chipstah!



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11.4.03
 
Reach out and touch someone, Marine-style

Everyone knows by now how tough and how smart the Marines are. But you may not know that they're thoughtful as well. MarineTad promised to give me a bomb during the war, and I just got the pictures.


My bomb (long sucker, isn't it?)


Closeup of MarineTad and the message from us folks along the Carolina coast, just like the sticker on my rear window of my car!

This was no empty gesture, either. Tad tells me this bomb was dropped on the Republican Guards last week, helping open the way for the drive on Baghdad.

J-DAMs. When you care enough to send the very best.

Thanks, Tad. Hoo-ah!

U P D A T E
Alert readers inform me that my bomb is a GBU-12, not a J-DAM. So there. Line above isn't changing because it sounds better the way it is.

 
Can you feel it?
Can you feel it?
Can you feeeeee-eeeel IT?


America got her groove back.

I STILL get a little choked up when I see the pictures.

 
Embeds? We don't need no stinkin' embeds!


Yes, chipstah! has its very own war corresondent, MarineTad, who checked in with us on 4/9.

Of course, he e-mailed to ask what was going on back here, since he's a little bit busy right now.

Actually, very busy. By Wednesday, his birds (the Harriers, see above) had dropped over 93 tons of ordnance on the enemy, wiping out 2 whole divisions of the Republican Guard, opening the gap for his fellow Marines on the beach to push through and hit Baghdad.

On the war as a whole, he says it took a bit longer than we thought, but that they're trying to wrap things up. For him, it's getting to be a little like Groundhog Day lately, work, work out, sleep, work, work out, sleep, etc. Gotta love the military.

I hope he and his fellow Marines know how proud we are and who special they are. Everyone said it couldn't be done, and they went out and did it, and did it as liberators and gentlemen; the best of America. If you know a Marine, soldier, sailor, or airman, thank them RIGHT NOW. If you don't, thank them when they get back. There should be a victory parade or two, I expect. A peace march we can all enjoy.

 
Missing Mo


Missing this guy already. Merde in France poses the burning question, "What exactly is the French beret's effect on one's perception of reality?" ("Quel effet le beret francais exerce-t-il sur la perception de la realite de celui qui le porte?")

For those who can't wait for the war crimes tribunals for another dose of America's most beloved liar since Joe Isuzu, check out this site. It has all the greatest hits, plus some fun speculation on what Info-Boy would have said during some of history's greatest battles, real and fictional.

My favorite has Info-Boy working as press spokesman for Emperor Palpatine, briefing reporters on the forest moon of Endor, standing on the roof of the Hotel Tatooine:
"The Death Star is secure. There is no rebel attack. Truly, I can say there are, in fact, no rebels anywhere. The Emperor, praise Allah, will rule a thousand years. Also, they are committing suicide -- if there were rebels, which there are not. Lies!"
U P D A T E
And for us advertising and marketing types, look forward to five years of "Iraqi Information Minister" as the buzzword for any brand that does not communicate its intended message effectively. I can think of quite a few examples, and you can too. The airlines and the cable companies come to mind as the worst offenders. Might warrant a post of its own later.

 
In whose name?

This is brilliant. From Little Green Footballs:
"This moment is IN OUR NAME.

Those who sought to keep the Iraqi people in their living hell, who stood in the way of their liberation, and insisted that the US and Britain and Australia and our many other partners had no right to take action to defend both the Iraqis and ourselves: This was NOT IN YOUR NAME.

And we won't forget where you stood, in your ignorance and fashion-driven hatred of America."
Ditto.

U P D A T E
Not In Our Name's response to all of the happy events of the past week is a claim that the statue-tossing in the main square in Baghdad was a photo op. Petty, and pathetic.

 
Kneel before W


Janeane Garofalo, 1992, 2003. The negative effects of shrillness on aging and beauty.

Of all the celebrities who came out against the war, Janeane Garofalo was one of the most irritatingly strident. Disappointing, too -- she was one of the cast of The Ben Stiller Show on Fox a while back, one of the funniest shows ever run on TV.

