Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Your Presnit Speaks...

SUGAR LAND, Tex., Oct. 30 -- President Bush said terrorists will win if Democrats win and impose their policies on Iraq, as he and Vice President Cheney escalated their rhetoric Monday in an effort to turn out Republican voters in next week's midterm elections. (my emphasis)
The closest I can remember a President coming to this kind of rhetoric was when Johnson ran the ad about the little girl getting nuked (at least that is what I remember). I suppose that Nixon made some allusions during his campaigns that voting for the Dems was a vote for the Vietcong, though to be fair, Johnson (a Democrat) was the real escalator of the Vietnam War. Nixon just did a Bush and refused to accept the inevitable (remember "Peace with Honor?")

This is just foul. If Bush really thinks that voting for the opposition party is a vote for those who would do us harm (and he may, given his level of intelligence), then he needs to be put in a place where he can't hurt himself, or others. I'd say impeachment was in order.

This is twice in my lifetime that we have had to put up with a Republican President that threatens to take America apart at the seams. We thought we had bolstered ourselves the last time (mid 70's) when we had such safeguard laws passed like the the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Unfortunately, Bush has just gutted this with the compliance of a Republican, rubber stamp Congress. I'm getting pretty weary.

Time for a change.

Signs of Intelligent Life?

Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror and use their reflections to explore hidden parts of themselves, a measure of subjective self-awareness that until now has been shown definitively only in humans and apes, researchers reported yesterday.
Must be a fluke. Then there was this peanut thrown out for the benefit of those Intelligent Designers:
"It really is a clue about the evolution of intelligence," said Diana Reiss of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York..."

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Coming Change

There is a good likelihood that the Democrats will take the House of Representatives next week. At the same time, their chances for capturing the Senate are pretty low. The only thing that could really influence this projection in favor of the Republicans would be an attack on Iran. I do not put it past the Cheney Administration to try this, though it would be very foolish. But, when have they ever let this stop them?

What will be the result of recapturing the House? This has been reported by those much more versed in the goings on in Washington than I. Since the Dems won't have a veto proof majority, and may not have the Senate, they will not be able to push forward legislation for which Bush will not employ a sustaining veto. Thus, the crowning disaster of the last six years, in my eyes, the altering of the intent of our Constitution by denying habeas corpus to prisoners (or, for that matter, anyone that Bush or Rumsfeld deems an "enemy combatant") may be difficult to erase. The prosecution of the boondoogle in Iraq will also be difficult to change though the Dems will hold the purse strings. A defense spending bill that dramatically cuts funding for Iraq would certainly be vetoed and lead to gridlock since the Dems don't have a super majority to override this. The experience of the Repubs when they wouldn't pass a budget in the mid 90's should be kept in mind. This was a big victory for Clinton.

The most important thing that will happen, though, is that the Chairmanships and majorities of the all important House committees will fall into the hands of the Democrats. This includes the power to subpoena witnesses and lead the questioning. I can think of a whole bunch of White House operatives and appointees that I would like to see under oath on the Hill.

While one would hope that America would be governed by bipartisan consent, the last six years has seen a complete disregard for this by the Republicans. They may live to rue the day that they refused to listen to the other side on just about every significant decision.

The one stealth arrow that the Cheney Administration has in its quiver is the Supreme Court. Little did we realize when we did not block Bush's appointments how important they might be. It is entirely likely that the Supreme Court will block any major move by a Democratic House to address the many horrors of the last six years. Instead of providing cohesion to our Government, they could dismantle it.

As always, there is the Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times!"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nursery Schools

From Juan Cole:
Another Family Wiped Out" [i.e. by the US] is the headline in the Gulf Daily News. Heavy clashes have been fought daily in Ramadi between US forces trying to 'take back' the city from the guerrillas, some of whom have declared an Islamic state. The article goes on, ' "Six members of one family were killed when US planes bombed their place, a nursery school they were using as a house in 17th of July Street in the centre of the city," said Dr Kamal Al Hadithi of Ramadi Hospital. ' (my emphasis)
"Stay the Course."

"Fight them there so we don't have to fight them here."

