Saturday, July 29, 2006

Yeah, I'd be gay too...

The Big Dog's response to the Coultergeist after she called him gay. Smart guy, that Clinton...well, until he went to Connecticut this week...



An analysis released today by Frank Newport, director of The Gallup Poll, shows that current public wishes for U.S. policy in the Iraq war eerily echo attitudes about the Vietnam war in 1970.


It took us four more years and the resignation of a President before that war was finally put to rest. What will it take to end the insanity this time?

New blood in the streets in the town of New Haven

I'll let Jane tell ya.


RJ has questions.

So long, bud...

Sizemore of The Brutal Truth is hangin' it up. Go say adios and wish him well.

Heh . . .

I always knew he was an asshole.

The crux of the biscuit


Now I personally happen to think that Hizbullah probably did or does have some weapons stashed away somewhere in the Dahiyeh. I also happen to think that the attempt to explode those weapons was not worth exploding so many of the neighborhood's inhabitants.


What will happen, Hussein told me, is that Hizbullah, using money from international donors such as Iran and Syria, will provide for these people and rebuild their homes. And a new cycle of loyalty will be created.


It is my opinion that this consensus is the product of a broad indifference to the loss of Lebanese life. Nothing less, I believe, could generate such disregard for what happened to the residents of southern Beirut beginning on July 12 and for what is still happening to the residents of South Lebanon. What happened in Beirut was the targeting with heavy ordnance from air and sea of a sitting-duck civilian population. It was a bad deal.


And so we create another generation of terrorists who will continue to harass Israel and dream of striking at the heart of the Great Satan itself.

Since people seem to want answers, how's this: Let's put together a socio-economic package* for the region that addresses putting Lebanon and the Occupied Territories on a path to economic prosperity. Let's figure out a 'land barter', if you will, between the Israelis and Palestinians to create a viable, contiguous state of Palestine. Prosperity and recogntion of Palestine would, and should, be tied to a real peace. If we give people a chance at a future, they won't want to shoot rockets into Israel or blow themselves up on buses.

If Hezbollah and Hamas want their people to be prosperous, they will have to put down their weapons. If we show that we actually care what happens to these people instead of so much lip service, these terrorist groups would lose their following quickly. I'm certain, if you polled the Palestinians and Lebanese, a far greater majority would rather live in peace with Israel than continue this lunacy, but Israel cannot be allowed to run roughshod over innocent civilians or make unilateral decisions for them.

As long as the groups of Hamas and Hezbollah give their people a greater promise of hope than the western nations trying 'to remake the region', there will never be peace. And it is incumbent upon us to sue for that peace. It is up to us, as the most powerful nation on the planet, to initiate talks with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas, to take the high road and say artillery and bombs, suicide bombers and rockets are not the answer.

Unfortunately, the greedy bastids who run the show don't care about anyone but themselves.

*For clarification, I'm talking a package worth at least as much per year as we give to Israel.

Clinton/ McCain drinking bout

Yahoo! News

If Hillary Clinton ends up running against John McCain for the presidency in 2008, the two might vaguely remember competing against each other once before.

That would have been in the summer of 2004 in Estonia where, according to The New York Times, the margin of victory was not votes, but shots of vodka.

The instigator of the after-dinner contest, the Times reported for its Saturday editions, was Clinton, D-N.Y. McCain, R-Ariz., readily agreed.

Aides to McCain did not return messages seeking comment Friday. Philippe Reines, Clinton's spokesman, played coy.

"What happens in Estonia stays in Estonia," he said Friday evening.

Another example of how the Press ain't doin' its job. Who drank whom under the table? Who barfed? Who got frisky? Inquiring minds want to know!

Republican Says We Need a Dem Congress

Via Truthout

The following is a letter from former Republican Congressman and Presidential candidate Pete McCloskey.

I have found it difficult in the past several weeks to reach a conclusion as to what a citizen should do with respect to this fall's forthcoming congressional elections. I am a Republican, intend to remain a Republican, and am descended from three generations of California Republicans, active in Merced and San Bernardino Counties as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have just engaged in an unsuccessful effort to defeat the Republican Chairman of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo, in the 11th Congressional District Republican primary, obtaining just over 32% of the Republican vote against Pombo's 62%.

The observation of Mr. Pombo's political consultant, Wayne Johnson, that I have been mired in the obsolete values of the 1970s, honesty, good ethics and balanced budgets, all rejected by today's modern Republicans, is only too accurate.

It has been difficult, nevertheless, to conclude as I have, that the Republican House leadership has been so unalterably corrupted by power and money that reasonable Republicans should support Democrats against DeLay-type Republican incumbents in 2006. Let me try to explain why.

I have decided to endorse Jerry McNerney and every other honorable Democrat now challenging those Republican incumbents who have acted to protect former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who have flatly reneged on their Contract With America promise in 1994 to restore high standards of ethical behavior in the House and who have combined to prevent investigation of the Cunningham and Abramoff/Pombo/DeLay scandals. These Republican incumbents have brought shame on the House, and have created a wide-spread view in the public at large that Republicans are more interested in obtaining campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists than they are in legislating in the public interest.

Mr. McCloskey continues to explain at some length.

I have therefore reluctantly concluded that party loyalty should be set aside, and that it is in the best interests of the nation, and indeed the future of the Republican Party itself, to return control of the House to temporary Democrat control, if only to return the House for a time to the kind of ethics standards practiced by Republicans in former years. I say reluctantly, having no great illusion that Democrats or any other kind of politician will long resist the allure of campaign funds and benefits offered by the richest and most profitable of the Halliburtons, oil companies, tobacco companies, developers and Indian gaming tribes whose contributions so heavily dominate the contributions to Congressmen Pombo and Doolittle.

The checks and balances of our Constitution are an essential part of our system of government, as is the public faith that can be obtained only by good ethical conduct on the part of our elected leaders.

If the Republicans in the House won't honor these principles, then the Democrats should be challenged to do so. And if they decline to exercise that privilege, we can turn them out too. I appreciate that I had serious deficiencies as a candidate, and that four months of campaigning and the expenditure of $500,000 of the funds contributed by old friends and supporters were unsuccessful in convincing Republicans of the 11th District to end the continuing corruption in Washington. I hope, however, to partially redeem my electoral failure by working, as a simple private citizen, to rekindle a Republican sense of civic duty to participate in the electoral process this fall. The goal of The Revolt of the Elders was and is to educate voters to the need for a return of ethics and honesty in Washington. That goal was right 18 months ago, and seems even more worthwhile today.

Please go read the rest.

Mr. McCloskey is a Marine combat veteran of the Korean War and a recipient of the Silver Star and Navy Cross. Read his military bio and award citations here.

Mr. McCloskey has always been a Republican I could live with. It looks like he's seen the light and is trying to convince others. I hope he succeeds and that other Republicans follow his example.

Busy ...

The Mrs. and Shayna both have checkups (the Mrs. to the dentist, Shayna for yearly shots) at the same time. Thankfully, the vet and the dentist are a couple blocks apart. I'll be back later.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Me 'n Pat...

