Why Now?
Thursday, June 30, 2005
  Blogger Fix
The Blogger Buzz has a solution for those who woke up to unintended changes in their formatting.

I tried it and it corrects the minor problem I had.

 

Wednesday, June 29, 2005
  If You Have Time
The CinC [Clown in Chief] attempted to make people forget that al Qaeda is in Iraq due to George W. Bush, not Saddam Hussein. ABC has the Text of Speech if you can't be satisfied with "9/11, 9/11, 9/11, ..." Those who stayed awake indicate that the 82nd Airborne was not as enthusiastic as Dubya might have hoped or ordered. Multiple deployments do that to you.

When are these people going to find a decent speechwriter? If the man is going to lie to me, I would certainly appreciate a well-written lie. I know the delivery will be bungled, but it should at least read well.


Both Len and Scorpio noticed this effort to hoist Justice Souter on his own "eminent domain" petard by a libertarian in New Hampshire, who has requested that the Justice's home town take his house as the location for a new hotel.


Len has also been busy on the religious front with Interesting signs of the coming persecution? and A Luther for our times?.

I'm beginning to understand why my ancestors ditched Europe in the 17th century to come to the "New World": these religious wars are a real pain even if you don't have a dog in the fight.


What is going on in North Carolina?

Rep. Walter Jones [R-NC] and Rep. Howard Coble [R-NC] have stopped drinking the Kool-Ade, and Rachel Lea Hunter, a candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court, has dumped the "R" after her name.

If Dubya and Karl can't convince politicians in the Carolinas to back them, they are in a major meltdown. Jones is the man who had the name changed to "Freedom Fries" in the House dining room.

 

Tuesday, June 28, 2005
  Blogger Update
If you have come to your senses and use Firefox, the "patch" that Blogger provided doesn't work. Firefox adheres strictly to standards while IE is extremely loose in its interpretation of tags.

The latest problem occurred as a result of changes made to accommodate the new graphics features and has more of an impact on older templates, i.e. it is not backwards compatible.

Those who insert their own html tags are less affected than those who insert tags using the Blogger editor.

Jack at Grumpy Forester solved his problem by shifting to a new template, but be sure to save a copy of your old template if you decide to try it.

 

  Media Bias
Sure, everyone has heard of the second shark attack along the coast of the Florida Panhandle, but how many noticed that a Grizzly Kills 2 Alaska Campers. Only CBS carried the story and the second shark attack was "above the fold".

The campers had bear-proof food containers and a firearm, but the bear struck while they were sleeping in their tent. The media doesn't want to annoy the stuffed bear lobby, so they bury the story, but sharks take the heat.

 

  Blogger Layout Problems
I had sent an e-mail to Blogger about unexpected layout changes at several sites and they have apparently noticed.

They have posted a work-around for one of the problems, but are still working on it.

Blogger is a complex system and any change will have unintended consequences.

 

  Lawyer Dagget, RIP
Mustang Bobby reports on The Curse of the Hundred-Acre Wood, announcing the death of John Fiedler, the voice of "Piglet" in the Pooh cartoons yesterday, just after the death of Paul Winchell, the voice of "Tigger".

I remember Mr. Fiedler as one of The Twelve Angry Men, the Lawyer Dagget of the end of True Grit, one of Oscar's friends in the Odd Couple, and on many TV shows. He was one of the more recognizable of character actors.

 

  Sorry, Rugo
Okay, cue the music.

This time it was Cape San Blas about 100 miles East near Panama City in Gulf County.

It was just before Noon again and about 60 yards off shore in waist deep water. A teenager and his brother were fishing in the surf and he was bitten while reeling in a fish. He survived but has lost a leg.

The waters of the Gulf of Mexico are warm, and getting warmer earlier thanks to the non-existent "global warming" that is thawing Alaska and generating rather busy hurricanes seasons. Sharks are fond of warm water.

Sharks are attracted to blood in the water and the vibration caused by injured fish. If you hook a fish there is apt to be blood in the water, and the fish will probably generate the wounded fish vibrations. Doing this while standing up to your waist in water is not a world-class concept.

Another little wrinkle locally are the "shark cruises", where boat owners load up on chopped up fish called chum, and then cruise a ways off-shore and begin dumping it into the water to attract sharks to provide "guests" with a close up "feeding frenzy".

You are a good deal more likely to be killed or injured by lightning on a golf course than to be attacked by a shark, but the potential is there.

 

Sunday, June 26, 2005
  TW3¹
Annie Zook calls her blog Peevish for a reason, but she took a break for a Friday Joke.

It is worth a read as punctuation to the week.

1. That Was The Week That Was

 

Saturday, June 25, 2005
  The Truth Will Make You Free
In spite of the best efforts of Rove and the MSM, people are starting to figure it out.

James Wolcott covers a lot of things in A-Roving We Will Go, but the last paragraph points to a 23 June, 2005 poll by Rasmussen Reports.

The question was: "Who was more responsible for starting the War in Iraq...Saddam Hussein or President Bush?" It was asked of 1000 people.

"June 23, 2005--Forty-nine percent (49%) of Americans say that President Bush is more responsible for starting the War with Iraq than Saddam Hussein. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 44% take the opposite view and believe Hussein shoulders most of the responsibility."

Like JW and Atrios, I don't remember anyone ever making this particular point. It almost makes Saddam a victim. I strongly feel that the Iraqi people are victims in this war, but I have never even considered Saddam as anything other than a convenient thug used by Reagan and the neocons to oppose Iran, a view I've held for over a quarter century. His status under Reagan was the first indication I had for how crazy the younger Pipes and Mylroie were: they backed Saddam, before they demonized him.

 

  Not All Publicity Is Good
Given that this is above the fold on just about every news site, including Australian Broadcasting, and it is a local story, I guess I should say something.

Rule Number One when swimming in the Gulf of Mexico: Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Swim With Bait Fish. If you notice a lot of 6 to 12 inch fish in the water around you, get out of the water. The reason there are a lot of fish swimming by is that something is chasing them.

CNN Reports: a 14-year-girl died as a result having her leg bitten off by a shark estimated to be about 11 feet long. The incident occurred approximately a quarter mile off the shore of a beach near the Sandestin Resort in South Walton County in the late morning. This is about 15 miles East of me.

Bull sharks 10 feet long and larger are often in the area and if they find a school of bait fish they start biting. They aren't consciously attacking swimmers, they are simply moving through the water biting whatever enters their mouth. A bull shark eats everything: fish, dolphins, turtles, surfers, tourists; if it's in the water, it's what's for dinner.

There are also hammerheads in the area that can get that big, but the bull sharks are the most common biters in this area. They don't cruise on the surface, but along the bottom and will enter bayous, even fresh water rivers.

 

  If You Have Some Time
MIT is looking for bloggers to take a survey. If you have the time, go help out some poor grad student get his degree.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey



[Update: I got this either from Elayne's Journal or Len at Dark Bilious Vapors.]

