The trial of Mr. Hussein unfolded on television as blast after blast rocked the capital, raining debris across entire blocks and flooding hospital wards with lacerated victims. After one car bomb exploded at noon in a Shiite district of downtown Baghdad, firefighters and witnesses struggled to pry two blackened bodies from the front seats of a charred sedan. The wailing crowd lifted the bodies out, shouted "God is great!" and marched down the street bearing the corpses aloft.
Nuns from a nearby convent rushed toward the flaming wrecks of cars clutching metal buckets of water.
There have been expanding reports all day in the Washington Post and the New York Times as the violence in Baghdad grows and worsens. The Post had to admit in a headline early this morning that the US military have been wildly under-reporting casualties during the past several weeks. Whatever. We don't need to know exactly; we just need to do something to stop this.
I lost it just now, listening to reports from New Orleans (stalwart people, doing their best to celebrate a skeletal Fat Tuesday) even as I read the description of Baghdad. Only those who are calling for the prosecution of the Bush administration for complicity in these tragedies are people whose judgment can be trusted There are no excuses left.
Not having TV, I don't have the pleasure of watching Chris Matthews getting more and more bizarre with every day. But I do read interview clips when they're linked to on a blog or (as in this case) Media Matters. Matthews uses the words of schoolkid crush when he talks about Bush, or at least he did when he compared Bush to Atticus Finch:
Well, he looks like he's a wise man now and a man of restraint, almost Atticus Finch. You know, almost the guy against the mob outside this -- the police station.
Now, one of the things I know about Atticus -- that is to say, Gregory Peck -- from gay friends and from the literature is that Peck was a hero for many gays, not just us lovelorn chicks. There was some speculation (untrue, far as I know) that Peck may have been gay, but that may have been wishful thinking. Certainly Peck was attractive to both sexes. He deserved hero status for a lot of reasons, not least of which was that he stood squarely for gay rights.
Any connection between Atticus/Peck and Bush exists in the minds of only the most wistful, tuned-out sycophants. It seems clear that Matthews has drifted away from the adult world of journalism and political discussion and has moved soulfully into hero worship, Hallmark level.
The deadly strain of bird flu was confirmed Tuesday in a cat in northern Germany, the first time the virus has been identified in a mammal in the 25 nations of the European Union.
The cat was on the northern island of Ruegen, where most of the more than 100 wild birds infected by the H5N1 strain were found, the Friedrich Loeffler institute said.
The cat was found dead over the weekend and then tested positive for H5N1, laboratory leader Thomas Mettenleiter said.
In Geneva, World Health Organization spokeswoman Maria Cheng said this was the first time she knows of an animal other than a bird being infected in Europe. Tigers and leopards were infected by H5N1 in Thailand, where they were fed chicken carcasses in a zoo.
Bird flu infections also have been confirmed in January in humans in the Asian part of Turkey. Twenty-one people in the country tested positive for the H5N1 strain, and four children died.
It is not clear whether cats can pass the disease to humans, Cheng said.
''We know that mammals can be infected by H5N1, but we don't know what this means for humans,'' she said.
The Supreme Court dealt a setback Tuesday to abortion clinics in a two-decade-old legal fight over anti-abortion protests, ruling that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations.
The 8-0 decision ends a case that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had kept alive despite a 2003 ruling by the high court that lifted a nationwide injunction on anti-abortion groups led by Joseph Scheidler and others.