whether the hole should have been punched, kicked, or maimed.
Some is called for a recount, but it was unclear whether the i constitution and the laws set forth by the interim Iraqi government allowed for a recount, or specified the manner in which a recount could be done. Donald Rumsfeld again commented, "What's the problem? The votes were counted, they counted the holes in the cards. To recount them, you would count the holes in the cards again. In my view, that would constitute recounting. It doesn't need a description. The word itself tells you what you have to do. Re-count. It's that simple. Next question."
President Bush immediately organized a bipartisan committee composed of Republicans to investigate the election and also to render an opinion as to whether a "sitting president can preside over more than one country at a time." Congresswoman Kathryn Harris was appointed to chair the committee; assisting her will be former Secretary of State James Baker, Jeb Bush, Ted Olsen, and at least one Iraqi who had not been to in the past forty years.
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:14 PM
Too Soon To Judge the War?
There's an excellent post by "Jkstraw" (Jack Straw?) which led to a spirited debate over at The Daily Rant. Many conservatives jumped on the "lefties were wrong in their doom and gloom outlook" bandwagon, referring to liberal perspectives on the course of the war, the aftermath of the war, and the failure (so far) to find WMD, which they now say was not the justification or goal for the war to begin with, and not proffered as such by Bush. I liked my response there so much I reprint it here:
It's fair to say that the administration trumped up and overestimated both the strength of Saddam Hussein's weapons, his possession of WMD, and his imminent or eventual threat to the U.S. or to the security of the area to make the case for an urgent war where no such urgency existed. The left, which the conservatives here like to say have been proved wrong at every turn, said all along that Saddam had been significantly, perhaps irrevocably weakened by the 1991 war and that he posed very little if any threat to our national security. So far, we (I'll put myself in with those lefties, since I said the above many times) have been proved completely correct.
Saddam is the worst oppressor of his people in the world? (as one poster above said) No way. North Korea is a perfect example of a more despicable regime. China is considered not big on human rights. The debate -- when it is justifiable to use military intervention to cure human rights violations -- is an entirely different debate than the one Bush and his pals led the country in when they made the case for war (it was all about WMD -- e.g., Powell's pitch to the U.N.? WMD). When liberating the people from Hussein was thrown into an administration argument for the war, it was in the context of "WMD (and he's a brutal dictator, too)."
If you say it's too soon to judge the need for the war based on the lack of WMD, then you have to admit also that it's too soon to judge whether the war was wise or justifiable. What will the next government be like? Will the region become more or less unstable? 5 or 10 or 20 years down the line, will the i people (who we claim to be helping) be better off, or worse? Will American security (and let's face it, we were never acting on behalf of anyone's interests but our own) be better? Will our foreign relations be better for us? Will the war damage us domestically?
My position is that the Bush administration's actions are short-sighted, reckless, and dangerous. My opposition to the war was (and still is) based on the fact that the war was an unnecessary gamble that risks too much and stands to gain too little; that it has produced problems which you can see immediately and could foresee yesterday (with the international community and the domestic economy to start) -- and that the administration has not been the slightest bit honest about its aims or goals,so I can't even trust them on their judgment.
Those who blindly support the administration in its claims, moves, pronouncements, wars and other actions are the ones who are being hasty.
Posted by Tom Burka at 10:57 PM
April 17, 2003
The Truth Behind The Daily Rant
I thank Jane Finch and Jay Caruso (they're just one guy, actually) for letting me tell the real story behind the blog.
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:20 AM
Thanks to Antidotal
The fine folks at Antidotal (I think it's one guy, actually) were kind enough to reprint my coverage of the search for WMD in Iraq. I forgot, by the way, to mention Col. Richard McPhee, Commander of the 75th Exploitation Task Force, who must have spoken recently with General Walsh when he said, "It's only a matter of time."
Posted by Tom Burka at 7:05 AM
April 16, 2003
Lance Bass Offers To Strap Himself Into Warhead of U.S. Missile
Lance Bass, the frustrated N'Sync member whose dreams of rocketing into outer space in a Russian spaceship were crushed when he was apparently outbid by a Texas billionaire, has offered to pay one million dollars to be placed in the nose of a cruise missile and shot "wherever the U.S. needs to send it."