 

  Congratulations, Et Cetera

Jo Fish at Democratic Veteran will have been a member of blogtopia¹ for three years this coming week.

skippy the bush kangaroo is still pushing for a million hits on his third blogiversity².

Jillian of The Snarky Cat has been down with connection problems is now back on line.

Keith at The Invisible Library is wondering if people noticed that he has moved to http://www.sanchezkisser.com/Ilblog/ from Blogspot.

Tbogg is having problems with his formatting, and after he wrote it, I've noticed small changes in mine, that I certainly didn't make. I hope that Blogger isn't about to go through another round of "improvements".

1. yes, skippy coined that term.
2. Jeralyn of TalkLeft gets credit for this one.


 

  Another Bush Diplomatic Victory?
Since Karl likes conservatives, so he should be thrilled with this: Iran elects hardline new leader.

"The ultra-conservative mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has won Iran's presidential election run-off, the interior ministry has confirmed."

The complaints from Washington that helped to get this man elected continue.

 

  Eine Kleine History Review
Jo Fish at Democratic Veteran pointed me towards One Pissed Off Veteran whose post, Twins in Uniform points to the military service of the children of Presidents.

For those who don't know, while Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican, he was definitely a progressive/liberal.

I covered the fallacy of Rove's military versus law enforcement claims on December 6, 2004 in Liberals & Terrorism.

Andante, who has been really blogging at 110% lately, has another great read in Rove is Right.

Remember the problems of the Al Qaqaa ordnance depot being looted after being left unguarded? We are now seeing the result of that mistake in this Boston Globe report: 2 U.S. Marines Killed, 4 Servicemembers Missing After Bombing. Until they find enough of their bodies to make an identification, those four people are carried as missing in action. Their vehicle was hit by a shaped charge, the proverbial "hot knife through butter", and the explosives involved are those stored in the Al Qaqaa depot.

Remember when Rumsfeld talked about tanks not being safe from all weapons, well now the "insurgents" have weapons that can destroy tanks.

I think the troops might think that the Bush administration's support is a bit lacking when they find out that his Veterans Affairs faces $1 billion shortfall. What are they doing with the money?

As for what conservatives believe, Len Cleavelin of Dark Bilious Vapors has found Excellent analysis, from a thoughtful, reasonable conservative....

[Update: This is just weird - from skippy: eine kleine nitwit muzik.]

 

Friday, June 24, 2005
  Friday Cat Blogging [™ Kevin Drum]

Sam has a Fan

Friday Cat Blogging

Wow, what a big cat!

[Edit: Ringo is actually following the cursor as she steps on keys.]

Friday Ark


 

Thursday, June 23, 2005
  IOKIYAR¹
Read!

It is fortunate for a lot of people that I no longer have the ability to call in airstrikes.

This is why you never apologize for anything. No matter what you say, they will say something worse and call you partisan if you object.

Karl, your boy prepared for war by telling people to go shopping. Karl, I've been in a few tight spots with people shooting at me and I have to tell you that "Go Shopping!" is the absolutely worst war cry I can imagine, although it is a fitting shibboleth for your party.

1. It's Okay If You're A Republican

 

  So Wrong
High court OKs personal property seizures.

These are not run down slum buildings being removed for low-cost housing, or a road, or a school; these are peoples' well kept homes being taken so a private developer can built his project on their land.

This is the eminent domain taking of private property by Community Redevelopment Agencies to increase property tax revenues or provide new jobs except: there are no guarantees that the projects will ever be built, that what that gets built will actually increase property tax revenues, that any extra jobs will be created. What is guaranteed is that the property owners are being pushed out of their homes or businesses.

I have a history question for the Supremes who voted for this: how, exactly is this different from what Andy Jackson did to the Cherokee over your Court's objection? If it was wrong for Jackson to steal land from the Cherokee, how can it be right for a city to take these peoples' homes? Haven't you just negated the value of real estate law in the US, I mean why bother to file a deed if elected officials can decide to take your property?

It is decisions like this that helped to create Timothy McVee, Ted Kaczynski, et alia. The militias will be pushing this as an example of various conspiracies. The people faced with being ejected now know there's nothing the courts will do for them, that the majority has been given the right to oppress the minority.

Are they so isolated from reality that they don't understand that this can lead to violence? They can talk all they want about "representative government", but everyone knows that most local governments belong to the people with money, and it isn't going to make much difference to the people who have lost their homes when some official goes to jail later for corruption.

Added Extra: Roger Ailes [the good one] fires up the "wayback machine" to remind us that Bush used eminent domain to "steal" a baseball stadium and make a fortune.

 

  Sacred
By now I guess you've read that having absolutely nothing left to do, like overseeing the federal government or budgeting, the House has decided that it is necessary to start the long process to amend the Constitution of the United States to protect the flag. If not Susie Madrak has the article.

It doesn't make any difference that no one in the US bothers to burn the flag anymore. Even flags that are supposed to be burned because they are really ratty looking tend to be stuffed in the bottom of the trash bag to be dumped in a land fill rather than contributing to air pollution and global warming by being burned.

Giving that Congress has never even bothered to pass a law specifying the dimensions of the US flag, [the military has a flag regulation specifying the various ratios, but there is no counterpart for non-military flags] it's odd that they are showing so much interest.

I think it's disrespectful for all of these people to be wearing flag patches, for General Myers to wear a flag shirt, for Bush I to have a flag on the back of his boating jacket, for Bush II to sign small flags, but I didn't feel obliged to tell them that these are violations of the US flag code. Somehow I don't think these violations are going to be punished under this new amendment, which means the purpose is to punish political expression.

If they want to pass an amendment to protect something that really fits the common definition of sacred, and which is burned a good deal more often than flags in the US, they could be pushing a bill to make it illegal to burn crosses.

[Update: Thanks to August J. Pollak for the flag signing.]

 

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
  Get A Spine
Andante at Collective Sigh has a Koufax candidate: He coulda been a contender.

Just go and read it.

I don't know a single male Senator that I would vote for, not one of them is worth spit.

 

  Whitewash
The Air Force has issued its report on religious discrimination at the Academy and while finding that all of the allegations are true, they aren't really discrimination, just people making good faith, but inappropriate, efforts to help others by testifying. Ignore the seven referrals for investigation, it was just youthful exuberance by cadets.

Bovine excrement! Another example of no one being held responsible for anything in Rumsfeld's Pentagon. The chaplain who spoke openly about the problem was being transferred early, so she has resigned rather than being jerked around by the Air Force.

 

  Another Boat On That River
Melanie at Just A Bump In The Beltway gives us Denying Reality about an E.J. Dionne piece in the Washington Post that recalls the transcript of Meet the Press from March 16, 2003, in which Vice President Cheney would appear to believe the lies.

Apparently no one explained to "Dick" the full effects of the KoolAid: they aren't lying; they're delusional.

 

  Waving The Flag
Displaying his total commitment to success for Bush's Iraq policy, The Culture Ghost is using his network down time to help the military recruiters reach their goals by mailing materials to college Republicans.

