Memory Hole Banned in Iraq

It’s kinda ironic in a sad way when you read about stuff like this on the Memory Hole Blog:

I’ve received email from a person with an [] address. This person is stationed in Iraq, and he/she tells me that The Memory Hole is blocked on military computers. Trying to get to the site results in the following message:

Access Denied (content_filter_denied)

Your request was denied because of its content categorization: “Extreme;Politics/Religion”

For assistance, contact your network support team.

How interesting. I post raw documents created by the government, military, and corporations. These days, that apparently amounts to “political extremism.”

Naturally, I’ve filed a FOIA request about this blocking.

The Memory Hole Banned in Iraq [MemoryBlog]

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Andy Rooney: “Our Darkest Days Are Here”

Abu Ghraib prisonAndy Rooney, the octogenarian voice of CBS’s 60 Minutes, has written an excellent analysis of how the Abu Ghraib scandal will haunt us in the books of history:

The day the world learned that American soldiers had tortured Iraqi prisoners belongs high on the list of worst things that ever happened to our country. It’s a black mark that will be in the history books in a hundred languages for as long as there are history books. I hate to think of it.


In the history of the world, several great civilizations that seemed immortal have deteriorated and died. I don’t want to seem dramatic tonight, but I’ve lived a long while, and for the first time in my life, I have this faint, faraway fear that it could happen to us here in America as it happened to the Greek and Roman civilizations.

Sadly, the Bush administrastion and its allies have labeled far-sighted men like Rooney: “chucklehead” and “an old liberal” and “retarded“. I like to think he’s insightful.

Our Darkest Days Are Here [60 Minutes]

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Suite Snitches: Pizza Delivery & Hotel Clerks

Police in Portsmouth, NH have a new friend in the war against under-age drinking and drug use: Pizza delivery guys and hotel desk clerks. The Associate Press has the full story in “Cops Count On Pizza Tattletales”:

Portsmouth Police Sergeant Mike Schwartz said the program is called the “Booze Bounty.” He said food delivery people and hotel clerks would receive $50 if their anonymous tips of suspicious activity leads to the arrest of a party host.

It’s funny because the police think that the stoner pizza guy is going to turn in his buddies instead of spending a little extra time with his friends and drinking a beer. Aww, isn’t big brother just so naive?

Cops Count On Pizza Tattletales [AP/KYW-TV]

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Talk Show Terrorist or Pragmatic Pundit?

KIRO logoThere’s a little buzz developing around the leftist talk radio host Mike Webb, who has a late-night show on KIRO radio in Seattle. He was discussing Abu Ghraib and speculating whether top-level White House officials knew what was happening in the prison and whether they had authorized the abuses. WorldNetDaily has the full story in “Talk host: Death penalty for Bush”:

“If this is proven to be true, that he knew what was going on [at Abu Ghraib prison], it’s a violation of the Geneva Conventions,” Webb stated. “When you commit a war crime, which is punishable by death.”

Webb then asked: “Should George Bush get the death penalty? I say yes.”

Now while his statements are over-the-top and a bit overzealous — considering we only know that there were memos flying around in early 2002 that discussed White House culpability on breaking Geneva Conventions — he’s incorrect in assuming that all war crimes are punishable by death. As in the Nuremberg trials, the majority of sentences for guilty verdicts turned out to be prison sentences.

Let’s ratchet the rhetoric down a little folks, I’m all in favor of investigating White House and Pentagon complicity in violating Geneva Conventions, but calling for death sentences is a bit premature and only arms the screaming heads (both sides) with more juicy propaganda. You can also read Webb’s blog online where he’s in denial that he went too far.

Talk host: Death penalty for Bush [WorldNetDaily]
Mike Webb’s blog

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Fictional Kerry-McCain Ticket Wins

Kerry McCainHow many times does Senator John McCain have to say no? Apparently many more times in order for people to realize that no, he is not going to be running as John Kerry’s vice president. CBS News explores the outlandish in their piece “Poll: McCain/Kerry Ticket A Winner”:

McCain has continued to face questions about joining his fellow Vietnam veteran Kerry on a ticket, despite having insisted that he is not interested in doing so. America?Äôs voters, meanwhile, do have interest in such a bi-partisan slate: a hypothetical Kerry/McCain pairing holds a 14-point advantage over President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, nearly double the 8-point lead Kerry has alone over Bush.

