Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blues You Can Use

This is something kinda different and way cool, I think. I ran across a whole buncha audio-only Bonnie Raitt tunes while I was cruisin' YouTube. Apparently, these were recorded in '72 and the original was lost to the ages until someone remembered them and managed to access and digitize them. Go here and click 'more info' for the apocryphal tale. Thanks to ralphsims who has this 'video' broken down so the tunes are by the each.

Anyway, that led me to divShare where I glommed onto the whole hour-long deal. I think if I'm slick I can slither this thing into my computer and make a CD somehow. So far, I've gotten it into my Windows Media Player. We'll see what happens.

Mrs. G's comment was, "Is somebody gonna come charge us $20,000 for swipin' shit?". I hope not.

This is some smokin' good blues. Enjoy.


Downloaded it twice. It's in my computer somewhere, but I can't find it to save my life.

Third time's the charm. Downloaded it to RealPlayer using the Firefox feature "Download this video". Doh...

Burned it from there right onto a CD. First time I ever burned the audio off a video to CD. Worked fine. I'm so fuckin' proud of myself I could just shit. Usually I'm the idiot they couldn't proof against!

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Emmylou Harris ~ Waltz Across Texas

Thanks to arthurfromholland, Netherlands.


Mr. Aravosis:


I can't get married, but this church can systematically enable the rape of children in country after country, decade after decade, and continue to get away with it. Absolutely sickening. The Catholic Church should never, ever be permitted to weigh in on any moral issue ever again. And if they dare, we should all publicly raise the issue of their pedophilia problem, loudly, again and again, until they shut up and go away. [my em]

Well said, sir.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Here in NY, the big tradition is watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. D-cap lives in the city and took pics. Not the same parade I saw but just as entertaining.

Heh ...

Off to work.

It works ...

Me and my buddies used to crash wedding receptions when we were young and broke and wanted to party. When one of them worried we might get busted I always told him "act like you own the place and nobody will ask questions." It works:

The Secret Service maintains that President Barack Obama was never in danger at a state dinner after an uninvited Virginia couple got through security, but it wouldn't comment on whether anyone is screened for radiological or biological weapons.


Gonna be some Secret Service agents looking for jobs this moring.

The connection ...

I didn't make but Ol' Fez thinks surely will be:


Just imagine the crazy blackboard etchings (and deals!) that Glenn Beck will be coming up with.


It is Black Friday ...

Quote of the Day

Digby on the banksters:

... The idea that in a country of 300 million people the only ones who are qualified to run these big failed and nearly failed banks and insurance companies are the same people who screwed them up is a sad comment on the state of American capitalism ...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving ...

From us here at the Brain (and our families) to you and yours. We've got a lot to be thankful for and we hope you do too, and don't forget to remember those less fortunate on this holiday of bounty.

All the best.


And a related note (it being the start of the holiday season and all), I put together a list of tips when dealing with gifts where "some assembly is required".

Thanksgiving, one each, other ranks, for the use of

The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, or 长津湖战役 depending on your point of view, began 59 years ago today, give or take a day. Since the Brain's masthead art comes from the Toktong Pass phase of this battle I thought this video was appropriate.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, enjoy your family, give thanks for a pulse if nothing else, and for a few seconds out of your day please give a thought that somewhere in this world, someone sent there in your name is not enjoying Thanksgiving nearly as much as you are. If I thought it would do any good, I would pray that this is the last time they have to be away from home, knowing goddamn good and well that will never happen.

Despite the awful misuse to which our young men and women are and have been subjected, and believe me they are aware of it, they are not deterred from standing tall on the wall between us and those who would hurt us. Give thanks for that.

Thanks to parkjh77, South Korea.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

Dana Peroxide:

"We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term"

I guess 3000 of my friends and neighbors are still alive somewhere ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Getaway Day

We're heading out for the Central Coast today. I'll leave ya with a good reading list:

Why Afghans Dig Empire Graveyards

Afghanistan is known as the "graveyard of empires." But just why do empires keep sending thousands of their young people to die in Afghanistan?

