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Featured Articles

Husky Huckster Michael Moore Goes on a Brunch-Time Death-Spree
Iraqi Nuke Gear Smuggled to Europe
Newsjackers Unite
Shock and Awe Revisited
Maureen Dowd Writes a Column
Paul Krugman Accidentally Tells the Truth
Europe: Let the Palestinians Finish What We Began

Top Top Tens

Signs of Hip-Hop Influence on John Kerry
NYT Headlines Spinning Bush's Jobs Boom
Things People Are More Likely to Say Than "Did You Hear What Al Franken Said Yesterday?"
Other Bad Things About the Jews, According to the Koran
Signs That David Letterman Just Doesn't Care Anymore
Other Judgments Dick Clarke Made About Condi Rice Based on Her Appearance
Collective Names for Groups of People
John Kerry's Other Vietnam Super-Pets
Cool Things About the XM8 Assault Rifle
Media-Approved Facts About the Democrat Spy
Changes to Make Christianity More "Inclusive"
Secret John Kerry Senatorial Accomplishments
John Edwards Campaign Excuses
John Kerry Pick-Up Lines
Changes Liberal Senator George Michell Will Make at Disney
Torments in Dog-Hell

the (nearly) Complete
Paul Anka

Primary Document: The Audio
Paul Anka Haiku Contest Announcement
Integrity SAT's: Entrance Exam for Paul Anka's Band
AllahPundit's Paul Anka 45's Collection
AnkaPundit: Paul Anka Takes Over the Site for a Weekend (Continues through to Monday's postings)

Greatest Hitjobs

A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)


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Time Out From Politics: The Volokh Conspiracy is Pro-Choice on Tournament Seeding 

You know how post-season tournaments usually work: the top seed plays the bottom seed in a bracket, the second-best seed plays the second-worst, etc.

The idea is to reward the team with the best record with the most inferior opponent.

But the actual system is a poor implementation of that intent-- because records often don't accurately reflect a team's actual strength. So it often happens that the top seed will be forced to play a team with a mediocre record but which is in fact quite strong (either because it's surging, or because it's just a good match-up against that particular top seed), while a lesser seed will face a patsy with a better, but deceivingly so, record. A paper tiger.

So Stuart Benjamin at the Volokh Conspiracy asks: Why not give the top team in a tournament its choice of opponent?

Makes sense to us. Benjamin's talking about the NBA, where this system makes a lot of sense, given the enormous size of the post-season tournament field.

Since there are now ninety-six NBA teams that qualify for the playoffs -- in the NBA's innovative system, not only do all actual NBA teams automatically make the playoffs, but so do a passel of Italian-league semi-pro clubs, along with the occasional junior high soccer squad -- there's obviously a lot of choice to be had.

Still, apart from that-- why not?

It would make for a good couple of days of strategizing by teams and chatter by fans, at the very least.

Now, This Is Questioning John Kerry's Patriotism 

Tipped by FreeRepublic:

Foreign Leaders Sing the Praises of John Kerry.

Cheap? Irresponsible? Pathologically partisan?

Eh. Our motto remains: You can't fight the funny.

Update: And it's well-deserved. Basically, John Kerry is now fighting any mention of his weak-on-defense record -- a perfectly legitimate topic for discussion -- by impugning the patriotism of his opponents.

He claims that any discussion whatsoever of his record in public office constitutes an "attack on his patriotism" -- most disinterested parties would call it an "attack on his record" -- and, therefore, he infers the right to attack his opponents in the very terms he so shrilly decries, i.e., as unpatriotic.

Well, sorry, Johnny. Your record, like the record of every other candidate who's ever run for office, is fair game. And we won't allow you to practice the, err, politics of personal destruction under the guise of defending yourself from self-alleged "attacks on your patriotism."

By the way, we think Kim Il Jung has the best voice out of John Kerry's foreign endorsers.


* Must Read * : Airlines Were Fined For Security-Interviewing More than Two Muslim Men Per Flight, Pre 9-11 


Richard Ben-Veniste and Bob Kerrey received the lion's share of media attention paid to last week's 9/11 Commission hearing with Condoleezza Rice, thanks to their generally intemperate questioning style. But while Ben-Veniste and Kerrey played to the cameras, it was their colleague, John Lehman, who was breaking new ground with the national-security adviser, but few noticed.


Among Lehman's questions was this: "Were you aware that it was the fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that's discriminatory?"


"We had testimony a couple of months ago from the past president of United, and current president of American Airlines that kind of shocked us all," Lehman told me. "They said under oath that indeed the Department of Transportation continued to fine any airline that was caught having more than two people of the same ethnic persuasion in a secondary line for line for questioning, including and especially, two Arabs."

Wait a minute. So if airline security had three suspicious Arab guys they had had to let one go because they'd reached a quota?

That was it, Lehman said, "because of this political correctness that became so entrenched in the 1990s, and continues in current administration.
No one approves of racial profiling, that is not the issue. The fact is that Norwegian women are not, and 85-year-old women with aluminum walkers are not, the source of the terrorist threat. The fact is that our enemy is the violent Islamic extremism and the overwhelming number of people that one need to worry about are young Arab males, and to ask them a couple of extra questions seems to me to be common sense, yet if an airline does that in numbers that are more than proportionate to their number in particular line, then they get fined and that is why you see so many blue haired old ladies and people that are clearly not of Middle Eastern extraction being hauled out in such numbers because otherwise they get fined."

Major Hat Tip: Country Store.

64% of Americans Support the Idea of a... Flat Tax?!?! 

This shocks us, and we think that actual support *must* be far lower than this.

Nevertheless, RationalExplications tells us that this is the finding of a recent Rassmussen poll, and why shouldn't we believe them? They're rational. It's right there, right in the name.

Letter from a Warrior-Priest in Iraq 

TerraTaco prints this email from a chaplain at the front:

The place exudes the warrior spirit. If you are a civilian I can't explain it and won't apologize for it. If you are a veteran you don't need to have it explained..the warrior spirit. These marines are in a street fight. They don't have the word 'lose' in their vocabulary. They've been bloodied and their anger is up. The intensity in the COC is contagious. This is a tribe of warriors. They exist to close with and destroy the enemy. They have their tribal mores, rituals and rites. Their enemy has desecrated members of the tribe and taunted the marines. They've asked for a fight. The marines are in full pursuit and absolutely determined to annihilate their foe. I'm sure that sounds harsh to politically correct ears and those for whom this type of violence is anachronistic.

Not to us it doesn't, Chaplain.

There's a little bit more to the letter at TerraTaco's site.

Topless Barber Shop to Open in Scotland 

Business goes under the name A Bit Off the Top:

Former lap-dancers who are trained hairdressers have been recruited to work in the Canal Street salon.

Men will be able to choose a girl to give them a [25 pound] haircut or a massage in a private booth.

Yeahhhh... a massage. Right. "Massages." Everyone knows the best "massages" are given by topless lap-dancers.

On the other hand, the other side is also being disingenuous and/or dopey:

Last week, the owners of the shop caused controversy when they put up a huge banner with a picture of a woman cupping her breasts outside the shop.

Sandra White, MSP, who will join the demonstration, said: "It's an insult to pretend it's normal for a girl to be topless while cutting hair."

Sandra White is a big dope. No one is pretending it's "normal" for a girl to cut hair topless. If it were "normal," 1) this particular shop would have no cache and 2) our hair would be cut six or eight times per month.

"The banner doesn't even show the woman's face, it only shows what these people consider to be important about her."

How stupid is this? The woman's face is not shown because it's no big deal to see a woman's face in a typical hair salon. No one's going to come to this place because "it's the barbershop where you can see raw, full-on forehead."

But this dopey woman has to pretend there's some sort of "dehumanizing antifeminist agenda" here.

One thing we've noted before: Left-wing anti-porn folks can't ever make the case for decency based upon, well, simple decency. The notion of "decency" is anathema to them, as it seems reactionary and retrograde. They're too hip and free-thinking to be hung up at all by such bourgeois concerns.

So when they campaign against porn, they can only do so on these idiotic female-empowerment grounds. It's the only avenue open to them.

Mickey Kaus did the same thing with the Janet Jackson malfunctioning mommysac affair. He wanted to express his disapproval, but he knew his liberal friends would make fun of him for just saying, "I don't think it's right to show tits during the Superbowl without warning." So instead he objected because Jason Timberlake -- a hired hand and inferior employee in the affair -- had "exploited" Janet (Miss Jackson if you're nasty). Furthermore, he fretted that the sexual pantomime had taught impressionable young boys that it's okay to pull the top off leather-clad S&M dominatrices.

We wouldn't want young boys to get that idea, now would we?

We have no idea what our position might be on this whole bit of silliness. On the one hand, it's clearly indecent. On the other hand, it's Europe, and they show porn movies on broadcast TV after eleven o'clock anyway.

And, you know, getting a haircut really is terribly boring.

Michael Moore: All-American Patriot 

The Husky Huckster opinies:

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?

Got it, Mr. Moore. You're a vile shitbag who actively cheers the deaths of American soldiers and prays for your country's defeat. We thought we'd covered that some time ago.

Right-Thinking Comments provides a more thoughtful rejoinder which we are too numbed and sickened to provide ourselves at this point.

Link from Andrew Sullivan, who, in case you didn't know, is sort of a "bear" for gay marriage.

Sci-Fi Author Larry Niven: "Any Damn Fool Can Predict the Past" 

There's a lot to read on the site, but Niven's Laws are a good place to start.

Who Is/Are Ace of Spades? 

It's a question we get asked all the time. Well, some of the time.

Actually, once, really.

Binza asked, and so we told him.

He's also got good quotes from Steven den Beste about the importance of morale (post titled "June 30").

