Saturday, October 14, 2006

Back home

I just got back after picking Shayna up from her vet. I'll start posting tomorrow once I get caught up on the news and unpack. Yes, Gord's still in charge. In the meantime though, something I posted 2 years ago. As we turned into New York Harbor this morning, and I gazed up at the 2nd most beautiful woman in the world (next to Mrs. F) I felt exactly the same way. What I will say is the officers and crew of Noordam surpassed that of QM2 by a length. Not an easy feat. See you tomorrow.


I heard about this while speaking with Bill Miller aboard Noordam last week. A trivia note, also gleaned from Mr. Miller, the original Queen Mary was supposed to have been named Victoria but plans changed before she was launched.

Friday, October 13, 2006

From the Funny to the Disgusting..

Yeah,ok,sure,"The Left"doesn't have a sense of humor. HA. Just go see this,it's too freaking hilarious.

Next,Steve Gillard brings us a tale from a so called "Christian Values Family".

There's a whole lotta ugly in those repressed "conservative"closets isn't there?

Any guy who needs his porn so fucking bad he's gotta do it while his 3 little kids are up and running around needs bitch slapping back into reality. Thankfully,his wifey got the clue(she's got a music career,she doesn't need his support financially. I imagine he's not alot of help with anything that matters anyway)and booted his ass out the door. None of this would be anyone else's bidness,but if you put yourself out there as some paragon of virtue,you'd better BE virtuous,or all bets are off when your kinks become known.

You know,I think it might be a good idea to gather these people together in one large venue for awhile and just let 'em go apeshit on each other. Fuck and suck and fuck some more and get over it already. No one under 21,no weapons,with proper security to keep that shit inside where the rest of us don't have to see it. Fuck til you can fuck no more and leave the rest of us alone.One big giant Kink Fest '06,and it might take some of the mean out of a few of these wretches. Hire some professional dominatrix types to run the show and keep people fairly safe. And free condoms and Plan B for everyone! Yay!

I wonder if anyone has ever compared the sexual exploits of the Victorian Era to this current crop of "conservatives"? They seem strangely related in alot of ways.

Last Man Standing

This is for all us Olde Fartes (Lctp!). Rolling Stone profiles Jerry L ee Lewis.

From a review of his new album:

Jerry Lee Lewis is older and tougher than you. At seventy, he could eat your liver for breakfast, sleep with your kid sister and then burn down your house after a light lunch. So rounding up twenty-one heavy hitters (Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, etc.) for a Jerry Lee Lewis duets album either means that they're paying their respects to one of the inventors of rock & roll, the wild man of the piano who came up with the sonic explosion that is "Great Balls of Fire"- or that they're just afraid of what Jerry Lee would do to them if they said no.

[...] The best-sounding tracks are probably his duets with the country stars George Jones and Willie Nelson. Both of them are older than Lewis, so everybody just relaxes and enjoys being alive.

And some video to get them ol' toes a-tappin'. Then it'll be nap time.

JEB corrects 'closet' rumor, may only blow oboe...

In a follow-up to my post about Jeb Bush hiding in a closet in Pennsylvania to avoid disgruntled citizens, I give Guv Bush this opportunity to correct me:

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has disputed media accounts that said he hid in a closet to avoid anti-Republican protesters during a visit to Pittsburgh last week.

Bush said it was actually a boiler room.

The "closet" part was kinda fun, but the point is that he "cut and ran" in the face of dissent.

In a related vein, David Rossie has a few comments:

We are told by people who pay attention to such things that the Bush family had high hopes for son Jeb, because he was considered the brightest of all the boys. Never mind that being the brightest Bush boy is a little like being the most talented oboe player in Logan, Ohio.

Imagine what Limbaugh and the fabulists at the Fox News Network could have made of that if it had been Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania's Democratic governor, blowing kisses to the steelworkers before ducking for cover, instead of Jeb the Lesser:

"Pennsylvania Governor comes out of closet in Pittsburgh. State's Democrats in disarray. Santorum deplores moral depravity in high places, calls for governor's impeachment."

Hey, with Fox's penchant for identifying rogue Republicans as Democrats, it could still happen.

Hey, why not? They confuse themselves with newsmen all the time.

In Jeb's defense, being only the governor of a failed Southern state, he doesn't have anywhere near the insulation from reality or the number of security personnel that his brother does.

Baker's Panel Rules Out Iraq Victory

Well, at last a panel of 'experts' agrees with me! I could have saved them a lot of time and money had they but asked. From The New York Sun.

A commission formed to assess the Iraq war and recommend a new course has ruled out the prospect of victory for America, according to draft policy options shared with The New York Sun by commission officials.

Instead, the commission is headed toward presenting President Bush with two clear policy choices that contradict his rhetoric of establishing democracy in Iraq. The more palatable of the two choices for the White House, "Stability First," argues that the military should focus on stabilizing Baghdad while the American Embassy should work toward political accommodation with insurgents. The goal of nurturing a democracy in Iraq is dropped.