Moral Bankruptcy.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Israel the Rogue State

I'm sorry, but Israel is a rogue state. Unfortunately, their supporters in America (the Israeli Lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and those in Congress whom they control) just keep lying and lying about Israel's assualt on the children in the mid-East.
Israel has a poor reputation for telling the truth about its use of weapons in Lebanon. In 1982, it denied using phosphorous munitions on civilian areas - until journalists discovered dying and dead civilians whose wounds caught fire when exposed to air.

I saw two dead babies who, when taken from a mortuary drawer in West Beirut during the Israeli siege of the city, suddenly burst back into flames. Israel officially denied using phosphorous again in Lebanon during the summer - except for "marking" targets - even after civilians were photographed in Lebanese hospitals with burn wounds consistent with phosphorous munitions.

Then on Sunday, Israel suddenly admitted that it had not been telling the truth. Jacob Edery, the Israeli minister in charge of government-parliament relations, confirmed that phosphorous shells were used in direct attacks against Hizbollah, adding that "according to international law, the use of phosphorous munitions is authorised and the (Israeli) army keeps to the rules of international norms". (my emphasis)
This is a lie. Protocol III of the Chemical Weapons Conventions states:
It is prohibited in all circumstances to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by air-delivered incendiary weapons.”
Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn't it. Oops, Israel and the United States didn't sign this protocol. So, maybe this asshole is technically correct, just like Dick Cheney didn't say "water boarding" even though he meant it, as even a school child could have figured out.

And then when someone with real credentials, Jimmy Carter, writes a book about the situation (or Queen Noor, for that matter), in order to keep the support of the vile AIPAC lobby, leading Democrats resort to denial:
Top Democrats are rushing to repudiate former President Carter’s controversial new book on the Middle East, in which he accuses the Israeli government of maintaining an apartheid system.

Two key party leaders — Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, party chairman, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — and several congressmen issued statements Monday saying that the book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” does not represent their views on the Jewish state.

“It is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based oppression, and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously,” Pelosi wrote in a statement. “With all due respect to former President Carter, he does not speak for the Democratic Party on Israel.” (my emphasis)
Sorry, Pelosi, you don't represent me in this opinion. Why didn't you and Dean just shut your jabbers on this issue.

All this having been said, I realize that not all Israelis support their government just as not all Americans are supporters of the Cheney administration. So, my comdemnation is of those in power in both countries who kill and maim children. Any children.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Oh, them damn Intellectuals

In the same conversation, no less.

First we have:
Gen. John Abizaid ("one of the really great thinkers") was the one who "came up with" the recent construct about the enemy in Iraq, "If we leave, they will follow us here." Bush then explains that this is what makes the Iraq struggle "really different from other wars we've been in." (emphasis added)
But then we have:
But Bush calls the war "a struggle of good versus evil," adding, "Maybe it's not nuanced enough for some of the thinkers and all that stuff -- that's fine. But that's exactly what a lot of people like me think." (emphasis added)
I think we should stay the course with waterboarding.

Friday not-Crab blogging

Portrait of yours truly by Megan. And, no, I am not a carrot.

(Blogger has been a mess today.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Letters to the Editor

I have mentioned this before. You would be amazed at how many people read the letters to the editor, especially in a smaller community paper. I urge you to write to your local paper concerning the upcoming election. Here is my latest effort (just submitted):
To the Editor:

The General Election is less than two weeks away. It cannot be emphasized enough how important this election will be for the future of our country. Much rides on the outcome of the contests at the local, state and national levels. Don’t even think about not voting!

That said, I would hope that you would consider the effect of your vote on the world that our children will face in the coming years. We all wish for them to live in peace; to enjoy the proverbial life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. There is no doubt in my mind that if we continue down the path that we currently traverse, our children will be increasingly faced with peril to their life, threats to their liberty, and a sad, sad world of the future. The conflagration in Iraq should be enough to convince us of the threat to their lives; the recent stripping of the Constitution of habeas corpus by the President, the threat to their liberty; and the condition of many of our adolescents from violence and drugs, the last threat.

Please educate yourselves on the choices and vote as if your children’s lives depended on it. They may.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Your Presnit Speaks

From today's press conference:
I am confident we will succeed. I am confident we'll succeed in Iraq. And the reason I'm confident we'll succeed in Iraq is because the Iraqis want to succeed in Iraq. (my emphasis)
Not only is the man a terrifying idiot, his speechwriters are terrifying idiots. Somebody save us!

