Saturday, February 23, 2008

63 Years Ago Today

Everybody has seen the famous photo of the flag raising at Iwo Jima, but not everybody knows that there were two flag raisings that day. The Marines that raised the first one were just as brave and in just as much danger, and they were there first. Nobody's ever heard of those guys, so this one's for them.

The first flagraising atop Mount Suribachi, February 23, 1945. Hank Hansen (without helmet), Boots Thomas (seated), John Bradley (behind Thomas) Phil Ward (hand visible grasping pole), Jim Michaels (with carbine) and Chuck Lindberg (behind Michaels).
Photo by Lou Lowery. 10AM, Feb. 23, 1945

The first flag comes down as the second flag goes up.
Photo by Bob Campbell.

Please go read this post I did three years ago, and see more Iwo Jima photos here.

Saturday whorage

The next chapter of Thirty Days at Zeta is up at The Practical Press. I also wanted to point out the recent work of some of my colleagues over there. Our good friend the Old White Lady has two of her wonderful short stories (here; here) up and Grubi has an intriguing offering that looks like the beginning of a novella. Stop by and see what your fellow bloggers are writing.

Also, at my travel blog, cruise lines are cutting calories.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Just thinkin' ...

Being Gord brought up the subject of puffing one up with Willie Nelson, somebody else I would have loved to be smokin' da chronic wit, mon.

Bob Marley and the Wailers - No Woman, No Cry

Just sayin' ...

Stolen from a post by Mr. H:

... And let us not forget: after WWII, Japanese soldiers who'd waterboarded their American prisoners were put to death by the US military for committing unconscionable acts of torture ...

I'll Never Smoke Weed With Willie Again

I usually like to do these on Saturday, but me'n Mrs. G gotta go to town tomorrow and I might not get the chance.

This one's dedicated to Fixer, who'd probably enjoy burnin' one with Willie. Toby Keith's a wuss.

Here's the version of this that me'n Fixer don't wanta see up close and personal!

Moon Over Kosovo

It's funny, but almost everything that's going on today in Europe and the Middle East started in Serbia.

Quote of the Day


Rush Limbaugh: 'We're Trying to Avoid a 50 State Landslide!'

(Grabbing self you-know-where) Landslide this ya fat fuckin' gasbag.

A thought about McCain

The old fart sure goes for bottle blondes with money, huh?

Police concerned about order to stop weapons screening at Obama rally

Dallas Star-Telegram

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

Yeah, right. If Obama gets RFKed, the Repugs think McCain could beat Hillary.

Hey, it worked in '68...

Another Repug Rep Indicted


Rep. Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, has been indicted on federal charges following an investigation into his relationship with a former business partner regarding land deals, the Justice Department said Friday.

In a 35-count indictment, Renzi is charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion and insurance fraud.

Oughta be able to find at least a couple that'll stick. Heh. Bite the dust, law man.

A Winter's Day in the 'Hood

Here's the street in front of my house this morning. It ain't the Long Island Expressway, but it'll have to do...

Click photos to emhuge'en

By the way, you might think that's a dumb sign telling folks to go around the tree, but it really isn't. It gets really dark here and that thing reflects bright enough to snap drunk drivers out of it. Usually. The sign gets run over all the time anyway.

Here are my two assistants finding probably smelly things for me to run over later with the snowthrower, turn into a fine powder, fling, and wear.

Just for comparison, here's a shot from a coupla weeks ago of what it looks like when the sun comes out.

Here's yer intrepid mountain man retrieving necessary supplies from the cache. I think I'll let that product warm up a little prior to use...

Traitors ...

Oh ... wait:

A growing number of active duty soldiers or recent Iraq war veterans are speaking up about the war in Iraq.


"The honest truth is that if the American people knew what was going on over there everyday, they would be raising their voices too. They would be saying, 'Hey, bring those guys home," Sgt. Selena Coppa said.

Coppa blames lawmakers in Washington for filtering the facts on the war in Iraq. She said there's no real end in sight.

"There is a cost to this war. This war is being paid in American blood, in my soldier's blood. And that is not okay," Coppa said.

"We lost really good friends, really good leaders who died in Iraq. From my perspective, it didn't make any sense, we didn't
accomplish anything, and I talked to a lot of other soldiers who feel the same way," Fort Hood soldier Casey Porter said.


And McCain thinks we should stay? Where's he gonna get the troops? Or does he think he can stop-loss the Army for a hundred years?

Great thanks to our pal UL for the link.

A Turk division in Iraq ...

I don't see how this can make the situation there any better. Fester:


The two major Kurdish parties don't have a massive amount of love for the PKK, but they are fierce defenders of the territory and concept of a de-facto quasi-sovereign sub-state of Kurdistan, so this is not what they want/need. If the raid lasts for more than a couple of days, there will be significant pressure for the peshmerga to begin active guerrilla operations against the large Turkish force if that force presses too far south.


