Friday, December 31, 2004

Why does the Wicked Witch have to die to start the journey to Oz?

My son's favorite CD right now is the Wizard of Oz soundtrack. I was thinking after he asked the question, "Why does the house have to land on the Witch?" Okay, sometimes I have good answers for such questions, and other times I am stumped. This time, I couldn't really wrap my mind around a substantial answer, but then it hit on me. My reply is as follows:

"Well, sometimes, bad things happen to bad people, and other times, perhaps they happen to good people. In this case, they actually start the story with the Wicked Witch getting killed by the house landing on her. We don't really know if she deserved it. Perhaps, no one was really nice to her and that is why she was wicked. Even so, maybe we just didn't know her well enough to know that she was really kind. Or perhaps, there was no little boy like yourself asking her to play, 'Excuse me, would you like to play with me please?' Thus, she was never really given an opportunity to be nice. In this case, the author of the story chose to kill off the witch at the begining. Some times people have to die for no real good reason."

...and here is where I get to my point.

"Why, it is a lot like invading a country for no particular reason. Like this situation in Iraq. A lot of people are sacrificing their lives, for the sake of a new begining."

...of course, this is a bit beyond a 2.5 year old kid. But hey, we have several themes laced throughout the Wizard of Oz parable that can actually help to explain to children why we are dropping massive amounts of ordinance on a people who we really don't know, and more importantly, don't know if they were wicked enough to justify their deaths. I have said in the past, the ROI in Iraq is not worth the outlay.

How would you explain such things to a 2.5 or 3 year old?

Thursday, December 30, 2004

More of what qualifies as fun in the Baghdad area

This just in from my brother as he was out and about doing his job in the Baghdad Area. I was going to post the pic with the people in it, but it showed a close up (too close) of my Bro, and I don't want his pic plastered about the web as a potential target:

"The guys in the photo were probably sad because their car just got
blown up by the AIF (bad guys). One of the cars was parked behind a house
that housed a large family with kids. The other house with the red car
belonged to one of the guys in the photo. His car was toast and his
house sustained a little bit of damage. Both targets lived within a
1/4 of a mile from each other. One guy was an Iraqi Police officer. The
other is an Iraqi National Guard. The bad guys hit them to scare them
and to send a message. The devices were not that big and both targets
were inside their homes when their cars went up. I can't imagine what
is going through the family's mind. I'm sure it shook them up.

Here we are trying to rebuild the infrastructure and a minority of
Iraqis and the insurgents are trying to dismantle it. The majority of
the folks here just want to get back to a somewhat normal life.
Unfortunately, they are caught in the middle.

Take care and pass a big hello to the family for me.

More inteligent thinking on Gay/Same-Sex marriage

Here's a really good synopsis refuting the sundary arguments against gay/same-sex marriage.

Bombing stops

This is a hint of the past that hopefully, history could repeat itself in a good way.

A slice from 1972:

The White House announced today that President Nixon had ordered a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam above the 20th Parallel and that Henry A. Kissinger would resume negotiations for a Vietnam settlement with Le Duc Tho in Paris on Jan 8.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Barlow names the present decade

I love it. Barlow, reflecting on an accident his daughter experienced recently, coins the term. He lables this the "Uh-Oh's" I think he is right on about that.


"At the dawn of this psychotic decade, I proposed, on instinct, that we should call it the Uh-Oh's. Decades need names. How else are we map their unique zeitgeists in our subsequent reflections on them? Imagine, for example, how awkward our historical recollections would become if we could not refer to "the 60's," a decade which needed no adjective, unlike, say, "the Roaring 20's?" The name is the frame, and the frame says it all.

But despite my efforts at that time, and occasional subsequent stabs, no one followed my suggestion. Furthermore, despite all the obvious historical hints, you have refused to see the appropriateness of my proposed name. Now, as we reach the mid-point of this critical passage, it remains nameless to everyone but me. You still have no verbal short-hand to refer to the decade that gave us 911, Bush the Younger, the Iraqi Tragedy, the comeuppance of the formerly Almighty Dollar, and now, one of the the most calamitous shit-kickings we've ever taken from Mutha Nature. (70,000 dead and barely counting anymore...) I cannot count the times over the last five years when when various tidings of the epoch made me mutter an involuntary "uh-oh" upon receiving them. And still, you resist my suggestion. What's it going to take, folks? Oh, never mind. You'll either see my point or you won't.

This just in from my Brother in Iraq

I sent my brother a happy new year's email wish and asked him how it was going. Looks like the push into Fallujah has done some good.

Here's his email reply:

Things are going well on this end. Besides the temp cooling, so have
the base attacks. Our multiple base attacks per day have slowed to an
attack every few days. We saw a big decline in attacks after the big
Fallujah offensive.

Looks like I will probably be heading home sometime towards the end of
January. It would be nice if I could get home before my son's birthday,
but the chances of that happening seem small.

Well I'm glad to hear the our families aren't the only ones
inundated with massive toy amounts. Sometimes I think it would be
better to skip all the gifts and spend the $$$ on a vacation/trip
somewhere fun instead. Old China is making out big time in the toy
department. The last time I looked, all the kid's toys were from

So much for the American toy manufactures. Then again, the US toy
companies are probably doing well, but there are probably a lot fewer

It sounds like you guys had a good Christmas. I hope you guys
have a great New Years too.

