Click here to go to Opinions You Should Have at tomburka.com. TITLE: Bush Faced Terrific Quandry in White House NCAA Pool AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 03:07:00 PM ----- BODY: Karl Rove put extraordinary pressure for Bush to favor Florida over Texas in his submission to the popular White House NCAA pool. There was great debate among top aides to the President about whether to favor "red-state" teams or "blue-state" teams, meaning teams from states that voted for or against Bush. However, it was finally decided that the imperative of securing Florida in the 2004 election mandated fprcing Bush to pick the number 2 seeded Florida to beat number 1 seeded Texas in the Elite 8, because "we'll carry Texas anyway," said Rove. "Why can't we just make them move to the East Division?" asked Bush, who was supported by Cheney in his suggestion to pressure the NCAA organizers to move Florida to another division so that Bush could avoid making the difficult choice. Powell was sent to negotiate with the NCAA on Bush's behalf where, typically, he failed. When Florida was wiped out in the Sweet 16 against Maryland, Bush became despondent, moping around the White House and seeming "steely eyed but burdened":
[Bush] rarely jokes with staffers these days and occasionally startles them with sarcastic putdowns. . . .Interviews with a dozen friends, advisers and top aides describe a man who feels he is being tested.
The White House found an upside, though. "We'll make this about the war," said Ari Fleischer. And so they did. Cheney did not participate in the pool, preferring to run it in exchange for a percentage of the winnings. "Last year that pool bought me a pool," he joked, smiling or grimacing -- it was impossible to say which. -------- TITLE: Saddam Talks About the NCAA's AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 12:46:00 PM ----- BODY: So, Saddam Makes Speech on TV Designed to Prove He Is Alive, with some references to attacks and things that have occurred since the invasion. Why doesn't he just hold up today's frigging newspaper? If Saddam wanted to prove he was still alive and in charge, he should say:
My fellow Iraqis, I lost the goddamn NCAA pool! Who would have believed that Syracuse and Marquette would come so far? We will be victorious against the stupid Americans even if is true, as I suspect, that they have rigged the college basketball tournaments of their petty country to get rid of the fine Ivy league team and, of course, the valiant Gonzaga.
-------- TITLE: I Promise I'll be Funny Tomorrow AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 08:53:00 AM ----- BODY: -------- TITLE: That Silver is For Us; Brilliant Congressmen Pass Bill To Bar France and Germany From Helping Rebuild Iraq AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 08:49:00 AM ----- BODY: According to NPR, when Congress approved Bush's request for $75 billion today for the war, someone sipped in a rider barring France and Germany from being allowed to contract to rebuild Iraq. Some irate confressman said, "We're not sending our boys in harm's way so that the French and German can stand back and hold their hands out for ten pieces of silver!" Um, that's a pretty effective stance. Except that Bush's plan to rebuild Iraq gives the lion's share of the rebuilding contracts to -- have you guessed it -- U.S. businesses! Our boys died to help put a couple of pieces of silver into some major CEOs' pockets. The Wall Street Journal reported:
The Bush administration's audacious plan to rebuild Iraq envisions a sweeping overhaul of Iraqi society within a year of a war's end, but leaves much of the work to private U.S. companies. . . . [M]ore than $1.5 billion in Iraq work being offered to private U.S. companies under the plan, just $50 million is so far earmarked for a small number of groups such as CARE and Save the Children.
Also, isn't it a tad inconsistent to claim that the U.N. should have broad participation in rebuilding Iraq when you pass laws denying security council members the ability to allow their businesses to have a hand in the reconstruction? Might that not impede efforts to involve the U.N.? -------- TITLE: Buildings, Schmildings AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 08:33:00 AM ----- BODY: We're liberating the Iraqi oilfields -- and protecting them well, even at the cost of sending men into harm's way without adequate backup -- because they're the "property of the people of Iraq." Rumsfeld is fond of saying this -- "it's the wealth of the Iraqi people, we're protecting it." OK. Isn't the infrastructure of Iraq also a treasured possession of the Iraqi people? The buildings, electric plants, sewer systems, schools and the, like, cities -- how come we're just bombing the hell out of them? By the way, the link just up there is from an Iraqi who has been reporting on the web his experience of the war in Baghdad -- but he hasn't been able to update since March 24. That could be for many reasons -- maybe internet access was cut off by central authorities in Baghdad, maybe the infrastructure was damaged (Rumsfled might call it a "shock and awe" attack on the internet backbone), maybe Raed, the author, had to take off and get the hell away from his desktop. Still, look at it for an excellent view of the war from inside. Much better than any reporting you'll see on cable. -------- TITLE: SARS Is From Mars AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 08:20:00 AM ----- BODY: It seems clear to me that the outbreak of SARS is directly related to those people who claim to have been picked up by UFO's and later, after lengthy journeys, adventures, and encounters of all numeric kinds, get dropped back on Earth because the aliens on board clearly could not stand them. This claim that viruses like SARS just "spring up" -- isn't that like the claim that Spinoza made -- that life just "bloomed spontaneously" from inanimate matter? Doesn't it make more sense that those aliens are depositing people back on Earth after they've infected them with some biological agent? I mean, why would an alien go to the trouble of dropping an abductee back on Earth instead of just putting them in the space waste chute? By the way, I was so pleased to see a local news station -- or it may even have been MSNBC -- say that, CDC researchers were that much closer to discovering a treatment plan for SARS because they had determined that it was a type of virus -- specifically, a coronavirus. My, that's reassuring. Coronaviruses are the same kind that cause the common cold. We've been really successful at figuring out a cure for that. so this SARS thing will be licked in no time. The really hopeful thing is that we kind of have to find a cure for SARS. Until we do, we're going to be quarantining the heck out of populatations and, as reported universally, SARS will have a chilling effect on world business. Actually on world business travel, which one would think we have almost no need for in today's electronic age. Maybe SARS will promote the growth of videoconferencing technologies far beyond where they are today -- so that videoconferencing gets to the point where you can artificially shake your Hong Kong business partners hands without really touching them. (We have a technology for that, actually -- they're called "gloves.") No, we find an effective treatment plan for SARS, pump money and good old fashioned research into cracking that illness -- and if we do, maybe we will be that much closer to discovering a cure for the common cold. --------