"This would be such a rush," said Bass, whose spiked hair and amiable grin have endeared him to millions. "Hugging the contours of hostile terrain at like 500 miles per hour would be awesome."
It was not explained how Bass intended to survive such an adventure, or whether he intended to be used as a "payload in the service of his country." U.S. officials declined to comment, but sources who wished to remain anonymous said the Pentagon was trying to evaluate the destructive force of a Lance Bass strike. Some speculated that the successful use of Mr. Bass could breathe "new life" into boy bands, "kind of."
Murray-Bunim-Muenster, producers of the reality shows "The Real World: Somalia" and "When Good Dictators Go Bad" were reportedly interested in developing Bass's exploits as a sitcom.
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:35 AM
Scientific Testing Proves Careers of Jackson Browne and Darryl Hannah Destroyed By Breakup
Splitup of intellectually challenged couple who were "perfect for each other" doomed them to professional failure; Worst feared for Brittany Spears and Justin Timberlake.
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:19 AM
Task of Rebuilding Iraq Begins: Florida Election Booths to be Installed in Baghdad Tomorrow
Also coming: Walmart, Staples, Subway, Pizza Hut, CompUSA, TGIF, and Sizzlers. Statue of Hussein to be replaced with large wax model of Colonel Sanders.
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:17 AM
Bush Declares War Goal Met; Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction Gone
President Bush, in a press conference held at 4:10 a.m. today, said:
The Hussein regime harbored terrorists and possessed enough fissionable plutonium to extinguish the planet. It had a nuclear weapons program that was designed to build a nuclear bomb much larger than Eqypt, had tons of biological weapons -- Powell, show them the fake anthrax vial -- that could have killed us all, and chemical weapons that, as I understand it, were weapons containing chemicals. Now all of those weapons of mass destruction, as you can all see, are gone. I thank God that we were able to act so swiftly to eradicate a menace which so urgently threatened us all. The gun which Saddam Hussein was holding up against our heads has been taken from him, the bullets removed, and the revolver holstered. Americans can sleep more soundly, as they are no doubt sleeping now.
Our coalition forces -- meaning U.S. forces and a British guy -- are now scouring Iraq to see if any traces of these terrible weapons still exist. But I am pleased to say that our mission worked -- our military served us -- and it appears that, in Iraq at least, they have effectively vanished due to our intervention.
God bless us, God help the American People, and God -- An American God -- bless the Iraqi people.
After the conference, Bush had an early morning jog and a lengthy discussion with his wife about Katie Couric's hair.
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:14 AM
Bush Plan To Invade Iraq, Syria, Iran, and North Korea "Totally Different" Than Neocon Plan to Invade Iraq, Syria, Iran, and North Korea
The Bush Administration today denied that its plans to pressure and reshape the governments of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and North Korea bore no resemblance whatsoever to Neoconservatives' plans to dominate the world in precisely the same way. The Neoconservatives' plans, drawn up in 1991 and documented in 1998 in a letter to President Clinton, outlined in the Weekly Standard, and commented upon in The Washington Monthly "have nothing to do with us," said Dick Cheney, who, said that his authorship of some of the neoconservative schemes was just part of the "incredible coincidence" linking neocoservative aims to the moves of the Bush Administration.
"We've been perfectly honest about our constantly shifting rationales for the invasion. Right now, it's -- what is it?" Cheney asked, looking at some notes on his desk. "Oh, yes, we're liberating the Iraqi people."
Asked about whether the Administration's threats to Syria demonstrated that the real motivation for invading Iraq was to execute the neocon plan -- a grand scheme to forcibly reshape the Middle East and the rest of the world to insure the supremacy of America -- Cheney replied, "That's preposterous. It's a sheer coincidence. It's as unbelievable as those Dickens novels where Little Nell discovers that Ms. Havesham and Pip are actually siamese twins who were separated at birth, which makes her the heir to the entire Halliburton fortune. You know what I mean."
President Bush described it differently. "It's completely absurd. It's like in The Fugitive, where the fugitive is always like one step behind the Man with One Arm, but he doesn't ever catch up with him, or like -- this is better -- in Spiderman, where Gwen Stacy dies, and then she comes back a bunch of years later as a clone, and then Peter Parker discovers that he's not even the original Peter Parker, he's a clone. That just confused the hell out of me."