She was all over the news channels before the war started, shouting down anyone who disagreed with or even questioned her, begging, pleading, demanding to be taken seriously. Even wearing glasses (Hollywood's helpful cue to let the rest of us know when stars have a very special message to impart to the rest of us, the ignorant plebian non-famous out here in flyover grow country, because we routinely postpone our thinking on weighty matters such as war, peace, and the economy until every last supporting actor from The Larry Sanders Show has been given the opportunity to check in).

Her most famous exchange came on the O'Reilly Factor, where she said that President Bush was as dangerous to the world as Saddam Hussein.

She also made this promise:
O'Reilly: "If you are wrong, all right, and if the United States -- and they will, this is going to happen -- goes in, liberates Iraq, people in the street, American flags, hugging our soldiers, all right, we find all kinds of bad, bad stuff, all right, in Iraq, you gonna apologize to George W. Bush?"

Garofalo: I would be so willing to say I'm sorry, I hope to God that I can be made a buffoon of, that people will say you were wrong, you were a fatalist, and I will go to the White House on my knees on cut glass and say, hey, you were right, I shouldn't have doubted you. But I think to think that is preposterous.
Not so preposterous after all. Break out the knee pads, Jeannie. It's been two days already.

 
War was the answer. Now stop asking the question.


As I said the other day, I feel the best response to the doubters and protesters is a knowing smile of triumph for those who supported the troops no matter what, and ridicule for the most strident and ridiculous.

The truth speaks more eloquently than I ever could: the hugs and dancing in the streets, the tales of torture, the Fedayeen, the WMD finds, all of it.

But the strident side of the antiwar protesters are still arguing, still yelling, still doing their thing. There is even a peace march this weekend. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Berkeley Womyn's Collective) just said, "We could have brought down that statue for a lot less money.".

Get this into your evidently tiny heads, you very small but very vocal and extremely irritating group of Americans disappointed that Saddam didn't win:
1. We cannot give Iraq back to Saddam or one of his children, Qusay, Uday, Uttbay, or Ebay. I guess we could, but it would take the Marines a long time to round up all those kids and put them back in the children's prisons.

2. The war is ending. Fighting to win the argument about it now is academic. Even the French are happy we won. You just look silly and spiteful.

3. Humpty_Dumpty was pushed. This war was not a "cakewalk", as you folks so eagerly enjoyed telling us a week and a half ago. Yes, our military ultimately made it look easy, but it wasn't. It took a lot of hard work and, sadly, the lives of some very brave people to make this happen. The worst-case scenario didn't happen (oil wells on fire, Stalingrad redux in Baghdad, chemical weapons clouds all over the Middle East) because our military prevented if from happening. Saddam might not have been a genius, but he wasn't a paper tiger. And he had to be beaten. To suggest that the rapidity of our victory meant otherwise demeans the hard, valiant, and brilliant work of our troops.

4. A three-year-old controversy about vote-counting in Broward County, Florida does not make George Bush into Hitler. Get over it.

5. Try eating a little humble pie for the next couple of weeks, and then focus on making sure we live up to our promises to the Iraqi people. The rest of us would respect you a lot more for it.
I promise this is my final rant about this (except for Janeane Garofalo, who is a very special case).

If you want to hear thoughtful commentary from a war protester who is also disappointed in how antiwar advocates are reacting, click here.

If you prefer a little bit of fun and raw red meat with your protestor-bashing and post-touchdown endzone-dancing, click here for a great piece from Ann Coulter, the original Fox News Blonde. Fun line: "Has anything good ever come of a "teach-in"? Even the promisingly titled "die-ins" always fail to deliver."


 
Wake-up call for the "Arab street"

Hat tip: LGF

Once again, Western Civilization has gone out and ripped a new a**hole from the foul body of those who wish it ill and would crush individual liberty in the name of some supposed "utopian" ideal.
"This was the stuff that made it all worthwhile, to be in absolute charge of 17,000 horsepower, to have, gripped in your fists, the whole might of science, of industry, of civilization's mastery of the world -- our civilization's mastery of this world. "HOOOOO-AH!!!" as the Gulf troops say."