Matt Taibbi on "Sarah Palin, WWE Star". Spoiler: no mention of a vat of warm jello. Drat!

Sarah Palin’s battlefield, on the other hand, is whatever is happening five feet in front of her face. She is building a political career around the little interpersonal wars in the immediate airspace surrounding her sawdust-filled head. And in the process she connects with pissed-off, frightened, put-upon America on a plane that’s far more elemental than the mega-ditto schtick.

Rick Steves on selfish American 'free riders'.

If I had to identify one major character flaw of Americans, it might be our inability to appreciate the free rider problem. Many Americans practically consider it their birthright to make money they didn't really earn, enjoy the fruits of our society while cheating on their taxes, drive a gas-guzzler just because they can afford it, take up two parking spots so no one will bump their precious car, and generally jigger the system if they can get away with it. We often seem to consider actions like these acceptable...without considering the fact that if everyone did it, our society as a whole would suffer.

I'll be in touch, but barely. Be back at the pop stand in a few days. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Day-o, Achtung, and Oy vey!*

19 years ago today, I married the woman who is my best friend and soulmate. Proposing to her was the best decision I ever made. There is no one I'd rather spend time with, from traveling the world to goofing off at home.

Thanks for saying "I do", baby.

Led Zeppelin - Thank You

Our wedding song, believe it or not ...

*An inside joke for those who know us well.

Planning ... not

Comrade Misfit points out that while VTOL aircraft are useful (some of them), nobody thought about what to do when they're based on ships:

My Deck is Melting!

That may be the cry of a CVN, LHA or LPD captain in the next decade, as the V-22 and the F-35B go to sea. Both aircraft blast their jet exhausts downward and can warp the decks of the ships.


Good thinking, fellas.

... It's going to take the Navy five years to fix this problem ...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Talking with the Taliban

Sometimes, I can roll through my dead-tree copy of Time in five minutes. Occasionally, it takes two hours. Sometimes there's stuff good enough to pass on to you.

I like to get the actual magazine probably because I'm old-fashioned enough to enjoy reading stuff that's not on a screen. Also, I get access to their website. I'm not sure if non-subscribers get the same access to that that I do.

Money saving tip: If you get a blow-in out of a copy of the magazine, you can get a 1-year subscription for ten bucks. When renewal time rolls around, they'll want about fifty bucks to renew. Fuck that. I just go back to the newsstand and get another blow-in and get another ten dollar sub. I can miss a coupla issues for forty bucks.

But I digress. This is about the goat humpers.

As Afghan President Hamid Karzai embarks on his second five-year term, he maintains that his primary agenda is to bring the war in Afghanistan to a peaceful close through negotiations with members of the Taliban insurgency. Karzai has gone so far as to invite his "Taliban brothers" to "embrace their land" and join him in talks. The U.S. too is growing weary of the war. As President Barack Obama finalizes his new strategy for Afghanistan and deliberates over how many more troops he should send to the front, he is facing pressure to define a clear exit strategy. What was once anathema — talking to an enemy that was overthrown by U.S. forces in 2001 in retaliation for sheltering Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network — is now gaining acceptance, as the generals realize that military tactics alone will not win this war. For many U.S., European and U.N. diplomats as well as Afghan officials, talking with the Taliban seems to be the fastest, and perhaps only, way out of the quagmire.

Is it really? Or is a dialogue with the Taliban just another dead end?

Karzai's gonna end up talking to them even if we don't. Speak into the AK-47, Hamid.