CG has joined General J. C. Christian in Operation Yellow Elephant. Patriotic citizen participation - only in America.

I know my governor's children would like to enlist, but they don't want the appearance of political influence that would be involved in overcoming certain minor problems, mere youthful indiscretions, with their resumés.

 

  Shameless Blegging
The miniscule marsupial, skippy the bush kangaroo, celebrates his third blogiversary on July 10th. Not content with that milestone and being mentioned on both The Daily Show and CNN, radio appearances, as well as being credited with coining the term "blogtopia", skippy wants to reach one million hits on that day.

Who knew that kangaroos were so covetous?

Well, it's not a lot to ask and if he misses he might shift to CAPS LOCK WITH BOLD AND ITALICS.

If you feel inclined, please drop by.

[Update: 1655CDT < 80,000 to go.]

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
  It Isn't Just Individuals
Below is the story of an individual Marine spending his own money on equipment that should be issued but isn't and now Maru points to this Boston Globe article by Bryan Bender: Marine units found to lack equipment.

The Marines are in constant motion to and from war zones and it is taking a toll on their equipment. It isn't receiving the maintenance and repairs that it should have and much of it is reaching the end of its scheduled life well ahead of normal.

This Pentagon can't even handle the routine part of the military, the part that has direct civilian counterparts. Much of what is going wrong deals with inventory control, preventive maintenance, and scheduling. These things are available in manuals, and not arcane military lore. These people lack the competence to operate a pizza delivery service, much less the world's largest military.

 

  Midsummer
In Britain and Ireland the Summer Solstice is the midpoint of Summer, while the US generally calls it the beginning of Summer. No clear reason for the difference, nor is there any real rule about when seasons start.

Wikipedia has the general information while ReligiousTolerance.org covers the celebrations associated with this astronomical occurrence.

Timed with the Solstice is the launch of Cosmos 1 from a Russian nuclear submarine. The spacecraft is designed to be propelled on its mission by the pressure of photons against its pinwheel of sails.

In this article, Solar spacecraft set to blast off, Reuters tells us:
"The project started as a dream held by Planetary Society founders Carl Sagan, the late science fiction writer, and Louis Friedman, who proposed sending a solar sail craft to rendezvous with Halley's Comet in the 1970s when he worked at NASA."

I rather think that Carl Sagan is better remembered as an astronomer and astrophysicist who popularized science, than his meager output in the science friction genre. His seminal program on PBS, Cosmos, is the source of the vehicle's name and the licensing of that program was the genesis of the entertainment company still run by his widow, Ann Druyan, which, along with contributions from Planetary Society members and philanthropist Peter Lewis paid for this mission.

Of course the Beeb also noticed the effort: Cosmos 1: Sailing on sunlight. The BBC has a link to the Planetary Society's page, but I could never get through.

[Update: The Planetary Society's blog on the mission.]

[Update2: Telemetry was lost during the insertion burn and the craft was not picked up by the Russian site at Petropavlovsk or the American sites at the Pacific atoll of Kwajalein or Shemya at the end of the Aleutians.]

[Update3: 6/22 1700CDT Looks like the Cosmos 1 didn't make it. The Russians believe that there was a problem with the first stage and the craft never achieved the necessary altitude.]

 

Monday, June 20, 2005
  Do You Feel Safer Now
CNN's quick poll, in response to DCI Porter Goss's claim to know where Osama bin Laden is located, asks if the US should just go get him. Goss may be interested in respecting "national sovereignty", but 19 out of 20 poll voters want Osama.

Giving the predilection of the US for kidnapping people from other countries and the propaganda value to the Shrubbery of having Osama in US custody, I find it impossible to believe that the CIA has a clue about bin Laden's current address.

I'm really thrilled to find out that Illegal immigrants accessed nuclear weapons facility.

Y-12 National Security Complex near Knoxville, Tennessee is not a power plant, this is where the US builds nuclear weapons. All of the parts and the owner's manual are on site and they are letting undocumented aliens wander around and build structures there.

I would be really upset if South Knox Bubba got vaporized because of a remote controlled bomb got inserted into an assembly building. This would be a quick "dirty bomb" with the taxpayers supplying the nuclear material that would spread out over the Knoxville area.

Via The Light of Reason Glen at A Brooklyn Bridge offers: Bring Your Own, about a Marine who needs about $600 worth of equipment before he gets shipped to Iraq.

This kid needs to get his own body armor and water bag, because there is no guarantee that the equipment will be waiting for him when he gets to his assigned area.

Excuse me, but no one should be sent until they are issued this personal gear and had it adjusted. The taxpayers are dumping money hand over fist into the Pentagon and they keep claiming they can't afford to buy these essentials. This is pure bovine excrement - they are stuffing money into a slush fund and need to be audited by Congress immediately.

 

  Doffing My Hat
Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away [okay, about five years ago on Usenet] we were having one of the periodic yelling matches on the question: Is Atheism a Religion?

I maintained that a religion needs a book of ancient lore, some form of ritual, at least one special place, a recognizable form of architecture, and funny hats. You can't have a good religion unless you do something that people not in the religion would consider a bit odd.

Many of the Protestant sects have eschewed hats recently, but those who started them had weird head gear.

My position was: anything with a total philosophy that fits on a post-it note, and which lacks any other of the forms cannot be adjudged a religion, no matter how obnoxious certain people who call themselves atheists might seem to theists. This statement does not include religions which take no position on gods, but which have all of the other traits, like Buddhism.

PZ Myers has an interesting post on the American Street: Planet of the Hats, which looks at societies from his individual viewpoint. [requires a sense of humor]

 

Saturday, June 18, 2005
  Telling It Like It Is
My local NPR station, WUWF has a local show on Saturday night, The Blue Plate Special which hosted by Greg Guzman. He is actually the radio station's Director of Corporate Marketing, and as you would expect for someone in a position like that, he is a registered Republican.

In addition to playing blues artists, Greg features local musicians and sports. It's a little disconcerting to switch from Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown to the Pensacola Ice Pilots hockey team or the Pelicans baseball team, but it may be the price paid to get his two-hour show.

Lately he has been breaking into rants during his show. First he expressed his opinion on the direction of the FCC and its effect on radio broadcasting. He was unhappy. After a couple of weeks he brought up his opinion of the actions of the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and their introduction of politics into the sphere of NPR stations. Of course, the entire station went into crisis mode following the Congressional funding cut attempts.

Tonight he was responding to someone complaining about NPR reporting being biased. Greg stated his party affiliation and pointed out that the Republican Party has the White House and the US Congress, the Florida governor and legislature are also Republican, so get a grip, if the news is negative, it is going be negative about Republicans. If people want to elect some more Democrats, and give them control of something, then the news can be negative about them.

I figure he'll be a Democrat any time now after he realizes how futile it is to attempt to use logic on his fellow Republicans.