Take care for now,

Out, out, damned spot

Lots of folks are blogging re: sympathy for the Tsunami victims/survivors. It does sound like hell with no end in sight as bodies start to rot and fester. The bigger story is when will they ramp up the early warning system like they have networked in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, the slow trickle of death in Iraq continues toward a burgeoning flood of blood on our own hands.

As Lady MacBeth discovered blood does not so easily wash.

Out, out damned spot!

Now here's a jury I wouldn't want to be on

I don't know how they are going to find any kind of neutral person in relation to being on the Jury at the Michael Jackson trail.


According to legal experts, the panelists will almost certainly be asked whether celebrities in trouble get the justice they deserve or the justice they can buy. They'll be asked whether they can fairly weigh the claims for and against a wealthy neighbor who is perhaps the most famous celebrity ever to be charged as a criminal — a puzzle wrapped in an enigma inside a snow-white suit and a surgical mask.

"There's an interesting aspect of this case that goes to the fact that Michael Jackson is a very eccentric person," said Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, a trial consultant who assisted the O.J. Simpson defense team. "Do people believe that eccentricity suggests a criminal mind, or just that Jackson is a very creative, artistic guy and his eccentricity shouldn't be held against him?"

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Pissing rain here

Been spending a bunch of time lately uploading my CDs into our Rio. Download to hard drive, upload to thing about it is that it is like carrying your whole collection in your pocket. No more deciding which six discs to bring to the car with you.

It is a nasty, pissing winter rain here. I would much rather be here. February will come soon enough, however. That's when our season kicks off, if we are lucky.

My Brother's Unit is making Headlines

Here's an article that has been published in the Military Rags:


When the command post announces “Attention on the net, this is Panther, alarm red is in effect,” Airmen here don their protective gear and take cover. The base is under attack...

Once alarm red is called, the EOD Airmen must respond to the point of impact to see if the munition detonated or if it needs to be disarmed or destroyed...

“We get to do here what we’ve actually been trained to do,” said Chief Master Sgt. Mike Bernard, EOD flight chief, who is deployed from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. “From rocket attacks, to mortar attacks, to roadside (improvised explosive devices), to vehicle-born IEDs, that’s what we get here.”

Because of the base’s location in the Sunni triangle, this makes the EOD troops some of the busiest on base, officials said.

“We do a lot of stuff here that a lot of EOD people don’t get the chance to do,” said Master Sgt. Justin Anderson, the flight’s chief of flight operations, who is deployed from Hurlburt Field, Fla. “We get a lot of business here.”

Not only do the Airmen respond to on-base attacks, they also work with Soldiers to go off the base.

“You get a great feeling going ‘outside the wire’ rendering (harmless) extremely dangerous items that were designed to kill or hurt coalition forces and the locals,” Sergeant Anderson said. “After we’ve safely removed those hazards, we know that we’ve saved lives.”

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Here's a fun Santa related Video clip

As we dig out from the Holiday, a friend forwarded this link - check out the vid.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Visa Co. will be foreclosing on our souls and values at Christmas

I've been thinking about it for a while. It is too bad, Visa and the other major credit lenders were not publicly traded (at least to my knowledge). Like Capt. Kirk in "A Piece of the Action," we want our cut. Unfortunately, we are overtly and covertly getting drubbed fiscally by such agencies.

These types of capitalists are perhaps the biggest of the big Capitalist Pigs rooting around for a penny here and a penny there, and then really making a killing when the credit addicts go over their limits, forgo a months payment, or simply just pay the minimum balances.

As US Citizens ratchet up their personal debt beyond comprehension in this holiday seasion, our values and souls get foreclosed as we forget what the Holiday Season really should be about.

Put down that gift, and connect with the people you are with this year. As you can tell from my posting "From bad to worse," life is short...and sometimes shorter. The gift of the highest value is that of one's time - it can be given freely and never gotten back. Think about that the next time you are surrounded by a group of people (at work or elsewhere) you complain about.

There is an interesting web location designed to calculate the cost of interest when you borrow cash. Yes, it is a plain vanilla wrapped location, but could come in handy when you are thinking about calculating the real cost of that item you thought you really needed, but only really wanted...

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Death knell for Rummy

Rumsfeld is a desperate man. While he makes surprise visits to the "Front," troops still get pasted.

Add three more to the escalating count of dead and wounded troops.

Again. The ROI is not worth the outlay.

Rumsfeld is going down with Iraq goes, so does Rummy.

From bad to worse

As if the news on the fronts wern't bad enough, I found out last night as I was giving my oldest son a bath and putting him to bed that a friend of mine's youngest daughter passed away (Tuesday). She was three years old.

The doctors are befuddled. They have no clue what happened. All we know right now is that they parents put her to bed with what looked like symptoms of a slight flu on Sunday. They woke up Monday AM and she was not breathing. A 911 rush to the hospital put her on a resperator and she didn't last past Tuesday.

Any parents out there will find this situation beyond horrible. I can't imagine the pain my friends are enduring. I called over there this AM and talked with one of the Grandmothers. She burst into tears as soon as I identified myself. She said, "this is not a good time, they are trying to explain this to her sister." Yes, that's right, their first daughter is about 6 years old. How do you explain that to a sibling?

As I know more I will post updates as comments here. The funeral services will be on Monday. This makes for a very dark Christmas. No doubt, the tree is rife with gifts for her. The family christmas cards have been sent out....In terms of nightmares, I would say this is one that came to life and is beyond the comprehension of anyone who hasn't experienced the same grief.

Words can't comfort. Me, I hug my kids tighter and tell them I love them, with stronger conviction.