I said how I'd handle Hezbollah if I was the Head Heeb in the comments section of Fixer's post. I gotta be more careful what I say, for I ended up agreeing with Pat Buchanan again. Look for "Israel's Vietnam Syndrome" if it ain't right on top.

Behind the U.S. refusal to support a cease-fire in the Israeli-Hezbollah war lies a stark reality. Israel needs more time to attain its strategic goal: Cleanse Lebanon, south of the Litani, of Hezbollah fighters and Katyusha rockets. A cease-fire in place means Hezbollah wins the war.

Yet, one day after Israel lost nine soldiers and 22 wounded in an ambush outside a town it claimed to have taken, its cabinet appears to have given up on sending in the army. Israel is going to rely on air power and artillery to root out Hezbollah, which means that Israel will fail.

And if the IDF is not going in, the United States should support a cease-fire now. For U.S. interests are at rising risk.

Why did Israel launch an air war against Lebanon rather than a ground war to engage and eliminate Hezbollah?

Perhaps because the Israeli chief of staff is an air force man. Perhaps to send a message that this is what happens to Arab nations that trifle with Israel. But certainly to avoid the casualties Israel knows must come from a ground war in Lebanon against a dug-in Hezbollah prepared to fight and die.

After 18 years of being bled in Lebanon, Israel gave up and went home. The Vietnam syndrome set in.

Still, how can Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah claim to have won the war, when they have inflicted far less damage and taken many more casualties? Answer: By simply standing at war's end.

Israel apparently believes it can defeat and disarm Hezbollah with air strikes and artillery, though in 18 years of occupation it failed. It is deceiving itself. Either Israel goes in and roots Hezbollah out at a cost of hundreds of Israeli dead, or it will have to negotiate, as it did with Syria's Assad in 1973 and the PLO's Arafat in 1994. If you will not or cannot defeat your enemy, you eventually must talk to him.

All that's being accomplished by the artillery, bombing, and air strikes is the killing of civilians and the hardening of opinion against Israel. You kill the enemy best with direct contact and take and hold ground with troops, not explosions. If they're not willing or able to send troops on so obvious an infantry mission they should knock it the fuck off and start talking.

I don't agree with Buchanan very often, but when I do it scares me that we both may be right. Or wrong. Either way, it's scary.

Dems criticize Bolton


Senate Democrats unleashed a sharp volley of criticism of President Bush's foreign policy yesterday, arguing that John R. Bolton has done more harm than good as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and does not deserve an extended term. If Bolton's style were less divisive, they said, he might have achieved more reforms at the United Nations and tougher sanctions against Hezbollah and North Korea.

"My objection isn't that he's a bully, but that he's been an ineffective bully and can't win the day when it comes, when it really counts," said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who led last year's opposition.

Bolton told the committee that the past year in New York has not changed his views of the United Nations, which he often has portrayed as ineffective and corrupt. That did not sit well with Dodd, who said the ambassador "clearly has an aversion, in my view, to being diplomatic or to building consensus for U.S. positions. And that is deeply troubling to me."

We knew all this going in. Bolton is a Bush appointee. 'Nuff said.

It's the Pitts

OpEd News

You want the perfect analogy to what we are doing in Iraq ?

How about this letter from William Pitt to the House of Lords on November 18th, 1777.

It's entitled An English Plea For Peace With The American Colonies;

"My Lords, this ruinous and ignominious situation, where we cannot act with success, nor suffer with honour, calls upon us to remonstrate in the strongest and loudest language of truth, to rescue the ear of Majesty from the delusions which surround it. You cannot, I venture to say, you CANNOT conquer America.

What is your present situation there? We do not know the worst; but we know that in three campaigns we have done nothing and suffered much.

You may swell every expense, and strain every effort, still more extravagantly; accumulate every assistance you can beg or borrow; traffic and barter with every pitiful German Prince, that sells and sends his subjects to the shambles of a foreign country: your efforts are forever vain and impotent - doubly so from this mercenary aid on which you rely; for it irritates to an incurable resentment the minds of your enemies, to overrun them with the sordid sons of rapine and of plunder, devoting them and their possessions to the rapacity of hireling cruelty!

If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms! - Never! Never! Never!"

And the Iraqis will never lay down their arms for that very same reason.

"Sordid sons of rapine and of plunder" - an apt description of Bush&Co, nez pas?

Gore sounds off

If you're a fan of Gore Vidal like I am, and maybe even if you're not, you'll enjoy this interview at The Progressive.

He sees a certain continuity in U.S. foreign policy over the last fifty years. "The management, then and now, truly believes the United States is the master of the Earth and anyone who defies us will be napalmed or blockaded or covertly overthrown," he says. "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense."

Q: In 2002, long before Bush's current travails, you wrote, "Mark my words, he will leave office the most unpopular President in history." How did you know that then?

Gore Vidal: I know these people. I don't say that as though I know them personally. I know the types. I was brought up in Washington. When you are brought up in a zoo, you know what's going on in the monkey house. You see a couple of monkeys loose and one is President and one is Vice President, you know it's trouble. Monkeys make trouble.

Q: Bush's ratings have been at personal lows. Cheney has had an 18 percent approval rating.

Vidal: Well, he deserves it.

Q: Yet the wars go on. It's almost as if the people don't matter.

Vidal: The people don't matter to this gang. They pay no attention. They think in totalitarian terms. They've got the troops. They've got the army. They've got Congress. They've got the judiciary. Why should they worry? Let the chattering classes chatter. Bush is a thug. I think there is something really wrong with him.

Much, much more. Enjoy.

Hate to say it ...

But I told ya so:

DAMASCUS, Syria, July 27 - At the onset of the Lebanese crisis, Arab governments, starting with Saudi Arabia, slammed Hezbollah for recklessly provoking a war, providing what the United States and Israel took as a wink and a nod to continue the fight.


And so they did. And while I generally agree with my pal Gord, now was not the time to "kick Hezbollah's ass up around its ears". No love for Hezbollah on my part but:


Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for more than two weeks, the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements.


I mean, isn't this the place we're trying to transform into a democracy? Trying to 'win the hearts and minds' of the population. All we seem to be doing is making more enemies and putting out new slogans. While I don't say we should shy away from a fight if somebody brings it to us, making more enemies by allowing our supposed allies to open another front in the 'War on Terra' at this delicate time (remember how well the Occupation of Iraq is going?) is counterproductive to a 'sustainable peace' we claim to want so badly.

Gilliard puts it succinctly, in a way even the neocons and the Israelis can understand:


Hezbollah has trained for this, they have trained to take on the IDF in enclosed spaces and that tunnel network is out of Cu Chi. The IDF has no clue what they're facing.

This will not be finished quickly.

Now I'm late.


Chris Dickey of Newsweek via Digby:


The bottom line: Hizbullah is winning. That's the hideous truth about the direction this war is taking, not in spite of the way the Israelis have waged their counterattack, but precisely because of it. As my source Mr. Frankly put it, "Hizbullah is eating their lunch."