The Taliban leadership, needless to say, has greeted all this with a snort of derision. "The mujahedin of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan are not mercenaries," said Mullah Brader Akhund in a statement. "This war will come to an end when all invaders leave our country and an Islamic government based on the aspirations of our people is formed." Such a denunciation was to be expected. But even those who back the plan worry that Karzai's corruption-riddled government is so detested that money and jobs will not be enough, on their own, to woo fighters to switch sides. "Paying the low-level [Taliban] may work temporarily, but it won't solve the main problems," says Ishaq Nizami, the former head of the TV and Radio Directorate under the Taliban regime. "There is so much corruption and no laws. In many areas the Taliban have been able to bring security and justice, which the government has not done. Even if some fighters turn, they will turn back again when they understand that their lives are not better." For reintegration to work, in other words, Afghanistan needs to have a government worth fighting for. So far it does not.

[...] So if they are going to disarm, they need to be confident that the side they are joining will stay and win — otherwise, desertion could be a death sentence.

Trouble is, that means making the sort of guarantee that the U.S. and its allies shy away from. When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently that the U.S. is "not interested in staying [in Afghanistan]" and has "no long-term stake there," she probably — if inadvertently — caused fence sitters to reconsider their options. [...]

There you have it - "If I go with you and you split, which you will, they'll come after me. Fuck you."

There's a good deal more in the article, but here's my 2¢:

Once again, like in Vietnam and Iraq, we're in the middle of a civil war that is going to erupt the minute we leave. The country goat humpers are going to kick the city goat humpers' ass and take over Effedupistan from a corrupt government that we installed and nobody likes anyway.

Of course we don't want the Taliban to take back over, but they're going to. Their treatment of women is abhorrent, but that's a centuries-old Afghan and Muslim cultural deal that no amount of US troops' deaths and our money can change, and it's not worth trying for very much longer than it takes to get out in an orderly manner.

Sorry, Afghanistan, but you're on your own. Settle it amongst yourselves. Oh, and if we get attacked again by al Qaeda operating out of your country, you will find yourself living, or maybe not, in a self-lighting glass-surfaced parking lot. You think Pakistan's got nukes? Don't make me laugh. You wanta see nuclear weenie-wavin', we got nukes we ain't even counted yet.

And what about the main body of al Qaeda? Yeah, there's still a few in Afghanistan, tied in with the hard-core Taliban. Let's just pay the Taliban to kill 'em and then leave the Taliban alone.

Al Qaeda has moved to northern and eastern Africa, from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.

"They are stuck in Afghanistan because their several hideouts, including various strongholds in South Waziristan, have been captured by the army," a senior Pakistani intelligence official, associated with Afghan affairs, told on condition of anonymity.

"They cannot move freely from Afghanistan to Pakistan and vise versa any more," he contended.

Thanks for showin' up at the party, Pakistan, now that al Qaeda's started fuckin' with you and only years after you should have. If you'da been the anvil to our hammer years ago, we'da been outta there by now in the good way instead of off the embassy roof.

The only presence we have in Africa is a little base in Djibouti. Our African 'command', AfriCom, is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany because African nations don't want us on their turf. Can't blame 'em. We have a 'reverse Midas touch' wherever we go: everything we touch turns to shit.

So, we've pretty much run al Qaeda outta town in the 'Stans as much as we can with military power. Shit, we ran 'em outta Afghanistan with a coupla hundred Special Ops guys and the local Northern Alliance, and there's the crux of the biscuit: leave it to the locals. Drop pallets of money to 'em. Fuck, give 'em all Escalades and Harley-Davidsons. Those companies need the boost, and it's cheaper than killing and wounding and traumatizing more of our soldiers and Marines.

Hey! I got an idea: LET'S PAY THE NORTHERN ALLIANCE TO DROP THE TALIBAN ACT AND KILL THE HARD-CORE RIGHT-WING FUNDIES! Hmmmm. By logical extension, let's pay someone to kill ours. Wishful thinking, digressing again...

Al Qaeda is now an international intelligence and law enforcement problem like it should have been all along. John Kerry was right. We maybe coulda done it better in Afghanistan if we'da kept our eyes on the ball, but Iraq was the neocons' focus and now it's too late.

Thanks again Georgie and The Dick.