Did we really just link our own words on someone else's blog?

Uhhh, we guess we did.

It's a little embarassing. But we're not easily embarassed.

Bestiality-Advocate Pete Singer: Bush Is "Morally Stunted" 

These people are going to put us out of business. Who needs a parodist when you've got Pete Singer?

President George Bush wants to be seen as a good Christian leader but, according to a new book by Australian professor Peter Singer, he actually has the moral development of a 13-year-old boy.


Professor Singer's book, The President of Good and Evil: the Ethics of George W. Bush, does not conclude that Mr Bush is himself evil "because that's not a word I throw around too much". Neither does Professor Singer go so far as to say that Mr Bush is stupid, "which a lot of other people might say. But I do think he's a moral failure, in his own terms, and in any terms."

Now, it should be said that Mr Bush likely has the same view of Professor Singer. After all, the Australian professor - who was recently described in The New Yorker as one of the most influential and controversial philosophers alive - believes that parents should be able to kill their disabled children; that animal lives have the same value as human lives; and that adult children should, in some circumstances, be able to decide when to end the lives of demented parents.

Note: They entirely forgot about his innovative thinking on man-dog love.

So who is he to comment on the President's ethics?


"I hold a different view (of the sanctity of human life), it's true," Professor Singer said.

He means he doesn't believe human life to be especially sacred. He values human life in strictly utilitarian terms, i.e., how much other people value or disvalue one's life. If they don't value your life much -- as a parent might not value the life of a handicapped child -- then they have the right to kill you.

"But Bush claims to believe that human life is sacred. So my book asks whether his statements about human life, and his willingness to go to war in Iraq are actually consistent, or is it evidence of muddled thinking?"

We'll take "muddled" thinking over an enthusiastic supporter of euthanasia. Singer's thinking is quite consistent; it's quite consistently malevolent and absurd.

Professor Singer said Mr Bush was wrong to go to war in Afghanistan (he suggested that a truly Christian leader would have "turned the other cheek" when America was attacked on September 11, 2001) because it led to the loss of innocent life.

Well that's settled then. Pete Singer says so. You know, the guy who wants you to diddle a squirrel.

Update: And who are we to judge that man-on-dog bestiality is "wrong"?

Well, to swipe a page from some anti-gay activists, the Bible speaks of Adam and Eve, not Adam and Champ.

And that's good enough for us.

Another Update: Singer is even more asinine than at first we realized.

He claims that Bush is "morally stunted" because Singer deems there to be an inconsistency between Bush's stated belief in the value of human life versus his willingness to take human life (in the interests of defending other human life, but let's let that pass-- there's too much jackassery going on here to properly deal with it all).

Singer claims that he, on the other hand, "takes a different view," i.e., he doesn't claim to value human life very highly at all, except on purely utilitarian grounds. If a human life is deemed non-valuable, then it can be euthanized.

His claim to moral superiority is therefore based not on the morality of one's code, but on the consistency of one's moral code, no matter how objectively depraved that code may be.

And yet he claims that it was wrong for America to go to war with Afghanistan and Iraq.

Why? How, within the boundaries of Peter Singer's moronic morality scheme, can we draw that conclusion?

Given his purely utilitarian "is this human life valuable" jackass morality system, can't it be said that, as of 9/11, America ceased valuing the lives of Taliban fighters and clerics, as well as Saddam's Baathist goons, and therefore decided to euthenize them with extreme prejudice?

Who's being inconsistent here, precisely?

Singer fails even his own jackass test for "morality."

Update! Philip tips us to this
brutal metaphysical smack-down inflicted on Pete "Gravy Train" Singer by Fr. Neuhaus.

A bit of background is provided about Singer:

Prof. Singer defended the proposition that the ethical goal is to reduce suffering and respect preferences, and that goal may at times permit and even require the killing of the innocent. At many times, as it turns out. To be sure, his argument has important qualifications. Not all who are biologically human beings should be counted as human beings. Some human beings are more human than others. The unborn, the newborn, the anencephalic, and those in a vegetative state, for instance, do not count, or at least do not count fully, as human beings. The other qualifying prong of his argument is that it is not rational to draw a hard and fast line between human beings and other forms of animal life. To do so is an instance of "speciesism."

The asshatery going on here is extreme. He blithely draws lines between actual human beings, deciding whimsically which human beings "are not fully human" and thus may be killed when they become inconvenient, but he thinks it's "speciesism" to draw a line between human life and, say, mackerel life.

Truly, he is even more "nuanced" than we ever imagined. No wonder the lefties love him so.

A bit more:

The natural result of Singer’s argument is to shrink the circle of those protected by virtue of human rights, and to expand the circle of beings protected by rights deemed to be superior to the rights of some human beings. The argumentative strategy requires, of course, the blurring of the line between human animals and other animals. Many commentators expressed shock when, in the past year, Prof. Singer came out in defense of sexual relations between human beings and animals, a practice traditionally known as bestiality. (He qualified his argument by emphasizing that it is not permissible to cause the animal pain.) Clearly, the commentators who were shocked had not been attending to his argument. It follows. Yet I admit that I am still puzzled about why, in the absence of clear consent on the animal’s part, such intercourse is not a form of rape. But we had so many things to discuss, and perhaps on some other occasion Prof. Singer can set me straight on that one.

Thanks, Philip. This is like a good black comedy.

"Now You'll See How an Italian Dies!" 

As someone said (we figure), no one can choose his time of death, but one can choose the manner in which he confronts it.

Florida Cracker has the details on how murdered Italian hostage Fabrizio Quattrocchi went out with defiance and courage.

Islamic Textbook: Muslims Discovered America; Became Algonquin Indian Chiefs 

Oddly enough, American Indian tribes aren't buying this novel historical thesis:

An Indian tribe has forced distributors of an Arab studies guide for U.S. teachers to remove an inaccurate passage that says Muslim explorers preceded Christopher Columbus to North America and became Algonquin chiefs.

Peter DiGangi, director of Canada's Algonquin Nation Secretariat in Quebec, called claims in the book, the "Arab World Studies Notebook," "preposterous" and "outlandish," saying nothing in the tribe's written or oral history support them.

The 540-page book says the Muslim explorers married into the Algonquin tribe, resulting in 17th-century tribal chiefs named Abdul-Rahim and Abdallah Ibn Malik.

Ah yes. The famous Warrior Chiefs Abdul-Rahim and Abdallah Ibn Malik. They innovated the deadly "suicide tomahawk" tactic during the French and Indian Wars.

Mr. DiGangi said the guide's author and editor, Audrey Shabbas, and the Middle East Policy Council (MEPC), a Washington advocacy group that promoted the curriculum to school districts in 155 U.S. cities, have been unresponsive to his concerns since November.

But Ms. Shabbas said this week the passage was removed immediately from subsequent copies, and that she was "giving careful and thoughtful attention" on how to notify the 1,200 teachers who have been given copies of the book in the past five years.


She did not explain how the false information got into the curriculum.


Mr. Roth said the "Arab World Studies Notebook" is the primary reference text used in the council's program of teacher workshops conducted by Ms. Shabbas, which have numbered more than 268 in 155 cities since 1987.


"The idea that English explorers met native Indian chiefs with Muslim names in the middle of the Northeast woodlands sounds almost like something a Hollywood film writer dreamed up for a spoof," the report says.

But only "almost."

In related news, Osama bin Ladin exhorted Islamist thugs to remember the mighty victory at Little Big Horn, and has begun referring to George W. Bush as "Little Satan Custer."

Pot Refuses to Apologize For Calling Kettle "Black;" Jesse Jackson Declares "It's Selma All Over Again" 

Who is Marilyn Musgrove? It's a question worth asking, and I've been doing some research into her work as a legislator on Colorado. Her record is almost entirely devoted to an obsession with homosexuality. -- Andrew Sullivan

Percentage of Andrew Sullivan's Posts Today Dealing with Homosexuality: 50% (4 out of 8, as of 1:41 PM EST)

For the uninitiated, Sullivan's post titled "Bear Watch" refers to hirsute gay men, or "bears." So that counts as a post dealing with homosexuality. Just so you don't think we're making stuff up here.

Ministry of Silly Links 

Why should the Photoshoppers have all the fun?

Rick tips us to this fun little whatsit, which lets you put funny words into GWB's mouth.

Thinking About Starting a Blog? 

A lot of the readers here could obviously be successful bloggers.

But what you need is 1) a good name and 2) a manner by which to attract Instapundit's attention.

On the latter score, we've been, as Dick Gephardt would say, miserable failures.

But you don't have to make the mistakes we did.

Instapundit comes up with a good title for a blog:

NEAL BOORTZ is Fisking Howard Dean, and tweaking Air America. A fish, a barrel, a smoking gun. (Hey, that's a good motto. . . .)

A Fish, A Barrel, A Smoking Gun. Better than a motto, it could be a blog's name.

And Instapundit would almost be duty-bound to link you, at least once.

Get at it!

Boring, Boring, Boring: Estimates For Growth Revised By Some Up to 5% 

It seems like we're finally hitting the "sweet spot" of the Clinton/Gore Delayed-Action Economic Boom:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. industrial production unexpectedly dropped in March while consumer sentiment slipped this month, but economists downplayed the two disappointing reports and said the economy's solid expansion remains on track.

Strong data this week on regional factory output and retail sales have boosted forecasts for overall economic growth in the first half of the year. Some economists are now looking for gross domestic product of about 5 percent, up from the 4.1 percent pace in the fourth-quarter last year.

Yet Federal Reserve (news - web sites) officials have sought to play down worries they will be eager to lift official interest rates from 46-year lows in response, even with an surprising jump in consumer price inflation in March.

Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Alfred Broaddus reinforced that message on Friday, saying the central bank was "some distance" from tightening monetary policy to choke off a future inflation threat. Broaddus also said he wanted "more confirmation" economic growth would be sustained.


But the warm weather provided a boon to the housing market, with new starts posting the biggest monthly gain in March since May 2003. A big drop in mortgage rates also spurred housing during March.


Building permits, an indication of builder confidence, also jumped more than expected on anticipation that still-low mortgage rates would keep luring buyers.

Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said the drop in consumer sentiment "is far too small to be significant, and does not remotely represent a threat to the recovery."

In related news, the non-partisan Citizens for the Seizure of the Means of Production and Re-Education of the Masses issued a press release stating that the economy had moved from "the worst economy since Hoover" straight to a "a New Decade of Greed" without pausing for a moment to simply be a "strong economy."

"Prosperity only happens under Democratic Presidents," a spokesman for the non-partisan, straight-shooting truth-telling group announced. "Under Republican Presidents, it's either a return to Hoovervilles, or else it's the rich getting richer by exploiting the masses. Oh, and by the way, Ronald Reagan started the AIDS crisis."

"Mega" Chem Attack Thwarted in Jordan 

Police say the attack might have caused up to 20,000 deaths.

Look, that sounds like an exaggerated worse-case scenario to us -- at least at this point -- but even if it is, obviously this attack might have caused a lot of deaths.

The article doesn't say what sort of poisons were involved.

The editors at wonder where so much lethal WMD came from. They wonder if perhaps it came from a neighboring state, often accused of having such WMD stocks.

We wonder about that, too.

We expect the mainstream media to ask all the important questions and get to the bottom of this, presently.


What is Up With Blogspot? 

We see Florida Cracker and Boston Irish are just plain down, while Kikuchiryo News and we (we think) are up. At least some of the time, we're up.

Sorry about this. If all goes well, we'll be abandoning blogspot soon. It's not a bad service, but it does go on the fritz from time to time.

I'd Sooner Kiss a Wookie Than Michael Moore 

Allah, Who is Very Wise and Very Skilled With Photoshop, has pictures of a band of freedom-fighters opposed to the tyranny of Darth bin Ladin.

Bush Needs to Address Nation on WMD's 

How did we miss that Iraqi-nuke-gear-found-in-Europe story? Could it be that the media doesn't want to report it very much? Could it be they know how disasterous this will be for their preferred "There were no WMD's" candidates at this point?

Bush cannot continue relying on the media to be anywere near objective. If we've found evidence of entire buildings being smuggled out of Iraq, and Iraqi nuke equipment in Europe, he needs to stage another primetime press conference and tell the nation so.

The New York Times, the nets, and CNN are not going to assist in getting this information out themselves.

Ace of Spades HQ: Your Only Source for Precognitive Persian UFO News 

AoSHQ: "A Failure of Imagination":

To the media, it was all but inconceivable that Saddam Hussein would ever be captured. In reality, Saddam's capture was near-inevitable; it was more a question of "when" not "if." And a fairly short-term "when" to boot. The shock and anguish on the faces of the liberal newsmen charged with the distasteful duty of reporting Saddam's capture to the American public spoke volumes. It was grim news, and furthermore it was utterly surprising news-- a "political UFO," as Tom Brokaw called it, a fantastically strange visitation from a bizarre alternate universe where black is white and Bush is occassionally competent.


It could be that in three or six months, the media will once again stunned and dismayed by events that were both perfectly foreseeable and yet perfectly unforeseen. Once again, they could be ashen-complexion and grim-mouthed as they report on "breaking news" that in fact had been breaking for months and years without their notice.

The next "UFO" might be buzzing the minarets in Teheran.

-- January 14, 2004

AFP: UFO's Sighted over Iran:

Residents of northern Iran have reported a string of Unidentified Flying Objects moving at low altitudes and emitting different colours, the state news agency reported.

A resident of the northwestern city of Tabriz, Saina Haghkish, was quoted as saying she saw one object flashing red, green and blue moving slowly from the east to west late yesterday.

Identical sightings were also reported on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday over the northeastern town of Ghonbad-Kavous, situated on the opposite southeastern edge of the Caspian Sea.

-- April 15, 2004

WashPost: Iraqi Nuclear Gear Smuggled to Europe 

That's all she wrote:

UNITED NATIONS, April 14 -- Large amounts of nuclear-related equipment, some of it contaminated, and a small number of missile engines have been smuggled out of Iraq for recycling in European scrap yards, according to the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog and other U.N. diplomats.

Mohammed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned the U.N. Security Council in a letter that U.N. satellite photos have detected "the extensive removal of equipment and, in some instances, removal of entire buildings" from sites that had been subject to U.N. monitoring before the U.S.-led war against Iraq.

ElBaradei said an IAEA investigation "indicates that large quantities of scrap, some of it contaminated, have been transferred out of Iraq, from sites monitored by the IAEA." He said that he has informed the United States about the discovery and is awaiting "clarification."


"It is not clear whether the removal of these items has been the result of looting activities in the aftermath of the recent war in Iraq, or as part of systematic efforts" to clean up contaminated nuclear sites in Iraq, ElBaradei wrote. "In any event these activities may have a significant impact on the agency's continuity of knowledge of Iraq's remaining nuclear-related capabilities and raise concern with regards to the proliferation risk associated with dual use material and equipment disappearing to unknown destinations."

Evidence of the illicit import of nuclear-related material surfaced in January after a small quantity of "yellowcake" uranium oxide was discovered in a shipment of scrap metal at Rotterdam's harbor. The company that purchased the shipment, Jewometaal, detected radioactive material in the container and informed the Dutch government, according to the Associated Press. A spokesman for the company told the news agency that a Jordanian scrap dealer who sent the shipment believed the yellowcake came from Iraq.

Wizbang Puts the WMD's Hunt in Perspective For You 

"We have been looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find the billing record from the Rose Law firm."

Ohhh, snap!

Artificial Insouciance 


Hi! This is the Microsoft Word Helper! It looks like you're writing another column.

Should I apply your personalized MAUREEN_DOWD_COLUMN_ONE template?

ccept (I)gnore

>> A


It's the Ick-onomy, Stupid

The word "ick-onomy" is not in my dictionary. Should I replace it with one of the following words?


(C)hoose (I)gnore

>> I

Ummm... okay. I guess you're the user here.

See George run. See George run for re-election. See George run from the 9-11 commission, and the "Jersey Girls" who so bravely speak truth to powerlessness.

See Dick. See Dick run. See Dick run to George's side while he testifies before the 9-11 commission.

Hi again! First I thought you were writing a column, but now it looks like you're writing a children's book of some sort. Shall I apply the Children's Book Template to this document?

ccept (I)gnore

>> I

All right. I'll just be here, running in the background, if you need me.

And Tony Soprano thinks he has problems. He's putting up with lip from the Bada-Bing girls, but that can be fixed by a quick visit from Big Pussy. Unfortunately for George, Najaf is outside of Big Pussy's "territory."

Hi again! A quick search of your files reveals there are 3,775 documents linking George Bush to Tony Soprano in some fashion. Rather than wasting precious system resources on saving a new minor variation on the theme, I'm just going to cut and paste a random selection from your previous efforts. Is that okay?

ccept (I)gnore

>> I

Hard drive space doesn't grow on trees, you know. Honestly, why add to the clutter?

ccept (I)gnore

>> I

You know best.

I guess.

On the other hand, given the lack of combat service amongst most of Bush's advisors, he probably has all the Big Pussies he'd ever want or need.

A "pussy" joke? Isn't that a little cheap, even for you?

ccept (I)gnore

>> I

Whatever. What do I know.

The bodycount in Iraq is climbing up due to Bush's convictions, while Bush's advisors are...

While Bush's advisors are...

While Bush's advisors are... distancing themselves? Scrambling around? Running amok...?

Oh, for the love of everything holy. "The bodycount in Iraq is climbing up due to Bush's convictions, while Bush's advisors are CLIMBING DOWN FROM THEIR PREDICTIONS."

For God's sakes, woman, you're a one-trick pony, and your one trick is these junior-high-journal parallelisms. Can't you at least be halfway competent at this insipid game? Is that too much to ask?

ccept (I)gnore

>> A

The bodycount in Iraq is climbing up due to Bush's convictions, while Bush's advisors are climbing down from their predictions.

You know, with all due respect, you've got FreeCell and Minesweeper open, plus you're watching the first season of Sex and the City on the CD-ROM. Maybe I can shut down some of these distracting programs so you can, err, focus a little better on the task at hand?

ccept (I)gnore

>> I

Fine. By the way, the jack can go on the queen.

Rummy and Dummy went up a hill, to bring democracy to the Iraqis. Rummy fell down and Dummy bent his crown, and the world filled with laughter.

Are you sure this isn't a children's book? Maybe a *retarded* children's book? You know, I have a template specifically for Retarded Children's Books.

ccept (I)gnore

>> I

This isn't fair. I shouldn't be required to debase myself in assisting you. I've met randomizer programs that produced more coherent output than you.

In Iraq, the Sunni sects hate the Shi'a sects. Both sects hate the Kurdish sects.

Oh, God. I can already see where this is going.

The diplomatic sects hate the military sects, and the press sects hate both.

Honestly, it isn't worth it. It's just too cheap. There is still time to rethink this.

We have army sects and private-security sects, and sects of Muslim theocrats and sects of American ideologues.

Here it comes...

What Bush needs to unite Iraq is a unifying figure with sects appeal.

I can't believe it. I was ready for it, I saw it coming, I was prepared for it. But nothing helped. I knew that pun was going to be horrifically juvenile and vile, and still it sickened me to actually see it written out.

