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Solving The Anthrax Mystery (And Other Odds And Ends)

Illustration for article titled Solving The Anthrax Mystery (And Other Odds And Ends)

The mystery of who sent the anthrax letters may finally be solved, and it's like the most random plot twist to a James Patterson novel (not that either of us has ever read a novel by James Patterson, but the advertisements for them on the Metro make it seem like a good simile). Steven Hatfill gets his millions, his apparent nemesis kills himself and we dissect it all! Also, for good measure, we check in with Thailand, Pakistan, Daniel Craig's abs, the Dead Milkmen, Spencer-in-absentia, the pill that eliminates exercise, earnings numbers that Moe, naturally, understands better than me, parties that I really should've been invited to, and my hidden emo streak. What do I have to get emo about? Well that's after the jump.

MOE: Yo, sorry, I have been working on this freelance piece that is disrupting my normal function. I haven't looked at Drudge in a good 24 hours. I just felt so undernourished I bought a Starbucks Vivanno. WHOA what the fuck???


MEGAN: I know, I saw that! What's even worse is that he was a colleague of the guy the FBI totally thought did it and leaked to the press about and finally had to declare innocent and pay millions of dollars to. Kinda makes you wonder what his motives were, right?

Also, his little escapades contaminated half the building, which he totally tested off-the-record and in secret.


MOE: Yeah, Hatfill. Hatfill, who that Vanity Fair linguist pegged.

MEGAN: Well, the FBI pegged him to everyone.

MOE: Right. My mind is still blown here.

After the government's settlement with Hatfill was announced in late June, Ivins started showing signs of strain, the Times said. It quoted a longtime colleague as saying Ivins was being treated for depression and indicated to a therapist that he was considering suicide. Family members and local police escorted Ivins away from the Army lab, and his access to sensitive areas was curtailed, the colleague told the newspaper. He said Ivins was facing a forced retirement in September.


MEGAN: I dunno, the subtext there is that he did it as much to frame Hatfill as anything else, right? Am I just being too suspicious?

MOE: So the whole thing where IT HAS TO BE HATFILL BECAUSE HE WENT TO SCHOOL NEAR A RHODESIAN TOWN CALLED GREENDALE... apparently not! Do you think he just hated Hatfill? This is seriously the most awesome twist to a seriously awesome story. As you can tell, I am at a loss for words. Will you do the intro today?


MEGAN: Sure. And I'm just going to throw this in there even though no one but me and Charlotte Corday probably care, but the wife of the former Prime Minister of Thailand that the military deposed in a coup whose supporters still run the post-military government was convicted of tax evasion yesterday. But none of their supporters particularly care and that's sort of why it's bad to depose a Democratically elected government in a coup and then go after all the corrupt people because she may have not paid her taxes BUT YOU PUT TANKS IN THE STREETS.

Also, I miss my lobbying days this morning. The one time I went to a Chamber afterparty (with Alex Pareene!), I had to pay my own bar tab but I did share a cab to my neighborhood with some random guy that I thought drunkenly was part of the group and wasn't but he was really hot.


MOE: Um, yeah, I don't know what to say about Thaksin, really, can we stay on task here? The Thai military might have put tanks in the street over THERE, but they also let elephants run free and never even got a cool colonial name like Rhodesia. This guy killed like 6 AMERICANS, MOST OF WHOM WORKED FOR THE POSTAL SERVICE. And rendered every editor in America terrified to open the mail.

MEGAN: And Hill staffers! Don't forget the Daschle intern he poisoned.

MOE: With brothers like these!

The eldest of his two brothers, Thomas Ivins, said he was not surprised by the events that have unfolded. "He buckled under the pressure from the federal government," Thomas Ivins said, adding that FBI agents came to Ohio last year to question him about his brother. "I was questioned by the feds, and I sung like a canary" about Bruce Ivins' personality and tendencies, Thomas Ivins said.
"He had in his mind that he was omnipotent."


Feds before bros I guess. Remember when the Right was telling everyone the anthrax came from IRAQ? Motherfucker.

MEGAN: Well, Ted Kaczynski's brother turned him in, actually. I mean, when your brother is a sociopathic mass murderer, I think it's cool.


C'mon, here's something you'll like: GM lost more money last quarter than Exxon made.

MOE: Here's a news organization that really doesn't deserve any stray spores:

In a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.


MEGAN: Oh, God, really? That's what the WSJ has to say? Obama's not fat enough to lead?

Um, sorry, new brief tangent, Daniel Craig is going to play some (hot) bisexual Roman king or something. Is it too much to hope that he'll be shirtless the entire movie?


MEGAN: And, switching gears again, John Rich of country music band Big and Rich penned a new song for John McCain and it sounds sucktastic.

He stayed strong, stayed extra long til they let all the other boys out. Now we've got a real man with an American plan, we're going to put him in the big White House.


