Saturday, August 20, 2005

On responsibility

From CAFKIA. This is how it's supposed to be.

[. . .]

So one night, just like hundreds of other nights, you leave a junior officer in charge of the bridge while you address some unavoidable paper work, make some plans, and get some well deserved rest. Sometime late in the night/early in the morning, in a comedy of unlikely errors by officer and enlisted bridge personnel and an improbable mechanical failure, your ship runs aground. You know from the second you wake up from your learned, light sleep, which happens at the first shudder of the ship, you know who is responsible. You are. Such is the mien of command. What happens under your command is your responsibility . . .

He doesn't post often, but when he does it behooves you to listen. I learned this from my parents and in the military after they got done with me.

Stealin' from the Church

I had to. From the lovely Via:

They shoot back

Via Skippy, of course:

[. . .]

The reuse of some object-oriented code has caused tactical headaches for Australia's armed forces. As virtual reality simulators assume larger roles in helicopter combat training, programmers have gone to great lengths to increase the realism of their scenarios, including detailed landscapes and - in the case of the Northern Territory's Operation Phoenix - herds of kangaroos (since disturbed animals might well give away a helicopter's position). The head of the Defense Science and Technology Organization's Land Operations/Simulation division reportedly instructed developers to model the local marsupials' movements and reactions to helicopters. Being efficient programmers, they just re-appropriated some code originally used to model infantry detachment reactions under the same stimuli, changed the mapped icon from a soldier to a kangaroo, and increased the figures' speed of movement. Eager to demonstrate their flying skills for some visiting American pilots, the hotshot Aussies "buzzed" the virtual kangaroos in low flight during a simulation. The kangaroos scattered, as predicted, and the visiting Americans nodded appreciatively . . . then did a double take as the kangaroos reappeared from behind a hill and launched a barrage of Stinger missiles at the hapless helicopter. (Apparently the programmers had forgotted to remove that part of the infantry coding.) The lesson?

[. . .]

I'd sorta like to see deer and bear do this during hunting season.

Update: 16:15:

Fortuitously, Ol' Yella illustrates my point beautifully.


[. . .]

Bush is a classic Caligula-type personality: "(He) is preoccupied with fantasies of power and being loved. Such a person requires 'automatic compliance.' He or she is 'exploitative' of others, 'lacks empathy, is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.' And also 'shows arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes." "--Has a grandiose sense of self-importance, exaggerates achievements and talent (or lack thereof), expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements." (Diagnostic and Statistical manual: Charasteristics of N.P.D.) The last time the world stage entertained such manifest entitlement and madness was Adolph Hitler. The comparisons are entirely legitimate.

[. . .]

M and T (and Harry Hound) take a look at Bush's mental stability. Stop laughing.

Katyusha Update

Yesterday, in the wake of the news about the rockets widely missing the supposed targets of two U.S. ships in Jordan, I did a post about the type of rockets used and why I thought they missed. I did that one out of my head. I was pretty close, but my info was dated and incomplete. Here's a better look at them.

A letter from Cindy Sheehan

Via Truthout:

I got an email the other day and it said, "Cindy if you didn't use so much profanity ... there's people on the fence that get offended.

And you know what I said? "You know what? You know what, god damn it? How in the world is anybody still sitting on that fence?

If you fall on the side that is pro-George and pro-war, you get your ass over to Iraq, and take the place of somebody who wants to come home. And if you fall on the side that is against this war and against George Bush, stand up and speak out.

After that wishy-washy beginning, she gets down to brass tacks. This gal is my hero. No shrinking violet, that's for sure.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Fringe Idea With Political Clout

Jon Carroll sounds off on Intelligent (cough) Design:

Intelligent design is not science. It is not even a field of study. It is a belief system wrapped up in "scientific" language. Scientists have been studying the origin and nature of life on earth for at least 4,000 years. In that time, they have come up with a number of hypotheses. Then new evidence has been turned up, and the old hypotheses have been discarded, often reluctantly.

Scientists, like all humans, really hate to discard ideas that they have defended for years. The history of science is a history of unhappy people reluctantly changing their minds. Imagine the person who first realized that the sun was just another star. Terrible, terrible news. It's the universe saying, "You're not special."

The intelligent design people have never suffered such a crisis. They have never changed their minds based on new evidence. That's because they started with the desired results and worked backward.
The intelligent design people don't do mosses. They don't spend 17 years in a laboratory with a glass case full of earthworms. They are indifferent to the symbiotic relationships that create lichen. The intelligent design people are not interested in studying; they are interested in preaching. They do not present papers; they present sermons.

It's not an equal struggle. It's the world scientific community against a few guys with some Web sites and a lot of political clout.
Here's what it's like. Suppose there were a conference on child development and parenting. And some people are saying that children should start early on a rigorous academic program, and others are saying no, they should have real childhoods and be allowed to develop their creative abilities naturally. And some people say that children should get regular allowances, and others say, no, children should always do chores to get money. And some people say children should get complete sex education and access to birth control devices as soon as they reach puberty, and others say no, that just encourages promiscuity and reinforces our society's unhealthy preoccupation with sex.

And then someone says, "We should throw pingpong balls at them. All day, every day, we should throw pingpong balls at our children. It just seems like the right thing to do."

That's the role of the intelligent design people in serious discussions about the nature and the origin of life. They are the pingpong-ball people. They're not even talking about the same thing. They have an agenda. They want to change the subject.

Even their most basic premise is false. The theory of natural selection does not deny the existence of God. It has no opinion on the matter. The theory of natural selection arose from a series of observations and experiments by people who were, for the most part, believing Christians. Faith and science can live very comfortably together, if only someone would give them the chance.

I could probably live with these ID whackjobs and their moronic ideas if they didn't want it to be enshrined in law that everybody else has to be taught to be as ignorant as they are.

