Nov. 25th, 2003

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at the very very bottom of a very very long story about Our Fearless Leader and his visit to bereaved military families:
In another sign of a harder line coming from Baghdad, the Washington-appointed Iraqi Governing Council pulled the plug on the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya satellite television network yesterday, saying it would no longer be allowed to report from Baghdad until it agrees to stop "encouraging terrorism."

Its crime appeared to be airing an audio tape purported to have come from deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. It aired the audio tape, in which a voice calls for a holy war against occupying troops on Nov. 16. The CIA said it could not confirm the voice was, in fact, Saddam's.

"I would like to you know that we are serious in fighting terrorism and the Governing Council will exert more efforts," Jalal Talabani, current head of the council, told reporters in Baghdad. "We will have an active political, media and military role against terrorism."

CNN reported yesterday that it and the BBC had also been warned that they, too, could face sanctions if they did not toe the line.

It's nice to be in a country with a free press, don't you think?

Some of the other countries we run aren't so lucky.
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I read this in the doctor's office earlier tonight, and I was so hoping it was online.

Caitlin Flanagan, "at home mom"/contributing editor to the Atlantic who is writing a book and has household help, reviews a book about Erma Bombeck and writes at least three or four paragraphs about Erma Bombeck in the course of explaining how feminism is responsible for her own personal incompetence and lack of interest in things domestic, not that she plans to learn.

If you're interested in delving even further into Ms. Flanagan's self-proclaimed unfitness to engage in the softer domestic skills, examine her closely-reasoned and respectful response to Jennifer Dabner, one of the women the feminists have brutally abandoned, in the following month's Letters to the Editor.

Also: an interview with PJ "they'll pry my mixed drink out of my cold dead hand" O'Rourke on what he noticed about the ungrateful and uncivilized Iraqis when he took his bottle of whisky to an occupied muslim country.

One example of the kind of reporting that O'Rourke favors is his account of a trip organized by the Kuwait Ministry of Information (part of the Department of Moral Guidance, he notes), during which he covered the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society's distribution of food in Safwan, Iraq, just across the Kuwait border. He watched the chaos that ensued from the top of the aid truck:
There was no reason for people to clobber one another. Even assuming that each man in the riot - and each boy - was the head of a family, and assuming the family was huge, there was enough food in the truck. Mohammed al-Kandari, a doctor from the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, had explained this to the Iraqis when the trailer arrived.... Al-Kandari had persuaded the Iraqis to form ranks. They looked patient and grateful, the way we privately imagine the recipients of food donations looking when we're writing checks to charities. Then the trailer was opened, and everything went to hell.
Most of us have never considered that kindergarten's most important lesson - that of lining up - is somehow related to our society's ability to self-govern. For O'Rourke, the mad dash for food in Safwan represented something more than hunger or desperation:
Aid seekers in England would queue automatically by needs, disabled war vets and nursing mothers first. Americans would bring lawn chairs and sleeping bags, camp out the night before, and sell their places to the highest bidders. Japanese would text-message one another, creating virtual formations, getting in line to get in line. Germans would await commands from a local official, such as the undersupervisor of the town clock. Even Italians know how to line up, albeit in an ebullient wedge. The happier parts of the world have capacities for self-organization so fundamental and obvious that they appear to be the pillars of civilization ... But here - on the road to Ur, in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley ... nothing was supporting the roof.

Damn, them Republicans is cool. It's just like South Park, only the people whose god you're blaspheming against aren't running the country and the dead people stay dead.

You know, like Michael Kelly.

Oddly, PJ doesn't think Kelly's death was quite as funny as the way brown people behave when they've been starving in the dark.

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