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Monday, September 29, 2003
'Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this. In July I was interviewing a senior administration official on Ambassador Wilson's report when he told me the trip was inspired by his wife, a CIA employee working on weapons of mass destruction. Another senior official told me the same thing. As a professional journalist with 46 years experience in Washington I do not reveal confidential sources. When I called the CIA in July to confirm Mrs. Wilson's involvement in the mission for her husband -- he is a former Clinton administration official -- they asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else. According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operator, and not in charge of undercover operatives'...


And if you read the first Novak column it doesn't actually say that the two "senior administration officials" told him Plame was with the CIA, only that they told him it was her idea to send Wilson.

Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. "I will not answer any question about my wife," Wilson told me.

Of course this says nothing about the claims that 2 admin officials called up 6 different reporters and leaked her name.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:59 PM in Politics/Government

Sunday, September 28, 2003

That being said I'm glad Larkin's coming back.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:50 PM in Baseball , Cincinnati

Saturday, September 27, 2003

R.I.P. King's Island Sign.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:45 PM in Cincinnati

The Rundown was an enjoyable movie. It won't be winning any Oscars, but it was a very good action movie. The fights are well choreographed and don't come off as just another kick, kick, punch, punch fight from any of a hundred movies. Though I have no doubt that had it been real life every single character would have broken both legs several times over by the time the movie's over.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shows that he has the chops to take the action star reigns from Ahnold. I just wonder if he'll ever be able to get out from under the thumb of Vince McMahon. (Though admittedly the WWE hasn't gotten in the way of his movie career so far.)

Seann William Scott fills the role of Travis well, though the character doesn't offer him a chance to depart from his Stifler role.

Rosario Dawson is fine as Mariana, though I couldn't help thinking to myself that there is no way that her character could possibly have teeth as white as hers.

Christopher Walken meanwhile is... Christopher Walken, though his style of talking is toned down from his normal way of speaking. He does an admirable job of fitting the character of Christopher Walken within the character of Hatcher.

All in all a good action movie.

3 out of 4 Stars.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:46 PM in Movies
Beat Miami.
Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:21 PM in Cincinnati

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Soldier Blogger Chief Wiggles has started up a toy drive for Iraqi children.

From his site:

Some no no toys:

Any guns of any kind
No violent action hereos
No violent toys
No barbie dolls or dolls skantily dressed
No toys that shoot something, no projectiles
No water guns
Lets just keep it simple, simple toys, just the basics, these kids have
Some other items that are nice are pencils, pens, paper to draw and color on.

Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, brushes, combs, etc.

Nice stuffed animals, other items.

Just use your good judgement, and if you are unsure, contact a local muslim group for help.

Here is the mailing address to send items to:

Chief Wiggles
CPA-C2, Debriefer
APO AE 09335

As the Chief has said, ALL toys will be distributed to the children, unless they are inappropriate.

There are more suggestions in the comments section of the post.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:16 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Via Yahoo! News, 62% in Bagdhad think ousting Saddam was worth the hardships, 67% think things will be better in 5 years than before the war. 47% think they're currently worse off though while 33% think they're currently better off.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:56 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Boortz posted an interesting questionnaire for some of the more far-out lefties.

'Bush's Illegal War' Questionnaire
Please answer as many of the following questions as you can, and as many with a straight face as possible. Please answer quickly as you already have all of the answers. 1. Since George W. Bush is evil, and thought by some to be far more dangerous than Saddam Hussein, could you please list the instances you are aware of where George W. Bush has ordered the murder, torture and rape of American citizens, like yourself, who oppose his presidency. 2. Could you list any sites of mass graves of American citizens ordered to be killed by the Bush administration? 3. Further, could you please list the instances you are aware of when George W. Bush has ordered the murder of members of his own family. 4. Do you feel that Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons he was specifically forbidden to have by the UN; for example, the Scud missiles he fired into Kuwait during the first two weeks of the war? 5. How do you think Saddam was able to fire weapons that he didn't have? 6. Are inspectors inspectors, or are inspectors detectives? 7. How many more months would you have given Saddam Hussein to comply with the 17 UN resolutions, passed over 12 years? 8. If you owned an apartment building, for how many months would you allow a tenant to defy you to kick him out for not paying the rent he owes? 9. If the UN, and the previous administration, were convinced Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and used that as a basis for their actions against Iraq, how do those reasons evaporate when applied by the Bush administration? 10. If the Bush administration, led by the evil GWB, lied about weapons of mass destruction in order to go to war, why haven't we found any WMD secretly planted by the Bush administration?