This is even turning Jews off.

Success ...

If so, what's the metric for failure? Gotta go to work. Happy Friday!

Quote of the Day

From a post by Jersey Cynic:


In short, the Neoconservative ideology is inherently evil because it necessitates a willingness to do "whatever it takes." Anything that stands in the way of their objective is the enemy; whether it is truth, justice or (in our current situation) the American way.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Suicide hotline ...

Please hold ..."

Simple ...



Put another way, in exchange for the thousands of lives lost, hundreds of billions of dollars squandered, and destruction of U.S. credibility as a result of our invasion, the best we can hope for is what we already had -- a situation where Al Qaeda cannot run free in Iraq -- along with a vicious civil war and control by Iranian mullahs over most of Iraq. And that is what one of the leading neconservative advocates of the war is saying.


So tell me again why the neocon leadership shouldn't be put up against the wall? We attacked and destroyed a nation for nothing and someone better be held accountable.

Waiting to get blown up ...

WaPo via Creature:


"It sucks. Honestly, it just feels like we're driving around waiting to get blown up. That's the most honest answer I could give you," said Spec. Tim Ivey, 28, of San Antonio, a muscular former backup fullback for Baylor University. "You lose a couple friends and it gets hard."


I've spoken about this enough over the past two years. Go read what the troops say.

So now ...

We're anti-Semites. At least according to the Bullshit Moose:

Do those of us who oppose Joe Lieberman because he represents a failed policy, because he has stabbed fellow Democrats in the back. According to Marshall Wittmann it's because of Anti-Semitism.


The View on the Ground

I've crawled out from underneath my rock long enough to post some quotes from a few interesting blogs you might wish to check out for further perspective on the latest Mid-East crisis.

Slices of life in Middle East Blogistania:

First, from Back to Iraq 3.0 (who has been in Lebanon these past few months):
"Bombs and Politics
BEIRUT — Why, oh, why do people with access to really big bombs continue to think they can change people's loyalties by dropping those big bombs on their homes and families?

Israel's strategy in Lebanon is pretty clear now: Make the pain of "supporting" or "harboring" Hizbullah so great that the Lebanese will deal with the group. That was also the idea behind the attack on Gaza and Hamas as well as the so-called Bush Doctrine - the U.S. will make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them. It's also the hot air for the trial balloon often floated in D.C. regarding regime change in Iran: Bomb the mullahs and watch the pro-American youth embrace the Pax Americana!

Except- it almost never works. I mean, George Bush was considered barely qualified to make coffee at the White House in August 2001. (Remember that?) And then, boom, 9/11 hit and he's suddenly the best wartime leader since Churchill. Was there a rethinking of American policy on the part of the masses and a call for changing those policies? Or even, dare I say it, removing the Bush Administration from office because the consequences of having a nincompoop in office had grown too painful? Hell, no! Americans rallied around the flag and the leader. In fact, the only incident that I can think of that involved bombs leading to the victims blaming their leaders and punishing them was - Madrid.

So why do Washington and Tel Aviv think Arabs would react any different? (Maybe a bit of cultural chauvinism?) Did the Iraqis turn on Saddam Hussein through 13 years of sanctions? No. Did the Palestinians turn on Fatah after the start of the 2001 intifada? That's a negative. The Gazans this year? Nope. Will the Lebanese turn on Hizbullah? Not likely, and certainly not in the short term.

Another reason the "bomb 'em and they'll love us" strategy won't work here is that Hizbullah is not the PLO. An historical digression, if you'll allow me: Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978 and 1982 in two attempts to dislodge the PLO from Lebanon, where it was using the country launch attacks on the Jewish state. The Palestinians had developed a state-within-a-state in the south, which was often called "Fatah-land." (Sound familiar?) In 1983, Israel finally pushed the PLO out and Yasser Arafat and his followers fled to Tunisia. Still, the Lebanese war dragged on for another seven years as various militias - some supported by Israel, others by Syria and Iran - before finally ending in 1990 from exhaustion. Lebanon was shattered and Israel ended up occupying parts of the country for 22 years, spawning Hizbullah.

This is important. Hizbullah was not started by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. It was organized by them out of the disparate Shi'ite groups that popped up to resist the Israeli occupation. Iran helped merge them together, but they're a Lebanese creation.

This means Hizbullah is an indigenous group, not a foreign body like the PLO was. Saying that Lebanon "harbored" Hizbullah is like saying the United States "harbors" white supremacists or anti-government militias. You probably hate them and despise their goals, but you can't they’re alien parasites on American society. Like Hizbullah in Lebanon, they're an integral if extreme part of the political and social fabric. Ending of expelling Hizbullah is akin to amputation rather than lancing a boil."

From Kerblog, a Lebanese blogger:
that's it!
i can't anymore!
please do not contact me for any interview anymore.
i am beginning to freak out repeating 5 times a day the same things. if your interested in what i am doing, please write yourself a story about it (it's easy, you'll see).
anyways, everything i am asked is already on the blog. or worst, on tv.
i should by the way keep record of these interviews, some are incredible. i was asked twice so far: "don't you think that your piece of music and bombs is of a bad taste?
i answered twice: "do you think that it is of a good taste to throw a bomb on a bus with civilians escaping their village?"
it is incredible that some people, listening to this piece in their living room in london or in paris, ask themselves if they like it or not. i think that some people should never stop seeing cnn and fox news. it is made for them. it is "good taste" news."

And next, Live from an Israeli Bunker:
"We had 10 sirens today, and finally a new instruction came to stay at least 15 minutes down there after a siren. This might be obscure so I'll explain. What happened in the past few days, and I've talked about this already, is this: Siren goes off, people go down into the bunker, all clear to come back up after a few minutes, then they rapidly fire again. You almost never hear a lone siren by itself, always in pairs or more with short pauses in between. This is designed to hit people when they come out of the bunker. So now we wait for 15 minutes and sure enough, while in the bunker we hear yet another siren again. But since everybody are down there nobody gets hurt the second time around. That's why recently we had relatively few casualties. STAY DOWN THERE. It will save your life, your completely safe there.

But we are spending more and more time down there. And some of you asked what it's like, and whats going on. Well this is from the last time: We are down there and after ten minutes another siren hits, so this means that we'll spend at least 25 minutes down there. The radio puts on a song to pass the time, it's "I want to be loved by you", Marilyn Monroe singing circa 1959 from a wonderful movie called "some like it hot".

Anyway, the scene was to me at least, surreal. Just imagine: "I wanna be loved by you, just you", somewhere three dozen miles away two rockets are inbound, "And nobody else but you", in your minds eye your flying behind them, seeing the green valleys of south Lebanon below you, "I wanna be loved by you, alone!", your passing over Israeli troops now, seeing them building up in a few locations, "Boop-boop-de-boop!", you for a second glimpse a dozen special op soldiers moving bend over on the ground unaware that behind the next hill there are three Hezbollah terrorists, but your not going to see the outcome of that because your moving on..."