Stalin Organs

As we all have no doubt heard by now, Al Qaeda is claiming credit for firing three rockets at the USS Queerbarge Kearsarge. I expressed some doubt at various blogs that it was the target by wondering how they could possibly miss a target that is 600 feet long and rises forty or more feet out of the water at the flight deck, and 150 feet at the superstructure, and is tied to a dock, i.e. parked, to boot

Well, I take it all back. I was just watching Confused News Network and now I know.

The rockets were WWII Russian "Katyusha" missiles. They are deployed from a towed launcher that contains multiple rockets in a rack, maybe twenty of 'em. They're three or four feet long and have no guidance once they leave the launcher. It is an "area fire" weapon and as such is impossible to aim with precision. It is pointed in the approximate direction and angled upward for range in the "I shot an arrow into the air, it fell to earth I know not where" mode. To hit anything with it, the Russians fired thousands of them in a barrage. They make a terrific back blast and a huge cloud of dust when they go off. As soon as it is fired, the truck hooks the launcher up and hauls ass as it is sure to draw counterbattery fire. The U.S. had a very similar weapon.

Wehrmacht soldiers called 'em "Stalin Organs" and they did indeed play a deadly tune.

It's my guess that the rockets were left over from the Soviet Union's involvement in Egypt, but I certainly wouldn't rule out that these fanatics towed them overland from Afghanistan behind a Nissan pickup. Hopeless, but it gave them something to do.

The chance of hitting a specific target with only three antique examples of a crude, even for its time, device is highly dependent on Allah's good intentions towards the mission. It would be like trying to take a shower with three drops of water.

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

Baby pictures:

Princess Shayna at about 6 months.

None better

Than the Rude One:

[. . .]

See? You get it? It's not that the administration's a bunch of stumblefucks who couldn't wipe their asses with a diagram and feces-finding tissue. It's that the lack of body armor and, oh, say, a plan is exactly what's needed so the troops really suffer for their country. It's a morale builder, not a soul wrecker.

[. . .]

If Dick Cheney is breathing he's lying. Or he's insulting the United States Military once again by comparing them with a bunch of untrained, weakly-armed, barely cohesive bands of citizen-terrorists who were cobbled together to fight against an occupying power. Or he's the most ironic motherfucker in history.

[. . .]


Excellent article on Kinky Friedman and his run for governor of Texas in The New Yorker.

Kinky, in his life and work, has always felt most comfortable as an outsider: a Jew in Texas, a Texan in New York, a reactionary in progressive circles, and a progressive in conservative circles. "Too smart for country, too country for the intelligentsia," as the journalist Larry Sloman - better known as Ratso, who in the mysteries plays Watson to Kinky's Sherlock - once put it. In front of a liberal crowd, Kinky throws in as many racist and sexist epithets as he can think of. If it's a country crowd, he uses bigger words and makes fun of rednecks. Naturally, this is part of his political appeal: politicians are always careful to say nothing offensive, whereas Kinky is careful to always say something offensive; he provokes not to stop conversation but to start it. It's a delicate balance, however. As Evan Smith, the editor of Texas Monthly, for which Kinky wrote a column for four years, put it, "If he's too much like the Kinky we all know and love, he risks not being taken seriously - but if he's too serious he risks just being another guy. People will say, 'If I wanted an unfunny guy, I'd vote for one of the actual candidates.' "

Kinky will have to convince voters that he's at least a little serious, and this means convincing them that he is sincere. Willie Nelson, aboard his tour bus just before a show in New Jersey, told me, "They come to hear just how far out is this guy, and I think that's true of any entertainer who is being honest and truthful." Kinky has said that he would appoint Nelson as his energy czar, in order to explore expanding the use of biodiesel, an alternative fuel that Nelson uses in his buses and cars. "They want to know how honest you're gonna be," Nelson said, "and I haven't seen him back off on anything."

I'd love to see him turn Texas politics on its head. Go to Kinky's site and read, then get on his emailing list.

History has a way of repeating itself...

On Aug. 19, 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler as Fuhrer.

Of course, that could never happen here...

What We're Fighting For

Just to keep us focused, I present this post at The Poor Man Cafe. He starts by quoting Paul Begala on " Anti-War Imagery and the Iconography of Hate". That's worth a read in its entirety.

Then follows up with a bunch of quotes by wingnut hatemongers. Read 'em and refresh your memory.

They want to destroy everyone who doesn't drink their demon kool-aid, and our nation in the process.

We're fighting for the survival of Democracy and Freedom. Make no mistake about it.


[. . .]

Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore. This was true despite a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely Gore votes, most notably Ms. Harris's "felon purge," which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters.

[. . .]

Go read. Great thanks to Melanie.

Iraq is lost

This via Wolcott:

It's over. For the U.S. to win the Iraq war requires three things: defeating the Iraqi resistance; establishing a stable government in Iraq that is friendly to the U.S.; maintaining the support of the American people while the first two are being done. None of these three seem any longer possible. First, the U.S. military itself no longer believes it can defeat the resistance. Secondly, the likelihood that the Iraqi politicians can agree on a constitution is almost nil, and therefore the likelihood of a minimally stable central government is almost nil. Thirdly, the U.S. public is turning against the war because it sees no "light at the end of the tunnel."

As a result, the Bush regime is in an impossible position. It would like to withdraw in a dignified manner, asserting some semblance of victory. But, if it tries to do this, it will face ferocious anger and deception on the part of the war party at home. And if it does not, it will face ferocious anger on the part of the withdrawal party. It will end up satisfying neither, lose face precipitously, and be remembered in ignominy.

[. . .]

It looks like Bush has painted himself into a corner. Good. Wait for the terror threat level to go up sometime soon to distract us from the reality once again.

Sign on

Add your name to the Freedom of Information Act request. Jane:

[. . .]