Donald Rumsfeld put it this way: "Just because one guy says, hey, let's do A and B, and then we'll do C, D, and E, and another guy does A and B, it doesn't make sense that that means the second guy will do C, D, and E, or that he even knows the first guy. Like, they could be complete strangers. Did I mention that freedom is untidy?"
Posted by Tom Burka at 10:52 AM
April 15, 2003
Whe are we fighting? We're invading -- I forget. CalPundit fills us in.
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:59 PM
April 14, 2003
Suspected Chemical Weapons Actually Mammoth Collection of Pocket Lint
Suspect containers found in Karbala today housing many boxes containing a "suspect white, fluffy material," according to U.S. forces on the scene, turned out to contain pocket lint. Upon the initial discovery of the material, Sgt. Hurly Groton of the Fifth Brigade of the Third Column in the Second Row on the Righthand side of the Fourth Division, "Medical Doodads Unit," said something about the discovered material which sounded like "Immible tebs for chestible weemonds messle bled possibut," as far as could be heard through his 27-layer isolation suit. Later testing proved the huge stores of material to be, according to chemical analysis and documents buried with the materials, the largest collection of pocket lint ever found above or below ground. Officials from the Guinness Book of World Records were en route to the scene, but reportedly deeply excited. A spokesman for the Guiness Organization called it "the most significant collection on record since the discovery of the toenail clippings trove in Madras, 1976."
General Robert Walsh of the Chemical Detection Engineers expressed disappointment, but was optimistic about the eventual discovery of weapons of mass destruction. So far U.S. forces have made many promising discoveries: 1) Many tons of a white powdery substance in a chemical plant which turned out to be many tons of a (benign) white powdery substance. (General Walsh declined to elaborate.); 2) Some stuff U.S. forces thought was fissionable plutonium in a gum factory that turned out to be (benign) gum; and 3) Some really large anthrax-like spores in a bicycle factory that turned out to be bicycle spokes. (Benign.)
Walsh was undeterred. "They're out there," he said, wading into a tank filled with a white, oozing paste-like substance in what the Iraqis claimed to be a toothpaste factory.
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:02 PM
April 12, 2003
Deck of Cards Mixup Leads to Accidental Killing of King of Hearts
Yesterday, in an attempt to assist U.S. solidiers in the efforts to identify members of Saddam Hussein's regime, the Military issued a deck of cards featuring Iraqi officials. That deck contained 55 cards, and featured pictures of Qusay Hussein (as the Ace of Clubs) and Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz (the Eight of Clubs).
Today, however, soldiers who were confused about decks of cards they had in their posession mistakenly shot the King of Hearts, who they claimed "failed to respond to repeated requests to take off his crown." In other of areas of Iraq, the Queen of Hearts was discovered making some tarts, and immediately placed in custody. The Jack of Diamonds evaded capture after a lengthy chase by coalition forces.
When contacted, the Bicycle Corporation had no explanation of why so many members of their decks were present in Iraq, but bemoaned the accidents and threatened legal action. "This is a terrible tragedy for card players all over the world," said Fred Bazillionaire, chief spokesman for the Bicycle Corporation. Officers of the Bicycle and Bee Corporations were considering filing wrongful death suits, but could not, at press time, decide who would lead and which suit would be trump.
The incidents have affected games everywhere. Terry Hinkle, President of the Hearts Gaming Club of America, complained, "The Jack of Diamonds is now impossible to get. He just doesn't show up in any hand. That's -10 points that I personally could pick up in pretty much every round I ever played. If only they had taken out the Queen of Spades."
In an unrelated story, Pfc. Norman Ishkowitz, who had been on something of a "lucky roll," was shaken upside down until his pockets were emptied after a poker game with members of his platoon in which he was discovered to have two Saddams and an extra Uday hidden in his cargo pants.
Tariq Aziz, in Secret Communication, Complains He "Should Have Been a Face Card"
Details to follow suit.
Posted by Tom Burka at 2:49 PM
April 9, 2003
Headlines In Briefs
Jubilant Iraqis Topple Statue, Accidentally Crush Small Dog
Kurds Victorious in North, Will Be Joined By Whey
Both small kurds and large kurds rejoice, claim complete control of tuffet.
