The fishpond on my balcony.
[I did have to use a trowel to break through the ice so I could turn the heater up.]
As close as the French and Germans are going to get to an "I'm sorry":
The governments of Germany and France got upset on Wednesday, after Mr. Rumsfeld referred to those nations as "old Europe" in answering a question about Iraq policy.
Asked if the 70-year-old secretary planned to apologize, Col. DeFrank, the Pentagon spokesman, said, "At his age, the secretary considers 'old' a term of endearment."
[Heh, heh, heh.]
I believe that the Iraqis are telling the truth. The scientists DON'T want to talk to the UN inspectors without a government handler present. Why? Because if they have unmonitored meetings, and anything is actually FOUND, they and their families are as good as dead. So, I'm sure that they are strongly resisting any suggestion to speak with the inspectors alone.
The article above waits until the very end to mention the following incident:
About 40 minutes later, another Iraqi man stopped a U.N. vehicle outside the headquarters pleading "Save me! Save me!" in Arabic, according to the U.N. The man, apparently unarmed, forced his way into the driver's seat of the stopped vehicle, as an Iraqi guard struggled to pull him out, while an unfazed U.N. inspector watched from the passenger seat.
Appearing agitated and frightened, the young man, with a closely trimmed beard and mustache, sat inside the white U.N.-marked utility vehicle for 10 minutes, AP reported. At first, an inspection team leader sought help from nearby Iraqi soldiers, but the man refused to leave the vehicle as the uniformed men pulled on his sleeve and collar.
"I am unjustly treated!" he shouted.
Then U.N. security men arrived, and they and Iraqi police carried the man by his feet and arms into the fenced compound, journalists said. The man was turned over to Iraqi authorities at a government office adjacent to the compound, U.N. officials said.
Iraqi officials said they had no information on the incidents.
Although we can't know - and now will NEVER know - what this man wanted to say, it is interesting that the photograph of him shows him clutching a bound notebook. One wonders what it contained. There is well-written outrage about this here and here.
But I will say, the incident did serve to teach one very important lesson though: If you are an Iraqi that wants to give information to the UN inspectors, your safety is not their concern, and you will be turned over to the appropriate Iraqi authorities.
Who will then claim to have no information on the incident.
[Let's see . . . talk to the inspectors, or not . . .]
USS Clueless is, as usual, amazing. Today's lesson discusses what "public opinion" means to the US government, now and post-war.
And from the Blowing Things Out Of Proportion Department, the National Park Service is pissed off about a commercial in which a park ranger pours a glass of Metamucil into Old Faithful Geyser, suggesting that the laxative is what is keeping Old Faithful regular (emphasis mine). (Via Yahoo)
"It suggests that it's OK to pour some substance into a thermal feature," Park Service spokesman Al Nash said. "We've spent decades trying to educate visitors about the fact that it's harmful to the feature and that it's dangerous for anyone to take an action like that."
First of all, the Park Service seems a tad uptight about this. I mean, I've seen the ad and it didn't occur to me that I should run right out and pour a laxative (or anything else for that matter) into a Yellowstone geyser. But then again, people are stupid, so perhaps they have a point.
However . . . "thermal feature"?? A thermal feature is something that a sleeping bag or a down jacket should have, not a geyser. It's a geyser, folks.
[Or maybe that's not a PC term and the thermal feature moniker is more inclusive.]
~ ~ ~
Quote du jour:
"Life leaps like a geyser for those who drill through the rock of inertia."
-- Alexis Carrel (1873 - 1944) US surgeon, biologist
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