They also shed light on what is at stake in the coming 2 1/2 months for the Iraqi government. The "Redeploy and Contain" option calls for the phased withdrawal of American soldiers from Iraq, though the working groups have yet to say when and where those troops will go. The document, read over the telephone to the Sun, says America should "make clear to allies and others that U.S. redeployment does not reduce determination to attack terrorists wherever they are." It also says America's top priority should be minimizing American casualties in Iraq.

I heartily agree with minimizing American casualties being the top priority. It sounds like they are recommending "redeployment" to "contain" a Baghdad enclave. I think 140,000 troops could probably "stabilize" Baghdad. An enclave mentality would surrender the rest of Iraq to whatever. Fine.

I think they should particularly stabilize the area around the airport, so the "redeployment" of the troops to the United States could proceed swiftly and unimpeded.

Because of the politically explosive topic of the Baker commission, the panel has agreed not to release its findings until after the November 7 elections. The commission, formally known as the Iraq Study Group, was created by Congress in legislation sponsored by Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican of Virginia and close confidant of Mr. Bush's. Mr. Baker has said he will likely present the panel's findings in December.

Heh. I think the "politically explosive" remark refers to the fact that Bush's head is likely to explode when the group tells him he's had his head up his ass the whole time. Luckily, the explosion will be contained, because he still does.

I think it was Lawrence O'Donnell who said this study would be leaked prior to the elections. Him plenty smart pundit.

Please read the rest.

Canada troops battle 10-ft Afghan marijuana plants

Reuters UK

Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy -- almost impenetrable forests of 10-feet (three metre) high marijuana plants.

General Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defence staff, said on Thursday that Taliban fighters were using the forests as cover. In response, the crew of at least one armored car had camouflaged their vehicle with marijuana.

"The challenge is that marijuana plants absorb energy, heat very readily. It's very difficult to penetrate with thermal devices ... and as a result you really have to be careful that the Taliban don't dodge in and out of those marijuana forests," he said in a speech in Ottawa.

"We tried burning them with white phosphorous -- it didn't work. We tried burning them with diesel -- it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now ... that we simply couldn't burn them," he said.

Hard to light. Must be good shit!

Even successful incineration had its drawbacks.

"A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those (forests) did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hiller said dryly.

One soldier told him later: "Sir, three years ago before I joined the army, I never thought I'd say 'That damn marijuana'."

You can't make this stuff up. Well, most of it anyway. In a related report:

Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan requested an emergency resupply of Twinkies and Yoo-Hoos as stocks ran dangerously low. The transmission was garbled due to background noise remarkably similar to riotous laughter.

Top officers say they need to enlist the services of Canadian civilians and even U.S. citizens in destroying the marijuana. The first shipment is on its way.

Top Brit Soldier Kicks Poodle

Daily Mail

A blistering assessment of British policy in Iraq from the country's top soldier left Tony Blair reeling today.

General Sir Richard Dannatt said troops should come home within two years - flatly contradicting the Prime Minister's policy that the military will stay "as long as it takes".

Downing Street was aghast at the general's remarks, though in public it offered "full support".

His views have sent shockwaves through Government.

They are a total repudiation of the Prime Minister, who has repeatedly insisted that British presence in Iraq is morally right and has had no effect on our domestic security.

Sir Richard, who took up his post earlier this year, warned that "our presence in Iraq exacerbates" the "difficulties we are facing around the world."

He lambasts Tony Blair's desire to forge a "liberal democracy" in Iraq as a "naive" failure and he warns that "whatever consent we may have had in the first place" from the Iraqi people "has largely turned to intolerance."

Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: "When I was in Iraq, soldiers told me the same thing."

"They said the reaction had gone from welcome, to consent to mere tolerance and they said that this meant we didn't have an indefinite licence to be there."

"To have one of our senior military figures speaking out on behalf of those under his commenad is a refreshing change."

The final, and best, line is pure Britspeak:

The party's defence spokesman Nick Harvey added: "This drives a coach and horses through the government's foreign policy."

We would probably flatten it with an SUV if our top general had the balls of that British one. He could still yell 'giddyap!'.

C'mon, General Pace, act like a goddam Marine for once. The Chesty Puller kind, not the Ollie North kind. Earn back some respect by telling Bush and Rumsfeld the truth. In public. Same goes to the top Doggie brass.


BBC News

Tony Blair has said he agrees with "every word" the new head of the British Army said on the Iraq war.

Speaking in St Andrews at the end of talks on Northern Ireland, the prime minister said the reason the government had been able to so far give up two provinces to Iraqi control was "precisely because the job has been done there."

He refused to be drawn on whether he agreed with quotes from Sir Richard published in the Daily Mail, saying only that later TV and radio interviews given by the general were more in context.

On the transcripts of those interviews Mr Blair said: "I agree with every word of it."

A spokesman for the Iraqi president said the departure of multi-national troops now "would be a disaster".

Yeah, for the puppet president.

Mr Blair said he "suspected" Sir Richard had given a long interview with the Daily Mail, and that some of his comments had been taken out of context.

Cover yer bum, Fifi.

Take to the boats, Repugs...

Paul Krugman at Welcome To Pottersville

The conventional wisdom says that the Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives next month, but only by a small margin. I've been looking at the numbers, however, and I believe this conventional wisdom is almost all wrong.