Queen Noor

I had the opportunity of attending a lecture by Queen Noor of Jordan last PM. Actually it was more of a question and answer session. I came away extremely impressed. Queen Noor has a grasp of MidEast politics that few politicians in this country can even pretend to have.

As background, she was born and raised in the United States with her father being of Arab descent. She graduated from Princeton in 1974 with a degree in architecture and planning and worked in the MidEast. There she met and married King Hussein of Jordan in 1978. He died of cancer in 1999 and she survives him as his widow. She is extremely active in international humanitarian aid work.

Personally, Queen Noor is a very warm person. Her passion for the causes she espouses is almost palpable. Her overriding concern is peace, particularly in the MidEast. She has the tremendous advantage, because of her background, of being able to see both sides of the conflicts there.

Her observations are very important. She feels, as some of us do here in the U.S., that the current American policy in the region is doing much damage to how we are perceived. This is true of Iraq as well as the a result of the Arab/Israeli conflict. America's invasion of Iraq along with Israel's invasion of Lebanon and its continuing treatment of Gaza is viewed as being supported by the U.S., whether this is completely true or not.

Queen Noor's ability to encompass these issues, certainly some of the most important of our time, is very inspiring. Her message was, in the the end, "try and understand the Arab world." I wish our politicians would take this to heart. However, I am not holding my breath.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

When its all over but the shouting

Many years ago, I believe it was during the Vietnam War, I read an article in the Atlantic Monthly describing 'vision.' The author postulated that one's world vision could be classified by one's horizon. The homeless person in the street probably had a horizon that didn't even make it to the next day, probably just the next meal. I guess children, particularly adolescents, have short horizons. Anyone who has seen a 14 or 15 year old make bad choices knows that. As we mature, the horizon should extend out significantly. Truly great men and women of history always have extraordinary vision and horizons that go beyond the end of sight.

Sounds a little too smug, I know, but there is certainly a grain of wisdom in it for us mortals. If only we all had enough vision to pick those as leaders who had distant horizons on their minds. Once one gets to be President, particulary in the lame duck years, this idea morphs into that of 'legacy.'

In the narrow little mind of George W. Bush, all he can currently think about is his legacy. It makes no difference to him that over 600,000 people have lost their lives in Iraq because of his dishonest scheming (does anyone remember the Downing Street Memo?). What is important to this little, little man, whose horizon does not go beyond the end of his nose, is how people will judge him in the future (if there is a future). Although he doesn't understand the concept, he would still like to be known as a leader with vision. One who consider 600,000 dead people a comma. Perhaps a Stalin, or a Gengis Khan.

It is inconceivable to him that things will not just keep going the way they are. That the United States will continue to be the only world superpower and that people of wealth will control the destinies of not only their own country, but the World.

He has said that he has read 50 books this year. (Well, maybe 50 books were on his "reading list."). I doubt that this man has read 50 books in his lifetime. There are two ways to gain vision and horizon: one is to travel extensively, and the other is to read (sort of a vicarious traveling, but without the personal contact). Bush has done neither and, as a result, has a paucity of the essence that makes a great man. To put it in the vernacular, he is a dork.

But he is not the only one to blame for the situation we are in. I principally hold to account the movers and shakers of the Republican Party, including Dick Cheney, who were so intent on establishing hegemony over the world's resources, at any cost, that they propelled this vapid excuse for a man into the most powerful position that any man has ever had. (particularly now that he can detain and kill without exposure to the rule of law.)

As someone said in "The Brand New Tennessee Waltz" (circa 1972): "its a sadness to sad to be true."

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Sense of Overpowering Sadness

If you all missed this post by Billmon it is something everyone should read:

Down the River (Oct 18)

Its a poignant take on a post by "Riverbend," an Iraqi woman who blogs from Baghdad and who has been off the air for some time. This was to bring notice to her return, but it is much, much more.

Kudos, Billmon.

Friday Not-Crab Blogging

(In case you're wondering, that is yours truly at the wheel)

Maryland, Oh Maryland

We had a lot of trouble in the primary elections in September with voting, including voting machines. Of course this was mainly in heavily Democratic districts. Now we have this:
Diebold Election Systems Inc. expressed alarm and state election officials contacted the FBI yesterday after a former legislator received an anonymous package containing what appears to be the computer code that ran Maryland's polls in 2004.

