Monday, December 13, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Hussein Urges Calm.

The Daily Mayhem: Iraq Edition Eight U.S. Marines were killed in Anbar province Sunday, the highest single-day U.S. death toll in more than a month. Meanwhile, a car bomb in Baghdad killed 13. The attacks come exactly one year after U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein.

Another Tragic Suicide-by-Homicide Remember the lonesome death of David Kelly? The British WMD expert was fingered by Blairistas as the man who leaked damaging information about the British government's sloppy rush to war in Iraq; in the resulting public furor, Kelly killed himself...or so a coroner's inquest ruled. The Guardian, however, presents a special report complete with testimony from the paramedics who were first on the scene suggesting that Kelly may, in fact, have been murdered, since he couldn't have possibly died from the wrist wound the coroner said was fatal. Hey, but who would want to kill a prominent scientist who had humiliated a secretive, vindictive government? I guess we've hit another dead end.

Bernard, We Hardly Knew Ye Well, it's time for the post-mortems on the brief but shining moment in which it looked like Tammany tiger Bernard Kerik would get appointed to the thankless federal czardom that is the Department of Homeland Security director's post. Kerik, of course, showing exactly what Republicans mean when they say they are the party of the average American, had tax and nanny problems; how many people do you know have live-in servants, by the way? But now begins the process of finding exactly who will fill Tom Ridge's excruciatingly miniscule shoes. Scroll down for a horrifying possibility: Homeland Security Director Joe Lieberman!

Rest in Peace Gary Webb, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who wrote a controversial series for the San Jose Mercury News about the connection between the CIA, the contras, and crack in America, was found dead in his home over the weekend, an apparent suicide. After his career as a newspaper reporter, Webb went to work for the state of California, and completed an important report documenting cases of racial profiling by the state highway patrol. He suffered from severe depression, though, and at the end of his life was writing stories for a local weekly.

Mullahs Call For Greater Intellectual Freedom in U.S. Here's another dry irony that sticks like a fishbone in the craw: Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer who won last year's Nobel Peace Prize, is unable to sell her memoirs to a U.S. publisher because the State Department refuses to grant a license necessary in trade cases that involve "trading with the enemy." That's right; the book, which is freely available in the Islamic Republic of Iran, is forbidden in the United States. Another irony not mentioned by the story: One of the U.S. companies cited by Congress last year for continuing to violate rules on trading with Iran is none other than Halliburton, which actually has a suite of offices in Teheran.

-Consider Arms