Well here's your chance to bear witness to the fact that you did not go quietly. On Monday the DNC will file a Freedom of Information Act request for documents pertaining to John Roberts' work as a political appointee under the first Bush administration that the White House has so far refused to turn over to the Senators who have asked for them. The request will come from Howard Dean and anyone who wishes to put their name to it. You can read the formal request and add your name here:

[. . .]

Finally! One about Me 'n Fixer!

From Jaime O'Neill:

Because most of the fighting now being done requires far less marching than was once needed, it is only reasonable to propose that perhaps we have arrived at a time in the history of human struggle when the old people can do the fighting.

This guy has never been in the service. It ain't the marching that hurts. It's the running and the hills with a full load. Even at eighteen, I loved those fuckin' Camp Pendleton hills, and they loved fuckin' me! I see his point though: march long enough, you'll get to a hill and have to run up it.

Tapping that pool of warriors should be easy. Aging males are easily the most gung-ho of all warriors.

From Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove right on down to the guys who write letters to the editors of the nation's newspapers, the fiercest warriors are men over 50, men with expanding waistlines and receding hairlines who would tear the enemy a new one if only they could get up off the sofa in less than three tries.

Besides, many of these older men work out regularly and eat sensibly. The popular wisdom now has it that 60 is the new 40, and 40 is surely young enough to serve in the military.

Guys like Rep. Tom DeLay, for instance, look to be in fine shape and would make good soldiers, I'm sure.

Tom DeLay and me in the same fire team? Sign my aging white ass up! D'ya think they'd notice if the Squad Automatic Weapon bullet holes in him were in the shape of my initials? That there's two belts worth?

So, because these males are really, really angry, why not give them an outlet for all that anger, and soon, while they can still see to fire their weapons?

Yet another social benefit of my proposal is to be found in the potential for saving vast sums of money that would otherwise go toward health care for these aging males.

This is sounding like win-win!

An additional advantage to my proposal is that it would get these men out of the house. As it is, far too many of them, especially those who have retired early, are annoying their wives, are constantly underfoot and are often in the way.

Mrs. G says it's win-win too! She's so supportive.

As an aging man myself, I would readily join the ranks of the aging army, but I think my skills are more valuable here at home, thinking up ideas for victory like the aforementioned proposal.

I think that's the whole problem with war. Old men get pissed off and send young men to fight the stupid wars they start. Maybe if the old farts had to go fight 'em, they'd wise up.

Anyway, go read the whole thing. It's a hoot!

Gotta quit checkin' stuff out late at night. My senses are dulled from the day. I'll post anything!

What's in a name...

Donna Gillespie in the EssEffChron:

It's time for the pro-choice movement to change its name. "Pro choice" is not a slogan to conjure a drumbeat summoning people to march for human rights. "Choice" brings up images of entitlement, of having the leisure to choose. You choose ice cream flavors. Or whether to buy the Prada shoes or the Hermes bag when you can't afford them both.
I propose that we choose a name that resonates with our highest values: "Equal justice for women." "Reproductive rights for all women." "Reproductive justice for women." Or perhaps "full civil rights for women." Whatever term in settled on, it should be something that carries a moral force. We should be saying it with all the passion with which people once said, "Give me liberty or give me death." Yes, it's that kind of issue. The best answer, when anyone asks you if you're for "abortion on demand" is: "Certainly. I'm also for human rights on demand."

Conversely, those who believe in full human rights for women must stop allowing anti-abortion groups to disguise their intentions behind the label "pro-life." I propose that we start calling them what they are -- advocates of forced birth. (my bold)

Let's face it: To force an unwilling woman to give birth is a barbarous act. This is the dark side of the anti-abortion movement that its proponents don't want the public to closely examine. At a recent anti-abortion march here in San Francisco, I saw a baffling placard proclaiming: "Women deserve better than abortion." What, exactly, would that "better" be? For the woman whose birth control has failed her to be put under house arrest for the first six months of her pregnancy, to assure that others' will is done and not hers? We should condemn this with the same righteous fury with which we condemn spousal abuse and rape.

I think she's got a good point. Names and image are all about marketing. The truth doesn't necessarily sell as well as a lie, as we all know from watching the Bush administration at work. I like the term "wingnut whackjobs", f'rinstance, but it may not have broad appeal even though it's the truth.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Mein Kampf

A very big hat tip to Glen.

Bend Over, Marine

This one totally pisses me off. From OhioNewsNow:

AUSTIN, Texas A decorated Marine doesn't qualify as a Texas resident any more because of the time he spent serving in Iraq.

That's what Carl Basham says officials told him when he tried to enroll in Austin Community College.

He's registered to vote in Texas, has a Texas driver's license and does his banking there. But he says officials told him that's not enough to qualify him for the lower tuition Texas residents pay.

That means he'd have to pay around 26-hundred dollars a semester in tuition, instead of about 500 dollars.

Basham did two tours of duty in Iraq.

Officials at the college will only say Basham didn't meet state requirements. They say privacy laws prevent discussing his case.

Those rotten sonsabitches. Go do your duty as you see it, and your reward for risking your ass is a financial penalty for being out of state? Motherfucker!

Why Bush Won't Talk To Cindy

Marjorie Cohn at Truthout:

Why didn't Bush simply invite Cindy in for tea when she arrived in Crawford? In a brief, personal meeting with Cindy, Bush could have defused a situation that has become a profound embarrassment for him, and could derail his political agenda.

Bush didn't talk with Cindy because he can't answer her question. There is no answer to Cindy's question. There is no noble cause that Cindy's son died fighting for. And Bush knows it.
If Bush were to give an honest answer to Cindy Sheehan's question, it would be that her son died to help his country spread US hegemony throughout the Middle East.
But Bush has no intention of ever pulling out of Iraq. The US is building the largest CIA station in the world in Baghdad. And Halliburton is busily constructing 14 permanent US military bases in Iraq.

George Bush knows that he cannot answer Cindy Sheehan's question. There is no noble cause for his war on Iraq.