Here's what's happening: a huge Democratic storm surge is heading toward a high Republican levee. It's still possible that the surge won't overtop the levee - that is, the Democrats could fail by a small margin to take control of Congress. But if the surge does go over the top, the flooding will almost surely reach well inland - that is, if the Democrats win, they'll probably win big.

The storm may yet weaken. The Iowa Electronic Markets, in which people bet real money on election outcomes, still give Republicans a roughly 40 percent chance of keeping control of both houses of Congress. If that happens, will it mean that Republican control is permanent after all?

No. Bear in mind that the G.O.P. isn't in trouble because of a string of bad luck. The problems that have caused Americans to turn on the party, from the disaster in Iraq to the botched response to Katrina, from the failed attempt to privatize Social Security to the sudden realization by many voters that the self-proclaimed champions of moral values are hypocrites, are deeply rooted in the whole nature of Republican governance. So even if this surge doesn't overtop the levee, there will be another surge soon.

But the best guess is that the permanent Republican majority will end in a little over three weeks.

The first 'comment':

From Krugman's lips to the Flying Spaghetti Monster's ears...

Hopefully, Mr. Krugman's words are not just the ravings of a wild-eyed economist...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Post this or it's a time-out for you, little mister...

I'm posting this at the request of An Angry Old Broad because her Blogger is committing lewd and hilarious acts on the pre-moistened south end of a north-bound monkey today. Nothin' wrong with her e-mail, though. Besides, it's good. Also, if Mom ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! I don't wanna hafta go sit in the corner...

First, see the video of Mike Malloy taking on a wingnut jackass on MSNBC. AOB's comments:

Air America did a dumb thing dumping Mike. He's a tad more to the left than your standard TV lefty, he makes some people on our side cringe, but I think that's why I like him. Getting too comfy with your beliefs is never a good thing. Mike's a good egg, he's pretty much a "what you see is what you get" kind of guy. He's far left but not crazy ass far left. Oh, and BushFlash is a good site. Eric's an ok guy, I disagree with him on some issues, but he has a pretty cool video and media stash worth checking out.

A heads up also: In a couple of weeks,once I'm done with some home projects and dealing with kiddo's school issues,I'll be putting up a couple of Living Democracy posts Below the Fold, one about food, one about education. I'm also going to be starting a series on the AOB blog called Growing Up Amway, about my parents' 3 decades long relationship to Amway, how that plays into religion and politics, the stuff I saw growing up (Rich DeVos,one of the company's founders actually came to our house a couple times when I was a kid.Our home was an Amway "social hub" there for awhile, I was privvy to alot of stuff), and try to weave this in with my relationship to my insane family. The only reason I think I got out of that madness with some integrity in tact was my Dad's mom being such a big part of my life when I was a kid. My sibs didn't get that interaction, and it's the only thing I can think of that saved me from losing it entirely. Perhaps the subtitle should be "why the political is personal", lol. It'll be long, rambly and windy, just like me, so it should go on my blog I think.

Alrighty then,I must get to it around here. And coffee,

Back to Moi. Mom's blog is An Angry Old Broad.

Can I go out and play now? I had a buncha coffee too, and I need to go mark the Repug campaign signs on the neighbors' lawns*...

*I'm lyin'. There aren't any. I'll find something to pee on...

Top Ten GOP Excuses Regarding Iraq Casualty Statistics

From Balloon Juice:

At any rate, rather than sit back and wait for the inevitable bullshit to fly, let's help them out. With that in mind, here are the top ten GOP excuses for an estimate of a half million+ dead Iraqis:

10. At least when we kill civilians, it is an accident. Saddam intentionally killed civilians.

9. No one could have predicted there would be civilian casualties.

8. We tried to come up with a plan to win this war without killing civilians, but obstructionist Democrats made it too hard.

7. How many innocent civilians did FDR and Truman kill? (Excuse used partially used with a reference to Nagasaki and Hiroshima.)

6. Why all the fuss? The Iraqi people can 'tolerate' a few dead. (Excuse actually used by Bush in his presser.)

5. Freedom isn't Free. Freedom is messy.

4. Better to have collateral damage over there than to have it over here.

3. The terrorists don't care if they kill innocent civilians.

2. Brian Ross and the media have known people are dying in Iraq for a long while. Why did they wait until right before an election to tell us? (Excuse actually used here at Red State)

1. Epidemiologists?!? What the hell do skin doctors know about waging war? (Excuse partially used here: "So somewhere between 8 and 194 thousand, good lord I hope I never get treated by one of these quacks.")

Feel free to add your own in the comments (and if you have links to these made-up excuses being actually used, please forward them).

At the time of my posting, there were 122 comments. Take a guess what the first one is! Some are funny, some are most decidedly not.

Here are just a few:

These civilian deaths were caused by foreign countries attempting to make the United States look bad

"The methodology of the study has been, you know, pretty well, you know, dis ... you know, credited ... and that's why I am taking a minimum of several years to come up with our own estimates on this, you know, figure, which will be something to be dealt with, you know, by a future, you know, president."

It wasn't reported by Fox News

"If they don't like it, they should get off our oil."

Imagine the outrage on the right if it was "600,000 aborted festuses"

Go see. Tell us your favorites.