I mean, holy crap, two Vietnam veterans who have diametrically opposed views on economics and social reform? Let’s pee ourselves in glee at how Machiavellian this match-up would be, no matter how improbable.

Poll: McCain/Kerry Ticket A Winner [CBS News]

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Sh%*tstorm Rains Down on NY Times

Hoo boy, everyone is getting on the New York Times bandwagon, unfortunately it has “tar and feather these bastards” scrawled on the side. The reason for the renewed aggression at the Times? No, they didn’t rehire Jayson Blaire… they issued an overdue mea culpa for relying on the notorious Ahmed Chalabi for much of their WMD information. The retraction is available in the article “The Times and Iraq”. I’ll give you a rundown of my favorites:

AngryFinger writes in “Our National Embarrasment”: “Yesterday the New York Times published an editor’s note to admit how bad they blew it in the months leading up to and following the start of the Iraq war. The piece was called ‘The Times and Iraq’, it should have been called, ‘How the New York Times Became the Bush Administration’s Propaganda Bitch'”.

Jeff Jarvis of Buzz Machine writes in “The Kremlinology of Iraq and The Times”: “In one view, this is The Times going after Bush: By admitting they were stupid to rely on Ahmad Chalabi and his henchmen for stories, they can put themselves up on a pedestal of late-blooming virtue and say that Bush was even stupider to rely on Chalabi and his henchmen for intelligence that led to war. The problem I have with that is that The Times is being quite selective in its sword falling.”

Power Line thinks that the Times will be even harder on Bush now that everyone knows they are full of crap in the article “No More Mr. Nice Guy at the Times”: “faults itself for publishing reports of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq without 1) expressing sufficient skepticism, or 2) doing follow-up investigation to show that the reports weren’t true […] In other words, between now and November we will see a constant drumbeat of articles in the Times, driving home the theme that “Bush lied!” about the weapons of mass destruction.”

The Times and Iraq [New York Times]
Our National Embarrasment [AngryFinger]
The Kremlinology of Iraq and The Times [BuzzMachine]
No More Mr. Nice Guy at the Times [Power Line]

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Get Your War On #36

David Reese has given the New York Times a well-deserved body-slam in his latest installment of Get Your War On. As always, humorous and insightful at the same time:

Get Your War On

Get Your War On #36 [David Reese]

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40mph Crash Test: MINI Cooper vs. Ford F-150

This article is a bit dated — December 2002 — but it’s still an interesting read to compare crash tests of the 2002-04 MINI Cooper and the 1997-2003 Ford F-150. I’ve actually seen a 60 Minutes segment comparing the 2004 F-150 to the previous model and showing how much better it handles the same crash test (it did better, but the MINI still wins in my opinion).

MINI Cooper crash testFord F-150 crash test

Also, check out the great article that’s linked from this: “Big and Bad: How the S.U.V. ran over automotive safety”. It was in the New Yorker a few months ago as a print-only piece, but it’s now online. It examines the “passive safety” of SUVs and compares it to the “active safety” of normal sized cars.

Crash Testing: MINI Cooper vs Ford F150 [Bridger]
Big and Bad: How the S.U.V. ran over automotive safety [Malcolm Gladwell]

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My Kingdom for an Exit Strategy

Iraq soldierMSN Slate has a humorous editorial up on how we can get the hell out of Iraq in only three simple steps (no, step two isn’t ‘???’). The strategy is laid out in all it’s tongue-in-cheek glory in “Exit Strategy: How to leave Iraq in three simple steps”:

1) Kill all the ones who are trying to kill us, in such a way that none of those who presently do not want to kill us suddenly start wanting to kill us.

2) At the moment of the death of the last person who wanted to kill us, race quickly out of the country before some additional person suddenly decides he/she wants to kill us, thus necessitating our continued presence in Iraq, in order to kill him/her.