Cheryl C. Kagan, a longtime critic of Maryland's elections chief, says the fact that the computer disks were sent to her - along with an unsigned note criticizing the management of the state elections board - demonstrates that Maryland's voting system faces grave security threats.

A spokesman for Diebold, which manufactures the state's touch-screen voting machines, said the company is treating the software Kagan received as "stolen" and not as "picked up" at the State Board of Elections, as the anonymous note claimed. Lawyers for the company are seeking its return.
At least they didn't find it in a bazar in Afghanistan.

All's fair in love and war. And, as Clausewitz observed, politics is war by other means. (Or maybe the other way. Whatever)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Think about this

From the Air Force Times:
Bush says he may ignore new war-funding law

“The executive branch shall construe these provisions in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to recommend for the consideration of the Congress such measures as the President deems necessary and expedient.”

Congressional aides said that appears to mean the president will decide whether or not he must comply with the provisions.
How can we have an allegedly constitutional government when the President repeatedly decides if he wants to follow the law or not. Who has to follow the law? Me? You? Your cat?

I realize that very astute bloggers, and I include Glenn Greenwald in that group, have parsed this over and over again. But this massive contradiction at the very center of our governmental process can't go on. It has to either lead to chaos (probable), or redemption (unlikely).

Not Good, Not Good at all

I realize that anyone reading this is more than aware of what is happening in the real world (as opposed to the fantasy land of Bush's brain) but it seems to me that things are on a crash course for an ice berg.

1. Bush himself. I think that there is every indication that this man is mentally unstable. He clearly feels that he is in a position that no other President has ever been in terms of his power. The signing of the torture bill (and there is no other term that fits it) on Tuesday along with his repetitive denials of the severity of the world situation does not presage a healthy coming two years for our nation.

2. Iraq. Every report out of this country is tragic. From the increased sectarian strife, to the Lancet report detailing that as many as 600,000 civilians have died, many of them children, to the increased number of American soldiers dying, to the chaos in the government, and on, and on. I cannot read the future but every indication is that our invasion and occupation has been a massive humanitarian, strategic and political failure.

3. Congress. The approval rating of Congress is below 20%. If I were an incumbent, I would worry. This is not to say that the 'loyal' opposition in Congress (the Democrats) has done its job either. There is every indication that there will be a change to Democratic control, but that will still not absolve them from the terrible job they have done running our country. From Health Care to the Environment, the record is abysmal.

4. Corruption. I know that Congress is corrupt. But, has there ever been a time when so many have been under indictment? So many are facing jail? I am ashamed to be an American.

5. North Korea and Iran. The fact that NoKo is at their current stage in nuclear development, paired with their development of three stage missiles, is very, very serious. If they get away with it, it will surely propel Iran into the nuclear fold. Given the instability of the Middle East, it is only a matter of time before Iran and Israel trade blows.

This is just scratching the surface of what is ailing our country. We all know these things. Yet we go blitely on hoping things will get better.

The hardest part is that we don't know how to solve it. We may be banking to strongly on Democratic control of the House, and maybe the Senate. These women and men have not shown much ability to solve problems to date, it is hard to imagine that a new day is dawning.

The conclusion that America itself is facing violent change is one that we don't want to entertain. We had better at least think about it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Clinton Foundled by Nuns!

In a surprise announcement today President Clinton revealed that he had been foundled as a child. Instead of the idyllic childhood usually portrayed in his biographies he actually spent his first six years in a foundling home. There, according to his own recollection, he was repeatedly foundled by nuns.

While President Clinton has successfully recuperated from the last big sexual scandal (thank you, once again, Ken Starr), this announcement could have a major impact on his wife's run for the presidency in 2008. (No, Hillary Clinton was not a nun.)

When asked for a comment, Monica Lewinsky, now a Congressional Page in the House of Representatives, said: "I am shocked. Just shocked. Bill always told me it was his first time."

Clinton was in seclusion at his Chapaquidak home and would not answer requests to "name names."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Your Family Values Endorsement

Presenting Mr. Michael Tyson for Mr. Michael Steele

At the press conference, Tyson posed for photos with fans, signed autographs and campaigned for Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Michael Steele.