"We popped over the top of a little ridge, and there was a Bedouin camp on the other side. I watched a boy about nine or ten years old come running out from one of the goat-hair tents. We were so close I could see his expression – thrill and fear and awe and wonder combined. His whole life he'll remember the moment that sky-blackening, air-mauling, thunder-engined steel firmament of war crossed his face. And I hope all his bellicose, fanatical, senseless, quarrel-mongering neighbors – from Tel Aviv to Khartoum, from Tripoli to Tehran – remember it too."

-- P.J. O’Rourke, Give War a Chance: Eyewitness Accounts of Mankind's Struggle Against Tyranny, Injustice and Alcohol-Free Beer
Second time is proving to be the charm. In the Arab world, the message seems to be sinking in: jihadi fantasies and delusions about fighting America are not the solution to the Arab world's problems. See here, and here.

9.4.03
 
L I B E R A T I O N !



"Ideology, politics, and journalism, which luxuriate in failure, are impotent in the face of hope and joy."

"The people in the crowd weren't yelling or demanding anything. They weren't waiting for anything to happen. They were present from sheer glee at being alive at this place at this time. They were there to experience the opposite of the existential anguish which has been the twentieth century's designer mood."

"And they were happy with the big, important happiness that -- the Declaration of Independence reminds us -- is everybody's, even a Communist's,
[or an Arab's] inalienable right to pursue."
P.J. O’Rourke, at the fall of the Berlin Wall, November 1989


 
Remembering the troops


Just got a note from MarineTad's Dad, who says that Tad is doing well and is upbeat. Great passage from his note:
"He believes that his generation will be defined by his efforts, much like the WWII generation was defined by theirs. For all of us back home, it is imperative that we keep the faith, that we continue to support these young men and women, and that when they return home we receive them with a heroes' welcome."
Rest assured, all of us will keep the faith to the troops, and I will continue my very small part in the good fight against those who would drag America down. I will also be there with you to welcome MarineTad back, either in Norfolk or Cherry Point, whichever comes first, with a flag in one hand and a cooler full of Coors on ice for Tad and his squad in the other. We'll let MarineTad handle the ladies himself; I think the uniform will help more than either of us could, lol.

This line got buried in Monday's posts, and I'd like to repeat it here, from Peggy Noonan:
"The war is almost over and young Americans on the ground have won it, and they are doing it like Americans of old. With their old sympathy and spirit, and a profound lack of hatred for the foe, and with compassion for the victims on the ground. Iraq, meet the grandchildren of the men who made the Marshall Plan."


 
Tipping point?


Dancing in the streets, no police at work today, no government workers at the office, no Baghdad Bob, cheering crowds welcoming the Marines, reports of mass desertions in the Army, Republican Guard, and Special Republican Guard, random acts of kindness, senseless beauty and defacing Saddam pictures...

Something's going on.

The CIA and MI6 disagree on what happened to Saddam, but room temperature or not, he doesn't look like he's in control of much anymore.

I pray this is the beginning of a blessing for us, and for the Iraqi people.

If the Minister for Silly is well and truly gone, here's one last Info-Boy-esque delusion to enjoy, from Iraq's Ambassador to Egypt:
"Iraq will not be defeated. Iraq has now already achieved victory - apart from some technicalities."
Mohammed al-Sayyaf, we'll miss you. Maybe we can get you a guest appearance on Letterman before we ship you to Gitmo.

U P D A T E
And now the Baghdad mobs are looting the UN Headquarters. CLASSIC!

U P D A T E 2
Try denying THIS stuff on Al-Jazeera. Joy and liberation... Maybe the plan worked after all? Shock and awe, indeed... Shhhh....

U P D A T E 3
For first news, check The Command Post, and for news even before that and you have AIM or AOL, check out the fun bunch in the chat room monitoring all the satellite feeds live for BlogsOfWar.com.