Bush has got his ass in a crack over this war, and knows that it's starting to cave in. It's all PR now. Any success in the wake of his disastrous decisions depends on an ignorant, cowed press and public, and Mrs. Sheehan's efforts are starting to bring attention to it and convince other anti-war folks that they can come out of the closet and speak up.

I'll be glad to see his hiney out of the vise and his neck in a noose.

Maybe Earth Sucks

Astounding new revelations from The Onion:

KANSAS CITY, KS - As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.
The ECFR, in conjunction with the Christian Coalition and other Christian conservative action groups, is calling for public-school curriculums to give equal time to the Intelligent Falling theory. They insist they are not asking that the theory of gravity be banned from schools, but only that students be offered both sides of the issue "so they can make an informed decision."

"We just want the best possible education for Kansas' kids," Burdett said.
"Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the 'electromagnetic force,' the 'weak nuclear force,' the 'strong nuclear force,' and so-called 'force of gravity,'" Burdett said. "And they tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one, unified force is: His name is Jesus."

Much more. Go read. Be sure to fasten your seat belt so you don't bounce off the ceiling when God repeals the "law" of gravity.

Gay President

From Jessika:

[. . .]

James Buchanan, our only unmarried President was homosexual. In fact, he wasn't very far in the closet. For many years in Washington, while he was serving as a Democrat in the U.S. Senate, he lived with William Rufus King the Democratic Senator from Alabama. The two men were inseparable, in fact, folks referred to them as "The Siamese Twins".

[. . .]

Seems we've regressed mightily in the last century and a half.

DSM/American side

I've been remiss in not posting this. Hope the Sister can forgive me:

Planning for post-Saddam regime change began as early as October 2001

Washington, D.C., August 17, 2005: Newly declassified State Department documents show that government experts warned the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in early 2003 about "serious planning gaps for post-conflict public security and humanitarian assistance," well before Operation Iraqi Freedom began.

[. . .]

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Insanity and World War 3

Great article at Lew via Melanie:

With every poll showing majorities of Americans both fed up with Bush's war against Iraq and convinced that Bush's invasion of Iraq has made Americans less safe, the White House moron proposes to start another war by attacking Iran. VP Cheney has already ordered the US Strategic Command to come up with plans to strike Iran with tactical nuclear weapons.

[. . .]

The only check on Bush is the lack of US troops. Bogged down in the Iraqi quagmire, US commanders are stating that a third rotation of our exhausted and demoralized troops in Iraq can be avoided only by troop withdrawals by next spring.

[. . .]

Gentle reader, do you realize the danger of having a president so disconnected from reality that he plots to attack Iran - a country three times the size of Iraq - when he lacks sufficient forces to occupy Baghdad and to protect the road from Baghdad to the airport? [my emphasis]

[. . .]

There's more. We are living in Bizarro World.

In the Land of the Stupid

Via the lovely Pudentilla at Skippy's:

Only about half of this year's high school graduates have the reading skills they need to succeed in college, and even fewer are prepared for college-level science and math courses, according to a yearly report from ACT, which produces one of the nation's leading college admissions tests.

The report, based on scores of the 2005 high school graduates who took the exam, some 1.2 million students in all, also found that fewer than one in four met the college-readiness benchmarks in all four subjects tested: reading comprehension, English, math and science. [NYT]

[. . .]

Remember when everybody used to tell Polish jokes? Now they're gonna tell American jokes.


All I have to say is this. It's their land, get out.

Paradigm shift

Growing public dissatisfaction with both the war in Iraq and US relations with the Muslim world could soon lead the American public to demand a change of course by the administration, according to a new poll of foreign policy attitudes.

[. . .]

That combination of strong public opinion and the belief that the government is responsible for addressing it makes the Iraq war "the foreign policy issue that most clearly appears to have reached a tipping point", said Daniel Yankelovich, a pollster and chairman of Public Agenda, a nonprofit research group that conducted the poll.

[. . .]

"If the war in Iraq lingers, the standoff with Tehran lasts, and relations with Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria remain troubled, the next reading of [the index] could well reveal that the vague apprehension the American public now feels has crystallised into a demand for changes in US foreign policy," he said.

[. . .]

Unbelievably, or maybe not, it took us 5 years to reach this point. Maybe now, most Americans won't fall for the next distraction coming out of 1600.

Deepindahearta, Texas

This is just so good:

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- Anti-war demonstrators led by the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq will move their campsite closer to President Bush's Texas ranch.

The new site, offered by a sympathetic landowner, is just a mile from Bush's Crawford home.

The landowner is a relative of Larry Mattlage, the local rancher who fired shots into the air Sunday, saying he was preparing for "dove season," said Sheehan, the aggrieved mother.

"This just shows me that the universe is blessing our efforts out here at Camp Casey," she said late Tuesday, referring to the camp named after her 24-year-old son.

[. . .]

Even Chimpy's neighbors are turning on him. Good . . . damn good. Outstanding even. Hat tip to our esteemed colleague and fellow New Yorker Glen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

RudePundit Does Stand-up

From the NYTimes. Thanks, Sis.

Mr. Papa's ruling metaphor is always some form of aggressive to abusive sex. Do you remember that 1970's country hit, "Take This Job and Shove It?" Replace the word "job" with everything from weapons of mass destruction to false information, target someone like Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rove or Mr. Limbaugh, and tell them what to do with it.

The Rude Pundit is a child of Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and Hunter S. Thompson. Bruce and Richard Pryor were masters of stand-up comedy as political theater. Mr. Thompson was a master of journalism as performance art.

If you know their work you know that in the right hands, fantasy and obscenity are cathartic. They attack hypocrisy, because hypocrisy lulls us. Fantasy charms us and obscenity shocks us.

Sorry I missed it. I hope there's a CD soon.

Fox and the Virgin Mary

This is a 'Liquids Alert'. Swallow or spit before clicking here.