Step 3, of course, is still “Profit!”. Read on to see why I called it humorous instead of a jaded diatribe exhorting large amounts of killings.

Exit Strategy: How to leave Iraq in three simple steps [MSN Slate] [via Wonkette]

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John Kerry will Accept Convention Nomination

Kerry campaigningIn an unsurprising end to the controversy surrounding John Kerry’s Machiavellian scheme to postpone his acceptance for five weeks after the Democratic National Convention, Kerry has agreed to accept the July 29th nomination. The supposed problem stems from the timeframe bewteen the Democratic Convention and the Republican convention — which will take place in New York and end on September 2nd. When the general election begins, which is the point at which each candidate accepts their party’s nomination, they are allotted $75 million dollars to spend in the general election.

I guess this says a lot about the Democrat’s fiscal conservacy if didn’t think they could make $75m last for a few weeks longer than the Republicans.

Kerry to Accept Nomination at Convention [AP/Yahoo!]

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Washingtonienne Pics: From the “Unf Unf Unf” Files

William Blaze over at American Dynamics has posted a ton of photos of Washingtonienne (AKA Jessica Cutler). I saw a couple of these but most of them are new. He says he posted the images “because people seem to want them, not because we care…”. Yeah, yeah… we know you’re watching your search engine traffic and seeing the same voracious apetite for scantilly clad Washington staffers nuzzling with Wonkette. Of course, we also know that all those search engine hits are coming from .gov websites, so we’ll just wink and pass along the pics (click the picture to go to American Dynamics):

Washingtonienne and Wonkette

Washingtonienne Photos [American Dynamics]

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Air America: Hype on Rise; Silence on Decline

Air AmericaAir America Radio—the radio show called the “liberal response to conservative talk radio”—has been floundering in recent weeks. But you probably haven’t heard about the closures of it’s Los Angeles and Chicago offices, nor the scandal embroiling their health care plan—where employees had insurance premiums deducted from their paychecks, but were never covered.

That’s because, according to Media Research Center, news stations hyped Air America’s rise, but didn’t see fit to cover the fall of the liberal outlet. In their analysis, “Hyping Liberal Radio’s Rise, But Not Its Fall”, they expose the coverage gaps:

Newsweek highlighted the debut in a big three-page spread. also featured an April 12 Al Franken interview with tough questions like Why are Democrats such wimps? Why don’t they fight back? Coverage since then? Zero.

Air America Radio
Hyping Liberal Radio’s Rise, But Not Its Fall [Media Research Center]

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George Bush: Still a Failure, No Longer Miserable

President George W. Bush has another search term to add to his collection: “failure“. Typing the word into Google now turns up Bush’s biography on the White House website, and interestingly enough Jimmy Carter’s bio is number two and Michael Moore’s website trails in third. Previously, it took the complete phrase “miserable failure” to return Bush in the top position, but some people have apparently decided to strip him of his “miserable” status.

In what has become a war of political search-engine manipulation, John Kerry’s presidential campaign site is the number one term for “waffles” and a search for “weapons of mass destruction” lists a faux error page claiming that “These Weapons of Mass Destruction cannot be displayed”.

A Google-bombing occurs due to Google’s search algorithm which assigns higher scores based on the way people link to items. For example: enough people have linked to Kerry’s campaign with the word “waffles” in order to push that word to the top of the results.

Meanwhile, a search for “viable alternative” is as of yet, still not google-bombed.


Terror Warnings: Convenient Timing?

Matthew Mcglynn of has reiterated that the three major spikes in Bush’s popularity have come from the following:

  • the 9/11 terrorist attacks
  • the US invasion of Iraq
  • the capture of Hussein

He even went so far as to mark them on a timeline graph (which I had failed to do):

Bush Approval Graph

Now, allow me to extrapolate and disagree with Matthew on a few points. First of all, there’s no way Bush could get enough support for another war in a mere four months, considering the damage that has been done by the promises of tons and tons of WMDs that have yet to surface. Granted, there have been one or two cases of small-arms with banned weapons, but it’s hardly anything that could have justified this invasion.