Dear Leader Brings It On

Robert Scheer

Well, Bush showed them, didn't he?

Over the past six years, our "my way or the highway" president blew up a crucial nonproliferation agreement which was keeping North Korea's plutonium stores under seal, ended bilateral talks with Pyongyang, squashed Japan's and South Korea's carefully constructed "sunshine policy," which was slowly drawing the bizarre Hermit Kingdom back into the light, and then took every opportunity to personally insult the country's reportedly unstable dictator because it played well politically at home.

If you shun them, they will shape up - this was the essence of President Bush's non-diplomacy, as it was in regards to Iran, Lebanon and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The result? Cold War-style brinkmanship that has left the United States helpless.

Thank you, Mr. President. I feel so much safer now that we have a wannabe cowboy in charge of the free world.

Republican cheerleaders are now making the case that, as with every other problem in the world, this is all Bill Clinton's fault; the line is that former President Clinton caved to the North Korean communists, who then broke their agreements. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, what happened is that Jimmy Carter, on Clinton's behalf, had negotiated an historic deal back in 1994 to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to seal Pyongyang's plutonium in exchange for major energy assistance in the form of fuel-oil shipments and the building of safe nuclear reactors. (Incidentally, Donald Rumsfeld was a director of one of the companies that profited from the reactor deal.)

Sensible Republicans must rein in the Bush administration and demand that progress take precedence over empty threats. They could start by listening to James Baker, secretary of state in Bush's father's administration. "I believe in talking to your enemies," Baker said a few days before the Korean nuclear test, endorsing the resumption of bilateral talks with Pyongyang and noting pointedly that he had taken 15 trips to Syria while serving Bush's father.

Unfortunately, the White House will almost certainly ignore this commonsense truth. It's much easier to blame Bill Clinton.

I think the money line in Mr. Scheer's piece is "Nothing could be further from the truth". Describes this certifiably criminally insane administration to a 'T'.

I think all this talk about "nuclear war" is just stupid and misleading by design, to scare us into keeping the Repugs in power. It shouldn't work, and I hope it doesn't.

I spent my school years listening to monthly air-raid siren tests and hiding under my desk to protect myself from an A-Bomb Blast. Seems kinda quaint now, but the Soviet Union actually had (still does, probably) the capability to wreck the joint, and us them in return. Nice. The closest we came was during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 44 years ago this week, oddly enough just before a mid-term election. Cooler heads prevailed, but 'cooler heads' may very well be what's missing now.

Point is, even after North Korea's oops-in-the-firecracker-factory supposed nuclear test, neither they nor Iran can do the world any damage yet for a long time. On the other hand, the U.S. can turn any place it wants to into a self-lighting glass-surfaced wasteland.

The big problem is that Bush, Kim, and Ahmadinejad are all fuckin' crazy.

Why don't they just go on TV, drop trou, compare their little weenies, and get it over with? It would save the rest of us a lot of trouble and we'd have a good laugh besides.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Lat me see if I've got this 'RIGHT'...

Mrs. G came roarin' up the driveway at lunchtime today, yellin' "Ya gotta google up what I just heard on the radio!". I did the honey-do and I'm glad I did.

Today's 'must read' from Nancy Greggs:

I'm supposed to believe that the man who sat in a classroom reading a kids' book for seven minutes AFTER he was told the country was under attack, who was warned repeatedly about imminent threats against the country and chose to ignore them, who has traipsed off on vacation every time there is a domestic or international disaster, is a decisive man-of-action with the fortitude to run a nation.

I am supposed to believe that God himself chooses my nation's leaders and that, in His infinite wisdom, he chose a lying, thieving, self-absorbed, pro-torture, pro-war, lazy frat-boy jerk like George W. Bush.

I am supposed to believe that the same man who used family money and influence to duck military duty, who has failed at every business venture he ever tried, who never did an honest day's work or accomplished anything of value in his entire life, is fit to be Commander-in-Chief.

I am supposed to believe that a man who ignores the Constitution he swore to uphold, breaks the law with abandon, repeatedly lied about the reasons for going to war, its cost, its duration, and even its goals, is honest and trustworthy.

I am supposed to believe that the escalating violence, chaos and deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are a sign of progress.

I am supposed to believe that a man who, by his own admission, does not read newspapers, who only meets with and listens to 'yes' men, who refuses to speak before any group that is not hand-picked from his staunchest supporters, is in touch with the realities of the world.

I am supposed to believe that sending US soldiers into combat without proper equipment or a viable military strategy, while decreasing their pensions and their benefits, is a patriotic display of supporting the troops.

I am supposed to believe that gutting the funding of social programs aimed at assisting the poor, the sick, the hungry and the homeless is the outcome of good Christians being in office, and that torturing, maiming and killing innocent civilians is "doing the Lord's work".

Oh, don't go anywhere, because I haven't even gotten started yet...

She hasn't, either! Much, much more on the way to this finale:

Oh, if only I were GULLIBLE, ILL-INFORMED, EASILY LED and TOTALLY STUPID - what a FINE Bush supporter I would have made!

You gotta be weapons grade gullible, ill-informed, easily led and totally stupid enough to support Bush!

Go read the rest. Disseminate it far and wide.

