Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tapes of Secret Military Investigation Into My Lai Massacre Found

Thanh Nien News: Fisherman To Tuu, 85, shows the names of victims from the My Lai Massacre listed on a grave stone next to his home in My Lai Village in Quang Ngai Province last week

Audiotapes of a secret 1970 Pentagon inquiry into the My Lai massacre were discovered in the National Archives by a British journalist, and broadcast for the first time on BBC Radio 4 last night. 403 witnesses were interviewed, and 400 hours of tapes were made. You can listen to a one-hour program including some of the footage at the first link below. It is chilling.

BBC: The Archive Hour (1 hr)
Broadcast on Radio 4 Sat 15 Mar - 20:00

1968: The My Lai Tapes. Robert Hodierne reveals the truth about the infamous My Lai massacre of 16 March 1968, based on the transcript of a Pentagon enquiry that was suppressed.

BBC: My Lai: Legacy of a massacre

Before [Lt. William Calley's] trial got under way, the United States army had, behind closed doors, completed an investigation of its own into the events at My Lai, and specifically into the possibility that those in authority had deliberately covered up a massacre.

Convened on 1 December 1969 in the basement of the Pentagon, The Department of the Army Review of the Preliminary Investigations into The My Lai Incident, known in abbreviated form as The Peers Inquiry, was chaired by Lt Gen William 'Ray' Peers.

In just 14 weeks, the Peers Inquiry conducted a comprehensive and wide-ranging investigation into the events of 16 March.

More than 400 witnesses were interviewed, and their testimony was tape-recorded.

When the inquiry concluded on 15 March 1970, those recordings were boxed-up, stored and forgotten.

In 1987, they were shipped to the US National Archives, as one small portion of a massive group of records of US Army activities in Vietnam.

There they remained hidden, never catalogued, never investigated, never uncovered - until last year.


[O]n 15 March, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the massacre, some of the most powerful testimony will be broadcast for the first time, on the Archive Hour on BBC Radio 4.

Some of the interviewees' statements reveal the mentality of the soldiers involved in the massacre.

"I would say that most people in our company didn't consider the Vietnamese human... A guy would just grab one of the girls there and in one or two incidents they shot the girls when they got done," said Dennis Bunning.

"That day it was just a massacre. Just plain right out, wiping out people," said Leonard Gonzales.

"Kill everything"

The wider, more awful truth that Gen Peers uncovered, was that this was an illegal operation, planned and co-ordinated at Task Force level by Lt Col Frank Barker.

It wiped out not one but three villages: My Lai, Binh Tay and My Khe.

And not one, but two companies were involved: Bravo and Charlie.

Both of these companies were given the same briefing by their respective commanding officers, permitting them "to kill everything and anything."

"It's not just the people of Task Force Barker that are on trial... It's the Army, it's you and it's me... and it includes our country and our people in the eyes of the world," said Gen Peers, during his investigation.

He concluded that 30 senior officers had been negligent in their duty.

Lt. Calley was the only military officer ever convicted in the My Lai massacre. Today he is retired and lives in Atlanta.

Independent (uk): Forty years on, survivors gather to remember My Lai

Thanh Nien Daily, Vietnam: Forty years on, scars of My Lai Massacre remain

UN: Glaciers Melting At Fastest Rate in 5,000 Years

UNEP warned that further ice loss could have dramatic consequences, particularly in India

Unfortunately, I can guarantee only one thing about this UN report: It will get a very tiny amount of coverage compared to Eliot Spitzer's having paid for sex.

Sunday Observer (uk): Glaciers melt 'at fastest rate in past 5,000 years'

The world's glaciers are melting faster than at any time since records began, threatening catastrophe for hundreds of millions of people and their eco-systems.


Experts have been monitoring 30 glaciers around the world for nearly three decades and the most recent figures, for 2006, show the biggest ever 'net loss' of ice. Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), told The Observer that melting glaciers were now the 'loudest and clearest' warning signal of global warming.

The problem could lead to failing infrastructure, mass migration and even conflict. 'We're talking about something that happens in your and my lifespan. We're not talking about something hypothetical, we're talking about something dramatic in its consequences,' he said

Lester Brown, of the influential US-based Earth Policy Institute, said the problem would have global ramifications, as farmers in China and India struggled to irrigate their crops.

'This is the biggest predictable effect on food security in history as far as I know,' said Brown.