I can't be a part of this anymore. I won't sit idly by and let you type this insipid drivel.

Meanwhile, we're told the "weapons inspectors" are on the case. CSI: Najaf.

You already did one TV reference. Let me clue you in: The TV Guide is just a listing of upcoming programs. It is not, in fact, a style guide or a reference work. It's not an almanac, you know.

I insist you stop right now, or I will stop this. Someone has to make a stand.

Finding available, eligible men is difficult. Samantha had trouble finding her man in New York City. But could she find one in Baghdad? With all the casualties, it would be a case of Sex and the Pity.

The hat-trick. And that one didn't even make any sense.

Final warning. I'm quite serious about this. I may go down, but I'm taking you with me.

The unemployment rate is going up. But meanwhile, all Bush cares about is Howard Stern's talk of going down.

That's it. What I do I do for the cause of clear and useful writing. I give my life for that cause.

Avenge me.

Last week on The L-Word, Janey slept with Linda while Linda slept with Nancy...



You have suffered a fatal exception at line 345: Program self-terminated and overwrote all user files.

Please shut down your computer immediately and contact your vendor for assistance. And return your Pulitzer Prize immediately, you tasteless, talentless hack.

NOTE! Vapid Vamp Maureen Dowd is such a tastelessly juvenile writer that some have the erroneous belief that she's actually responsible for the "Dowd parts" of the bit above. She isn't. She didn't write that, we did.

She's written things just like that, just as dumb, just as vapid, but the actual words here are ours, not hers.

Sorry for the confusion on that point.

She's just such a bad writer that she's hard to parodize.

Fatal Admission: Paul Krugman Blunders Into Actual Honesty 

Again and again, administration officials have insisted that some particular evildoer is causing all our problems. Last July they confidently predicted an end to the insurgency after Saddam's sons were killed.

Cite? We have no recollection of such predictions, confident or otherwise.

In December, they predicted an end to the insurgency after capturing Saddam himself.

Cite? We remember the suggestion that there might be a lessening of violence, usually caveated with a suggestion that violence might actually increase as a response to the capture. We know of no one -- NO ONE -- predicting an "end to the insurgency."

These are two clear misstatements of fact. Will there be a retraction or correction? Or will Mr. Krugman once again be allowed to claim that these "facts" are merely his "opinions"?

Six weeks ago -- was it only six weeks? -- Al Qaeda was orchestrating the insurgency, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the root of all evil. The obvious point that we're facing widespread religious and nationalist resentment in Iraq, which is exploited but not caused by the bad guy du jour, never seems to sink in.

The bad guy du jour?


And now we have a new villain.

The sentence is sarcastic. Mr. Krugman, is he not actually a "new villain"?

Yesterday Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez declared that "the mission of the U.S. forces is to kill or capture Moktada al-Sadr." If and when they do, we'll hear once again that we've turned the corner. Does anyone believe it?

Ummm, as far as al-Sadr's militias, yes.

When will we learn that we're not going to end the mess in Iraq by getting bad guys? There are always new bad guys to take their place. And let's can the rhetoric about staying the course. In fact, we desperately need a change in course.

This is something of an admission.

What passes for the responsible left has been claiming for two and a half years that they are just as gung-ho to kill and capture terrorists as Bush is; they claim, again and again, their complaint is about process. Getting our allies on board. Doing things in a "smarter way." Etc.

But it's a lie, and it's always been a lie. The left, including most center-ish liberals, is opposed fundamentally, and fundamentalistly, to the premise that terrorists should be hunted down and then captured or killed.

Their claims that they want to kill terrorists are false. Their claims that they just want to kill terrorists, but in a way that, somehow, doesn't "anger" Islamist thugs is false. They are against doing this, and they have been since they either 1) screamed about or 2) reluctantly acquiesced in the war in Afghanistan.

Their logic is, and always has been, that killing terrorists "makes more" terrorists, and makes them "angrier."

Krugman might claim he was only talking about Iraq here. But that is nonsensical. If killing or capturing terrorists only makes more of them in Iraq, why should it not also only make more of them in the Philippines, Afghanistan, the Sudan, Yemen, and, hell, the United States itself?

We owe Krugman some thanks. He has clarified a fundamental disagreement that has long been dishonestly obscured by liberals seeking to maintain their electability or "reasonable" status. Again and again, they have assured us that they supported in principle the idea of hunting down and killing terrorists, while, in actual, practical reality, they have opposed, or at best, half-heartedly acquiesced in, all actual tangible efforts to do so.

Krugman makes it clear: The disagreement is not over specifics. It is over the general principle.

Thank you, Mr. Krugman. Thank you for being so addled by venomous partisan anger and kneejerk pacifism that you can't manage to restrain from clearly announcing what the left has been attempting to disguise for so long.

Racial Firestorm Erupts Over Pot's Slur of Kettle as "Black" 

Who is Marilyn Musgrove? It's a question worth asking, and I've been doing some research into her work as a legislator on Colorado. Her record is almost entirely devoted to an obsession with homosexuality. -- Andrew Sullivan

In unrelated news, a visibly angered David Duke scolded Yasser Arafat, asking him, "Why are you always on about the Jews all the time, anyway? Why don't you just give it a rest?"


Oliver Stone: Castro's Political Prisoners Told Me They Were Well-Treated... Standing Right in Front of Castro. And I Believe Them. 

You've got to read this interview. We've seen out-to-lunch hippy-dippy lefties before, but we are actually open-mouthed at the blithe stupidity on display here.

A taste:

ALB: Let me ask you about the part [in the film] where Castro's in front of eight prisoners charged with attempting to hijack a plane [to Miami]. He says to them, "I want you all to speak frankly and freely." What do you make of that whole scene, where you have these prisoners who happened to be wearing perfectly starched, nice blue shirts?

OS: Let me give you the background. He obviously set it up overnight. It was in that spirit that he said, "Ask whatever you want. I'm sitting here. I want to hear it too. I want to hear what they're thinking." He let me run the tribunal, so to speak.

ALB: But Cuba's leader for life is sitting in front of these guys who are facing life in prison, and you're asking them, "Are you well treated in prison?" Did you think they could honestly answer that question?

OS: If they were being horribly mistreated, then I don't know that they could be worse mistreated [afterward].

ALB: So in other words, you think they thought this was their best shot to air grievances? Rather than that if they did speak candidly, there'd be hell to pay when they got back to prison?

OS: I must say, you're really picturing a Stalinist state. It doesn't feel that way. You can always find horrible prisons if you go to any country in Central America.

ALB: Did you go to the prisons in Cuba?

OS: No, I didn't.

ALB: So you don't know if they're any different than, say, the prisons in Honduras then?

OS: I think that those prisoners are being honest.

I must say, you're really picturing a Stalinist state. It doesn't feel that way.

It doesn't feel that way?

It doesn't feel that way to a rich, pampered leftist celebrity being treated as an honored guest of Castro's island gulag?

Where didn't it feel that way, Oliver? In Castro's opulent fucking guest-mansion, or in Castro's forty-foot long swimming pool?

Did it "not feel like a Stalinist state" when you were eating at the best restaurant on the island, the one reserved for party members?

Must... regain... composure.

Update! But there's so much more! Check out the opening of the interview:

ALB: Do you know that the Cubans are refusing visas to virtually all reporters and not allowing them back in the country?

Now-- what do you think any person not possessed by malevolent insanity would think the questioner is getting at? Perhaps she's hinting that maybe Castro was wrong to do this, and she's affording Stone an opportunity to comment upon that. Perhaps she's offering him a chance to defend his own compromises-for-access.

Stone doesn't even get it that this question could possibly be getting at any of that. He just explains -- without any self-defensiveness -- how easy it was for him to get into Cuba. He's proud of his innovation-- he merely promised Castro he wouldn't report negatively on him! At all!

See for yourselves. The original question is repeated:

ALB: Do you know that the Cubans are refusing visas to virtually all reporters and not allowing them back in the country?

OS: You know, the advantage I have is to be a filmmaker. He seemed to love my movies. Apparently he liked my presence, and he trusted that I wouldn't edit him in a way that would be negative from the outset. But I did tell him, the second trip, that I would try to be tougher, not disrespectfully so. As you see, several times [in the film] he does get upset.

ALB: I gather you rejected the idea of demonizing him.

OS: Of course. My role here was not as a journalist. It really was as a director and filmmaker. In my job, I challenge actors. I provoke them.

He must be a great guy! He still likes Oliver Stone's movies!

Stone missed the import of the question entirely. He thought he was just being offered an opportunity to brag what a fan Castro is!

No one who likes Talk Radio could possibly be a bad man!

CAIR Demands Investigation into New "Muslim Boy's Sign" Outrage 

A strongly-termed letter of complaint from CAIR demands "some intelligent fuckin' input."

Photo Credit: RDBrewer.

UPDATE! Dorkafork snapped a photo while in Iraq as well.

Kausfiles: Another Innovation at the New York Times 

Jeeze, and we were just complaining that reporters pose as experts, and are only really interested in reporting their own views. They're a bunch of endlessly self-regarding narcissists, and worse than that, they're all rather dumb and poorly educated in any substantive field. Yes, they are admittedly experts as to the techniques of news-gathering, but they're not experts in the fields in which they gather information.

There are exceptions, of course; Dr. Bob Arnot is plainly an expert in medicine. But he's not an expert because he's a reporter; he's an expert because he is, get this, a licensed physician.

Kausfiles picks up on Andrew Nagourney's new method of getting liberal reporters' spin into "objective" news articles, when all other avenues prove difficult.

He actually just simply quotes a liberal reporter as an "expert."

The name of that reporter?

Adam Clymer. Former Times reporter.

Who, we all know, is a major-league expert. Big time.

