Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Tonight's experience was very typical. The first warning is that you walk into a restaurant that seats 70 or so people and you are number three at 730 in the evening. You ignore the alarm bells going off and take a seat.
Nothing on the 'big' menu seems good especially as most of it is over $20 a pop and you fall back to the 'grill menu'. This is basically the room service menu but whatever.
The first item on the menu strikes you as interesting..Indiana pulled pork BBQ with our homemade mango habenero BBQ sauce. Sounds good! The reality is some pulled pork of unknown origin with some Kraft BBQ sauce on a plastic onion roll with some fries and questionable cole slaw. All this for only $9. I was trying to be penurious but once again I have been punished. I know better but I still try.
I think it all goes back some 20 years or so when I was staying in the Holiday Inn in Williamston, NC. (It's the hometown of Catfish Hunter BTW) and the restaurant attached was run by a couple of older ladies that didn't know from fancy but could put a scald on fried chicken that was memorable. Pot roast, mac and cheese, homemade biscuits and all the good old southern standards. You would have to have at least two full meals to spend ten bucks. Nothing gourmet but they didn't claim it to be. You want a bowl of pinto beans and some cornbread...no problem and it is just as good as if you cooked it at home. I keep thinking that I will find another but so far I have been thwarted.
The Dow dropped 416 points today and for a time had lost 500 points all in response to the large drop in the Chinese market. When these two economies stumble we are going to be in for some serious trouble. Don't forget that a major part of the engine that drives our economy is hanging on by it's fingernails as well and that is housing. Stand by if that market collapses.
So much for the GOP line of "party of fiscal responsibility". Even Greenspan is saying we could see a recession this year.
In case you might be wondering... this is the largest single day fall in the market since 9/11 just so you can put it into perspective.
The federal agency that’s been front and center in warning the public about tainted spinach and contaminated peanut butter is conducting just half the food safety inspections it did three years ago.You can thank Bush's tax cuts and a do nothing Congress for this. Aren't you glad that the top 1% are better off though?
The cuts by the Food and Drug Administration come despite a barrage of high-profile food recalls.
“We have a food safety crisis on the horizon,” said Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia.
Between 2003 and 2006, FDA food safety inspections dropped 47 percent, according to a database analysis of federal records by The Associated Press.
The truth is that it is almost unbelievable and if it is at all true it is much, much bigger than Iran Contra and the impact on the future of our nation and the world are much higher.
If it doesn't doesn't scare you that the Bush Administration is now funding the very Sunni extremists that are not only connected with al-Qaeda, but are also killing American troops in Iraq then it should and it should make you very, very mad.
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Back up and read that paragraph again. Because the Bush Administration wants to attack Iran, which is Shiite, it is sucking up to the Sunni extremists while they loudly claim that these are the people who attacked the U.S. on 9/11.
In a nutshell...The President and Vice President of the United States are using your tax dollars to fund the very people who attacked us and want to attack us again.
One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites. But, from the Administration’s perspective, the most profound—and unintended—strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran.
The key players behind the redirection are Vice-President Dick Cheney, the deputy national-security adviser Elliott Abrams, the departing Ambassador to Iraq (and nominee for United Nations Ambassador), Zalmay Khalilzad, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national-security adviser.
So when that Bush/Cheney funded al-Qaeda planted and triggered nuclear weapon goes off in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, or Chicago you can rest assured knowing that it was your tax dollars doing the deed.
Dozens of high-level officials joined in a White House drill yesterday to see how the government would respond if several cities were attacked simultaneously with bombs similar to those used against U.S. troops in Iraq.No comment.
White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend and the Homeland Security Council that she heads mapped out in advance a massive disaster involving improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. The attack targeted 10 U.S. cities, both large and small, at the same time, said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Townsend presided over the three-hour exercise, which brought the government's top homeland security officials to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House. All Cabinet agencies were represented by their secretaries or other high-ranking officials, with about 90 participants in all, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.
President Bush went on a bike ride yesterday morning and did not take part in the test.
Here is the choice revelation from the interview:
This is their opportunity to seize the moment—ahhh—to build a really good and stable country. And many parts of Iraq are stable ahh..now. But, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everybody.Yeah that one bombing a day is the big problem and if we could just prevent that one bombing everything would be hunky dory.
I see the tide continues to turn against Bush's war. More numbers from the Washington Post-ABC News poll show that the American people are way out in front of the politicians on the war. Now two-thirds of Americans oppose the escalation of the Iraq war and 53% of Americans want a hard deadline for withdrawal. It is also interesting that, by a wide margin, Americans are behind Murtha's plan to limit deployment to troops that are actually ready.