Please pardon my disjointed ramblings, but that's the way my stream-of-unconsciousness rolls.


Here's a song somebody should play over and over, maybe just sorta subliminally in the background, while President Obama's dithering ponderin' Afghanistan. There are lessons to be learned:

Thanks to jacklimtp, Singapore.

The Hell Of PTSD

Good article in Time magazine.

PTSD wasn't recognized as an illness until the 1980s, but it has been around for as long as men have been killing one another. Its symptoms include the abuse of alcohol and other drugs, an overall emotional numbness punctuated by outbursts of rage, severe depression and recurring nightmares. In extreme cases, it can lead to suicide or murder. One military doctor described PTSD's symptoms as "going from zero to combat speed in nothing flat."

Soldiers who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan may not experience the hostility from society upon their return to the U.S. that Vietnam vets did. But they encounter something that psychologists say is nearly as disorienting: America has found ways to distract itself from the fact that it has dispatched 1.6 million service members to two wars and kept them fighting for far longer than the duration of World War II. This struck Waddell while he was at a mall, when a shopper asked him how he broke his leg. "Iraq," Waddell answered. The reply: "Was it a car wreck or a cycle wreck?" Colorado Springs psychologist Kelly Orr, who is treating the ex--Navy SEAL, says, "We get all excited when Johnny goes marching off to war, and then we forget about him a few days later when our favorite football team loses a game." This, says Orr, adds to a returnee's well of anger and loneliness.

Shorter: Thanks for your service, now hit the bricks. Man up and suck it up and don't bother us. Dancing With The Stars is on.

And, says Marshéle, "you need an environment where the warrior can be vulnerable." Typically, that's not a military base. Waddell speaks of what he terms a "break in the covenant" between those who volunteer to fight and the society that sent them into battle and then forgot about them (my em). "It's not enough to give soldiers free tickets to NASCAR races," he says. "It has to be something more, a deeper way of honoring the sacrifices these men and women have made."

The "covenant" is slowly being restored in Colorado Springs. Members of the clergy keep an eye out for troubled military families in their congregations. Neighbors help with babysitting so that a couple can get reacquainted after a long tour of duty. Nonprofit groups have stepped in to give veterans and active-duty service members the kind of confidential help they feel they cannot get on base. On the assumption that a soldier is more likely to reveal buried traumas to someone who has also experienced combat, the Pikes Peak Behavioral Health Group has lined up vets who can steer the combat-bruised troops through their personal troubles and the VA's cavernous bureaucracy.

Just as it takes an addict to help addicts, it takes veterans to help veterans.

Photo gallery, "An Army Town Copes With PTSD".

Bill Moyers Tells a Tale of Two Quagmires: Vietnam & Afghanistan

The Nation talks about a show I watched last Friday evening of LBJ's taped phone conversations and Bill Moyers' commentary. Highly recommended as a history lesson. And a warning.

One point of the program, he explained, was to offer viewers "an insight into the mind of one president facing the choice of whether or not to send more and more American soldiers to fight in a far-away and strange place."

But another point was to offer Obama and his aides a caution that only a few wise and worldly senators provided Johnson back in the mid-1960s -- chief among them Oregon's Wayne Morse, about whom Johnson says on one of the tapes: "outside Morse, everybody I talk to says you got to go in..."

Moyers was not making crude or casual analogies.

"Granted," he explained early on, "Barack Obama is not Lyndon Johnson, Afghanistan is not Vietnam and this is now, not then. But listen and you will hear echoes and refrains that resonate today."


Now in a different world, at a different time, and with a different president, we face the prospect of enlarging a different war. But once again we're fighting in remote provinces against an enemy who can bleed us slowly and wait us out, because he will still be there when we are gone.

Once again, we are caught between warring factions in a country where other foreign powers fail before us. Once again, every setback brings a call for more troops, although no one can say how long they will be there or what it means to win. Once again, the government we are trying to help is hopelessly corrupt and incompetent.

