Tuesday, March 30, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: What the Hell is Froogle?

White House Caves In After sustaining serious political damage for their bizarre refusal to allow National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice (she of the blissful ignorance about Al Qaida's existence until 2001) to testify before the 9/11 panel in public, the White House has caved in to the pressure and said, "Go ahead! Have her testify! We don't care!" This will give us all an opportunity to see, exactly, what they are so afraid of: Perhaps Condoleeza Rice will inadvertently say something like, "We are an administration of total fuckheads who used the largest terrorist attack in American history to justify an expansionist foreign policy that we had in place even before the election." Perhaps not.

This Looks Like a Case, Ironically, for the FBI Actually, Encyclopedia Brown could probably solve this: the declassified FBI files about their early 1970s investigation of John Kerry have been stolen from the historian who spent 11 years getting the damn things from the government. According to police, the burglars didn't break any glass, didn't take any of the expensive camera equipment near the files, and knew what they were looking for. Gosh. Who could possibly want to dig up dirt on the Democratic presidential nominee?

I Will Gladly Die to Protect the Kaliningrad Region from Aggression Hey, remember NATO? That's the organization that was founded by Western states after World War II ostensibly to defend European countries from Communism. Now that Europe is largely safe from the menace of Soviet aggression, you'd think that the rationale behind NATO would mandate the organization roll up the sidewalks and disband. Instead, this month 7 new countries will join the alliance, which means that, under the terms of the treaty, we are compelled to respond to an invasion of Slovenia in the same way we would respond to an invasion of Minnesota. Russia, predictably, is not amused.

Hitler: The Most Bored Man Ever Two Washington State teenagers charged with burning a cross on a black pastor's lawn say it wasn't an act of hate, merely a "prank" fueled by boredom. Although both teens apparently have a history of racial antagonism, their defense raises some fascinating historical possibilities. Maybe all those lynches mobs, Klansmen, and racist cops needed nothing more than some organized, community softball, and perhaps our country's troubled history of racial violence would have turned out much differently.

Damn the Private Economy to Hell! In this war on terrorism we've been told, and it seems logical to assume, that special forces personnel such as Green Berets and Navy SEALs will be much more important than before, since our enemy isn't a nation-state but a vast multinational conspiracy. There's one problem: top level special forces folks, who make about $50,000 a year in the military, are defecting to private security companies, who pay them between $100,000 and $200,000 annually. Yes, but do private security companies offer the opportunity to be shot to death?

-Consider Arms