You vill do it, and you vill like it!

My mother's words still ring in my head. That's what I'd hear every time I became . . . difficult. When I read this, I hear those words again.

Pickled Cuckoo Bananas

I must direct you to Mr. H.

The General is Inspired!

Jesus General has come up with a great idea [Link added - F-man]:

Yellow Caucus

Mailed to 15 congresspeople* who are under 42 years old and support the war.

Dear Representative [Name],

Our nation is at war at a time when our military is suffering from a manpower crisis. Recently, the Department of Defense asked Congress to relieve the shortage of recruits by raising the enlistment age to 42.

You voted to support this war and have defended it at every turn. Now it's time for you to do more. The President needs you to champion the recruitment bill in Congress, and the nation needs you to sign up for infantry duty once the bill passes.

Your service in the military will not go unnoticed. If anything, it will enhance your image with voters and your colleagues--think about all the kind things you've said about veterans like John Kerry and Max Cleland over the last few years. Certainly, your peers will honor you in a similar way if you return. If you don't make it back, you can at least rest assured that your family will receive the same treatment as Casey Sheehan's mother.

You've sent thousands of our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers to destroy Saddam's weapons of mass bring freedom to the people of establish an Islamist theocracy in Iraq. Now it's time for you to answer your nation's call and join them. It's the right thing to do. It's the decent thing to do.

"Mommy, Why Does Gas Cost So Much?"

Peter of Lone Tree over at Blondsense has come across a fascinating website, IAGS (Institute for the Analysis of Global Security), which has a page listing all of the attacks on Iraq's oil pipelines since we "liberated" that country. It's both informative, and depressing at the same time. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for the map.

For me personally, the most fascinating part of this page was the last sentence on it:

"Saudi Arabia, which has demonstrated its willingness to use its vast oil reserves as a foreign policy tool, has not acted to aid U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq.

Gee, why am I not shocked.

"Supporting" Our Troops

From Daily Kos, and

Roadside Crosses Memorializing Fallen Soldiers Mowed Down by Pickup

Even pro-Bush demonstrators on Saturday showed respect for the roadside memorial set up by Cindy Sheehan and others honoring those soldier who have died in Iraq.

But one jackass last night evidently had to show them Libruls what kind of "man" he was. Here's a sucker's bet: I bet he never served.

Crawford is Getting Creative

Via Newsday:

Bush neighbors to seek court order

Some residents of the corn and cattle town of Crawford, Texas, are expressing resentment as hundreds of anti-war protesters descend upon President George W. Bush's adopted hometown.

After nine days of watching as one woman's protest has grown into a national event, dozens of the farmers and ranchers neighboring Bush's 1,600-acre Prairie Chapel Ranch plan to petition a county court in nearby Waco, according to one, Pete Martinka. They want to prevent anyone from parking or stopping within two miles of the makeshift campsite erected by Cindy Sheehan, the Vacaville, Calif., woman whose son, Casey, was killed in the war in Iraq.

"She's pitching tents on private property," said Martinka, who lives on a 104-acre ranch near the Bush property.

Sheehan, 48, has become an icon for a revived anti-war movement and her so-called Camp Casey outside the Bush ranch has become a small village. Her demonstration now includes a procession of TV satellite trucks, political operatives and public relations professionals. There are rallies and folk songs.

"People are very fed up," said another neighbor, Sgt. Vernon Harrison, 42, a National Guard nurse who returned from Iraq in February.

Sheehan's son Casey, 24, died in an ambush in Baghdad's Sadr City in April 2004. She said she will stick with her vigil as long as Bush is at the ranch. She said she still wants a face-to-face meeting with the president to seek answers about the war and to demand that U.S. troops in Iraq be brought home. Bush met with Sheehan last year during a visit with relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq.

Low-key, anti-war events continued at Camp Casey, about a mile from the gates of the Bush ranch. Early Sunday, about the time a prayer service was to begin, a neighbor, sheep farmer Larry Mattlage, fired at least one shotgun blast into the air. Sheriff's deputies and the Secret Service rushed to the scene. Mattlage told authorities he was firing at doves, preparing for hunting season that begins Sept. 1 in Texas. He wasn't charged because he fired a gun on his private property, according to the McLennan County Sheriff's Department.

Looks like Texas "justice" is gearing up.

With a hat tip to Americablog.

Washington Post Backs Down

Someone woke up at the Washington Post and realized what a big mistake they were about to make.

From Editor & Publisher:

'Wash Post' Cuts Ties to Pentagon Event After Protests

The Washington Post announced tonight that it will cease its co-sponsorship of the Pentagon-organized Freedom Walk next month. The paper's involvement had drawn heat from within and outside the paper, with a guild committee today calling for the link to end.

The newspaper told the Department of Defense that it was pulling back on its offer of free ads for the event -- a march up the mall ending with a concert by pro-war country singer Clint Black.

"As it appears that this event could become politicized, The Post has decided to honor the Washington area victims of 9/11 by making a contribution directly to the Pentagon Memorial Fund," said Eric Grant, a Post spokesman. "It is The Post's practice to avoid activities that might lead readers to question the objectivity of The Post's news coverage."

Well we already question your "objectivity", genius. But at least now your newspaper will have to work at being a little less obvious about it.

Bubbles 2

My man Dave:

[. . .]

Desperate sellers lower prices. They need that money, and they are afraid prices will go even lower in a hurry. So they'll make deals to sell their property. Others will see that the ones holding out for any decent price are losing their shirts, and lower their prices even faster.

Do you see where this goes? It's called a "panic."

[. . .]

The housing bubble is about to burst, gas prices are at an all time high and going higher daily, and the Iraq situation is going from bad to worse. Ya think the economy is far behind? As the article Dave linked to says:

. . .

This is a story from the Great Depression ... except it is happening right now in Dayton, Ohio.

. . .