"Swallow or it's going in your eye"

I found this in the usual roundabout way from Paul the Spud at Shakey's Sis to Blue Gal. Go check out T-Shirt Hell. Don't blame me if you spend all your money!

"Avast, mateys! There's buggery aboard!"

Billmon's on fire! "Hastert's Navy". Heh.

"I have understood what my staff's told me, and I think from that response they've handled it as well as they should. However, in 20-20 hindsight, probably you could do everything a little bit better. But if there is problem, if there was a coverup, then we should find that out through the investigation process. They'll be under oath, and we'll find out. If they did cover something up, then they should not continue to have their jobs."

Denny Hastert
Press Conference
October 10, 2006

Sir John: May I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there is no cannibalism in the Royal Navy. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit, but all new ratings are warned that if they wake up in the morning and find toothmarks at all anywhere on their bodies, they're to tell me immediately so that I can immediately take every measure to hush the whole thing up.

Monty Python's Flying Circus
Episode 32
November 23, 1972

Ah, for the good ol' days' of rum, sodomy, and the lash!

Until recently I had no idea the House followed Royal Navy tradition! Can keelhauling and walking the plank be far behind? TeeHee, I said 'behind'!

The Peters Principle


Make no mistake: Were our nation directly threatened, our ground forces would surge to respond powerfully and effectively. But as far as Iraq goes, they've given their best. They're willing to die for our country. But we should never ask them to give their lives to postpone a political embarrassment.

Ralph Peters
No More Troops
October 10, 2006

The problem, Ralphy boy, is that you and your kind already have asked them to do just that -- repeatedly, and for the better part of the past three years.

It's a little late now for the John Kerry imitation.

Just keep dyin' for Dear Leader, boys and girls. It's your patriotic duty in an election year.

This Day In History

Geov Parrish

10/11/2002: Despite an unprecedented flooding of Congress with calls, e-mails, letters, and faxes in opposition, both the House of Representatives and the Senate overwhelmingly pass resolutions authorizing Pres. Bush to unilaterally launch an invasion of Iraq at any time for any reason.

Not that we're going to forget anytime soon.

It's also "National Coming Out Day". Welcome, Republicans. Also see Sis.

Baby's Gotta Dance ...

Or, You Sure Don't Look Like Patrick Swayze.

We're pulling into Bermuda tonight but I'm gonna skip the travelogue. Since I've been to every damn island from Bermuda to the Antilles over the past 15 years, I can say with certainty and confidence, you seen one, you seen 'em all. I'm not even bothering to get off the ship. A note to Caribbean island governments: Clean up your act, do something for your people to keep them from harassing the tourists for money, and maybe I'll come back and spend some of mine there. This especially goes out to the government of Jamaica. If you want a place to get away, book a week at one of the resorts in the Caymans or one of the Dutch islands. They're run a little better, not as corrupt and the people aren't as poor. Observe if you will while you're there, the 'compound' mentality and wonder why there are gates and razor wire around the resort. It's to keep the natives out, otherwise they'd rob you, and the hotel, blind. No thanks.

So, in lieu of pics of Bermuda, I'm gonna relate what passes for evening entertainment for the Mrs. and me while we're hanging out, watching the orchestra.

A little background. When I was a kid, growing up in the 60s, the Catskills were the place to go on vacation and my parents would spend a week there in the late summer. If you've seen Dirty Dancing, you've seen what a week of my summer was like every year. Mrs. F's parents did the same, though they went to the 'Jewish Alps' where we went to the 'German Alps'. Well, aboard Noordam we have almost the same thing.

As I've said before, the vacationers aboard are an older crowd, mainly 60 (sorry Gord) and older ... much. A good portion of 'em are widows and divorcees. Needless to say, they were of the 'Catskills generation' and big band music and dancing is a big part of their lives. Being the theme of the crossing is big bands (I've already mentioned the wonderful Nick Ross Orchestra who headlines every night from 10:30 to 12:30), the alte frauen are in their glory. In light of this, Holland America Line provides dance hosts for the women to boogie with. Let me say right now that none of the hosts (there are about 6 or 7) look like Patrick Swayze and all are old enough to be his father. They don't have his moves either.

Now here's where the entertainment comes in, aside from the fact we enjoy the music greatly. It's what I call the 'chicken dance'. There's a little soap opera going on among the ladies and hosts (most of whom I'm convinced are here to score a rich widow woman). Since we've made the acquaintence of most of the women (well, I have because they all look at me like a piece of meat and circle around as soon as Mrs. F gets up or they spot me alone. Hey, I'm young and handsome, relatively speaking) and they all gossip to us during the day.

Anyway, the ladies all sit together in the lounge, waiting for the hosts to ask them to dance. They keep score, knowing which host danced with whom last, and how many dances they've had with each particular host. Cat fights and backbiting are regular occurrances, and over the past two weeks, we've seen a good number of them. No knock-down-drag-outs yet, but a lot of hissing and screeching. Ladies who are traveling together no longer talk to one another because one felt slighted the other spent more time with a certain host, maybe even slept with him. Another threw money in her friends face for similar reasons. And the Mrs. and I just sit back and watch it go on, set to the tunes of Glenn Miller.