There was clear support, however, for the kinds of conditions proposed by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), who wants to establish requirements for the training and resting of military units that would have the effect of limiting the number of troops available to send to Iraq.The folks in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, better wake up and listen carefully...the American people want this war over and they are losing their patience.
Murtha's plan has drawn fire in the House, including from some of his Democratic colleagues, after it was unveiled on a liberal Web site. The Post-ABC News poll, which did not associate the plan with Murtha, found that 58 percent of Americans said they support such new rules. Even some Americans, 21 percent, who supported the president's troop surge said they would favor rules for training and resting troops.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
How many of you know how important honeybees are to you everyday. Estimates are that one out of every three bites of food you eat are the result of honeybee activity. While I do not currently have any hives I have been a beekeeper off and on and I come from a long line of them.
Currently in the U.S. and even globally we are witnessing a catastrophic collapse of honeybee populations and the cause is not yet known. We had a honeybee crisis in 2005, which was blamed on the Varoa mite and decimated as much as 50% of honey bee populations in the U.S., but was weathered, overcome, and quickly passed out of most people’s attention. Since that time beekeepers have been recovering, at least until the fall of 2006 when it was discovered that something was again killing off large numbers of colonies. By February of 2007, reports are that that beekeepers from 22 states have reported decimation of hives by as much as 80%, varying in degree of severity. At first glance this may seem trivial but it is going to make a huge impact on your everyday life.
Many of the foodstuffs we depend on daily like fruit, nuts, vegetables, legume, and seed crops depend on pollination by honeybees.
- One-third of the human diet is derived directly or indirectly from insect-pollinated plants.
- 80 percent of insect pollination is accomplished by honey bees.
The current honey bee shortage is going to affect apple growers in Virginia, almond growers in California ( 80% of the global almond supply), cucumber, citrus and watermelon growers in Florida.
These are just some of the crops that require pollination: apples, avocados, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, melons, oranges, grapefruit, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers, tangerines, and watermelon. Also, forage plants like clover and alfalfa need pollination. Where's the beef?
This is going to means higher prices for a lot of our everyday food and it is going to be bad news for families especially those with limited budgets.
Update: The New York Times has picked up the story finally.
This is very interesting. If there was such a revolt I wonder if it could actually prevent Cheney from whacking Iran or would they just court martial the dissenters and promote some folks stupid enough to do it which has been the pattern so far? It might cause enough of a stink to us from making another strategic mistake in the Middle East. If something like this were to happen I imagine it would be the first time for the American military but I am not a military historian.
From the Sunday Times in London:
US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack
Some of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.
Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.
"There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran," a source with close ties to British intelligence said. "There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible."
A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. "All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.
"There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for there to be resignations."
A generals’ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Sunday's Oscar program may be a defining moment for the future of the country and, in fact, the world. Sunday is when Al Gore will probably stand and accept an Oscar for Best Documentary and also have a billion people worldwide listening to his every word. What better moment? What more
could one ask for in a moment pregnant with the power to set the world on a new course? I know he has said over and over that he has better things to do than run for President again but the more I see of what we will have to pick from in 2008 the more I see a need for a seasoned, ready to hit the ground running guy like Gore.
This from CNN:
"There's even some speculation that he would use his Oscar as the occasion to announce that he's running," Martin Kaplan, director of the University of Southern California's Norman Lear Center, told CNN. "Imagine that: a billion people worldwide! Take that Jay Leno, as an announcement venue!''
Could it happen? Gore's producer thinks a potential Gore speech would be a historic moment, but not the way Kaplan envisions.
"It's electrifying, not politically, because is Al Gore going to run or not going to run. There's nothing going to happen like that," Bender told CNN. "It's electrifying because the man who is responsible for solidifying the forces around global warming is going to'' be acknowldged.
But could an Oscar start the momentum for a draft-Gore movement? USC's Kaplan thinks it could.
"People think that he's paid his dues, he's had more of an impact on issues that people care about than many people who have been in office and there's a feeling that he's finally lost that student council condescension that was fingernails on a blackboard to a lot of supporters," Kaplan said.
For the first time chimpanzees in Senegal have been observed making spears and spearing bush babies.
That's right, another example of tool usage has cropped up in primates, but this time they aren't cracking nuts with rocks, or fishing termites out of their mounds with reeds. This time, they've moved ahead to honing their tools to make more efficient hunting weapons.
The chimps are sharpening sticks with their teeth and then jabbing their homemade spears into the dens of bush babies, which they then eat. Jane Goodall had witnessed carnivorous activity in chimps so I knew they ate the occasional meat but the news that they actively hunted was pretty surprising.