Secondly, it’s highly implausible that there will be another high-level capture prior to the election. That’s not to say that Osama bin-Laden may be paraded before the press in November, but the focus has been shifted away from him and the attitude of “Wanted: Dead or Alive”, has transformed into “Wanted: Valid information to tie Iraq to Al-Qaida”. It’s pitiful that the world’s most powerful military has let a single man evade it for so long, and it’s telling that they no longer seem to care.

And finally, we have the one other option that could boost Bush’s ratings: a terrorist attack on American soil. Already the rhetoric is trying to wash over what occured in Madrid and say “we won’t be like Spain”.

Interestingly enough, there’s a favorite qoute on the subject of terrorism that is actually repurposed from the IRA (Irish Republican Army): “The hard thing about terrorism is that they only have to be right once, and we have to be right 100 percent of the time.” The original qoute reads: “Today we were unlucky, but remember, we only have to be lucky once; you will have to be lucky always. Give Ireland peace and there will be no war.”

It’s interesting because it seems like a concerted effort to set the stage for a failure to stop an impending terrorist attack, and then push Bush back into the forefront as the man in charge of recovering. It would also herald a forewarning that we should not be like Spain and capitulate, thus the rhetoric that if we allow anyone but Bush to be elected, the terrorists will have won.

Bush approval ratings graph shows huge decline []
Iraq sarin shell is not part of a secret cache [CSMonitor]
From the White House, a nightmare scenario [USNews]
Transcript: Rice on ‘Fox News Sunday’ [FoxNews]
1984: Tory Cabinet in Brighton bomb blast [BBC]

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“Abuse Widespread”; Afghanistan, other Prisons in Iraq Fingered

prisonersIn the still unravelling scandal into mistreatment of POWs and detainees, U.S. Army documents have surfaced which shed light on a systemic undermining of Geneva Conventions in a culture over-run by military intelligence. The Duluth News Tribune reports in “Army: More units involved in abuse”:

Among previously unknown incidents are the abuse of prisoners by Army interrogators from a National Guard unit attached to the 3rd Infantry Division, who are described in a document obtained by the New York Times to have “forced into asphyxiation numerous detainees in an attempt to obtain information” over a 10-week period last spring.


According to the Army summary obtained by the Times, the deaths that are being investigated most vigorously by Army officials may be those from Afghanistan in December 2002, where two prisoners died in one week at what was known as the Bagram Collection Point, where interrogations were overseen by a platoon from Company A, 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, from Fort Bragg.

Army: More units involved in abuse [Duluth News Tribune]

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Kerry: He Might be on that Interweb Thingy

CathyI get a lot of funny things via email, but nothing made me laugh as good as this lauding of Cathy Weigel by the Kerry campaign for being their one millionth person to sign up for the campaign online.

First, a quote to demonstrate just how clued in she is: “She had read that we were trying to catch up to the Bush-Cheney fundraising machine and thought, ‘they should put up a web site.'” She managed to find the website after deducing that the .com at the end didn’t mean communist.

Now, of all the pictures they could have taken of her to show just how techno-savvy the Democrat crowd is, they pick the one where she’s chatting on the phone. Way to be on the cutting edge Kerry, she looks like one of my grandmother’s friends yakking it up about the latest episode of Young and the Restless.

Later in the email, to show that Kerry is a person of the people, he called her up and had this conversation:

John Kerry: Well, don’t be nervous at all, congratulations to you.

Cathy Weigel: Well, thank you very much!

John Kerry: It’s a huge thing, number one million. [ed note: Wonkette would probably agree on the huge part]

Cathy Weigel: I didn’t have any idea! They called me last night and told me. Somebody here asked me if one of those things had popped up on my computer screen that said “You’re the millionth customer,” but I didn’t have that so I had no idea.

Customer? Good to see that the Kerry campaign is learning from the Bush campaign, even if it’s only stealing their terminology.

