As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.
* The Taking of Iraq, 1, 2, 3 -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged
* Dewey the deer, and Prometea the horse -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben
* Rush Limbaugh is Addicted to Prescription Drugs and so is My Friend -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged
* Notable Births -- See below.
* This Year in Film -- See below.
* This Year in Music -- See below.
* In Other News -- See below.
The Taking of Iraq, 1, 2, 3Contributed by Alex Shrugged
We are going to war, and nothing is going to stop us. If you get in the way you are called a "cheese-eating surrender monkey". (That's a line from the Simpsons.) French fries are renamed "Freedom Fries". It is easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm. Then there are the "Human Shields". Volunteers have traveled to Iraq to stand in front of hospitals, daring President Bush to kill them. (FYI, this is considered a war crime under the Geneva Convention.) But the precision "shock and awe" air campaign works around them. No problem.  
Most people to watch the war in real time after work. Reporters have to be careful though. Geraldo Rivera gets the boot when he draws a map in the dirt explaining their next move. That is giving information to the enemy. (Well... locally it could be a problem.) I stay up late and watch the troops driving and driving. I want to see it all. 
I laugh as the Iraqi Information Minister "Baghdad Bob" says that Hussein is winning while US tanks roll along just outside of camera shot. It is a terrible shock to Arab-speaking viewers when US tanks are seen rolling down the streets of Baghdad. They realize that their trusted leaders had lied... and so did their reporters. 
There is looting, and my mother-in-law asks me why US troops standing nearby don't do something. I reply, "What do you want them to do, Mom? Shoot them for stealing a potted plant?" I watch the same guy (on a video loop) running out of a building carrying a potted plant. If the looting is so overwhelming, why do they need to loop this one guy? Perhaps it is because most of the looting is of government buildings, stealing desks and office supplies. The museum is empty, but the curators have hidden the most important works. 
President Bush lands on that aircraft carrier. The banner reads: "Mission Accomplished". Certainly the carrier's mission is accomplished, but there is still much to do. If we had stopped right there and walked away, I would have called it good. Instead, President Bush tries his hand at nation-building. Apparently it's not as easy as nation-crushing, but we'll see that as the years progress. For now, he has missed his chance. I'm sorry. I wanted him to succeed.... I wanted the US to succeed without a Middle East Marshall Plan. It is not to be.  
Dewey the deer, and Prometea the horseContributed by Southpaw Ben
Dewey was born on May 23 at Texas A&M, and was the first deer ever successfully cloned. He was cloned from a dead whitetail buck that had scored a 232 on the Boone and Crockett scale. He is still residing under the care of Texas A&M's Veterinart Medicine and Biomedical Sciences college to have his horn growth studied and compared to his donors. Prometea was the first horse to be successfully cloned. Born on May 28 in Cremona, Italy, her birth had no complications and she grew normally. As a result of horse cloning success, the Jockey Club of North America decided to forbid the use of cloned horses in any of their races, however, cloning can still be used as a means to continue to bloodlines of successful geldings, as geldings are castrated horses, and can't continue their bloodline naturally.
Rush Limbaugh is Addicted to Prescription Drugs and so is My FriendContributed by Alex Shrugged
Yeah. Let's go through this. Several years ago radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh had back surgery. He was prescribed pain pills in conjunction with his back problem, but when the prescription ran out, he found himself needing more. Apparently his maid had a way to get prescription drugs on the black market, so she purchased more for him. This is considered a crime. (Certainly the State of Texas takes a dim view of this, and I assume Florida does as well.) After pursuing an investigation for three years, Florida believes it has a case against him, but Limbaugh's lawyers make a deal. Rush will take a month off and go to rehab. If he manages to stay on the straight and narrow for 18 months all charges will be dropped. He will pay $30,000 for the investigation's costs. This is called a slap on the hand, and perhaps it is for someone with a lot of money. He returns from rehab, and he seems better. If he really is an addict, it might not be enough, but if he is like most people, rehab ought to do it. I wish him well.      
Notable BirthsNone that I can find.
- Maurice Gibb (age 53, complications from a twisted intestine): Singer/songwriter and member of the Bee-Gees. 
- Johnny Cash (age 71, complications from diabetes): Singer-songwriter. His wife, June, died 4 months earlier. 
This Year in Film
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Part 3 and the last. (The Scouring of the Shire is left out, but otherwise a good ending.--alexshrugged) 
- Disney's Finding Nemo: A fish is missing. 
- And...: Matrix Reloaded, Matrix Revolutions, and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. 
This Year in TV
- MythBusters: Demystifies myths, old sayings, and movie special effects. (Excellent program.--alexshrugged) 
- Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: Debunks pseudoscientific ideas, fads and misconceptions. 