 
Blood for freedom

77% support for our action in Iraq. Chemical weapons found. Pregnant mothers and children forced into battle at gunpoint. Police stations crammed with the dead and torture instruments. Terrorist training facilities, complete with aircraft mockups. Hezbollah and Hamas jumping in. Boys and girls languishing in jail for years for not joining the Saddam Youth, or Lion Cubs, or whatever they're called. War was not the answer? Bzzzzzz!!!! Ooooooh, sorry, it was...

Wonder if any of the hardcore "frag the officers" protesters or the celebrities who tried to profit from it will rethink or recant their positions.

You know the answer. Maybe they'll recant when they learn about what 3ID found in that palace they occupied: pirated DVDs. Stacks and stacks of them. All pirated. Call the FBI. Torture, genocide, and weapons of mass destruction are one thing, but when you get into cpoyright violation and stealing profit points off video, THAT is a casus belli.

My favorite response for us pro-liberation folk? Pointed ribbing and good humor. Tim Blair, always brilliant and wickedly funny, has a great column on the tactics of the antiwar movement, including the nudes for peace crew ("Peace! Love! Cellulite!), and brings us an insightful poem to be presented by Harold Pinter or someone else at the next international poetry slam:
"Get out of Iraq!
Just go back
To the USA
Please go away!
I want a pony."
OK, it's his seven-year-old niece. But the "poetic" Left's poetry isn't much better. And they do have a problem staying on message.

 
You again?

New "Osama" tape, maybe it's him, maybe it isn't, calling on all Muslims everywhere to kill all Americans everywhere... What is different from this and the 30 other "Best o' Osama" tapes or what he was saying when he was warmer than room temperature?

Nothing. Except for this:
"I ask the Muslim women to join jihad by providing food to mujahedeen (holy warriors)."
Not only do the hardcore Islamofascists believe in stoning rape victims for adultery, forced clitorectomies, "honor" killings, veils, etc., now they are also calling for women to do their solemn Muslim duty for the jihad by holding bake sales. What more can these people do to tick you off, feminists?

 
Fox n' friends

Memo to Fox: Less Rita, More Laurie. You will not want me to warn you a second time. (Readers looking for the post about Bond Girls and Fox Blondes like Laurie Dhue, Page Hopkins, and Heather Nauert, click here).

 
MSNBC, la isla bonita

Still amazed at how many readers have come to my site as a result of Google searches for pictures and information about MSNBC late-night presenter Bianca Solorzano. So here, finally, is a picture of her blowing you Bianca fans a kiss, alongside MSNBC's other info-babe, Natalie Morales, standing by the America's Bravest wall that has struck such a chord with viewers:


Interesting counterprogramming from the folks in Paramus. Instead of countering Fox blonde for blonde, they're going with Hispanic ladies (smart women, too -- both Natalie and Bianca are tri-lingual!).

 
You knew it would come to this


A progression. First Madonna, then Courtney Love, then the Spice Girls, then Britney Spears, then Christina Aguilera, and now, Europe's new top of the pops, Russian lipstick lesbian teen pop duo Tatu, with their too-hot-for-MTV Europe videos and on-screen "Freedom" kissing during the Eurovision song contest. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Not that I mind.

I think we've found the solution to CNN's dwindling market share in the cable news wars.

Tatu would solve both of CNN's main problems:
1. CNN does not rate highly on the babe factor when compared to Fox News' Bond Girls and MSNBC's chicas bonitas (yes, Paula Zahn is cute, but perkiness and hair color are not enough to make you a real Fox Blonde)
2. Boredom. Aaron Brown is the worst offender, and should come with the medical warning "may cause drowsiness"


 
New Onion today

The Onion's war humor has been pretty much antiwar, but they redeem themselves a little with a very funny piece on Geraldo getting booted.

 
Basketball

Heck of a game, and the Orangemen didn't choke. Wow. Who knows what this means for Roy Williams; I'm tired of speculating. If you love Kansas that much, stay; if you believe in your family, come home. Whatever; just don't make us look bad this time.

In the only news that matters, about Carolina, Tar Heel Daily has a very funny piece on all the basketball rumors, and Carolina won NBA.com's "Big Men on Campus" contest to see which college has the strongest group of alumni in the NBA. Like the Iraqi Information Minister, I have to find joy in something. At least I'm not claiming we won the REAL Final Four.