Let us not forget, a goodly portion of the US supply line runs through Turkey and the Kurdish north of Iraq. If the Peshmerga move against the Turks, that avenue could be disrupted. More unintended consequences from the Catbox.

John McCain - Hypocrite

WaPo via Turkana:

For years, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has railed against lobbyists and the influence of "special interests" in Washington, touting on his campaign Web site his fight against "the 'revolving door' by which lawmakers and other influential officials leave their posts and become lobbyists for the special interests they have aided."


Well, that's what he's been saying all these years.


But when McCain huddled with his closest advisers at his rustic Arizona cabin last weekend to map out his presidential campaign, virtually every one was part of the Washington lobbying culture he has long decried. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, co-founded a lobbying firm whose clients have included Verizon and SBC Telecommunications. His chief political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., is chairman of one of Washington's lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JPMorgan and U.S. Airways.

Senior advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon work for firms that have lobbied for Land O' Lakes, UST Public Affairs, Dell and Fannie Mae. [my em]


Yeah, big maverick guy, ain't he?

Good luck ...

Well it took me an hour to go 3 miles and back.

I-495 on Long Island, also known as the Long Island Expressway.

My local streets.

So much for getting to work today. Long weekend!

Yeah, I know Gord's laughing at me. The old man probably rides his motorcycle in this weather ... in shorts ... with chains on the rear wheel ...

And yes, I did take those pics with my phone as I was driving. Leave me alone, Mrs. F already gave me shit about it. Heh ... She shouldn'ta let me get a phone with a camera. At least I haven't started emailing her pictures of my private parts yet.

And a good tune for a snowy Friday:

From 1958, Miles Davis and John Coltrane - So What

Please let him stay ...

As Gord noted previously, things ain't working out the way the Chimp envisioned so now they're resorting to begging:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan _The Bush administration is pressing the opposition leaders who defeated Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to allow the former general to retain his position, a move that Western diplomats and U.S. officials say could trigger the very turmoil the United States seeks to avoid.

U.S. officials, from President Bush on down, said this week that they think Musharraf, a longtime U.S. ally, should continue to play a role, despite his party's rout in parliamentary elections Monday and his unpopularity in the volatile, nuclear-armed nation.


"Please, please let him stay. We'll give ya more money." I wonder if they're gonna say the same thing in January when it's time for the Chimp to go?

Still debating whether or not to attempt to go to work this morning.

How it really works ...

At Langley. A good post up at Larry Johnson's place, an excerpt from Mel Goodman's new book:


Myth Number One: The Central Intelligence Agency is the central intelligence organization in the intelligence community, which consists of 15 intelligence agencies and departments. This has always been a myth, although it was President Harry Truman’s intention to create centrality for the CIA. But the agency met with opposition from the Pentagon, which opposed the objective and balanced intelligence estimates and assessments of the CIA, as well as from the FBI, which did not want any competition in the field of counter-intelligence. Under the Bush administration, the CIA has been steadily weakened, with a director, Michael Hayden, who is a four-star general, and the creation of the post of director of national intelligence, currently Admiral Mike McConnell, who has taken charge of national intelligence estimates as well as the daily briefings of the president. By placing the position of the DNI in the hands of the military, the Bush administration has completed the militarization of the CIA and even the intelligence community itself, where active-duty and retired general officers run the Office of National Intelligence, the CIA, the National Counter-Terrorism Center, the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. The Pentagon is responsible for nearly 90% of all personnel in the intelligence community and 85% of the community’s $50 billion budget. The absence of an independent civilian counter to the power of military intelligence threatens civilian control of the decision to use military power and makes it more likely that intelligence will be tailored to suit the purposes of the Pentagon. This is exactly what President Truman wanted to prevent.


Everything the neocons have touched has gone to shit. We are not safer than we were on 10 Sept 2001, all we have is a bigger bureaucracy.

And an aside: You know, the more I read, the more I think Ike and Harry Truman were pretty smart guys.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I took the morning off and went and read about three years back at Fixer & Gordon, the universe's premier blog about anything with an engine or wheels. Those posts aren't as topical, generally speaking, as the ones over here, and it was great fun. Entertaining and educational as well. Try it. Only takes about an hour or so if ya make the print real big.

Clueless in Rwanda

Think Progress. Video of the asshole should you feel the need to grind your teeth.

Yesterday, President Bush defended his decision not to send U.S. troops into the Darfur genocide, saying he learned lessons from the genocide in Rwanda. Ignorant of the comparison to Iraq, Bush said foreign troops would only be divisive and “unbelievably counterproductive”:

BUSH: A clear lesson I learned in the museum was that outside forces that tend to divide people up inside their country are unbelievably counterproductive. In other words, people came from other countries — I guess you’d call them colonialists — and they pitted one group of people against another.