And the hosts also play the game, especially if they think one of the rich ones is looking for a husband. They vie for her attention like preening birds during the mating season, each showing off their plumage to attract the female, thus insulting the others who aren't getting the attention they think they deserve. National Geographic could do a special, probably more interesting to watch than Bighorn Sheep headbutting each other into senselessness over a female because all are dressed so elegantly.

Now that the cruise is winding down, the pace of the dance is even more feverish, the ladies knowing failure means they'll have to wait until next year to try again. The hosts have it easy, knowing that on Saturday afternoon a fresh crop will board after we leave and they can try their luck again. The thing that gets me is these are grown women, not young girls, and should have their eyes open at this point in their lives. Maybe I can see it thanks to my detached point of view, or maybe they choose to ignore the fact they are playing a game, but like Dirty Dancing, they are grasping to hold onto that last little bit of the summer fantasy before they go back to their real lives for the long, cold winter.

Maybe we aren't as far removed from the creatures we consider lesser animals as we think. I'll be back to full-time duty on Saturday.

And as my bartender makes my eye-opener (it's 9:30 am), a recap:


Blog who?



Making steam

Bottled Lightning

Naval Grafitti

Proud to be an American

Porta Delgado and Horta

See ya in a couple days ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tucker to Evangelicals: Chumps

It looks like Repuglican operative and pusillanimous puke Tucker "The Twit" Carlson finally got something right. From Atrios:

Here's what Tucker Carlson had to say on this weekend's Chris Matthews Show:

CARLSON: It goes deeper than that though. The deep truth is that the elites in the Republican Party have pure contempt for the evangelicals who put their party in power. Everybody in...

MATTHEWS: How do you know that? How do you know that?

CARLSON: Because I know them. Because I grew up with them. Because I live with them. They live on my street. Because I live in Washington, and I know that everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals. And the evangelicals know that, and they're beginning to learn that their own leaders sort of look askance at them and don't share their values.

MATTHEWS: So this gay marriage issue and other issues related to the gay lifestyle are simply tools to get elected?

CARLSON: That's exactly right. It's pandering to the base in the most cynical way, and the base is beginning to figure it out.

It doesn't matter that us Realists have known this for a long time. When the reg'lar fundies (as opposed to the political christofascists, who are hopeless) figure out how bad they've been punk'd, they're gonna get really pissed off. It's about time.

When somebody like Carlson says it out loud, it must in fact be happening and obvious to the most casual observer. Good. Even good Christians don't like being taken for useful idiots, particularly by the Devil.


The Sandbox

There's a new Doonesbury milblog called The Sandbox at Slate. It's for posts from troops and family members. The motto is "GWOT Hot Wash, Straight From The Wire". Many links to other milblogs. Here's some examples:

Combat Doc

Most soldiers I talk to fall into one of three groups. First are the die-hard supporters. Guys who claim to "hate the Hajj" but really only do so because they think it's their job to. This is about 10%. Second are the anti-war, Bush-is-full-of-shit, no-war-for-oil crowd. These guys see no good at all even if they were part of it. This is about another 10 or so percent. The rest are guys who do their job and seem to be the most confused. The right is saying "Yay Bush!" but they see holes in the story. The left is screaming "Bring our soldiers home!", while some wear shirts saying "Germans Supported Their Troops Too" and claim to speak for a relatively conservative military. Don't worry guys, there's no draft coming. College campuses and wanna-be hippies take note.

It seems each side is claiming to speak for the soldiers, but the press interviews and CNN stories are only pulling out the bits they want to publish to get their message across. Whatever that message is, Joe isn't getting his out.


In the end Joe isn't being heard by the pro's or the anti's. There is good and bad going on there, but the only one who will tell you the truth is the shooter who handed out bread to the children and lead to the Hajj.

The 'truth' has nothing to do with what the pols and the media want out of you guys, Doc, but there are some of us who are listening.

Doc in the Box

After three trips out here you start to notice trends -- what works, and the people who make a difference. There's always someone who goes beyond what is expected of them, doing things that aren't asked, and has that shining moment when they're so pissed or some subject irks them so much that they just have to fix it.


It's not the people who do well on their day jobs who make the mark that everyone remembers, it's those cranky old men who get pissed off by the status quo and do something about it. [...]

Speaking as the poster child for Cranky Old Men, thanks fer noticin', Doc.

Much, much more. The links to the other blogs are the best part, IMNSHO. Go see what these folks are thinkin'.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman: Iraq War "Drifting Sideways"
On a narrow mountain road with a drunk at the wheel.

Specifically, until November 7.

Military Spending Bill Allocates $20 Million for Post-War Victory Party
Featuring insurgents' favorite food, entertainment.

There's more where those came from.

I hope they're talkini' about fishing...

Go see this pic of Bush and Foley. Heh.


Same picture, good commentary at Night Light.

What's the best defense they've come up with so far? "Hey, we've been letting our guy molest these kids for years! Why bring it up now? Must be political."

Monday, October 9, 2006

PRopaganda and the media who love it

Billmon, writing about the Republicans trying to blame the Democrats for the Foley scandal, unearthed this line that may be indicative of the Repugs' overall PR strategy for everything:

"Despite the best that has been done by everyone . . . the war situation has developed not necessarily to our advantage."