 
When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping


You have to admire any culture that responds to a deadly, contagious epidemic with French designer facemasks.

Somehow I think that Hong Kong will conquer Red China in the long run, not the other way around.

 
Meme deathwatch

You probably knew this already, but the term "extreme" is now officially lame. Hack copywriters, set down the mouse right now, and step away from the iBook.

8.4.03
 
Cleanup on table 5


Better than a 20% tip.

7.4.03
 
Thunder run


Overtaken by events.

Things are happening faster than I can blog about them, lots of them good. Since most of us went to bed last night, great things have happened and are still happening. Another thunder run into central Baghdad, reports of uprisings in the city, Basra falling to the Brits, verified reports on NPR (even France would believe them) of Saddam's chemical weapons, butcher "Chemical Ali" dead, and so on.

Historically, this looks like we are reaching some kind of endgame. April 1945 in Berlin. August 1991 in Moscow. Christmas 1989 in Bucharest, Fall 1997 in the UNC Athletic Department. Events are developing a synergy of their own, to the point where commentary is outdated by the time it is published (even in Net time). And I don't want to jinx anything by speculating further.

Things are happening so quickly even for me to continue cogent Maxim-style commentary this morning on the cable news blonde factor. Alert readers have sent in pictures of Bianca Solorzano faster than I can turn them around with pithy comments for posting (thanks for the kind words and pictures, MRobin, and sorry, I got to Dallas after Ashleigh Banfield left; I'm just reporting on what I see now).

And I do have a real life in the outside world. Not much of one, but it does need some attention.

I'll try to keep up with things, but if you really want the latest, check out the Command Post, a news site updated constantly by bloggers all over the world providing news links without commentary. EVERYTHING ends up there first, and the networks even use it to find out what they're missing and to find verification for sources. Right now, I'm hitting "reload" on that site more often than that cocaine-addicted rat hit the lever for the coke pellets in that anti-drug film we saw in junior high.

And as Dennis Miller used to say on SNL, "If you're coming to me for hard data, you might as well just give it up."

 
Minister of Bovine Scatology


I keep expecting a Special Forces guy to run up during one of this guy's press conferences and ask, "Excuse me, sir, but how about a nice tall brimmin' glass of SHUT THE F*** UP!", right before they take him down. OK, hoping.

We now have independent confirmation on my report yesterday that the Iraqi leadership is on drugs. The only question being whether it is crack, as I reported, or LSD:
Mr. al-Sahaf said the 'medicine' helps him to see Abrams tanks as gentle lavender camels and Bradley fighting vehicles as enormous pansies and petunias.
CIA and Pentagon analysts remain mystified about the "unconventional tactics" Info-Boy keeps referring to. You know, the ones that are keeping us out of Baghdad and driving us back into the Persian Gulf, if you listen to Info-Boy. IMAO brings us some speculation, based on what we've seen so far. Some of my favorites:
* Calling us names from a safe distance.
* Swarming us with monkeys on fire.
* Confusing us with interpretive dance involving hand raising and white flags.
* Waiting to ambush us in Aruba.
* Trying to kick sand in our eyes.
* Hitting their own troops with gamma rays to see if any will develop superpowers instead of cancer.
* Knowing they can't win against our technology, they try to draw the troops into settling the war with a disco dance competition.


 
The multifaceted Donald Rumsfeld

Our Secretary of Defense can be intense at times. Sometimes, very intense, to the point where Condi has to bring out the tranquilizer gun in the middle of a briefing.

But there's more to that. There's his sex column, and there's a sensitive, poetic side yearning to be set free, if we only take the time to listen:
The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

--Feb. 12, 2002 DoD briefing
Hat tip: Straw Talk . Thanks for the love, SFDru!

 
Did the screener make them take off their shoes?