Marines Wage Fierce Battle For Baghad University, Immediately Demand Curriculum Change
Want credit for beer pong.
Arrogant Toppled Statue of Saddam Hussein Asks for Tips
Posted by Tom Burka at 10:10 PM
April 8, 2003
Marines Encounter More Than Just Pockets of Resistance in Baghdad, Try to Fend Off Complete Pants
April 8, Baghdad -- Marines encountered pockets of resistance in southeast Baghdad, zippers of incomprehensibility in the west, inseams of irregularity in the north, and trouser cuffs of indefatigability in the center of town. The Pentagon confirmed that U.S. forces were trying to secure the seat of Baghdad, and hoped to control the belt buckle as early as Tuesday.
"It depends how deep those pockets, how irregular the inseams, how incomprehensible the zippers prove, and -- whatever we said the cuffs were, how whatever we said they were turn out to be, " said General Hugh Fitzimmons today. "We're also going to try to have the waist taken in by Saturday," he added.
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:28 PM
April 7, 2003
U.S. Marines Discover Hidden Trove of Extra Hussein Sons
Baghdad, April 6 - U.S. Marines securing an atomic energy facility discovered a hidden room containing seven "backup" sons of Saddam Hussein who were prepared to take over the throne if Hussein's known sons, Uday and Qusay, were killled or otherwise unable to exercise power. Documents revealed that in addition to Qusay and Uday, Saddam's seven other sons are named Buday, Ruday, Huday, Cruday, Mamuday, Yahuday, and Sunday. When the Marines found them, the "secret sons" were playing a spirited game of poker, with the exception of Sunday, who was resting.
Rumors that three additional sons, Juday, Daduday, and Puday, exist in another location, are unconfirmed.
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:40 AM
April 6, 2003
Kerry Remark About Need for U.S. Regime Change Inflames and Baffles GOP
Republicans were up in arms and confused about Sen. John Kerry's recent suggestion that it was time for regime change here in the United States. "The comparison of George W. Bush to Saddam Hussein is outrageous and unfair," sputtered Deputy RNC Chair Jack Oliver. He ticked off several facts on his large, stubby fingers. "First of all, President Bush doesn't have any lookalikes, at least not that I know of. He doesn't have a big bushy mustache and he stays in decent shape. I've never seen him wear a beret. I guess Senator Kerry -- and I use the term Kerry loosely -- is blind or stupid or both."
Rush Limbaugh pooh-poohed the notion altogether. "Regime change in America?" he considered on a recent talk radio show, "That's preposterous. For one thing, we can't invade ourselves. Those are just the kind of absurd ideas these liberals toss about when they have no idea of what it's like to serve in the military, or how it works, or when to use it."
RNC Chairman Marc Racicot responded swiftly as well, calling Kerry "a racist, a pornographer, and a guy who looks like he's had some kind of rod shoved up his ass." He continued: "Senator Kerry is nuts to suggest the replacement of America's commander-in- chief at a time when America is at war. If we replaced the commander-in-chief, how would the generals know how to reach this new guy? They wouldn't know what this new commander-in-chief would look like and probably wouldn't believe him when he told them that he was the Commander. And nobody else could tell them there was a new Commander because the only person they'd accept that from would have to be like, a Commander of the Commander in Chief. And there can't be a Commander of the Commander in Chief because, if there were, then the Commander-in-Chief wouldn't be "in-chief"--he'd be the Commander-second-most-chief or something. I don't think Senator Kerry -- and I use the term Kerry loosely -- has thought this through."
Posted by Tom Burka at 12:41 AM
Where are those chemical weapons? An Example of Media Bias in CNN Reporting
William Schneider, Senior Political Analyst of CNN, just proffered several reasons why many of the doom and gloom scenarios in Iraq have not come true. These involved the possible use of chemical and biological agents on U.S. troops, blowing up bridges, etc. One of the prime scenarios involved the use of chemical weapons. Schneider opined that the reason these agents have not been used may be because the command and control structure of the Iraqi resistance has been severely damaged (and there are certainly indications of that), or (and he placed special emphasis on this) that those in charge had been scared pantsless by George W's threat to try those who use them after the war as war criminals. Schneider thus seemed to highlight Bush's tough talk as a possible major factor in the Iraqi failure to use non-conventional weapons while completely ignoring the more plausible explanation that these weapons simply do not exist in the quantities or manner which Bush and his pals would like us to believe. That these weapons may not exist now is certainly more credible than that idea that Iraqi forces -- who seem bent on genuinely resisting the invasion -- would refrain from using weapons available to them because of the threat of trial. In a war where people are willing to blow themselves up to eliminate the invaders, it is difficult to accept the premise that these same people would be afraid of a little American jail time.