Atrios noted the irony, adding, “The museum was the Rwandan genocide museum.”

What. A. Fucking. Idiot. I don't care that he shits in his own mess gear every time he opens his mouth, but I do care that he shits in mine as an American.

Note to people around the world: He embarrasses the crap out of us, and we don't like him either.

The Chimp's comments about 'colonial intervention' only apply to countries without oil, of course. Or to countries that have already sold their oil to large nations we don't want to get in a row with. Yet.

How it looks on the ground ...

In Iraq. Not through the filter of US corporate news:

Al Qaeda, al-Qaeda, al-qaida, Al Qayda, and so on ad infinitum. The usual garbage trotted out by the usual suspects with the same tired old pack of lies, that everything in Irak is either the work of the omnipresent, damn near omnipotent Alfredo “Just call me ‘Al’ ” Keida. (He’s one of the Keidas, surely you know of them? They’re a fine old samurai family from Osaka who moved to Irak in 1947 and went native … such a pity that ‘Al’ turned out so badly.)


We are supposed to believe that within less than an hour of those two horrific bombings that the interior ministry “police” who are very good at extracting, teeth, fingernails, and toenails, all without the aid of anaesthetics, but not so good at actually being … you know … policemen. Managed to identify the bombers one of whom had her head blown off.


I would like to see some evidence to support these allegations by people who like their American masters have committed one atrocity after another and just like their American masters been caught lying about it repeatedly. In the absence of such evidence I am going to make the entirely reasonable assumption based on past performance that this is yet another pack of lies and a pack of lies moreover so stupid that it is not even meant to deceive.


But the 'surge' was a success! Things are getting better! We're gonna be in Iraq for "a hundred years"!

And, well, as per usual, things were not what we were told:

BAGHDAD — Psychiatric case files of two female suicide bombers who killed nearly 100 people in Baghdad this month show that they suffered from depression and schizophrenia but do not contain information indicating they had Down syndrome, American officials said Wednesday.

In the aftermath of the Feb. 1 bombings — the most devastating attacks in Baghdad since summer — Iraqi officials said that the women had Down syndrome, a genetic disorder. They based their opinion partly on the appearance of the remains of the women, whose heads, as often happens in suicide bombings, were severed by the blasts.


We've screwed up Iraq so badly, the best thing we can do is get out and leave it to them to figure out what kind of state they want. As long as our people are there, as long as the Iraqis see the Iraqi Police (and their government) as our puppets, nothing will ever change over there. There is no winning or losing in the equation anymore. The imperative is to leave the Iraqis something to rebuild once we've gone.

Great thanks to Gorilla's Guides for the NYT link.

Jane sez...

No jokes about "lobbyists" and "pork."

Dear Rethugs,

How's that 'moral values' thing working out for ya?


Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.


Quote of the Day

Bay "What Pat looks like in Drag"* Buchanan:

This is not the Democratic Party, this is a party of values. We assume our candidates have been loyal to their family.

And who says republicans can't do comedy?

*Has anyone ever seen them together?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In Casa de Fixer ...

Conversation just after I get home from work today:

Mrs. F: The shuttle Atlantis landed today. The Navy's going to try and shoot down that satellite now.

Me: Yeah, good thing. Could you imagine the Big Squid coming on TV saying "Oops, but we did hit something"?

Mrs. F: So, you think they'll hit it?

Me: Yeah, right. I'll start my car tomorrow morning and my satellite radio won't work.

Everything the Bush administration touches goes to shit. I can imagine what's gonna happen if they miss.

Update (Thursday morning):

Hey, the squids hit it! I'll be going out to check my radio shortly, just to make sure they got the right one. Heh ...

Pakistan turns scary for Bush's war on terror

Juan Cole on what may follow the elections in Pakistan:

The unraveling of Pervez Musharraf's presidency has dealt a severe blow to Bush's fatally flawed policy in the region.

[...] Although George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have built their war on terrorism on a close alliance with Musharraf, that entire hollow pillar of Bush administration policy has been dealt a severe, perhaps fatal, blow.

That's good news right there!

The full dimensions of the election catastrophe for Musharraf were clear by Tuesday afternoon. With almost all the results in, Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League 1-Q, or "king's party," had only 14 percent of the 272 seats in the National Assembly, or lower house of Parliament, for which the public votes directly. The party chairman and former prime minister, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, could not even get elected to Parliament, nor could some of Musharraf's Cabinet ministers. The party, now a small minority, admitted that it will have to sit in the opposition as its rivals form a government.

It's possible that the new civilian Pakistani government about to be formed will foster a more stable country, which is ultimately in the interest of Pakistan and of the United States. Meanwhile, President Bush the Wilsonian, who said he wanted to spread democracy across the Muslim world, and President Bush the militarist, who favored invasions and occupations, have been at war with each other for some time now. In Pakistan, the spreading of democracy -- regardless of whether the outcome is in line with U.S. expectations -- may be the only path left for the Bush administration now.