Ya Know,sometimes it's just beyond my comprehension...

And to be honest,I've come to the place where I am GLAD I don't understand what motivates people to do things like this.I don't want to understand this shit anymore,I want to work to STOP it.

I've dealt with mild harassment for being a liberal surrounded by conservatives,I can only imagine the crap I'd have to deal with if I ran for any office here.

If I find a horse head in my pool,it's going in the front yard with a big ass sign on it saying:

THIS is what conservatives do to their fellow Americans and neighbors who disagree with them.One of your neighbors put this in my pool.Where my son and his friends swim.Think about it.

Not to mention the person who did this had to cut off a horse's head in the first place.Which all by itself is sick enough.Yeah,and I'm unhinged? Umm,no.

One good thing for me has sprung from this kind of "compassionate conservatism". Never again will I feel that something is wrong with me or that I'm not witty and smart. I may not be pretty,popular,or win the Nobel Prize or a membership into MENSA,but I'm refreshingly and fabulously NORMAL and SANE.

P.S. David Neiwert should get a Pulitzer for his work on right wing hatred and how it makes it's way into becoming acceptable. If you don't keep up with his blog,you should try to squeeze it into your daily blog rounds now and then.


Gord spoke of Oklahoma's nutty senior senator, Jim Inhofe, the other day. It seems it's contagious:

In a desperate bid to be known as Oklahoma's Stupidest Senator(tm), Tom Coburn one-ups fellow Okie James Inhofe:


Via Dr. Attaturk. [You gotta see the pic at Attaturk's]

What can Israel do?

TPM commenter LS posits Israel is doing the only thing it can to stop Hezbollah:


Here's the thing, though. I have yet to see anywhere on line an honest attempt to wrestle with the conundrum Israel faces. Hizbollah operates within civilian neighborhoods, and does things like house its weapons in apartment buildings (where people actually live). What are the military options for dealing with an enemy that positions itself in this way?


The option, sir/ma'am, would have been for Israel to abandon the 'Israel uber Alles' position they've had since '73. The option would have been for Israel not to treat the Palestinians and Lebanese like insects and vermin, annoyances to be shooed away or exterminated. The option would have been a humanitarian one as opposed to always calling in the tanks.

People don't blow themselves up in buses because they hate Israel. They do it because Israel's policies toward their people have robbed them, and their children, of hope for the future.

We also have ourselves to blame for years of 'wink and nod diplomacy' when dealing with Israel's conflicts with its neighbors. Where we give them a pat on the head and an admonition, 'just don't break too much before you're done'.

As I've said in the past, there are no saints in this struggle, but many of Israel's problems are the result of their own policies toward their neighbors. A little more 'velvet glove' as opposed to 'iron fist' over the past thirty years might have saved a lot of pain and heartache. Israel probably has no other military option at this point, for no leadership has come from Washington, and real diplomacy is a lost art at Foggy Bottom*.

*[Link added after the fact.]

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


[/NY accent] Get the fuck out.

'All of you' or 'Y'all' for those not from the NY Metro Area.


I'm not a fan of Howard Stern. I used to be when I was younger, when he was in New York and before he was syndicated, but I can only listen to so much toilet humor and heavy breathing over lesbians. I respect him the way I do Larry Flynt for his 1st Amendment stands (I've long ago canceled my subscription to Hustler as well). But you gotta love that he's taken up the cause against Holy Joe.

Caesar Salad

A recipie for disaster ...


To our pal Pissed Off Patricia for my being slow on the uptake. She's got her own place and it took me until today to realize it. Of course it's been added to the blogroll.

New Concept For Journalism

I was going to link directly to the source on this, but I found a precis on it with a link in the first 5 words. It's quite long, but I think worth a read. See what you think.


Jay Rosen over on Pressthink is trying out a new concept in online journalism content creation. With seed money from Craig Newmark of Craig's List fame, he's about to open a web site at NewAssignment.Net. In essence, he will attempt to build up independent electronic enterprise reporting as the mainstream media tears itself down.

Rosen describes it as "journalism without the media," and it makes some philosophical/business assumptions that seem on-target. First, a way has to be develop to harness the blog-type energies into fact-based, original and salable news products. That can be done by using an open-source approach to come up with solid assignments, which can then be picked up for reporting by professionals or able news novices. (Lord knows, there is plenty of talent to be mined. MSM dumped more than 6,000 professional journalists from its ranks in just the last two years, by some estimates.)

Second, (which is not yet opened, but reserved with a holding page at the moment) would serve as a way to create, syndicate and disperse original reporting created for real dollars. It would be, in essence, a new kind of wire service.

People could invest/contribute to stories they want to read about (or run in their own publications), the reap the rewards of the collaborative NewAssignment.Net community.

Like many great ideas, this one is rooted somewhat in idealistic and, perhaps, overly optimistic visions of our media future. But something like this will eventually have to arise to supplant the ever-skimpier MSM contributions to enterprise and in-depth reportage. Like it or not, bloggers exist only because they have MSM content to blog about. With original reporting -- fact-checked and well produced -- we may at least add to the pool of realiable information available for all consumers.

Seems to this ex-newspaper dood it's well worth a shot. Craig's List, BTW, is already down for a $10K bet on the same.

"Well worth a shot" indeed! Somehow, I don't think we're going to see a lot about this in the traditional MSM, but that's the whole point, ain't it?

FEMA OKs 1st Amendment Rights

Following up on my post of July 20 about FEMA preventing its trailer residents from speaking to reporters. From Editor & Publisher.

The controversy over Federal Emergency Management Agency's denial of media access to residents of the organization's trailer parks has been momentarily quelled, according to The Advocate of Baton Rouge, La. The newspaper reported today that FEMA recently reversed its media policy, allowing reporters with proper credentials access to residents of the trailer parks, which were set up as disaster relief following Hurricane Katrina.

"Government authorities telling private citizens that they can't speak with journalists--then threatening to have those journalists arrested--is typical for despotic regimes in foreign capitals," The Advocate wrote on July 23.

The actions of FEMA outraged not only local government officials, but journalism organizations around the country as well. David E. Carlson, the president of the Society of Professional Journalists, wrote a letter condemning the denial of media access, and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) sent out a memo with the contact information of the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, Richard L. Skinner, urging readers to write Skinner and demand for an investigation to begin.

Today, The Advocate has Stark recanting his position.

"We're responding to your criticism," Stark said to the editors and staff of The Advocate over a conference call. "You pointed out some very good points that we shouldn't be trying to muzzle the press."

That's bureaucratese for "you caught us violating the Constitution without the power to get away with it like our bosses do, so we're forced to change our position".

This is a perfect example of what the Press is supposed to be doing.



But it is almost beside the point whether Katrina victims' access to the press is being restricted by official policy or unofficial practice. The Advocate piece provided two specific examples of residents of FEMA camps being told by FEMA security guards that they were "not allowed" to talk to media. (Another example, recorded on audio tape, was broadcast by Democracy Now!—4/24/06.) Stark’s letter simply ignores those incidents, providing neither an apology nor an explanation for these civil liberties violations. Thus FAIR repeats its call for an investigation by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

I think that'd be kinda like the head fox investigating a break-in at a chicken coop. It should be investigated by a Justice Department not owned by Bush, or by a Democratic Congress.