- Two and a Half Men: Sit-com. (It sounds like The Odd Couple with a kid involved, but I've never seen the show.--alexshrugged) 
This Year in Music
- Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks is ashamed of President Bush: She is in London. It is 6 days before the invasion of Iraq. (She is an excellent singer, but I stopped listening.--alexshrugged) 
- Madonna kisses Brittney Spears and Christina Aguilera: It's the MTV Video Music Awards! (Uh... yeah.--alexshrugged) 
- Michael Jackson is arrested for child molestation.: He tends to make friends with children, but he was found NOT GUILTY. (Yeah. I don't know. These sort of allegations hinge on the testimony of children who are notoriously easy to mislead into saying what they think you want to hear.--alexshrugged)  
- And I think some people actually sang this year.
This Year in Video Games
- Madden NFL 2004: The 15th version of the game, and still growing. (Amazing.--alexshrugged) 
- Two teenagers blame Grand Theft Auto III for inspiring them to kill: One man was killed and a woman was wounded as the teens shot at highway traffic. A lawsuit against Wal-Mart, Sony Computer Entertainment, and Rockstar Games is pending. (I couldn't find out how the lawsuit turned out, but I doubt it would be successful.--alexshrugged)   
In Other News
- Martha Stewart is indicted for using privileged information to make stock deals: (FYI, she is on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange. She has a duty to be scrupulous in her dealings and she has failed. She is going to prison.--alexshrugged)
- Columnist Robert Novak mentions the real name of a CIA operative in his column: Shhh... it's Valerie Plame. (This is the beginning of a witch hunt.--alexshrugged) 
- New Hampshire's "The Old Man of the Mountain" collapses: It is a famous rock formation that looks like the head of an old man. 
- A pizza delivery man with a bomb chained around his neck is forced to rob a bank.: He says he is being coerced. Then he is blown up by remote control. Later it is revealed that he had planned the robbery with cohorts, but thought the bomb was fake. When he found out it was real, then it was coercion.  
- Mad cow disease comes to Washington State: Brazil, Australia and Taiwan ban the import of US beef. (If they had called it "Drunken Cow Disease", half the scare would have been taken out of it. Nevertheless, it is a serious problem that cannot be fixed by simply cooking the meat a little longer.--alexshrugged) 
Gulf War 2 TimelineThe Pre-War Prerequisites
- (January 1) The US Sky Marshall program is reintroduced: (Golly. I wonder why.--alexshrugged) 
- (February 19) French Fries are renamed "Freedom Fries" because France opposes the invasion of Iraq: "Hot dogs" used to be called frankfurters until the war with Germany, so this is not unusual. 
- (March 17) President Bush gives his ultimatum: Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq, or it is war: . 
- (March 19) The first bombs drop on Baghdad: (As I recall, they thought they had a location for Saddam Hussein, so they tried to nail him early, and end this war before it started. Fat chance.) 
- (March 22) The massive "shock and awe" air campaign begins: . 
- (April 3) US forces seize Saddam International Airport: It is renamed Baghdad International Airport. 
- (April 5) Testing their defenses: US forces hit and run, testing the defenses of the Republican Guard. (It is disorganized.) 
- (April 5) Taking the Green Zone: US forces hit a different section of Baghdad taking control of what will later be called "The Green Zone." 
- (April 7) Objectives Moe, Larry, and Curly: US forces battle the Republican Guard in order to take three objectives, named after "The Three Stooges". The fighting is intense and lasts for 18 hours. One group almost runs out of ammunition, but it is finally resupplied. (I know it sounds silly to name battles after The Three Stooges, but Iraqi TV reporting has been bordering on the ridiculous. US tanks are rolling past as Iraqi reporters are saying that the US forces have been repelled.--alexshrugged) 
- (April 9) US tanks roll into Baghdad unopposed.: (It is a real shock to the Arab-language TV viewers outside of Iraq when suddenly Baghdad streets are filled with US tanks. The Arab-language reporters had lied, and the viewers now knew it.--alexshrugged) 
- (April 9) The statue of Saddam Hussein is pulled down.: (I watched it live. The Iraqi people were trying to pull it down with a rope, but the statue was attached solidly to its base. A tank commander offered to help, and attached a chain to the statue. While he was up there, he draped the head of Hussein with the American flag, and then removed it. It was a glorious site, but the flag would have been ruined once the statue was pulled down. The tank pulls, and the statue comes down.--alexshrugged)  
- (April 21) US Army General (retired) Jay Garner is named Interim Civil Administrator of Iraq: . 
- (May 1) President Bush lands on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln where a banner reads, "Mission Accomplished": With all that is left to be done, he is criticized for claiming victory early. (Technically, the war is won, and aside from some clean up work, this should have been our exit point, but no such luck.--alexshrugged) 
- (July 22) Uday and Qusay Hussein are killed in a shootout with US forces: They are Saddam Hussein's adult sons. 
- (December 13) Saddam Hussein is captured near his home town of Tikrit: (Reporters are amazed when President Bush admits that the decision to pull Hussein out of his spider hole, or to simply throw a grenade in there rested in the hands of the Delta force operator on the scene. (Which is where is should have rested.--alexshrugged)