Gary Web - Suicide or Murder? Subtitle - How Authentic Journalism is subjugated by the Mainstream Media Propaganda Machine

Here's an interesting video where Gary Web speaks from the grave about his experience.

Slice from the intro page:

A tribute to the late reporter

To be an Authentic Journalist in 2004 is to be a soldier at war. When a hero dies in battle first we must drape the coffin, sound the slow, sad bugle song of Taps, and remember this great man who died fighting for all of us. Among the soldiers I have known in my foxhole, there were none finer, more effective in a firefight, than Gary. – Al Giordano

Director’s note: Gary Webb, the Pulitzer prize-winning reporter who broke the story of the CIA’s involvement in the importation of cocaine into the U.S., died on Friday, December 10, reportedly from self-inflicted gunshots to the head.

It was a tragic end to a brilliant, and tragic, career.

This interview was conducted as part of a video course GNN’s Stephen Marshall and I gave at the School of Authentic Journalism’s 2003 seminar in Merída and Isla de las Mujeres, Mexico. Here Webb discusses the media battle that erupted in the aftermath of his groundbreaking 1996 investigation into the CIA’s drug dealing operations during the 1980s to aid the Nicaraguan Contras.

GNN would like to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of a man who, as much as anyone, has inspired what we do, and aspire to be, here at the Guerrilla News Network.

In memory:

Dark Alliance
Cocaine pipeline financed rebels: Evidence points to CIA knowing of high-volume drug network
Gary Webb, San Jose Mercury News, Aug. 22, 1996

Gary Webb: Do What He Did
Al Giordano, Narconews

Gary Webb: A hero of authentic journalism
Anthony Lappé, GNN

Gary Webb, RIP
No thanks to the L.A. Times
Marc Cooper, LA Weekly

Trashed by the CIA’s Claque
Gary Webb: a Great Reporter
Alexander Cockburn and Jeffery St. Clair, Counterpunch

Why They Hated Gary Webb
Alexander Cockburn and Jeffery St. Clair, Counterpunch

How Webb Saved My Ass from the FBI
Gary Webb was the Real Deal
Bill Conroy, Counterpunch

I Knew It Was the Truth and That’s What Kept Me Going
My Last Talk with Gary Webb
Richard Thieme, Counterpunch

A Giant Falls
Press accounts fail to mention his vindication by CIA Inspector General reports and congressional investigations
Michael C. Ruppert, From the Wilderness

The Pariah
“Two years ago, Gary Webb wrote a series of articles that said some bad things about the CIA. The CIA denied the charges, and every major paper in the country took the agency’s word for it. Gary was ruined. Which is a shame, because he was right.”
Charles Bowden, Esquire

Gary Webb’s recent work archive
Sacramento News and Review

The Human Cost of War

GNN posts another winning video clip. All should watch.

Slice from the notes:

Director’s note: The Ground Truth: The Human Cost of War is a work in progress produced and directed by Patricia Foulkrod and in association with Operation Truth, an non-profit organization created by Iraq veteran Paul Rieckhoff. This film is our soldiers’ perspective of the Iraq War, and how they are being treated upon returning home. It goes beyond the war stories to look underneath our American tradition of engaging in war and then abandoning the warrior.

We see the dreams and harsh realities that set up many soldiers and their families for a lifetime of heartbreak. Americans, on the Right and Left, living in Blue and Red states, spend billions of their tax money recruiting, training, and paying soldiers to kill in distant wars. Yet, we provide little assistance and marginal support once the killing is over, and soldiers come home, now expected to live nonviolent lives.

How do we “Support Our Troops,” when the killing stops? What is behind our silent indifference, and the 272,000 homeless veterans we walk by every day? This film asks Congress and the American people to bare witness to these soldiers and their families, and to consider the human cost of war, above all else.

The Ground Truth is currently seeking finishing funds so it may be released in movie theatres by Spring, 2005. To donate and find out how you can help the rest of America hear our soldiers’ stories, go to or


Director: Patricia Foulkrod

We've been expecting it?!?


..."I've been expecting it," said Wayne Downing , a retired four-star Army general who headed the inquiry into the bombing at the Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia in 1996. "They're trying to get in. We have a terrible problem. We have all this indigenous labor. We don't wash our dishes, cook our own food. When you bring indigenous laborers into camps, you immediately have a security problem..."

...A senior defense official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity because the broader investigation is in progress, added that investigators found "material consistent with a backpack or suicide vest, as well as ball bearings," which bombers have used to spread the devastation of the blast.

End slice:

I wonder just about how much are we paying the "indigenous" laborers via Haliburton to provide these deliver ball bearings in explosive packages to our troops in harms way.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Terrorist Point Making

Sounds like the terrorists are gaining a leg up on the march to "democracy" in Iraq. All this blogging about the sour situation in Iraq and the globe is making my bones ache. I feel like Eeyore - "Have a good day, if it is, which I doubt."

How is it that a heavily fortified base in a war zone can still fall victim to someone walking in with bombs taped to themsleves?

I'll never understand the mentality of a person willing to blow themselves up in the name of a cause as by the nature of the deed, you don't live to see the result. Sure, "it's what comes after the doing that makes the doing hard to do," but if you kill yourslef in the process, isn't that the easy way out?


"It looks like it was an improvised explosive device worn by an attacker," General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in Washington, ending 36 hours of confusion over what killed 18 Americans and four others in a mess tent at the Marez base at lunchtime on Tuesday.

