Saturday, February 24, 2007

Nuts to you ...

There's a place we do business with called Al's Hubcaps and their motto is "Cover Your Nuts". From the Dept. of Don't Our Lawmakers Have Better Shit To Do, otherwise known as Shakes:

As the General Assembly debates global warming and the death penalty, [Republican delegate LeRoy E. Myers Jr.] has something else on his mind: the outsized plastic testicles that truckers dangle from the trailer hitches of their pickups.


I've been on a project around the Fixer household to replace the old fashioned incandescent lightbulbs with the energy-saving flourescents. I changed the ones we use regularly, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and office and the others (there are rooms in this house I don't go into for a month at a time) I'm replacing as they burn out. The Aussies are doing much the same thing:

Australia is set to become the first country in the world to stop using the cheap standard light bulb, with the federal government expected today to announce a commitment to phasing out inefficient incandescent light within three years.


Up a notch

Barack just moved up a notch in my book, though he still creeps me out in some way that I just can't put my finger on.

Another 'Dixie Chicks Moment'

SEATTLE -- Modern hunters rarely become more famous than Jim Zumbo. A mustachioed, barrel-chested outdoors entrepreneur who lives in a log cabin near Yellowstone National Park, he has spent much of his life writing for prominent outdoors magazines, delivering lectures across the country and starring in cable TV shows about big-game hunting in the West.


As I've said many times, I'm not a hunter (don't believe in killing anything that doesn't try to kill me), but I do believe in the right to keep and bear (try breaking into my house and find out about that). I also have a big problem with the NRA and the guys who, many in lieu of military service, have to feel like Sgt. Rock by owning the latest military hardware. Seems this experienced, nationally recognized hunter has been thinking along the same lines. Unfortunately for him, just like the Chicks, he earns his living from these folks.


"Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity," Zumbo wrote in his blog on the Outdoor Life Web site. The Feb. 16 posting has since been taken down. "As hunters, we don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them. . . . I'll go so far as to call them 'terrorist' rifles."


I'm sure a lot of others feel this way too, but you're unAmerican, in the eyes of the NRA, if you actually say that in a national forum. This poor bastid, an icon of the hunting community has gone from penthouse to pavement in mere days.


His top-rated weekly TV program on the Outdoor Channel, his longtime career with Outdoor Life magazine and his corporate ties to the biggest names in gunmaking, including Remington Arms Co., have been terminated or are on the ropes.

The NRA on Thursday pointed to the collapse of Zumbo's career as an example of what can happen to anyone, including a "fellow gun owner," who challenges the right of Americans to own or hunt with assault-style firearms.


Excuse me, but assault weapons are just that. They are made to kill people in a theater of war or in police operations. The day I see deer armed with RPGs and bear with AK-47s is the day I'll give my blessing to private citizens having better armament than the local cops.

The NRA is nothing but a wingnut organization whose leadership lives on the far right and are enabled by the gunmakers. Thanks to the NRA and their influence, gun control laws are mostly ineffective in states that have them. I give a fuck what you do in your state, but when these things are bought there (because you don't give a fuck and your reps are scared of the NRA) and trafficked on the streets of NY, I got big problems.

The NRA, gunmakers, and 'enthusiasts' have gotten away with far too much for too long and it's about time one of their own called bullshit. Unfortunately, the poor bastid's ruined.

Update [Sunday morning ... early]:

Our pal (and resident scholar of the American Patriot Institute) Scroff said it quite well a while ago, as he alerted me to in comments (ya old blogwhore ... heh):

... it should be perfectly reasonable for me to own a nuke. I wouldn't use it... I just want to have it, and it's my right as an American Citizen to have one ...

Dear Minnesota,

You sure know how to pick 'em. What's in the water up there?



War by proxy ...


Israel is negotiating with the United States for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

To conduct surgical air strikes against Iran's nuclear programme, Israeli war planes would need to fly across Iraq. But to do so the Israeli military authorities in Tel Aviv need permission from the Pentagon.


I'm sure a lot of thought and debate will go into making that decision.


"The only way to do this is to fly through US-controlled air space. If we don't sort these issues out now we could have a situation where American and Israeli war planes start shooting at each other."


This should be an all out mess the way Lebanon was last year and the blowback will hit us in a big way.

You are guilty ...

Of blogwhoring in the 1st degree. It's Saturday and that means another chapter of my novel The Captains is up at The Practical Press.


Patrick Yelladog clued me in to this the other day via email and I've seen blog posts ridiculing it. I still think it's a parody (hard to tell anymore since Bush and the Rethugs took over) of Wikipedia but everybody seems to believe it's a genuine effort. If it is, bwa-ha-ha-ha, boy are conservatives idiots.

I'm not one for dicking with other people's sites (you don't like what they have to say, don't go there) but these folks are allowing edits (encouraging them), just like Wiki. As you can see much of their information (they're peddling it as fact) is ... suspect.


Heh ... and they dissed PZ:

"Silly and unsupported"? Moi?

Friday, February 23, 2007

We have seen the enemy ...

And have become him.

Wilfred Owen

In one of the comments, our pal Badtux left a poem by Wilfred Owen about disabled soldiers. Mr. Owen is known for his poetry about the horror of war, and also for being killed in action one week before the end of World War One, The War To End All Wars, which apparently was not an accurate prediction.

Here are his War Poems & Manuscripts. They are as apropos today as they were then. Start anywhere. Liquid alert - it'll be comin' out of your eyes in sorrow and rage.

Oregon Senator has 61/73 yo women arrested

Daily Kos

2 women, yesterday, wanted to speak to their imperial senator; obviously, a senator is above that kind of 'wallowing in the masses' kinda thing.

Imagine the gall of these women! Expecting someone as important as a Senator to speak with old, female constituents who obviously can't contribute much money to his re-election is just un-American!

Naturally, a Senator that would have elderly women arrested for exercising their free speech rights is a Rethuglican!

And your point is...? I coulda guessed that.

From one of the newly minted misdemeanants:

The receptionist asked us to leave, Dot and I refused - and 3 regular police officers came to arrest us - soon joined by 3 bicycle officers. Dot and I must appear awfully dangerous to require 6 police officers - even though I am only about 5'4" tall and Dot's head barely came to the height of my shoulder. (I'd guess Dot is slightly less than 5' tall.) Neither Dot nor I would make a very convincing Amazons, but I felt honored. Each police officer who Dot and I encountered today were courteous, polite, and even apologetic; some seem amused - a few seemed shocked. I feel that they should be commended for their warmth and courtesy - I think Dot would agree that we felt we received better treatment from the hands of PPD than we did from Sen. Smith's office.

Of course I spoke to all my fellow prisoners as well - and urged them to vote. They all expressed shock that two old ladies were arrested for attempting to talk to their senator. (I think I should have been a politician or a preacher cause proselytizing comes so naturally. :-D)

Let me encourage you - I had a great time meeting all the other women. I begin to think that some of the most interesting, independent and intelligent women are not necessarily "model little housewives" or entirely respectable ones from society's viewpoint, though more than a few have had very difficult lives and backgrounds. I must say that I liked Daniel, Monica, Katrina, a beautifull young 18 year old, and all the other women I met "behind bars".

