Friday, October 29, 2004

"Al-Qaqaa-gate" continues to plague President Bush just days before the election. While the Administration tries to claim that the explosives that disappeared from Al-Qaqaa were either removed by Iraqis before the war, or were smuggled out by the Russians (which they flatly deny), ABC news ran a videotape shot by an embedded news crew from Minnesota which shows the explosives still in place in April of 2003.
Videotape shot by a Minnesota television crew traveling with U.S. troops in Iraq when they first opened the bunkers at the Al-Qaqaa munitions base nine days after the fall of Saddam Hussein shows what appeared to be high explosives still in barrels and bearing the markings of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The video taken by KSTP of St. Paul on April 18, 2003, could reinforce suggestions that tons of explosives missing from a munitions installation in Iraq were looted after the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. The video was broadcast nationally Thursday on ABC.

"The photographs are consistent with what I know of Al-Qaqaa," David A. Kay, a former American official who directed the hunt in Iraq for unconventional weapons and visited the site, told The New York Times. "The damning thing is the seals. The Iraqis didn't use seals on anything. So I'm absolutely sure that's an IAEA seal."
The video, along with statements from the IAEA that they had warned top US officials about the vulnerability of Al-Qaqaa in the wake of the looting of the al-Tuwaitha nuclear complex, are pretty damning. They indicate that the Administration knew of the existence and vulnerability of the site, that the explosives were indeed still present after the US invasion, and the Administration did not issue orders for the facility to be secured. In his statement condemning Rudy Giuliani for blaming the troops for the debacle, General Wesley Clark points out that mission priorities and objectives are issued by the President, orders are issued from the top down. Troops left the site unsecured because they were ordered to do so.

There is a pattern here of incompetence and apathy of monstrous proportions. A war was started based on the premise that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, yet none have been found and the intelligence that premise was based on has since been disproven. During the course of this war based on a false premise, there was a failure to secure the al-Tuwaitha nuclear facility which resulted in its looting, which was first uncovered in May, 2003. This week we learn that there was also a failure to secure hundreds of tons of explosives at Al-Qaqaa. How ironic it is that the Administration started a war based on WMD's, yet failed to secure nuclear materials, and explosives that, according to the IAEA, could be used to detonate nuclear divices. Even more ironic is the fact that the latest revelation comes barely a week after our Vice President attempted to use the specter of nuclear detonation in US cities as a political ploy.
"The biggest threat we face now as a nation is the possibility of terrorists ending up in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us -- biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind to be able to threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans," Cheney said.

"That's the ultimate threat. For us to have a strategy that's capable of defeating that threat, you've got to get your mind around that concept," Cheney said.
Clearly Mr. Vice President, you can't get your mind around the concept that you have a responsibility to insure the security of sites that house materials that could be used to make such weapons. Your administration has proven it can't be trusted with our security.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

In science news, Australian scientists have discovered remains of three-foot-tall Hobbits on and island in Indonesia.
Scientists have discovered a new and tiny species of human that lived in Indonesia at the same time our own ancestors were colonising the world.

The three-foot (one-metre) tall species - dubbed "the Hobbit" - lived on Flores island until at least 12,000 years ago.

The fact that little people feature in the legends of modern Flores islanders suggests we might have to take tales of Leprechauns and Yeti more seriously.

The discovery has been hailed as one of the most significant of its type in decades.

Australian archaeologists unearthed the bones while digging at a site called Liang Bua, one of numerous limestone caves on Flores.

Even more intriguing is the fact that Flores' inhabitants have incredibly detailed legends about the existence of little people on the island they call Ebu Gogo.

The islanders describe Ebu Gogo as being about one metre tall, hairy and prone to "murmuring" to each other in some form of language. They were also able to repeat what islanders said to them in a parrot-like fashion.

"There have always been myths about small people - Ireland has its Leprechauns and Australia has the Yowies. I suppose there's some feeling that this is an oral history going back to the survival of these small people into recent times," said co-discoverer Peter Brown, an associate professor of archaeology at New England.
The Florida election debacle continues...first they had problems with the system when early voting started last week, now it appears that about 58,000 absentee ballots have gone missing.
Tens of thousands of postal ballots have gone missing in the US state of Florida, sparking fresh concern over irregularities in the poll campaign.

Some 60,000 absentee ballots were despatched by authorities in Broward County, north of Miami, this month.

However, only 2,000 of them have been delivered.

Florida was the centre of controversies which delayed the result in 2000, with George W Bush eventually declared the winner in the state by 537 votes.

Electoral officials have been overwhelmed by calls from anxious would-be voters who are not going to be able to get to the polls next Tuesday and fear that their votes have been stolen.