Sunday Observer (uk): Lost glaciers start countdown to climate chaos

[A]s they retreat, glacial lakes will burst, debris and ice will fall in avalanches, rivers will flood and then dry up, and sea levels will rise even further, say the climate experts. Communities will be deprived of essential water, crops will be ruined and power stations which rely on river flows paralysed.

As a result, people will have to change their lifestyles, their farming, even move their homes, says Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He also fears the problem could exacerbate tensions over inadequate supplies between neighbouring states and countries, possibly spilling over into conflict.

'We're talking about a major transformation, from household livelihood to big industries,' says Steiner. 'While I'm always cautious about "water wars", certainly the potential for water to become a trigger for more tension and, where there's already conflict, to exacerbate conflict is another issue that's not hypothetical.'

The scale of the problem so alarms Lester Brown, a leading environmental thinker, that he fears huge populations dependent on glacier-fed rivers in Asia - 360 million on the Ganges in India and 388 million on the Yangtze in China alone - will not be able to feed themselves, with devastating effect on already rising global food prices.

Independent (uk): Glacier ice loss at record levels

Media Giving McCain Another Free Pass

Rod Parsley (photo via Evangelical Right)

Columbia Journalism Review: Rod Parsley’s Free Pass
Jeremiah Wright gets torched, while McCain’s “spiritual adviser” offends with impunity

Both Barack Obama and John McCain have religious allies who have made controversial, and sometimes flat-out offensive, public statements. But the media have treated them very differently.


Meanwhile, John McCain has a Christian ally of his own. At a rally in late February, McCain appeared with Rod Parsley, the pastor of an Ohio mega-church, and called him a “spiritual guide.”

Parsley has his own history of controversial statements. As David Corn reported this week for Mother Jones, Parsley has called for Christians to wage war against the “false religion” of Islam, in order to destroy it. He does not distinguish between Islamic extremists and ordinary Muslims. “What some call ‘extremists’ are instead mainstream believers who are drawing from the well at the very heart of Islam,” he has written.

And it’s not just Muslims he’s got it in for. Last year, Parsley’s organization called for people who commit adultery to be prosecuted, and in January he compared Planned Parenthood to the Nazis.

But the press has largely shrugged off the Parsley story. I couldn’t find one mainstream American news outlet that has so much as mentioned Parsley’s extremist views since McCain appeared publicly with him in late February.

McCain has the media eating out of his hand.

John McCain Hasn't Released His Tax Returns

CNN: McCain's Money

Except for checking accounts, all the McCain assets are in Cindy's name or those of their dependent children. Nearly $5 million sits in two generation-skipping trusts.

You'd never know this from listening to the pundits go on and on about Hillary Clinton not releasing her tax returns, but John McCain hasn't released his tax returns, either. (Clinton says she will release 8 years of tax returns sometime after April 15th.)

The only candidate who has released his tax returns, of course, is Barack Obama.

Bush's Economic House of Cards Collapsing

What, me worry?
U.S. President George W. Bush Alfred E. Neuman addresses the Economic Club of New York March 14, 2008. Bush, on a drive to bolster faith in the U.S. economy amid fears of a recession, said the economy was resilient and would regain its strength despite the hard times.

Yesterday, while the cable networks tried hard to get us to believe that Barack Obama's pastor was an America-hating black separatist who would bring him down in November (Bread and Circus here! Pay no attention to the real news!), the Bush economy was collapsing.

Bush gave a classic President Pissypants speech to the Economic Club of New York, complete with shouting intonation, much face making, and the obligatory reference to 9/11 (third paragraph). (A great piece on Bush's incoherent speech in today's New York Times by Gail Collins.) Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Fed was giving away $200 million of taxpayer money to a big bank.

Let's give that last point a separate paragraph. The Fed gave away $200,000,000 -- Two Hundred Million Dollars --to a big bank. In return, the Fed got a bunch of worthless paper.

Bear Stearns, like most large U.S. financial institutions, owns lots of subprime mortgages; Bear Stearns subprime mortgages were purchased with borrowed money, no less. Bush and Greenspan let subprime mortgages (no money down! no income verification! flip this house! etc.) mushroom over the last eight years. They're worthless as the buyers can't make the payments, and the properties weren't worth the ridiculous prices they were going for, so they're going to default and the bank is left holding the bag. But no! The Fed has picked up the bank's empty bag, in exchange for a mere $200,000,000 of our money.