But...but...they can't have democracy! We haven't invaded them yet! Oh, that's right - no oil there. Never mind.

Sadr may lift militia cease-fire in Iraq


The office of Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr signaled today that he was leaning toward lifting his militia's cease-fire when it expires at the end of the month, a move that could bring a renewal of sectarian and anti-U.S. violence.

Sadr called on his Mahdi Army to lay down its arms last August and said the freeze in military activities would last six months. U.S. military officials credit the move with helping bring about a major decrease in violence in Iraq.

But in comments today, Sadr representatives said the movement felt that its gesture had not been reciprocated, either by the U.S. military or by the Iraqi government.

Nassar Rubaie, the chief of the political bloc in the Iraqi parliament loyal to Sadr, said the cleric's opponents had "exploited" the cease-fire to persecute and detain his loyalists.

I wouldn't blame Sadr one little bit. His stand-down is a big reason why the 'surge' is 'working', along with the U.S. paying off and supporting his Sunni enemies, and he knows damn good and well that an uptick in American deaths will make the papers in the U.S. and reduce what little chance McCain has to become Bush's third term avatar. Sadr doesn't want us to stay in Iraq for 100 years on permanent bases. He wants us out so he's got a better shot at runnin' the joint.

Writer's Block

Click to Embargo

Just Following Orders?

Good read at Jurist:

Earlier this month, US Attorney General Mukasey publicly formalized what has been the Bush Administration’s functional program of impunity for alleged war crimes and other international crimes committed by civilians during the Administration’s unlawful program of secret detention and “coercive interrogation.” For the next year, Mukasey assured, there will be no investigations and no prosecutions.

In fact, as explained in my book Beyond the Law, for the last seven years no person of any nationality or status has been prosecuted under the War Crimes Act, alternative legislation for prosecution of all war crimes, the torture statute, the genocide statute, or the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act.

Refusal to faithfully execute the law was previously obvious. Now it is official.

Don hip boots here for wading through the lawyerspeak.

As a matter of common sense, it is legally and morally impossible for any member of the executive branch to be acting lawfully or within the scope of his or her authority while following OLC opinions that are manifestly inconsistent with or violative of the law. General Mukasey, just following orders is no defense!

In a simpler time, the defense of "I vass chust followink orders!" was followed by the ol' drop 'n stretch...

Hil Supreme

Here's an interesting idea of what to do with ol' Hil. Hmmmm....

Making Iraq Disappear: The Million-Year War

If you don't read anything else all week, go read this Tomgram.

How never to withdraw from Iraq.

Think of the top officials of the Bush administration as magicians when it comes to Iraq. Their top hats and tails may be worn and their act fraying, but it doesn't seem to matter. Their latest "abracadabra," the President's "surge strategy" of 2007, has still worked like a charm. They waved their magic wands, paid off and armed a bunch of former Sunni insurgents and al-Qaeda terrorists (about 80,000 "concerned citizens," as the President likes to call them), and magically lowered "violence" in Iraq. Even more miraculously, they made a country that they had already turned into a cesspool and a slagheap - its capital now has a "lake" of sewage so large that it can be viewed "as a big black spot on Google Earth" - almost entirely disappear from view in the U.S.

Of course, what they needed to be effective was that classic adjunct to any magician's act, the perfect assistant. This has been a role long held, and still played with mysterious willingness, by the mainstream media. There are certainly many reporters in Iraq doing their jobs as best they can in difficult circumstances. When it comes to those who make the media decisions at home, however, they have practically clamored for the Bush administration to put them in a coffin-like box and saw it in half. Thanks to their news choices, Iraq has for months been whisked deep inside most papers and into the softest sections of network and cable news programs. Only one Iraq subject has gotten significant front-page attention: How much "success" has the President's surge strategy had?

It is a delusion to believe that the U.S. military is a force that stands between Iraqis and catastrophe. It is a significant part of the catastrophe and, as long as Washington is committed to any form of permanency (however euphemistically described), it cannot help but remain so.

Every day that passes, the Bush administration is digging us in further, even though surge commander General David Petraeus recently observed that "there is no light at the end of the tunnel that we're seeing." Every day that passes makes withdrawal that much harder and yet brings it ineradicably closer.

Getting out, when it comes, won't be elegant. That's a sure thing by now; but, honestly, you don't have to be a military specialist to know that, if we were determined to leave, it wouldn't take us forever and a day to do so. It isn't actually that hard to drive a combat brigade's equipment south to Kuwait. (And there's no reason to expect serious opposition from our Iraqis opponents, who overwhelmingly want us to depart.)

When withdrawal finally comes, the Iraqis will be the greatest losers. They will be left in a dismantled country. They deserve better. Perhaps an American administration determined to withdraw in all due haste could still muster the energy to offer better. But leave we must. All of us.

