Sunday, March 30, 2008

Without Much Comment

"Normalcy," President Bush said, "is returning back to Iraq."

"Ah," said the Deans of Yale and Harvard: "He be a good C student."

What Children See

I was going through the images on Yahoo's Iraq slide show (I now have over 1,000 of Iraqi children) when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that there was an advertisement for Disney World.

It was just when I had one of these pictures pulled up:

But I am not the only one to notice this horrible incongruity. Somehow I stumbled across the following link:

The Jade Gate, Wednesday, March 19

Guess What?

Shhhhhhhhhh...Don't tell him it ain't working!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

We were once a nation of laws

Look familiar?

Survivor of German aerial bombardment of Warsaw

This report from this AM:
U.S. warplanes widen bombings of Basra
updated 8:53 a.m. ET, Sat., March. 29, 2008

BAGHDAD - U.S. jets widened the bombing of Basra on Saturday, dropping two precision-guided bombs on a suspected militia stronghold north of the city hours after strafing a house and reportedly killing eight civilians, officials said. (emphasis added)
Bombing of civilians in a country that you occupy is against international law. Bombing a building that you "suspect" harbors men who you have declared "enemies" even though they were recently your allies and even though their designation of "enemy" relies solely on an illegitimate definition that you have cooked up simply drives this entire, horrible conflagration out further into the area of insanity.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

Sponge Bob Square Crab

Little did they know on the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria what lay below ......

Consider the squirrel. Did you ever ponder the fact that one never sees baby squirrels? Maybe squirrels reproduce in some other way?

An excellent rendering of herself. Dr. C. is incognito.
Guitar Hero

Monday, March 24, 2008

Time to Change Course

To the Editor;

We are now five years into the invasion and occupation of Iraq. In spite of assurances to the contrary by the Bush Administration, the condition of civilians in Iraq, particularly children, has gone from intolerable to almost incomprehensible. According to international law : “To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the occupying power must ensure sufficient hygiene and public health standards, as well as the provision of food and medical care to the population under occupation.” Clearly, the United States has not come close to meeting these obligations. (The argument that there is an Iraqi government that should be responsible for these tasks is entirely specious.)

The International Red Cross in a recent document (Iraq: No Letup in the Humanitarian Crisis) states that “Five years after the war began, many Iraqis do not have access to the most basic health care.” Furthermore “Of the 34,000 doctors registered in 1990, at least 20,000 have left the country. The Iraqi health-care system is now in worse shape than ever.”

Of all the basic necessities of life, clean water must be one of the most important. Even this staple has disappeared for millions of civilians in Iraq. One result of impure water, a cholera epidemic, raged through Iraq last year. Such an epidemic in the United States would be front page news. From Iraq, it is a whisper.

We are long past the time when we could hope that our occupation would result in a good outcome. It is time to change course and advocate for an international solution to this humanitarian crisis.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

A decent crab

Perspective, perspective, perspective. It may be everything.

Did not want to be known as a crab drawer.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Fifteenth Sin

Years ago, we had the seven, deadly:
Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth.

This week we get the NEW seven, deadly:
Polluting, Genetic Engineering (embryonic stem cell research), Being Obscenely Rich, Drug Dealing, Abortion, Pedophilia and Causing Social Injustice.
Mind you, these are mortal sins, i.e., unforgiven (and only by a Catholic priest) and you go to hell for eternity when you die (unless you make an act of perfect contrition, but we won't go into that.)

I would like to add a fifteenth:
Not Wearing Green on St. Patrick's Day!

Comment1: This is getting ridiculous! So, clearly Spitizer, formerly known as "The Gov", falls into the Lust category. But, how's he to be forgiven, since he's Jewish? And doesn't invading a country for no cause other than they tried to bump off your old man sort of like Anger? And what about Obscenely Rich. (Bill, Bill Gates.... paging Bill Gates....). And Social Injustice? Just veto another SCHIP bill, Georgie Boy, and buy buy yourself another ticket to ....