I like those kinda gals too, Kathleen, and I've met quite a few in our coed county clink, but don't get to likin' jail too much! The novelty wears off after the first coupla times.

This wasn't actually done by the Senator, but by his staffers doing it in his name, so he gets the responsibility for it. We better hear an apology.

Much more at the link.

Army Shortchanging Troops - Again

Army Times

The Army is deliberately shortchanging troops on their disability retirement ratings to hold down costs, according to veterans' advocates, lawyers and service members.

"These people are being systematically underrated," said Ron Smith, deputy general counsel for Disabled American Veterans. "It's a bureaucratic game to preserve the budget, and it's having an adverse affect on service members."

The Army denies there is any intentional effort to push wounded troops off the military rolls. But critics say many troops being evaluated for possible disability retirement accept the first rating they are offered during their first informal board - but that if they were to request a formal board, and then appeal the decision of that board, they would receive higher ratings.

Those who try to navigate the process beyond their initial evaluation - to include hundreds of combat veterans in limbo at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington - face long waits, lost paperwork and months or even years away from home as they try to complete the process. If they receive a rating of above 30 percent, they receive disability retirement pay, medical benefits, and commissary privileges. Those rated under 30 percent receive severance pay and no benefits.

Many eventually give up and take their chances with the Department of Veterans Affairs, which may give a higher rating for the same disability.

But under the separate disability payment systems of the Defense Department and the VA, a higher VA rating does not necessarily translate into more money - and forgoing military disability retirement also means giving up lifetime commissary and exchange privileges, military health care and other benefits.

The system "has become less friendly toward service members with compensable decisions on disability" in the past few years, especially since the war in Iraq began, Waple said.

Well, what did they expect to happen when we were led to war? That the only injuries were going to be thorn scratches from all the garlands of roses?

They should have decided it was going to cost too much before they sent the troops into harm's way and put it on the recruiting posters: "Get hurt, shit outta luck. A grateful nation will drop you like a hot rock."

"I think there is a definite bias on the physical evaluation board to medically separate service members with a zero-, 10- or 20-percent disability rating when it … should be medical retirement."

No pull trigger, no get food. See ya, chump. Gotta save money on you to give to Bush's pals.

Please read the rest.

Big Surprise

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut told the Politico on Thursday that he has no immediate plans to switch parties but suggested that Democratic opposition to funding the war in Iraq might change his mind.

Like we haven't seen this coming for at least a year. He's a Repug in everything but name. Get it the fuck over with.

David Sirota is a little more thoughtful than I am. I think he gets paid by the word:

So, to sum up: I hope Lieberman switches because A) it would be advantageous for Democrats in the long-term B) it wouldn't hurt Democrats or progressives in the short-term, if Senate Democrats developed the spine to filibuster horrible nominees (admittedly an "if") and C) while he already is politically irrelevant in terms of actual power, Lieberman's switch would, finally, make him widely perceived as irrelevant, meaning that he would cease to have any effect on the national debate and that his melting, Emperor-from-Star-Wars face would stop appearing on my television set and freaking out my dog, Monty.

If you need reasons, I guess those are good ones. Cruelty to animals is a Repug deal anyway.

Note to Holy Joe: Don't threaten us, just do it. We goddam sure don't need you any more. We'll get by.

Quote of the Day

60 Minutes

"Just because we volunteered for the military doesn't mean we volunteered to put our lives in unnecessary harm and to carry out missions that are illogical and immoral."

Marine Sgt. Liam Madden

Twisted Message

This is from a post in a private usenet group (Thanks, Pierre) can't find it on line so I'm posting in toto here. Not much that I can add, it pretty much speaks for itself.

Leader from the newsletter today:
If the current verbal confusion among the Allies in Iraq is an indicator of their military performance, you can see why this has not yet been recorded as one of the great textbook warfare successes of modern times…

"the situation in Iraq makes it possible for Denmark and Britain to reduce their numbers of troops."
Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

"We are planning to pull out the troops because the British and the
Danish are doing so."
Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas.

"At the present time the level of violence is totally unacceptable, and
until the Iraqis are able to contain it to a reasonable level we should stay."
Australian PM John Howard

"There is no such thing as victory in Iraq."
Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson

"I will settle for nothing less than complete victory."
President George Bush
(November 2005)

"The American public will be quite perplexed by the President adding forces while our principal ally is subtracting forces."
US Senator John Warner

The history of military incompetence is littered with reasons for failure on the battlefield, but when political leaders can’t even agree on the basic objective of whether they are pursuing victory, it’s clear the battlefield isn’t the major problem here.

We might be enlightened ...

But you'd better watch where you dance. Serious:


A state court is upholding the city's Prohibition era law that bans social dancing in bars, restaurants and certain clubs.


As two who do break into spontaneous dance, Mrs. F and I should be doing 25 to Life in Attica shortly. Heh ... Late for work, bye!

Institutional usury

Over 50 million Americans have no health insurance. Hospital corporations, pharmaceutical houses, and HMOs are recording record profits while dumping the destitute on the street. It is far past time to institute a single-payer national health insurance system and take the profit out of making people well. When the most vulnerable among us are being treated, basically, like dogshit on the bottom of your shoe, we've got real problems. When:


The total number of people directly affected by medical bankruptcies in the U.S. has risen to more than two million annually, according to an article published online today in the journal Health Affairs.


There is seriously something wrong with this nation. Our healthcare industry wrings everything it can from patients and when they can no longer pay, they are left on the street or allowed to die. Is this America or sub-Saharan Africa? It seems, if you don't earn more than 6 or 7 figures, your life ain't worth shit.

Our rights are eroding drip by drip . . .

. . . and all that interests most of the mainstream media is dead or dysfunctional white girls.

From N. Y. Times via truthout

"A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration's behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law.

The provision, signed into law in October, weakens two obscure but important bulwarks of liberty. One is the doctrine that bars military forces, including a federalized National Guard, from engaging in law enforcement. Called posse comitatus, it was enshrined in law after the Civil War to preserve the line between civil government and the military. The other is the Insurrection Act of 1807, which provides the major exemptions to posse comitatus. It essentially limits a president's use of the military in law enforcement to putting down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion, where a state is violating federal law or depriving people of constitutional rights."

All we need now is one major calamity and all of our rights will be gone. Few in Congress and few in the MSM seem to care.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

From the Dept. of Good Ideas



I think we should start working on flipping a Republican Senator. Does Olympia Snowe want a committee chair? How about Chuck Hagel? Anything is better than putting up with this blackmail from Lieberman.

I'd take Hagel in a heartbeat if we could kick Holy Joe over the side.

But he's a hit in Perth ...

The Aussies love the Dickster:

Pic thanks to Watertiger

The People v. The Dick


Resolved, that Richard B. Cheney, vice president of the United States, should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that these articles of impeachment be submitted to the American people.