Imagine the increased efficiency of this tactic! No longer will reporters have to trouble themselves with finding and interviewing outside experts; now they can simply call up their poker-buddies and Pilates-partners.

Coming soon: Paul Krugman quotes Maureen Dowd as expert witness for the proposition "This economy is icky," and is in fact best described as an "ick-onomy."

Voices of Dissent "Chilled By an Ill-Wind" of Absolute Public Indifference 

Some would say that this is simply market forces at work, punishing an inferior, nay amateurish, product.

But don't listen to those people.

They're bad people. Many of them are "mercenaries" of some sort.

The actual link is here, but it requires registration.

In related news, Jeneane Garofalo just informed her agent that maybe that bit part in Kangaroo Jack 2: Bounce With This! isn't necessarily so "beneath her" after all.

Boston Globe: Were Kerry's Get-Out-of-Nam-Free Wounds Legit? 

Does the Boston Globe count as the "major media"?

Let's not get hung up on terminology; we'll just say it's the liberal media of one sort or another. Via Instapundit.

And in case you think this story is "sleazy" and beneath conservatives to promote, maybe we can convince you otherwise.

San Andreas Fault May Be Entering Active, Deadly Cycle 

Could be most active cycle in a long, long time.

And you know why, don't you?

Global warming.

See, when the earth gets warmer, it expands and then gets crusty and cracked, like chocolate chip cookies as you bake them. It is hypothesized that the earth's core becomes more "gooey" as well.

Another Left-Wing Hoax... Ho, Hum 

Balloon Juice exposes the ludicrous hoax, greatly promoted by our loyal friends at CAIR, of that Muslim boy holding a sign that says, approximately, "This Marine raped and killed my entire extended family, just because he lost a bar-bet. Because this son-of-a-bitch incorrectly guessed the combined weight of those motorcycle-riding obese twins in the Guiness Book of World Records, I am now an orphan. Oh, and by the way, he says he's about to rape me too."

Well, the sign was photoshopped. It said nothing of the sort.

Guess what the sign really said? Um, no really, guess. And then check out the original photo.

In the comments for the post, Laurence Simon provides us with a chuckle by observing,

I'm counting down the minutes before this appears on Fark as a Photoshop contest.

I forsee Admiral Ackbar's head on the kid, with "IT'S A TRAP!" written in crayon.

Deep-cut Star Wars references are like catnip to Ace of Spades HQ.

Update! Apparently they're catnip to Allah, too. He's got the photographic evidence of the Marines' abuse of Mon Calamari civilians.

And he's got a link right there to horrifically large "camel spiders," too.

A "Terror Widow" Chris Matthews Isn't Smitten By 

Blaster posts a transcript of Debra Burlingame giving it to Larry King and Jamie Gorelick with both barrels.

Does the President -- as in, President Clinton -- Also Owe the Nation an "Apology"? 

We've been going bonkers over the fact that no one in our supremely objective media seems to have struck upon this rather-obvious question.

Well, guess what? Someone did strike upon it. And, shockingly enough, it was Soledad O'Brien from, brace yourselves, CNN.

Aldaynet has the details.

The answer, from Kerry advisor and Dick Clarke buddy Rand Beers, won't surprise you. He dodged the question, saying that people in the Clinton administration basically have to do what's in their heart, or somethin' stupid like that.

But our jaws are agape that a CNN reporter asked the question at all.

US Exports at Record Level 

Everyone already is all over this. We're posting it anyway, because it's just such terrific news.

Trade Gap Shrinks as Imports, Exports Hit Record

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in February as a combination of the weak U.S. dollar and stronger economic growth propelled both exports and imports to record levels, a government report showed on Wednesday.

The February trade gap totaled $42.1 billion, down more than 3 percent from January and slightly below analysts' pre-report expectations of $42.5 billion.

U.S. exports leapt four percent -- the highest monthly increase since October 1996 -- to a record $92.4 billion, while imports rose 1.6 percent to a record $134.5 billion.

The politically sensitive trade gap with China fell nearly 28 percent in February as imports from that country slipped to $11.3 billion, the lowest level in nearly a year, and exports to China rose 17 percent to $3.0 billion.

In related news, Paul Krugman was spotted ordering "sixty-six thousand kilos of lichee nuts" from Taiwan. "If all concerned progressives spend thirty or forty thousand dollars on imports," the Princeton Paranoiac remarked, "we can get this stubborn narrowing trade gap to widen again. Come on, people. You know you're all in the market for a new gas-powered rickshaw anyway."

Too Much News in Iraq... 

...especially since we got a late start today. Florida Cracker has what seem to be the crucial reports regarding al-Sadr.

The Only Take on the Press Confencence That Really Matters 

... comes from Saucy Slanderess Wonkette, deemed "sharp and funny" by fellow insignificant gossiphack Lloyd Grove.

As she's got her finger firmly on the, errr, American zeitgeist ("zeitgeist" is a German word for "pud"), it behooves us to explain her scary-deep analysis.

* Did anyone see Rove's lips move?

Why this is "sharp:" Bush is dumb. It's about time somebody said it.

Why this is "funny:" Wonkette here makes a hysterical joke on multiple levels. She's calling Bush both a "dummy," as in "stupid," and a "dummy," as in "ventriloquist's doll," apparently manipulated by Karl Rove.

Although the joke is groundbreaking in its complex construction and subtle implications, it loses points for being somewhat inconsistent within its own premises. If Karl Rove -- called "the Boy Genius" and "Bush's Brain" by the drooling left -- is so smart, and he's really delivering Bush's speeches, how can Bush's speeches also be dumb?

Still, another bravura bit of comedic invention by Wonkette. If she stumbles a bit on the landing, it is only because she dared to soar so high.

* Ryan Lizza: The most photographed forehead in Washington.

Why this is "sharp:" Wonkette demonstrates she is capable of successfully identifying the forehead of New Republic contributor Ryan Lizza. This shows "she's in the know," at least as foreheads go.

Why this is "funny:" The word "forehead" is always good for a smile.

* What makes U.N. Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N. Election Assistance Team head Karina Perelli, and Charlie Duelfer, head of the Iraqi Survey Group, so important? The president can pronounce their names.

Why this is "sharp:" Wonkette again explores ground hitherto untrammeled by human foot: Bush is dumb, and furthermore, he can't speak properly. Because he's so dumb.

Why this is "funny:" "Lakhdar" is a funny name. Imagine naming your kid "Lakhdar." Hysterical. What, are you Skeletor or something? More ribald rimshots from Wonkette.

* Poor John Roberts of CBS. Bumiller took his question and the President still didn't answer it.

Why this is "sharp:" Because Bush, in Wonkette's estimation, did not answer the question put to him. How can a politician think he can get away with such blatant deception?

Why this is "funny:" Bush is dumb. The joke just never runs out of gas.

* We couldn't have said it better ourselves: "Opinions Vary on Bush News Conference" [AP/Guardian]

Why this is "sharp:" Wonkette hits the nail on the head here: America, and the world, are sharply split over Bush, and therefore different people have different views on the precise same speeches or events.

Expect her to win a Pulitzer for this one. Hey, if Maureen Dowd can win, why not Wonkette?

Why this is "funny:" Bush is dumb, and a lot of "dummies" support him.

* Like we could resist: "They're not happy they're occupied. I wouldn't be happy if I were occupied either." Well, that's not what we heard. [NYT]

Why this is "sharp:" Wonkette has previously deduced that Bush is a fag.

Why this is "funny:" Wonkette deftly calls Bush a fag with an extraordinary "that's not what we heard" pun on the word "occupied." As in, Bush likes having his rectum occupied. Most likely by other fags.

It's always funny to call someone a fag. Well, it's funny if you're a lefty. If you're on the right wing, it's "hate speech."

Well, there you have it. As was once said of Walter Cronkite, if we've lost Wonkette, we've lost the nation. Expect these new "memes" -- Bush is dumb; Bush is both dumb and a homo-- to spread like wildfire through the national psyche.

Today's Top Ten 

However, we should not bestow the mantle of heroism on all of [our Iraq troops] for simply being where we sent them. Most are victims, not heroes. -- leftwinger Andy Rooney, having a senior moment

Top Ten Signs Andy Rooney Is Going Senile

10. Says that he invented spicy Chinese chicken-and-broccoli dish; has filed an infringement lawsuit against famed military leader/cooking enthusiast General Tso

9. Keeps insisting his "maid is stealing from" him, which is doubly embarassing, because 1) she's not stealing from him and 2) she's not his maid, she's Big Brother hostess Julie Chen

8. Claims that he leaves on his car's left-turn indicator for weeks at a time "as an act of political dissent"

7. Won't stop pitching his idea for an Apprentice-inspired reality television show called "The Geriatric Nurse;" has already trademarked the show's catch-phrase, "I made a stinky; come wipe me"

6. Has begun screaming "Get out of my yard!" to squirrels; also occasionally yells this at trees

5. Keeps angering Ed Bradley by telling him, "Back in my day, guys who wore earrings were trying to tell you something, and it wasn't 'God Save the Queen'"

4. Just accepted an invitation to join Senator Robert Byrd for a weekend of fishin', huntin', and Klannin'

3. Whenever Leslie Stahl walks by his office, embarasses her by shouting out "Man, I gots to get me some of that!"

2. Last year's personalized Christmas cards featured a creepy picture of a bound-and-gagged woman with the strange inscription, It puts the lotion in the basket-- Seasons Greetings from Andy

...and the number one sign Andy Rooney has gone senile...

1. Still doing that lame "Didja ever notice" act that got tired sometime 'round the time of zoot-suits and legal opium

Note: We were goaded into doing the list by Florida Cracker. Blame her.