Comment2: We can deal with embryonic stem cell research later. I gotta go.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Israel and Nuclear Weapons

We have known for some time that Israel has numerous nuclear weapons; some estimate as many as 200. Therefore, it came a somewhat of a surprise to learn that China, who surely must be considered the prime target of American nuclear weapons (if you exclude Iran) has only 110-160 warheads!
I’ve read Chinese Military Power and I don’t agree that it says China increased the size of its nuclear force by 1/3. When I do the math, I get basically 110-160 warheads — about the same size as last year or a little larger depending on how many DF-21s have a nuclear role.
At the suggestion of The Growlery, I have been reading the three books by Jeanne DuPrau (The City of Ember, The People of Sparks and the prequel, The Prophet of Yornwood). While written for young adolescents, they once more resurrect the spectre of a nuclear holocaust that we thought had been on its way out with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Union formerly known as Soviet. As we used to say when we were kids, "Dream on, sucker." (Yes, I highly recommend these books for adults since they have a strange, uncomplicated story line that harkens back to those days of the Hardy Boys and Jack London. On, you Huskies.)

Other books that visit this scenario are, of course the 1957 book "On the Beach" by Nevil Shute, "Eternity Road" by Jack McDivitt, "Riddley Walker" by Russel Hoban, and a host of other mainstream and sci-fi post-apocalyptic fiction.

Do you not find it strange that we probably spend more intellectual energy in trying to imagine what will happen after a nuclear "exchange" (sounds so benign, doesn't it) than we do to try and prevent one? Don't you also find it strange that a large number of the Christian Right in the United States look forward to the apocalypse when there will be an Armageddon in the mid East and they will be "raptured" up to heaven intact? How can that be when a nuclear War in the mid East will inevitably wind up involving a nuclear weapons everywhere and all those Christians will be vaporized. Can you rapture vaporized humans? Hmmm...

In any case, I digress. The point I wanted to make is that the tiny state of Israel with 7 million people has almost twice the number of nuclear weapons as China, a state of 1,321 million people. Eventually, weapons sitting on the shelf will not protect Israel from attack. At that point they will use those weapons as sure as I am writing this. Then?

(I make no apology for the use of the word holocaust above. If an official of the Israeli government can use it to describe what he is going to do to the Palestinians I think it is no longer a reserved word.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

This is a very realistic rendition. It demonstrates the translation of memory into a drawing, all the more remarkable because it has been at least six months since he has seen a crab!

Now this picture is entrancing. Of course we have a crab, but I bet you can't guess what the rest of the drawing represents? Give? It is a beach scene with a lifeguard chair to the right. I assume there are other bathers to the left but I think they are scared out of their gourd by the size of the crab that is approaching. Oh, and the sun got lost.

This is a fish and, I think, an upside down duck, or Canadian goose. Why upside down, I do not know. Maybe Picasso lurks in this child's brain.

Hard for Hannah to compete with the above, but her crab has charm.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Anything to stop the carnage:
Group of Iraqis asks UN to take over

Iraqi Group Appeals to UN to Put Their Nation Under Its Supervision

AP News

Mar 12, 2008 09:37 EST

A group of Iraqi tribal leaders, former politicians and intellectuals appealed Wednesday to the United Nations to take control of Iraq in a move they say would help U.S. troops leave the beleaguered country.

Both the U.S. administration and the Baghdad government are unlikely to endorse the request, which was addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and delivered to the Cairo offices of the organization.

"We believe that the only opportunity left for Iraq to be saved from a dark, but not inevitable future, is to engage the international community represented by the United Nations," the letter said. "Such a step will allow the American troops to leave and the occupation to be brought to its end."

The group's coordinators include Adeeb al-Jadir, Ahmed Al-Haboubi and Nouri Abdel Razak Hussein, politicians overthrown in 1968 when Saddam Hussein's Baath party came to power and long part of the liberal anti-regime opposition prior to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


For those who are interested, there are some very pithy comments following a post from below on "This is very sad". It is hard for me to understand how someone who I thought was removed from the actual fray (commenter 1) could harbor such stark feelings about a whole peoples (dubbed the palis for the Palestinians; reminiscent of the North Ireland conflict with its "prods" and "micks.")The fact that he has a son in the IDF, and that his veiws are certainly tempered by this relationship, is disconcerting.

Yes, I must seem shrill at times. And, yes, my sympathies are with the Palestinians because I see that their children are getting the s**t kicked out of them. It is much like Iraq in a way. Palestinians used to be, along with Iraq, one of the best educated Arab populace in the Mideast. Now there is an entire generation of children who have little or no education. But, in any coming world, unless you kill them all as commentator 1 (and others ) advocate, the best hope for peace would be a well educated population. You can't educate children in the wasteland that is Palestine and Iraq.

Furthermore, even if the Palesinians completely capitulated to the Israeli demands, what then? You also can't have a viable country (Israel) in the middle of a humanitarian wasteland that you have helped create. I wonder if commentator 1 would feel any guilt?