 

  Obnoxious Jerk
Brian Conley runs the Metro Pulse a weekly paper in Knoxville, Tennessee. The only reason people outside of Knoxville know of his existence is that local bloggers like South Knox Bubba talk about the newspaper. The paper occasionally references the blog, but doesn't have a permanent link to it as the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the local daily, does.

In addition to his own blog which features some great bird photography, and fabulous pictures of a recent trip to the West Coast, Bubba hosts a forum, and is the "godfather" of the Rocky Top Brigade, a loose knit community of Tennessee bloggers.

For personal reasons Bubba has been blogging anonymously. He is a liberal in a conservative area and a small business owner, so there's a perceived need not mix blogtopia¹ and the real world.

People on Bubba's forum didn't like an article in the Metro Pulse. Let's be clear, it wasn't Bubba, it was commentators who didn't like the article. For whatever reason Conley went ballistic and threatened to reveal Bubba's identity in a front page article in the newspaper with references to Bubba's police record and credit history.

As far as Bubba is aware he doesn't have a criminal record and obtaining and revealing his credit history will at least violate Conley's terms of use with the credit bureau and may be illegal.

Having had to deal with this issue himself, Atrios jumped on it and awarded Wanker of the Day to Brian Conley.

Steve Gilliard joined in with Bully in action.

SKB outed himself, so if you care he writes niche market software for banks. That's why the talk about criminal records and credit reports are blatant threats and would qualify Conley's conduct worthy of arrest in the state of New York, and probably most states under extortion laws.

Bubba has written nothing that would be altered in any way by knowing the name on his driver's license or the occupation on his tax return.

Conley has shown himself to be contemptible. He has certainly not helped his business by attacking Bubba, and if there is justice to be found in the Knoxville business community, he has done himself great injury.

1. yes, skippy coined that term

 

  The Real Americans
CBS has some good news: Rebuilding Hope One Boat At A Time.

A short piece on Americans who put their own lives on hold for 6 months to join a Peace Corps program to help the people affected by the tsunami to rebuild their lives.

How do we convince the world that these people represent the real America?

 

  Hiring
A CBS report that demonstrates a problem with many non-profits: 2 PETA Workers Face Cruelty Rap.

As little as I like PETA for a number of reasons, I don't think this was anything other than two bad employees. You can't take radical positions without attracting radical people.

 

  Oops
This wire service report on a "battle" in the war on drugs is one of the major reasons I think drugs should be legalized and taxed.

A joint local police and BATF operation with a "no-knock" search warrant and the wrong address, a recipe that has lead to death too often.

The "noise device" is called a "flash-bang" grenade by officers because it is an explosive device that can cause injury and start fires. This is not a good thing to do to a Vietnam veteran as we tend to react badly to loud noises and flashes in our vicinity.

The entire episode was about 4 ounces of marijuana!

 

  Stasis
NBC reports on the meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention: Southern Baptists in 'doldrums,' leader says ahead of meeting
...He noted that the annual number of baptisms in the convention had been largely unchanged for decades - a worrisome sign because baptism, he said, was "the first giant step in discipleship, a relationship with the Lord and Christ."
If you aren't growing you are dying. Based on all of the reports of the "growing influence" of fundamentalists you have to wonder about the accuracy of the reporting and polls. The SBC are the largest Protestant denomination and by their own records they haven't grown in decades.

 

  An Almost Great Idea
Billmon addresses at problem at the Whiskey Bar concerning Congressman Conyers's forum on the Downing Street Minutes and noted the venue was less than friendly or photogenic, being a small basement room in the Capitol complex.

He thinks the Democrats should build a suitable meeting venue to hold these fora when the Republicans are being jerks about allocating rooms.

The problem is that one of the ways in which the Republicans were being jerks was scheduling almost a dozen votes during the Mr. Conyers's session requiring members to go to the House chamber to participate. To be readily usable the new room would have to be built within the Capitol complex, which would require Republican support, and would have to be under the control of the minority leader.

The Democrats could build or lease the facility, but they would have to hold meetings when the House or Senate was not in session to avoid voting conflicts.

There are problems, but they should do it to escape another Republican limitation.

 

Friday, June 17, 2005
  Denial
John Ellis Bush, governor of the state of Florida, college graduate, is apparently under the impression that a human being can be revived after their heart has been stopped for an hour.

Gov. Bush wants investigation into Schiavo 911 call, details Jeb's call to investigate how long Michael Schiavo waited to call for help when he discovered his wife.

The governor could simply talk to a cardiologist and learn that Mrs. Schiavo would have had to begun receiving CPR within 10 minutes of the heart stopping to have recovered as much function as she had. That period is extended when an individual is immediately chilled, as in falling through the ice into 30° water, but in a Florida living room, 10 minutes is about tops.

Apparently Mr. Schiavo has stated different times for the discovery of his wife, and Mr. Bush is trying to waste even more of the taxpayers' money on this over-investigated, over-litigated, over-legislated case.

Mr. Schiavo appears to have been attempting to get on with his life, and hasn't seemed inclined to extend this tragedy by filing lawsuits against those who defamed him. Unfortunately I'm beginning to believe that more litigation is the only way he will find closure.

Mr. Schiavo: sue the bastards to the point they are cleaning windshields with their sleeves on corners! It's the only way they will begin to understand the pain.

[Update] I have been reminded that there were two malpractice trials over Mrs. Schiavo's collapse. If there had been any error on Mr. Schiavo's part in summoning aid for his wife, it would have been uncovered during one of those trials which established medical error as the cause of Mrs. Schiavo's condition.

 

  The Unpopular President
CBS News finally notices that Bush's numbers are in the tank: The President's Problems. With majorities in both houses of Congress he can't get things done.

The Busheviki are realizing that Congress isn't going to take the heat for things that voters don't want done. Congress is hoping to get re-elected, which is not a consideration for the White House. Bush can't help them with his declining approval numbers, so they don't want to play anymore.

 

  Women In Combat
ABC News carried the AP report on the first woman to receive the Silver Star since World War II.

Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester, 617th Military Police Company, Kentucky National Guard, received the award for gallantry during a March 20 insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq. Two men in her unit also received Silver Stars in the action, and several other members of the unit, including another woman, received lesser awards.

I want those fools in Congress who say women can't be in combat to explain to me why someone who can perform at the level of ability required to win a Silver Star and be alive to wear it, doesn't deserve the opportunity to be recognized for their abilities.

If you don't want them to act as Combat Infantry, provide enough Combat Infantry to do the job.

It would be really great if even a few members of Congress or this misadministration would show half of the courage and leadership ability that Sergeant Hester displayed.

 

  Friday Cat Blogging [™ Kevin Drum]

Ringo's Climbing Attempts

Friday Cat Blogging

Wow, this is easy!

[Edit: Ringo's dashing around now includes climbing, which is painful on an unclad leg.]

Friday Ark


 

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
  Corporations Über Alles
I haven't hid the fact that I am a hard core capitalist. I'm self-employed at the moment and was a small business owner, so I look at a lot of the things that the Shrubbery get up to from both a personal and a small business viewpoint. I have also made it plain that when Acme, Inc.¹ say "business" they mean corporations, not real capitalists, i.e. small businesses.