Again it's Ohio. A new state slogan: "Fuck us dry and we keep coming back for more."

What would Jesus say?

It seems the folks in Jesusland are getting more unChristian-like by the day. Travis:

[. . .]

You hear that all you South Carolina poor people? You're going to have to stop being so frivolous and thoughtless about your health care choices. I mean, that chemo treatment you're getting--did you even shop around? I'll bet you didn't. I'll bet you just accepted the first offer that came your way. I hear Wal-mart is cutting back prices on cancer treatments. And those emergency room visits. A bit excessive don't you think? Every time there's a serious injury, you just rush into the hospital without stopping to think first whether you could staunch the flow of blood with some household item.

[. . .]

Isn't SC the place where all the Christians want to go and then secede from the Union? To them I say, have at it. Can't wait until it's time to cut you all loose.

Monday, August 15, 2005

VJ-Day Bay Melee

From the EssEff Chron comes this account of VJ-Day on its sixtieth anniversary.

Today is the 60th anniversary of a terrible day in San Francisco's history -- a victory riot that left 11 dead, 1,000 injured and the city's reputation besmirched.

"It was the deadliest riot in the city's history," said Kevin Mullen, a retired deputy chief of police who has written extensively about crime in San Francisco.

The riot, which followed the Japanese surrender announcement by a day, was mostly confined to downtown San Francisco and involved thousands of drunken soldiers and sailors, most of them teenagers, who smashed store windows, attacked women, halted all traffic, wrecked Muni streetcars -- 30 of them were disabled, and one Muni worker was killed. The rioters took over Market Street and refused to leave until military and civilian police drove them away long after nightfall following hours of chaos.
When the war was over, there was a huge sense of relief. The Army military police and the Navy shore patrol and the San Francisco police got official orders: "Let the people do anything within reason,'' The Chronicle reported, "and keep property damage down.''

The first day -- V-J Day -- was like a pleasant round of drinks, a nice feeling. The second day was different.

"If you pull all restraints off and add liquor, that's what happens," said Mullen, the former deputy police chief. "Everybody went nuts. These were not veterans, they were young people who hadn't been in the war. They were not warriors," he said.

They hadn't seen the war, and now they didn't have to. There would be no invasion of Japan, no long casualty lists. These young men would not see combat. So they got drunk. They were all drunk, the reporter Delaplane wrote. One in four, he thought, was "falling down drunk."
Mullen blames the police for what happened. They were not prepared, he said. They had no plan. The result was a riot and many dead people.
A month later, San Francisco held a big parade on Market Street, led by General Jonathan Wainwright, the hero of Corrigedor. Half a million people came to see the real war veterans. There was no trouble.

Since most of those servicemen were getting ready to ship out for the invasion of Japan, scheduled for November, with one million casualties predicted, it's hard to blame them for cuttin' loose. I'd never heard of this before, so I thought I'd share.

My way or the highway

Mustang Bobby:

[. . .]

It never ceases to amaze me how these so-called "conservatives" think that they're both entitled to rule the world and whine about being the victim if they can't have everything exactly the way they see it through their perverted lens of theology, capitalism-on-crack, and fear-mongering.

[. . .]

An excellent post on 'Just-Us Sunday II'. Once again, 'activist judges' are only good if they rule in the Christo-Fascists' favor.

Dog Days in Bumfuck

Billmon's got a good take on Mrs. Sheehan, Hanoi Jane, the wingnut dilemma, and Bush's French-style five week vacation.

It's as good an explanation as any, I guess, although to me the expression "dog days" has always called up images of rabid canines, their muzzles dripping with foam and blood from their own self-inflicted bites, writhing in crazed torment under the blazing sun while their virus-riddled brains gradually turn to mush inside their narrow, wolfish skulls.

Which, more-or-less by coincidence, appears to be the effect that Cindy Sheehan is currently having on conservatives. Except for the gradual part.
In fact, if Cindy really is a front woman for the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, as the wing nuts now claim, then you'd almost have to conclude that Bush was in on the planning, too. Hauling the entire White House press corps down to Bumfuck, Texas, so they can spend the better part of August playing cowchip bingo, was a move that seems, in hindsight, almost custom-designed to generate massive media coverage of Cindy's protest. In Washington, she'd be just another face in Lafayette Square (the designated "free speech zone" in front of the White House.) In Crawford, she's the only thing making news within a 500-mile radius. That seems like an awfully high political price to pay to move Bush and his imperial retinue from one volcanic pit of heat and humidity to another for five weeks.
The machine can try to demonize Cindy Sheehan. But it can't demonize those questions -- not any more, not when so many others are asking them. Here in the dog days of August, it appears the rabid curs of the authoritarian right have finally met their match, in the form of a middle-aged woman in a sunhat, holding in her hand the metaphorical equivalent of a rolled-up newspaper for wacking bad little GOP doggies (and presidents) on the nose.

Be sure to read this one. It's a hoot, and brings up some stuff about the anti-war sentiment/movement that I hadn't previously considered.

U.S. Marine opens fire outside Mass. nightclub

We can thank George, Dick and Rummy for this story. I'm worried that there's going to be an entire generation messed up thanks to their greed.

From Reuters:
U.S. Marine opens fire outside Mass. nightclub

BOSTON, Aug 15 (Reuters) - A decorated U.S. Marine, who had been treated for post-war stress since serving in Iraq, opened fire outside a Massachusetts nightclub, wounding two people, Boston media reported on Monday.

Daniel B. Cotnoir will be arraigned on Monday on charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and assault with intent to murder after the incident early on Saturday in the city of Lawrence, The Boston Globe said.

Cotnoir had complained to police after a crowd of nearly 30 people gathered outside a nightclub and restaurant near his apartment. After someone hurled a bottle that shattered his bedroom window, Cotnoir fired "a warning shot," the newspaper said.

The bullet hit a 15-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man.