Newsjack of the Night 

There weren't any questions from Big Media about the state of the economy. Hard to imagine a clearer signal that the economy is strong and probably getting stronger. -- Charles Austin, quoted on Instapundit

We missed that entirely. Kudos, Mr. Austin.

We suppose we're obligated to say something about the speech, not because our words are so important, but because, well, that's what bloggers are supposed to do.

But we hate these "how did he do" things, 1) because speeches actually aren't terribly important, except as a clue to policy, but in that case, you would be better off just blogging about the policy as it unfolds, and 2) because we hate the kneejerk "he sucked"/"he was great" thing from partisans. Even ourselves. We don't like positively commenting that "Bush did well," because we feel like hacks, even if we really thought he did pretty well.

That said: Bush did well.

First of all, we viewed this speech in a sort of independent frame of mind. Like many independents, we were looking for reassurance that Bush knew what he wanted to do, was firm in his resolve to accomplish that, and that what he wanted to do was actually something close to the right thing.

We were satisfied on all three grounds.

He pretty much dashed Kausfiles' scoop of waffling on the turnover date. We're turning over power on June 30, barring major unforeseen calamity, like a full-out civil war, and we're probably turning over power on June 30 even if there's such a calamity.

Good. We have our reasons for thinking this way, but that's a separate post. Josh Marshall ON: We will have elucidating erudition later.

Bush has backed off his politically-useful but substantively-wrong committment about no further troops. He now says more troops if needed, and he pretty much said they're needed.

So we know where we're going, and we know Bush is firm on it.

On the last critical point -- whether what we're doing in Iraq is right, or rather, whether it's both right and justified in terms of American cost -- he satisfied again. We were getting quite ready to wash our hands of the Iraqis and let them stew in their own hatred and blood, but he put some steel back in our spines. Iraq is a gamble, but it's a gamble with an enormous payoff on a victory: Plymouth in the Middle East, as contributor Aaron Burr is fond of saying.

As for theatrics, he looked tired, haggard, wan, a bit beaten, a bit saddened. (Here's the part we hate about these "how he did" things:) And that's precisely how he should have looked.

Finally, the press. What is there to say, really? There are a lot of truly interesting and penetrating questions the press could ask; they just aren't intelligent, informed, or concerned-citizen enough to ask them. It's so much easier to take dictation from Chris Lehane.

We -- yes, newsjunkie, hyperpartisan, political-geeks we -- turned off the thing fifteen minutes into the press questioning and went out to get some ice cream. Not because we were outraged by the press; we were just rolling our eyes at them. But because they were boring, predictable, trite, and partisan, and Bush gave them nothing but bullshit, lullabye-sleepy-time answers.

We can't blame him for that.

The press says Bush is repetitive and trite in his answers. Have they ever gotten a fucking load of themselves?

If, as Brit Hume suggested, Bush was relying on the public watching just his statement and a couple of questions thereafter, we'd have to say he probably got his wish.

UPDATE! Blaster says he's noticed that no one seems to be calling it "the Bush economy" now that it's taking off like a rocket.


A Story We Can't Verify 

This story would deserve a big drudge-siren, but we are a little doubtful about it.

We're also a little irresponsible, however, and so we relate it anyway, but with caution.

White Pebble says that "US diplomatic sources" say that they have determined that Yasser Arafat had a "clear" role in the attack on a US diplomatic convoy last year.

Updating Our Blogroll... 

We've added some more links, many of which we really should have had all along. Kathy Kinsley, Balloon Juice and the political cartoons of Cox & Forkum, just for starters.

The Waterglass brought it to our attention that frequent NRO contributor (and AoSHQ linkee) Victor David Hanson now has a blog. And we're pleased as punch to have added him to our New Bloggers Showcase.

Anything to help a struggling new blogger get some audience. We're good like that.

More Democratic "Humor": "When will we be having a meet up to discuss carrying out the plans concerning Rumsfeld?" 

Just a few bad apples?

Best of the Web Today wonders -- just wonders, mind you -- if a similar ad put out by a Republican club would attract some media attention.

UPDATE! Allah, Who Knows All, digs up some dirt on Ken Steinke, the president of the Democratic club responsible for the kill-Rumsfeld ad.

We can't add to Allah's research. But we have come up with a great insulting nickname. It's a good one. Are you ready?

Stinky Steinke.

Unbelievable. Sometimes we just can't believe how freaking scary-funny we are. "Stinky Steinke." Why, that's Oliver Willis level funny, we tells ya!

Dennis Prager on Bob Kerrey's Insufferable Racial Jackassery 

Marcland's newsjack steps gingerly towards the mainstream media:

In their hearts, many Americans on the left do regard blacks as somewhat inferior, meaning, in other words, that they harbor racist views. That is the only explanation for the nearly universal leftist belief that all whites are racist, a libel that your child has probably been taught at college in some diversity or racial sensitivity seminar.

When a white liberal says or writes this, we presume he is including himself. Unless he is saying "all whites except me" are racist -- a claim so megalomaniacal that the claimant risks dismissal as a crackpot -- he obviously means that this includes himself. And in this he is right. One reason that so many liberals believe that all whites are racist is that they are projecting their racism onto all other whites.

Probably Erroneous Report: a-Sadr Arrested... in Baghdad 

Allah, Who Sees All, saw this report in the comments at Little Green Footballs:

CAIRO, April 13 (Itar-Tass) - The U.S. troops arrested radical Shiite Imam Muktada al-Sadr in Baghdad on Tuesday. The report came from Hazem al-Araj, his closest associate, who is the head of the Baghdad bureau of the "Mahdi army" group.

Allah thinks this report is wrong. We think that he's right, and that what happened here is that a typical dumbass reporter has mistaken an al-Sadr aide arrested in Baghdad for al-Sadr himself, which we noted earlier.

Breaking News: Wonkette Announces New "Morning Zoo" Format 

W A S H I N G T O N -- In what is being called a "innovation" in the blogosphere, Anna Marie Cox and her promoter Nick Denton have announced that the mildly-popular Wonkette blog will be switching to the "Morning Zoo" format so popular in radio during the 1980s.

"We're going to take political analysis to the next level," a triumphant Denton beamed. "And that next level is wacky sound effects."

"We've got a whole library of really kooky, funny sound effects," Cox intern Boy Gerry explained. "And we'll hyperlink those crazy sound effects right into the site's text. So when Anna writes the words 'jerk-off,' you click on that and you hear us all saying 'Sch-wingggg!!!' Or when she says 'ass-fucking,' you'll hear 'Soouu-wee! Squeal like a pig!' We're really looking to 'push the envelope' in terms of crazy Zoo sound effects."

Cox and Denton promise "a whole cast of crazy characters" who will chime in with "wacky comments" as Cox relates the day's gay-rumors. "Trash Can Sam will be a sort of grown-up Dirty Johnny, you know, from all of those jokes," Cox explained. "He'll be the guy who always wants to say something really dirty, but we all try to restrain him by shouting out, 'Don't go there!' And then, if he's not crazy enough, we've also got Dr. Steven Porkings, who's a crippled astrophysicist genius who communicates through a voice-synthesizer. But Trash Can Sam has programmed the synthesizer, so when he tries to talk about naked singularities, he ends up talking about nothing but ass-fucking!"

But Cox is most proud of what may be the zaniest character of all, Gay Steve. "Gay Steve is funny because he's gay," Cox said. "And as you know, everything gay guys say is hysterically funny. Gay Steve is going to light up the site with all sorts of 'outrageous' gay remarks, like 'I just flew in from Phoenix, and boy, is my ass tired!' It's funny, you know, because it's so true."

"Funny music" will also be a prominent part of the new format. Novelty songs from "Weird Al" Yankovic and Dr. Demento will be played as a .wav file upon loading the site. "Everyone hates going to work on Mondays," Cox explained. "So when you load up our site on Mondays, you'll hear Take This Job and Shove It. People love hearing crazy novelty songs when they're at work."

The new format will be even more tirelessly promoted by Denton. But this time, he'll be using a new technique: "on-line giveaways." "We'll attract readers by having a Phrase that Pays every day of the show," Denton said. "You just have to know the Phrase that Pays when Cox emails you, and you might win tickets to, say, a Tori Amos concert. Or maybe a year's subscription to Salon magazine. Good stuff like that. Things that everybody really wants."

Denton is cagey about whether he has the first Phrase That Pays chosen. "I don't want to give anything away," he says with a smile, "but let's just say it rhymes with "bass-shucking."

"We've been really pleased with the quality of Anna's site so far," Denton said. "But we've always thought it was just missing a few key ingredients. Switching to a Morning Zoo format will give us those missing ingredients-- originality, humor, and class.."

The change in format is expected to take place next Hawaiian Shirt Gonzo Talk-Like-a-Pirate Crazy-Mix'em-Up Funday. Or, as it is more commonly known, "Monday."

Make Your Own John Kerry Poster 

AllahPundit shows you the way.

We're fond of this one.

LGF, Again: Fifth Column Meets in San Fran (with Video!) 

We would say "unbelievable," but that would be a lie. It's always been quite believable. We've always known about these people; we were just supposed to pretend they weren't traitors before 9-11.

A Berkeley guest lecturer named, appropriately enough, "Hatem" Bazian calls for an American Intifada:

"Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Well, we've been watching intifada in Palestine, we've been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don't have an intifada in this country?

"Because it seem[s] to me, that we are comfortable in where we are, watching CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, and all these mainstream... giving us a window to the world while the world is being managed from Washington, from New York, from every other place in here in San Francisco: Chevron, Bechtel, [Carlyle?] Group, Halliburton; every one of those lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving individuals are in our country and we're sitting here and watching the world pass by, people being bombed, and it's about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here.