11. If you feel it would be too difficult to plant WMD in Iraq, because there are too many people watching, such that no one can do anything sneaky in Iraq, then why can't we find Saddam?

12. Do you disagree with the statement..."The weapons of mass destruction used in the 9/11 attacks were box-cutters"?

13. Do you think finding an airplane fuselage in a terrorist training camp in northern Iraq means terrorists were practicing hijackings? If not, for what purpose do you think they were using the airplane?

14. Knowing what little you may know about spy satellites, what do you think Iraq was hiding using the tunnel-digging equipment they bought from the French some 5 years ago?

15. Why do you think Iraq had a 'Higher Committee for Monitoring the Inspection Teams' headed by Hussein's Vice-President, and son, Qusay?

16. The fact that Iraq trained experts to foil UN weapons inspectors is documented not just by U.S. intelligence organizations, but by those of many other countries. Why do you think Iraq needed to use these tactics, if George W. Bush is lying?

17. In 1995, Iraq admitted it had biological weapons. They declared they had, for example, 8500 liters of anthrax. Where did they all go? If Iraq destroyed them, why would there be any need for more UN resolutions after that?

18. When do you think Iraq abandoned their existing Weapons of Mass Destruction program? What do you think was their motivation for abandoning it- the 17th time the UN said 'pretty please', or the fact that it was spending too much money that could used for social programs to improve the lives of Iraqi citizens?

19. Do you think the bio-weapons lab vehicles found in Iraq were being used as lunch wagons, or as mobile auto detail trucks?

20. If a terrorist organization attacked America tomorrow by spraying anthrax over a large city, would you blame George W. Bush for not doing enough?

21. Would Hillary?

22. How many minutes after the attack do you think it would take for Hillary to appear on CNN?

23. If an illegal U.S. president declares an illegal war, wouldn't the two cancel each other out?

Bonus Question: Do you think O.J. killed Ron and Nicole, or was he the victim of a massive conspiracy to plant evidence by many separate divisions of the LAPD?

-- Nealz Nuze

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:05 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton at a "Celebrity Forum" a couple weeks ago:

'What do you think of General Wesley Clark and would you support him as a presidential candidate,' was the question put to him by moderator Dick Henning, assuming that all military men stood in support of each other. General Shelton took a drink of water and Henning said, 'I noticed you took a drink on that one!'

'That question makes me wish it were vodka,' said Shelton. 'I've known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'm not going to say whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote.'

--Los Altos Online

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:57 PM in Politics/Government

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Gordon Jump dead at 71.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:11 AM in TV

Monday, September 22, 2003

I'm sure there are liberals out there right now saying he's a lying sack of crap, but throughout the entire interview he came off as quite sincere to me and seemed a much better informed than he's normally portrayed.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:41 PM in Politics/Government

Friday, September 19, 2003

I REALLY enjoyed Anything Else. I haven't seen any of Allen's old stuff, but I've seen the newer stuff (Small Time Crooks, Jade Scorpion, and Hollywood Ending) and this was much better than any of them. Allen has a much smaller role in this one than the others and I think he really stood up much better as a supporting character than a lead. His quirkiness I think works better sprinkled throughout the film than as the main course. Also in a supporting role I thought DeVito did very well. He was entirely believable as the agent that's pitiful enough that you really would feel bad for dumping him.

Ricci plays the role of Amanda perfectly. She comes off funny, neurotic, and while not realistic, somehow totally believable.

Biggs’ character, Falk, worked pretty well, but he can’t really stand out the way the other actors do. Falk is just much more low-key than the other characters. Really my only problem with the film was Falk’s first couple asides to the camera, they came off more as narration than asides, but the later asides I felt fit in very well.

All in all though I really thought it was a very good film that managed to avoid the problems that Allen’s more recent films have suffered from.

One last note, for better or worse they did an amazing job of making it hard to know that Allen had anything at all to do with this film. I assume it was an attempt to set this apart from a “traditional Woody Allen” film, and I guess that’s true, this movie’s worth seeing even if you’re not a Woody Allen fan.