Emperor Hirohito
Radio Broadcast Announcing Japan's Surrender
August 15, 1945

I love it!

Billmon continues on the unconscionable complicity of the media:

If the latest Newsweek poll is even half way close to accurate, then the Republicans have stalled in roughly the same manner that the Hindenberg "stalled".

This may seem a trivial matter, given all the other lies, big and small, that have come rattling down the propaganda assembly line over the past six years. Foley himself is just a sideshow geek compared to the three-ring circus that gave us the war in Iraq. But if there's been a more brazen attempt to rewrite history -- last week's history! -- I can't remember it.

True, the Rovians are desperate, but this clearly reflects their belief that they can say anything, any fucking thing at all, and not be called on it by the corporate media, at least not in any kind of time frame that matters. And as far as I can tell, they're right -- they haven't been called on it, except by Think Progress and the wild-eyed bloggers and the other tattered remnants of the left opposition.

I know, I know: So what else is new? But I've enough journalist left in me to still be astonished at how deeply and sincerely so many in my old profession has learned to love Big Brother. And they didn't even have to have cages filled with carnivorous rats strapped to their heads.

Cages strapped to their heads with little non-carnivorous Rove-faced rats reminding them of who's got the reins, maybe.

It's time to call it quits...

Fareed Zakaria on Iraq:

It is time to call an end to the tests, the six-month trials, the waiting and watching, and to recognize that the Iraqi government has failed. It is also time to face the terrible reality that America's mission in Iraq has substantially failed.

More waiting is unlikely to turn things around, nor will more troops.....Nor will new American policies help. The reason that the Democrats seem to lack good, concrete suggestions on Iraq is that the Bush administration has actually been pursuing more-sensible policies for more than a year now, trying vainly to reverse many of its errors. But what might well have worked in 2003 is too little, too late in 2006.

Kevin Drum on Fareed Zakaria:

This is a big deal. It's one thing to express retrospective misgivings about Iraq (as Peter Beinart has done) or to criticize the conduct of the war (as Tom Friedman has done), but it's quite another to finally admit that there's little more we can do and that we should come home. That's a difficult public step for someone who's a charter member of the conservative establishment, a man who supported the war and has been vocal ever since about the importance of getting Iraq right.

It's also nice to see Zakaria acknowledge the fact that it's understandable that Democrats don't have much of a positive agenda for Iraq. It's arguable whether the Iraq experiment could have worked under any circumstances, but it's undeniable that after three years of miscues there simply aren't any credible options left. You can't criticize Democrats for being unable to solve a problem that's no longer solvable.

Zakaria is a smart guy, but he's also a person who's good at putting his finger to the wind - and then getting credit for leading the way when he anticipates an imminent shift. That may be what's happening here. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to say something publicly in order to get everyone else to finally admit their own unspoken doubts. This may be the column that breaks the dam and makes withdrawal respectable among the center-right establishment.

Zakaria is hardly the first to call Bush's flawed imperialistic Iraq policy a failure, but he may be among the first mainstream journalists that actually have a voice people listen to to do so.

We can only un-fuck up what Bush has fucked up just so far. No doubt Iraqis are gonna finish fucking it up before it gets settled, but it's theirs to do.

Let's get our troops out of the way and let 'em have at it unimpeded. It'll be quicker that way, and let the chips fall where they may.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Repubs are Stump Broke

The word's out that the Repugs have hit bottom. Go see the bottom they've hit on the cover of Time. Anybody got a stack of milk crates?

White House stonewalling and the Jack Abramoff scandal


REMEMBER WHEN President Bush promised to restore honor and integrity to the Oval Office? He doesn't either, it would seem. A report by the House Government Reform Committee, based on three years of e-mails and billing records from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's former law firm, detailed how Mr. Abramoff and his team billed clients for hundreds of contacts with White House officials and dispensed coveted tickets to sporting events and concerts to favored officials, including adviser Karl Rove and Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, then the White House political director.

You might think a White House worried about honor and integrity would want to look more closely at Mr. Abramoff's dealings. You might think it would be concerned about whether Ms. Ralston violated the rules that prohibit administration officials from taking gifts valued at more than $20, though there is an exception for gifts based on preexisting friendships. You might think it would want to make clear that -- whether technically permitted by the rules or not -- this is unacceptable behavior from government officials.

Not this White House, which has been resolutely incurious about Mr. Abramoff's activities and equally unwilling to provide information about it -- making it impossible to know how many of the reported contacts are classic Abramoff puffery and how many real. "Nothing more will come from the report, no further fallout from the report," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Friday.

A White House even a little concerned about honor and integrity might have managed to summon up a tiny hint of criticism -- not to mention a promise to make sure its employees behave in a way that befits the term public servant. A White House with nothing to hide would release information about Mr. Abramhoff's his meetings and contacts with its officials.

Yeah, like that'll happen. This White House has so much to hide that it probably doesn't even know all the things it needs to hide so it just hides everything.

Perhaps they have a "Director Of Hiding Stuff That Could Get Us All Thrown In Jail" on the payroll at $150K of our tax money per year. Wouldn't doubt it a bit.

