Friday, July 09, 2004

An Athlete Speaks Out

Dave Zirin covers Carlos Delgato's stance on the war in Iraq.

So, now they tell us it was all smoke and mirrors. Imagine that.

Next time, why not outsource war of convenience intell to, say, a Department of Unremitting Hypocrisy, because for all the headlines touting the failures, no one has placed blame squarely where it belongs--on the collective shoulders of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the twin towers of stupidity and hubris. The Senate report (deliberately, if you ask me) sidesteps the issue of whether administration officials pushed for interpretations to fit their agenda, but I think anyone with a few functioning brain cells and a sense of recent history knows that the Bush team did everything short of throwing a public temper tantrum in its zeal to invade. The whole point in launching it back in March of 2003 was to ensure that all the messy details would be ironed out in time for a 2004 election victory parade.

What's the saying? Be careful what you wish for?

A Billion Here, a Billion There

I saw this over at Balta.

Wired News reports that the Pentagon is spending upwards of $20 billion dollars a year just to figure out where all the money is going. If that's not enough of a joke, then maybe this is: they still don't know.

This kind of stuff really pisses the shit out of me. If anyone so much as dares to question the Midas like budget for "defense," they're immediately labeled as essentially a fifth column for Al Qaeda. Yet the morons running this exercise in national socialism apparently can't be bothered by things like routine accounting. No wonder we spend over $400 billion dollars on the military, yet they still can't properly equip (or, sometimes, even pay) our soldiers.

Makes you wonder who really is "soft" on defense.
Mistakes Were Made

Saw this via Mary, citing Matt Lavine.

Pentagon Says Bush Records of Service Were Destroyed:

HOUSTON, July 8 - Military records that could help establish President Bush's whereabouts during his disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard more than 30 years ago have been inadvertently destroyed, according to the Pentagon.

So, what sort of inadvertent "accident" happened? I'm guessing the (microfilm--or were they microfiche?) records, by accident of course, were unspooled, stomped on, shredded, exposed to high heat and bitter cold, and/or melted down for whatever precious metals could be extracted. Totally inadvertent. The folks who did this are really, really sorry.

The Pentagon regrets this mistake, and promises that any records showing Senator and Democratic Party candidate for President John Kerry in a bad light will be handled with the utmost care with an eye on preservation and/or release to the news media--depending on the polling data.
Menace 2 Society

Barbara Ehrenreich identifies the latest threat in her most recentNew York Times column.

Timshel has a corollary.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Ridge: Sky to Fall--Not Sure When, Where, or How--But it WILL Fall

Oh--and is it just me, or has Blogger been unbelievably frustrating of late. Sure, work's been keeping me busy too--yesterday's upgrade project, um, failed, to be honest. Then again, you'd think Dell MIGHT do something logical like note prominently on their website the issue with PowerPath, Microsoft Cluster Service, and Windows 2003 Enterprise Server Upgrade, considering that PowerPath is central to the cluster service...but I promised myself an hour ago that I was through slamming doors and kicking walls for today...

I dunno--maybe the folks at Blogger are going through the same shit. But it's still as maddening as hell when you lose several posts and/or can't even get to the interface.

OK--onto the real subject of this post. Tom "Chickenlittle" Ridge is rebleating the same tired line that Asscrossed trotted out a month or so ago: dastardly Al Qaedans are plotting against the United States. Gee, Tom--are you next going to tell me that the sun will "almost certainly" rise in the east tomorrow morning? Ridge went on to note that they don't have anything specific, and therefore the color "terror code" won't change.

Then Tom cried "wolf."

That Al Qaeda wants to attack us is--um--GLARINGLY OBVIOUS. I mean, geez, I think even George W. Bush might be able to grasp that tidbit of information. Unfortunately, instead of taking genuine steps to counter the threat, Bush and company produced--a color wheel. A color wheel that they don't even use anymore. As for providing funding for agencies that might actually protect areas like ports, industrial and physical plants, chemical facilities, and so on--well, I guess that's all been diverted to Iraq--because surely the terrorists will go there now, right?

God, what a bunch of idiots.
Bet Ya Can't Cheat Just Once

Kenny Boy does the perp walk.

