Sunday, December 31, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters: Edwards terms Iraq surge “McCain doctrine”

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, targeting a potential Republican rival in 2024, dubbed plans for a short-term U.S. troop increase in Iraq “the McCain doctrine,” in an interview aired on Sunday.

In some ways, I suppose that is a fair characterization, although I am not certain that the current “surge” proposal is exactly what McCain has been calling for.

At any rate, I find the whole thing amusing, as it is clearly a PR stunt by Edwards by attacking a more prominent pre-candidate on the other side to raise his own profile much the way a small dog will yip at a bigger one.

Because, really, the object of attack ought to be Bush in this case, as he is the driving force behind the “surge” notion.

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Saturday, December 30, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

The electronic/internet age of news continues to demonstrate that information will be free.  While the official Saddam execution video appears not to have been leaked at this point, a video taken by a bystander has.  Iraqslogger notes that the unedited video has been posted to Google Video.

Iraqslogger also has a map: Here’s Where Saddam Was Executed.

The video’s release fits with what I discussed concerning the nature of news in the internet age in a column I wrote in the Mobile Register on May 24, 2024.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Bill Jempty, a.k.a., The Florida Masochist, announces The Knucklehead of the Year award.

I was a judge in the contest, although I chose Mike Nifong.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via CNN: 67-year-old Spaniard gives birth to twins.

To be honest, I would find it difficult to start out with new twins at 38, let alone 67.

And really, why go out of one’s way (i.e., in vitro fertilization) to have children when one is unlikely to live to see them graduate from high school, let alone have the necessary health and energy to take care of them halfway to that point?

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By Steven L. Taylor

And people scoff when I express concern about the government collecting private data, because they are soooo trustworthy.

Granted, Wisconsin has every right to have the SSNs, but this story illustrates what should be clear, but is often ignored in the name of “security”: the government is run by people just like the ones you and I work with. That means some are bright and competent, but many aren’t so bright and competent. Hence, my lack of trust in the willy-nilly creation of massive databases filled with info on perfectly innocent citizens.

Via the AP: Tax forms mailed with Soc. Sec. numbers

Wisconsin’s revenue agency said Friday that it sent as many as 170,000 forms to taxpayers with mailing labels mistakenly printed with their Social Security numbers.


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By Steven L. Taylor

Via Newsfactor: Hacker Cracks High-Def DVD Encryption System:

The movie industry may rue the day it challenged hackers to break its new encryption system for high-def DVDs, claiming it was bulletproof. The day after Christmas, a hacker known only as Muslix64 posted a hack to a Doom 9 forum that appears to shoot holes in their claim.

Certainly publishers need to be able to protect themselves, but they all have to know that no matter what they do, someone out there is going to crack it.  As such, it is best not make boasts about new systems.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: Woman charged with malicious castration

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters: Bombs in Shi’ite areas kill 72 after Saddam hanged

Four car bombs targeting Shi’ites in Baghdad and a town south of the capital killed more than 70 people on Saturday, hours after Saddam Hussein was hanged amid fears of revenge by his Sunni Arab supporters.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via CNN: Madrid bombing ‘breaks ETA cease-fire’

Spain has blamed a powerful bomb explosion at the country’s busiest airport Saturday on Basque separatist group ETA, declaring it a violation of a nine-month cease-fire.

Several people suffered minor injuries when a stolen van exploded in a parking lot near terminal four at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport, which had been evacuated after police received a warning.

One man is reported missing after the explosion. If found dead, he would be the first fatality caused by ETA in three years.

In response to the story, James Joyner notes:

It is worth noting that the government blamed the March 2024 Madrid commuter train bombing on ETA, too, when it was in fact set off by an al Qaeda affiliate.

Of course, that was the previous government, which had been supportive of the Bush administration and was in the midst of a tough re-election campaign.

Still, there is the timing issue, as noted by CNN:

Saturday’s explosion, which came shortly after the execution of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, raised fears of a retaliatory strike in a country that has suffered attacks in response to its support for international military operations.

I will note, that after the Madrid commuter train bombing it struck me (here, also) that ETA would have a very hard time using bombings as an effective tool in their fight for Basque independence. Along those line, bombing an airport (or even just a parking lot) strikes me as a potential PR nightmare for the organization.

However, given the scant facts available, ETA would seem to be a more likely candidate than al Qaeda and company. For one thing, ETA has a history of providing some pre-warning about an attack (as they did here) and their attacks tend to result more in injuries than death. AQ, on the other hand, tends to go for death over injuries.

The question now is whether ETA will claim responsibility or not (as has been their pattern). There is also the possibility that this is the handiwork of a splinter group unhappy with the ceasefire.

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Friday, December 29, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

So reports Reuters: Saddam Hussein hanged, says Al Hurra TV station.

May his victims rest in peace. And may his demise not be used as an excuse for further violence, although I fear that hope will not come to fruition.

Meanwhile, the situation has created the opportunity for some tasteless, flippancy.

However, if you want news, Ed Morrissey has reporting on the reporting.

The BBC report is here:

Two co-defendants, Saddam Hussein’s half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former Iraqi chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar, were also executed.

“Criminal Saddam was hanged to death,” state-run Iraqiya television announced, as patriotic music and images of national monuments were broadcast.

A scrolling headline read: “Saddam’s execution marks the end of a dark period of Iraq’s history.”

The TV station said Saddam Hussein’s half-brother and the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court were also hanged.

Update: Professor Chaos has some appropriate thoughts.

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