But none of these apply to Vice President Cheney, and not only because it was Cheney (and not God, or George W. Bush, or anybody else) who selected himself as vice president back in 2000. With Cheney, there are also no lingering questions about capacity, motive, or malice. Over the past six years, as the country has spiraled into military misadventure, fiscal madness, and environmental meltdown, the vice president has not merely been wrong about the issues; he has been duplicitous, deceitful, and deliberately destructive to the American democracy. These things can no longer be denied by rational minds:

That in the buildup to war in Iraq, the vice president, lacking confidence in the true casus belli, conspired to invent additional ones, misrepresenting the available intelligence, crafting new "intelligence," and then spreading these falsehoods to the public, perverting the democratic process that he is sworn to uphold.

That as the war devolved into occupation, the vice president again sabotaged the democratic system, developing back channels into the Coalition Provisional Authority, a body not under his purview, to remove some of the most effective staff and replace them with his own loyal supplicants - undercutting America's best effort at war in order to expand his own power.

That in his domestic capacity, the vice president has been equally reckless with the trust of his office, converting the vice presidency into a de facto prime ministership, conducting secret meetings with secret policy boards to determine national policy and then refusing to share the details of those meetings with the other branches of government.

Finally, that the vice president has repeatedly promoted the interests of a corporation, Halliburton, over the interests of the nation, causing untold harm to American economic, military, and public health.

For these and other offenses against the nation, Vice President Cheney, clearly, is guilty of crimes against the state.

Herewith, in the absence of action for the past six years by a timid Republican Congress and a refusal to act by the new Democratic leadership, we, the Fourth Estate, take the mantle of indictment unto ourselves and present these Articles of Impeachment, to be adopted by the United States House of Representatives and voted upon by the United States Senate, at their earliest possible leisure:

Pages and pages of the Articles follow. They lay it out pretty good. Go read. Suffering is good for the soul.

Wherefore, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.

Like, DUH! Let's hope the House gets jealous of a magazine pre-empting their job and follows suit. Hell, GQ did all the work already. All they have to do is cut and paste. It's almost quittin' time in DC, so tomorrow will be fine.

Jane and Marcy on the Big Picture

Much more at YouTube

YouTube is spoiling me rotten! This is soooo much easier than whatever it was I used to do. There is a God!

For all the Libby Trial coverage you could possibly want, go to Firedoglake.


Also see MyDD.

Damn Those Danes!

p m carpenter

We had a real shot at winning the Iraq war/civil war/internecine war/uprising/insurgency/general bloodbath -- nay, we had it won, by God -- till Denmark lost it for us. Well, it and liberal bloggers. And Keith Olbermann.

That, anyway, is the blame-game line I am recommending forthwith to the White House and Republican National Committee for their most traditional of all right-wing amusements: finger-pointing on chewed carpets when all things American go a bit ... sour.

You will recall, for instance, that decades ago the Chinese communists did not defeat Chiang Kai-shek's forces. The communists did not win anything at all. No, they lost China -- "they" being Trumanite pinkos in the State Department, United States Army and other well-known bastions of raw pinkoism.

Then "they" lost Korea -- they being the same Trumanite pinkos, who, it is true, were too busy fielding idiotic McCarthyite questions about their loyalty to pay much attention to the business of foreign policy. But such is the price of freedom we -- they -- pay.

And Vietnam. The North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong did not victoriously reunify that country by kicking French and American butts into the Tonkin Gulf. No, "they" lost it, too -- the flower children, the liberal media en masse and Walter Cronkite, personally. Oh, and medal-tossing John Kerry and artillery-straddling Jane Fonda, who, according to my talk radio sources, were also "directly responsible for the deaths of 3 million Southeast Asians," right after Walter lost Vietnam.

"We" don't lose wars, you see -- we being the real Americans. Other people -- "they"; the those-on-the-left they -- lose wars for us. And of course occasionally those infernal, weak-kneed foreigners contribute to snatching victory from the we-us.

The Brits never cared enough about their own bloody empire, let alone ours, so they're skedaddling from our garden sandbox; and Lithuania, too, is throwing in the Iraqi towel, which is just like a bunch of lily-livered Lithuanians, don't you know.

But I blame the Danes, damn their Scandinavian hides.

There's an old saying, now co-opted by the Repuglicans, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you place the blame".

As long as there is anybody still alive on this planet besides them, nothing will ever be their fault.

Quote of the Day

From Tristero blogging at Digby's:


The essential principle of American politics is that it insists upon the exercise of cold reason in governance; revelation can play no part, nor can any religion have any kind of privileged status. Period. The End.


Indeed. Worship whatever and however you will, but religion has no place in American governance.

And an addendum as I head out the door: Say nothing to me about morality derived from being a 'person of faith'. I am a good, moral man because I choose to be, not because I'm worried for my soul. Being religious does not mean you have a moral, ethical bone in your body and certainly should not be used as a litmus test when judging a candidate qualifications to hold a particular office.

Clinton v. Obama

Don't give a shit. This will be forgotten in a week.

[Welcome to RCP - BuzzTracker readers. ~ F]

Cheney ... he idiot!

Seems the Japanese love our veep:


Japanese Cabinet Ministers have openly denounced US policy in Iraq as childish and accused the Bush Administration of being cocky. The latest blow was last week's agreement on North Korea’s nuclear programme which is privately regarded by many in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Government as an American betrayal. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, could hardly have been more dismissive of Mr Cheney’s visit. "Since the other party is coming over,” he said yesterday, when asked what was the point of Mr Cheney’s visit, “it must have some point for the other party." [my em]


By the time the Chimp and Cheney leave office, everybody will hate us.

Tip o' the Brain to Maru.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Is he still relevant?

Wolfie just said Tom Daschle endorsed Obama for President today. Does anybody give a fuck what Tom Daschle says anymore?

It's not just Walter Reed

Will Bunch

Outrageous? Of course.

But are you shocked that a country that can spend some $300 billion to wage a war could treat the injured heroes in such a fashion?

Well, sadly, you shouldn't be, not by now.

On Monday night, they announced the winners of the George Polk Awards for Journalism, honoring the best news reports and articles that appeared over the course of 2006. For those of you unfamiliar with the Polk Awards, run by Long Island University, they are arguably the second-most prestigious journalism prizes, sort of like the Golden Globes to the Oscars of the Pulitizer Prizes awarded in April.

And three out of the 12 winners. amazingly, were for stories that chronicled mistreatment or abuse or unnecessary risk to Americans fighting in Iraq -- along the lines of the Walter Reed story, yet arguably worse in some cases, because in these instances young men and women actually died. Read through these award-winning stories, and you'll be as baffled as I am over how a great nation can neglect or mistreat its own soldiers in this fashion.

He goes into the details.

If these stories don't get your blood boiling, nothing will. And it's easy to whip yourself into a frenzy, to ask things like "Why do they hate our troops," etc. On one hand, it's not that simplistic. I don't think that anyone in the Pentagon or the White House is sitting around actively "hating our troops," seeking ways for our men and women in uniform to suffer, or in some cases die, like these stories have shown.