What is it?

About Jesus freaks and sex? I mean, I can understand if they don't condone homosexualty, or masturbation, or actually enjoying the act purely for the pleasure, but why must they try to legislate those of us who do?

I don't care what they do, or don't. But Jeez, you would think none of them ever had good sex before. But that's not my point. My point is that if you only have sex for procreation purposes, how do you become a good lover? It's like everything else, the more you practice at something, the better you get.

I've also found (speaking purely through personal anecdote) that relationships are better if the sex is good. If you're in tune with your lover's body (basically being aware what makes them curl their toes and make those noises), you get more in tune with their emotions when you're not in the bedroom, or whatever room you like to do it in.

And let me explain I'm talking more about the quality of the sex rather than the quantity, and not the kinds of acrobatics you do either. I'm talking about the way you tune into each other, the way you know how a certain touch in the right places will elicit certain reactions. The way you both say, 'I'm Gumby, dammit' afterward, when both of you are sated from the full effect. Sex is a wonderful form of communication in its purest form.

Now don't rush to click the comment link to say, 'Well, Fixer, you know how tight-assed they are, and they want to control our lives because they're afraid homosexuality might be contagious, or actually enjoying yourself with someone you want to give pleasure to and get in return is against God's will', I say this: Why did God give us the capacity to derive pleasure from the act itself? Why did God give us the opportunity to feel good if he didn't want us to in the first place? In all the years of building hotrods, I've never intentionally built a function into a car I didn't want it to have, and I'm nowhere near as talented an engineer as the 'man upstairs' (although Mrs. F says I have a God complex). Are we saying God made a mistake? I thought we were the fallible ones?

I mean, if it's as the Jesus freaks say, where sex should only be performed in pursuit of procreation, why didn't God make the act of conception the pleasurable experience as opposed to the orgasm? It makes sense to me. If sex were to be for the purely mechanical act of producing children, why doesn't the woman achieve orgasm when sperm fertilizes egg? Why give us the sensory organs at all? And why in Hell did he give us the urge to jerk off? Why not preprogram us to fuck at certain times of the year and only with our own [should have been 'the opposite'] sex?

As a writer, I know about building worlds. My stories take place in a world I've built over a dozen years. My characters display personalities I gave them and act according to the rules I've assigned to my world and to their individual personalities. Why would God create a world that didn't follow his rules? Seems like a lot of undue hassle to me. If you're the Almighty, why not build it right the first time? Personally, I think He did and it's us who've fucked it up.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Quote of the Day

Commenter Pug on this post at PSoTD:


That's why these folks who will call others traitors at the drop of a hat spend so much time on futile attempts to cleanse themselves of the stigma of being a great patriot who just never found the time to serve his country.


Who?... for What?

An interesting proposal from Molly Ivins. Read some of the comments, too.

Dear desperate Democrats:

Here's what we do. We run Bill Moyers for president. I am serious as a stroke about this. It's simple, cheap and effective, and it will move the entire spectrum of political discussion in this country. Moyers is the only public figure who can take the entire discussion and shove it toward moral clarity just by being there.

The poor man who is currently our president has reached such a point of befuddlement that he thinks stem cell research is the same as taking human lives, but that 40,000 dead Iraqi civilians are progress toward democracy.

Do I think Bill Moyers can win the presidency? No, that seems like a very long shot to me. The nomination? No, that seems like a very long shot to me.

Then why run him? Think, imagine, if seven or eight other Democratic candidates, all beautifully coiffed and triangulated and carefully coached to say nothing that will offend anyone, stand on stage with Bill Moyers in front of cameras for a national debate...what would happen? Bill Moyers would win, would walk away with it, just because he doesn't triangulate or calculate or trim or try to straddle the issues. Bill Moyers doesn't have to endorse a constitutional amendment against flag burning or whatever wedge issue du jour Republicans have come up with. He is not afraid of being called "unpatriotic." And besides, he is a wise and a kind man who knows how to talk on TV.

One time in the Johnson years, LBJ called on Moyers to say the blessing at a dinner. "Speak up, Bill," Lyndon roared. "I can't hear you." Moyers replied, "I wasn't speaking to you, sir." That would be the point of a run by Moyers: He doesn't change to whom he is speaking just because some president is yelling at him.

To let Moyers know what you think of this idea, write him at P.O. Box 309, Bernardsville, NJ 07924.

An outstanding idea! I would never wish the presidency on Mr. Moyers, but if he got involved it might show up the other candidates - Reps and Dems alike - for the shallow power-seeking liars they really are. Maybe even force a couple of 'em to actually say something meaningful or even - gasp! - truthful. Nah, too much to hope for, but it might stir things up a little, like putting an outboard motor in the punch bowl.

Good on yer, Molly

All the King's horseshit, and all the King's men...

If ya don't care to read Daddy Frank go on about Bush, stem cells, and the beginning of the end for the American ayatollahs, at least go see the cartoon. Via Rozius.

The news is not all dire, however. While Mr. Bush's Iraq project threatens to deliver the entire region to Iran's ayatollahs, this month may also be remembered as a turning point in America's own religious wars. The president's politically self-destructive stem-cell veto and the simultaneous undoing of the religious right's former golden boy, Ralph Reed, in a Republican primary for lieutenant governor in Georgia are landmark defeats for the faith-based politics enshrined by Mr. Bush's presidency. If we can't beat the ayatollahs over there, maybe we're at least starting to rout them here.

That the administration's stem-cell policy is a political fiasco for its proponents is evident from a single fact: Bill Frist, the most craven politician in Washington, ditched the president. In past pandering to his party's far-right fringe, Mr. Frist, who calls himself a doctor, misdiagnosed the comatose Terri Schiavo's condition after watching her on videotape and, in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, refused to dispute an abstinence program's canard that tears and sweat could transmit AIDS. If Senator Frist is belatedly standing up for stem-cell research, you can bet he's read some eye-popping polls. His ignorance about H.I.V. notwithstanding, he also knows that the facts about stem cells are not on Mr. Bush's side.

Go read. That's our Pop!

Revolt of the Puppets


The Cheney administration's Arab "allies" appear to have had enough of Condi's natural childbirth method. They're screaming for an epidural:

Those who thought it might turn out otherwise (I'm looking in your direction Booman) probably should have remembered the old Arab proverb: My brother and me against my cousins, my cousins and me against my village, my village and me against my tribe, my tribe and me against the world.

That's not an Arab or a Muslim thing, really -- just basic human psychology. And it appears that in the concentric circles of Middle East loyalties, Sunni versus Shi'a is still trumped by Arab versus Jew, believer versus infidel and (it would appear) tough Islamic fighters versus corrupt pro-U.S. elites.