I assume that most people wander by Eschaton often to see what Duncan is writing about. If you have any ties to real capitalists, read Small Bizness.

Bush doesn't know, or care, how his policies affect small businesses.

1. Rook's Rant

 

  Not That The US Cares
The Pakistani media had an interview with a former minister of the Taliban government somewhere along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. According to this individual Bin Laden is healthy, as is Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban.

At this point in World War II, Hitler and Mussolini were dead, the Emperor of Japan was under house arrest, and American troops were heading home.

 

  The Birds
NTodd reports on his encounter with a hummingbird who had stunned himself and was in need of A Few Minor Repairs.

Of course, being the largest state, Alaska has to supersize the problem as reported by the AP in Eagle Crashes Into House.

 

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
  Messing With Your Computer
So my younger Brother shows up and doesn't have a dial-up account. His solution is to go out and buy a wireless router for me to install on my system so he can use his laptop at my Mother's house.

You have to convert your broadband modem from router mode to bridge mode. If you don't know what that means, you had better have someone available who does know before you start messing with cables.

You have to know how to use ancient tools like telnet if you can't access equipment with a browser.

You had better know something about electromagnetic wave propagation forms around antennae if you are working at the edge of reception.

You may have to give up programs that you have used for years to make this work.

Oh, did I mention that the first thing you have to do when you've got this new equipment installed is download the drivers and patches that have accumulated while the equipment was sitting on the shelf.

This has certainly been a learning experience, sort of like using the Braille method to find poison ivy.

 

  Don't Throw Me Into That Briar Patch
Peter of Lone Tree on Blonde Sense noted with concern a move by some Republicans to repeal the 22nd Amendment so Dubya can run again.

If the amendment was repealed, Bush could indeed run for a third term, but so could Bill Clinton. Anyone betting on George W. Bush winning against the last President to balance the budget is waiting to get fleeced. George might find a definite absence of funding when going against the "Big Dog".

The 22nd Amendment was passed by Republicans to prevent another Democratic President from wiping up the floor with them, like FDR did. Bill Clinton was extremely popular with the "mythical center", and the NASCAR Dads know that a beer with Bill would be a hell of a lot more fun than anything George might do.

Based on reports, I not sure that Dubya's daddy would vote for him rather than Bill.

 

  Intellectual Sharecropping
Back when Microsoft started their blogging service in conjunction with MSN, I had objections to their terms of use. What I didn't see mentioned was the caveat that if your government were oppressing you, Microsoft wouldn't allow you to complain about it on a blog hosted in "Spaces".

The Beeb reports that Microsoft censors Chinese blogs. A Microsoft spokeweasel says that the company is merely complying with the laws of the countries in which it operates. Of course, that compliance doesn't extend to monopoly or intellectual property laws that interfere with the world dominance of Windows.

 

  The Road To War
Uggabugga has an Iraq Decision Timeline that puts things in order.

The only thing that was missing was the act of Congress that authorized an attack, so I pulled one from the CNN archives: Senate approves Iraq war resolution
Friday, October 11, 2002 Posted: 12:35 PM EDT (1635 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In a major victory for the White House, the Senate early Friday voted 77-23 to authorize President Bush to attack Iraq if Saddam Hussein refuses to give up weapons of mass destruction as required by U.N. resolutions.

Hours earlier, the House approved an identical resolution, 296-133.
[My emphasis]

Notice the part I emphasized. Nothing is mentioned except the WMDs. The act authorized an attack for that single reason. Saddam had no WMDs. Saddam had given them up. Saddam had complied with the UN Resolution. Bush had no authorization to go to war. The war was illegal.

There was one, and only one reason for the war. That reason was stated in the Congressional resolution. That reason was reported at the time. None of the "other reasons" that have been trotted out by the Bushevikis since the start of the war have any relevance.

I never supported an attack on Iraq because we controlled the skies and could destroy Saddam at will. There was no point in moving in troops to die. We needed those troops to secure Afghanistan and capture Osama bin Laden, the man who was responsible for an attack on the United States. You don't "fight terrorism" by allowing terrorists to wander free and issue press releases.

 

  Finding Bin Laden
August J. Pollak shows them how to do it.

 

  Flag Day

US Flag


Adopted as the flag of the United States of America by the Flag Resolution of 1777 enacted on 14 July, 1777.

An official flag has a rise to run ratio of 1 to 1.9 [the flag should be 1.9 times as long as it is high] with the canton [the dark blue part] that rises over the top seven stripes with a run of 40% of the flag's run.

The only time you will see a "correct" US Flag is if you see the official colors of a military unit. Most flags are 3'X5' or 4'X6' instead of 3'X5.7' or 4'X7.6'.

[Edit: There is supposed to be a flag up there, but, for some reason, my ISP can't handle the File Transfer Protocol at the moment. It may be related to the changes made when I installed the wireless router. I'm awaiting a response from India.]

 

Sunday, June 12, 2005
  Wrong, Dangerous, Dumb
Australian Broadcasting leads with: Guantanamo interrogation 'wrong, dangerous, dumb'
"If, in fact, we are treating prisoners this way, it's not only wrong, but dangerous, and very dumb, and very short-sighted," said Republican Senator Chuck Hagel on CNN's Late Edition.

"I just think it's a terrible mistake," echoed Democrat Dianne Feinstein.

Senator Hagel, a veteran of the Vietnam war, warned a leadership vacuum at the top of the military hierarchy can end "in disaster for us and humility for this country".

"If there's a vacuum, something will fill that vacuum," he said.
I realize these people are "shocked, shocked" that we are treating prisoners like this. It's not as if Amnesty International, the International Red Cross, the American Civil Liberties Union, retired military legal officers haven't been pointing these things out for years. It's not as if there aren't memos authorizing these sorts of things out in the public arena. It's not as if there isn't a stack of depositions in court cases around the globe from people who have been held in American custody reporting these techniques. Nothing in that prisoner log is new or different. None are so blind as those who will not see.

The defense is that this individual is one of a very large number of people who were supposedly the mythical "20th highjacker" [as he is a Saudi, he is a better candidate than most for that fabled spot on the roster], and he gave important information on recruiting and logistics. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but if I were planning an attack on an enemy headquarters I wouldn't be targeting the supply sergeant or the personnel clerk.

 

  Friday Follies
The weekend obfuscation would appear to be the resignation of the White House's point man on altering the global warming evidence. Climate row US official resigns
A senior White House official has resigned days after he was criticised for allegedly playing down global warming in US government documents.

The White House said Philip Cooney's sudden departure was totally unrelated to the allegations.
[...snip...]
"[Mr Cooney] had accumulated many weeks on leave, and so he decided to resign and take the summer off to spend some time with his family," presidential spokeswoman Erin Healy told AFP news agency.
Yet another standard practice to deflect any possible criticism: he doesn't work here any more, so why are you asking questions.