4 out of 4 stars

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:38 PM in Movies

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Some funny stuff. Bleep added by me.

The first, and probably most important, step to surviving the impending hurricane is to pause and take a look around yourself. Are you living in a coastal community known for feeling the brunt of hurricanes? If so, good job brainiac, you've just totally [Bleeped] up the first step. The easiest way to survive a hurricane is to stay away from hurricanes. While powerful, hurricanes rarely reach into America's fortress of solitude also known as the Midwest. Sure the Midwest can still suffer at the unkind hands of tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and volcanoes but once you've seen a hurricane up close you're going to think those three are friendly visitors doing a little high speed landscaping.
Windows are the weakest link the defensive perimeter of any home. They are broken by intruders, rocks thrown by mobsters, Spandrel anti-tank missiles, violent house cats, and sometimes even hurricanes. A broken window is bad, but a really fast broken window can be deadly. Most windows are travelling at zero miles per hour and still manage to kill several dozen toddlers and drunks in a year. A window accelerated to thirty or forty miles per hour deals out the lethal pain to hundreds of automobile drivers and pedestrians walking near high rise construction zones.
One of the largest forms of entertainment prior to the invention of radio was the organ grinder. Most pet importers can supply you with a trained monkey and monkeys eat basically the same things as people so you should be set for carrying for it after the hurricane. If not monkeys come from the jungle and can probably forage for food among the corpses drifting around your waterlogged town. As for the organ part, you can fashion a passable accordion from the bones and flesh of your fallen foes.

-- Something Awful

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:32 PM in Miscellaneous

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

This has got to be the mother of all science fair projects.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:44 AM in Technology/Internet

Monday, September 15, 2003

The 9th Circuit has of course halted the recall. on the grounds that some people will have to use punchcard ballots.

I've never used anything but a punchcard ballot... does that mean I've been disenfranchised my entire life and not known it?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:40 PM in Politics/Government

Some pretty strong stuff on how the media acquiesced to Saddam.

Terror, totalitarian states, and their ways are nothing new to me, but I felt from the start that this was in a category by itself, with the possible exception in the present world of North Korea. I felt that that was the central truth that has to be told about this place. It was also the essential truth that was untold by the vast majority of correspondents here. Why? Because they judged that the only way they could keep themselves in play here was to pretend that it was okay.

There were correspondents who thought it appropriate to seek the approbation of the people who governed their lives. This was the ministry of information, and particularly the director of the ministry. By taking him out for long candlelit dinners, plying him with sweet cakes, plying him with mobile phones at $600 each for members of his family, and giving bribes of thousands of dollars. Senior members of the information ministry took hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes from these television correspondents who then behaved as if they were in Belgium. They never mentioned the function of minders. Never mentioned terror.

In one case, a correspondent actually went to the Internet Center at the Al-Rashid Hotel and printed out copies of his and other people's stories -- mine included -- specifically in order to be able to show the difference between himself and the others. He wanted to show what a good boy he was compared to this enemy of the state. He was with a major American newspaper.

-- Editor & Publisher

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:50 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
The best-selling "Chicago" movie soundtrack is available on CD starting at $13.86.

The actual movie, with the soundtrack songs included, of course, plus additional goodies ranging from deleted musical numbers to the director's interview and a "making-of" feature, can be had for precisely $2.12 more.

Therein lies the problem for a critically wounded music recording industry: The "Chicago" CD looks like a rip-off, and the DVD looks like a steal.

Nearly everything the record companies have done wrong in the age of downloading has been done right by the movie studios.

America's love for movies is stronger than ever, while the nation listens to music with smoldering resentment.


There's a lot more good stuff there, so go read all of it.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:26 AM in Movies

First off, Fox sucks for reasons too numerous to mention.

Well, ok...
1) The treatment of their entire Sunday night lineup during football season.
2) The treatment of Futurama.
3) The treatment of Family Guy.
4) The treatment of Firefly.
5) The treatment of Andy Richter.

And while I'm at it I might as well once again express my outrage over Sports Night.

Secondly, Pepsi's Play for a Billion on The WB was actually quite exciting. Wall-to-wall marketing, but still exciting.