"He shot into what he thought was a safe area, but there was some ricochet effects that Mr. Cotnoir never intended," his lawyer, Robert F. Kelley, was quoted as saying.

"It was a military-type response to a threatening situation that was civilian in nature."

Cotnoir, a sergeant awarded the 2005 Marine of the Year by the Marine Corps Times, has been struggling psychologically since returning from Iraq in 2004, Kelley said.

Police were not immediately available to comment.

Sibel Edmonds

The fact that there are no investigations - I will give you an analogy, okay? Say if we decided to have a "war on drugs," but said in the beginning, "right, we're only going to go after the young black guys on the street level." Hey, we already have tens of thousands of them in our jails anyway, why not a few more? But we decided never to go after the middle levels, let alone the top levels . . .

It's like this with the so-called war on terror. We go for the Attas and Hamdis - but never touch the guys on the top.

[. . .]

His Highness directs us to an interview with her at The King also has some good links, print, audio, and video.

Blinded by the Right

Pauly has the last installment of an excellent series he's been writing for about a week now (give or take). Read them all:

And conservatives have only themselves to blame. Yeah, yeah, the GOP controls all three branches of the federal government -- that you can probably blame on liberals. But what's conservative about the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress? One, Teaxs greedhead Tom DeLay makes the late spendthrift extraordinaire Tip O'Neill look like a skinflint (no mean feat there, take it from a Bay State native); two, the federal government is larger and more overbearing now than it's ever been (whatever happened to shrinking the government to the point that it could be drowned in a bathtub, otherwise known as the Norquist Doctrine?); three, there's nothing fiscally responsible about cutting taxes while waging war in Iraq (which, I believe, is the first time in America's history that that's happened -- the war profiteering is nothing new, but it's still evil, and in this case profoundly insulting); and four, Social Security may be liberal in its implementation, but it's conservative in its effect -- it helps to preserve a decent standard of living for old people that they deserve anyway (what the hell is conservative, never mind laudable, about altering Social Security in such a way as to risk throwing our senior citizens out in the cold?). This Republican administration and this Republican Congress don't practice conservatism. They practice radicalism. They're neither better than nor different from the Bolsheviks who took over Russia in the early half of the last century.

[. . .]

The self-proclaimed 'bird brain' is far more insightful than he lets on.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Cindy Sheehan, Bill Mitchell and the Lost Boys

This covers another side of Cindy Sheehan's story, and those who have come from all over the country to show their support. From Editor & Publisher:

Cindy Sheehan, Bill Mitchell and the Lost Boys

Reading some of the ample coverage of the Cindy Sheehan protest at the Bush ranch this week, I was shocked to discover that a man I know, who also lost a son in Iraq, had flown to her side. But that wasn't the only surprise.

By Greg Mitchell

(August 11, 2005) -- With the U.S. death toll in Iraq approaching 2,000, and a like number of grieving families, what were the odds that the one father I know personally in that mournful position would end up at Cindy Sheehan's side in Crawford, Texas, this week?

Since he's been protesting the war before it began -- and before he lost his son -- I probably shouldn't have been so surprised.

Yesterday, visiting the Web site of the Lone Star Iconoclast (better known as "George Bush's hometown paper") in Crawford, I came across a firsthand account of a visit by the publisher and editor of that paper, W. Leon Smith, to the Sheehan encampment. She is the woman now famous for demanding to meet with the president to find out from him why her son had to die in Iraq last year, and for what.

Smith, on his suddenly-popular Web site, recounted in Q&A form his interview that day with a man who had also lost a son in Iraq, and had flown in from California to stand with Sheehan.

Lo and behold, the interview subject was none other than Bill Mitchell (no relation), who I interviewed on several occasions last year, and have kept in contact with ever since via e-mail. There was even a picture of the two men chatting, so I finally got to see what Bill looks like: thin, fair, with a moustache.

I'd read a fair amount about Sheehan, and knew Bill's story very well, but still I was shocked when I read in the interview that Mitchell's son Mike had died on the same day, April 4, 2004, as Sheehan's son Casey -- and in the same Sadr City incident.

Read the rest HERE.

Ol' "Gimlet Eye" Speaks...

I direct you all to "War Is A Racket" by Gen. Smedley D. Butler USMC.

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

It's long. Read it all.

One Mother's Stand

Go read everything on Cindy's Page at Truthout.

Today was George Bush's accountability moment, and he lost. Two young ladies from San Diego drove all night to get to the rally and they had to leave tonight to get back home. One of them said: "Wow, we can drive all the way from San Diego just to meet you and he can't even come down to the end of his driveway to meet with you."

George Bush: you work for me. I pay your salary. Come out and talk to me. Anyway, I have a feeling you are about to be fired!!!

It's basically Mrs. Sheehan's chronicle of events from 5 August up to date. Good background stuff from her point of view.

Someone Tell the President the War Is Over

Go read Frank Rich's Op-Ed.

LIKE the Japanese soldier marooned on an island for years after V-J Day, President Bush may be the last person in the country to learn that for Americans, if not Iraqis, the war in Iraq is over. "We will stay the course," he insistently tells us from his Texas ranch. What do you mean we, white man?
As if the right-wing pundit crackup isn't unsettling enough, Mr. Bush's top war strategists, starting with Mr. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, have of late tried to rebrand the war in Iraq as what the defense secretary calls "a global struggle against violent extremism." A struggle is what you have with your landlord. When the war's uber-managers start using euphemisms for a conflict this lethal, it's a clear sign that the battle to keep the Iraq war afloat with the American public is lost.

"Right-wing pundit crack-up". Now, that's a crack-up! Ha!

