Sunday, April 16, 2006

Pravda Would Be Proud

Americans still think Iraq had WMD.

Next on the front page of the NYT: Iran and a Mushroom Cloud over NY.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Bribery is OK, Just Don't Let Cash Influence You

Nigerian soccer referees OK'd to take bribes
Official: Bribery acceptable, but refs shouldn't let cash influence decisions

LAGOS, Nigeria - Soccer referees in Nigeria can take bribes from clubs but should not allow them to influence their decisions on the field, a football official said on Friday. Fanny Amun, acting Secretary-General of the Nigerian Football Association, said bribery was common in the Nigerian game. “We know match officials are offered money or anything to influence matches and they can accept it,” Amun told Reuters on Friday.

Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? Kind of like the idea of accepting compaign contributions and lobby perks but not letting it influence your votes or Bill proposals...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

How Long Ago Was the Stone Age?

From Arkansas

But Bob’s personal issue was more specific, and the prohibition more insidious. In his words, “I am instructed NOT to use hard numbers when telling kids how old rocks are. I am supposed to say that these rocks are VERY VERY OLD ... but I am NOT to say that these rocks are thought to be about 300 million years old.”

As a person with a geology background, Bob found this restriction hard to justify, especially since the new Arkansas educational benchmarks for 5th grade include introduction of the concept of the 4.5-billion-year age of the earth. Bob’s facility is supposed to be meeting or exceeding those benchmarks.

The explanation that had been given to Bob by his supervisors was that their science facility is in a delicate position and must avoid irritating some religious fundamentalists who may have their fingers on the purse strings of various school districts. Apparently his supervisors feared that teachers or parents might be offended if Bob taught their children about the age of rocks and that it would result in another school district pulling out of their program.

He closed his explanatory message with these lines: “So my situation here is tenuous. I am under censure for mentioning numbers. … I find that my ‘fire’ for this place is fading if we’re going to dissemble about such a basic factor of modern science. I mean ... the Scopes trial was how long ago now??? I thought we had fought this battle ... and still it goes on.”

Welcome back to the stone age...but I guess it wasn't all that long ago...?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

"I Don't Think Anyone Predicted the Levees Would Fail"

...for some insular definitions of 'anyone' I suppose.

The civil engineers group also rejected the explanation given by the Corps that the system had failed because Katrina had unleashed "unforeseeable" physical forces that weakened the flood walls. In a letter to Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, the Corps' commander, the civil engineers cited three previous Corps studies that predicted precisely the chain of events that caused the city's 17th Street Canal flood wall to fail. The breach left much of central and downtown New Orleans underwater.

Washington Post, Mar 24/06

The New Iraqi Government

Baghdad official who exposed executions flees
Jonathan Steele
Thursday March 2, 2006

Faik Bakir, the director of the Baghdad morgue, has fled Iraq in fear of his
life after reporting that more than 7,000 people have been killed by death
squads in recent months, the outgoing head of the UN human rights office in Iraq
has disclosed.,,1721366,00.html

Don't forget, the insurgents want publicity, they want their killings to be as public as possible. These death squads are Shia and run by the Interior Ministry. This all began, as was widely predicted (in the real world), when John Negroponte went to Iraq to employ the same successful death squad techniques he oversaw in Latin America.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Don't Worry About the Patriot Act

Why get all upset about the Patriot Act trampling civil liberties. Laws are irrelevant in the "post 9/11" world!

Bush shuns Patriot Act requirement
In addendum to law, he says oversight rules are not binding

World's Second Largest Oilfield In Decline

It begins.
"A recent Kight Ridder article by Kevin Hall points out that world's number two oilfield, Mexico's supergiant Cantarell, has peaked.
Cantarell is second only to Saudia Arabia's Ghawar oilfield and has been pumping millions of barrels of light crude a day since 1976. According to Carlos Morales, production manager for Mexico's state owned oil company, Pemex, Cantarell's projected output will be 6 percent lower this year at 1.9 million barrels per day and down to 1.43 million barrels by 2008, the level of production in 2000.
A leaked internal memo from inside Pemex said water and gas were seeping into the massive offshore oil field. Cantarell is showing the signs of peaking."

Ghawar will turn soon and decline quickly. It is pumped full of seawaterto maintain pressure and the graph of its output will not follow anice bell curve, it will fall much more suddenly.