The admission, which gave credibility to a claim made by the Ansar al-Sunna militant group, has serious implications for U.S. forces as they try to secure an election at the end of January. On a day when a major U.S. contractor pulled out of the country saying it was too dangerous, walking away from a $325 million contract to work on Iraq's damaged transport links, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld admitted it would be a "mistake" to expect violence to end after the vote on Jan. 30.

End of slice:

Again, as I have said before, the ROI is simply not worth the outlay in Iraq!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

No word from my brother, but I'm hoping this wasn't his base

Just in moments ago.

I couldn't determine which base this was in Iraq, but I am hoping that it was not the one my brother is stationed at....I wonder how Rumsfeld feels about yet another American Tragedy spitting him in the face.


A 122 mm rocket slammed into a mess tent Tuesday at a military base near the northern city of Mosul, ripping through the ceiling and spraying shrapnel as U.S. soldiers sat down to lunch. Officials said 22 people were killed in the deadliest single attack against Americans in Iraq (news - web sites) since the start of the war.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Some miserable mothers stole our holiday reindeer

Here's a true story from my world that took place in the wee hours this AM.

I got up for my AM run, as usual. Popped out the door ready to take to the roads (well, sidewalk really), and I looked immediately left. Low and behold, someone had levered our wiresculpted, light adorned reindeer right off the mantle to which it was posted on the outside of our house. Can you believe it?

Believe it. It had to happen, according to the reckoning of the household residents, some time between 10:30 PM Sunday (last seen) and 6:30 AM Monday (the time I spotted the big hole in our string of lights). No doubt, some good Christian had decided to liberate our wire deer to place her somewhere else.

I can see it now.
Friend: "Hey Sonny, where'd ya get that new deer with lights on it?"

Sonny: "Oh, I just liberated it from some of dem folks up on the hill. They won't miss it."

Friend: "Let's raise our glass (fill in bad beer brand here) and toast Rudolph. She's a beaut!

Sonny: "Yahoo, I'm going tonight to get the other one on the other side of the window. Got to have a matching set!" Want 'ta Come?

Friend: "Shit ya! Slam that (insert favorite shot here), and let's git."

Sonny: "oh, yeah. You got that ladder on your truck still? Let's go get Rudolph a friend."

End scene.

Well, we are going to leave our deer up on the other side of the house. You know, turn the other cheek as it were. Let's hope Santa is delivering coal to one more house this season.

Star Wars Bomb

Here's an intesting quote:

"...Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who headed a commission in 1998 warning about missile threats from North Korea and Iran, says a defense is vital. It isn't. As Greg Thielmann, the director of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research during Bush's first term, has written in Arms Control Today, Rumsfeld contorted the evidence in 1998 to create a North Korean and Iranian missile threat to the United States where none existed, just as he would later do on the issue of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

It's unfathomable how Bush can continue to talk about the need for spending cuts while embracing one of the least successful and costliest military research programs in recent memory."

No tears shed for Rumsfeld - The once and future scapegoat for all Iraqi ills

No surprise, Bush supports Rummy. "If you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter." No doubt, Bush isn't so sure he needs a scapegoat now, but he is doin' his darndest to be sure to establish at least one willing fallguy (Rummy?) to trott out to the gallows and leave swinging so flush the Bushhole clean.

Any guesses how many more troops and Iraqis need perish before they hang Rumsfeld in front of the adoring and cheering republican masses (equiped with rotten tomatoes supplied by our tax dollars)?

You have got to know, Rummy, if he knows it or not, is going to be the one tried for war crimes. Not Bush. Bush will get off with not so much as a scratch from the dollar bills stuffed up his nose used to snort candy from the corporate whores he calls friends (gee, what's happened to Kenny Boy Lay so far, anyway?)....

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Been absent from the Blog due to family vacation

Sorry to miss you all for a few days, but we were in Tahoe - here's one of the nicer shots of the lake from Friday.
All images copyright A.D.A.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Thoughts from the AM run

I am who I am
I am who I was
I am who I will be
all on the run

I run, not
becuase I can
But, I run
because I must
bringing with me
the child that is
within all of us

Monday, December 13, 2004

War time investments

My father tipped me off to the location of a very revealing photo journal of wartime wounds and practice in the New England Journal Of Medicine

The collection is meant to educate, not horrify, but I can't see how a reasonable person won't be disturbed by the collection. Obvious as to why the Mainstream Media Propaganda Machine stays away from these pics. They can't bear to portray war in all its horrors to a public that would rather remain in denial and support a president who lied to get us there.

As I have said in previous posts, the ROI is simply not worth the outlay.

Incidentially, I am reading Mitch Albom's latest novella,
the five people you meet in heaven. I found an interesting quote that I think applies here (from Page 57, last full paragraph):

"YOUNG MEN GO to war. Sometimes becuase they have to, sometimes because they want to. Always, they feel they are supposed to. This comes from the sad, layered stories of life, which over the centuries have seen courage confused with picking up arms, and cowardice confused with laying them down."

Can teachers fix parental mistakes?

One of the common laments I have as I work with students at the collegiate level is that it is most difficult via the educational process to fix 18 years of parental mistakes. I have often wanted to talk with parents frankly, but not been willing to enter into any reasonable exchange becuase discourse that might reflecte negatively on their (parental) own faults was like running behind an ambulance chasing lawyer and smaking him/her for our litigeous society. In the end, all it would get you is grief, and perhaps, slapped back with your very own lawsuit.