On the other hand, I don't see these as all randomly unconnected stories, either. What they do show is this, that the war in Iraq is a huge mistake, an incredible black hole, and our leaders in Washington have a habit of condoning increasingly foolish or risky behaviors -- rather than directly confront these inconvenient truths. It's a lot like the thousand little lies that an alcoholic or a compulsive gambler might tell others and himself to avoid confronting the real issue at hand.

And so rather than build modern new facilities at Walter Reed -- a tacit, public admission that many more people have been severely wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan than anyone ever projected beforehand -- they would rather let soldiers languish in squalor. Because there aren't enough troops to fight the stronger than expected insurgency, they send suicidal soldiers into battle, and they are so desperate to keep the casualty number down that they will roll the dice on a high-risk, experimental medical treatment. And they're also reluctant to drop their plan to make a contractor buddy like Raytheon rich in 2011, because they would have to admit how bad things are in 2007.

The choices are clear. We can continue to pretend that we have enough healthy troops to wage our precarious war in Iraq, and pretend that thousands of them are not getting maimed, or worse. Or we can do what Great Britain appears to be doing tonight, and look at the situation with a view geared toward the reality on the ground.

We look forward to reading some great journalism in 2007, but we can't bear to see one more story about the mistreatment of American troops.

Bear it or not, it's the tip of the iceberg, and we will be hearing horror stories for the next fifty years. There's been about 1.6 million troops cycle through Iraq by now, and the TBI and PTSD victims have not had as much coverage as the traumatic injury victims. Most of 'em have probably not been identified or diagnosed at this time. They will dribble in by the each for the rest of our lives.

The active duty military hospitals and the VA have their hearts in the right place, but they are overwhelmed as we speak, with the worst yet to come.

The DoD facilities have the money to correct things like Bldg. 18, but apparently don't have the leadership or the will to do so until a scandal comes out in the press to national attention to get their lard asses off the dime. Heads must roll.

I have experience in the VA system and am a booster for them, but they are historically under-funded. They get their money quarterly, which they ask for based on projections, instead of annually, and they almost never get as much as they ask for. Vietnam Veterans have only been starting to show up in any number just in the last few years, many times as health care provider of last choice for guys with no money or insurance.

What the VA is really good at is geriatric care for WWII and Korean War Vets. That's fine for the old guys, but I don't think they want to wait for veterans/victims of Bush's War to get to be in their fifties before they start taking care of them. They better not.

The entire military health care system, immediate and follow-on both, has to change right quick to try to get ahead of, instead of just react to, the coming influx of Vets needing care.

The Repuglicans' idea of Veterans' benefits seems to be "no pull trigger, no get food" and "thank you for your service. Sorry you were dumb enough to get hurt. We sewed you up. It cost a lot, we've paid enough. Hit the bricks."

The pols pay a lot of lip service to "the Vets deserve the best health care we can provide", but they don't seem to be capable of advance planning or adequate funding.

Note to the Dems WE put in last November: get off your asses and show the country what 'progressive' means by fixing this shit. Let professional people do the planning, you guys can't plan your way out of a paper bag, just investigate and adequately, nay, lavishly, fund Veterans Health Care Services.

The Iraq Veterans got hurt and traumatized for nothing, and you let Bush do it. They've suffered enough. There's no need to make them suffer further for your mistakes.

My job

I fix cars. I am not a journalist, never wanted to be. I started blogging to give folks a bit of an insight of how their car works and demistify the auto repair business. No, we're not all crooks.

I didn't start political blogging because I wanted to be a journalist. I started because anyone in their right mind, or so I thought, must be able to see the shenanigans the Bush administration was pulling. You don't think I actually want to get heartburn and indigestion everyday, do you? Aside from the fact I've met some great people in the Blogosphere, I personally have better shit to do with my time than blog. At this point, I look at blogging as a duty, much as I did my military service. And please, no letters and emails, I'm not equating blogging with military service, just that I'm doing something to help my country once again.

I feel it is my duty because the press has dropped the ball. Face it, if the 'news media' would have done their jobs, we wouldn't be in Iraq, hell, Bush might never have become President and Clinton certainly wouldn't have been impeached. If I dropped the ball at work the way the press has with regard to Bush and the Rethugs, I'da been fired long ago. Seems when you drop the ball as a journalist there's no accountability, unless they outright, demonstrably lie. Sins of omission don't count.

It's as if I did a service and didn't bother putting any oil back in the motor. It's still gonna break, still gonna be my fault. And I'm gonna be out of a job. Since the press has no such accountability, we're here out of necessity to hold them accountable and present the truth they seem oblivious to for whatever reason.

Seems the WH press corps is mad at us now. Poor babies:


In a press roundtable at the National Press Club tonight, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow led a discussion with White House correspondents about the impact of the internet on their respective jobs. Their conclusion? They don’t like being challenged by blogs.


They got a problem with the angry, shrill, and potty-mouthed bloggers. Awww. Our good pal, and fellow New Yorker, Creature has more to say:


These fuckers have no idea what anger is. The media is responsible for cheerleading us to into a war and they sit back and act like absolutely nothing is wrong. Do they not realize the stakes? They give the White House a pass, they fuck up, and people die. If I had hair, I'd be tearing it out of my head right now.


Since it seems there are no controls on the quality and accuracy of reporting, it's up to people who know the truth to set it right. Note to press: If you did your jobs properly, I'd quit blogging tomorrow. If you gave the people the truth about what's going on, not day after day of Anna Nicole and Britney and the Crazy Astronaut Lady, you'd find the clamoring from the blogosphere would diminish markedly. Remember, 31% of American get their news from us. Almost a third of the population doesn't take you seriously as it is. Keep whining about bloggers and keep abdicating your responsibility, and you'll lose more.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A kick in the ass ...

From across the pond. Greenwald:


Blair's reversal was likely motivated in large part by various domestic political pressures. Still, the fact that President Bush's most steadfast ally has reversed himself in such a public and humiliating way, and announced a clear-cut withdrawal from Iraq on a set timetable, should embolden frightened American Congressional war opponents to move beyond inconsequential and limited non-binding resolutions and begin thinking seriously about how to compel an end to this endlessly destructive occupation.

Let's hope so.


Criminals, yes:


To keep filling the ranks, the Army has had to keep lowering its expectations. Diluting educational, aptitude and medical standards has not been enough. Nor have larger enlistment bonuses plugged the gap. So the Army has found itself recklessly expanding the granting of "moral waivers," which let people convicted of serious misdemeanors and even some felonies enlist in its ranks.

Last year, such waivers were granted to 8,129 men and women - or more than one out of every 10 new Army recruits. That number is up 65 percent since 2003, the year President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq. In the last three years, more than 125,000 moral waivers have been granted by America’s four military services.