The NYT has a great photo essay on the capture of the Airport Formerly Known As Saddam International. If you travel at all, especially for business, you will find images to be totally surreal:
""Despite a few harrowing moments going through airport security---with the terrible chance that their weapons might be detected by the screeners---the men encountered fairly light resistance until they captured the Starbucks in the North Concourse. After a brief break for lattes, they made their way through a gut-wrenching minefield of businessmen, courtesy vehicles, and free-range toddlers until they gained their next objective: the souvenir stand at Gate 53. There, they would pause to plot their next move and purchase some nice Saddam plates for their moms."
Even freakier is the fact that the outside of BIA looks a lot like DFW:


Of course, if Saddam and his henchmen view DFW as the pinnacle of modern airport design, then it's no wonder we're winning this war.

 
Peggy Noonan lovefest continues

New Peggy Noonan column. Love of country, the media, Bush's backbone, and a moving tribute to David Bloom, the NBC correspondent who died yesterday.

And once again, a very insightful and moving line on how things are going over there;
"The war is almost over and young Americans on the ground have won it, and they are doing it like Americans of old. With their old sympathy and spirit, and a profound lack of hatred for the foe, and with compassion for the victims on the ground. Iraq, meet the grandchildren of the men who made the Marshall Plan."
Read the whole thing. Why this woman is not at least a Senator (or hasn't been drafted by W for emergency wartime wordsmithing) is beyond me.

 
Intelligence

An observation. I like the fact that we're not actually raising our flag over every piece of turf we liberate in Iraq. It's been a tough fight, and you know the desire has to be incredible after all they've been through. With all that, they're still smart enough to remember we're liberators, not conquerors. I'm impressed.

 
Hoop time

And on to what really matters: basketball. Kansas plays Syracuse tonight for the NCAA Championship. I don't care what Roy Williams has said, if his team, Kansas, wins tonight, Roy will be the head coach in Chapel Hill by the end of the month.

6.4.03
 
Oh, what a feeling, to drive...

Is it just me, or do all the bad guys in the Middle East seem to have an unnatural predilection for small white Toyota pick-up trucks? Whenever you see footage of the Fedayeen Saddam, Al Qaeda, or the Taliban doing their nefarious deeds, they always seem to be in one of those 'Yotas. Sort of like a Mini-Me version of the OJ Bronco. Although I bet Osama splurged for a RAV4 with that blue neon crap along the siderails and MegaBass speakers to make sure everyone doesn't just hear, but also FEELS, that kickin' ululating you hear in Arab pop. It's good to be da king.

Memo to Langley: to get the goods on Al Qaeda, the Fedayeen, Hamas, et al., quit trying to send Brigham Young graduates fresh from Utah to infiltrate the heart of the terror cells. Just start buying up Toyota franchises in the Southwest Asia dealers' group.

 
The fembots strike back

Evidently someone at Fox News is reading this blog and taking my observations quite seriously. Yesterday's B-list anchors are gone, replaced by none other than... Laurie Dhue, perfection herself. Thanks, and good on yer, Rupert, our favorite fair dinkum Aussie septuagenarian media mogul!

 
Boo-ya!

Just overheard Ted Koppel talking with Steffi on ABC's This Week:
"I'm standing here at Baghdad International Airport, and, trust me, I'm not here alone."
Score one for Ted, and one for the unnamed media person at the Pentagon and/or the White House who decided to "embed" reporters for this war. Brilliant.

Oh, and by the way, eat s*** and die, Info-Boy. Hope the stand-up routine helps you at Guantanamo.

 
Military minute, with our analyst from beyond the grave


Bianca Solorzano: How would you evaluate the battlefield at this hour?
Chick Hearn: The door's closed, the light's out, the eggs are cooling, the butter's getting hard, and the jello's jiggling!

If you don't know who Chick Hearn is, what that phrase means about progress in the war to date, and why you should always turn down the TV sound while watching the boys in purple, you don't deserve to call yourself a Lakers fan, ticky-tack.

 
Why is this guy smiling?


Maybe it's that he was able to finalize his plans for exile when his brother, Abdul "Sven" Hussein, a Stockholm TV cooking-show host, finally got through to the bunker-phone and told Saddam that he was more than welcome to sleep on the futon in the kids' playroom as long as he wanted. Like Saddam, brother Sven is also known for his love of mustaches, goofy French hats, and incorporating indiscriminate butchery into his everyday job.