To answer my titular question, I would say, sometimes, but mostly no. Nor is it the mission of the schools to act in loco parentis.

Mitch Albom's puts it plainly on page 104 of his novella, the five people you meet in heaven:

"ALL PARENTS DAMAGE their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair."

Sunday, December 12, 2004

What is Rummy getting us for the Holidays?

Here's a nice twist on the twelve days of Christmas by Maureen Dowd....


...On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
a brave grunt from Tennessee
griping about his unarmored Humvee.
No twelve drummers drumming,
but twelve soldiers thrumming,
complaints to Rummy keep coming,
but the septuagenarian's not admitting
that the Iraq resistance isn't quitting.
The Ghost of Christmas Past, Mekong Delta,
is clanking after Rummy in Samarra.
Eleven generals spinning,
Ten Gitmo lawyers not grinning,
Nine Iranian mullahs Iraq annexing,
Eight Osama tapes perplexing,
Seven bombs a-scaring,
Six German geese bewaring,
Five Pentagon rings,
Four cuckoos a-raving,
Three French hens appeasing,
Two dead doves,
And a Saddam pigeon sparking an insurgency.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Ah, the lovely Poppy - Flourishing in American Controled Afghanistan

Well, if democracy isn't going to liberate the Afghanistan people, the poppy will. Follow the money and it terrorists.


...Having underestimated Afghanistan's narcotics problem since 2001, the international community now recognizes the connection between drugs and terrorism, and believes that urgent action is essential. But lessons from other nations show that today's quick wins can sow the seeds of future poppy harvests. Afghanistan's war on drugs will not be won quickly - nor can it be won without economic growth and political stability. Crop destruction "victories" will prove pyrrhic if Afghan farmers cannot find other ways to make a living and do not understand why drugs threaten their future.

Today, many Afghans believe that it is not drugs, but an ill-conceived war on drugs that threatens their economy and nascent democracy. The drug trade is worth more than $2.8 billion to our economy - more than a third of our gross domestic product. Destroying that trade without offering our farmers a genuine alternative livelihood has the potential to undo the embryonic economic gains of the past three years. The likely results would be widespread impoverishment, inflation, currency fluctuations and capital flight....

End slice:

I am wondering who is getting the next unsolicited bid to eradicate/napalm the poppy problem in the lovely Afghanistan countryside?

Ah, the drug war...another war we are not winning.

We ain't passing the "Global Test."

Found this interesting article today in the NYTimes.

When Bush - or any of the politico psyops folks deployed in the Mass Media Propaganda Machine - portrays the Iraq mission as staffed by a "Coallition of the Willing," they are just screwing with your mind.

Check these numbers out - slice:

"I'm now at the end of my four-nation tour of the "coalition of the willing" (I'm skipping such other important members as Tonga, with 45 troops in Iraq, and Moldova, with 12). Since the White House has emphasized how firmly our partners are standing behind us, I interviewed the leaders of the Baltic nations and tried to get each of them to commit to sending 1,000 or more troops...

...I don't mean to demean Lithuania's 105 troops in Iraq, Latvia's 122, Estonia's 55 or even Norway's 10. For the wife and two sons of Olafs Baumanis, a Latvian soldier killed in June, the emptiness is unfathomable.

While his sacrifice was no joke, our coalition is. What I am trying to demean is the idea that we have a powerful coalition behind us: of the 28 allied countries that still have troops in Iraq at this moment, only eight have more than 500. Most are there as window dressing. And because of language and equipment difficulties, some contingents - like Macedonia's 28 or Kazakhstan's 29 - may be more trouble than they are worth.

Mr. Bush corralled foreign leaders into his "coalition of the willing," but never tried to win over foreign public opinion. So one poll shows that 80 percent of Latvians are against the deployment. Latvia's president, Vaira Vike-Freiburga, acknowledged that it would be difficult to extend the troop commitment beyond June...

End slice:

If the rest of the Global Village is against it, why are we for it? Because we got snookered into going.

See my 13 Dec post on the "War Time Investment."

Friday, December 10, 2004

Another Rat Jumps before getting on board the sinking Bush-ship

Well, looks like it is easy for the bushites to find friends with similar or the same ethics to appoint, but they won't live up to the standards we should hold them to.


President Bush (news - web sites)'s pick to become homeland security secretary, former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, abruptly withdrew his nomination for the job on Friday night.

The move came after news organizations raised some potential problems about Kerik, including his profitable membership on the board of Taser International, the stun-gun maker.

In addition, The New York Times said that in 2002, he paid a fine for using a police sergeant and two detectives to research his autobiography.

End slice:

Wondering how the rightwing blogset will spin this one...No doubt they will find a way to turn blame away from the actual culprits.

Barlow getting spanked by The Man

I had been back to John Barlow's web page a number of times after the election to see his take on the whole boondogle and been dissapointed. With today's post, I now understand what has been occupying his time.

Now our man Barlow is going to lock horns with The Man and hopefully come out a winner. The TSA, overstepped its legal search for what reason? So as to yank another thread to the fabric of our Constitutional Rights out from under out noses, neath the smoke and mirrors that the "Patriots" in the Bushites administration use to offend the very people they profess to protect.

Wait a minute. Who won the Election in Ohio?

Whoops, looks like the democrats got snookered in Ohio, not Florida, this time around.