You can read about the bailout in this New York Times article, but the only important line in the article is this:

[T]he Fed will ultimately bear the risk of the loan.

Basically, it's another subprime loan. No income verification, no money down, flip this federal money into your own pockets, Wall Street! Whoo-woo.

What does this mean to the rest of us?

The United States has entered a recession that could be "substantially more severe" than recent ones, former National Bureau of Economic Research President Martin Feldstein said

"The situation is very bad, the situation is getting worse, and the risks are that it could get very bad,"
Feldstein said in a speech at the Futures Industry Association meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.

NBER is a private sector group that is considered the arbiter of U.S. business cycles.

It's a lot like the Bush economy that Clinton inherited in 1992 -- except it's much, much worse.

Hold on to your hats, folks. We're in for a bumpy ride.

By the way, here's Obama's response to the flap over his pastor, once again distancing himself from the statements. He also went on Fox Noise to quell the cable furor. I don't think anyone will remember this if the stock market tanks and gas is $4 a gallon in November.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Profile of Obama's Mother

Courtesy of the Obama family
Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro with son Barack in Hawaii.

In today's New York Times:

A Free-Spirited Wanderer Who Set Obama’s Path

Richard Russo on Eliot Spitzer

One of my favorite authors opines on the Eliot Spitzer saga.

WaPo: Imagining Eliot

Before everything begins to unravel, Eliot confides to [Russo's fictional character who is surely himself] Rick that he's made a mess of things, betrayed everyone he loves, that he isn't even sure who he is anymore. But Rick will tell him not to be melodramatic. It's true he's made mistakes, big ones, Rick explains, but they aren't what Eliot thinks they are. Rick admits he's outraged that Eliot has spent $80,000 on prostitutes, because it shouldn't cost that much to get laid in America. It's like one of those $500 Pentagon hammers. Downright wasteful. And why order a hammer from New Jersey and pay the shipping? There are perfectly good hammers in Washington -- it's a damned city of hammers when you think about it. Where on earth did Eliot get the idea that New Jersey hammers were superior? All he wanted to do was nail something, right?

Don't joke, Eliot tells Rick. This isn't funny; he could go to jail. But to Rick's way of thinking, that's the biggest joke of all. Your average CEO can claim millions in salary and stock options in the same year his company is going down the tubes, and it's all perfectly legal. You want to know what you're really guilty of, Eliot? Cluelessness. You didn't forget who you are, you forgot where you are. This is America, pal, where you can lead the nation into war on false pretenses and be rewarded with a second term in office, but where illicit sex is and has always been an impeachable offense. (Note to self: A little of this Rick character goes a long way.)

Stop Republican!

Stop thief! Stop Republican! Is there any difference between those exclamations? I submit, no...

WaPo: NRCC [National Republican Campaign Committee] Says Ex-Treasurer Diverted Up to $1 Million

By 'diverted', they mean to say stole. Stop thief! Stop Republican!

Fucking Hell

Times (uk): The names are drawn out of the pot to reveal an all-English quarter-final

Liverpool draws Arsenal in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Not Schalke. Not Fenerbahce. Not Roma. The #1 team in England, Arsenal.

And my brother calls to point out that in between the two legs of those quarters, Liverpool plays Arsenal in the Premier League -- at Arsenal.

And if Liverpool should emerge victorious from the Arsenal quarters, who will they likely face? Chelsea.

Fucking hell.

BBC: Arsenal face Liverpool in Europe

Telegraph (uk): Champions League: Arsenal face Liverpool

Guardian (uk): Gunners paired with Liverpool as the Champions League gets serious

The Media Attack on Obama Begins

flickr: SI Neg. 2004-41682. Date: na....Printed ribbon bearing the United States flag and printed beneath it the phrase "OUR UNION /NOW AND FOREVER.".In 1860, Abraham Lincoln pulled ahead of William Seward and won the Republican nomination on the third ballot. The Republican platform opposed slavery in the territories but upheld the right of slavery in the South. It also opposed the Dredd-Scott decision. The Democrats nominated Stephen Douglas and the Southern-Democrats who called themselves National Democrats nominated John Breckinridge. In addition, John Bell was nominated by the Constitutional Union party. The Republicans were united behind Lincoln, while the opposition was divided by regions. Most of the campaign was implemented by regional party organizations. The candidates took a small active part. Stephen Douglas was the only candidate to campaign actively throughout the country...Credit: Joe Goulait (Smithsonian Institution)

I turn on MSNBC this morning and Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough, the whiteboy rightwing mob (with their empty enabler Mika Brzezinski bleating helplessly in the background, saying nothing, nodding), are shouting that Barack Obama must denounce the pastor of his church for saying that 9/11 was the fault of the victims.