Tyson, wearing a white and blue Steele for U.S. Senate T-shirt, said he used to believe black Republicans were "sellouts."

The man who vowed to eat Lennox Lewis' children and bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear has said he's in no mood for a comeback.

Canibalism as a family Value??? (h/t to TBogg).

That would be this Michael Steele (comment from Amy Ridenour's blog):
......Morgan State University Maryland gubernatorial debate in 2002 where Oreo cookies were present and used as a means of ridiculing then-candidate for lieutenant governor Michael Steele.

When I walked towards the auditorium where the debate was held, I saw a young girl approaching me holding some Oreo cookies. She attempted to hand me some. When I asked her what they were, she cheerfully replied, "they're Michael Steele cookies."
The term Oreo and the symbolism of the cookie is meant to imply that a black person is really wants to be Caucasian and otherwise ashamed of his or her race........
On the other hand, I guess the ads referenced here aren't considered racist:
"Black babies are terminated at triple the rate of white babies," a female announcer in one of the ads says, as rain, thunder, and a crying infant are heard in the background. "The Democratic Party supports these abortion laws that are decimating our people, but the individual's right to life is protected in the Republican platform. Democrats say they want our vote.Why don't they want our lives?"

I'd say rack and thumbscrews

Teen questioned for online Bush threats
Julia Wilson (14 y.o.), a student at C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento, Calif., was pulled out of class and questioned by Secret Service agents after posting a message threatening President Bush on MySpace.com.
Moments later, Kirstie Wilson received another text message from her daughter saying agents had pulled her out of class.

Julia Wilson said the agents threatened her by saying she could be sent to juvenile hall for making the threat.

"They yelled at me a lot," she said. "They were unnecessarily mean."
You see, young lady:
Bush signs terror trials into law
Pres. can interpret meaning, application of int'l standards for prisoner treatment.
Did they read her her rights? No.
Did they read here the Geneva Conventions? No.

Were they chaperoned? No.

Welcome to Bush America. We'll never make it until 2009.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Will the real God talker please stand up

If its not this:
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reportedly delivered a scathing attack on US President George W Bush, saying he is inspired by Satan.

Speaking to a group of supporters, Mr Ahmadinejad said he himself had inspirational links to God, Iranian media reports.
But then we this:
God told me to invade Iraq, Bush tells Palestinian ministers

President George W Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.
'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did.'
This is just getting ridiculous. If both of these guys are on good speaking terms with God, then please give me His phone number because there are some things that I'd like to discuss. Like the shitty way He takes care of His children.

Yes, God, I'm talking child abuse in a big way!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Critical Mass?

Nuclear volleyball

Intelligence photographs of North Korea’s nuclear test site showed technicians playing volleyball this week near the tunnel where a nuclear device was unsuccessfully set off on Sunday.
the underground tunnel where the test took place was located several hundred yards away.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Oh, and did I mention?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Just Another Day in the Neighborhood

Ho hum:
Israeli warplane destroys house in southern Gaza


Gaza- An Israeli warplane destroyed at predawn on Saturday a Palestinian-owned house in southern Gaza Strip by firing an air-to- ground rocket, causing no injuries, security sources said.


Meanwhile, Palestinian security sources said that more than 20 Israeli army tanks and armoured vehicles backed by fighter aircraft stormed the eastern part of Jabalia town in northern Gaza Strip.


The Israeli army killed seven Palestinians in the area, including a mother, a child, two civilians and three militants, during the ground operation into eastern Abbassan town. (my emphasis)

Thanks guys.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Democracy and not-Democracy

First we have:
Can Iraq become a stable democracy in the near term? No. Not according to the commission convened by Virginia Republican Frank Wolf and led by Bush 41's main man, James Baker.
Then we have from Juan Cole:
The Shiites and Kurds hold a majority in parliament, so that any time they can agree on an issue, they can always outvote the Sunni Arabs. This dynamic is one of the reasons for which Sunni Arabs reject the new political system. They had been in power via the old Baath Party, and now they would lose every vote on issues important to them.
Very soon, but not before the election, George W. Bush is going to be forced to publicly state that the effort to "establish democracy" in Iraq has been an utter failure. It is unclear what will happen in that tragic country once he does so.

