Wednesday, December 29, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Susan Sontag, RIP.

President Douchebag to the Rescue Criticism of the U.S. response to the tsunami disaster continues, as the White House was browbeaten by the U.N. into upping its paltry $15 million aid offer to a slightly less paltry $35 million. "The United States is not stingy," Colin Powell said, in what may be his final major lie as a hireling of the Bush administration. As for the Head Cowpoke himself, Dubya has remained secluded - where else? - on his brush-choked Crawford, Tex. ranch, preferring to let the grown-ups handle the humanitarian aid. Hey, George, I know what you can do: Declare tectonic plates part of the Axis of Evil! Meanwhile, the death toll continues to rise.

The Great Drain The latest top CIA official to fall victim to new director Porter Goss is the agency's top analyst, Jami Miscik, who has been forced to resign. This makes six top public officials forced out of the CIA, including the No. 2 and No. 3 people at the agency, plus an undisclosed number of clandestine operatives. I have a feeling that CIA briefings from now on are going to consist of sentiments like, "Everything's coming up roses, Mr. President - thanks to your forward-thinking leadership!"

The Daily Mayhem: Iraq Edition A bomb in Baghdad today killed 29 people, including seven Iraqi policemen. This follows a bloody Tuesday in which 26 Iraqi policemen were killed in separate attacks. The insurgents are actively targeting members of the country's security forces, and are seemingly having some success; recruitment of Iraqi police puts staffing levels at less than half of what analysts say are needed to restore order in the country.

Uganda in "Good News" Shocker! One of the world's nastiest guerrilla conflicts looks like it might be coming to an end, as the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army have signed a total cease-fire set to begin on New Year's Eve. The LRA is one of the most vicious guerrilla groups in the world, having killed thousands, kidnapped thousands of children to use as slaves and soldiers, and driven more than 1 million people from their homes in the 18-year war to establish the Ten Commandments as the only law in the country. This is the first time the phrase "Good news from Uganda" has been used since Idi Amin fled the country.

No Silver Lining Too Bright to Be Clouded The Bush administration's lamebrained tax "reform" proposal, which could have included a national sales tax, has been postponed until 2006 at the earliest. Hurray! The reason it's been postponed, though, is because Bush's economic team wants to devote all their "political capital" to wrecking Social Security and to "a budget plan that will demand politically painful cuts to non-defense spending." Boo!

-Consider Arms