Most of last year's Army waivers were for serious misdemeanors, like aggravated assault, robbery, burglary and vehicular homicide. But around 900 - double the number in 2003 - were for felonies. Worse, the Army does no systematic tracking of recruits with waivers once it signs them up, and it does not always pay enough attention to any adjustment problems. Without adequate monitoring and counseling, handing out guns to people who have already committed crimes poses a danger to the other soldiers they serve with and to the innocent civilians they are supposed to protect. [my ems]


Queers ... not so much:


But the Pentagon is discharging more than 700 people a year who are determined to be homosexuals -- who in nearly every case have performed their service honorably on behalf of their country and uniformed service.

But it goes beyond troops on the front line. The military apparently has little problem putting major weapons systems into the hands of criminals while at the same time discharging Arabic-speaking linguists.


Okay, listen to me. If somebody wants to serve this nation, and they're not a criminal, I don't give a fuck if they wear a pink tutu and act like they're Tinkerbell when they're off duty. You're telling gays, homosexuals who are willing to serve and die for their nation in a critical specialty, they are valued less than convicted felons.

I served with gays. So what? We had some serious redneck cracker motherfuckers in the unit. They didn't have a problem with serving with gays either. Know why? We were all in it together and we depended on each other. If they culled most of the Jesus freak pastors out of the Chaplain Corps, homosexuality wouldn't be an issue in the military. Trust me, when the balloon goes up, no body gives a shit if the sign on your ass says 'exit only' or not. Only that you're pointing in the right direction when the shooting starts.

For a nation in the midst of a recruiting crisis, our priorities are sadly misplaced.

Tip o' the Brain to Nicole at C & L.

And yer point is....?

Social conscience

Blondie gives us the pic and the info:

Although I find the MTA Subway design on the wrapper a bit un-sexy, NYC Condoms are free. That's right. Free! There will be 18 million of them distributed- 18million less chances of contracting HIV or paying child support for the next 21 years.


I (heart) NY.

Why wait 'til '08?


The sole reason to be glad Al Gore did not win in 2000

I'll let Dave Neiwirt over at Orcinus give you the answer. ;)

Follow the link there, it'll make your blood boil and that's healthy once in a while. ;)


Supporting the troops ...

The ladies got my blood boiling as I'm heading out the door.

Read Shakes.

Read Pam.



Winning ...

Couple years ago, when the Chimp was speaking of 'winning' the War on Terra, you could sorta stretch things, find some good going on. Afghanistan was slowly working itself back to at least the 17th Century as opposed to the 7th under the Taliban, and there was some good shit happening in Iraq.

The Chimp's justification, 'we're winning the War on Terra', could be seen as a glasss half full/empty thing. We hadn't been attacked here and you were seeing new schools being built in Iraq and roads being built and little girls going to school in Afghanistan.

Those of us out here who have a pretty good grip on reality since giving up hard drugs years ago warned we were shortchanging the effort in Afghanistan to focus instead on Iraq, what we at the time called a complete waste of good resources; highly trained and motivated troops and their equipment.

We were laughed at and called traitors; 'undermining the troops', they said. We were all 'traitors' and 'unAmerican'. Those of us who have served, who've sacrificed regardless if they'd seen combat or not, were called 'defeatists', though we knew, especially our Vietnam-era brothers and sisters, what would happen as a result of constant deployments, the use of our National Guard and Reserve force as regulars, and the crazy tempo of operations; quoting Billmon "Vietnam on crack". Veterans, whose service and experience were supposed to be respected, men and women who spoke eloquently of impending failure thanks to the wisdom gained on the battlefield, were disregarded and disrespected.

Not to say we told ya so, but ...

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 - Senior leaders of Al Qaeda operating from Pakistan have re-established significant control over their once-battered worldwide terror network and over the past year have set up a band of training camps in the tribal regions near the Afghan border, according to American intelligence and counterterrorism officials.

American officials said there was mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, had been steadily building an operations hub in the mountainous Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan. Until recently, the Bush administration had described Mr. bin Laden and Mr. Zawahri as detached from their followers and cut off from operational control of Al Qaeda.

The United States has also identified several new Qaeda compounds in North Waziristan, including one that officials said might be training operatives for strikes against targets beyond Afghanistan.


27 years ago, almost to the minute as I write this, my father dropped me off at the Air Force recruiter's office in Bay Shore on Long Island. It was the beginning of a journey for me that would take me all over the world and immerse me in many different cultures. Yes, I had to kill people (I've paid my penance for that thanks to 5 years of dealing with PTSD and all that comes with it) but what I took away from my military experience has benefitted me throughout my life.

I learned most people, regardless of race or religion are more alike than different. I learned that force and violence must be a last resort. I learned others have valid reasons for hating us and what we stand for, and they certainly don't hate us for our freedoms. They love us for that. I learned a lot of things which made 'Bush's Folly' seem all the more insane.

I knew failure was the only option, so did a lot of people. Iraq was a failure from the start and Afghanistan has been going downhill at an ever-increasing rate. The failure, those of us 'who've been there' warned about, is at hand. We barely have enough troops for the 'surge' in Iraq, stop loss and tour extensions accounting for most of them, extra troops for Afghanistan is pure fantasy; the reason the Chimp is pushing NATO to increase their commitment. Add that to the fact Osama bin Laden is still walking around loose. Talk about taking your eye off the ball.

Failure is imminent, our military is breaking, and we're rattling our saber toward Iran. It's time to get these insane warmongers out before they destroy us completely. We aren't winning anything.

Monday, February 19, 2007

This, Mr President, is how wars start

Don't think for a minute Bush doesn't know it.

New Statesman

Andrew Stephen in Washington warns that war could easily be triggered by the Bush administration's sheer incompetence

Like, DUH!

Flat-out lies, contradictions, the right hand not knowing what the left is doing: that, by far, is the most worrying aspect of the Iran crisis unfolding before us.[...]

But let us pause and take a deep breath. I have not spoken to anybody in Washington this week who actually thinks the Bush administration is planning imminent war against Iran, though I would be prepared to bet that Bush will launch some kind of military strike against Iran before he leaves office; I have, however, talked to insiders who think war with Iran could yet be the logical outcome of the muddle-headedness and incompetence of the Bush administration.

"If the Iranians decide to respond by showing that they can be tough guys, too, we could easily get an escalation of a tit-for-tat nature," he told me. "It would start in Iraq, where we start to do things and they respond. Then we [the US] believe they're responsible for that, and so we decide to ratchet it up by hitting them somewhere else, and then they respond by hitting us in the Gulf. And then we are at war."

More than 42 years ago, the USS Maddox and the USS Turner were allegedly attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnam, who claimed severe provocation. History is still vague as to what triggered a series of tit-for-tat incidents between the mighty US and little North Vietnam. But it is all too clear about the outcome. That, Mr President, is how wars start.

Spies and Commandos; How America Lost The Secret War In North Vietnam (Heh - U. of Kansas Press) details how the Gulf of Tonkin Incident which launched the formal upgrade of the Vietnam War actually happened.

I read the book some time back, so this is from memory, but since I've got a mind like a vanilla trap, it's probably pretty close. It shows how a more or less accidental incident can trigger a war if such an incident is needed by the administration, i.e., any incident will do if it serves the intended purpose.