It must be nice to be able to post half a million dollars bail without even blinking an eye. How many "grandmothers" were "f***ed over" to avert--for the moment--the spartan accomodations awaiting the disgraced Enron chairman.

If he's convicted, can we pelt him with rotten tomatoes? Please?

Lay is the poster boy for modern Republican values, or lack thereof. This is a guy who would have happily sold his own grandmother into slavery if it would have bumped up the share price. Jail is almost too good for him.

I can think of two potential cellmate for Mr. Lay, but alas, I'll have to settle for seeing them lose come November.
Hot Air

Things have slowed enough here to go about some real business--yesterday, after work, I found the idea of a night in boring to the point that I dragged myself down to the Politics LA "Ringside" forum here in BR...

Billing itself as a "Louisiana version of 'Politically Incorrect'" (which should have had me running for the door, except that I'd already paid for a seat), I watched Jeff Crouere tell a number of lame jokes, followed by a roundtable featuring the following locals:

Candidate for Congress - Bobby Jindal
State Sen. - Kip Holden
Newscaster - Jennifer Hale
Radio Personality - Ed Buggs
Publisher of Redshtick - Jeremy White

I'm guessing a crowd of slightly less than a hundred or so folks made their way to one of my least favorite parts of town--Corporate Blvd.--and mostly observed, although some partisanship was shown on both Democratic and Republican sides. Issues tended to be local in focus, however, the mostly conservative panel couldn't resist a little bit of Clinton bashing. That has become pretty much their equivalent of a congenital disease, i.e., say something mean about Bill or Hillary Clinton, and hope no one notices that your eyes are either a little too close together or far apart.

One minor note of interest: after listening to several of the panelists whine and moan about the relatively poor condition of the Capital City (or wax poetically about Austin, the newest object of BR envy), I couldn't resist asking if they wouldn't come out in favor of a reasonable degree of taxation in exchange for adequate public services. My question was for anyone on the panel, but the two politicians clammed up pretty quickly (although after the forum Senator--and, one can hope, the next mayor of BR--Holden gave me a thumbs up--not that I really know Mr. Holden, but we've spoken a few times). Ed Buggs, of all people, decided to answer. He noted that no one would come out in favor of such a proposal--eliciting laughter and applause from the right-leaning folks in the audience--then pointed out that such an idea is exactly what Baton Rouge needs, which shut the laughter and applause down pretty quickly. Whether or not they "got it," that is, that if you want to have a real city you've got to pay for it, I'm not sure. But one can hope.

Forums like this are, not really my idea of a good time. That said, in some respects it was worth the price of admission, if only to see who around here has an interest in politics and just what they're thinking--or not thinking, as the case may be. It was also interesting to size these folks up, and compare/contrast them to, say, bloggers like Timshel, Oyster, Jeffrey, Mary, LSU Student--am I leaving anyone out?

For the record: they don't have anything on y'all when it comes to discussing Louisiana issues.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Back After Lunch

Am caught up with trying to upgrade a clustered server to Windows 2003 from Windows 2000. Looks like I'll be busy for a little while...

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

While Looking for Something Else

I went to Working for Change to link to the non-subscription Tom Tomorrow cartoon this week. It nicely sums up the kind of pathetic group-think that forces such drivel as Slate's "Kerryisms" upon us. Speaking of Slate, though, the main page at WFC links to a Tim Noah article whose title leapt out at me: Draft Ehrenreich. The subheading is "The summer replacement series we can't afford to lose."

No shit.

Barbara Ehrenreich is one of my favorite contemporary writers, and these two New York Times op-eds further my opinion. It looks like they've hired her to as a temporary substitute for Tom Friedman, which, if you ask me, is like hiring Kevin Garnett as a temporary replacement for Shawn Bradley. Noah even suggests that the Times could even move Dowd or Kristof to the news side of the bench if they insist on keeping Tom (of whom I know nothing regarding any straight journalism he may or may not have ever done) on the payroll.

