Monday, January 31, 2005

Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, and Media Bias

In this recent article, the BBC admits they didn't quite get the facts right.
The BBC has apologised for incorrectly broadcasting figures which suggested more Iraqi civilians had been killed by coalition and Iraqi forces than by insurgents.

The information was based on figures given by the Iraqi Ministry of Health to the BBC's Panorama programme. The statistics concerned the number of people killed in conflict-related violence in the second half of 2004.
The figures said that 3,274 civilians had died in that period, 2,041 of them as the result of "military operations". The rest were attributed to "terrorist operations".

The BBC reported the figures as suggesting that coalition and Iraqi forces could be responsible for up to 60% of conflict-related civilian deaths in Iraq.

To summarize, the BBC reported that the Coalition and Iraqi forces were primarily responsible for civilian combat-related deaths. Now, let's see what they needed to correct:
However, the Iraqi Ministry of Health then clarified that the figures included not just civilians, but also insurgents and Iraqi security forces. And it said that the phrase "military operations" referred to Iraqis killed by insurgents as well as coalition or Iraqi forces. The ministry said the BBC had misinterpreted the figures...

"The Iraqi Ministry of Health has issued a statement clarifying matters that were the subject of several conversations with the BBC before the report was published, and denying that this conclusion can be drawn from the figures relating to 'military operations'," said the BBC in a statement.

"The BBC regrets mistakes in its published and broadcast reports."

That's not a small mistake. It's a good thing the BBC has remained objective in their reporting of the War for Iraq. If they hadn't, I might suspect their admitted "mistakes" were anything but "mistakes".

The Iraqi People Get Impudent

Originally uploaded by Sola-Man.

On January 30, 2005 the Iraqi people gave new meaning to "The Impudent Finger".

Friday, January 28, 2005

Another Excuse to Drink

No, it's not a picture of Tereeeza Heinz Kerry. This is much more interesting.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Here's Johnny

MSNBC has posted an article by Michael Ventre on the late, great Johnny Carson. You can leave your thoughts or memories at the end of the article. I take that back. They must still be setting it up. I tried to enter something and it didn't work. I'll try it later.

In the meantime, ABCnews has posted their article on the King of Late Night and his legacy.

Johnny Carson, 1925 - 2005

I was just flipping through the channels and NBC just announced that the greatest late night talk show host, Johnny Carson, has passed away. They did not provide much info other than that he died from emphysema. So far I haven't found anything on the internet, except for a breaking news headline on

Saturday, January 22, 2005

MOB at Keegan's

I am here at Keegan's Irish Pub with Muzzy of Blogizdat and Mondocognito of Around the World in 80 Days. We may be the only sober bloggers here. After Mondo has another beer, Muzzy and I will be the only sober bloggers here.

We've had the pleasure of meeting Captain Ed, Mitch Berg, Douglas of Belief Seeking Understanding, Doug of Bogus Gold, as well as a few others whose names I either didn't hear because of the noise or can't remember because . . . I forget.

Nothing Neo Under the Sun

Victor Davis Hanson's article Idealism and It's Discontents gives an historical context to the term neoconservative. As usual, a fine piece by VDH.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

She Said What?

I am watching Nightline and Ted Koppel is discussing Presidential inaugural balls with Barbara Walters. Ted commented that, for his second inauguration, President Bush had 9 inaugural balls. Then Barbara added, "...Clinton had 14 and Carter had no balls."

That may be the most politically insightful and historically accurate thing that I've ever heard Babs utter.

It's the Ideology, Stupid

Prompted by the recent uproar over a famous 20-year old's poor choice of party costume, the EU is considering a ban on all Nazi symbols. If they (the EU) argue that Nazi symbols are religious symbols, I'm sure the French will jump on the bandwagon. Understandably, Germany already bans Nazi symbols.
Franco Frattini, the EU's justice and home affairs commissioner, said he was open to discussing the issue at a Jan. 27 meeting of EU justice ministers.

"It may be worth looking into the possibility of a total ban, a Europe-wide ban," his spokesman, Friso Roscam Abbing, told reporters Monday. "Commissioner Frattini shares the general feeling of opprobrium on the use of the swastika and other Nazi symbols."

The call came after several German conservatives, socialists and liberal democrats in the European Parliament urged a European ban following a scandal last week over photos published worldwide of Harry, third in line to the British throne, wearing the Nazi outfit.
Hmmm. A "general feeling of opprobrium". Spoken like a true diplomat. However, there is a difference of opinion in the EU:
But British Liberal Democrat Chris Davies questioned the need to ban the swastika.

"I understand how the burden of history weighs upon my German colleagues' view," he said. "However, banning symbols cannot ban evil and risks playing into the hands of those who would seek to subvert the very liberties we most champion."
Exactly! Symbols don't cause ideologies. They only represent the ideologies. That's why they are called symbols. It's the ideology that is dangerous and offensive. To coin a phrase, "It's the ideology, stupid."

Monday, January 17, 2005

Should She Stay or Should She Go?

According to, CBS is trying to lure Katie Couric from her comfortable chair on NBC's Today Show and into the soiled throne of the departing Dan Rather. Whether she takes the job may depend upon how much she enjoys flirting with Hollywood celebs like George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Pierce Brosnan and Michael Moore. Well, maybe not Michael Moore.

I actually like the idea of Katie as the new CBS anchor. I must admit, though, that it is for purely selfish reasons:

1.) I occaisionally watch the Today Show.
2.) I never watch the evening news.
3.) I can't stand Katie Couric.

Go for it, Katie!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Not Bad for a "Moron"

Blogizdat linked to this Reuters article on Dick Gere's arrogant, self-important attempt to put himself up on a pedestal by claiming to be the world's spokesman. I'm sure his monumental ego was deflated a bit by the fact that the Palestinians have never heard of him. After all, he's a famous actor and world spokesman. How could they not know him?

Not surprisingly, Reuters managed to slip an anti-Bush comment into the article:

"I don't even know who the candidates are other than Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), let alone this Gere," Gaza soap factory worker Manar an-Najar told Reuters on Wednesday.

"We don't need the Americans' intervention. We know who to elect. Not like them -- they elected a moron."
It sounds like Mr. Manar an-Najar has been reading Reuters.

By the way, that "moron" he referred to has managed to kick the collective butts of:

Ann Richards, John McCain, Al "Internet" Gore, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Sadam Hussein (and his sons Uday and Ebay, or something like that), Tom Daschel, John "Efenheimer" Kerry, (don't you wish they would), Michael Moore and the combined efforts of the Left-stream Media.

Not bad for a "moron".

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Impudent Finger Pops Up Again

Now that winter has finally arrived in Minne-so-cold (i.e. slippery roads, returning unwanted Christmas gifts, excessive consumption of alcohol) the Impudent Finger has returned to the public square. Whether it was a post-election funk or just a low point in my usual depression cycle, I just could not get interested in blogging over the last few weeks. Now that my biorhythms are on an upward track, you may be seeing the Impudent Finger on a regular basis again. (If you're whining to yourself about the fact that I didn't link to a definition of 'biorhythms', get over it and look it up yourself. I can't do everything for you. (As you can see, the Finger is very Impudent today.)