|Saturday, May 01, 2004
Wolfowitz Does Not Know How Many US Soldiers He ha .... Wolfowitz Does Not Know How Many US Soldiers He has Sent to their Deaths
In congressional testimony on Thursday, deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz, the major architect of the Iraq war, demonstrated appalling ignorance of the statistics on US casualties in Iraq. He said he thought that 500 US soldiers had lost their lives since the beginning of the war, of whom 350 were combat deaths. The true figures as of that date were 724 US troops dead of which 522 were combat deaths. This slip is absolutely inexcusable, and the families of the deceased soldiers have a right to ask for Wolfowitz's resignation over it. If there is one statistic he should know every day, it is this one. Every ordinary American, whether for or against the war, should know it. But Wolfowitz and his crew have hidden from the public the arrival of the coffins at Dover Air Force Base so assiduously that they have now even fooled themselves, and so made themselves look like fools. You can believe the cost is worth it. You cannot underestimate the cost.
[Juan Cole * Informed Comment *]
1:40:22 PM Permalink
Well, I'm a latecomer to the Greg Brown party, for the most part. A few
years ago I carpooled wth a fan, and we often had tapes in the car; I
often listen to Prairie Home Companion, on which he's a frequent quest,
and my pal Mike is a fan. But for some reason, the guy never took off
for me, I don't know his music.
By chance, I attended a show of his at Freight & Salvage in
Berkeley, and what a treat it was. For this is a guy who comes across
in a different way in live performance than he does on record. On
record, I sometimes get lost in his voice, and lose the track of the
songs. In concert, though, he's a dynamic, exciting, idiosyncratic,
He opened the show with a great treatment of Ani Difranco's Untouchable Face,
and it fit him perfectly. Mose Allison's "Ever Since the World Ended"
was also terrific, and led to a nice story and song. Listening to some
Mose Allison today, I was thinking there's a natural sort of similarity
between these two. Brown commented that Allison was too sarcastic and
indirect for this country (and put on a redneck accent to say something
like "I'm a straightforward speaker"). There's the sarcastic about
Brown, too, or the indirect, in the performance I saw the other night.
Brown is also like Bruce Springsteen in the generousity of the
performance; he went for a long time, over 2 hours, which is unusual
for essentially a solo artist.
Brown was backed by electric guitarist Bo Ramsey, and there's a
clear, essential rapport between the two. Ramsey's playing is clear,
perfectly accenting Brown's acoustic playing, which is also stellar.
Ramsey also accompanied Brown's daughter Pieta who opened the show with
a fine, engaging performance, and sang "Railroad Bill" with him on the
All in all, a very enjoyable evening; if you get a chance to see
Greg Brown, I highly recommend you take the opportunity. I certainly
wish I'd come earlier to the party.
12:21:52 PM Permalink
Laugh of the Day
Here's what's likely the funniest story you'll read today, something right out of a Carl Hiassen novel:
Dinosaur Adventure Land, a creationist
theme park and museum [in Pensacola Florida that beckons children to
"find out the truth about dinosaurs" with games that roll science and
religion into one big funfest with the message that Genesis, not
science, tells the real story of the creation...There are dinosaur bone
replicas, with accompanying explanations that God made dinosaurs on Day
6 of the creation as described in Genesis, 6,000 years ago. Among the
products the park gift shop peddles are T-shirts with a small fish
labeled "Darwin" getting gobbled by a bigger fish labeled "Truth."
The funniest paragraph is:
"There are a lot of creationists
that are really smart and debate the intellectuals, but the kids are
bored after five minutes," said Mr. Hovind, who looks boyish at 51 and
talks fast. "You're missing 98 percent of the population if you only go
the intellectual route."
Obviously, Hovind has a pretty low opinion of his fellow citizens. No,
we're not all as stupid as you are Mr. Hovind. On the other hand, maybe
Mencken and Barnum were right.
Somewhat more creationist in
approach is the Nerve-Wracking Ball: a bowling ball on a rope, dangling
from a tall tree branch. A child stands before the ball, and then a
park guide gives it a shove from a specific angle, so that it comes
careering back at the child's face only to stop just in front of it.
The child wins if he does not flinch, proving he has "faith in God's
laws" — in this case, that a swinging object will never come back
higher than the point from which it took off.
Then there's this:
The man who calls himself Dr.
Dino is also controversial among creationists, some of whom say he
discredits their movement with some of his pseudo-scientific claims.
Mr. Hovind got into a dispute in 2002 with Answers in Genesis, when he
took issue with an article it published called "Arguments We Think
Creationists Should Not Use." One such argument was that footprints
found in Texas proved that man and dinosaurs coexisted; Mr. Hovind said
he considered the argument, now abandoned by many creationists, valid.
Man, if other creationist's don't think anything of your arguments,
then that's about as low as it gets. But Hovind doesn't care if what he
says is true or not.
But in the end, what looks bad is the New York Times. They publish this
promo for an ignorant piece of roadside trash. In the paragraph above,
they say "one such argument" about those tracks in Texas, without
mentioning that only the loony and ignorant think that there's any kind
of scientific support whatsoever for the idea that man and dinosaurs
walked the earth at the same time. If I set up an amusement park with
rides showing how the earth was really flat woud the Times give me a
bunch of publicity?
9:01:22 AM Permalink
© Copyright 2004 Steve Michel.