Finally, loved the 10th anniversary Conan special. It felt suspiciously like Krusty's Comeback Special and Krusty's 25th Anniversary special.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:13 AM in TV

Sunday, September 14, 2003
People can say whatever they want about you without knowing the facts," [R Kelly] tells Blender magazine.

"They can criticise you without even knowing you, and hate you when they don't even know you. All of a sudden, you're, like, the Bin Laden of America.

"Osama bin Laden is the only one who knows exactly what I'm going through," he added.

-- BBC

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:19 PM in Miscellaneous

Friday, September 12, 2003

John Ritter dead at 54.


Johnny Cash dead at 71.


Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:02 PM in Miscellaneous

Thursday, September 11, 2003

A reminder of how the world reacted to 9/11. (via Left of the Middle)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:39 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Now I am resigned, in advance, to the loss of an American city by a nuclear weapon. The End of the World now looks like a comic-book premise, a Heston-movie conceit. We feared it would all be gone in a day, our world upended like an Etch-A-Sketch. What we never considered was a long, slow war, a conflict that burned and sputtered, skittered from one spot on the map to the other. The old wars were simple: the other side had accents, uniforms, nations, cruel habits and urbane sneers. The old wars took years. The old wars were in black and white. The old wars were monophonic, scored by Max Steiner, released by Warner Brothers, and the only proof they really happened at all was the small battered box in the back of Dad’s sock drawer, the box that held some oddly colored metal bars. The next war would be horrible, total, and short.

Two years ago today I was convinced that every presumption I had about the future was wrong. This war, I feared, would be horrible, total, and long.

-- The Bleat

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:22 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Apparently Dick Gephardt thinks he's a redhead.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:33 PM in Politics/Government

Monday, September 8, 2003
U.S. DEFENSE AND Security sources tell NEWSWEEK that high-ranking former Saddam aides have told U.S. interrogators that Saddam believed the only assault President George W. Bush would ever launch against Iraq was the kind of low-risk bombing campaign that the Clinton administration used in the former Yugoslavia. Saddam was also confident that France and Germany would pressure the Americans to retreat from this course, leaving Iraq shaken but Saddam still in power. Even after American divisions assembled on Iraq’s borders, Saddam, recalling the first gulf war, thought U.S. ground forces would only go after suspected unconventional weapons sites, Scud missile launchers and military bases. ... Some U.S. officials even think Iraqi defectors who surfaced before the war saying Saddam was still making WMD were double agents dispatched by Saddam to spread disinformation to deter his enemies.

-- Newsweek/MSNBC

Let it never be said that Saddam had the slightest clue what the Bush admin was thinking.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:16 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Some are taking the tack that the $87 billion requested for Iraq could be better spent by doing things like doubling the education budget, or increasing the EPA's budget, or helping artists.

It could also be used to buy about 87 billion Soft Taco Supremes. (Which would provide every person in America with ~316 tacos.) But that doesn't mean it's a good idea... though I gotta admit, the idea of 87 billion tacos is awfully tempting...

Anyway, the point is that talk like this presumes that giving more money to schools, or the EPA, or whatever is more important than insuring that terrorists don't kill us. I don't know, I happen to think that doing the State's job of funding schools is a bit less important than ensuring that a Government doesn't form in Iraq that would help people kill us. I guess I'm just weird that way.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:08 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

While Arnold gets 54% of the vote.

Of course, it's just a poll being run by Taco Bell so the methodology may be questionable.

What's even funnier is how hard the Democrats seem to be fighting the poll.

Unhappy with the mock poll results, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, former state Sen. Art Torres said yesterday that “Taco Bell should stick to making tacos, not rigging elections.”

In a press statement released yesterday, Torres said beef tacos always outsell chicken tacos, which cost twice as much at the restaurant chain. In Sacramento, Torres said, Taco Bell sells beef tacos for 74 cents and chicken tacos for $1.50.

Bob Mulholland, campaign advisor for the California Democratic Party, says the Taco Poll is also “an investment scam to benefit Schwarzenegger.” He pointed to the actor’s ownership of about $1 million of stock in Pepsico Inc. The company is the former owner of Taco Bell and is still its exclusive soft drink supplier, Mulholland says.

