Friday, June 29, 2007

Broken, um, Records

If only it was broken records...instead, it's broken bodies, shattered lives, and precious little comfort for the survivors:

A huge bomb explosion followed by a hail of gunfire and grenades killed five U.S. soldiers, the military said Friday. The attack came as the Pentagon tallied up the deadliest three-month period for Americans since the war began.

Seven soldiers were wounded in the attack Thursday in the Rasheed district, a mixed Sunni-Shiite area of southern Baghdad where U.S.-led forces recently stepped up pressure on extremists. The commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad suggested the ambush could be part of an escalating backlash by Sunni insurgents.

Those deaths brought to 99 the number of U.S. troops killed this month, according to an Associated Press count. The toll for the past three months — 329 — made it the deadliest quarter for U.S. troops in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. That surpasses the 316 soldiers killed during November 2004 to January 2005.

This, three years after "Mission Accomplished" flight-suited strutting around on an aircraft carrier...pathetic even then, now pathetic and bitterly ironic.
NOLA as Test Case

You have to read through this story about the soaring homicide rates in East Coast cities before coming across something extremely significant. Initially it focuses the "provocative" theory that immigrants keep crime down in poor neighborhoods, because they're too busy working, but then you read this:

In interviews with The Associated Press, homicide detectives, criminal justice experts and community activists point to a confluence of other possible factors.

Among them: a failure to adopt some of the innovative practices that have reduced violence in bigger cities; the availability of powerful guns; and a shift in emphasis toward preventing terrorism instead of ordinary street crime.

No shiite. In fact, the all-terrorism-all-the-time squawk from wingnuttia underscores their overall slacker attitude when it comes to governing (and nevermind for now the the whole canard is just an excuse for Team Bush cronies to feed at the public trough). It's a self-fulfilling prophesy that others have pointed out previously, and which at least of late have been manifest perhaps more than anywhere else right down here along the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans. Good government simply would not play a vicious game of blame the victims a la Team Bush and their wingnut legions.

But...blame the victim is exactly what this administration has done, and has done continuously, once it became apparent in early September of 2005 that they were clueless. Since then, New Orleans in particular has been forced to endure the brunt of this (I still remember the remarkable-and-not-in-a-good-way-but-in-an-unbelievably-cynical-and-ugly-way that Congresscreep Chris Shays lectured impoverished women of color from New Orleans about "political corruption" in the Crescent City. I'm surprised he didn't don blackface and do his version of an old minstrel show. Good god: a member of the 109th Congress lecturing about "corruption" is like a priest lecturing on the evils of pederasty). people have pointed out, as New Orleans goes, so goes the nation. The problems that have plagued the Crescent City--problems residents have been told are their own fault--are showing up elsewhere. Hmmm...

Maybe the problem ISN'T with the citizenry, but with the government that constantly blusters about "protecting the American people," but never actually DOES much of anything when the chips are down...well, never does anything except blame the victims...who just happen to BE the American people.

And I won't even go into Scalia having a problem distinguishing between Jack Bauer on teevee and reality...
Ask and Ye Shall Receive, Mr. Froomkin

"Put a Fork in Him"

Or should it be a stake through his heart? You know, just to be sure...
Sad Day for Mouthbreathers Everywhere

The snipe hunt is officially over...which might also explain Chicken George's latest flights of rhetorical fancy.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

More Whine & Cheese

"Candid advice" my ass...more like "any excuse in the book, no matter how lame."

Besides, it's not like the "candid advice" has done so much as even a little bit of good. On Shrub's watch, the United States' leadership was asleep at the wheel on 9/11. They've subsequently managed a half-assed strategery in Afghanistan, where, at best, it's a stalemate...over in Iraq, it's even worse--the SINGLE scenario--urban guerrilla combat--where overwhelming force by a military force designed for manuever warfare is NOT a decisive exactly the scenario Team Bush INSISTS upon having. And on THIS side of the pond, they can't even respond to a hurricane and flood...
Wardrobe Malfunction

The John Roberts faction of SCOTUS decides on a change of costume.

Side note: again, a busy day here. Sorry for not being able to post anything, but work's gotta take priority. Tomorrow looks to be a little calmer, so I'll catch up with y'all then.

And, as always, thanks for stopping by.
Another Busy Day

Work calls...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Well, today just turned into one of those days...sorry. I'll catch up tomorrow, I hope. Meanwhile, I'd just like to know what the deal is with GOP big shots and torturing animals.

