Observations on the world today.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

So What Do You Want To Do With Your Life, Son? 

O, good Gawd!

Brown to start emergency planning consulting business
Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, heavily criticized for his agency's slow response to Hurricane Katrina, is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job.

"If I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses -- because that goes straight to the bottom line -- then I hope I can help the country in some way," Brown told the Rocky Mountain News for its Thursday editions.
Brown then added:
Well, I'm here to tell you that you're probably gonna find out, as you go out there, that you're not gonna amount to Jack Squat! You're gonna end up eating a steady diet of government cheese, and living in a van down by the river!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday Morning Idiot, Doonsbury It Ain't 

I didn't do a Monday Morning Idiot post last week. Not because there is a shortage of idiocy on the right, but simply because I'm a lazy blogger.

At any rate, this week I'm going to give the distinction to a different right wing idiot. Powerline wins if for this post:
It's Hard to Keep Those Countries Straight

Chris Muir sent us tomorrow's Day By Day cartoon; he's noticed, as we have, that the Democrats can't seem to keep their countries straight; click to enlarge:
I can't show the cartoon, but I will describe it panel for panel. There are three equal sized frames. Each contains the same decently rendered image of the Capitol Dome. The "humor" comes in the word balloons, which aren't technically word balloons but that seems to be the modern trend.

The first frame has what I suppose is supposed to be a democratic congressman challenging, "Can you Republicans look at this map, and show us where there are any Iraqis we've helped?" The Republican responds, "Not on a map of Vietnam, no." Then in the second frame there is nothing but that competent-if-uninspired image of the dome. I think it's supposed to represent some kind of cartooning double-take. Last frame holds the punchline. The democrat again speaks. "Well, they all do kind of look alike," says he. "Yeah, we're getting that," says the conservative.

That's it. That's the cutting wit that is supposed to be the GOP answer to Gary Trudeau. An admission that the right is finally getting it that Vietnam and Iraq are interchangeable in the annals of history. Yet somehow, I think that they think this is an indictment of the left.

In so many ways, I don't get it. But then, obviously, neither do they.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Germans Sat This One Out 

Remember back in the day when Bush began his little exercise in imperialism, and we all were told that we should hate the French and never utter the words "French Fries" in civilized conversation ever again lest we be deemd unAmurcan? I always thought it odd that we singled France out. After all, Germany wasn't on the list of Willing Coalition members either.

Well, maybe we didn't single the Germans out because we didn't want them telling what they knew.
The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims before the Iraq war.

Five senior officials from Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in interviews with the Los Angeles Times that they warned U.S. intelligence authorities that the source, an Iraqi defector code-named Curveball, never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so.

According to the Germans, President Bush mischaracterized Curveball's information when he warned before the war that Iraq had at least seven mobile factories brewing biological poisons. Then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell also misstated Curveball's claims in his pre-war presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, the Germans said.

Curveball's German handlers for the last six years said his information was often vague, mostly second-hand and impossible to confirm.

''This was not substantial evidence,'' said a senior German intelligence official. ''We made clear we could not verify the things he said.''
But now I'm wondering, who's to say the Germans didn't tip off the French? Maybe the French knew Powell was spouting lies even as he uttered them. In fact, maybe the whole of the diplomatic world knew this, and that's why the coalition we got consisted of countries the likes of the Philipines, Estonia and Columbia.

But then the question becomes, why didn't the German's tell us? Why let the Americans look like fools in front of the whole world needlessly?

Oh, wait, never mind. I remember now.

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