One Millionth Online Supporter! [John Kerry Blog]

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Abu Ghraib: Crackdown on Whistleblower

Samuel Provence was one of the first to step forward and tell all about the abuses at Abu Ghraib, now he and others are being stripped of their security clearances and “flagged” — he cannot receive honours, awards or seek promotion until the status is removed — by the military. He says he is being made an example of by those who would rather continue to cover-up the scandal than correct the matter. The Daily Telegraph reports, in “Iraq abuse insider disciplined”:

“My soldiers who were at Abu Ghraib are so scared now they’re not even talking to me any more – I’m like a villain, but would I do it again? Of course I would, because I stand behind what I said,” Provance said in a telephone interview from Heidelberg, Germany, where his military intelligence unit is based.

“I knew what was being reported was not true.”

“Iraq abuse insider disciplined” [Daily Telegraph]

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Grumblings from the GOP

McCain thumbs upThe Washington Post covers the Republicans’ growing ire with the Bush administration policies in the article “For Republicans, a House (And Senate) Divided”:

“In other words, everyone exhibited classic Republican behavior. They showed a spirit of decorum that was once embodied by Ronald Reagan’s ’11th Commandment,’ which stated, ‘Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.'”

“Recent days, however, have brought a free-for-all of GOP violations to their commandment. It got to a point where Bush visited Capitol Hill on Thursday for an intervention. But the president isn’t immune. His poll numbers are dipping, as is support for his increasingly dicey foray into Iraq. Conservative pundits George Will and Robert Novak, among others, have sharply criticized Bush’s spending, growing deficit and the mounting casualties abroad. Novak, in a column this week, cited a poll in which 20 percent of Republicans said they are not committed to voting for Bush.”

It looks like the air is quickly deflating out of the Bush political balloon. I’m also beginning to see that Colin Powell is the only one in this administration who had the foresight to see that this whole thing would eventually fall apart when he announced in early 2002 that he would not stay with Bush if there was a second term. Hmmm, wasn’t that around the same time that memos were flying around warning the president of possible legal liabilities in bypassing Geneva Conventions?

For Republicans, a House (And Senate) Divided [Washington Post]

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Govt Translation: “Rezedents Rights & Rispansabilities”

The Memory Hole has a hilarious fresh catch with this HUD (Housing and Urban Development) brochure that was being distributed in nine languages, including a bastardized English-Creole, intended for Haitian immigrants:

Rezedents Cover
Rezedents Grafs

Complaints from Haitians to government soon followed. Some said they didn’t understand the brochure, others asked if the translation was a racial joke.

The problem with the brochure stemmed from a lack of HUD communication, who “never specified to the government printer that a French-Creole translation, common to Haiti, is what the department needed. Instead the brochure was translated by Cosmos into English-Creole, a patois common to Jamaica.”

pulped document: “Rezedents Rights & Rispansabilities” [The Memory Hole]

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Bush Job Approval: 41% and Falling

From this graph, one would be hard-pressed to find a political strategy to boost Bush’s ratings, save for a disaster or a war. And we’re all warred out.

Bush approval history

Who’s taking wagers on a terrorist attack in October? I’ll give 3-to-1 odds that something in America goes boom in the run-up to the election.

Historical Bush Approval Ratings [UMN Dept. History]
Poll: Iraq Taking Toll On Bush [CBS News]

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Say Hello to the New Plan: Same as the Old Plan

I wanted to do a complete rundown on the speech given tonight, but I’m going to be snobby like the networks and snub it. You may have seen it, but chances are, you probably missed it because the network media (CBS, NBC, ABC) snubbed the speech in favor of sweeps week. I don’t blame them; Why play a broken record that everyone knows is spinning the Republican rah-rah tune when network advertisers are trying to hawk their wares during breaks of Fear Factor?

First, Bush was wearing enough make-up on his chin and nose to make Zha-Zha cringe, yet they totally left a large spot untouched above his eyebrow. Is someone trying to tell us something? Like maybe he injured himself between make-up and walking on the stage? Couple this with the strange hypno-tie from Bush’s previous press conference, and you have to wonder if there’s not a concerted effort to make people focus on him instead of the speech.

Bush Magic Healing

Second item on the strange sightings list was that the press release with the text of the speech originally said “Arm You War College”, instead of “Army War College”. I’m sure it’s just a freudian typo, the kind you slip in when you’re talking about places like Iraq. Hey first we “arm you” then we “disarm you” (and then arm you again in the name of democracy), but you have to go to the “Arm You War College” to know these things.