Oh, those damned Activist Judges have popped up in Canada

Perhaps one day, we will shed the puritanical values that have shackled us to the chains of teen pregnancy (which incidently, the highest numbers are in the red states) and let individuals who love each other, enter into monogomous, committed marriages like the Canadians. One day, couldn't we simply learn something from our fair neighbors to the North and steal a chapter in their constitution?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Got to love free music, direct from the artist

Found this link surfing around today. Joseph Arthur playing live. I had never heard of him, but found a new artist. The online distribution of music sounds like a good idea to me. I never would have found this guy any other way becuase he is not a huge pop musician that has lots of media muscle behind him.

Also available is a video clip of "all of our hands." Check it out.

One classroom teacher tells it like it is

The trouble with public schools today has largely to do with a failure of parents to teach their children respect and of society to teach parents how to be quality parents.

I found this blog via blog explosion. As I am want to do, looked at this person's very first posting back in 2000 - she has been blogging a lot longer than I have - but found it to be a very revealing post:

Check it out, slice:

I have been at this school for a week now. my sixth grade class is unbelievable. i hate to say it, but they're little fucking assholes. i despise them. really. i teach in a ghetto school where the only discipline these kids understand involves physical violence. i'd beat their asses myself, only the majority of them are bigger than me. its a goddamn shame....

...the day just got worse from there.

i spoke to my boyfriend after school today. he, too, is a teacher. he teaches high school english at a school for juvenile delinquents. it seems that at some schools, there are consequences for behaviors like leaving the room without asking and calling the teacher a fucking bitch. i however, can only ruin my afternoon by assigning detentions to kids who mostly refuse to stay...

...perhaps if i improved my ghetto talk they'd understand me better. the other day a student asked if i was puerto rican. i said, "no, but i'm part portuguese." the kid said, "that right next to puerto rico ain't it." i said, "not exactly." another student said, "hey man, you better stop cursin in spanish, she part rican."

End slice:

Talking about what is wrong with our schools has got to include a thorough examination of the poor behavior on the part of the students, the parents, the teachers, the administration, the governements, and what is wrong with the very fabric of our society.

How about it? Does anyone want to kick off the commentary for this one.

GI nails Rummy into a corner

Most everyone has heard about the soldier standing up at Camp Pendelton and sticking it to Donny Rumsfeld. Now the administration is trying to paste a band-aid on the situation and make people feel better about the situation.

Let's see how far this one bleeds out from beneath the surface of the wound. Of course, those who are willing to vote for a liar are most certainly going to believe the Bushies when they say they are doing all they can to armor the troops.

The situation is easy pickings for the comedians - as Leno stipulates in one of the articles:


Late night comedians have seized on the issue as well, and comic Jay Leno poked fun at Rumsfeld for saying that armor did not always provide protection. "Then he got in his armored car and left," said Leno to laughs from the audience.

End slice:

In the end, the troops suffer for it. More dead, forthecoming as we approach the January "elections," no doubt.

I wonder how the Bushies are going to feel about a properly elected Shiite government that aligns more with Iran than the US. What are they going to do, stage a coup and prop up another puppet government? No wait, that is what happened in Panama...okay, well there are plenty of models to choose from when you are looking for ways to assasinate administrations that "we" don't like.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Mistake? George Bush? Nawwww, can't be.

You have got to check out the video from John Stewart's Daily Show. There is a connection via Blogitics.
Pakistani President Perez Musharraf tells it like it is, then gets spanked in public.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

MacArthur breaks record crossing the equator

MacArthur burning up the miles
These shots were taken by the royal navy.

Crossing on Tuesday, 7 December 2004 at 18:40
Simply Amazing. Burning up the competition while she's at it. Check out the video celebration she had on board -

Connecting the Dots - Israel to Iraq to Iran to North Korea to China and back again

I was surfing around for some intersting links and came across this text of a Governor GW Bush speach given to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Conference at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C., May 22, 2000. Note, this speach was given as he was on the campaign trail to win (no I mean I mean outflank... no I mean I mean...) Well, I am having a hard time to decide what to call the 2000 election other than a farce to democracy.

...anyway, just before GWBush had his friends in his Father's Supreme Court appoint him to the presidence, long before 11 Sept, and long before the War against terror, he was pointing fingers at potential targets and pre-justifying any actions that he might take with very hazy accusations.

Take a look for yourself - Slice:

"...What struck me, as you all know better than I, is the tiny distance between enemy lines and Israel's population centers. The general said that before the Six-Day War, Israel as only nine miles wide at its narrowest point. In Texas, some of our driveways are longer than that.

It's sobering to think that while the distance between Dallas and Galveston is 270 miles, the distance between Israel and Saddam Hussein's Iraq is only 250 miles. And the world learned to its horror, back in 1991, that those 250 miles can be crossed in a matter of 12 minutes by a Scud missile. The Gulf War showed the world the danger posed to the family of democracy by rogue states armed with missiles. Who could forget the sight of millions of Israelis wearing gas masks to protect themselves in case those Scuds were carrying chemical weapons? And who could forget the Israeli children who had to be sealed away from their mothers and fathers in plastic tents during those air raids? Saddam's attacks were the act of a tyrant without decency.

And we are seeing similar hostility again today, as 13 Jews are unjustly imprisoned in Iran on charges of espionage. Even in this new century, the ancient wrong of anti-Semitism remains. While the 13 remain in prison, their human rights must be respected. The leaders of Iran should know that America would judge them by their conduct and treatment of these 13...

...This is something else the family of democracy has in common; the danger of totalitarianism is waning, but the threat from rogue states is rising. The danger crosses borders and oceans. And it means not only Israel, but also that the United States must be able to protect our citizens and our homeland with ballistic missile defenses.

