by Inlander Staff Grace Under Pressure -- Martha Stewart has had her troubles lately, but she handles even the dreaded "perp walk" with style. When she was brought in for a mug shot and fingerprints, she signed her name, witnesses say, with the little calligraphic flourishes she has featured on her TV show.
From 170,000 to 33 -- Count us as among the media outlets that amplified the reports that the Iraq National Museum had been looted of more than 170,000 items. After all, it was reported by the likes of the Washington Post in the chaotic aftermath of the fall of Baghdad. Now it turns out that only 33 "irreplaceable" items are AWOL, along with another 3,000 "minor" objects. We're glad that the number wasn't as large as first reported, but we've got to agree with columnist Joe Conason, who says this is still a tragedy. "If 33 "priceless pieces' and another 3,000 of lesser worth were stolen from the Smithsonian or the Metropolitan Museum," Conason wrote, "that would be considered the heist of the century."
Who Gets to Be Skipper? -- GOP strategists are licking their chops in advance of the 2004 presidential race, and they're pulling out all the stops. As idiotic as it might sound, plans were leaked that Bush's boys were going to send a Thurston Howell III look-alike to all the John Kerry appearances (hardy, har, har). It appeared to be the stuff that political operative legends are made of -- until Kerry's campaign shot back. They said the Howell prank was fine with them, but President Bush shouldn't be too surprised if he started to be followed around by somebody looking suspiciously like Gilligan.
More False Statements -- While the Bush administration is up to its button-down collars in questions about their information about the WMDs, other statements arising during the war in Iraq are been being asked, too. Of course by now you've heard how the BBC reported that the Jessica Lynch rescue was staged to help bolster support for the war back home. (The Pentagon denies this; and NBC is pressing on with plans for a TV movie based on the "actual" events.)
Now there are questions about news items about France, usually originating with an unnamed source inside the U.S. government. Two stories on weapons sold to Iraq by France were proven false. And another, stating that French officials helped Baath Party members escape Iraq, was also proved false -- but not before it made the rounds of cable news channels.
Commentator Bill Press charged on CNBC that these tales "are coming out of the same intelligence cell at the Pentagon that told us Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 and that there were tons and tons of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."