The "new" Middle East, in other words, still looks a lot like the old one.

Update 12:30 PM ET: The Angry Arab notes, correctly, that one of the sickest/funniest aspects of this whole farce has been watching the neocons and the pro-Israel bloggers fellate the House of Saud -- that feudal hotbed of Islamofascism that miraculously transformed itself into the best Sunni friend Israel never had. Presumably it will now be allowed to revert to its good old Islamofascist self again.

Sounds like Mr. Billmon is a cum laude graduate of the Rude Pundit College of Journalism, huh?

I'm not particularly pro-Israel, but I still hope they kick Hezbollah's ass up around its ears before their leash gets yanked.

Repub nutcase calls sane people 'Nazis'

Think Progress

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is the nation's most prominent global warming denier. He famously declared that global warming is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." Now, he's taken the argument a step further. In an interview with Tulsa World, Inhofe compared people who believed global warming was a problem to Nazis:

Inhofe added that every claim in An Inconvenient Truth "has been refuted scientifically." He also admitted he'd never seen the movie.

UPDATE: Inhofe also compared An Inconvenient Truth to Hitler's book, Mein Kampf.

When us reality-based types compare criminals who start illegal wars, spy on and lock up citizens without due process, and stomp all over the 1st Amendment, just for starters, with Nazis, we're accused of being waaaay over the line.

Apparently when a nutjob Republican from an oil-producing state calls us Nazis for believing some science that might hurt his constituency of major donors' bottom line (let alone wreck the planet), that's OK.

Note to Oklahomeys: Dab a loop on this cat and get rid of his whacko ass.

"Yer outta here, honey..."

Go see Jane of Firedoglake talk about getting thrown out of the Clinton/Lieberman rescue attempt.

I can only hope that she hasn't led such a sheltered life that she hasn't been thrown out of better places than that!

Go wish her Happy Birthday, too. After seeing the video, I think she may be almost old enough to drink!

What's that sucking sound...?

From The Satirical Political Report on Clinton's rescue attempt in Connecticut:

This latest development has also "aroused" the interest of former Special Prosecutor Ken Starr, who maintains that this is not the first time that Clinton has gotten entangled with a Jewish Bush.


Move along ...

Nothing to worry about here, ma'am.

The Bush administration acknowledged yesterday that it had long known about Pakistan's plans to build a large plutonium-production reactor, but it said the White House was working to dissuade Pakistan from using the plant to expand its nuclear arsenal.

"We discourage military use of the facility," White House spokesman Tony Snow said of a powerful heavy-water reactor under construction at Pakistan's Khushab nuclear site in Punjab state.


"What is baffling is that this information -- which was surely information that our own intelligence agencies had -- was kept from Congress," said Sokolski, now director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center. "We lack imagination if we think that this is no big deal."


Aside from the fact Pakistan is what is basically a homeport for bin Laden and his organization, that everyone in the country but Pervez Musharraf hates us, that this could kick off an Asian arms race (remember, the Japanese have hinted they might consider building nukes to counter the threat from the insane midjet in North Korea, and leave us not forget India's rival program), and that some of the fissile materieal will most certainly make it into a dirty bomb, what could be bad? They're helping us in the War on Terra, right?

With a couple more years left of the Chimp, the Rapture freaks might get their wish. What did you say? Congressional oversight? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!



Or, put another way, the Lebanon situation has exposed, once again, that US policy, under Bush, is largely whatever the Israeli government says it wants. So the long term effect of this on US-Arab relations generally, and the US ability to be constructively involved in any serious peace process, is once again under debate. [my em]


The Chimp has yet, after 5 years, to develop a coherent policy regarding anything. Excellent read at TPM.


I brought this up in my post last night and the King has something related this morning:


"We went to a hospital where there were 200 children; they were beautiful, all of them, but they had cancers that the doctors couldn't even recognise. From the first Gulf War, the mothers' wombs were infected.

"As I was leaving the hospital, I said to the doctor, 'How many of these babies do you think are going to live?'

"He looked me straight in the eye and said, 'None, not one'...

*Depeleted Uranium

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sectarian break-up of Iraq is now inevitable, admit officials

Fixer touched on this the other day and it looks like the Iraqis are going to Plan B. From The Independent(UK).

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, meets Tony Blair in London today as violence in Iraq reaches a new crescendo and senior Iraqi officials say the break up of the country is inevitable.

"Iraq as a political project is finished," a senior government official was quoted as saying, adding: "The parties have moved to plan B." He said that the Shia, Sunni and Kurdish parties were now looking at ways to divide Iraq between them and to decide the future of Baghdad, where there is a mixed population. "There is serious talk of Baghdad being divided into [Shia] east and [Sunni] west," he said.

"The government is all in the Green Zone like the previous one and they have left the streets to the terrorists," said Mahmoud Othman, a veteran Iraqi politician. He said the situation would be made worse by the war in Lebanon because it would intensify the struggle between Iran and the US being staged in Iraq. The Iraqi crisis would now receive much reduced international attention.

The switch of American and British media attention to Lebanon and away from the rapidly deteriorating situation in Baghdad is much to the political benefit of Mr Blair and Mr Bush.

"Maliki's trip to Washington is all part of the US domestic agenda to put a good face on things for November," a European diplomat in Baghdad was quoted as saying.

Everything Bush does is for domestic political purposes in November.

Break the sonofabitch into as many pieces as necessary to get our troops home quick. That sandbox never had any business trying to be one country, and we never had any business being there in the first place, let alone trying to continue a failed 85 year old British policy.

Still haunting us ...

I got a buddy who's dealing with this in the local VA as we speak. He's been in and out with lung problems since he got home.

A report to be released this week is expected to say that Vietnam war veterans exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides might have damaged their DNA.

The Sunday-Star Times reported today that the report has researched the DNA of 25 Vietnam veterans and is expected to conclude that the veterans have suffered long-term genetic damage as a result of their exposure to environmental toxins in the war.


I believe we're gonna have a problem with chronic illnesses from the depleted uranium in the antitank and armor piercing ordnance we, and the Israelis, are using in the Middle East. Hopefully the government will have a better response than they did when the Agent Orange allegations came out.

Tip o' the Brain to Cookie Jill.

I don't care what anybody says ...

I like Vladimir Putin. Even more after reading this.

Irony Day

Ironic Times

Milestone: Coalition Forces Turn First Province Over to Iraqi Army
Ceremony attended by entire population of province and both of his camels.

Afghanistan's Cabinet Proposes Reestablishing Religious Police
U.S. Religious Police support proposal.

Blair Angrily Denies He's "Bush's Poodle"
Pees on reporter's leg.

Analysis: President Has Immunity From All Lawsuits
Not related to fellatio.

Many more. Have fun.

Israelis and Lebanese Are Still Talking - on the Net


Official diplomatic relations between the two countries may be at a nadir, but young citizens on both sides are finding common ground on Internet chat boards. Says a blogger: "We have tons of things in common. We come from two of the most liberal, educated countries in the Middle East...."