And once again, a President pushing for critical change at home is being pressured to stop dithering, be tough, show he's got the guts, by sending young people seven thousand miles from home to fight and die, while their own country is coming apart.

And once again, the loudest case for enlarging the war is being made by those who will not have to fight it, who will be safely in their beds while the war grinds on (my em). And once again, a small circle of advisers debates the course of action, but one man will make the decision.

We will never know what would have happened if Lyndon Johnson had said no to more war. We know what happened because he said yes.

Video here and transcript here.

Shorter: "You've got to get in or get out. Get in, you're gonna lose. Get out, you're a pussy."

It's kinda like losing a bet on a ball game and then losing it again on the replay. Stupid.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Most GOP Voters Think ACORN Stole Election
Exactly as predicted in Revelations.

Rumor: Palin Already Making Plans for Her Administration
Insiders says she's offered Interior to Joe the Plumber, FCC to Larry the Cable Guy, Attorney General to Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Faint Writing on Shroud of Turin Proves Authenticity Says Vatican Researcher
Reads, “Wash in cold water only.”

Catholic Church: Gay Priests No More Likely to Abuse Than Straight Priests
Catholic parents can relax.

Good question ...

Cookie Jill:

why is it....
that the folks debating healthcare on the hill...all have health insurance and access to doctors?

For the same reasons men are making decisions about what women can do with their own bodies.

The government of, by, and for the people is a long lost pipe dream.

History repeating ...

Digby and Tristero have been looking at events of 45 years ago and realize (what many of us who were alive through the Vietnam years do) we're going down the same old road:

I'd like to revisit both the topic and links for two recent posts of Digby's, on Afghanistan. Those of us who lived through the multiple horrors of the Vietnam war - like Digby, like myself - need to make it crystal clear to those of you who didn't that the decisions Obama is about to make about Afghanistan will have the most far-reaching consequences imaginable, both for that country's future, and our own.


No. Escalation will likely have little to do with Afghanistan, or even foreign policy, but everything to do both with a sitting president's ambition as well as the prevention of an extreme right takeover in the next presidential election. Just like Vietnam. I hate the American far right as much as any liberal, but it is not worth getting people killed in Kandahar to prevent them from seizing power. If the US really is that far down the road to fascism, then escalating a pointless war will not prevent an imminent rightwing takeover.


And a great tune from a beautiful lady that constantly pops into my head when I read things like this.

Propellerheads feat. Shirley Bassey - History Repeating

We never learn ...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Busy, busy ...

Just watching Tottenham hand Wigan their ass. Been a busy guy this weekend getting the Mrs.' office done before I got a house full of people for the holiday. See yas tomorrow ...

Bigger isn't better for cruise ships

Here's the last three paragraphs of an article by Arthur Frommer in the EssEffChron:

The sole explanation for a 6,000-passenger ship is that it is able to offer more entertainment and thus cater to more of those people who are unable to entertain themselves, those arrested personalities who rely on constant, massive, outside distractions to ward off depression. I'm talking about people who get fidgety if they have no nearby television set, who never read a magazine, let alone a book, who have never enjoyed simple conversation or encountering viewpoints or beliefs foreign to theirs. Who want all the world to be like America.

I think of 4-year-olds being taken to a restaurant, who have to be supplied with Play-Doh and coloring books to keep them occupied at the table. I can speak only for myself, of course, but I don't want to travel with adults who need to be treated like children.

Stuffing 6,000 people into a boat is not my idea of progress, but the opposite. Stuffing 8,000 people - the next probable step - will be even worse. Am I alone in such views? As I gag at the sight of Oasis of the Seas, looking like a several-block-long, multifloor apartment house balanced on a ship's hull, is it me who is crazy, or the perpetrators of this stunt?

I think it's the folks who think it's a nice way to spend their vacation to be stuffed into a (large) sardine can that might sink, but hey, it's their money and they can spend it any way they want.