As Juan Cole has pointed out many time, the country is already in a Civil War. It is hard to imagine it becoming worse.

On top of this, it is also likely, as we learned today, that our only major ally in this war, Britain, will close up shop and depart. It is even more unclear what will happen then.

It now seems rational to most of us that we should accept "defeat" and withdraw our troops. If this means a reconfiguration in the mid-East with a dramatic increase in the price of oil and a mortal threat to Israel, well, so be it.

On the other hand, it is possible that the peoples of the mid-East are not so stupid as stupid-Americans believe. When the price of oil will goes up, they will certainly realize that it is their main cash cow. It is hard to imagine them working against that. And they won't attack Israel because Israel, for the moment, has 200 nuclear weapons.

The last is a sticking point. For if Iran and Syria are continued to be denied nuclear weapons, as I fervently hope they will be, it seems entirely reasonable for Israel to go non nuclear, as did South Africa not too long ago, as long as their existence is guaranteed.

However, I am dreaming. I do not think that reason determines very much these days.

Friday Crab Blogging

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Little Scottie Gambit II

I told you so:
Heaphy said Fordham had been asked not to comment publicly on the substance of the inquiry because of the continuing investigation.(my emphasis)
How much you want to bet this "investigation" lasts until November 8?

Get Ready

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Just a comma


(Data from Iraq here, and here; data from 9/11 here)

10,000, 100,000, 645,000, What's a few more deaths?

George W. Bush is not an old man. Some day in the not too distant future he is going to have to explain to these children why they had to suffer and all their parents and uncles and grandparents and friends had to die.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Where's the airplane?

While browsing around, as I am sure all of us do, I ran across this picture taken on Sept 14, 2001 of the Pentagon. Where's the airplane?

Remember, it was fully loaded with jet fuel. To give you some sense of the size:

There are over 150 eye witness accounts describing the plane that hit the Pentagon.

From here:

(the picture) shows the facade of the Pentagon after the attack but before a section of it collapsed. It was taken at time when the fire truck on the left had stopped spraying foam at the damage, thus giving us a reasonably clear view of the building's facade at the point of impact, which is indicated by the arrow. Reels of electrical cable (this section of the Pentagon was being renovated at the time) lie undamaged and largely undisturbed immediately in front of the impact point.

Clearly a Boeing passenger jet travelling at over 450 mph has not penetrated the building at this point. There is no scar or entry hole that could possibly support this scenario. Neither is there any wreckage to be seen in front of the building. Precious little wreckage was found inside the building either. The plane — or whatever it was that hit the Pentagon — seems to have vaporized prior to impact and vanished into thin air. Planes are not generally believed able to do this.

A moment before the impact, a suitably placed observer at the scene should have seen something like this, a to-scale simulation of a Boeing 757 about to strike the Pentagon:

Pretty interestng.

Wait a minute! Wait a minute!

There is a real good chance that the "nuclear explosion" that NoK has been bragging about was really an unimpressive Dud. First of all, how big is "BIG?" Well, let's compare it to the WTC and the Oklahoma bombing:
Despite shocks and explosions estimated to be equivalent to that of the 1995 truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City (about 400 tons of TNT), the towers remained upright.
OK, got that, a Ryder truck with fertilizer. (The tragedy of the Twin Towers is that the fire from the burning jet fuel burned out their support causing them to fall. It wasn't necessarily the explosion.) Now to the wonks:
Estimating the yield (of the NoK "cave bomb" - DrC) is tricky business, because it depends on the geology of the test site. The South Koreans called the yield half a kiloton (550 tons),
So, just to put this in perspective, the NoK's set off a big firecracker and everyone rushs to the conclusion that they're a nuclear power. Don't you think it should have been at least 20 kilotons (20 to 40 times what it was) to even get in the peanut gallery of the Nuclear Club?

Of course the political implications are vast. It distracts from the implosion of Denny and the Repugs, it makes everyone go crying to the U.N. to do something, and it strengthens the Bushite desire to BOMB IRAN. Not good.