 

  Naked Truth About Oil Dependency
The BBC reports that Cyclists bare all in oil protest:

"Protesters on The World Naked Bike Ride cycled past Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, Covent Garden, Oxford Street and the US Embassy on the 10km route."

Old British tradition from the 11th century, Lady Godiva [probably more traditional than factual]. I noticed they were wearing their helmets.

This was an international protest with rides taking place in many major cities.

This sort of thing used to happen down here: "well-oiled" people riding vehicles with nothing on, mostly during "Spring Break".

 

  Fudging The Numbers
MSNBC has the Washington Post article so you don't have to subscribe: U.S. produces fewer terror convictions than officials claim.

The Busheviki are using "terror related program activity" arrests, i.e. they were swarthy people, to make it seem like they have done something. Only about a dozen people have any link to al Qaeda. A large number are people who were connected to Islamic charities that may have given money to Hamas. Another large group had visa problems.

Aren't you glad Congress has allowed the government to ignore the Fourth Amendment to pursue foreign college students working at Burger King?

 

Saturday, June 11, 2005
  Right Place, Right Time
Tropical Storm Arlene came ashore at almost the same place as Hurricane Ivan. This time we were between the eyewall to the West and the outer band to the East.

We received a few inches of rain and wind gusts to 50mph, but no tornadoes. The storm surge was only a couple of feet and it brought in sand, instead of washing it away. Locally it was a bad rain storm, not even lightning.

 

Friday, June 10, 2005
  Friday Cat Blogging [™ Kevin Drum]

Dot and Sox Chill

Friday Cat Blogging

Is all that exercize necessary?

[Edit: Dot relaxes while using her brother as a pillow. Neither is sure what to make of Ringo dashing around when she's allowed out of the bathroom.]

Friday Ark


 

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
  I'm Not Going Anywhere
I expect that Tropical Depression 1 now building in the Caribbean will have a minimal impact on me, but life will.

I have a few projects that I have to catch up on, including finally installing a wireless network to provide Internet access for my laptop, which could get exciting.

The blogging forecast is going to be light.

 

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
  Capitalism On The Gulf Coast
These Republicans just have it in for the small business entrepreneur: Homeless Man Accused in Parking Scam.

Okay, so he didn't actually own the parking lot, and parking was supposed to be free, but the guy saw an opportunity and took it. If you had any idea how bad the traffic and parking situation was in the city of Destin, this would make a lot more sense.

 

  The Thinking That Got Them In Trouble
According to Rick Wagoner, the CEO of GM, the company is losing money because health care is too expensive, there are too many plants, and too many employees, so he's going to close plants and fire 25,000 people, on top of the three plants and 5,000 people he's already laid off. He says this will save $2.5 billion/year.

Ah, Rick the problem is you are not selling vehicles. With the price of gas rising people don't want the gas guzzling SUVs you decided to make. If you had shifted to quality fuel-efficient cars, instead of large trucks, people would buy them. If you had started making a hybrid, they would be on waiting lists, like the months people wait to take delivery of a Toyota Prius.

As for the cost of building cars in the US, Toyota and Honda seem to make money building cars here, and even exporting them. They are building new plants in the US to increase their production.

You claim that existing plants are not efficient, so why didn't you modernize them? Isn't that your job, to maintain efficiency and save money?

As I see it, Rick, you are an overpaid fool, who can't read the car market, and missed the shift to more efficient vehicles when the price of oil took off. You think you should keep your job while the people who built the cars you ordered, should lose theirs. If you spent as much time watching the car market as you apparently spend watching the stock market, the problem wouldn't have gotten this bad.

Where's the "got to have" GM vehicle that has been introduced on your watch?

Your proposal is to reduce capacity and hope to increase profits on lower sales. Why don't you just sell everything and become a Toyota dealership, that with increase your profit margin?

 

  Corporate Welfare
Senators Slam Boeing Deal
Involved:
Among them were former Undersecretary of Defense Edward "Pete" Aldridge, who oversaw Pentagon purchasing and approved the tanker deal in May 2003; former Air Force Secretary James Roche, who resigned under fire for his role in the Boeing deal; and Gen. John Jumper, the current Air Force chief of staff.
[snip]
The 256-page report also connected Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to the proposed arrangement, recounting a statement by Roche that Rumsfeld had called him in July 2003 to say "he did not want me to budge" on the tanker deal, despite criticism.
[snip]
The report is the most sweeping in a series on the failed tanker deal, which military and Boeing officials have long sought to blame on Darleen Druyun, a former Air Force acquisitions official now serving a nine-month federal prison term.
There were references in the report to White House officials but their names were blacked out.

Ms. Druyun and a Boeing official took the heat for this, but anyone familiar with the military contracting process knew that two people couldn't pull it off. It's the same "rotten apple" excuse this administration continues to use.

Does the Air Force need to begin replacing its KC-135 fleet? Yes, there are a lot of old airframes with a lot of hours on them that should be replaced, but they weren't all bought at once and they don't all need to be replaced at once. They have seen a lot of use recently, but their replacement needs to be a competitive process to get the best new airframe to fulfill this vital role. The specifications on the 767 say it had major deficiencies that weren't being addressed and there is no reason to lease in any case.

This was a rip-off, start to finish. If Boeing can't make a go of it, Boeing should fail. The concept is called capitalism. They aren't going to bail out the dry cleaners located near the bases they're closing, so why are they bailing out Boeing?

 

  Just Read The Story
Do You Feel Safer Now?

I guess the problem was he was white.

[I noticed that Maru also saw it.]

 

Monday, June 06, 2005
  Town Hall Meetings?
You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. Yet in their hearts there is unspoken - unspeakable! - fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts! Words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because they are forbidden. These terrify them. A little mouse - a little tiny mouse! - of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.
Winston Churchill
[via Pourquoi Pas]

Sir Winston dealt with most of the best-known dictators of the Twentieth Century, and was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature, so his comments on banning and/or burning books is certainly reasoned and relevant, but I had a vision of someone more current when I read the words.

 

  June 6, 1944: D-Day
The BBC is apparently the only media outlet that noticed.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt told a news conference the invasion did not mean the war was over.

He said: "You don't just walk to Berlin, and the sooner this country realizes that the better."
FDR was a real "War President". He didn't go around telling people "Mission Accomplished" when there were a lot of battles to come. He was a Democrat and based his actions on reality. His children enlisted in "his war".

 

Sunday, June 05, 2005
  I Give Up
You really should not negotiate with terrorists, but I was going to do this anyway...Really...Honest.

 

  Police Pinch Pistol Packing Potter Pilferers
Two arrested in connection to 'Half-Blood Prince' theft
"Two books were recovered and they are currently being held in secure circumstances as evidence," said a spokesman.

Police said later that the two men arrested had both been charged with weapons offences and with handling the stolen books, though they did not confirm Sun reports that shots were fired.

The books are in the evidence room, not the reading room, and no one will be reading them...well, of course, someone will have to examine the books to ensure they really are copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I mean, if the books aren't real, that would change the crime, right? So, the police are going to have to have an "expert" in to review the books...or maybe a couple of "experts".