Also: Read the back story on that infamous picture of Israeli girls writing on rocket shells.

Here's part of the 'back story':

The little girls shown drawing with felt markers on the tank missiles are residents of Kiryat Shmona, which is right on the border with Lebanon. And when I say "on the border," I'm not kidding; there's little more space between their town and Southern Lebanon than there is between the back gardens of neighbouring houses in a wealthy American suburb.

No, how close is it really?

Well, there's a famous story in Israel, from the time when the Israeli army occupied Southern Lebanon: a group of soldiers stationed inside southern Lebanon used their mobile phones to order pizza from Kiryat Shmona and have it delivered to the fence that separates the two countries.

The internets are a fine way for people to jump around government political bullshit and talk directly to other people. Maybe that's why many governments are trying to suppress it. Ya think? After all, treating people like mushrooms* is 90% of their game plan. They haven't figured out the other 10% yet.

Of course, in Israel and Lebanon, they may try to suppress it with a Katyusha or an air strike. Look for this tactic in this country soon.

Keep 'em in the dark and feed 'em bullshit.

[Welcome Skippy readers! Come in and have a look around. - Fixer]

"Hezbollah will have hell to pay."

Andy Borowitz

The widening crisis in the Middle East took on graver proportions today when President George W. Bush indicated that if the hostilities continue, they could threaten his traditional August vacation at his Crawford, Texas, ranch.

At a press briefing at the White House, the president said that if Hezbollah continued its rocket attacks on Israel, he would see those attacks as "an assault on my vacation itself."

"Throughout the civilized world, my summer vacation has been considered sacrosanct," Mr. Bush told reporters. "The time has come for Hezbollah to recognize my vacation's right to exist."

I wish he would go clear brush until there ain't no more brush anywhere, and leave runnin' the world to adults. If there are any adults in government. Anybody but him would be an improvement, leaving Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al and other criminal conspirators out, of course.

Elsewhere, actress Pamela Anderson and singer Kid Rock have announced plans to marry, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Lives in the Balance

TalkLeft has an anti-war video set to Jackson Browne's Lives in the Balance.

There are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

If you click on "It even has his endorsement", it will take you to Browne's site where you can hear some tunes from his album Solo Acoustic Vol. 1. I like acoustic music, particularly artists accompanying themselves with minimal or no backing.

I've always kinda liked Jackson Browne. Running on Empty was a lifestyle for me years ago and it's comin' around again as I get older. This time it's more like Running on Fumes.

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-o-one
I dont know where Im running now, Im just running on

In '65 I was a 20-year-old Jarhead, but later I did a lot of runnin' up and down 101. You might have seen me:

He wore black denim trousers and motorcycle boots
And a black leather jacket with an eagle on the back
He had a hopped-up 'sickle that took off like a gun
That fool was the terror of Highway 101

These days, I got a little speed wobble and piston slap, but I'm still runnin'. As soon as the current criminals are out of office, I'll happily throw a rod and coast to the shoulder.

Sometimes I amaze myself with how my stream-of-unconsciousness can start on one subject and end up on another. Tried to save it with my last sentence. Heh.

Hands Off Connecticut

Scott Galindez on Clinton going to Connecticut to stump for Lieberman.

Once again, the Democratic leadership is shooting itself in the foot. Every time a candidate emerges that excites the grass roots but is not controlled by the old guard, they throw their resources into defeating the fresh face to maintain the status quo. Then they wonder why they can't regain a majority in Congress. Perhaps if they let fresh faces grow the party instead of silencing them, the party might actually win back Congress.

Let the people of Connecticut decide who best represents them. If Bill Clinton wants to help the party, he should be in Tennessee campaigning for Harold Ford, in Ohio for Sherrod Brown, or in Pennsylvania for Bob Casey. He should not be meddling in Connecticut trying to stop a real Democrat from replacing the Republican candidate, Joseph Lieberman.

Right on. Use the Big Dog where he can do some good.

They're so fucking crazy


"What we're seeing here ... are the birth pangs of a new Middle East and whatever we do, we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old one."


...I brought up the Condi Rice "birth pang" comment in passing and one of the commenters pointed out that it's actually Rapture talk, if you can believe that.

I checked it out and over at the Rapture Forum they've been talking about the "birth pangs" of Armageddon ever since 9/11.


It's not a birth pang. We're fucking constipated. Jesus Good God, we've got fucking loonies running the country. These people shouldn't be thrown out of office, they should be institutionalized. Bellevue, anyone? Creedmoor?

...Crawl into my ambulance, your pulse is getting weak
reveal yourself all now to me girl while you've got the strength to speak
Cause they're waiting for you at Bellevue with their oxygen masks
But I could give it all to you now if only you could ask...

~Bruce Springsteen, For You


So Andy Card 2.0 was on Timmy's yesterday. I had trouble treading water as the bullshit came in like the high tide in the Bay of Fundy; swiftly, deeply. Leah has the breakdown and an excellent translation from Rovian to English.


Even Timmeh wondered if diplomacy meant to solve problems doesn't need to take place between our non-allies and us, too?

In a word, "no;" unless, of course, either Syria or Iran would like to withdraw their support from Hezbollah and Hamas, and do exactly what we say they should do.


And as for author Ricks (the 2nd guest on Press the Meat), I knew it was just a matter of time before someone blamed the military. Need we remind him the civilians in charge at the Pentagon cashiered all the flag officers who raised objections to this fiasco early on, especially the ones who said Rummy's plans were too optimistic? Remember Shinseki? 250,000 troops before we even try to invade?

Democrats in November. We can't survive another few years with these people in charge.

One reason ...

Why cops shouldn't carry guns. They're notoriously bad shots.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


The General has warrior kitties.

Condi's Flying Dutchman

From Maureen Dowd. I want her!

As USA Today noted about summer movies, the hot trend in heroines "is not the damsel in distress. It's the damsel who causes distress."

Uma, Oprah. Oprah, Condi.

The more W. and his tough, by-any-means-necessary superbabe have tried to tame the Middle East, the more inflamed the Middle East has become. Now the secretary of state is leaving, reluctantly and belatedly, to do some shuttle diplomacy that entails little diplomacy and no shuttling. It's more like air-guitar diplomacy.

Like Davy Jones, the octopus-headed creature who had to keep sailing Flying Dutchman-like without getting to land in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean," Condi had a hard time finding an Arab port in which to dock.

The Arab allies, who agreed to meet her and European envoys in Rome, clearly did not want to be used as a stalling tactic on Arab turf, with Condi miming diplomacy to buy time for Israel. Maybe, like Jack Sparrow, they can at least bring a jar of Arab turf with them.

In a twist that illustrated the growing power of Shiites and Iranians, even the Shiite Iraqi prime minister broke with the Bush stance and denounced Israeli attacks on Lebanon. Is there no honor among puppets?

W. continues to present simplicity as clarity. When will he ever learn that clarity is the last thing you're going to find in the Middle East, and that trying to superimpose it with force usually makes things worse? That's what both the Israelis and Ronald Reagan learned in the early 1980's when they tried disastrously to remake Lebanon.