The CIA had a small-boat campaign going against North Vietnamese bases along the coast. South Vietnamese sailors and Agency personnel would dash in, shoot the joints up, and dash out. They did this several times. On the occasion in question, the NV were waiting for them and gave chase. The CIA boats spotted Maddox and headed towards her, seeking aid, either from gunfire or maybe just intimidation of their pursuers.

Said pursuers were shooting at them. Picture firing a large caliber machine gun from a pitching patrol boat at high speed. Boats heading directly for the U.S. destroyer, rapid gunfire at the boats from the pursuers. Got the picture?

One round, one round, hit Maddox, no doubt an overshot from the NV boats. Those guys weren't stupid: if they'd have attacked a destroyer with those speedboats, the tin can would've perceived a torpedo attack, opened up with everything it had, and blown them out of the water leaving not so much as an oil slick. Perhaps the boats had torpedoes, but if so, they didn't use them.

Whether or not Maddox was at that location on purpose just so the Agency people could precipitate the incident is unclear, but doubtful, to me at least, given the difficulty in getting the the right hand to co-ordinate with the left hand and actually pulling it off. Bureaucracies, CIA, U.S. Navy, just don't do that very well.

Didn't matter. The incident was sufficient unto the need, and ten years of stupid war ensued.

That is more than enough provocation than Bush needs to do what he wants to do to Iran.

New Symbol Launched to Warn Public About Radiation Dangers

The new symbol is being launched today by the IAEA and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to help reduce needless deaths and serious injuries from accidental exposure to large radioactive sources. It will serve as a supplementary warning to the trefoil, which has no intuitive meaning and little recognition beyond those educated in its significance.

"Accidental exposure". Yeah, like if you're an Iranian.

Pretty good symbol, actually. The pictorial symbols for "death" and "beat feet" are universally understood.

Bush plans reach-around for bin Laden

Chris Floyd

The Angry Arab unearths this insight into the true mindset of America's oh-so-Christian commander-in-chief, George W. Bush, from a Haaretz review of a new biography of Bush's soulmate and mentor, Ariel Sharon. Like a DNA sample from a spittlefleck, this little glimpse of Bush gives us the man in his entirety, in his essence: the empty bluster of an impotent drunk; the ineradicable vulgarity of the fratboy mentality; and the uncontrollable sexual panic of a harshly repressed psyche expressing its thwarted nature in fantasies of rape and violence. (And in Bush's case, of course, the violence is not just fantasized, but acted out - by proxy – in horrific reality across the world.)

From The pessimist was right, by Uri Dromi; review of "Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait" by Uri Dan (Haaretz):

Speaking of George Bush, with whom Sharon developed a very close relationship, Uri Dan recalls that Sharon's delicacy made him reluctant to repeat what the president had told him when they discussed Osama bin Laden. Finally he relented. And here is what the leader of the Western world, valiant warrior in the battle of cultures, promised to do to bin Laden if he caught him: "I will screw him in the ass!"

I hope you get your wish, Bush me boy-o, because it'll be the last pitchin' you ever do. When you get to where you belong, all you're gonna get to do is catch.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

So he can pardon 43.

Fox News Channel Launches Own Satirical News Program
It's called “Fox News.”

Mexican Biologist Discovers 40 Dinosaur Footprints in Desert
Headed north.

Many more.

Late ...

Woke up late, had to get gas and then empty the Monster:

Read this and I'll see yas later ...

Giuliani, Tsunami Relief, Celebrity Speaking Fees

That Rudy Giulian took $100,000 + use of a "Gulfstream 4 or larger" to speak at a tsunami relief organization in 2005 is outrageous enough and should certainly lead to serious questions about whether he belongs in the White House or not is pretty much a given. But in all the discussion of this no one has questioned the sanity of the board of the relief organization that gave in to those demands. Oklahoma State University released a copy of their contract with Giuliani which shows similar fees (and documents the cost of the jet at $47,000). Aren't they at all embarassed that they did this?

What is it with speaker's fees? Who in the world is worth $100k to listen to? The boards of charitable organizations and the responsible parties at state schools should be being investigated for paying these amounts of money. As far as I can see, short of God, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Satan or some other deity appearing in person (and that would warrant the fees strictly on a curiosity basis), no one on the face of this planet is worth that kind of money to speak. Especially when it involves a charitable or state institution. Most of us here already know that Giuliani is a vain asshole in a suit who became famous by playing hero for the cameras while the guy who should have been the hero was hiding somewhere, so there's really no story there. The story is the speaker's fees.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Women and Public Restrooms

E-mail is wonderful. Sometimes you get answers you don't need to know to questions you never would have thought to ask from folks who would understandably never bother to write or call to tell you this kind of trivial shit, but you are better for it. Here's one from my friend JoAnne:

My mother was a fanatic about public restrooms. When I was a little girl, she'd take me into the stall, show me how to wad up toilet paper and wipe the seat. Then she would carefully lay strips of toilet paper to cover the seat. Finally, she would instruct, "Never, NEVER sit on a public toilet seat".

Then she'd demonstrate "The Stance," which consisted of balancing over the toilet in a sitting position without actually letting any of your flesh make contact with the toilet seat.

That was a long time ago. Now, in my "mature" years, "The Stance" is excruciatingly difficult to maintain.

When you have to visit a public bathroom, you usually find a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors. Every stall is occupied.

Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall.

You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter. The dispenser for the modern "seat covers" (aka "ass gaskets" - G.) (invented by someone's Mom, no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook, if there were one, but there isn't - so you carefully but quickly drape it around your neck, (Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!), yank down your pants, and assume "The Stance."

In this position your aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but you certainly hadn't taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold "The Stance." To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, "Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!" Your thighs shake more.

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the one that's still in your purse. That would have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It is still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes open your stall door because the latch doesn't work. The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet.

"Occupied!" you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your footing altogether, and slide down directly onto the TOILET SEAT.

It is wet of course.

You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late. Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper - not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try. You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, you're certain, her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, "You just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could get."

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose that somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.

At that point, you give up. You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out conspicuously to the sinks.

You can't figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women, still waiting. You are no longer able to smile politely at them.

A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. (Where was that when you NEEDED it??) You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it the woman's hand and tellher warmly, "Here, you just might need this."

As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used and left the men's restroom. Annoyed, he asks, "What took you so long, and why is your purse hanging around your neck?"

This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with a public restroom (rest??? you've got to be kidding!!). It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers their other commonly asked question about why women go to the restroom in pairs - It's so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse and hand you Kleenex under the door.

It also unknowingly answers the question of why women use the men's room, particularly at professional motorcycle races where 'tubs o' beer' are the main refreshment. Probably happens at other venues as well. I have stood at a urinal more than once next to a young (usually - young single women seem less likely to give a shit than their older married counterparts) woman. There's nothing even remotely salacious or arousing in this, just someone going about their business, but it is informative to see how they do it. Pretty easily, turns out. Normal men's room etiquette applies.

Thanks, Jo. I couldn't have gone another day without knowing that! And the visuals - I like to fell out of my chair laughing a coupla times!