Arm You War College

By the way, did you notice that former Secretary of State James Baker (currently with Carlyle Group) is working the loan deals and getting old loans forgiven while working the new ones? Anyone wanna guess who holds the deed to future Iraq revenues? (hint: it’s not the American people or the Iraqi people).

President Outlines Steps to Help Iraq Achieve Democracy and Freedom [White House]
The Big 3 Silence Bush [AngryFinger]

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Drudge Misqoutes Hunter S. Thompson?

Normally, I’m not one to pick on Drudge for spicing up his headlines, but when one is as completely wrong as this one, I have to take notice and bring people’s attention to it. The headline (and link) in question is: “HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Not even the foulest atrocities of Adolf Hitler ever shocked me so badly as these [Abu Ghraib] photographs…”

Now, go search the page that’s linked… you’ll find that there’s no mention of Hitler at all! Now, my initial thought was that it could be in reference to an article he wrote for the June 2004 issue of Vanity Fair, but a quick search revealed that the focus of that article is Lisl Auman’s ongoing tribulations with the Denver police.

So I decided to go check the Drudge Archives to see just what was going on (since I get my feed via RSS which is about an hour late sometimes). I was browsed the Drudge Archives trying to find a direct link to point out the quote and I found this timeline to be interesting (all times are GST) from this page:

22:10:01“HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Not even the foulest atrocities of Adolf Hitler ever shocked me so badly as these [Abu Ghraib] photographs…”

22:44:02 – link and all mention is GONE!




So he now claims that the editors are changing Thompson’s article because “‘Hunter can go too far sometimes,’ the Bristol-based ESPN employee told the DRUDGE REPORT.”. Notice the lack of names of sources, it’s usually a sign of dubious authenticity (especially with Drudge), on a matter that would draw the ire of someone like Hunter S. Thompson, this looks like a slam-dunk. Now, being a bit unobjective on Hunter S. Thompson (I have him linked on the sidebar and read his column every week), I can honestly say that I do not remember any mention of Hitler last week because I would have linked to it and quoted it myself (HA!). But I think this is going to morph into a very interesting story, because if the allegation of editors changing Thompson’s writing is true, he’s going to go apeshit and make sure it’s changed back. I also don’t see how it could be construed as a Bush bash, but since Drudge has a way of spicing up his headlines, (as Hunter would say:) Selah!

I’ll be keeping my eye on this one.

UPDATE: It’s true, he did say/write it! Okay, now let’s see how fast he bitchslaps the people at ESPN for changing his article. For the record: I agree with Thompson, lambast me if you like, but the man knows his politics.

Let’s go to the Olympics! [ESPN – Hey Rube!]
Drudge Report Archives (May 24, 2004)
Hunter T. Seeks Justice for Lisl Auman [TalkLeft]


Doonesbury “Beheading” Comic: Now Available

doonesbury beheadingWell, yesterday was May 23rd — a Sunday — which meant that the Doonesbury cartoon featuring a beheading was run. It’s completely out of context with the Nick Berg beheading, which is not surprising when you read the explanation:

Question) Isn’t this week’s Sunday section out of sequence — not to mention inappropriate?
— C. Pulver, Hartford, CT

Answer) Yes. Due to boneheaded creator scheduling, this week’s Sunday section appears before B.D.’s arrival at Walter Reed Hospital (the facility referred to in the strip), and while he’s still at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

As to the unfortunate coincidence of the last panel’s artwork (drawn in April) with the recent grisly tragedy in Iraq, Trudeau shares your chagrin: “Most Sunday sections are prepared five to six weeks in advance, and today’s strip was unfortunately overtaken by events. To ‘hand someone his head’ is a common expression, not normally associated with actual violence. I regret the poor timing, and apologize to anyone who was offended by an image that is now clearly inappropriate.”

Those newspapers around the country who print their Sunday sections late were offered a substitute strip.

Still, there will probably be some pundits who will pounce on the cartoon. Well, lo’ and behold, that theory isn’t too far off.

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