The priority now is less to save Jessica Lynch (or Iraqi democracy) than to save Rick Santorum and every other endangered Republican facing voters in November 2006.
Thus the president's claim on Thursday that "no decision has been made yet" about withdrawing troops from Iraq can be taken exactly as seriously as the vice president's preceding fantasy that the insurgency is in its "last throes." The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We're outta there. Now comes the hard task of identifying the leaders who can pick up the pieces of the fiasco that has made us more vulnerable, not less, to the terrorists who struck us four years ago next month.

I know this isn't too helpful but Anybody But Bush is at least a starting point. Somewhere along the line, a little accountability (read "revenge") is necessary. I'll vote for the first sonofabitch (ladies included) who promises to indict the Bush cabal.

Coming Home

Florida National Guardsman John Crawford describes his adjustment to civilian life upon his return from Iraq.

Even the best laid plans go awry, and that is what happened with me. While many in my platoon had relatively easy transitions, I found myself within days kept from homelessness only by the hospitality of a friend with a sofa. It was like being at a party and going to the restroom for 15 months and then trying to rejoin the conversation. Everyone and everything had changed without asking me first.
War stories end when the battle is over or when the soldier comes home. That's one way to tell it's a story. In real life, there are no moments amid smoldering hilltops for tranquil introspection. When the war is over, you pick up your gear, walk down the hill and back into the world, where people smile, congratulate you, and secretly hope you won't be a burden on society now that you've done the dirty work they shun.

I wonder how many returning GIs' lives are shattered that don't write it down.


John via Digby, the new Repub talking points:

In the medium and long term, what happens in Iraq is up to the Iraqis. It is certainly possible that they might forfeit what the Bush administration and America's armed forces have given them: a chance at freedom and the opportunity to live in peace with their neighbors. But if the Iraqis fail, it won't be because liberals stampeded the United States into abandoning them. - Assrocket [my emphasis]

Yeah, far be it for me to forfeit a thorough assfucking.


I have zero use for anyone who willingly goes into a war zone to make a profit, whether they be private soldiers or truck drivers. Turns my stomach when I think our government is supporting these assholes. I'll go to war in a second to defend my country, but selling your allegiances is abhorrent to me. Read Steve Gillard.


From Joe Biden (D-MBNA) on Press the Meat.

"The American people are smarter than their leaders."

No fucking shit.

Fatalities in Iraq

If anyone still thinks the insurgency is getting more "desparate", and that we are finally "turning a corner", then check out this flash movie.

With a hat tip to Prairie Weather.

While I'm at it

Yesterday I went after the administration and our military leadership. Today I want the enablers. You know who you are. You're journalists; not all journalists, but those who have sold your souls and sold out your profession to enrich yourselves. You're lowlife scum, for you are supposed to be our last line of defense. The Founding Fathers wanted . . . no, needed a free press to ensure the future of the wonderful experiment known as the United States of America.

As you all have seen over the past five (some would say thirty-five) years, the built in checks and balances can be bypassed to the point of allowing a dictator to take control of the nation. Do you not think men like Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams knew this might happen? They saw it first hand, at a time when tyrants were the rule rather than the exception. They knew that no matter how many safeguards they put on paper, the freedoms the press enjoyed were the most important.

Those freedoms assure the public knowlege of their elected representatives doings, whether they have lost their focus, become swayed by wealth and power to look to their own interests ahead of their constituents'. Your responsibility is to warn us before they got too powerful and too corrupt so we could vote them out. That is your responsibility and you own this as much as Bush owns Iraq. You, in the White House press corps, the TV news executives, you have sold that responsibility, your souls, to the Republican machine.

The Founders were counting on you, we were counting on you, and you abdicated your Constitutional responsibility. Thanks to you, the Bush administration was given another four years to destroy this nation. Had you done your fucking jobs, he would have been shown for the liar, thief, and con man he is long before he could have sent troops to Iraq. Had you done your fucking jobs, he never would have been President in the first place. Whether through apathy or outright greed, you allowed this to happen.

You allowed the Republican machine to drag Clinton down over nothing but a blowjob and you allowed Bush to commit his crimes against the United States and humanity as a whole. You should be ashamed and you should be held up to ridicule for the rest of your damnable lives. You should never be allowed to work as journalists again. Much as I'd rather see you all in front of a firing squad, charged with treason, writing for the National Enquirer or some other rag to scratch out a meager living is a much better fate for you. No TV pundit gigs, no book deals, no nationally syndicated columns, just reporting on the dirt farmer in Kansas whose daughter was impregnated by aliens.

For the likes of Rupert Murdoch (and anyone who works for Fox News), Rush Lintball, Michael Savage, and the others who are nothing but paid employees of the Republican National Committee in one form or another, you deserve to be strung up from the same trees as your patrons.

And a special note to the editors of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal: The writing is on the wall and when the Bush Era is finally over, you will be too. Of all of the news organizations to buy into the conservative line, you should be the most ashamed of them all. You've taken the reputations of America's flagship papers and wiped your collective ass with it.

Dad . . .

[NYT] LIKE the Japanese soldier marooned on an island for years after V-J Day, President Bush may be the last person in the country to learn that for Americans, if not Iraqis, the war in Iraq is over. "We will stay the course," he insistently tells us from his Texas ranch. What do you mean we, white man?

[. . .]

The endgame for American involvement in Iraq will be of a piece with the rest of this sorry history. "It makes no sense for the commander in chief to put out a timetable" for withdrawal, Mr. Bush declared on the same day that 14 of those Ohio troops were killed by a roadside bomb in Haditha. But even as he spoke, the war's actual commander, Gen. George Casey, had already publicly set a timetable for "some fairly substantial reductions" to start next spring. Officially this calendar is tied to the next round of Iraqi elections, but it's quite another election this administration has in mind. The priority now is less to save Jessica Lynch (or Iraqi democracy) than to save Rick Santorum and every other endangered Republican facing voters in November 2006. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

Now it's all about saving their collective ass. If any good will come out of Iraq, it'll be that the Republican machine will be crippled for a decade . . . if we're lucky. (Hat tip: Jillian)