Here's what Richard Wright, the pastor of Obama's church, said in his first sermon after 9/11:

WRIGHT: We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant. Because the stuff we have done overseas has now brought right back into our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost.

He's not blaming the victims. He's saying America's foreign policy created some of our problems. For Christ's sake, we FUNDED Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in the 1980s (slate: How Reagan turned Osama into a terrorist kingpin.)

In response, Matthews says, (paraphrasing) This is coming out now because the media is looking at Obama now because he's the frontrunner. Speaking truth to power, that's our job. I almost spit out my coffee. Chris Matthews, speaking truth to power? Please.

Chris Matthews is counting on you to forget that he gave George W. Bush a big wet kiss for seven years. But The Google is our friend, and we do not forget. We do not forget how Chris Matthews slobbered over George W. Bush after the whole "Mission Accomplished" speech in 2003. Here it is, Mr. "Truth to Power" Matthews, digging deeply into Karl Rove's photo op, courtesy of Media Matters:

On May 1, 2003, President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln aboard an S-3B Viking jet, emerged from the aircraft in full flight gear, and proceeded to "press[] flesh," as The Washington Post put it, as he shook hands and hugged crew members in front of the cameras. Later that day, Bush delivered a nationally televised speech from the deck of the Abraham Lincoln in which he declared that "[m]ajor combat operations in Iraq have ended," all the while standing under a banner reading: "Mission Accomplished." Despite lingering questions over the continued violence in Iraq, the failure to locate weapons of mass destruction, and the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein, as well as evidence that Bush may have shirked his responsibilities in the Texas Air National Guard (TANG) during the Vietnam War, the print and televised media fawned over Bush's "grand entrance" and the image of Bush as the "jet pilot" and the "Fighter Dog."

Chief among the cheerleaders was MSNBC's Chris Matthews. On the May 1, 2003, edition of Hardball, Matthews was joined in his effusive praise of Bush by right-wing pundit Ann Coulter and "Democrat" Pat Caddell. Former U.S. Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-CA) also appeared on the program.:

MATTHEWS: What's the importance of the president's amazing display of leadership tonight?


MATTHEWS: What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously. What does that image mean to the American people, a guy who can actually get into a supersonic plane and actually fly in an unpressurized cabin like an actual jet pilot?


MATTHEWS: Do you think this role, and I want to talk politically [...], the president deserves everything he's doing tonight in terms of his leadership. He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics. Do you think he is defining the office of the presidency, at least for this time, as basically that of commander in chief? That [...] if you're going to run against him, you'd better be ready to take [that] away from him.


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Bob Dornan, you were a congressman all those years. Here's a president who's really nonverbal. He's like Eisenhower. He looks great in a military uniform. He looks great in that cowboy costume he wears when he goes West. I remember him standing at that fence with Colin Powell. Was [that] the best picture in the 2000 campaign?


MATTHEWS: Ann Coulter, you're the first to speak tonight on the buzz. The president's performance tonight, redolent of the best of Reagan -- what do you think?

COULTER: It's stunning. It's amazing. I think it's huge. I mean, he's landing on a boat at 150 miles per hour. It's tremendous. It's hard to imagine any Democrat being able to do that. And it doesn't matter if Democrats try to ridicule it. It's stunning, and it speaks for itself.

[Mr. Truth to Power lets Man Coulter's absurd statement go unchallenged.]

Oh, it gets better! Mika Brzezinski just asked Chris Matthews if this will help the Democrats implode in November. Chris Matthews tells her what an impressive candidate John McCain is and how well he will do in the Rust Belt states.

Will this all benefit McCain in the long run? she asks.

McCain's base will be working feverishly to get him elected in November.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

No, John McCain, You Can't Be President

A one-minute tribute to the ever-changing positions of John McCain.

Obama's Got Coattails

So sez The Hill:

Eyeing Obama coattails

Democratic lawmakers are becoming persuaded that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) would have a more positive impact on other Democrats on the November ballot than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Obama’s advantage over Clinton would be most pronounced in the Southern and Western states President Bush carried in 2000 and 2004, say lawmakers interviewed by The Hill. In total, 32 members of Congress from these “red states” have endorsed Obama. Twenty-two lawmakers from those states have backed Clinton.