The cowboy president bet the ranch on Iraq, and that war has made almost any other American action in the Arab world, and any Pax Americana that might have been created there, impossible. It's fitting that Condi is the Flying Dutchman, since Lebanon represents the shipwreck of our Middle East policy.

Bush bet the ranch all right, like a drunk cowboy tryin' to draw to an inside straight against a stacked deck. Trouble is, it was our ranch he bet, not his. While he's back at his ranch chousin' a milk cow and pretending it's a mighty herd for another month to save up another $30 so he can go back to town and get drunk and swindled out of it again, the rest of the world is paying for his idiocy.

Redneck Vacation

Mrs. G got this in an internal office memo from Spoon, the computer tech where she works. He's also the only brother I've ever met who lost a thumb water-skiing.

[Billy Bob and Luther were talking one afternoon when Billy Bob tells Luther, "Ya know, I reckon I'm 'bout ready for a vacation. Only this year I'm gonna do it a little different. The last few years, I took your advice about where to go.

"Three years ago, you said to go to Hawaii. I went to Hawaii and Earlene got pregnant.

"Then two years ago, you told me to go to the Bahamas, and Earlene got pregnant again.

"Last year you suggested Tahiti and darned if Earlene didn't get pregnant again."

Luther asks Billy Bob, "So, what you gonna do this year that's different?"

Billy Bob says, "This year I'm takin' Earlene with me."]


Beat it, Luther!



In the early days of his acting career, when most roles offered to Asian American actors were caricatures or stereotypes, Mako took just such a part and used it to open the doors of Hollywood and Broadway to others.

In the 1966 film "The Sand Pebbles," he played the Chinese character Po-han, who spoke pidgin English, called the white sailors in the movie "master," and treated them as such. But through the power of his acting, Mako transformed Po-han and compelled the audience to empathize and identify with the engine-room "coolie."

The portrayal earned Mako an Academy Award nomination, which he used to continue his push for more and better roles for Asian American actors.

Mako, who in 1965 co-founded East West Players, the nation's first Asian American theater company, died Friday of esophageal cancer at his home in the Ventura County town of Somis. He was 72.

I have been a fan of his since The Sand Pebbles. His obituary is fascinating. Please read.

Sayonara, Mako.


... We held the day
In the palm
Of our hand
They ruled the night
And the night
Seemed to last as long as six weeks
On Parris Island ...

~Billy Joel, Goodnight Saigon

Stars and Stripes:


[1lt Ryan] Edwards said patrols routinely search nearby villages and find few people left living there. But at night, Taliban forces often take control of those areas, leading coalition commanders to believe they are receiving help from locals.

Thursday's Taliban attack force was larger, better armed and better equipped than past fighters, Edwards said. The province shares a border with Pakistan on the south, and U.S. forces have been monitoring that line to prevent reinforcements from that country to Taliban forces in Afghanistan.


Can we talk Tet?

Big thanks to Scout Prime for the link.

21st Century slavery

An outstanding post by Bob Higgins for your Sunday morning read.


Jane works overtime for "Big Flo's" for free.

Yes, free, and here, as I promised, is another irony: she considers it a perk, granted to her because of her long and faithful service and her position as a team leader.



I saw an email the other day from one of Mrs. F's wingnut friends. He works for one of their vendors and instead of sending his stupid bullshit to the Mrs.' work email, he sends it to the house. I generally ignore it when it comes, usually simpleton shit about Jesus being the answer to everything or 'rah, rah, kill the ragheads' stuff, but this one chapped my ass.

Special Bulletin from the Pentagon

The Pentagon announced today the formation of a new 500-man elite fighting unit called the United States Redneck Special Forces.

These Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma,Tennessee and Texas boys will be dropped off into Iraq and have been given only the following facts about terrorists:

1. The season opened today.
2. There is no limit.
3. They taste just like chicken.
4. They don't like beer, pickups, country music or Jesus.
5. They are DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the death of Dale Earnhardt.

The Pentagon expects the problem in Iraq to be over by Friday

As if, after three years, a buncha drunk Jesus freaks are gonna do what real soldiers can't? This is a guy who did two tours in Vietnam and he thinks it's all funny and shit. Maybe I'm thin-skinned, maybe because I already consider this guy an idiot, I don't know, but I don't think it's funny. Maybe I know what it's like to lose friends in combat, suddenly, horribly, who knows, but it got me pissed enough to write back. I'm not goiing into detail about the exchange, but he couldn't understand why I didn't get the joke.

You see, it's this kind of thinking that got us into Iraq in the first place; that whole 'Dirty Dozen' mindset. That anyone can kick ass and take names, even a bunch of fuckups that no one wants. It makes for an entertaining movie but the realities of war are not neatly wrapped up at the end. A while back I wrote about what the soldiers were dealing with, the daily stress of combat and what they do to relieve some of that stress. Things nobody considered when it was all 'rah, rah, on to Baghdad'.

Now these same assholes, three years later, have the balls to make jokes, as if our troops haven't been doing it right and all we need are 500 yahoos with their shotguns, chewing tobaccy, Budweiser, and Bibles? As if 'kill 'em all and let God sort it out' is the answer to everything? Kiss my hairy white ass.

These are the same fucking people who get apoplectic over the fate of a buncha cells but 'killin' ragheads' is sport? Fuck all of you. You wanna see what war really looks like? Go here. I don't care if you have a weak stomach, go there now and see the reality of what we have wrought. The blood is on all our hands, whether we voted for these idiots or not, because they've done this in our name. You'd better take a close look because everyone else in the world blames you and me for it; because the folks in the rest of the world don't differentiate between Rethugs and Dems or ask who you or I voted for. This is what America stands for in the 21st Century; never-ending war, death, and destruction.


"The promise by Bush and Blair, in the lead up to the Iraq war, that their wars would bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East and peace to Palestine have yet again been shown to be lies, just as the anti-war movement has consistently said they were." [my em]


Yeah, go and make jokes about war. This is what 'killin' 'em all' looks like. Don't forget, close to three thousand of our boys and girls have died this way too.

So to all you wingnuts who make jokes about war, who talk about it so casually like you're all big generals, like you actually know what the fuck you're talking about, go fuck your miserable selves. Especially Mrs. F's idiot wingnut friend who should know better.

[BBC link added and post edited after the fact.]

Yo, dickheads

All you assholes out there who say the ACLU is a 'liberal' organization, explain me this:


The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit Friday in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., on behalf of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church, which has outraged mourning communities by picketing service members' funerals with signs condemning homosexuality.


I'm not happy about this, but the 'Rotting Cryptkeeper'* has the same right of free speech I do. The ACLU fights for our rights, whether we're LGB or T and seeking marriage rights or whether we're deranged morons like Fred Phelps, or just downright hateful assholes like the KKK. The ACLU protects all of us, defending the Bill of Rights and the Constitution for anyone who's freedoms have been usurped or abrogated, even those who should be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

*Thanks to Pam.