Creating an Enemy

From Informed Comment:

"US Ambassador in Baghdad Zalmay Khalilzad accused Iran on Thursday of training and supplying both the Mahdi Army militia of Muqtada al-Sadr and elements of the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement. Neither allegation is plausible in context. Muqtada's men are mostly nativist Iraqi ghetto youth who often do not like Persians. The major force in Iraq trained by the Iranians is the Badr Corps of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a relative American ally. It is bizarre that Khalilzad should tie Iran to the Mahdi militia but not bring up Badr. Then to turn around and say that Iran is helping the Sunni Arab guerrillas who are blowing up Shiite Iraqis is just self-contradictory and wholly implausible.

Worse, I can't see why Khalilzad thinks the Iranians will talk with him while he is badmouthing them."

Here we go again (it didn't just start of course) manufacturing the excuses for military action against Iran. Will the MSM fare any better this time after "learning the lessons" from the charge to Bahgdad?

I am not holding my breath.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Worth a Chuckle

Elsewhere, one day after Seoul National University dismissed him for falsifying results, South Korean cloning scientist Hwang Woo-Suk claimed that the other nine of him still had jobs.

The main satire is "Operation Incomprehensible Plan", bombarding Iraqi insurgents with Bush's new Medicare Drug Plan.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Will Fox News be Outraged?

"Iraq was awash in cash - in dollar bills, piles and piles of money," says
Frank Willis, a former senior official with the governing Coalition Provisional Authority. "We played football with some of the bricks of $100 bills before delivery. It was a wild-west crazy atmosphere, the likes of which none of us had ever experienced." The environment created by the coalition encouraged corruption. "American law was suspended, Iraqi law was suspended, and Iraq basically became a free fraud zone," says Alan Grayson, a Florida-based attorney who represents
whistleblowers now trying to expose the corruption.


$23 Billion of Iraqi money entrusted to the US coalition. Billions completely unaccounted for, the money's purposes completely unfulfilled. Will Fox News get off Koffi Annan's back about the anti-climax of a scandal that was Oil-for-Food?

I won't hold my breath!

Why War Should be a Last Resort

I'm not saying US soldiers are any worse than any other soldiers. They are over taxed, in constant danger and in a very foreign country.

But below is exactly why war should have been the last resort George Bush pretended it was.

"Videotape Forces Pentagon to Investigate Claims U.S. Marines Shot Dead 15 Iraqi Civilians in Apparent Revenge Killing"

War makes war criminals of ordinary people. The greatest war crime there is is to start a war of agression.

This, Only the Eighth Worse Thing?

On Juan Cole's ten worse US mistakes in Iraq this year:

8. Guerrillas have managed to surround and cut off Baghdad, the capital and a population center with 1/4 of the country's inhabitants, from much fuel and electricity.

How bad do you have to be handling things when this is only the eighth worse thing?

With Them, Against Them...or One of Them?

Brits caught planting roadside bombs, rescued from Iraqi police by their soldier buddies. So goes the battle for the hearts and minds...

(I know this is old news, but I thankfully came across it again)

Monday, March 20, 2006

The New Improved American Media

Robert Fisk, one of the best sources of intelligence and depth in Middle East reporting, has an interesting look at some American MSM perspectives on Iraq. Didn't they all apologize for poor reporting and over-credulous consumption of official dagma? One quote as he examines an LA Times piece:
Here are the sources - on pages one and 10 for the yarn spun by reporters Josh Meyer and Mark Mazzetti: "US officials said", "said one US Justice Department counter-terrorism official", "Officials ... said", "those officials said", "the officials confirmed", "American officials complained", "the US officials stressed", "US authorities believe", "said one senior US intelligence official", "US officials said", "Jordanian officials ... said" - here, at least is some light relief - "several US officials said", "the US officials said", "American officials said", "officials say", "say US officials", "US officials said", "one US counter-terrorism official said".

Read the article here:

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Future of the Middle East?

Juan Cole has a rather succintly presented possibility. A "shock jock" satire? Or a sobbering dose of reality?

This man is worth listening to on middle eastern affairs either way, and this picture worth a thousand presidential daily briefings is worth looking at:

Those Darn Democrat Naysayers

Iraq is in the middle of a civil war, Iraq's former prime minister, Ayad Allawi, said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. aired on Sunday.
Allawi said there was no other way to describe the increasing violence across the country.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

This Could Get Interesting!

Potential witnesses in the upcoming criminal trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, as referenced in court papers by Libby's lawyers. The trial is scheduled for January:

  • Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state.
  • Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary.
  • Marc Grossman, former undersecretary of state for political affairs.
  • Colin Powell, the former secretary of state.
  • Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff.
  • George Tenet, the formerCIA director.
  • Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador.
  • Valerie Plame Wilson

Et Tu Halabja?

Even the Kurds in Halabja don't like the Americans. They also remember the US was complicit in the infamous gassing in 1988.

Why can't all the world be as ignorant and gullible as the US public?