Just so you know, the e-mail came in a format with >> in front of every line, and no line or spacing discipline. Took me about 20 minutes to edit it out for the post. No need to thank me. I believe in suffering for my art anyway, and nothing, but nothing, is too good for our wonderful readers.

For the folks who brought you...everything

Got this from Scroff:

[I need a favor. I'm asking people to link to Merchant Marine Benefits at Please go check out the site and if you think it's appropriate put up a link. Also, while you 're at it, send an email to your representative asking them to co-sponsor HR 23, The Belated Thank You to Merchant Mariners of WWII Act of 2007.]

It's for damn sure appropriate. Thanks for lettin' me in on it. Doolittle (R-CA) will be hearing from me as well.

Basically, the Act provides for a $1000 per month stipend for the surviving merchant sailors, average age 82, or their widows. Chicken feed for the service they gave.

You folks know what to do.

Here's a little extra on the WWII Merchant Marine. Off the top of my head, I can tell you that those brave sailors went in harm's way in un- or under-armed merchantmen. A lot of them died doing it, with no benefits of any kind. We could not have won WWII without them.

Tit for tat

Last week, Gord posted on the Chimp's so called 'evidence' of Iranian involvement in Iraq.

Yesterday, I linked a post by Col. Gardiner about the Iranians having 'evidence' of American complicity in bombings within Iran. Today, the Iranians decided to share theirs*:

So where does it go now that things have ratcheted up? Or has it come to the point where hostilities are inevitable?

*And just a note, in case you think I just fell off the turnip truck. I put as much value in the Iranian 'evidence' as I do the American.

Mercy sakes! Sich langwidge...!

Fixer's earlier post, and comments thereat, reminded me of a story. A true story out of my own (half) vast repertoire. Maybe there's even a moral to it about choice of language, time and place, and the desired effect. Yer in fer a big windy here, folks.

Several years back, maybe twenty or so local ol' Jarheads got together on 10 November to celebrate Marine Corps Birthday. I've posted on those here and here. Read the second 'here' and weep. I just did. But I digress.

We gathered at a local restaurant attached by an open connecting door to a reasonably rowdy saloon full of folks there to party. They didn't have a clue what we were up to if they even knew we were there. All of us, and our wives or S.O.s, were nicely dressed and pretty much on our best behavior.

During cocktails and before dinner was the unstructured fun part. Reminiscing, schmoozing, fairy tales war stories, that kind of thing. Anybody was free to go up to the emcee's lectern and spout off on any Marine-related thing they wanted to. Clink a glass, silence and rapt attention, let 'er rip.

One fellow in particular did just that. He wasn't part of our party, just a Marine from out of town who had been in the saloon, noticed what was going on, and came in to visit. Naturally we welcomed him with open arms. He got up to speak.

Did I mention that this clown had been in the saloon? I think the word 'snootful' is apropos. He started talking about his heroic Marine Corps career as we all do from time to time. Well, this guy was using the saltiest language I have ever had the misfortune to hear in mixed company where the 'mix' wasn't Sailors. I mean 'fuckin' this' and 'fuckin' that' is bad enough in a crowd of folks you don't know, but 'syllable-fuckin'-syllable-fuckin'-syllable' was taking it a little too far, and the guy's blathering wasn't making much sense anyway.

The gals in this crowd weren't exactly virgins when it came to cussin', but that wasn't the point. I could see the looks on the faces of the guys, and they weren't exactly happy to see anyone, Marine or no, talking this way in front of their ladies. Something was going to happen, and something needed to be done right quick to shut this guy up peaceably.

Right then, in a rare flash of inspiration, I remembered a line I had read somewhere* and paraphrased it. I just broke in on the guy, in a 'drill field whisper' i.e. loudly and with vigor, with "Hey, dude! Watch yer language! There's Air Wing guys here!"

The whole crowd broke up laughing. The guy realized what he had done, broke into a shit-eatin' embarrassed grin, apologized, and left. Humor had defused the situation. I was kinda proud of myself I must admit, and several of the folks complimented me on the way I handled that as well.

End of story? Not fuckin' hardly. It was a memorable evening.

A nice dinner came and went and then we got down to the ritual and remembrance part of the evening. About this time, which is the serious part of the evening's festivities to Marines, the entertainment in the bar next door started up. A rock band. A really LOUD rock band. This was seriously fuckin' with the emcee's ability to be heard, not to mention breaking our reverent mood.

Me again: "Hey, Colonel, you want I should shut them guys up?"

The Colonel was a local and we knew each other pretty well. He smiled and nodded.

I went to the stage and politely waited until the band finished their number. I asked the front man if he would mind taking a little break and explained why. He looked at me like he was about to tell me to go get fucked. I came up with this jewel:

"Buddy, there's twenty half-drunk Marines in there, and about half of 'em are Highway Patrolmen and county sheriff's deputies." I wasn't lying. "I saw the van you guys came in. You want a few of 'em to go have a look at it?"

The guy stepped to the microphone and announced that there were a bunch of Marines who needed a few minutes' silence and they were going to take a short break. Have a drink. We'll be right back.

I went back in the restaurant and grinned at everybody. They grinned back, some of them in amazement. I couldn't believe I had pulled that one off either, but I didn't let on. Let 'em think I do that shit all the time as a matter of course.

A few minutes later, I looked over and saw a whole shitpot full of bar patrons standing in the wide doorway, watching as we concluded the solemn part of the ceremony. Some of them applauded after we sang the line "We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine".

The rest of the Birthday Ball went without a hitch.

Since we can't see into each other's minds, language is all we have to let others know what we think, mean, or want, short of grabbin' folks by the stackin' swivel, which is useful but not to be applied indiscriminately. Cuss words are used as adjectives for the less linguistically fleet of mind of us to describe the indescribable. They are used as nouns, verbs, gerunds, commas, exclamation points, every part of grammar or punctuation. They are used for breathing space, or just to let off steam. They are damn sure used for shock value to make the straights cringe.

They can very easily get you into a position where you can kick someone's ass that really needs it, or get your own ass kicked. If you can get someone so angry that they call you a dirty name, say, 'motherfucker' or 'traitor', them's fightin' words, and you can deck 'em without much fear of arrest or prosecution. Trust me, I know. "I'm not going to arrest him. You shouldn't have called him that. What did you expect him to do?"

There are folks, and it's absolutely beautiful to hear someone who knows how to do it unless and maybe even if you're the object, who can cuss up one side and down the other for ten minutes without repeating themselves and never use a swear word.

Time and place, and desired effect.

Boy, this was a long ramble. I'll close with part three of our Birthday Ball that year.

The guy who owned the restaurant was a Marine that had done his whole four-year hitch walkin' post in Adak, Alaska. He was a mite strange because of it, but a really good guy. His restaurant normally wasn't open for breakfast, but the next morning he opened up just for any of us who cared to show up, and served bacon, eggs, and all the SOS you could eat. SOS is a peculiarly universal substance in military chow halls, and has probably generated a few swear words all by itself. I love the stuff.