The missing ballots have fuelled an atmosphere of intense suspicion in Florida, with Democrats already backing nine separate law suits in the state, says the BBC's Justin Webb in Washington.

If the outcome is close and decides the result in the presidential race - and both of those eventualities are perfectly possible - it seems virtually certain that protracted legal battles will follow, our correspondent says.
This election is shaping up to be an even bigger mess than the 2000 fiasco!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Via WTF is it Now? (scroll up for the post), a Dick Cheney lie that missed.
In Tuesday night's debate, Cheney said Edwards has "one of the worst attendance records in the United States Senate."

In truth, Edwards has an 84.8% voting record in the Senate. In each of his first four years, he had a perfect or near perfect record:

1999: Cast 371 out of 274 votes for a 99.2% voting record
2000: Cast 298 out of 298 votes for a 100% voting record
2001: Cast 377 out of 380 votes for a 99.2% voting record
2002: Cast 253 out of 253 votes for a 100% voting record
2003: Cast 281 out of 459 votes for a 61.2% voting record
2004: Cast 84 out of 198 votes for a 42.4% voting record

Overall, Edwards has cast 1664 out of 1962 votes for a 84.8% voting record, Dick.
The General has the goods on Vice President Gone.
Update: It's a grand strategy, and The Regent used it again! He called Edouards "Senator Gone" and noted that he, Regent Cheney, presided over the Senate every Tuesday. Some Frenchmen over at DailyKos have discovered that The Regent was in an undisclosed location doing hard work so often that... he's only presided over the Senate twice. Yes, in four years. Now, that's dedication! Also a chance to bring Our Savior into this: The picture above has Liddy Dole being sworn in using Elizabeth Edwards' bible. But Regent Cheney is positive he has never met Edwards before.
See Dick lie. See Dick shoot himself in the foot!
A slip of the tongue by Dick Cheney has given a boost to anti-Bush campaigners.

During a televised debate Mr Cheney told viewers to visit when answering accusations by vice presidential nominee John Edwards.

But rather than being the address of a project to check the facts politicians use, the site merely hosts adverts.

Soon after being mentioned, it began redirecting visitors to the website of billionaire George Soros, who is very critical of the Bush administration.

Mr Cheney's slip was caused by him wrongly recalling the web address of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Center which lives at

Soon after the re-directing started, Mr Soros' site posted a notice explaining that it did not own the website and was not responsible for the diversion.

Mr Cheney could not even win support from the website.

In a statement the site's editors said the vice president "wrongly implied that we had rebutted allegations Edwards was making about what Cheney had done as chief executive officer of Halliburton."

"In fact we did post an article pointing out that Cheney hasn't profited personally while in office from Halliburton's Iraq contracts, as falsely implied by a Kerry TV ad," the statement said.

It concluded: "Edwards was talking about Cheney's responsibility for earlier Halliburton troubles. And in fact, Edwards was mostly right."
Ah, irony! And for anyone interested,'s analysis of the debate.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Republic of T has a copy of Bush's notes from last week's Presidential debate.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Patrickville has Patrick and Puffy's entertaining views on last week's Presidential Debate. I especially like this little nugget...(bold, mine)
A few questions later, Kerry is asked “What is your position on the whole concept of pre-emptive war?” Kerry plays the DeGaulle card.

“WOW, I cannot believe he actually went there!” I exclaimed, impressed. “Most of Bush’s supporters don’t actually think about the loss of credibility in the world Bush has caused our country, but that puts the subject into a perspective even some of them might have to think about. Nobody would accept the word of the United States without proof anymore. That’s gotta leave a mark!”

“I bet he was shaking while setting that up because he wanted so badly to get to saying it.” Puffy added. “If more people in this country really cared what people thought of them, that would have been a total finisher. President Bush is damn lucky that they don’t.”

“I think it’s more our contrary nature than not caring, Puffy. Someone tells us to do something, and we want to do the opposite… you know, like every petulant teenager, ever. And the world is telling us to get over our petulant teenage crap and start acting like an adult country, so take a guess what we’re probably going to end up doing…”

“Knocked up with a baby democracy to raise alone, perhaps?”
Puffy snarked.
Bloody brilliant!
The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by telemarketers that the Federal do-not-call list violates the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court turned away a challenge Monday to the federal do-not-call registry, ending telemarketers' bid to invoke free-speech arguments to get the popular ban on unwanted phone solicitations thrown out.

The court, without comment, let stand a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that upheld the registry of more than 57 million phone numbers as a reasonable government attempt to safeguard personal privacy and reduce telemarketing abuse.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Justices themselves are on the do-not-call list!