 

  Weird Rumors
Via the Washington Times website's UPI Hears ... page of May 26 there is a report from anonymous sources that the Defense Department has ordered 19,000 Chrysler minivans and 5,000 Pacifica pseudo-SUVs to be used instead of Humvees in Iraq and other places.

Keep in mind that UPI [United Press International], like the Washington Times, is a Reverend Moon franchise and not always meticulous about fact checking. I really hope this story is bogus.

This is stupid enough to be true. These Chrysler products will be cheaper to buy and operate than the GM Humvees, although they have a protection rating on a par with a denim work shirt.

According to the story, the Pentagon is worried about the cost of fuel to operate the Humvees! Hey, Don, liberals forced auto manufacturers to put the fuel economy on the window. You could have called Arnold, he would have told you about the lack of fuel economy. Fuel economy standards might have been better if your guys hadn't been fighting tightening the requirements for years. Aren't you supposed to be providing the troops with better armored vehicles?

 

Saturday, June 04, 2005
  Separation Of Church And State

Air Force Academy
Air Force Academy Admits Prejudice

As a commander, I know I have problems in my cadet wing," Lt. Gen. John Rosa said at a meeting of the Anti-Defamation League's executive committee. "I have issues in my staff, and I have issues in my faculty - and that's my whole organization."
Among the General's problems are a deputy who has been "emphasizing" his religious views, a head Chaplain who thinks those views are the only proper views, and hundreds of college-age people following along. These are people who "believe" Lieutenant General William "my G-d is bigger than yours" Boykin is an example to be followed [in spite of his multiple failures].

There is already a tacit policy of allowing bullying in military academies. Some fool felt that humiliation and abuse builds character, and anything that is done for more than a year is considered an honored tradition. For whatever reason clannish groups tend to practice some form of the omerta code, and view revealing the bad/criminal conduct of any member of the group is a heinous crime. This is reinforced by a desire to belong to a group that is inherent in humans and emphasized by the military.

If you look at what happened to the helicopter crew that reported the My Lai massacre, the Army sergeant who blew the whistle on Abu Ghraib, and the reaction of some to the identification of Deep Throat, you can see the reaction by too many is that the whistleblowers are somehow worse than those who committed the crimes they reported.

General Rosa is still dealing with the sexual assault problems, and now religious discrimination. I don't find this at all unusual given the actions of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard Myers. When the person at the top is a political flack, those below him/her will see that as the path to promotion. Under George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld the only people advancing are those that slavishly agree. Disagreeing with the current administration leads to unemployment and personal attacks.

The way things are going even if we start up the draft, we won't have officers capable of leading the troops. Yet another Bush disaster to add to the growing list.

 

  Quran Update
So Newsweek was wrong, US guards didn't flush a Quran down a toilet: they used it as a toilet.

In the spirit of finding out who "Deep Throat" was let's repeat this together:
it's not the crime, it's the cover-up.

This is not going to go over well with our slave trading Islamic friends.

Now CNN is reporting that the military investigation claims that detainees were the ones flushing the Quran.

[Ed: listening to the BBC World Service and the announcer [Linda Duffin] doesn't buy it. Some American apologist [Bruce Fein] is claiming that these were mistakes based on a lack of comparative religious studies by "a few lower ranking individuals". She indicated that she thought the excuse was piffle.]
[Updated for the names.]

 

Friday, June 03, 2005
  How Can This Continue To Happen?
Where are all the female bloggers? They are sitting the audience wondering why at least one of them isn't on the panel.

You will not see Ana Marie Cox of Wonkette on my blogroll. She is a paid gossip columnist for a media company, not a political blogger. She markets sexual innuendo about people in DC, but her one-liners and short posts don't add anything to the conversation because she deliberately stays politically neutral. In spite of this, the people who form panels keep including her. She fails the "Deep Throat Test", i.e. when someone says "Deep Throat" Watergate is one of your top two responses. She is not acceptable as the "token woman" on the panel, which is also not an acceptable practice.

Melanie, Susie, and Echidne all have post about the panel. Melanie and Susie were sitting in the audience. That was stupid.

The organizers of such panels need to start reading blogs, and stop looking at statistics. As a programmer/system analyst I won't even charge them to tell them that all current web statistics only have value within their own scope, and only when comparing two sites within that scope. No need to go into the effects of caching by large ISPs, or any other hidden variables. If you are forming a panel and want to know who to invite, ask bloggers.

The ladies on my blogroll aren't there for "balance": I read what they write, I refer to them when I post, I comment at their sites. I use my blogroll first, before I use bookmarks. I had to manually insert those sites on my template, so I use them.

 

  Local Foolishness
This is the Billy Bowlegs Festival weekend. The Friday fireworks are over, but there will be more tomorrow and a bloody parade on Monday that will totally screw-up driving.

The Chamber of Commerce feels that there needs to be something to combat Pensacola's festivals, so they created this "local legend" about a pirate seizing the town. The pirate is probably real, but the town didn't exist for a century after the guy died. Given that the Capone mob used to come down here during the Winter, it is highly unlikely that the locals would have done anything but welcome Bowlegs in hopes of selling him some property that was "only temporarily under water".

[I don't find fireworks fun. I don't like being around exploding gunpowder. Large flashes of light and loud sounds do not make me happy.]

 

  GULag
The question is: do Guantanamo, Bagram, and Abu Ghraib constitute an Arkhipelag GULag?

Amnesty International says Yes based on the many complaints. The Busheviki say No based on their hurt feelings.

The Medium Lobster weighs in to support the Shrubbery with: So You're Being Tortured To Death In An American Military Prison!. [Usual warning about visual assault when visiting Fafblog!.]

Steve Bates feels that complaining about AI terms is being used to let Bush off the hook by allowing the conversation to become about terminology in his post: Gulag Absurdity.

I will side with Peter Klein and his NPR commentary: Amnesty Misses the Mark with 'Gulag' Tag.

The American system lacks the procedures, and time limits that were part of the Soviet system: the Bush system isn't as bad, it is worse than the Soviet system with fewer checks and protections for prisoners.

In the Soviet Union you had to be accused of a "crime" and be tried by a "court" before you were sent to the GULag for a stated period of time. You were given an attorney to represent you at trial and you were "released" at the end of your sentence. While it is true that the "crime" was political, the trial was to hear you "confess your crime", your lawyer was to assist you in writing your confession, and the fact that you were usually forced to live in Siberia after you finished your sentence, there were more "protections" for the individual than under current system. Those sent to the GULag were not subjected to torture, only harsh living conditions.

Where are the protections for "enemy combatants"? Where are the terms of imprisonment? The American system needs many changes to take it to the level of the Soviet system. Such a system does nothing to "spread democracy".

The Soviet GULag system was harsh, repressive, and despicable. It is sad that the United States can't even make it over that obscenely low level of legality.