Anyway, not so fast King Jong.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Foleygate, the little Scottie Gambit

I've been waiting and waiting for it. I knew it was going to come, and it did:
When TPM called up Fordham's lawyer Timothy Heaphy about this, he declined to confirm that Palmer had said he'd spoken to the Speaker about it, citing the ongoing investigations.
It is amazing what a damper these words can put on finding out what really went on behind closed congressional doors. I guarantee you it will get the Republicans through the election without further damage. Just say "citing the ongoing investigations." I'm surprised it hadn't been used sooner.

Where is the Intelligence?

Why didn't the United States Intelligence community (CIA, and all the others) who were so sure about Saddam Hussein having a nuclear weapon and other WMD, not know that North Korea was going to test their baby.
President George W Bush said the US was working to confirm the claim, which he branded a "provocative" act.

He said he and regional leaders agreed North Korea's actions were unacceptable and deserved an immediate response from the United Nations Security Council.

Security Council members are meeting in New York to discuss their reaction.
Could it be that Iraq (and now Iran) threatens Israel whereas North Korea only threatens Japan and South Korea and, of course, those libruls on the West Coast?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Fool me once....

I can't help thinking, along with Glenn Greenwald, that the scandal concerning Representative Foley is just too damaging to the Republican Party to be true. There has to be something else going on in the background. Why would the ultimate, Machiavellian operative, Karl Rove, have ever let anything like this happen? Could it possibly be true that he was so busy spying and concocting smears on the Democrats that he forgot to look around his own back yard? No, I just can't believe it. There must be a subtext.

Now there is an advantage to letting this thing run into the ground. It distracts from the very real issues that face the Nation. Arguably, this is the most crucial juncture in our history, even more so than the Civil War. Having the voters worrying about sex, even predator sex, is preferable to their focusing on the unmitigated disasters of Iraq, torture and the dismantling of our Constitution.

And there is always Bush's desire to really distract by bombing Iran. The only thing there is that North Korea is going to test a bomb and Iran doesn't have one yet. But that never fazed dunder head.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Think about this for a minute

Iran option
A former Navy intelligence officer weighs in on how the world will stop Iran from building nuclear bombs:

"I really believe the Israelis are going to strike [Iran's] several uranium processing factories soon. They cannot survive a first strike. This time, unlike when they sent eight F-16s to destroy the Iraqi reactor Osirak, I think they will use the Jericho missiles and the submarine-launched, nuclear-tipped Tomahawks to do nuclear strikes. Most of the factories are 150 meters underground and too deep for bunker busters." (emphasis added)
A long, long minute.

Limbo in Limbo?

One of the few really cool things about the Catholic Church is being relegated to, well, oblivian (how tempting was it to write the l... word there):
Pope Benedict XVI could announce as early as today that the Catholic Church is abandoning the ancient concept of limbo, a way station for babies barred from heaven because they were not baptized, according to unconfirmed reports circulating Thursday in Europe and elsewhere.
Excuse me. Excuse me. It wasn't a waystation by any stretch. It was for eternity.

I think I always suspected this:
... limbo can be traced to a 13th-Century attempt to reconcile two different concepts from the Bible and ancient writings: that people must be baptized to be saved and that God wants all people to be saved. The solution was to place the unbaptized in limbo, a place of joy and peace -- but not quite heaven. (emphasis mine)
Why, that's West Virginia, isn't it?

Almost Heaven, almost.

Made a million bucks singing about Limbo.

Actually, the Catholic Church has no idea what a floodgate they are opening. If unbaptized babies can make it into heaven (though I might perfer the peace and quiet of limbo to the hullabaloo of heaven with its Seraphins and assorted choirs), then anybody can make it into heaven.

And that anybody includes muslims, jews, hindus and, yes Virginia, even Democrats!

Friday Crab Blogging

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Who needs enemies when you got Republicans for friends?

Its not over

Its not over 'till the fat man sings.

Even if you have to use "aggressive interrogation."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Plain People of America

It sounds like the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating at a rather astounding rate. In fact, Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader, even ventured the idea that the Taliban (!) could be brought into the government there.

The Plain People of America: We thought the Taliban were turrists?

Well, there are good terrorists and bad terrorists. If the Taliban will just cooperate and let us build a pipeline across Afghanistan, then they will be good terrorists.