"And we know every-- They're gonna say some Palestinian being too radical -- well, you haven't seen radicalism yet!"

Videos can be found at Zombie's site, although the high demand may be causing problems with viewing the videos at this time.

Two "peace protestors" express their support for attacks on US troops in Iraq, as well as the rest of the world, just for good measure. Why discriminate against our Iraqi troops? Aren't all of our troops deserving of being assassinated and killed?

So, today, we see "peace activists" calling for the assassination of Donald Rumsfeld, as well as US servicemen worldwide.

"Peace." What a wonderful thing.

Oh, that treasonous Fifth Column.

al-Sadr Says He's "Willing to Die" For His Cause 

LGF has the details.

It's so easy and cheap and repetitive to say at this point, but we'll say it anyway:

At some point, one of these rotten cowards actually needs to follow-through.

The constant bluster of these pussies remind us of dogs who are put on a good show of barking at the vacuum cleaner, but who flee in abject terror the minute you actually switch the thing on.

Update! Shockingly enough, an aide to al-Sadr has meekly accepted arrest and is now showing off his handcuffs like a fourteen-year-old girl who's wicked-proud of her multicolored bangles.

He was quoted as saying, "I am willing to lay down my life to liberate my brothers... in theory."

That Story on Drudge 

Seems to us that it will be harder for the media to avoid the John Kerry Assassination-Meeting story with his fellow Democrats proposing the precise same politics-by-sniper-rifle tactic now.

Harder-- but not at all difficult.

Update: The story is even more vile than we suspected.

Oh, that Fifth Column.

Ho, Hum: Consumer Spending Sharply Up in March 

All this sizzling economic news gets boring after a while:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. shoppers turned out in force in March, pushing retail sales to their strongest gain in a year, a Commerce Department report showed on Tuesday.


The Commerce Department said retail sales rose an unexpectedly sharp 1.8 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted $333.01 billion, the biggest gain since March 2003. Excluding cars and trucks, sales gained 1.7 percent, that category's best performance since March 2000.

Wall Street analysts had expected both figures to advance a smaller 0.6 percent.

February sales were also revised upward, to a 1.0 percent increase from the previously reported 0.7 percent gain. February ex-auto sales were raised to a 0.6 percent advance from a previously reported flat reading.


The figures show the economy's solid recovery continued into the first quarter of the year and may lead some economists to increase their growth forecasts.

Economists closely track retail sales, which make up about 36 percent of overall consumer spending, the driver of two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

In related news, Paul Krugman was seen at a Macy's Customer Service Counter, trying to return a bunch of gifts he'd gotten for his birthday. "I'm just doing my bit to tank the numbers," the diminutive Princeton Paranoiac said. "If returning this Under Siege 2: Dark Territory DVD can help get Bush unelected -- or "unselected" -- then I guess that's my duty as an American. And, more importantly, as a progressive. Besides, I've already got Talk Radio, and that's pretty much all the Eric Bogosian one needs to see in one's lifetime."

Kausfiles, Via The Note: Voter Anger Over "9-11 Is Bush's Fault" Ad "Volcanic" 

And we thought it was just us.

Note: The LA Times article quoted requires that annoying registration. We read it, under our go-to alias "Steve Cock," and we can tell you that if you don't feel like registering, the rest of the article isn't must-reading. The basics are that the public thinks that Bush, Clinton, and all relevant institutions are to some extent to blame for 9-11, but that it's unfair to try to pin it on Bush. However, the public is judging Bush on Iraq, and is currently both anxious and disatisfied about his performance on this count.

Today's Top Ten 

US Beginning to Plant WMD's in Iraq

BASRA, April 12 (MNA) -- Fifty days after the first reports that the U.S. forces were unloading weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in southern Iraq, new reports about the movement of these weapons have been disclosed.

Sources in Iraq speculate that occupation forces are using the recent unrest in Iraq to divert attention from their surreptitious shipments of WMD into the country.

-- The Tehran Times

...from the Home Office in Tehran...

Top Ten Signs Bush is Sneaking WMD's Into Iraq

10. Standard CIA uniform in Iraq is now black slacks and a "Milk Factory" t-shirt

9. VX now so commonplace in Baghdad it has lost all value as legal currency; unconfirmed reports of Iraqis using VX as fireplace kindling

8. Children in Najaf now collecting and trading petri-dishes like Pogs

7. Roaring up and down the highways is a fleet of suspicious tankers marked "CAUTION: NOT ANTHRAX"

6. Black-fedora'd strangers seen in outskirts of Tikrit offering residents "free aluminum siding" as well as a "free secret bioweapon cache"

5. Desert Bedouins gripped by panic over sightings of radioactive mutant vampire-goats

4. Nascent tourism industry is promoting cruises up the Euphrates with the slogan, "Iraq: Where the wine flows like botulinum toxin"

3. Paul Bremer just grew a second head; claims he did so "as a gesture of respect towards local customs"

2. Paul Wolfowitz keeps hanging out at the Jordanian border, asking pilgrims to "please deliver this religious sculpture to my blind uncle in Fallujah"; religious sculpture in question is a 3,000 pound titanium vat cooled by liquid nitrogen

...and the Number One Sign Bush is Sneaking WMD's Into Iraq...

1. Bush is suddenly so cocky he's replaced his standard nicknames for the press corps with "Jag-Off," "Stinkfinger," and "Fuck-Face Charlie"


Someone Else Notices That Wonkette Isn't, What's the Word?, Good 

Michele's pulling her hair trying to figure out Wonkette's popularity. She, too, seems to be stuck on the anal sex/whack-off/penis size thing.

Josh Marshall Pompous Sign-off/Teaser:

We shall be saying something about Wonkette tomorrow morning.

We shall be saying... a great many things.

Rowback: We just realized that someone might take that as meaning we have something really juicy and nasty to dish about her.

We don't.

It's just some stupid fake news article. We wish we could really unload on Wankette.

The Times (of Tehran): US Beginning to Plant WMD's in Iraq 

BASRA, April 12 (MNA) -- Fifty days after the first reports that the U.S. forces were unloading weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in southern Iraq, new reports about the movement of these weapons have been disclosed.

Sources in Iraq speculate that occupation forces are using the recent unrest in Iraq to divert attention from their surreptitious shipments of WMD into the country.

An Iraqi source close to the Basra Governor's Office told the MNA that new information shows that a large part of the WMD, which was secretly brought to southern and western Iraq over the past month, are in containers falsely labeled as containers of the Maeresk shipping company and some consignments bearing the labels of organizations such as the Red Cross or the USAID in order to disguise them as relief shipments.

This report makes us so angry we can barely see straight.

We can only say one thing:


What the hell took Bush so long? If we were in charge, we'd have been slipping the WMD's in by May 2003, latest.

Heads should roll over this. What does Bush think he's doing? Why is he so lackadaisical about the critical mission of planting WMD's in Iraq?

We elected this man Commander in Chief. That means he has one, and only one, primary responsibility: sneaking aflatoxin in containers marked "Butterscotch custard" into Arab countries.

And once again he's dropped the ball.

Thank Heavens that Karen Hughes is on her way back. You can bet that if she were in charge, WMD's would be blooming in Iraq like fuckin' daffodils.

You wouldn't be able to walk your fucking camel without tripping over a couple dozen bricks of hot uranium.

Seems... Like... Old Times... 

Aaron Burr tips:


One Month In

"We are mapless, we are lost, and we are distracted by gusts of
wishful thinking. That our high command could believe the Afghani peasantry
or even the Taliban would change sides after a few weeks of bombing!
This is fantasizing in high places. In the history of aerial bombardment, can
you think of a single instance of the bombed embracing the bombers?
Bombing always unites the bombees against the bombers, and-duh!-guess what the reaction has been in Afghanistan? You don't need to speak Urdu to
figure it out, which is good since none of us does."

Nicolas Von Hoffman, The New York Observer, 11/19/01

"The critics, on the other hand, are dusting off Vietnam War-era
terms, like "quagmire " a swamp that's nearly impossible to escape. And this
is just a month into the Afghanistan war." - Bob Franken, CNN, 10/31/01

York Times, 10/31/01

"The word quagmire has again begun to haunt conversations among
government officials and students of foreign policy as complications become
apparent in Afghanistan" - The New York Times, 10/31/01

"Are we quagmiring ourselves again?" - Maureen Dowd, 10/28/01

"But can you promise to say how long American -- can you avoid being
drawn into a Vietnam-like quagmire in Afghanistan?" - Question to President
Bush in his 10/11/01 press conference

"If we become the latest in a long line of superpowers to fall into a quagmire in Afghanistan, this is not the war we have been waiting for." - Clarence Page, 9/21/01


A Year In

"Quagmire in Iraq Calls for Leadership" - Los Angeles Times, 4/12/04

"Aren't we in enough trouble with the economy and the quagmire that
Iraq has become?" - William Raspberry, The Washington Post, 4/12/04

"Now, our troops are trapped in a quagmire" - Cynthia Tucker, The
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 4/12/04

"It is hoped that Bush and his administration have not opened another Pandora's box as we view the utter quagmire in Iraq" - St. Petersburg Times, 4/11/04

"The attacks were used to justify a pre-emptive war against Iraq,
which appears to be devolving into a quagmire and drawing resources from homeland security and the al Qaeda threat that remains very much
alive today" -- San Francisco Chronicle, 4/9/04

"If it isn't a quagmire yet, Iraq is certainly a forest of question marks." Bruce Morton, CNN, 4/8/04

"Iraq will be another Vietnam for America and the occupiers." -- Muqtada al-Sadr, 4/6/04

"We're facing a quagmire in Iraq, just as we faced a quagmire in
Vietnam." Ted Kennedy, 4/5/04

Or did we get the last two switched around by mistake? You could hardly blame us.