North Korea has developed missiles capable of hitting Hawaii and Alaska. That nation may be an ideological relic, but its tyrants are doing everything they can to be a 21st century menace. Nations like Iran and Iraq are developing capabilities of their own. And four years ago, a Chinese general warned America that his country possesses the means to incinerate Los Angeles with nuclear weapons..."

End Slice:

Again, as the president has shown us time after time, he uses his rapier wit to deflect the gravity of a very serious situation and then makes vague and veiled threats and accusations.

We should not have been surprised at all by his Axis of Evil speaches.

Lastly, just becuase you can connect the dots on a map does not mean that there is a connection or causal relationship among and between various States. Bunching countries together as an axis of evil is a smart tactic to politically frame them negatively and depersonalize the people that comprise them. The Marines do this to depersonify the enemy to make it easier to justify killing a human being. We did it to the Japanese when we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Only time will tell if our governmental leaders do it again in places like Iran, North Korea and the like.

One Thousand Dead Soldiers

...and counting. I still say the ROI does not validate this Iraq war. And more atrocities occur as regular embarassment to the men and women in the military that do outstanding work.

Slice from Get-mo:

In one incident, a soldier reportedly bent a prisoner's thumbs back and "grabbed his genitals." In another, an FBI agent saw a detainee "gagged with duct tape" for refusing to stop chanting from the Koran.

End slice.

We may be winning the war on the ground, and that is debatable, but we are losing the hearts and minds of some very credible allies at home and abroad:

Evidence 1 , 2 - See articles by Kate Tiskus & Atty Garnett, 3

And the list goes on - not to mention those countries that had lost faith in the USA long ago....

Wailing about Walmart is noise about the human condition

...according to my father. Interesting bit from his latest anonymous Email:

"Walmart is exploiting people who, without Walmart, would have no job. ''Work is hard, no work is harder.'' - Greek aphorism.

Wailing about Walmart is noise about the human condition. Every job is competitive, bottom to top. No one is secure, even if you own the business. What is shameful is when gov't piles on, extracting an excess of Social Security dollars and using them to (ha!) balance the budget while giving tax breaks to the rich. Some things are over the top.

''The exploitation of the working poor is now central to the business strategy favored by America's most powerful and, by some criteria, most successful corporation. With the re-election of a president as enamored of corporate power as George W. Bush, there is every prospect that this strategy and its harsh practices will continue to spread throughout the economy.''

''Every prospect ...?'' This is the way the world works.

Retailing is a tough business. Like banks, their gross numbers are based on dollar traffic passing _through_ the business. There's no comparison possible between Walmart's gross and IBM or GM, the latter two actually make things. Walmart as ''biggest'' company in the world? Bullbleep.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Ellen MacArthur cruising toward a record finish

Ellen MacArthur on deck

I didn't realize the round the world race was on until I hit on an article on line this AM. Ellen MacAurthur is really flying - her web site is tracking her progress real time and you is really a fascinating experiment in live coverage of a multi-day race. She is about to cross the equator and could pick up the crossing record on her way to winning the whole thing outright.

Here's a slice from her recent update:

Describe what it's like on deck?
It's very hard because you desperately have to keep the boat moving no matter what, because moving it's the way to the new breeze you are looking for, the better breeze and it's extremely hot even at night. And the sky is full of huge great big black clouds and there is no moon at the moment which is even worse as it's very hard to see what's coming. You're constantly battered by squalls and rain in the clouds. One minute you've got 5 knots of wind which obviously you need completely different amount of sails for 20 knots of breeze heading in the same direction. So, I must have changed sails about 6 or 7 times during the night and goodness knows how many times during the days yesterday. It's a constant fight to have the right amount of sails to keep the boat moving without breaking anything which is very easy when you're suddenly getting such large amounts of breeze

How are you holding up physically?
My body is okay but I'm losing a lot of fluids. I'm trying to drink a huge amount because it's just so warm on board, particularly when I'm charging the batteries, the cabin turns into even more of an oven - more like a sauna! I've got lots of salt sores all over my hands and my arms, which appear when you get sweaty for a long period of time. There's no escape from it, there's nowhere to go. All the water around you is salty, you're salty, so you're sweat is salty! It's pretty difficult but you've just got to look forward and know that it's going to be getting colder soon, and when it gets colder it's a negative thing and a positive too. I'm looking forward to getting to the south, I really am.

When do you expect to cross the Equator?
At the moment we've got a pretty good course and we're heading almost south so, the equator is roughly 180 miles away so I reckon we should be crossing, all being well, in about 12 hours. So that will be about midnight tonight, English time. I'm looking forward to getting across... It's well south of the Doldrums area so we should keep the breeze until we get there and after that the breeze should slowly free off so we can bear away from the wind and go faster down the coast of Brazil before plunging down round the high pressure of the St. Helena High and into the Southern Ocean...

Rock on Ellen!

It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it

Found a interesting quote from the NYTimes today. I appreciate having the Marrines on our side. I am glad I am not on the receiving end of their expertise, and even though I wouldn't join up, I do appreciate their value. Semper Fi!


"We're going out where the bad guys live, and we're going to slay them in their ZIP code."
LT. COL. MARK A. SMITH, commander of the 2nd Battalion of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Iraq.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Republican = Sore winner

Lately, I have been surfing around some web locations and noticed the tenor of many of the right winger locations tends toward the "sore winner" category. Even though they won the election, many are terse and do a fair amount of belittling the other half of the country, which the refuse to realize actual does exist.

