Some good news...

While the US government was so boneheaded (or, as some argue, devious) as to not prevent looting of ancient Mesopotamian artifacts from the Iraq National Museum, Iraq wasn't so dumb. According to The Wall Street Journal's Yaroslav Trofimov, the museum had the foresight to hide key treasures, including the kings' graves of Ur and the Assyrian bulls, in safe vaults. While ancient manuscripts were destroyed at the Iraq National Library and countless important objects were looted from the museum ("the sacral vase of Warqa, from Sumerian times, and the bronze statue of Basitqi, from the Accadian civilization"), it's heartening to know that some of the antiquities were spared.

Some bad news...

How low will Bush and Co. stoop to win the next election? Try leveraging grief around the 3rd anniversary of September 11th, for one. Especially appalling: they admit it freely.
President Bush's advisers have drafted a re-election strategy built around staging the latest nominating convention in the party's history, allowing Mr. Bush to begin his formal campaign near the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and to enhance his fund-raising advantage, Republicans close to the White
House say.

In addition, Mr. Bush's advisers say they are prepared to spend as much as $200 million Ð twice the amount of his first campaign Ð to finance television advertising and other campaign expenses through the primary season that leads up to the Republican convention in September 2004. That would be a record amount by a presidential candidate, and would be especially notable because Mr. Bush faces no serious opposition for his party's nomination.

The president is planning a sprint of a campaign that would start, at least officially, with his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, a speech now set for Sept. 2.

The convention, to be held in New York City, will be the latest since the Republican Party was founded in 1856, and Mr. Bush's advisers said they chose the date so the event would flow into the commemorations of the third anniversary of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

The back-to-back events would complete the framework for a general election campaign that is being built around national security and Mr. Bush's role in combatting terrorism, Republicans said. Not incidentally, they said they hoped it would deprive the Democratic nominee of critical news coverage during the opening weeks of the general election campaign.
Read the full story.

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