Or maybe he's glad that he remembered to tape Friday's "spontaneous" grip-and-grin weeks ago, while he still had his subjects cowed enough to prevent them from impeaching him, Ceaucescu-style.


Saddam or not? In a few days, it just won't matter.

 
"The rocks of crack we are smoking down in the bunker are THIS big!"


Please feel free to suggest your own captions.

If we apply the same intense analysis everyone used on the "Saddam" tape incessantly for the last two days ("Look! There's a cloud! Look! It's 100 degrees outside in early April, but there are no leaves on the trees and people are wearing heavy coats!" "Look! If you stare really hard for five minutes, you'll see a Volkswagen logo", etc.), you'll notice a couple of things:

1. Info-Boy finally got a box to stand on top of when using that podium. Doubtless another sign of the regime's imminent collapse--sort of like Eva Braun finally getting to marry Hitler the day before he offed himself. And her.

2. Saddam looked just as goofy as the rest of us in his high school yearbook picture (Activities: Ba'ath Party 4, 3, 2, 1; Mustache Club 4, 3, 2, 1; Torture 4, 3, 2, 1; Weapons of Mass Destruction Collectors 4, 3, 2; Rape 4, 3, 2; French Club 4, 3, 2; Junior Invaders 3, 2; Pep Club 1; Islam 4.)

 
Great minds...


Lileks picked up on the "democracy, whiskey, sexy" idea of America among jubilant liberated Iraqis that I and so many others talked about last week, and thinks it should be printed on the $20 bill. He even made a banner for it!

 
I want Arnett's agent


Peter Arnett is back on the air, this time with Abu Dhabi's satellite news channel, Al-Arabiya.

I thought he'd end up at Al-Jazeera, but I guess he was just too independent-minded, skeptical, and pro-West for their tastes.

In other news about about the defeatist media (BBC, CNN, NYT, etc., you know who), even leftist columnists in California are getting tired of their media friends' boring and typical orgy of self-flagellation about the war.

 
This week's fatwa is on Comcast Cable

Cable service hasn't been right since Comcast took over from AT&T. Yesterday, I was left with no Fox, no MSNBC, only CNN. I should be thankful, but I wasn't, not really. CNN's coverage isn't much different what I remember in 1991--same plodding pace that makes you beg for something, anything to happen, to avoid having to see the same crappy 2 or three pieces over and over again every half hour.

They even have the same people they had ten years ago. Sure, Wolf is steady, but Aaron is sleep-inducing, and Judy Woodruff hasn't aged that well, especially when they pull her in on for unexpected weekend duty. And Rudi Bakhtiar, their one answer to the fembots colonizing the rest of cable news, remains exiled on the cold, windswept tundra that is weekday overnight at Headline News.

No wonder the Network Ted Built is getting its butt kicked by the Murdoch and GE girls and boys.

When "real" cable news did come back, it wasn't much better. All the networks gave their regular folks the weekend off, which meant the infobabe factor was much lower.

The only exception, of course, being the brilliant, composed, AND beautiful Bianca Solorzano at MSNBC. Mmmmm... Bianca... Not only is she fluent in French (like me!), but my mentioning her has led to a lot of Google hits and quite a few new readers. A few, anyway. Welcome! And thanks for the very undeserved compliments!

Unfortunately, the only picture I could find of her on the web does not fully capture her beauty, so you'll just have to watch MSNBC to get a glimpse (unless one of you Bianca-obsessed readers has one to e-mail along, of course).

So we will have to go with our backup, the gold standard for Fox Blondes, Laurie Dhue, a fellow Carolina grad who still wears the school colors from time to time:


 
We few, we happy few


Took a break from the war last night and watched one of my favorite movies, Kenneth Branagh's 1989 version of Shakespeare's Henry V, on DVD. As always, lots of red-blooded violence and a great story about having faith in yourself and overcoming the odds. But there was more.

I hadn't watched this DVD in a few years, and it had a much different impact now that we are at war. And saw a completely new, extraordinarily powerful film.