I showed up dressed for the occasion, wearing a pisscutter and my Marine Corps overcoat. Naturally, I rolled up my pantlegs and flang the coat wide open once in a while so it would appear to anyone behind me that...

Thanks for lettin' me bore ya. Later.

*It was about a similar situation at a race car driver awards banquet where the language got too salty, "Watch yer language! There's mechanics here!" Another group with delicate ears. Ha!

" distract the public from reality..."

Daddy Frank.

Maybe the Bush White House can't conduct a war, but no one has ever impugned its ability to lie about its conduct of a war. Now even that well-earned reputation for flawless fictionalizing is coming undone. Watching the administration try to get its story straight about Iran's role in Iraq last week was like watching third graders try to sidestep blame for misbehaving while the substitute teacher was on a bathroom break. The team that once sold the country smoking guns in the shape of mushroom clouds has completely lost its mojo.

Surely these guys can do better than this. No sooner did unnamed military officials unveil their melodramatically secretive briefing in Baghdad last Sunday than Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, blew the whole charade. General Pace said he didn't know about the briefing and couldn't endorse its contention that the Iranian government's highest echelons were complicit in anti-American hostilities in Iraq. Public-relations pandemonium ensued as Tony Snow, the State Department and finally the president tried to revise the story line on the fly. Back when Karl Rove ruled, everyone read verbatim from the same script. Last week's frantic improvisations were vintage Scooter Libby, at best the ur-text for a future perjury trial.

Even if the White House still had its touch for spinning fiction, it's hard to imagine how it could create new lies brilliant enough to top the sorry truth. When you have a president making a big show of berating Iran while simultaneously empowering it, you've got another remake of "The Manchurian Candidate," this time played for keeps.

There is much, much, much in between the quotes. Please go read.

A tip o' the Brain to Welcome to Pottersville and Tennessee Guerilla Women.

Iraq Bans Opposite-Sects Marriage

From the inimitable Don Davis. Liquid alert!

Bowing to the dominant religious elements in his Shia Party, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced today a complete ban on opposite-sects marriage.

The frenzy against opposite-sects unions was also whipped up by the radical cleric, Moktada al-Falwell, who claimed that the U.S. occupation of Iraq was Allah's way of punishing such blasphemies.

Sunni politicians also supported this move, saying that if you allow opposite sects to marry, it's just a slippery slope to a marriage between an Arab and his goat, or worse, a Jew.

However, one Iraqi politician, Sunni Vice President Dickwahd al-Cheney, was exposed as a hypocrite on this issue, since his daughter is married to a Shiite. Questioned about this contradiction on the Al Jazeera program, The Shiite-uation Room, al-Cheney replied by asking the host if he'd like to live to see another Ramadan, and bragged that he had once tossed an IED in an old man's face.

Although sectarian conflicts continue to bitterly divide the Iraqi government, all sects did manage to put their differences aside to unanimously pass a law legalizing gay marriage. As the speaker of the Iraqi Parliament said: "Whaddya' think, we're still living in the Seventh Century?"

There is nothing I could possibly add to that!

NY Man Charged With Trying To Fund Terror

CBS News

Terrorism charges brought Friday against the administrator of a loan investment program claimed that he secretly tried to send $152,000 to the Middle East to buy equipment such as night vision goggles for a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.

He was also charged with money laundering for allegedly causing the transfer on Aug. 17 of about $25,000 from a bank account in New York to a bank account in Montreal, Canada. The money was to be used to provide material support to terrorist, prosecutors said.

The indictment also charged him with wire fraud conspiracy and wire fraud. It said he devised a scheme to administer and promote a fraudulent loan investment program known as "Flat Eletronic Data Interchange" through which Alishtari and others fraudulently obtained millions of dollars from investors by promising high guaranteed rates of return.

CBS News has confirmed that Alishtari is a donor to the Republican Party, as he claims on his curriculum vitae. Alishtari gave $15,500 to the National Republican Campaign Committee between 2002 and 2004, according to Federal Election Commission records. That amount includes $13,000 in 2003, a year when he claims to have been named NRCC New York State Businessman of the Year.

Alishtari also claims to be a lifetime member of the National Republican Senate Committee's Inner Circle, which the NRCC describes as "an impressive cross-section of American society - community leaders, business executives, entrepreneurs, retirees, and sports and entertainment celebrities – all of whom hold a deep interest in our nation's prosperity and security."

A crooked businessman, inner circle Repuglican, and terrorist enabler. The Repugs oughta make him "Man of the Year" for his outstanding above average poster-boy Repuglican hypocrisy.


Chuck Hagel (R-NE) on Press the Meat:

You can't talk about Iraq without talking about the composite dynamic in the Middle East.

A bit of nuance that has cost the Chimp, and the nation as a whole, dearly.

The Republican frontrunner

Pic courtesy of Lambert.

America's Crossdresser*/**. Yeah, he's gonna win.

*Not that there's anything wrong with it, but then I ain't part of the Republican 'base'.
**Link added after the fact.

Blog Whoring - For Photo Fans

The missus (Nature Gal) and I have created a new photo blog over at You'll find it here. More to come. Hope you enjoy it.


Good poetry ...

A phrase you don't hear much from me. Not big on poetry, I'd rather they be set to music but that's just me. Our pal Sumo has a couple poems up, written by a Marine in Iraq, but it's Sumo's comment afterwards that got me:


Me [Sumo]: how much more of this stuff do we think is out there just like this one, anguishing over their roles in Iraq or Afghanistan. There must be miles and miles of it...waiting like a coiled spring...ready to snap...most likely to do harm to themselves because they can no longer live with what they did, witnessed or simply couldn't help their dying buddies ...

Exactly right. Guys came back from Vietnam fucked up after serving one tour. Think about these guys who are now on their third or fourth. And the Rethugs don't want to talk about Iraq. Know why? Because then they'd have to admit all this, the blood, the waste, the tragedy, is on their, and only their, hands. They had the majority and they enabled the Chimp, Cheney, and the neocons in their quest for American Empire and they will have to answer for this.

It's time to do the right thing.


As I've said on numerous occasions (I'm lazy and ain't digging up links; there's a search box on the left if you're interested), the Chimp only supports the troops who are able to fight ... barely. This via our pal Montag:


Lost paperwork for new uniforms has forced some soldiers to attend their own Purple Heart ceremonies and the official birthday party for the Army in gym clothes, only to be chewed out by superiors....

....One amputee, a senior enlisted man who asked not to be identified because he is back on active duty, said he received orders to report to a base in Germany as he sat drooling in his wheelchair in a haze of medication at Walter Reed. "I went to Medhold many times in my wheelchair to fix it, but no one there could help me," he said.



Shakes blogwhoring in comments ... heh. She has an excellent look at the WaPo story:


As usual, perhaps the worst part about this is the sickening propaganda for which parts of Walter Reed are used, while Building 18 and its occupants are hidden away from view like the flag-draped caskets of their brothers and sisters. Who, exactly, is helped by celebrating wounded veterans as heroes in photo-ops if they're then treated like shit for the next two years of their lives? It ain't the veterans; that's for sure.