A prime example is Jessica's web location, where she actually has her family exposed to the world posing as sore winners. Check out the Sunday, 28 November 2004 posting and you will get the idea.

Please make comments to this posting and identify more evidence of bloggers who are great examples of poor winners...or poor whiners if you like.

This really does prove the point that GW, the self described "uniter" is really a divider.

No doubt, Al Qeada Don't surf

Maverick's is starting to throw. In the event that you are certifiably insane, you may want to hop in your car and venture out to get tossed in the white wash.

Check out these pros, going for it. There are a bunch of quicktime videos to download. Most are short so as not to tangle up your pipes too long.

I couldn't find any shots of people windsurfing Mav's but I have meet at least one guy in person who has. You won't catch me out there. My motto, sail safe so you can sail tomorrow.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if Al Qeada was a surf club rather than an international terroist organization staffed with rich dudes from Saudi Arabia? No doubt, if they did surf or windsurf, they would end up with a lot more karma on their side....and would spend a lot less time thinking about blowing people up.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Rock City hits it right on the button

I was surfing the usual locations as the boys napped and found that Rock City really nailed the situation today, commenting on yet another banal Weekly Standard article. Rock City dishes on the latest diatribe against liberals by the right swinging dicks in the media.


...The truth is, middle Americans, for the most part, are duped by Republicans who pander to their ignorance. These people want to kick terrorist ass, have low taxes, buy big and cheap, eat fat, not think too much, believe Jesus and America protects them, and avoid people, things, and information that confuses them. So when Wisecup argues that Dems lost the marketing competition, well, he's right. Now, while I refer to middle-America as ignorant, I don't mean they're bad people or that I'm a better person. That's not the point. The point is the Dems actually made the mistake of assuming a majority of Americans were aware enough to deal with reality. The Republicans won because they knew better. They've cornered the market on ignorant folk, marketing relentlessly that liberals think they're better people, want to take their money and give it to lazy people, hold bible and flag burning bonfire parties, will make your kids catch gay, and support Saddam Hussein. I actually think that exposes a deep disdain for middle-America. You would have to carry a severe lack of respect for these people in order to exploit their fears so effectively....

End Slice.

I say rock on Rock City!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

You have got to love Don Knotts as Dubya

Check out this video clip I found surfing blogexplosion.

How'sabout some Jet fuel for breakfast son?

Imagine if you will, a scene from the American breakfast table...

Dad -"Hey Junior, I got some nice organic cereal for your breakfast this AM. How'sabout we add a little jet fuel this time so you can make it through the morning school blues?"

Junior - "No thanks dad, I can't get that spoon in my mouth aound the cancerous tumor anyway. How'sabout you just intravenous me some hexavalent chromium, that stuff pumps me up and gets me ready for beating up some of the bullies on the playground."

Dad - "Okay, and while we are at it, lets get your testosterone injection in ASAP. I want you primed to win that scholarship to State and maybe, if you get your batting average up past .400, you can skip all that school nonesense altogehter and get a nice fat contract to play in the Bigs and keep me in beer and potato chips until my "lazy-boy" wears out."

Junior - "Cool dad, I'm on it. I got the needle right here."

Scary Vanity, Fair?

Humm, found this article today hinting that perhaps our Governator might make a real run for the presidency....hence the need for changing the constitution to allow people born on soil outside of the US to run legitimately.

Check out this slice:

You can't buy publicity like this," said public relations consultant Sam Singer. "This is the governor of California with Maria Shriver in a Hollywood setting, but it's very serious... It really leads him on a path to potentially becoming the president of the United States...

These are the types of news stories that change people opinion." Singer has run many campaigns himself. "Vanity Fair is read by serious political decision makers," Singer said. "It's also read by the social set. It's also read by people who donate funds to campaigns."

End of slice:

Okay, I thought the real leaders of our country would be reading something other/better than Vanity Fair? You think GWB and the rest of the bushies read magazines that publish barely dressed and sometimes naked (a la Demi Moore) women ? What about his strict set of "Christian" morals? I'll bet that since they are used to being chaste except while married, they don't bother with it, and more likely flip fervantly through their free mailings of the Victoria Secret catalogs - what I call, "the poor man's playboy." And after satisfying themselves with a solid purusal, make decisions to send more troops to the front.....

Humm....this turns me to another point. Why did Clinton get impeached for havcing sex? So what that it was an intern and it was extramarital. I would prefer to have my politicians, particularly the leader of the free world sexually satisified, however they can get it. At least then I would know that they were less inclined to take action becuase they were frustrated or stuck in a chilly sexual atmosphere. Do you think George Bush is sexually satisfied? I don't decide.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Will Each Iraqi voter get their own US Trooper Escort to the Polls?

Looks like with the increase in number of troops in Iraq, each eligible voter in Iraq will get their own gun toting troop to escort them to the polls. Shall we charge the going rate for military escorts to recoup the costs?

Humm....150,000 troops in Iraq
about 22.2 million Iraqi citizens...

Doing that math, that is approximately 1 Troop per 148 citizens...

Should be a good ratio no to take up a collection and pay the occupation, no?

While they tromp to each polling station, they could pass around a hat to pay for the protection, a la the mafia....

I can see it now(using the Marlon Brando Godfather marshmallow speaking technique)..."Hey, youse guys, if you want us to make sure nothin' happens to yas, this next week, perhaps you should show us some good faith...ya know, a little green to keep us around..."