Much, much, much between those quotes.

Here's how I, simple former enlisted man that I am, would get us out of Iraq - in a loud, clear voice, a phrase that every service member understands: "A-bout FACE! Forrard HARCH!"

Lunar Eclipse Tonight

Tonight will be a good night to go outside and look up.

Tonight is the Full Wolf, Snow, Hunger, or Storm Moon, or Magh Poornima, depending on your cultural leanings. Probably a good night for magical work.

From the half-vast collection of reading material in my throne room:

FEBRUARY 20-21: total eclipse of the Moon. The entire eclipse can be seen from eastern and central North America. The Moon enters Earth's umbral shadow on February 20 at 8:43 P.M. EST, and the eclipse becomes total at 10:01 P.M. EST. Totality ends at 10:52 P.M. EST, and the umbral phase ends at 12:09 A.M. EST on February 21. The penumbral phase (only) will occur over western North America, at the time of moonrise; it will be difficult to see changes in the Moon's appearance. See Animation.

Funny how this works, but it's been beautifully clear here for the last several nights, and today, of course, it's snowing. I hope it clears up in time for me to see this celestial event.

Quote of the Day

Jeff (no, the other one) channeling Letterman in comments:

Letterman last night: "McCain looks like that old guy in the coffee shop still complaining about the designated hitter.'"

Off to the shop ...

Dear Hillary ...

Though I voted for you in the NY primary, it seems obvious now that Barack Obama will win the Dem race. You are playing a defensive game now and there aren't too many places left to make your stand. I would hope you see the writing on the wall and bow out of the race, gracefully and with dignity.

I would hope you see the value in uniting the party behind one candidate in order to go after the presumptive Republican nominee. It will be a difficult fight for too many people buy into in the 'McCain Myth', of the 'war hero', the 'straight shooter', and the 'maverick'. I would hope you will see the logic of not bringing this fight to the convention floor and allow the party to show America a united Democratic Party.

The real enemy here are the Republicans, not Obama and his supporters. I realize giving up the chance for more power is not in the Clinton game plan, but for the good of the nation in these critical, dangerous times, it is imperative. The nation cannot withstand another four years of George Bush in the form of the toady, McCain.

Had you kept the commanding lead you enjoyed when this shindig kicked off, I'd be writing this to Barack. He, however, is the one with the momentum, the one who closed and overtook you. You have to allow him to ride that momentum into the White House. A fight to the end with him will only serve to alienate many who will turn to McCain. The nation and the world cannot withstand another Republican in the White House and a Democratic win in November is a long way from certain.

It's time for you and your old man to put the 'Clinton Machine' to work for Barack and forget about the superdelegates. It smacks of the Supreme Court decision in 2000, handing the election to Bush. It's time for you to bow out and do what's best for America, not for Hillary (or Bill) Clinton.



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Freedom and Democracy ...

All the chickenshit Republican, rah-rah, kill the ragheads crowd (including Senator McCain) don't think about things like this when they decide to kick over a country for their oil.

Diwaniya, Feb 18, (VOI) – Residents of Diwaniya city have a new threat of a different sort; street-dogs that form groups, especially at night, are attacking them.


The physician added “This is a very dangerous situation, because street-dogs are sources of contagious diseases,” demanding the veterinary authorities in Diwaniya province to “interfere to eliminate those street-dogs, precisely in neighborhoods.”


Feral dogs, probably once pets working animals* (and their offspring) are reverting to the pack instinct and humans definitely fall into the category of prey. Not only do these folks have to deal with suicide bombers and Americans (and contractors) shooting first and asking questions later, they have to worry about being attacked and killed by wolfpacks of feral dogs. This is bringing freedom and democracy? This is 'liberating'?

*Thanks, Du, for setting me straight.

Quote of the Day

George W. Bush:

"and I mean free and fair, not those staged elections the Castro brothers try to foist off on the people."

I spit my lemonade on the laptop.

We can learn from Pakistan's election


“The myth is broken; it was a huge wave against Musharraf,” said Athar Minallah, a lawyer involved in the anti-Musharraf lawyers’ movement. “Right across the board his party was defeated, in the urban and rural areas. The margins are so big they couldn’t have rigged it even if they tried.”

Let's make sure our margins are that big come this November. Let's drown the Repug myth in a huge wave.

Last U.S. WWI Vet


Ready to Serve: Buckles (right), now 107, in a photo taken when he enlisted in the Army in 1917. At left, French troops stand guard along trenches in World War I.

Of the 2 million American soldiers sent to the trenches during World War I, only Frank Woodruff Buckles is still alive. The retired Army corporal, who turned 107 this month, is all that prevents the first world war from slipping into the secondhand past. [...]

In America, the first world war remains a largely forgotten conflict. It has no national monument on the Washington Mall, no blockbuster film, no iconic image equivalent to soldiers' raising the flag on Iwo Jima. [...]

