FUBAR

Playing the avoid-blame game

This being once again the month of 9/11, it is increasingly fascinating to watch the gyrations of those seeking to either capitalize on that culture-altering event for political purposes or to find a haven in history that allows them to escape the blame for all the mistakes since.

Declare victory by changing the rules

One of the charms of sports is that they keep score. For example, if like me you’re a fan of Michigan Wolverines football, no amount of rationalization can hide the dismal fact that, this season, we’ve been sentenced to root for a terrible team.

Running out of options

Here’s the upshot of two days of testimony on Capitol Hill by our top military commander and top diplomat in Iraq: We’re stuck.

The “surge,” due to begin winding down this fall, brought some measure of increased security, but not as much as one might expect from 30,000 additional troops. The Sunnis and Shiites are not closer to reconciliation; the central government remains quarrelsome and ineffective; and the Iraqi security forces are only marginally more capable.

Curbing a lust for crime memorabilia

Round and chrome, it looks like an average hubcap from a vintage VW Bug. But this one has a history. And it’s for sale.

It’s off the tan 1968 Volkswagen Beetle that Ted Bundy drove as he roamed the West in the mid-1970s murdering young women. From Washington state to Colorado to Utah, Bundy is considered among the most diabolical serial killers in U.S. history.

Spearing the Britney

We suppose there was a legitimate reason for putting an overweight, under-prepared Britney Spears on the stage of the stage of the MTV video music awards Sunday night in Las Vegas but we’re sure the producers of the show are now wondering just what the hell it was.

Spears was so unprepared that her lip syncing was out of sync, her so-called dance movement didn’t mesh with the professionals around her and she moved with all the grace of a drunken elephant.

At 25, Spears is clearly past her prime, if indeed she ever had one.

Is bin Laden ‘virtually impotent’

President George W. Bush’s homeland security adviser said on Sunday al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is “virtually impotent” and can do little more than send videotaped messages.

Top White House aide Fran Townsend said officials were studying bin Laden’s new video tape for clues to his health or whereabouts, and whether there were any hidden meanings or messages.

But she said there was no sign of an imminent attack.

“This is a man on the run in a cave who is virtually impotent other than his ability to get these messages out,” Townsend said on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “It is propaganda.

Chinese hackers plan cyber attack

Chinese military hackers have drawn up a plan to disable the United States’ battle carrier fleet through a cyber attack, British newspaper The Times said Saturday, citing a Pentagon report.

The blueprint is part of a plan by Beijing to establish “electronic dominance” over its global rivals by 2050, particularly the United States, Britain, Russia and South Korea, said the daily.

The newspaper said two hackers working for China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) came up with the plan.

Singing the Blackberry blues

A software glitch shut down e-mail service for some BlackBerry users Friday, and delays were still being felt hours after the problem was fixed.

Research in Motion Ltd., the Waterloo, Ontario-based company that makes the ubiquitous mobile device, said no e-mails were lost in the shutdown that affected an unspecified number of customers in North America who subscribe to the BlackBerry Internet Service. Phone service and text messaging were unaffected.

Politics and 9/11

Six years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks united Americans in common cause, the anniversary is itself now treated in many quarters as just another opportunity for political bloodletting.

This year, there’s already been a battle over the role that former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani should play in the commemoration at Ground Zero now that he’s a GOP presidential candidate.

Still out there and still dangerous

Thanks to German-U.S. intelligence cooperation and heads-up German police work, three Islamic militants were arrested in the last stage of what authorities called a “massive” plot aimed at the U.S. military presence there.

Authorities said the trio, two German nationals, converts to Islam, and a Turk, had accumulated military-grade detonators and 200 gallons of a concentrated hydrogen-peroxide solution, the equivalent of 1,200 pounds of TNT. Police said the bombs were similar to but more powerful than the bombs that killed 191 people in Madrid, Spain, and 52 in London.