Well, it certainly helps explain why they don't seem to have a problem with torturing humans, regardless of how useless and stupid of an exercise that is...unless you derive some sort of perverse pleasure out of it...
On Company Time

Looks like I'll be doing the work thing for a while today. Will try to post a little later.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dick Lugar, Filthy Hippie

He's finally gotten off the Kool-Aid.
Like Paradise...But With Razor Wire, Armed Guards, and Attack Dogs

Well, I'll give Morris points for chutzpuh in trying to somehow promote the idea of a kinder, gentler Guantanamo...I suppose that, given the sheer publicity, it probably IS a little less severe than the secret prisons Team Bush is running in Eastern Europe, but that's a little like saying that drowning isn't quite as bad as being drawn and quartered now, is it?

Davis, though, makes it sound like the "guests" at Camp Delta might well experience the sheer bliss of the miracle of the lemon chicken and fish any day now...

Fortunately, for those of us who prefer reality, Greenwald responds.
Sign on the Bloody Line

The signature weapon of this war -- the improvised explosive device, or IED -- has left a signature wound: traumatic brain injury.


Soldiers hit in the head or knocked out by blasts -- "getting your bell rung" is the military euphemism -- sometimes have no visible wounds but a fog of war in their minds. They can be addled, irritable, depressed and unaware they are impaired.

Only an estimated 2,000 cases of brain injury have been treated, but doctors think many less obvious cases have gone undetected. One small study found that more than half of one group of wounded troops arriving at Walter Reed Army Medical Center had brain injuries. Around the nation, a new effort is under way to check every returning man and woman for this possibility.

Some of those on active duty may have subtle brain damage that was missed when they were treated for more visible wounds. Half of those wounded in action returned to duty within 72 hours -- before some brain injuries may have been apparent. The military just adopted new procedures to spot these cases, too.

"Addled, irritable, depressed..." sounds like a recipe for "going postal," which is most certainly the next phase of the disastrous Bush/Cheney policy, i.e., when the troops bring it all back home. To be sure, you'll also see an economic slide, as has always been the case following a war...another reason Team Shrub is desperate to keep the war going until they're out of other words, they're willing to trade shattered bones and shredded flesh for a little bit of money.

And that doesn't even take into account those suffering from psychological conditions.

Oh, and on that topic (h/t TBogg), Iraqis will likewise be badly affected...particularly kids. Way to go, Team Bush:

Iraq's conflict is exacting an immense and largely unnoticed psychological toll on children and youth that will have long-term consequences, said social workers, psychiatrists, teachers and aid workers in interviews across Baghdad and in neighboring Jordan.

"With our limited resources, the societal impact is going to be very bad," said Haider Abdul Muhsin, one of the country's few child psychiatrists. "This generation will become a very violent generation, much worse than during Saddam Hussein's regime."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bong Hits 4 Bennie

No free speech for the students...or so says the Supreme Court.

Back in the day, it would've been so slurred the Supreme Court.
A/K/A "The Rat"

The huffy indignation of Team Bush and the Legion of Vicious Incompetents never ceases to amaze me:

Ex-EPA chief Christie Whitman denounced as "downright falsehoods" the criticism of her assurances that it was safe to breathe the air around the fallen World Trade Center.

"There are people to blame. They are the terrorists that attacked the United States, not the men and women of all levels of government," Whitman said Monday at a hearing where she faced some of her toughest congressional critics.

So, it's the terrorists' fault that Whitman falsely pronounced Ground Zero conditions "safe" in the aftermath of the attacks. Just like it's the terrorists' fault that King Dick and his court jester Shrub couldn't be bothered by a volume of intelligence large enough to necessitate a Presidential Daily Briefing on the matter...

And, of course, "protecting the American people" wasn't actually a presidential responsibility until 9/12/01, and can only be accomplished by endless conflict in the single type of warfare (urban guerrilla) where overwhelming force is NOT a decisive factor.

I think I picked the wrong week to quit drinking Victory Gin...
Dick: Le Monde c'est Moi

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And I didn't even mention that his "responsible" handling of a firearm resulted in Harry Whittington getting shot in the face.
Spinning Corps

From WIIIAI, a behind the scenes look at how a Marine Corps PR Team tried to spin the Hathida Massacre.

Aside from the sheer contempt the memo displays towards that most American of values--freedom of the press--I think the massacre itself is a microcasm of all that can and has gone wrong in Operation Enduring Clusterfuck...a stunning example of both a bad idea and almost inconceivable stupidity in planning and execution by top-level Executive Branch personnel.

What's sad is that, as most people know, ultimate responsibility for the massacre rests with those at the top...although they'll never even be inconvenienced, much less put on trial.