I'm not saying that Hussein does not have these weapons. I'm saying that the complete omission of a news commentator -- who holds himself out as special "analyst" (meaning a guy who speculates about stuff based on a couple of rumors and sometimes facts, just like you and me) and reporter -- is unforgiveable. Not mentioning the option -- that Hussein has less of these weapons than we had believed -- can only be demonstrable of conservative bias; especially since no chemical weapons have yet been found anywhere so far. (The many boxes of "suspicious" white powder found in a chemical factory -- reported with great gusto by every American news media outlet -- have been tested; intial tests indicate that they are "not chemicals," according to a CNN banner. I have to ask, if they are not chemicals, what are they? Talc? Chalk? Concrete dust?)
It is exceptionally surprising that no chemical weapons have been found, in light of the American intelligence which reported in the 48 hours preceding the war that there were strong indications that Republican Guard units southeast of Baghdad -- controlled by the famed Iraqi Commander nicknamed "Chemical Ali" -- had been supplied with them, and in light of our allegations that Hussein had them. Certainly, one would think that the goal of the Iraqi military would be defend Baghdad with whatever weapons they could find.
Schneider also opined that perhaps Hussein would be afraid to use chemical weapons in this war because of the "proganda" tool using them would hand the U.S. Look, if Hussein has these weapons, when would he use them if not now? After his exile or death? Does Schneider really think Hussein is more worried about how it would look than about staying in power? Hussein has been comfortable with getting caught in a lie or two before.
And then there is the interesting (and convenient) rumor circulating (Schneider said nothing about this) that Hussein moved his WMD to Syria so we would not find them when we invaded. This certainly is plausible as a convenient excuse to invade Syria later ("Look! Another dictatorship that harbors terroists that has WMD! And it's right over there! We must invade today!) but not believable in the context of common sense. I find it hard to accept the notion that someone who goes to the trouble to get WMD to stay in power and to increase his power would give away the very weapons that might help him retain his power on the eve of an invasion of his country.
Posted by Tom Burka at 12:12 AM
April 4, 2003
Bush Faced Terrific Quandry in White House NCAA Pool
Karl Rove put extraordinary pressure for Bush to favor Florida over Texas in his submission to the popular White House NCAA pool. There was great debate among top aides to the President about whether to favor "red-state" teams or "blue-state" teams, meaning teams from states that voted for or against Bush. However, it was finally decided that the imperative of securing Florida in the 2004 election mandated fprcing Bush to pick the number 2 seeded Florida to beat number 1 seeded Texas in the Elite 8, because "we'll carry Texas anyway," said Rove.
"Why can't we just make them move to the East Division?" asked Bush, who was supported by in his suggestion to pressure the NCAA organizers to move Florida to another division so that Bush could avoid making the difficult choice. Powell was sent to negotiate with the NCAA on Bush's behalf where, typically, he failed.
When Florida was wiped out in the Sweet 16 against Maryland, Bush became despondent, moping around the White House and seeming "steely eyed but burdened":
[Bush] rarely jokes with staffers these days and occasionally startles them with sarcastic putdowns. . . .Interviews with a dozen friends, advisers and top aides describe a man who feels he is being tested.
The White House found an upside, though. "We'll make this about the war," said Ari Fleischer. And so they did.
did not participate in the pool, preferring to run it in exchange for a percentage of the winnings. "Last year that pool bought me a pool," he joked, smiling or grimacing -- it was impossible to say which.
Posted by Tom Burka at 3:07 PM
Saddam Talks About the NCAA's
So, Saddam Makes Speech on TV Designed to Prove He Is Alive, with some references to attacks and things that have occurred since the invasion. Why doesn't he just hold up today's frigging newspaper? If Saddam wanted to prove he was still alive and in charge, he should say:
My fellow is, I lost the goddamn NCAA pool! Who would have believed that Syracuse and Marquette would come so far? We will be victorious against the stupid Americans even if is true, as I suspect, that they have rigged the college basketball tournaments of their petty country to get rid of the fine Ivy league team and, of course, the valiant Gonzaga.