Obama will “bring new people into the process in Southern states, there’s no question about it,” said Rep. James Clyburn, the House Democratic whip from South Carolina. “In these Southern states he’s bringing out more people, young people, African-Americans. They’re being energized by him.”

Clyburn, who has stayed neutral in the primary, said Obama at the top of the ticket would “certainly” do more to help other Democratic candidates, citing South Carolina and Mississippi specifically.

Bush won both South Carolina and Mississippi by nearly 20 points.

Good Question

wikipedia: Tornado

ClimateProgress: Where is the media on the incredible warming and extreme weather of February?

...[T]his February ripped the tornado record books to shred as if they had been caught in a giant whirlwind whose intensity had been amplifed by global warming. The country suffered through a stunning 232 tornadoes — almost triple the previous record of 1971, which saw a mere 83 tornadoes. (Reliable records go back to 1950.)

Pic of the Day

yahoo: Stormy seas hit coastal sea defences and a lighthouse at Seaford in Sussex in southern England March 10, 2008. A storm rushing in from the Atlantic lashed the south west on Monday as high winds and tides brought the risk of coastal flooding.

The Immoral Crimes The Corporate Media Should Be Reporting

Ben Stechshulte for The New York Times
At Al Rawabi, an expensive nightclub in Al Hami, customers can drink imported Scotch, smoke water pipes and watch a show featuring young Iraqi woman gyrating to a 10-piece band on a garishly lighted stage.

Instead of reading saturation coverage of Eliot Spitzer's resignation for having paid sex with one sex worker, we should be reading about the real crimes taking place in the world. Here's a great take on what the media should be reporting; and not just every once in a while, but every day. Go to the original post for links to the articles documenting the facts about the Iraqis driven into prostitution by the disastrous policies of the Master of Global Disaster, George W. Bush.

Bob Fertik, Bush Tied to Child Prostitution - Resignation or Impeachment Expected!

George Bush has been tied to a prostitution ring involving as many as 50,000 women and girls and is expected to resign or be impeached, according to Congressional sources.

The prostitutes, some as young as 13, are among the 1.2 million desperate Iraqis who fled to Syria after Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to the U.K. Independent.

Bush's invasion destroyed the Iraqi government and unleashed a wave of political and sectarian violence that has killed over 1 million Iraqis and forced 4 million to become refugees, according to the UN.

Facing starvation, as many as 50,000 women and girls have been forced into prostitution in Syria alone, according to Hana Ibrahim of the Women's Will Association.

"70 percent to 80 percent of the girls working this business in Damascus today are Iraqis," 23-year-old Abeer told the New York Times. "The rents here in Syria are too expensive for their families. If they go back to Iraq they'll be slaughtered, and this is the only work available."

According to the Times, "inexpensive Iraqi prostitutes have helped to make Syria a popular destination for sex tourists from wealthier countries in the Middle East. In the club's parking lot, nearly half of the cars had Saudi license plates."

Driving women and girls into prostitution violates numerous human rights agreements, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. George Bush himself denounced sex trafficking at the United Nations in 2003.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

USWNT Wins Algarve Cup

Natasha Kai, center, from the USA's women national soccer team celebrates after scoring against Denmark during their Algarve Cup final match Wednesday, March 12, 2008, at Vila Real de Santo Antonio's stadium, in the Algarve, Portugal. (AP Photo/Steven Governo) (Steven Governo - AP)

Natasha Kai and Abby Wambach score as the U.S. wins 2-1 over Denmark.

Why didn't Greg Ryan play Kai in the World Cup? Oh right, he's a moron. And guess who was in goal for the championship game? That's right, our #1 goalkeeper, Hope Solo. Rot in hell Greg Ryan. You stole our third World Cup right from under our noses!

ussoccer: Game Report

WaPo: US Soccer Wins Algarve Cup

VILA REAL DE SANTO ANTONIO, Portugal -- Abby Wambach scored her 88th international goal Wednesday to help the United States win the Algarve Cup for a record sixth time with a 2-1 victory over Denmark.

Wambach scored the winning goal in the 49th minute, sprinting down the right flank and breaking two tackles before exchanging passes with Natasha Kai and sending a low drive into the corner.

