Thursday, May 20, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Faster Than a Speeding Bullet. Able to Leap Tall Buildings in a Single Bound. More Powerful Than a Racing Locomotive.

Go Muqtada! Go Muqtada! It's Your Birthday! It's Your Birthday! A new poll to be released next week shows that Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Baby Huey of Shi'ite militancy, has surged in popularity among Iraqis, coming second only to the Big Cheese himself, Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani. No doubt Muqtada will also be happy with another finding in the poll: 90 percent of Iraqis now view US troops as "occupiers" rather than "liberators," and more than half of them want us to leave. And, even worse for the U.S., the poll was taken before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke.

Worst. Wedding. Ever. At least 40 people were killed in an air strike in Western Iraq yesterday. After initially refusing to confirm the strike, the US military now admits it, but says it was aiming for a safe house for foreign fighters coming across the border from Syria, not the wedding party that apparently got caught between the missile and the mujahadeen.

Time's Up, Puppet Boy Is this the end of Judith Miller's favorite (only) source? Just as Megatron eventually tired of Starscream, so too has the US tired of our crooked, slimy Man in Baghdad, Ahmad Chalabi. As the Sikh Geek reported below, the Pentagon has stopped funding the Iraqi National Congress, and now they've raided the group's offices and the home of the Man of Cats himself. According to Chalabi, US troops trashed his home and put guns to his head while seizing computers and documents. His nephew, the head of the war crimes tribunal in Iraq (for now, anyway), guessed that "they must be afraid of his political movement." Yeah, dude. I'm sure that's it.

What the Hell's Happening In Israel? Redux Frankly, we could all write this story by now. In three days of their latest crazy-ass Gaza raid, the Israeli military has killed 39 Palestinians, 10 of whom died during a peaceful demonstration. The US, in an unprecedented step, allowed the UN Security Council to condemn Israel and demand that it end the Gaza raid. So, is the raid over? No. Sharon's government says it will continue until the "terrorists are smashed." So...that would be never, then.

Your Crazy, Law-Breaking Government at Work When it isn't busy listening to the advice of Pentecostals beset by witches and ghosts (see yesterday's top five), the Bush administration is energetically breaking all kinds of laws. Here's one: Congress' General Accounting Office ruled this week that commercials the administration made to promote changes to Medicare were illegal. The commercials, which were made to look like actual newscasts and which did not identify the federal government as their source, were made with about $12.6 million in taxpayers' dollars. One of the companies that made the ads is also making ads for George Bush's re-election campaign. All of this, the GAO reports, is totally illegal. Still despite violating federal law, absolutely nothing will happen to anyone involved in the crime. Just like in your life, when you steal things and the police let you get away with it, or when you murder people and don't get arrested despite confessing. Oh, wait. That doesn't happen at all.

-Consider Arms