Posted by Tom Burka at 12:46 PM
I Promise I'll be Funny Tomorrow
Posted by Tom Burka at 8:53 AM
That Silver is For Us; Brilliant Congressmen Pass Bill To Bar France and Germany From Helping Rebuild
According to NPR, when Congress approved Bush's request for $75 billion today for the war, someone sipped in a rider barring France and Germany from being allowed to contract to rebuild . Some irate confressman said, "We're not sending our boys in harm's way so that the French and German can stand back and hold their hands out for ten pieces of silver!"
Um, that's a pretty effective stance. Except that Bush's plan to rebuild gives the lion's share of the rebuilding contracts to -- have you guessed it -- U.S. businesses! Our boys died to help put a couple of pieces of silver into some major CEOs' pockets. The Wall Street Journal reported:
The Bush administration's audacious plan to rebuild envisions a sweeping overhaul of i society within a year of a war's end, but leaves much of the work to private U.S. companies. . . .
[M]ore than $1.5 billion in work being offered to private U.S. companies under the plan, just $50 million is so far earmarked for a small number of groups such as CARE and Save the Children.
Also, isn't it a tad inconsistent to claim that the U.N. should have broad participation in rebuilding when you pass laws denying security council members the ability to allow their businesses to have a hand in the reconstruction? Might that not impede efforts to involve the U.N.?
Posted by Tom Burka at 8:49 AM
We're liberating the Iraqi oilfields -- and protecting them well, even at the cost of sending men into harm's way without adequate backup -- because they're the "property of the people of Iraq." Rumsfeld is fond of saying this -- "it's the wealth of the Iraqi people, we're protecting it." OK. Isn't the infrastructure of also a treasured possession of the Iraqi people? The buildings, electric plants, sewer systems, schools and the, like, cities -- how come we're just bombing the hell out of them?
By the way, the link just up there is from an Iraqi who has been reporting on the web his experience of the war in Baghdad -- but he hasn't been able to update since March 24. That could be for many reasons -- maybe internet access was cut off by central authorities in Baghdad, maybe the infrastructure was damaged (Rumsfled might call it a "shock and awe" attack on the internet backbone), maybe Raed, the author, had to take off and get the hell away from his desktop. Still, look at it for an excellent view of the war from inside. Much better than any reporting you'll see on cable.
Posted by Tom Burka at 8:33 AM
SARS Is From Mars
It seems clear to me that the outbreak of SARS is directly related to those people who claim to have been picked up by UFO's and later, after lengthy journeys, adventures, and encounters of all numeric kinds, get dropped back on Earth because the aliens on board clearly could not stand them. This claim that viruses like SARS just "spring up" -- isn't that like the claim that Spinoza made -- that life just "bloomed spontaneously" from inanimate matter? Doesn't it make more sense that those aliens are depositing people back on Earth after they've infected them with some biological agent? I mean, why would an alien go to the trouble of dropping an abductee back on Earth instead of just putting them in the space waste chute?
By the way, I was so pleased to see a local news station -- or it may even have been MSNBC -- say that, CDC researchers were that much closer to discovering a treatment plan for SARS because they had determined that it was a type of virus -- specifically, a coronavirus. My, that's reassuring. Coronaviruses are the same kind that cause the common cold. We've been really successful at figuring out a cure for that. so this SARS thing will be licked in no time.
The really hopeful thing is that we kind of have to find a cure for SARS. Until we do, we're going to be quarantining the heck out of populatations and, as reported universally, SARS will have a chilling effect on world business. Actually on world business travel, which one would think we have almost no need for in today's electronic age. Maybe SARS will promote the growth of videoconferencing technologies far beyond where they are today -- so that videoconferencing gets to the point where you can artificially shake your Hong Kong business partners hands without really touching them. (We have a technology for that, actually -- they're called "gloves.")
No, we find an effective treatment plan for SARS, pump money and good old fashioned research into cracking that illness -- and if we do, maybe we will be that much closer to discovering a cure for the common cold.
Posted by Tom Burka at 8:20 AM