MOE: Okay, that Times story reminds me of a thing that I think about earnings stories which is that they should just all come with little graphics so you know exactly what they're talking about. Like, I don't think that story lists a revenue figure for the quarter, though here

The company lost $4.4 billion in North America in the period, and its revenues dropped 33 percent, from $29.7 billion to $19.8 billion. That compared with a profit of $92 million in the quarter a year ago.


it looks like they list a North American revenue figure. I'm not sure. Anyway, the point is, net profit figures exist mostly to win the sympathies of the IRS and thus, when you see that one company's "losses" exceed another company's earnings, you kind of have to look a little closer at like how $83 billion in OIL earnings became $11 billion on profits. And that's where you learn that EXXON actually also lost money in the united states, due to the same commodity prices that earned it so much in its "upstream" exploration business. Which is to say, I throw up my hands. I'm still smarting from this Ivins dude.
"Why isn't this story the lead story in every newscast in America?" that blonde Fox anchor just asked.

MEGAN: Barack Obama "playing the race card"? Charlie Rangel not getting censured for doing shady shit? The Pakistani government cooperating in bombing the Indian embassy in Kabul? Oh, wait, hahaha, yeah, Americans don't give a shit about that.


McCain being senile? Rielle Hunter's baby's birth certificate not listing a father because under California law if there's not a husband she needs the father to sign a bunch of legal paperwork agreeing that he is?

MOE: Oh Jesus. That's what you get for not sufficiently appreciating Musharraf? Or what?

The government officials were guarded in describing the new evidence and would not say specifically what kind of assistance the ISI officers provided to the militants. They said that the ISI officers had not been renegades, indicating that their actions might have been authorized by superiors.
"It confirmed some suspicions that I think were widely held," one State Department official with knowledge of Afghanistan issues said of the intercepted communications. "It was sort of this ‘aha' moment. There was a sense that there was finally direct proof."


MEGAN: Or it was in the works before Uncle Pervy left? Who knows. I thought when India and Pakistan both got nukes they were done being mad at each other.

But what, is the Fox News girl sad isn't the lead story? Inquiring minds want to know...


MOE: What do you think it is really direct proof of? Like, direct proof the universe is completely fucked? Direct proof civil liberties are overrated?

Oh, and the story was this a-ha moment Lots of a-ha moments today!

MEGAN: Oh, for Chrissakes. We've become so fat and so lazy that we want a pill to make it all better? Like, we'll spend untold millions of dollars researching and then paying for a pharmaceutical product to prevent having to go for a freaking walk?


MOE: But think of the countless BLOGGER LIVES IT WILL SAVE.

MEGAN: Until they discover the side effect that using it in conjunction with Movable Type causes seizures and brain damage, not that that's not already a side effect of Movable Type.


Hey, so, like, wanna address the elephant in the virtual room? Because I won't get to say it other than in the comment threads and shit, but I'm going to miss doing this with you. It was fun even when I was hungover and depressed and it and you were the reasons I got out of bed in the mornings the weeks after I got fired from Wonkette. Well, I mean, woke up anyway. I wrote a lot of them from bed.

MOE: Uhhhhh I don't do goodbyes very well. And somehow I don't think this will be the last time I'm on the Crappy Hour. I actually have a lot of ideas for how you should improve it in my absence that I'm going to write you a memo about. But yeah, like, I learned a lot of stuff doing this! Like how having a hangover doesn't always help one's writing! And how much I hate memes. Also, we are going to get that Bloggingheads ripoff idea worked out if I have to send you a fancy camera. That will be soooooo fun.


MEGAN: Yeah, I sort of suck at goodbyes, too, and I'm glad to hear you're not completely opposed to the idea of doing this again because, well, I mean, it's kinda weird contemplating doing it without you ever. Also, my dad mostly fixed my other computer with which my camera is more compatible, so I think that's totally do-able. And I look forward to your memo, which I will proceed to get stinking drunk in your honor before I read.

MOE: And yeah, Spencer? You should try to enlist Mike Madden of Salon some mornings. Pressler owes us an IM or too. I mean shit, I could do it once a week. But I like the ones where there's a focus, like OIL or PEDOPHILE FUNDAMENTALIST MORMONS or ANDY SAMBERG AND HIS $300 MILLION ALBANIAN AMMUNITIONS whatever. Or, like that one day when we were all set to join the Iranian resistance! Or that charming KBR gang rape story! So much, so much we have been through together.


MEGAN: Shh, Spencer will be hurt when he finds out that we're thinking about opening ourselves up to other men! But, um, yeah, I'm got some ideas in that regard, too, I mean, I'm rarely a one-man woman, intellectually speaking. I have been a one-woman woman for a bit, now, though, except for that one time with Sinister Rouge but she tempted me so! But the ones where we stayed with one topic were pretty cool.


MOE: Yeah I think I'd like to do a one-topic one every so often. Maybe once a week! And commenters can decide the topic! We can poll them! And challenge them to present us with appropriate reading materials so we don't have to do all the work! Hahaha remember when I wanted to poll them as to which job I should take? Good times. I was going to try and find "I Hate You, I Love You" by the Dead Milkmen to express my commenter gratitude but I can't so you'll have to make do with this. God if the Dead Milkmen would write a song about Alycia Lane that would be like our anthem. The dead milkmen and Santogold.

I miss Philly.

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I love the idea of polling for crappy hour, there are so many stories we touch on that I would love to hear more about. But sorry, I want you guys to do most of the work.