I thought about our troops, our President, the way he is constantly slighted as a lightweight (in the 1400s, "Harry" was probably as derisive as "Dubya" is from us), and the way the English, in a very hard, very bloody fight, won out, with about 50 of their guys dead to 30,000 of the French at Agincourt.

Just as it was 600 years ago, Anglican civilization is under attack, and a leader that most deride as a lightweight summons the strength within him to defend it and to win the war in a dramatic way. And how the impact of even the 50 we loss grieves him as much, or more, than the loss of 30,000 did to the French.

Here's a couple of snippets that really struck me. This scene ishe French on Henry, sounding like the McLaughlin Group discussing W, from Act 2, Scene 4:
The Dauphin (prince of France)
For, my good liege, she is so idly king'd,
Her sceptre so fantastically borne
By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth,
That fear attends her not.


Constable (head of the military)
O peace, Prince Dauphin!
You are too much mistaken in this king:
Question your grace the late ambassadors,
With what great state he heard their embassy,
How well supplied with noble counsellors,
How modest in exception, and withal
How terrible in constant resolution,
And you shall find his vanities forespent
Were but the outside of the Roman Brutus,
Covering discretion with a coat of folly;
As gardeners do with ordure hide those roots
That shall first spring and be most delicate.
And here is King Henry rousing the troops for the battle to come in the famous "Band of Brothers" speech (watch it online here). A bit more eloquent than W, but very similar thoughts on fighting together with a "coalition of the willing" to stand up for what is right and what needs to be done right then, rather than waiting for everyone else to join in:

WESTMORELAND (an English lord)
O that we now had here but one ten thousand of those men in England
that do no work today!


KING HENRY V
What's he that wishes so? My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin: if we are mark'd to die, we are enough to do our country loss; and if to live, the fewer men, the greater share of honour.

... O, do not wish one more! Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, that he which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart; his passport shall be made and crowns for convoy put into his purse. We would not die in that man's company that fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is called the feast of Crispian. He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,and rouse him at the name of Crispian. He that shall live this day, and see old age, will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, and say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.' Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars. And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.' Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, but he'll remember with advantages What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words, Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.

This story shall the good man teach his son; and Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, from this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remembered.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition: and gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks, that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day!


(France's ambassador rides up with a ransom, a "last chance peace offer")
MONTJOY
Once more I come to know of thee, King Harry, If for thy ransom thou wilt now compound, before thy most assured overthrow... besides, in mercy, the Constable desires thee thou wilt mind thy followers of repentance; that their souls may make a peaceful and a sweet retire from off these fields, where, wretches, their poor bodies must lie and fester.

KING HENRY V
I pray thee, bear my former answer back: bid them achieve me and then sell my bones.

Good God! why should they mock poor fellows thus? ... A many of our bodies shall no doubt find native graves; upon the which, I trust, shall witness live in brass of this day's work: and those that leave their valiant bones in France, dying like men, though buried in your dunghills, they shall be famed; for there the sun shall greet them, and draw their honours reeking up to heaven; leaving their earthly parts to choke your clime, the smell whereof shall breed a plague in France...

... let me speak proudly: tell the Constable, we are but warriors for the working-day; our gayness and our gilt are all besmirched with rainy marching in the painful field; there's not a piece of feather in our host--good argument, I hope, we will not fly--and time hath worn us into slovenry.

But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim; and my poor soldiers tell me, yet ere night they'll be in fresher robes, or they will pluck the gay new coats o'er the French soldiers' heads and turn them out of service.

If they do this -- as, if God please, they shall -- my ransom then will soon be levied. Herald, save thou thy labour; come thou no more for ransom, gentle herald: they shall have none, I swear, but these my joints!

Which if they have as I will leave 'em them, shall yield them little, tell the constable.

... now, soldiers, march away. And how thou pleasest, God, dispose the day!
Wow. Not just the words, but the themes, the insights into two human leaders, 600 years and 3000 miles apart, but still connected. Shakespeare the writer, Shakespeare the brand planner. There's a reason we still read him today.

Definitely worth a rental at Blockbuster (and it's a five-day rental, too).