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Thursday June 3, 2004

Fancy that.

A detailed analysis of Saddam Hussein's secret money-laundering techniques shows here for the first time how he used the same offshore money launderers as Osama bin Laden. That covert money network, based in the tax havens of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Panama and Nassau, helped bankroll the war machines of both Iraq and al-Qaeda.

No, this doesn't show a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam...necessarily. It does show, however, that people who deal in dirty money attract all types of nefarious n'er-do-wells. Satan and Marc Rich are mentioned.

Big news. George Tenet resigned as head of CIA. My view is that he should have been fired allowed to spend more time with his family a long time ago. Some of the worst intelligence failures in the history of this country have been on his watch. That's what irks many--no government accountability. Well, better late than never. The text of his resignation letter is here.

FYI, just as there were Clinton haters during the 90's, there are Bush haters now. No kidding. This guy, though, is of the Mena Arkansas-Clinton Chronicles variety of haters:

These guys are verging on creating their own thousand-year Reich. Conservatives have a lock on Congress via their unprecedented unrepresentative gerrymandering, which was allowed to stand by the conservative Supreme Court, which also appears unconcerned that the American people are kept in the dark about how our energy policy was forged in secret by the same corporations that gamed the California energy crisis and are now gouging us on gas prices.

Truthfully, I have more in common with the Clinton haters than with the Bush haters. Above and beyond politics and policy, one primary issue I have with the Clinton presidency was the way he denigrated the office. From selling the WH to the highest bidder, to his after hours trysts, to his lack of formality, he sullied the office of the presidency. I have many more policy and political differences with the Carter administration than with the Clintons, but at least Jimmah is a decent person. He is completely wrongheaded, but he has honesty and integrity. As does Bush. That's why I cannot really comprehend the level of vitriol directed at Bush. Whether you agree with his policies or not, I think that we can all (except for the Bush Chronicles Left) agree that Georgie is a decent person. He's certainly not a Nazi.

For us meteorologists, flash-boom is the method to determine the distance from lightning (five seconds per mile). But in Washington State, it is something completely different.

A meteor about the size of a computer monitor lit up the Northwest sky early this morning, setting off sharp booms that stunned witnesses. "There was some question as to whether it was a piece of space junk burning up, but it was not," said Geoff Chester, a spokesman for the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. "People always want to know, was it something we put up there coming down again? As far as I've been able to figure out, it was simply a rock falling out of the sky, as they are wont to do on occasion." Chester said it was a type of meteor called a bolide, one which appears bright like a fireball in the sky.

Of course there's always a smart-alek out there looking for a little action. But aren't outfits like AP supposed to verify this stuff? (Where are my editors? --ed.)

Associated Press editors were forced to retract an earlier report that a meteorite might have hit near Olympia, Wash., this morning after discovering that a source, one Bradley Hammermaster, claiming to be an astronomy professor, had perpetrated a hoax.

I'm not much for that high brow art, but this sounds like something I could get into. (maybe you should put this on the Food page --ed.)

An artist best known for decorative cheese has broadened his palette, or palate, to ham. Brooklyn-based Cosimo Cavallaro, who once repainted a New York hotel room in melted mozzarella, has begun covering a bed in Hormel. ``I feel like I am back in my mother's deli,'' the artist said Thursday. Cavallaro's installation in a street-level gallery space of the Roger Smith Hotel in midtown Manhattan involves slicing 312 pounds of ham and laying it down in an elegant four-poster bed.

I've always dreamed of having a ham blanket.

Wednesday June 2, 2004

Some very interesting results when members of Congress are rated on their conservatism.

Monday May 31, 2004

A very interesting article about working.

A lot of the "real story" in Iraq is not reported by the major media. That's what a reporter embedded in Iraq says. His explanation is revealing.

What really happened in Fallujah was a great deal different from what was portrayed in the news media, said Robert Kaplan of The Atlantic Monthly, the only reporter embedded with the Marine company (Bravo, 1st Battalion of the 5th Regiment) that led the advance into the heart of the city in the pre-dawn darkness of April 6.

"Whenever the Marines with whom I was attached crossed the path of a mosque, we were fired upon," Kaplan said. "By the standards of most wars, some mosques in Fallujah deserved to be leveled. But only after repeated aggressions was any mosque targeted, and then sometimes for hits so small they often had little effect. The news photos of holes in mosque domes did not indicate the callousness of the American military; rather the reverse."

...But, he added, "none of the above matters if it is not competently explained to the American public. The public was never made to feel just how much a military threat the mosques in Fallujah represented, how far the Marines went to avoid damage to them and to civilians, and just how much those same Marine battalions accomplished after departing Fallujah."

Here's the kicker. The answer is always the same--only the questions differ.

Kaplan blamed the Bush administration for this failure.

"The administration should have been holding dramatic slide shows for the public ... explaining how this or that mosque was being militarily utilized," he said. "And had the administration adequately explained to the public what the Marines were doing after Fallujah, there might have been less disappointment and mystification about quitting the fight there."