Actually, it does, but, boy, do you have to know where to look!

Marine & new friend at Belleau Wood, 1918

But I digress...

Rebooting the memory of WWI matters for reasons other than nostalgia. Historians see the conflict as the original canvas on which many aspects of today's Iraq War were drawn. "Most of the problems we're grappling with in the Middle East are legacies of the great military binge of 1914–1918," says Niall Ferguson, a revisionist British historian and author of several studies of war. He adds that the British also faced an insurgency when they invaded Baghdad and declared themselves liberators in 1917. "The American case in Iraq is one of historical ignorance," he says. In recent years, Buckles has also become a reluctant spokesperson for his generation—its impact and its memory. "Might as well be me," he told NEWSWEEK, adding that an official service honoring all U.S. veterans when he dies would be the "right thing to do."

I have a personal connection to 'The War To End All Wars'. How's that workin' out, by the way? Anyway, my Dad, who passed in 1965, was a WWI U.S. Army aviator. If I can find the picture of him standing next to his Jenny, which was nose-down in a cornfield at the time, I'll put it up.

I've studied WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War over the years because of their impact on modern times, and they're kinda fascinating. I only recently got interested in the First World War when I realized that it was the biggest war ever fought over the least of reasons. It was the overdue end of at least three empires, and an absolutely straight line can be drawn from the pistol shot in Sarajevo that started it to the Middle East today.

If only those in power had a sense of history. Maybe we could have avoided an awful lot of misery for an awful lot of people. Our so-called leaders don't give a tinker's dam for history or for people, damn them. 'Twas ever thus. Sigh.

Keep kickin', Mr. Buckles. Make 'em wait.

Things go better with coke

Go here, scroll own and see Pat Robertson explaing the Bolivian cocaine trade. Walk on water? No problem, and you don' need no stinkin' loaves 'n fishes if you mix this stuff with yer Jesus Juice...

Total Drag

I only bring this up because it's fun to catch a Repug Bush man doing something silly and, well, soooo typical of them!

Pensito Review

Bush Judge Appointee Resigns After DUI Arrest While Cross Dressing

When authorities removed him from the vehicle, they said he wore a black women’s cocktail dress, fishnet stockings and high heels.

But in his mug shot, the judge appears to be wearing blue eye shadow. Way to wreck a really chic look, Robert.

From All Spin Zone:

No word on whether Judge Somma looks good with blue eye shadow, or in pumps. We’ll try to get that news for you later.

If a federal bankruptcy judge wants to dress up and go have some fun while his wife's out of town, that's plenty OK. It's his business how he wants to dress and whom he wishes to go drink with.

Until he gets caught, that is. Heh.

All the blogs are concentrating on the ladies' apparel, but they're missing the larger point - that's a little funny, but his lack of judgment by driving drunk is more serious. Drunk driving is selfish and socially irresponsible. He should have had a designated driver or taken a cab.

Note to Judge Somma from a multiply-convicted former drunk driver: Be damn glad you didn't hurt anyone. You're cute in the little black dress, though...

Why now?

Been 6 years since 9/11 and 3 since Madrid. Why raise the security level now?

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Amtrak is adopting new security measures and will unveil those changes on Tuesday.

The railroad company will be showing off a new initiative that includes random screenings of carry-on bags and armed patrols on platforms and trains.

Unlike airlines, the company has had little visible increase in security since the September 11th terror attacks in 2001. But concern about Amtrak security has mounted since the 2004 train bombings in Madrid.


Could it be because it's an election year?

Off to work ...

Vacation ...

No, I'm not going anywhere yet, but I got a rant up over at my travel blog about the horrible vacation benefits of many Americans and a video link to an ABC News story on the subject. This is an issue that should be discussed in the same breath as universal healthcare.

Adios, Fidel ...

Not that I'm a fan of Fidel Castro's politics or his 'management style', however something's gotta be said for a guy who could give the finger to 10 American Presidents from 90 miles off the US coast and live to tell about it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"I wanta 'lectrify my soul..."

Ah, fuck it. It's a holiday. Here's some fine old spiritual music:

McCain - Average, Mad Brave, Terrible Judgment

Here's the most telling paragraph I've read about McCain's stubbornness. It shows just one more reason why he must not - I say again, must not - be president.

Key words and phrases are boldened by moi.

Choosing naval aviation, he was at best an average pilot, a daredevil, "kick-the-tires and light-the-fire" type who sacrificed careful preparation for more time at the O Club bar. He wanted combat in Vietnam and got it. On his 23rd mission over North Vietnam, on Oct. 26, 1967, he was flying through heavy flak over Hanoi, dodging SAM missiles that looked "like flying telephone poles," when he heard a "beep" signaling that a SAM had locked on to his plane. McCain was just about to drop his bomb on target. He writes that he should have jinked to evade the missile, but out of stubbornness, or a mad kind of bravery, he flew straight on and toggled the bomb switch—just as the missile blew off the right wing of his plane. The force of the ejection from the spinning plane broke his right leg and both arms.