Commentator 2, Felix Grant, has an excellent post on this topic here. I mirror his comments in that, while I disagree with some of his points, I find that we still agree on the big ideas.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

This is very sad

From here:
Hamas claims deadliest attack in Israel in 2 years
By Adam Entous and Joseph Nasr

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Hamas Islamists who control the Gaza Strip claimed responsibility on Friday for the shooting of eight students in a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem, the most lethal Palestinian attack in Israel in two years
There is nothing but condemnation for this. Not only have innocent students been killed, it has also set back the chance of a lasting peace enormously. It makes us realize that there is suffering on both sides of the conflict.

However, it in no way should justify unleashing once again the guns, jets, tanks and soldiers against the people of Gaza. Please, let us mourn for the innocent on both sides.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Without Comment

From here:
“Return to Iraq?” asks 35-year-old Ahmed Alwan, an Iraqi engineer now working at a restaurant in Damascus. “There is no Iraq to return to, my friend. Iraq only exists in our dreams and memories.”

Monday, March 03, 2008

The different sides of the fence

Consider the folllowing:
"Arab identity in the past has been locked into the colonial experience. . . . It is a very good example of [how] a community can overplay a historic experience to the point that it begins to repulse friends. . . . The world did feel sorry for their treatment but when an individual or a nation refuses to forgive and move on the regret turns into anger. . . . The Arab identity in the future appears bleak. . . . We have created a culture of violence (Palestianians and the Muslims are the biggest players) and that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity."
This paragraph could, of course, have been the spouting of any of our media "experts."

The actual paragraph is from here:
"Jewish identity in the past has been locked into the Holocaust experience. . . . It is a very good example of [how] a community can overplay a historic experience to the point that it begins to repulse friends. . . . The world did feel sorry for the episode but when an individual or a nation refuses to forgive and move on the regret turns into anger. . . . The Jewish identity in the future appears bleak. . . . We have created a culture of violence (Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) and that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity."
This, of course, is considered anti Semitism of the worst sort and resulted in the firing of the editor that let the comment (from Arun Ghandi, grandson of the Ghandi) pass. The comment stoked apoplectic outrage in the pro Israel community.

I will leave it to you to decide the validity of the charge.

Is the Surge "working?"

Iraqi civilian deaths on the rise

BAGHDAD: The number of Iraqis killed in February rose by 33 per cent over January, reversing a six-month trend of reduced violence, in a setback to the US military plan to curb the bloodshed ravaging the country.

The combined figures from the interior, defence and health ministries showed that the total number of Iraqis killed in February was 721, including 636 civilians, compared with 541 dead in January.
We continue to converse in an alternative universe here. As if 721 dead (many more wounded) and 541 dead were NOTHING. I just don't understand it. No one around me seems the slightest bit interested in this carnage. It is on another planet. There is no responsibility taken for anything. The absolute magnitude of the humanitarian disaster that we have caused in Irak cannot be comprehended.

What will America do when the blow back really begins?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Israel and Gaza

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has gone on for the last sixty years. In November, in Annapolis, there was once more a furtive effort by the Bush Administration to move the region towards a peaceful settlement. This week, that effort came tumbling down, as has all previous efforts. As the years go one, it is clear that the World, particularly the United States, has become quite jaded to the carnage that periodically results. How can one look at a picture like this:

or this:

and not feel compassion?

And the carnage is always one sided. It is 10 eyes for and eye and 10 teeth for a tooth. And that is a result of this:

and this:

These weapons, along with over 200 nuclear bombs, give Israeli's the power to say:
When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it's going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It's going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.
Or their Parliament to declare:
During Sunday's cabinet meeting, Vice Premier Haim Ramon asked why the IDF was not directing massive fire at the areas from which Qassams are being launched.

"According to international law, you can do that," he said. "In the Second Lebanon War it was clear that if they shoot from within a village, we can fire on them even if the area is populated."
which leads to more of this:

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, and John McCain are all steadfast supporters of Israel. They all label Palestinians as terrorists. Any one of them as president will continue to pump money into the bloated Israeli defense establishment against which the Palestinians have little more than:

I admire this boy. He has far more courage than I do.

Friday Crab Blogging (on Sunday)

Bad news for crabbers. Apparently the number of blue crabs in the Bay is so low that they are in danger of becoming basically extinct if they are collected at the same rate as years past. Can one imagine summer without crabs? A little hard.