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Current Topic: Current Events

Just Another Day
Topic: Current Events 12:31 pm EST, Dec 26, 2003

The Bush administration's head-fake on Iraqi WMD has apparently inoculated the American public against a whole class of related afflictions, to the point that otherwise concerned adults determinedly schlep everyone to the mall, slogging through the day, repeating, as with a mantra, "must ... enjoy ... holidays ..." despite the news that al Qaeda is now deeply engaged in a persistent, high profile campaign to seize control of a substantial nuclear arsenal capable of inflicting unprecedented catastrophic damage on India, Israel, Iraq, and countless others across an already volatile region.

One can only hope that responsible government officials are doing the best they can, given the obvious resource constraints, to sift through the haystacks and connect the dots, before the timer expires. Meanwhile, a satiated public idles away the days in front of the television before exercising their democratic rights to select the first "World Idol."

Next week, a well-paid columnist will juxtapose the numbers for American voters in the "World Idol" competition with those of the 2000 Presidential campaign. In a few months, the numbers will reappear alongside those for the first few 2004 primaries.

Is it democracy, or is it capitalism?

Saddam Hussein Captured Alive; Iraqis Celebrate
Topic: Current Events 7:37 am EST, Dec 14, 2003

American military officials confirmed today that Saddam Hussein had been captured alive in Tikrit on Saturday night.

They confirmed that it was him based on DNA evidence.

In Baghdad, huge crowds celebrated in the streets with gunfire.

Saddam Hussein Captured Alive; Iraqis Celebrate

Bush Makes Surprise Thanksgiving Visit to Iraq
Topic: Current Events 12:47 pm EST, Nov 27, 2003

President Bush secretly traveled to Baghdad and paid a surprise Thanksgiving Day visit to US troops Thursday in a mission to boost the morale of forces in Iraq amid mounting casualties.

In a highly unusual maneuver, Bush slipped away from his Texas ranch Wednesday night, arrived in Iraq Thursday and spent 2-1/2 hours with the troops, making him the first US president ever to visit Iraq.

Bush Makes Surprise Thanksgiving Visit to Iraq

Talk of Wiretaps Rattles Hollywood
Topic: Current Events 11:16 am EST, Nov 11, 2003

The case began with a dead fish and a rose in an aluminum pan, left on the hood of a car parked on a Los Angeles street. Taped to the windshield of the car, which belonged to a reporter for The Los Angeles Times, was a piece of cardboard with a single word: "Stop."

The discovery in June 2002 unleashed a chain of events that has suddenly entwined many of the Hollywood elite and threatens to turn into the kind of scandal that the show business world has not faced in decades.

You know it's big when Lowell Bergman is on the story.

(Remember The Insider? "You'd better look into it, because I'm getting two things: pissed off and curious.")

Talk of Wiretaps Rattles Hollywood

Telling the Truth in Iraq
Topic: Current Events 10:41 am EDT, Aug 17, 2003

"There is a dramatic gulf now between Iraqis and a lot of other Arabs. Young people here want to move on. In 10 years, this will be a very different place. If I can be a part of it, it will be like Hong Kong or Korea — but with an Iraqi face."

Talking to young Iraqis, you sense how much they want to break the old mold — how much they want to be Arabs, with an Arab identity, but to build a modern state that actually focuses on tapping its people's talents and energies, rather than diverting them, and one that seeks to base their dignity on what they build, not on whom they fight.

Telling the Truth in Iraq

Cyber-Attacks by Al Qaeda Feared
Topic: Current Events 2:47 pm EDT, Aug 16, 2003

Working with experts at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the FBI traced trails of a broader reconnaissance. A forensic summary of the investigation, prepared in the Defense Department, said the bureau found "multiple casings of sites" nationwide. Routed through telecommunications switches in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan, the visitors studied emergency telephone systems, electrical generation and transmission, water storage and distribution, nuclear power plants and gas facilities.

"We were underestimating the amount of attention al Qaeda was paying to the Internet," said Roger Cressey, a longtime counterterrorism official who became chief of staff of the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board in October. "Now we know they see it as a potential attack vehicle. Al Qaeda spent more time mapping our vulnerabilities in cyberspace than we previously thought. An attack is a question of when, not if."

What they do know is that "Red Teams" of mock intruders from the Energy Department's four national laboratories have devised what one government document listed as "eight scenarios for SCADA attack on an electrical power grid" -- and all of them work. Eighteen such exercises have been conducted to date against large regional utilities, and Richard A. Clarke, Bush's cyber-security adviser, said the intruders "have always, always succeeded."

Cyber-Attacks by Al Qaeda Feared

U.S. Commander Confirms Search for 2 Top Targets Is Over
Topic: Current Events 9:14 pm EDT, Jul 22, 2003

Acting on a tip from an Iraqi that Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, were holed up in a palatial residence in the northern city of Mosul, United States troops surrounded the house today and killed the two men in a ferocious shootout that gradually shredded the walls providing them cover.

U.S. Commander Confirms Search for 2 Top Targets Is Over

The Matrix Reloaded | Trailer
Topic: Current Events 8:52 pm EDT, Apr 11, 2003

An action-packed trailer for the long-awaited sequel to The Matrix has been released by Warner Bros. The minute-long series of clips from The Matrix Reloaded offers a glimpse of the action sci-fi feature, due for release on 23 May. It mirrors the first film's combination of acrobatic martial arts fight scenes, high-octane car chases and spectacular special effects.

Here's a link to a full-screen Quicktime version of the trailer (97 MB):

The Matrix Reloaded | Trailer

Barry McCaffrey: 3,000 casualties to Baghdad
Topic: Current Events 12:19 am EST, Mar 25, 2003

"We ought to be able to do it (take Baghdad) ... clearly it's going to be brutal, dangerous work and we could take, bluntly, a couple to 3,000 casualties. ... it ought to be a very dicey two to three day battle out there."

Barry McCaffrey: 3,000 casualties to Baghdad

Patience is a virtue.
Topic: Current Events 3:17 pm EST, Mar 23, 2003

Damn McDonalds for creating so many fast food nations!

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