October Surprise

Rolling Stone

What last-minute scare tactic will the Republicans pull to swing the midterm elections? Our panel of experts predicts this fall's October Surprise.

This fall, with Bush's approval rating hovering near a historic low -- thanks largely to the disastrous war in Iraq but also not helped by a sluggish economy, high gas prices, GOP squabbling over immigration, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and a general sense that we're all kind of fucked -- Republicans seem to be relying, thus far, on their perennial tactic: spooking Americans on homeland security. Unfortunately for Bush, public skepticism regarding terror alerts has been steadily rising. "It's amazing to me how short a shelf life even the London terror plot had -- it was basically a day," notes New York Times columnist Frank Rich. "I don't think they can play that card anymore. It's the boy who cried wolf."

With the political reality so clearly running against Bush, pundits wonder: How will the Democrats manage to lose this time? The party's own incompetence is generally guarantor enough, but Karl Rove and Co. surely have something special in the works, a political bombshell designed to change the momentum of the midterm elections. We surveyed a broad range of political thinkers and asked for predictions, both serious and fanciful, of possible October Surprises by the GOP. Here are the results.

Here's just a sample:

ELI PARISER, executive director of

Looking at the news this fall, I have to imagine the Republicans are hoping for some little girl to go missing. Because the JonBenet Ramsey coverage has been remarkably effective at drowning out the reality of people coming home in body bags from Iraq every day. If I were Karl Rove, I would assign the Department of Justice and the FBI to drum up more celebrity show trials. That's really their best hope: another Michael Jackson scandal.

I'm sure that due to magazine lead time, Mr. Pariser didn't know about Foleygate when he said that. The GOP has their very own Michael Jackson! Hey, the Repugs are desperate enough to try it anyway: it sure worked on them!

LARRY BEINHART, author of "American Hero," the basis of the film "Wag the Dog"

Here's what Rove is going to do: He's going to have Bush assassinated. They blow up Air Force One. Maybe shoot it down with a missile that will turn out to have been stolen from a U.S. Air Force base. They'll track it back to Afghanistan, say it got into Al Qaeda's hands that way. It solves everything. It rallies Americans around this terrorist assassination and gets rid of this loser who's embarrassing them. Dick Cheney steps grimly to the helm, declares martial law and becomes President for Life.

I wouldn't rule that one out. They only needed Bush's "good ol' boy" act to get in. They don't need him any more.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, founder of the Huffington Post

Taking a page from Nixon in '68, the Bush administration will announce it has a secret plan to end the war in Iraq. They just won't let it slip that it involves selling the entire country to Halliburton.

There's more. Go read. You don't want to miss the one by Al Franken. Cagey, ain't I?

Ponta Delgado and Horta

After never having been to the Azores before, I was quite pleasantly surprised at what we found. My first, and lasting, impression is that the Azorans (Azorites?) are a nation of craftspeople. From the sidewalks decorated with basalt and limestone (these are volcanic islands) to the tile work on the houses, they are a very creative and aesthetically aware people. Properties are separated by beautiful stone fences that parcel out the countryside.

The islands themselves also posess a natural beauty. The clouded peaks rising up from the sea where beautiful, dense forests abound. The Azoran people have also put the volcanic heritage of their islands to good use, using geothermal energy to produce power, the greatest pollution source coming from auto exhaust and cow farts. Lotsa cattle of all types abound.

On Ponta Delgado we took a tour up to one of the volcanic craters, a place called Fire Lake (yes, the Bob Seger song went through my head constantly). It was exquisite beauty, even though the weather had changed for the worse. From what I understand from the locals, the weather can change faster than in the midwest U.S., where storms blow up off the Atlantic, especially on the windward side of the islands.

A trip to a pineapple plantation was also on the itinerary and it was fascinating how they grow them in hothouses. We also got to taste pinapple liquor, which sucked wet monkey ass in my book, but the bright side was the lady of the house also makes her own table linens for sale. Mrs. F bought a bunch of those for the dining room at home.

We didn't do much in Horta but walk around and shop some more, enjoying the quaint village and beautiful churches. We both said we wouldn't mind spending a week among these people who were very warm and friendly, regardless of how they feel about our Preznit and the shitty American policy of late.

We're now cruising about a thousand miles WSW of the islands, making good speed (30 kts) for Bermuda on restless seas. A low cloud deck came over us last night after we pulled out, bringing with it 25 knot winds and 10 - 15 foot swells. Noordam is rocking (though no sweat on her part), and some of the Olde Fartes (yes! Lurch coined that phrase!) have been complaining, but I had the most restful sleep last night. Personally, I'm hoping the swells get a bit bigger before it lets off, the ride is fantastic.

I'm running low on Internet time (I'm not giving Holland America another $100; it's cost me $200 so far) so this will probably be my last post until we hit Bermuda on Thursday. We'll be home Saturday morning and then I'll be back on the line, ready to join my troops (Do I make good personnel decisions or what?) for the big push to Election Day. I'm rested and relaxed and can't wait to get back into the fight. Thanks for the wonderful comments by everyone on my vacation posts and it's been fun having you along. I'll talk to you all from Bermuda.

Oh, bartender ...