The word "judgment" is conspicuously absent. McCain threw away millions of dollars worth of airplane and pilot training for one lousy goddam bomb run when he should have saved them for another time. He realizes his mistake forty years on. Fat lot of good that does.

A President has to make correct decisions in the here and now, not wait for history to make the call. The ability to do this has been sadly lacking and that, unfortunately, appears to have become the norm.

This is not the kind of judgment we need in a President. We've already got that kind of poor judgment in the White House, except the Chimp never would have had to make that particular wrong decision in the TANG even if he had showed up for duty.

Wikileaks Deleted

Psyche, Science, and Society. Many links.

One of the most important web sites in recent months has been Created by several brave journalists committed to transparency, Wikileaks has published important leaked documents, such as the Rules of Engagement for Iraq [see my The Secret Rules of Engagement in Iraq], the 2003 and 2004 Guantanamo Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures, and evidence of major bank fraud in Kenya [see also here] that apparently affected the Kenyan elections. Wikileaks has upset the Chinese government enough that they are attempting to censor it, as is the Thai military junta.

Now censorship has extended to the United States of America, land of the First Amendment. As of Friday, February 15, those going to have gotten Server not found messages. Today I received a message explaining that a California court has granted an injunction written and requested by lawyers for the Cayman Island’s Bank Julius Baer. It seems that the bank is trying to keep the public from accessing documents that may reveal shady dealings. Wikileaks was only given a couple of hours notice “by email” and was not even represented at the hearing where a U.S. judge took such a drastic step attempting to totally shut down an important information outlet. The result was this totally unprecedented attempt to totally wipe out the existence of Wikileaks:

There have, of course, been previous attempts by the U.S. Government and others to block publication of particular documents, most famously in 1971 when the Nixon administration attempted to stop publication by the New York Times of excerpts from the Pentagon Papers, leaked by Daniel Ellsberg. But trying to close down an entire site in this way is truly unprecedented. Not even the Nixon administration, when they sought to block publication of the Pentagon Papers, considered closing down the New York Times in response.

Meanwhile, Wikileaks still exists. Its founders, knowing that governments and institutions will go to extreme lengths to censor the truth, have created an extensive network of cover names from which one can access their materials or continue leaking the secrets of governments and the corrupt rich and powerful. Thus, everything is available at, among other names. Let the leaks continue!

The assault on the 1st Amendment continues. So what else is new?

Huckabee Promises to Replace The Cabinet With The Twelve Apostles

Click for a bigger pile of god poop. Oops - dyslexia

"Now Tim, you wouldn't really need a Secretary of the Treasury, since Matthew was a tax collector. And since most of the other apostles were fishermen, they could collect our food, guard our coasts, and tell the kind of tall tales that constitute the core of the Republican party."

Thanks, Don

Dallas DA: Jack Ruby docs 'too important to keep secret'

Raw Story

The Dallas County District Attorney's Office has announced the discovery of a trove of documents relating to the assassination of John Kennedy.

Among the documents is an alleged transcript of a conversation between Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, planning the assassination together on behalf of the Mafia. This document has aroused the greatest amount of interest but has also been described as "highly suspect."

Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins explained at a news conference on Monday morning that the documents were found in a safe about a year ago -- soon after he took office -- and that his staff have been examining and cataloging them ever since. Previous DA's had decided not to reveal the information, but Watkins said his administration is devoted to openness and felt it was "too important to keep secret."

"It will open up the debate as to whether there was a conspiracy to assassinate the president," Watkins stated.

I have always felt there was a conspiracy. My curiosity about this will not die until I do, but I hope the truth comes out - officially - before then.

Above the law ...

Consider this sentence:

When Clinton was President the Republican Congress issued more than 1000 subpoenas, and the Clinton administration complied with every single one.


After all, it is the law.

But then the Democrats took control of Congress and asked for some onformation [sic]. The Bush administration refused to provide it. So they issued a few subpoenas, and the Bush administration refused to comply ...

They've finally issued contempt charges against Bolten and Meiers. Too little, too late, especially since there are enough Dems in Congress willing to side with the Rethugs to stymie every investigation into the Chimp's criminal activities. They impeached Clinton for lying about a blowjob, yet Bush skates responsibility for the deaths of 4000 American soldiers, the ruin of our economy, the death of a city, and so much more.

America, the Banana Republic.

"I iz dictator now?"

Great thanks to Watertiger for the pic.

We'll take the money ...

If you ever wondered about what kind of man John McCain is, just read this:

WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain’s campaign advisers will ask the White House to deploy President Bush for major Republican fund-raising, but they do not want the president to appear too often at his side, top aides to Mr. McCain said Sunday.