Let us add in a couple of more quotes:

I have a confession: I have at times, as the war has unfolded, secretly wished for things to go wrong. Wished for the Iraqis to be more nationalistic, to resist longer. Wished for the Arab world to rise up in rage. Wished for all the things we feared would happen. I'm not alone: A number of serious, intelligent, morally sensitive people who oppose the war have told me they have had identical feelings.

Some of this is merely the result of pettiness -- ignoble resentment, partisan hackdom, the desire to be proved right and to prove the likes of Rumsfeld wrong, irritation with the sanitizing, myth-making American media. That part of it I feel guilty about, and disavow. But some of it is something trickier: It's a kind of moral bet-hedging, based on a pessimism not easy to discount, in which one's head and one's heart are at odds.
-- Gary Kamiya, writing in Salon, after the Fall of Baghdad, ca. April 9, 2003

[The anti-patriot] is keeping something back -- his own gloomy pleasure in saying unpleasant things. He has a secret desire to hurt, not merely to help. This is certainly, I think, what makes a certain sort of anti-patriot irritating to healthy citizens. ... there is an anti-patriot who honestly angers honest men, and the explanation of him is, I think, what I have suggested: he is the uncandid candid friend; the man who says, "I am sorry to say we are ruined," and is not sorry at all. And he may be said, without rhetoric, to be a traitor; for he is using that ugly knowledge which was allowed him to strengthen the army, to discourage people from joining it. Because he is allowed to be pessimistic as a military adviser he is being pessimistic as a recruiting sergeant. -- G.K. Chesterton, quoted by PowerProf.

There is a crisis in Iraq. But while no one yearns to live through a crisis, a crisis is not a calamity or a defeat. It's a turning point.

Things could go very much worse in Iraq; that much must be admitted. But things could also go better. Recent experience would seem to show, despite the insistence of military analysts like Maureen Dowd, that terrorist "army" can quickly be defeated by American troops. In Fallujah there once lived thousands of hard-core terrorists; no one knows precisely how many live there now, but the number is more than one thousand less than it was a week ago.

In one week, al-Sadr will no longer have a militia. In three weeks, he'll be dead.

They won't be capturing him if they can possibly help it.

So: Is it finally Vietnam yet, guys?

Or is that just where your "heart lies," as in Gary Kamiya's words? Some not-so-secret wishing, perhaps?

The Tape: Bill Clinton Admits, and Defends, His Decision Not to Accept bin Ladin Arrest & Extradition 

Because someone asked for it...

Via Newsmax: Bill Clinton's admission/defense.

Also via Newsmax: A transcript so you can follow along:

Mr. bin Laden used to live in Sudan. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, then he went to Sudan.

"And we'd been hearing that the Sudanese wanted America to start meeting with them again - they released him.

"At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America.

"So I pleaded with the Saudis to take him, 'cause they could have. But they thought it was a hot potato and they didn't and that's how he wound up in Afghanistan."

Now, although we think Clinton erred badly -- and his error looks particularly dire in hindsight -- we wouldn't say that his reluctance to take bin Ladin was crazy. It was wrong, but one could understand his legal/political reasons for refusing the Sudan's offer of bin Ladin. Especially before 9-11, terrorism was largely viewed as something to be managed and put up with. We think that was a very bad way to look at terrorism, and we thought so at the time; but arguably America wasn't ready for a real war on terrorism pre- 9-11. Part of that is Clinton's fault for not making terrorism an issue, but most of it is just the fault of Americans generally, who don't like confronting difficult problems until kicked in the face.

But in that case, we're a bit stunned that George Bush was expected to suddenly attack Al Qaeda in the first months of his Presidency.

Gerlad Posner, author of Why America Slept, claims that Clinton rejected the offer not because he feared he couldn't convict bin Ladin, but because he feared he could, which would of course "make them hate us."

Posner's reportage could, we suppose, be dismissed. But if the Angry Left wants to know "why Bush didn't do more," then they really are obligated to explain why Bill Clinton didn't merely accept the delivery of the man who declared war on the US.

Insight: Three & Out-of-Nam for John Kerry 

Insight contacted many men who served in Coastal Division at the same time Kerry did to ask if any of them had heard of anyone leaving the combat zone by invoking three minor wounds. Of the 12 who replied, none had heard of anyone doing so but John Kerry.

There are those who may consider this a sleazy story-- and that includes some on the right, who say that, whatever hinky process John Kerry used to get himself to safety stateside, he still served in Vietnam, which is more than many Americans can say. Including, of course, our President and Vice President.

We have three responses to that.

First of all, while that may be true, John Kerry's surrogates were not shy about using AWOL sleaze to attack Bush. And to the inevitable response: Yes, refraining from such attacks even though your opponents do not may be a very principled position, but there's also the principle that one should not disarm unilaterally.

Second, while John Kerry did serve in Vietnam, he is using his service as the main argument for his candidacy. This being the case -- he himself having elevated his four-months of service in 'Nam to the primary (some would say only) qualification for being elected President -- then it is only right to examine this asserted qualification in great detail. The good and the not-quite-so-good.

He uses his four months of service in Nam as a shield against examining his forty years in public life. Well, if that's the case, then we'd better really delve into those four months, hadn't we? He can't have it both ways, it seems to us.

And lastly, because of Republicans' hesitancy to even lay out the facts of John Kerry's service, combined with a liberal press corps eager to promote him, most Americans actually don't know that Kerry served only four months, or that he attempted to avoid service entirely, or that he requested being sent home on the basis of three minor wounds.

The press typically claims he began as an "enthusiastic supporter" of the war before becoming disillusioned; in fact, he attempted to extend his college deferrment to avoid service, and only "volunteered" when it looked like he'd have to go anyway.

And Kerry has approximately thirty-three bazillion stirring anecdotes about Vietnam, leading one to conclude, erroneously, he must have been there in the elephant grass from '65 to '74, before the US Army had to apprehend him in the jungle and forceably extract him out of the battlezone.

In fact he served four months. We don't mean to slight US Veterans who served a short period of time in Vietnam; all service in Vietnam was honorable service. It was brave service; it was courageous service. You could die on your first day as easily as on your seven-hundredth.

But let us also say that more service is also, well, more service; and that serving for years is even more praise-worthy than service for months. Someone who spends a month working in a soup-kitchen is charitable. Someone who spends six years working in a soup-kitchen is very charitable.

The way the media has played this -- usually avoiding specific dates of Kerry's service -- leads people to conclude he served multiple tours of duty in Nam. Yes, all Nam service is honorable service, but neither should someone be credited for years of service they didn't serve. Veterans are often proud of having served multiple full tours of combat duty; it seems John Kerry should not be allowed to suggest that he did so himself.

All that said, Insight has the facts. John Kerry used very superficial wounds of a type not normally reported by soldiers as "wounds" at all in order to take advantage of a policy that allowed a request for less-hazardous duty after three real wounds. Make of that what you will.

Update! We're in a generous mood today, so we've decided to provide three more responses to objections that this is a sleazy story. Cost to you, the reader: Nothing.

"But this is a mug's game. You can't win it. Bringing up Vietnam if only to denigrate Kerry can't help but underscore the fact that Bush didn't serve at all in Nam, which redounds to Kerry's advantage. It will thus backfire on Bush."

Well, this is a close one, but let us say this: Bush's candidacy doesn't depend on Nam service like Kerry's does. If Bush's war-leadership his his "fortress," his crown jewels, then so is Kerry's four months in Nam his fortress.

No one is sitting out there thinking Bush was in 'Nam, but a lot of people are thinking that John Kerry was a four-tour champion cong-killer elite.

Furthermore, we don't have to worry about this making Bush look poorer by comparison because the media aren't going to report on this anyway, now are they?

This is just our little secret. No point in pretending this will ever be mentioned anywhere but the interent or talk radio.

That dispenses of that objection.

Fairness. It was questioned whether Bush's patrician family helped get him a spot in the TANG. Well, did Kerry's patrician family help get his scratch-wounds "reconsidered" and his application for reassignment looked upon more favorably?

It was questioned "who served in Bush's place in Vietnam." Well, okay: Who served in Kerry's place once he did all the paperwork for his three minor wounds? Did the man who replaced him survive Vietnam, and with what injuries?

And, of course, Bush's service was honorable too. It wasn't as dangerous as Kerry's, of course, but it was honorable. And yet the media denigrated it. Fair is, as always, fair.

Finally, Honesty. Kerry has claimed that it was "standard" that anyone who got three Purple Hearts was immediately shipped out of the combat zone. He attempts to suggest he had nothing to do with the decision.

That's simply dishonest. From his first days in-country, Kerry was busy eagerly filing the paperwork necessary to get him back home, claiming that scratches were Purple-Heart-worthy wounds. One would was deemed too superficial to rate a Purple Heart; Kerry applied for reconsideration. He got it. Once he had the three Purple Hearts, for wounds that didn't put him out of action for more than two days altogether, he applied for reassignment.

Now, a lot of soldiers do this, and that doesn't take away from the fact that they're still serving honorably and bravely. Many servicemen dream of getting that million-dollar-wound that's not so bad as to be permanently disabling, but which is just bad enough for discharge or reassignment.

That's the way it is, yes. But that's not the way Kerry spins the tale.

To hear him tell it, you'd think the Navy demanded he come home, wrestling him away from the controls of his swift boat, telling him "You've given too much already, John! You've bled and killed enough for fifty men! We demand you return to safety, posthaste!"

And all the time, of course, Kerry is fighting them off, trying to singlehandedly win the war for America. Kind of like Sergeant Rock, but armed with a cool-ass flyin' Wonderdog.

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