The Plain People of America: Oh.

Now we have the spectacle of the Republican leadership in the House or Representatives engaged in a cat fight over who knew Representative Foley was boinking interns.

The Plain People of America: Would that include that guy Clinton?

No, actually, this is with underage boys.

The Plain People of America: You mean like that T.V. show Big Love?

No, you idiot, that's polygamy.

The Plain People of America: Anyway, that guy Clinton was something else. I'd vote for him in a heartbeat.

Yes, well lets move on. There is a lot of evidence that the President is getting ready to use nuclear weapons against Iran.

The Plain People of America: Yea, man! Nuke em!

But that might mean the price of gasoline will go to six dollars a gallon.

The Plain People of America: Oh. Can we take that back?

But, it probably doesn't make a difference since half of America will probably be under water in 25 years.

The Plain People of America: You mean like the Interstates too?

Especially the Interstates. Have you ever poled a barge?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Its October!

King Jong II (sort of like King Bush II)

Grimm Harry

JHC, what's this country coming to? We think nothing of torturing prisoners, and they want to ban Harry Potter?
State board will hear woman's objections to Harry Potter

In Harry Potter's world, the Ministry of Magic governs things. In Georgia, the state Board of Education rules over public schools.

These two worlds come together Tuesday when the state board has a public hearing on a parent's request to remove the popular series from Gwinnett County public school libraries. The hearing officer presiding over the appeal will make a recommendation to the state board, which is scheduled to rule on the case during its December meeting.
The problem here is education. Anyone with a modicumm of that civilized embellishment knows that classic "fairy" tales are exceedingly violent with many subthemes of patricide, infanticide, incest and even beastiality (Red Riding Hood). (Oh, and they don't contain fairies, though the anti-gay yokels would probably ban them if they did.)

Harry Potter, by comparison, is tame. There's a good PhD thesis in sociology awaiting someone comparing the world of Harry Potter with that of the Brothers Grimm.

What is the problem with Harry, you might ask. Well:
Loganville parent, challenges the books in September 2005, saying the stories promote and glorify witchcraft.(emphasis added)
Witchcraft? You remember the last time the Puritans got involved in witches.

The bad people here aren't the supposed "witches," the bad people are the loonies that thought witches actually exist.

Arthur Miller (when he wasn't dallying with Marilyn Monroe) wrote "The Crucible" about it in 1952:
The Crucible is a play that was written by Arthur Miller in 1952. It is based on the events surrounding the 1692 witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts. Miller wrote about the event as an allegory for McCarthyism and the Red Scare, which occurred in the United States in the 1950s. (emphasis added)
Sound familiar? Substitue "terrorism" for the "Red Scare" and you have perfect continuity. Salem to McCarthy to Bush and his believers. It all hangs together.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Baghdad, PA

Seven other victims were taken to hospitals. Most were badly wounded; most had been shot, execution-style, at point-blank range, after being lined up along the chalkboard, their feet bound with wire and plastic ties, authorities said.

BAGHDAD - A total of 50 bodies were recovered by Baghdad police in various parts of the city over the 24 hours to Sunday evening, an Interior Ministry official said. Many had been tortured and most were bound and shot in the head. . .

You see, once torture gets started, it metastasizes. I becomes, for lack of a better word, accepted.

Damn these people.

Riding with the Turnips

Is "riding with the turnips" like "swimming with the fishes?"

The United States of ADD

AD(H)D, attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder, is ubiquitous amongst our children. (It is actually not a disorder, it is just the upper tail of the normal, bell curve of behavior. The problems, is that schools make the cutoff pretty high on the shoulder and those that are above don't survive. But, that is not what I want to discuss.) It is my opinion that we nationally suffer from ADD. This is a corollary of the complexity issue discussed below. Americans don't seem to be able to keep anything in their brain for very long except Bill Clinton's sexual peccadilloes. Consider

It has been 230 years since the Declaration of Independence

It has been 4 days since Congress voted to torture prisoners

The Iraq "War" has lasted for 1292 days

Palestinians have been stateless for 58 years

It has been 82 days since Israel invaded Lebanon, again

And we have 841 days until George W. Bush is dethroned (or less)

Oh, and the Redskins play Dallas again in 34 days


Which one does America remember?