But even as the consensus was that Mr. McCain needed to “stand in the sun” on his own, as one adviser put it, without the large shadow cast by Mr. Bush, left unsaid was the difficult calculus the McCain campaign faces: Using Mr. Bush enough to try to make the tough sell of Mr. McCain to conservatives but not so much that he will drive away the independents and some moderate Democrats that Mr. McCain is counting on in November.


Of course, McCain doesn't want you to know he's a Bush clone, but he sure as hell will take the money Bush can raise for him. Quid pro quo much? McCain as President will be no different than the last 8 years of Bush.

War hero, you say? I say the best part of John McCain was washed down a drain in the Hanoi Hilton.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bumpersticker of the Day

And now, something a little different

This band used to play around here quite a bit and we've been to see them several times. Always a great show. Made people dance. Made ladies' boobs fall out of their dresses.

We saw them perform at Sand Harbor (scroll down and see pictures) once. It's right on the shore of Lake Tahoe, and even though it was July it got down into the 30s after sundown that evening. Queen Ida started the evening in a diaphanous top and ended up in a ski jacket donated by someone in the crowd who didn't want her to freeze to death in the middle of the show.

That's her husband playing the chest washboard. Cool ol' dude. The clip is from the '80s and Ida is older now, but she's still got it.

So for your listening and dancing pleasure, I present a little quintessential American chanky-chank music. Laissez les bon temps roulet...

Question: How come we only get the really good American music off foreign TV?

Cultural Icon

This is dedicated to Wordsmith because she likes Nanci Griffith, as do I, and also to the Blue Oval crowd 'cuz I figured they'd like a song about one of their cultural icons.

Lyrics here in case you didn't quite get them off the Limey TV clip.

Help is on the way...from Bangladesh?

Expanding on Fixer's post about our emerging third-world status, from the Financial Times:

Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank has made its first loans in New York in an attempt to bring its pioneering microfinance techniques to the tens of millions of people in the world’s richest country who have no bank account.

It's not that far-fetched. Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his innovative micro-financing in the third world. Basically his Grameen Bank makes incredibly small loans, mostly to poor women. I think that changing someone's life for the better by loaning them twelve bucks is absolutely amazing, but that's about what happens - if you need $12 worth of capital equipment to start something like a brick-making business so you can support your family, there was hitherto no place to get it, so you stayed poor.

Try borrowing twelve bucks from a conventional bank if you don't have twelve bucks worth of collateral. They don't want to screw around with chump change like that anyway. They're in business to make money by the carload, not the pocket full, and they're certainly not in business to help the little guy improve his (or more likely her) life. They're more likely to loan a company $100,000,000 if the CEO has shown a good regard for the bottom line by laying off a thousand workers.

I think microcredit has a good shot at helping folks here too. Twelve bucks won't get you off the block here, but a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to someone with ideas but no chance of obtaining a conventional loan could make all the difference in the world.

Pull up your pants ...

Dust the crumbs off your shirt, and get out of the fucking basement. Definitely throw away the box sets of Rambo and The Complete 24 DVDs. I love assholes like this.

Third World status ...

We haz it*.

Citigroup has barred investors in one of its hedge funds from withdrawing their money, and a new leveraged fund lost 52 percent in its first three months, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.


Chris says as much in his post:

... As much as the big financial companies would like us to believe they're OK, this is alarming. This is not that different from a traditional run on the bank ...

And I quote myself** from a comment I left at Ranger and Lisa's place yesterday:

Gitmo, the secret CIA prisons, and Abu Ghraib are all mile markers on that slippery slope we're heading down toward Third World Banana Republic status.

This development is another.

*Apologies to the folks at the Cheezburger.
**Pompous bastid, ain't I? Heh ...

The American Legacy ...

It kills me to hear people speak of going to war cavalierly. The costs of war* go far beyond the price of bullets and guns, missiles and bombs:

... In the 3,160 villages in the southern part of Vietnam within the Agent Orange spraying zone, 800,000 people continue to suffer serious health problems and are in need of constant medical attention ...

More than 30 years after that war, the consequences of our actions are still manifesting themselves. We're seeing it in Iraq now too:

... Between 30 to 40 children per month are born with defects attributed to their mothers inhalation of radioactive dust from depleted uranium rounds. The American army used depleted uranium during the last war and this was confirmed by a German team who visited Irak recently and were able to obtain a missile which proved after checking that the American forces used depleted uranium [my em]...

After Johnny comes marching home, his legacy remains behind for generations.

*Images at link might be disturbing.

Quote of the Day

Res Ipsa Loquitur:


Back in the day, when confronted with a Republican my default presumptions were usually, "Doesn't want to pay taxes. Enjoys war." Now, they're straight out of the "Paraphilias and Sexual Disorders" section of the DSM-IV or the sex offenses section of the local penal code ...