Read the book here: Архипелаг ГУЛаг.

[Update: edited to better express Steve Bate's point and fix link.]

 

  Friday Cat Blogging [™ Kevin Drum]

The Ringo Kid

Friday Cat Blogging

Crash, what crash?

[Edit: Ringo relaxes in her basket and knows nothing about the mess caused by "someone" attempting to climb a bathrobe left on the vanity. Time to review "kitten proofing procedures". On the good news front she has figured out the purpose of the pan of granulated clay.]

Friday Ark


 

Thursday, June 02, 2005
  Whiskey Tango "Fox Mulder", Over!
Anyone who has been following my rants about the Pentagon knows that I am suspicious about where the money is going. Congress has never failed to come up with the money requested by the Pentagon, but that money is not being spent for body armor, or up-armoring vehicles as assumed by Congress. If it were there wouldn't be any complaints.

Jillian of skippy the bush kangaroo and The Snarky Cat sent me a note about this Defense Tech article which is pushing me towards X Files territory.

Air Combat Command


If Air Combat Command is cutting its training flight schedule by 60% during a time of "war" for budgetary reasons, given the increased Defense Budget, and the special appropriations for the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, somebody is lying like hell. In excess of a quarter-billion dollars is real money even in the Defense Department. This isn't a misplaced decimal point.

What is going on in the Pentagon? Where is the Congressional oversight? WHERE IS THE MONEY?

 

  Military
It doesn't get any easier in a military town:

Marine Corps


The local Memorial Day service was dedicated to the memory of two young local men who were killed in Iraq while serving with the Marine Corps during the week before the service.

Special Operations


The Special Operations Command will hold a memorial at Hurlburt Field Friday for the four airman who died when an Iraqi Air Force plane crashed this week North of Baghdad.

 

  A Blast From The Past
Liz at Blonde Sense presents the 1969 Steppenwolf classic:

Monster


 

  What Hath Rumsfeld Wrought?
James Wolcott via One-Man Wrecking Crew points to Wreck It and Run by William S. Lind.

Lind notices the similarity between corporate raiders who take over a company, loot its assets, and then leave as it collapses with what Rumsfeld is doing at the Pentagon.

Enlistments are well down, damaged equipment is not being repaired, and needed equipment is not being purchased. Rumsfeld is pursuing his vision of a "new, more cost efficient military" and couldn't be bothered with reality. Remember: Rumsfeld didn't even bother to interrupt his meeting when an airliner slammed into the Pentagon on 9/11/01. If it isn't part of his plan it doesn't exist.

 

  Florida's Not So Wild Life
One of the major problems for the environment in the state of Florida is the number of invasive species that get introduced by idiots who think something "would look cute".

We have plants that don't belong crowding out the native species, insects that don't belong eating everything in sight, and animals that don't belong wandering free.

I fought a battle with Muscovy ducks a couple of years ago that showed the basic weakness in the state and Federal system.

The ducks were breeding like crazy and "eliminating" on everything in sight. I called Animal Control and was told they were "migratory waterfowl" and the problem of the Federal Fish and Wildlife Commission. The Feds said that the ducks were imported [Brazil] domesticated animals and not their problem. Animal Control bounced back with the claim that since they had been determined to be domesticated animals and on my property, I probably needed licenses for them.

In the end, I located and destroyed nests wherever I could find them and trapped adults and gave them to a sanctuary after the local Oriental restaurant refused to put them on the menu. [I can't serve those ducks. Those ducks are dirty. Those ducks eat cat food. No one will pay for a duck that eats cat food.]

So I appreciate the dilemma of these people: Peacocks Swarm Couple's Florida Home. No one will help them, even though the birds don't belong in Florida.

Deport the birds! It's not like they came from Cuba and vote Republican. Let's close our borders to these aliens.[/rant]

 

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
  Some People Just Don't Get It
Trying out a new look on Peevish, Anne's post, Patriotism, points to the brouhaha that a cartoon by David Horsey has generated.

Apparently the fact that there are documented instances of torture by the US should never be mentioned or alluded to by anyone claiming to be an American. This is along the lines of the mind set that feels there would be no deaths in Iraq if Gary Trudeau and ABC Nightline don't mention them.

These are the people that claim that Newsweek is an "enemy of the people" because none of the five instances of abuse of the Quran that the Pentagon admits to involves a flush toilet. The Pentagon doesn't say if any of them involve a "slops bucket", but that wasn't the specific claim made.

When government spokesweasels start picking their words with extreme care, it is time for follow-up questions because what they are denying is true in every particular except one small point. When a spokesweasel says "the victim wasn't run over by a tank from the 117th Armored Regiment", it means that the tank was probably from another unit, not that the victim wasn't run over by a tank.

After years of reading Soviet propaganda, I am all too familiar with this technique for lying with facts. Most are old enough to remember that immortal line: "that depends on what the definition of 'is' is".

 

  Poverty isn't Free
Both Andante and Ezra noticed the post by John Edwards at the new TPM Café titled: Being Poor is Expensive.

For people who don't know: poor people are stuck in a cash economy because they can't afford the fees on checking accounts. The people willing to loan money to the poor charge rates that are often into triple digits and some still remember as the criminal offense of "loan sharking" or usury.

The products that poor people can afford to buy are more expensive in the long run as they are less efficient and don't last as long as the slightly more expensive models. The housing poor people can afford is less secure and efficient as the next level up.

A character in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series refers to it as the law of boots: $50 boots will keep your feet dry for 20 years, but the $10 boots you can afford fall apart in a year. Over 20 years the rich man has spent $50, but the poor man has spent $200 and has damp feet.

People who need money can't borrow it at a reasonable rate, but people who don't need it can buy cars with 0% interest rates. The system is geared toward gouging the poor.

 

  Interesting
Student builds 'out of box' life. The BBC reports on a design student who has constructed furniture from cardboard that functions as a box to carry your stuff, then morphs into a desk after being emptied. It is designed to be recycled when it is too old to be used.

 

  The Dutch Who Say "Nee"
With a 62.8% voter turn out the "Dutch say 'No' to EU constitution". The No/Nee vote was 61.6% against 38.4% for the Yes/Ja.

Following the French No/Non, the EU constitution has little chance of ever being adopted without a major re-write and another round of elections.

[Update: Still no reaction from the Shrubbery, and the President of the EU says "it's only a flesh wound".]

 

  New French Prime Minister
This should be fun: the new Prime Minister is Dominique de Villepin, who as Foreign Minister during the run up to the Iraq invasion gave a performance as a French Guard that compares favorably to John Cleese.

Take that you foolish Texas person!

[I'm sure that French President Jacques Chirac would not do this to annoy Dubya...probably, I mean he doesn't look like a man with that kind of sense of humor. Ruling a country is serious business, and rulers don't go about making decisions based on personal pique...ummm, never mind.]

 

  Hurricane Season
What a thrill, the official start of the Hurricane Season. It lasts until December 1st and is supposed to be "active". If you care, you can drop by my hurricane page.

 

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