Please visit the new home of Majikthise at

« September 2004 | Main | November 2004 »

118 posts from October 2004

October 29, 2004

Schilling and Bush

The good news: Curt Schilling won't meet up with George W. Bush on the campaign trail. The bad news: Schilling endorsed Bush. [FOXSports]

Oh well. Nobody's perfect.

100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq

The full-text of the Roberts study is available free online at the Lancet website. You can download the .pdf here at Majikthise: Download: Roberts et al 2004

Abstract follows:

Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey
Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta, Richard Garfield, Jamal Khudhairi, Gilbert Burnham


Background In March, 2003, military forces, mainly from the USA and the UK, invaded Iraq. We did a survey to compare mortality during the period of 14·6 months before the invasion with the 17·8 months after it.

Methods A cluster sample survey was undertaken throughout Iraq during September, 2004. 33 clusters of 30 households each were interviewed about household composition, births, and deaths since January, 2002. In those households reporting deaths, the date, cause, and circumstances of violent deaths were recorded. We assessed the relative risk of death associated with the 2003 invasion and occupation by comparing mortality in the 17·8 months after the invasion with the 14·6-month period preceding it.

Findings The risk of death was estimated to be 2·5-fold (95% CI 1·6-4·2) higher after the invasion when compared with the preinvasion period. Two-thirds of all violent deaths were reported in one cluster in the city of Falluja. If we exclude the Falluja data, the risk of death is 1·5-fold (1·1-2·3) higher after the invasion. We estimate that 98000 more deaths than expected (8000-194000) happened after the invasion outside of Falluja and far more if the outlier Falluja cluster is included. The major causes of death before the invasion were myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accidents, and other chronic disorders whereas after the invasion violence was the primary cause of death. Violent deaths were widespread, reported in 15 of 33 clusters, and were mainly attributed to coalition forces. Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children. The risk of death from violence in the period after the invasion was 58 times higher (95% CI 8·1-419) than in the period before the war.

Interpretation Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths. We have shown that collection of public-health information is possible even during periods of extreme violence. Our results need further verification and should lead to changes to reduce non-combatant deaths from air strikes.

Published online October 29, 2004.

Friday Johnny Cash Blogging


Multiple Johnny Cash dishtowel designs and subversive baby clothes from Pinprick Designs

October 28, 2004

Halliburton criminal investigation underway

The Feds are closing in on Halliburton.The FBI can sense fear. [NYT] :

October 28, 2004
F.B.I. Investigating Halliburton Contracts
Filed at 9:30 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI has begun investigating whether the Pentagon improperly awarded no-bid contracts to Halliburton Co., seeking an interview with a top Army contracting officer and collecting documents from several government offices.

The line of inquiry expands an earlier FBI investigation into whether Halliburton overcharged taxpayers for fuel in Iraq, and it elevates to a criminal matter the election-year question of whether the Bush administration showed favoritism to Vice President Dick Cheney's former company.

FBI agents this week sought permission to interview Bunnatine Greenhouse, the Army Corps of Engineers' chief contracting officer who went public last weekend with allegations that her agency unfairly awarded KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars for work in Iraq, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Asked about the documents, Greenhouse's lawyers said Thursday their client will cooperate but that she wants whistleblower protection from Pentagon retaliation.

``I think it (the FBI interview request) underscores the seriousness of the misconduct, and it also demonstrates how courageous Ms. Greenhouse was for stepping forward,'' said Stephen Kohn, one of her attorneys. [...]

Embeds filmed Al Qaqaa explosives dump after fall of Hussein

Philosophical Scrivener writes:

TV Journalists from Minneapolis-St. Paul who were embedded with the 101st Airborne Division may have filmed members of the 101st having a gander at some of the explosives in question. Kinda hard for Saddam to have moved them before we got there if that's the case.

Take a look and decide for yourself.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS video may be linked to missing explosives in Iraq

During that trip, members of the 101st Airborne Division showed the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS news crew bunker after bunker of material labelled "explosives." Usually it took just the snap of a bolt cutter to get into the bunkers and see the material identified by the 101st as detonation cords.

"We can stick it in those and make some good bombs." a soldier told our crew.

This just in from the NYT: Video Shows G.I.'s at Weapon Cache [permalink]

Which Nigerian spammer are you?

Take the quiz. Post the results in the comments, if you're so inclined.

Which Nigerian spammer are You?

File under "Poor Bastard"

Swopa of Needlenose reports that a Florida man was charged playing chicken with Rep. Katherine Harris. [AP]

The man was in a silver Cadillac, Harris was on foot. The man deliberately forfeited the game by swerving at the last minute. Nevertheless, he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and held without bail. The charge carries up to 30 years in prison.

(Also, a big shout out to Swopa and the boys at Needlenose for their generous linkage over the past couple of days.)

More on Lakoff's "nuturant"/"strict" distinction

The comments in the Terry Francona thread have inspired me to write more about Lakoff. I love talking about this stuff.

Meanwhile, check out Coturnix' post on Lakoff, Nuturant is Not Coddly. Good discussion and lots of links to other Lakoff threads in the blogosphere. His review of Lakoff's Moral Politics is a very readable and thorough introduction to the whole political framing project.

We practice taxidermy in the Blue States


Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists, featured member Liquid Fish (amazing web design).

[Via Gravity Lens.]



Biologist PZ Myers explains how octopus suckers work. Fascinating stuff.

PZ also a very informative post on our long-lost cousin homo floresiensis, or should we say Bilbo floresiensis?