Barbara Ehrenreich would effectively counter David Brooks--on the one hand you'd have someone from the left who is articulate, intelligent, and capable of hitting devastating blows that NEVER come out looking mean-spirited. On the other side, you've got--well, I hear that a lot of folks think Brooks is a pretty nice guy, even if his writing brings a whole new meaning to the term "lazy."

If you have any time, check out the op-eds noted above. They're well worth the small investment in time. Go Ehrenreich!
Name the Circle

William A. Cook thinks pretty much any or every circle in Dante's Inferno would make a good final "resting" place for the neo con gang. He suggests it's too bad you couldn't move them through each in turn.

Of course, a couple of years back, The Onion reported that a "10th Circle [was] Added to Rapidly Growing Hell" (now in the premium archives, hence no link). IIRC, advertising executives were at least one group so condemned--too bad I don't remember just what fate awaited. Still, considering the wholesale merger between big politics and big advertising, you can easily justify a placement.

Then again, my own punishment for the clowns running the government is a lot simpler: I'd deploy them to Iraq as reservists called to action. Let them experience first hand what they've called others to do for them. By calling them reserves, they'd also realize the unpleasant fact that those in the reserves are being given short shrift when it comes to equipment like body armor, night vision goggles, and so on.

I think it'd take about fifteen minutes on patrol before they vowed to never use war as a backdrop for political campaigns.
Good News, Hopeful News, and Dumb News

First, the good news: John Edwards will be Kerry's Veep candidate. I don't see any downside to this. Sure, the Rethugs will try to smear him as a "trial lawyer," or perhaps as "inexperienced," but neither will cause any damage. The trial lawyer thing might play to his advantage--if he notes that as a trial lawyer, he opposed the kind of corporate greed exemplified in companies like Enron and Halliburton. As for inexperienced--um, there's a certain village idiot from Crawford, Texas for whom inexperience might as well be a middle name.

It's also nice to see The New York Post make an idiot of itself, as Atrios also noted.

The hopeful news: Wassef Ali-Hassoun, the Marine of Lebanese descent who had been captured and held as a hostage in Iraq, supposedly has been freed. Given that reports this weekend said he'd been killed, I'll believe this when he surfaces, but at the same time, one can hope. The hostage taking and executions have been so tragic--and so needless. All these thugs have proven is that US forces--who, lest we forget, are supposed to provide internal security as rules of occupation specify--are not even close to exerting control. That said, there's absolutely no need to kill civilians--which is something that US forces should also consider.

Then, of course, there's the dumb news: in this case, Tony Blair doggedly sticking to utterly discredited story of Iraq and WMD. I rhetorically asked in my last post a question as to what would consitute the "smoking gun" in Iraq. Blair is clinging to the notion that violation of UN resolutions constitutes a 'justification' for invasion. Tony--I'd like to quote Dick Cheney to you.

Iraq did not comply with UN resolutions only to the extent that they did not reveal what some folks like Scott Ritter surmised, based on logical inference: Iraq's WMD cache was either miniscule or nonexistent. Chemical weapons don't last forever, and the sanctions prevented Hussein from either acquiring more, or building manufacturing facilities. In other words, there was no threat. Besides, it doesn't take a genius--although apparently this baffled the US press--to realize that Iraq's "defiance" of the UN didn't exactly constitute the same threat as "Al Qaeda wants to use airplanes as weapons." As a result, we've willingly placed ourselves--and the entire Middle East--in an unbelievably dangerous and destabilizing situation. And, while we're busy with Operation Go Fuck Ourselves, the REAL problem is beyond our ability to respond. Check out, for instance, William Lind's latest. He points out that the problem is and never was in Iraq, but now is most certainly in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan. While our soldiers are dodging RPG's in Mesopotamia, destabilization in either of the big three mentioned would bring the house down, as it were.

Finally, to everyone--I'm still going to be a little slow in posting--thanks for your patience. Once again, it's a work thing, but there's also a health thing. I noticed yesterday that the swelling in my elbow has gone down a great deal. Whether this is coincidence or the result of rest, I'm not sure, but it can't hurt to continue to rest--and see. If the swelling goes down permanently, I'll be a hell of a lot happier.

Look for perhaps a short post or two this afternoon, but otherwise, thanks for being patient with the slowdown.