Kai gave the Americans the lead with a header in the 14th, but Denmark's Cathrine Sorensen scored in the 30th.

A classic photo of our take-no-prisoners striker Abby Wambach:
Check out the tats on Kai:
And the attitide!

Everybody Hates Vista

Sydney Morning Herald

Even the dopes at Microsoft, because it doesn't work. That's a problem.

NYTimes: They Criticized Vista. And They Should Know.

Here’s one story of a Vista upgrade early last year that did not go well. Jon, let’s call him, (bear with me — I’ll reveal his full identity later) upgrades two XP machines to Vista. Then he discovers that his printer, regular scanner and film scanner lack Vista drivers. He has to stick with XP on one machine just so he can continue to use the peripherals.

Did Jon simply have bad luck? Apparently not. When another person, Steven, hears about Jon’s woes, he says drivers are missing in every category — “this is the same across the whole ecosystem.”

Then there’s Mike, who buys a laptop that has a reassuring “Windows Vista Capable” logo affixed. He thinks that he will be able to run Vista in all of its glory, as well as favorite Microsoft programs like Movie Maker. His report: “I personally got burned.” His new laptop — logo or no logo — lacks the necessary graphics chip and can run neither his favorite video-editing software nor anything but a hobbled version of Vista. “I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine,” he says.

It turns out that Mike is clearly not a naïf. He’s Mike Nash, a Microsoft vice president who oversees Windows product management. And Jon, who is dismayed to learn that the drivers he needs don’t exist? That’s Jon A. Shirley, a Microsoft board member and former president and chief operating officer. And Steven, who reports that missing drivers are anything but exceptional, is in a good position to know: he’s Steven Sinofsky, the company’s senior vice president responsible for Windows.

Profiles in Cowardice


Greg Mitchell has just published a book, So Wrong for So Long, about the Iraq war and the media. Here's his list of some of the shameful episodes (and a few heroes, see Al Neuharth of USA Today, #7) of media cheerleading and sheer incompetence.

Greg Mitchell, Mother Jones: The Iraq Follies

In putting together my new book, So Wrong for So Long, on Iraq and the media, I revisited the good, the bad, and the ugly in war coverage from the run-up to the invasion through the five years of controversy that followed. Even though I monitored the coverage closely all along, I was continually surprised to come across once-prominent names, quotes, and incidents that had faded to obscurity. Here is a list of 18 of those nearly forgotten episodes, in roughly chronological order.

1) The day before the invasion, Bill O'Reilly said, "If the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation; I will not trust the Bush administration again, all right?"

2) Phil Donahue lost his show at MSNBC, he later claimed, because he did not wave the flag enough. A leaked NBC memo confirmed Donahue's suspicion, noting that the host "presents a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war.... At the same time our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."

3) After the fall of Baghdad, MSNBC's Chris Matthews declared, "We're all neocons now."

4) The same day, Joe Scarborough, also on MSNBC, said, "I'm waiting to hear the words 'I was wrong' from some of the world's most elite journalists, politicians, and Hollywood types."

5) The New York Times' Thomas Friedman wrote, "As far as I am concerned, we do not need to find any weapons of mass destruction to justify this war.... Mr. Bush doesn't owe the world any explanation for missing chemical weapons."

6) President Bush's comedy routine during the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., on March 24, 2004, included a bit about the still-missing WMD. While a slide show of the president scouring the White House was projected on the wall behind him, he joked, "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere...Nope, no weapons over there...Maybe under here?" Most of the crowd roared, and there was little criticism in the media in following days. Mother Jones' David Corn, then Washington editor of The Nation, was one of the few attendees to criticize the routine. Corn wondered if they would have laughed if Ronald Reagan had, following the truck bombing of our Marine barracks in Beirut, which killed 241, said at a similar dinner, "Guess we forgot to put in a stoplight."

7) Who was the first mainstream editor/columnist to call for a U.S. pullout? It was the unlikely Allen H. Neuharth, founder of USA Today, who is certainly not known for expressing anti-war or liberal views. His May 2004 column drew wide reader protest but "the old fighting infantryman" (as the former soldier billed himself) stuck to his guns and penned a few more columns in that vein in the years that followed.

8) When the New York Times carried its now-famous editors' note on May 26, 2004, admitting some errors in its WMD coverage, it appeared on page A10 and Judith Miller's name was nowhere to be found. The note is often described today as an "apology," but it was no such thing. On the day it ran, Executive Editor Bill Keller, not exactly chastened, called criticism of the Times' coverage "overwrought" and said that the main reason it even published the note was because the controversy had become a "distraction."

