Thursday, May 27, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Toby Keith Still Sucks.

The Fix is In It looks like we won't be getting the chunky-but-spunky Shi'ite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr "dead or alive" after all. Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army will stand down in Najaf and Kufa, US troops will pull out, and the arrest warrant for Al-Sadr will be squashed. Remember where you were, folks: This is the first sensible decision the US has made in the occupation so far.

Our Greatest President Just like RCA releases previously unheard Elvis music every year, the National Archives releases new Nixon tapes and transcripts annually. These records provide a fascinating insight into one of the most intriguingly bizarre men ever to occupy the White House. Last year's highlight was the off-the-wall conversation between Nixon and Art Linkletter about the hippie drug culture and how marijuana differs from drinking. This year's highlight (from about 20,000 pages transcribed from Henry Kissinger's phone calls) looks to be the revelation that during the Arab-Israeli War, Nixon was too drunk to talk to the British Prime Minister about the crisis. "When I talked to the president, he was loaded," Kissinger said. That's the kind of leadership we need today.

Ouch! Ouch! Hot Potato! Boy, can you believe that nobody wants to be in charge of the interim Iraqi government? The latest choice, a former nuclear scientist who was imprisoned by Saddam, says no thanks, and now the UN is having a hard time finding enough names to fill out that list President Bush told us so much about this week. Say, you don't think it has anything to do with the brutal murder in a car bombing of the last guy who was slated for the job, do you?

Birds of a Feather Just as disgraced former Pentagon official Richard Perle has rushed to defend Ahmad Chalabi, disgraced former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines has rushed to defend Judith Miller. Criticizing his old newspaper for correcting its incredibly flawed reporting on the run-up to the Iraq War, Raines (the man who brought you Jayson Blair and Rick Bragg) insists that the stories were accurate as far as he knew and that Miller isn't at fault. "I can tell you positively that in 25 years on the Times and in 21 months as executive editor, I never put anything into the paper before I thought it was ready," he told the LA Times. So, Howell, how did those meetings go? "Do we have only one source for this story? Is it the same source we've been using on the other stories? Isn't it true that the source isn't even in a position to know about these weapons programs? Okay, it's ready, run that baby!"

Apparently, Someone Else is Nostalgic for the Cold War Vladimir Putin, the former KGB officer who as president of Russia has shut down TV channels and newspapers, jailed opponents, and won re-election this year in a manner reminiscent of the old Soviet "elections," is not surprisingly dismissing Western criticism of his authoritarian style. Putin, who has recently begun unveiling new monuments to noted liberal Joseph Stalin, says that Russia is becoming a "mature democracy" because it is now moving toward "political stability." He also pledged to increase Russia's nuclear arsenal and denounced human rights groups as pawns of Western elites. Oh, just go ahead and put up the old hammer and sickle banners, ya big lug.

-Consider Arms