Meanwhile, Taco Bell announced yesterday that after an overwhelming response from consumers to include Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante in the Taco Poll, patrons can now “vote” for Bustamante by purchasing a Chalupa.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:29 PM in Politics/Government

Sunday, September 7, 2003
Show me the camps. Show me the millions of people being gassed. Show me the tattoos on people's arms. Show me elderly Muslim men being beaten in the streets, their stores smashed, and books burned. Show me huge piles of emaciated bodies stocked high like cords of wood.

Instead, on the web we find juxtaposed pictures of Bush with a dog and Hitler with a dog; Bush posing with children and Hitler posing with children; Bush appearing before large crowds and Hitler appearing before large crowds. By such 'standards' every president — every politician — since at least the day photography was invented is a Nazi. To assume the mantle of 'reasonableness' — as Lindorff does — by conceding that Bush isn't as good an orator as Hitler was, is to claim soundness of mind by conceding that a clock doesn't melt because vests have no sleeves.
"Darn those Republicans" does not equal "Darn those Nazis." The Patriot Act is not the final solution. The handful of men in Guantanamo may not all be guilty of terrorism, but it's more than reasonable to assume they are. And no matter how you try to contort it, Gitmo is not the same thing as Auschwitz or Dachau. There are no children there. You don't get carted off to Cuba and gassed if you criticize the president or if you are one-quarter Muslim. And, inversely, there was no reasonable justification for throwing the Jews and the Gypsies and all the others into the death camps. The Jews weren't terrorists or members of a terrorist organization. To say that the men in Guantanamo — or any of the Muslims being politely interviewed by appointment — are akin to the Jews of Germany is to trivialize the experiences of the millions who were slaughtered. Even if you think Muslims are being unfairly inconvenienced, when you say they are the Jews of Nazified America you are in essence saying the worst crime of the Holocaust was to unfairly inconvenience the Jews.

-- Goldberg File

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:47 PM in Politics/Government

Ahmed Qurei, "pragmatist", nominated for the job.

Let me just make this clear again. There won't be peace in the Middle East until there is a Palestinian leader able and willing to crack down on the terrorists and whom Israel allows and aids in doing so.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
The Center for the Study of Popular Culture released a report that documents the stunning bias against conservative viewpoints on college faculties and speakers platforms. At 32 elite colleges registered Democrats on the faculty outnumbered Republicans 10-1. At two of the schools – Bowdoin and Wellesley – the ratio was 23-1. ... Despite national registration figures showing roughly equal numbers of Americans registered as Democrats and Republicans, the Center found that not a single department among 32 schools came close to achieving parity between them. The fairest distribution at any school was at Northwestern University where 80 percent of the faculty members identified were registered Democrats, making the ratio 4-to-1. On average, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a factor of 10-to-1.

At select schools, the ratios were far worse. At Brown University the ratio was 30-to-1, while at Swarthmore it was 21-to-1; at Columbia it was 14-to-1. At no less than four elite schools, Williams, Oberlin, MIT, and Haverford, the Center was unable to identify a single Republican on their faculties.

At a large research institution like Columbia University, the Center was able to identify only four Republican faculty members in the departments studied, and could not locate a single Republican in the history or political science departments.

-- Frontpage

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:25 PM in Politics/Government

It's interesting. Bush asks for $87 billion and people complain. If he didn't they'd say he was abandoning Iraq and Afghanistan. He want's to cut taxes to help the economy and he gets blasted. If he didn't they'd say he didn't care about the plight of the average American.

And yet with all the complaining nobody is putting forth better plans for handling Iraq from here on out or how to help the economy.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:02 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Gotta give kudos to Krogers. The local store now includes a Starbucks, which is nice since out here in the suburbs you can really only get Starbucks in Barnes & Noble.

The only problem with the Starbucks in the grocery store idea though is that you've got people working the counter who've spent less time in a Starbucks than I have (which actually isn't much), and you have a whole new customer base that can't tell a Grande Mocha Coconut Frappuccino from a Venti Mocha Latte and thus take 5 minutes to decide on the Tall Decaf. It can be quite frustrating.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:54 AM in Miscellaneous

The release of Bowling for Columbine on DVD has just stirred the pot more. Moore apparently has made factual changes to the DVD version of the film. Even though he still claims that every bit of the film was true and that anyone who says differently is committing libel.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:47 AM in Movies


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