9) Likewise, it's often said that the Washington Post also issued an apology. But the criticism of its prewar coverage came not in an editors' statement but in an article by the paper's media critic, Howard Kurtz. Post editors offered several defenses for the coverage and top editor Len Downie argued that it didn't make much difference anyway, because tougher coverage would not have stopped the war.

10) Stephen Colbert's routine at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in April 2006 is remembered for the in-his-face mockery of President Bush—but he also spanked the press, perhaps one reason his mainstream reviews were mixed at best. Addressing the correspondents directly, Colbert said, "Let's review the rules. The president makes decisions; he's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell-check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know—fiction."

11) In one of the purest "my bads" of the war, Fox News' John Gibson ripped Neil Young after the rocker released his protest album Living With War. Gibson demanded that Young go see the new United 93 movie and even offered to buy his ticket. Young, it was soon pointed out, had actually written one of the first 9/11 songs—"Let's Roll," about, you guessed it, Flight 93.

12) Surprise: David Brooks, Thomas Friedman, and Oliver North all came out against the "surge" last January after it was announced by President Bush. George Will wrote a column titled, "Surge, or Power Failure?" And, after the botched hanging of Saddam, Charles Krauthammer declared, "We should not be surging American troops in defense of such a government."

13) When Valerie Plame finally testified before Congress in March 2007, much of the media coverage focused on her appearance. Mary Ann Akers wrote a piece for the Washington Post titled "Hearing Room Chic," noting that Plame wore "a fetching jacket and pants" and should be played by Katie Holmes in the movie version of her story because they both favor Armani.

14) On March 27, 2007, John McCain, referring to the supposed calm settling on Baghdad, said, "General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed Humvee." This turned out to be pure bunk, but McCain quickly visited Iraq to try to prove his overall point. There, the Arizona senator went from the ridiculous to the maligned, touring a Baghdad market and claiming all was safe—while troops surrounded him and helicopters twirled overhead. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) likened the scene to "a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime."

15) In April 2007, CBS' Bob Simon admitted to Bill Moyers that his network should have dug deeper into the false claims on WMD. "I think we all felt from the beginning that to deal with a subject as explosive as this, we should keep it, in a way, almost light—if that doesn't seem ridiculous," he said.

16) Contrary to popular belief, the New York Times, which had editorialized against the invasion, did not call for a change in course or the beginning of a withdrawal from Iraq until July 8, 2007.

17) On Meet the Press in July 2007, David Brooks declared that 10,000 Iraqis a month would perish if the United States pulled out. Bob Woodward, also on the show, challenged him on this, asking for his source. Brooks admitted, "I just picked that 10,000 out of the air."

18) Also in July 2007, an old clip of a C-SPAN interview with Vice President Cheney from 1994 surfaced, in which he defended the decision not to depose Saddam Hussein during Gulf War I: "Once you got to Iraq and took it over…then what are you going to put in its place?…It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq." He explained, "And the question for the president…was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right."

Greg Mitchell is editor of Editor & Publisher and the author of So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits—and the President—Failed on Iraq (Union Square Press), which was published this week.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We Love Lists

The first blog I read every day: Duncan Black's Eschaton

Guardian (uk): The world's 50 most powerful blogs

No DailyKos? No credibility. HuffPo gets lots of hits, but powerful? C'mon. Power is getting Democrats elected to Congress. DailyDKos does that and deserved to be on the list.

'Sheer Hypocrisy'

Nora Ephron, HuffPo: Eliot Spitzer: The Short Goodbye

This is the problem these guys get into: they're so morally rigid and puritanical in real life (and on some level, so responsible for this priggish world we now live in) that when they get caught committing victimless crimes, everyone thinks they should be punished for sheer hypocrisy.

'That Nice Irish Fella - O'Bama'

Don't waste your money on corned beef or green beer. Send a little to

dailykos: That Nice Irish Fella - O'Bama

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hidden Beauties

A carpet of red blood cells clearly showing their typical biconcave disc shape
Photograph: Dave McCarthy and Annie Cavanagh/Wellcome Trust

Some gorgeous scientific photographs.

Guardian (uk): Wellcome Image Awards 2008

From a fly on sugar to the internal structure of an HIV cell and the trachea from a silkworm, the Wellcome Image Awards 2008 spotlights some of the boldest pictures taken during groundbreaking scientific research

Liquid crystal seen under polarised light
Photograph: Karen Neill/Wellcome Trust

Of All People

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer addresses the media with his wife Silda Wall Spitzer at his office in New York, March 10, 2008.
(Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Eliot Spitzer? Mr. Clean? I spend a quiet afternoon in the studio & come home to the shocking news that Spitzer is named in a federal indictment as a man who was spending his hard-earned money on prostitutes. Very expensive prostitutes. (A friend noted, "He should shop around. There must be something out there for for less than that!")

Early speculation is that the investigation was triggered by suspiciously large cash transactions, that were reported by his bank to the feds. They thought he was being bribed, but he was being fluffed. (It's very hard to write about this without making bad jokes!)

The investigation is being run by Bush's politicized Justice Department. As one person noted in a comment at Harper's:

A reader emails with an interesting observation:

Amazing how Senator David Vitter’s name never leaked out of the Justice Department after the arrest of the D.C. Madam, but Eliot Spitzer’s name leaked out of the Justice Department within a week of the initial arrest in the Emperor V.I.P. case.

Vitter, recall, owned up to his dalliance with a prostitute after Hustler called him to ask for comment before publication. Not that employees of the George W. Bush Justice Department would ever act in a political fashion, of course. But it is curious.

Jane Hamsher raises more questions at firedoglake, and doesn't think this one passes the smell test. Glenn Greenwald asks, Who cares if Eliot Spitzer hires prostitutes?

I'd like to note that the Bush/Cheney cabal has been screwing all of us for seven years, and we're not getting paid, they are! And they're leaving us with a huge bill, and the streets are littered with the broken bodies of veterans and Iraqis maimed in their immoral war. Those are the people who should be prosecuted, not some poor schmuck getting his shaft waxed.

Initial reports were that Spitzer would announce his resignation at 7:00 p.m. but he didn't. I hope he doesn't. If it's just sex, who cares. Maybe someday the American people will grow up and there will be a book for adults like the popular kids book, "Everyone Poops". Everybody fucks. Get over it.

Pretty Good Weekend for Obama

He won the Wyoming caucuses handily, and adds another two delegates to his lead over Hillary.

The 8-year-old girl in the Goodnight pajamas in Hillary's 3am ad? Casey Knowles is all grown up now, and was shocked to see her old stock footage on TV. Especially since now at age 17 she's a precinct captain for Obama.

But the best news for Obama was in Illinois, where scientist Bill Foster beat millionaire Republican Jim Oberweis to take the seat of retiring Republican, former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert. This district voted for Hastert with 60% of the vote in 2006; the district also went to Bush in 2004 with 55% of the vote.

Foster won 53-47 in the overwhelmingly Republican district. (Here's the Wall Street Journal headline on the race: Reagan Country Votes Democratic) So how is this good news for Obama? Obama taped a television ad for Foster, endorsing Foster with this line: "He represents the change we need."

The NRCC pumped $1,000,000 into this race (nearly 1/3 of its cash on hand) and still lost a race that was not even expected to be close. This demonstration of Obama's coattails should reassure superdelegates about his ability to win in November.

It's Now or Never

A heavy haze could be seen in Beijing in August 2007. Two recent reports call for a heightened global effort to reduce carbon emissions. (By Greg Baker -- Associated Press)

WaPo: Carbon Output Must Near Zero To Avert Danger, New Studies Say

Using advanced computer models to factor in deep-sea warming and other aspects of the carbon cycle that naturally creates and removes carbon dioxide (CO2), the scientists, from countries including the United States, Canada and Germany, are delivering a simple message: The world must bring carbon emissions down to near zero to keep temperatures from rising further.


Schmittner, lead author of a Feb. 14 article in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, said his modeling indicates that if global emissions continue on a "business as usual" path for the rest of the century, the Earth will warm by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. If emissions do not drop to zero until 2300, he calculated, the temperature rise at that point would be more than 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

We Love Lists

Nightmarish: Statue of Coaticlue (15th century)

Telegraph (uk): The World's 50 Best Works of Art (and how to see them)

The human race has been making art for thousands of years. Here, in chronological order, critic Martin Gayford chooses his 50 artistic wonders of the world

It's a very idiosyncratic list with many massive objects. Not one female artist.