Chimpanzees in Senegal have been observed making and using wooden spears to hunt other animals, according to a study in the journal Current Biology. It's the first time primates have been seen using tools to hunt.
Actually the above quote is a little off if you think about it. Using the term 'primates' is technically wrong since humans are primates as well. The article should say non-human primates. Humans are primates after all. Not only do we share the same order (Primate), we are also in the same suborder (Haplorrhini), infraorder (Simiiformes), parvorder (Catarrhini), superfamily (Hominoidea), family (Hominidae) and subfamily (Homininae) as gorillas and chimpanzees. We can even go down to the tribe (Hominini) if we exclude gorillas and only include the chimps.
Chimps have been known to use tools before... but this use of spear-like weapons to attack other animals is completely new.
Another interesting side note in all of this is that most of the tool manufacture and use in hunting was initiated by the females. This little bit of information supports the theory that all through human evolution it has been the female of the species that has been on the forefront of innovation and creativity while the male has been focused on hunting etc.
It is also interesting to note that only about 1 out of 22 of the bush baby "spear-hunts" were successful. This leads one wonder if this is a recently adopted behavior. If you had only 4.5% chance of catching dinner, would you give up and go back tried and true methods? It could be that this is statistically an improvement on catch rates and so the behavior will reenforce itself?
Friday, February 23, 2007
Just now settling in to figure out what is going on, catch up on the banking, do the expense reports and all that stuff that consumes Fridays after a week on the road. Is the sun over the yardarm yet?
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Have a great day and we will see you all later. I might even find some time to blog around a bit later while I wait... now that I have a wireless broadband modem. We'll see.
From today's NYT:
The Pentagon is planning to send more than 14,000 National Guard troops back to Iraq next year, shortening their off-duty time to meet the demands of President Bush’s buildup, Defense Department officials said Wednesday....Is this war really a Monty Python sketch and no one has told us?
“We’re behind the power curve, and we can’t piddle around,” Maj. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, said in an interview. He added that one-third of his soldiers lacked the M-4 rifles preferred by active duty soldiers and that there were also shortfalls in night vision goggles and other equipment....
Capt. Christopher Heathscott, a spokesman for the Arkansas National Guard, said the 39th brigade combat team was 600 rifles short for 500 soldiers also lacked its full arsenal of mortars and howitzers.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Now that the insurgency is reacting to the 'surge' with new tactics and new weapons like chlorine trucks rigged with explosives it just goes to show that they are in their last throws. Meanwhile, we here in the U.S. are assured by the MSM that Anna Nicole Smith is still dead, Britney is still bald, Obama is still black and Hillary is still a bitch.
There has been some mention in the news that we are treating our returning wounded like second class citizens but not to worry because the Army is on it and everything will be 'spit-spot' in no time at all. No real story here.
Have a great day!
Monday, February 19, 2007
I had all intents of spending a nice quiet evening surfing around the WWW and reading blogs and commenting...you know having fun butting in and adding my two cents to various and sundry things. It was going well until I stopped by Shakespeare's Sister and followed the link to the Washington Post story about Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
I knew in the back of my mind somewhere that this was the case but evidently I had been suppressing it. There is enough bad stuff going on that people who wish to remain apparently sane have to ignore or pretend to ignore at least some of it. I am in that category.
I knew things were not a bed of roses for the 23,000 or so American soldiers that Bush and company have run through the meat grinder for shits and giggles over the last five years or so. I knew things were sub-optimal because Bush told me there were great....better everyday.
This story brought home all the fears and frustration I have been holding back on this front for some time. It's bad enough that we are sending these young people into Iraq for no other purpose than to realize the greed driven dream of the neocons to control all of the oil in the Middle East but to basically abandon them after their sacrifice raises the level of this tragedy to hitherto unbelievable heights. I can't get a complete emotional handle on this but I know that it is going to affect me in ways I don't yet know and understand.
There is absolutely no excuse for this, none. It is just another example of the incompetent administration that merrily went to war with no plan to deal with the aftermath in Iraq, Afghanistan or at home. It is a reality too hard to bear that 96% of these poor souls were injured after "Mission Accomplished". Yet here we are with no end in sight and the foolish man who believes himself the "war president" making statements like this;
"We owe them all we can give them," Bush said during his last visit, a few days before Christmas. "Not only for when they're in harm's way, but when they come home to help them adjust if they have wounds, or help them adjust after their time in service."You know he knows that this is the reality of his war but somehow he has convinced himself and a large part of the country that this is a justifiable cost of war. That it is OK to shortchange these men and women after they have made lifelong sacrifices in his stupid and senseless war. How wrong can a man be? We can never make up for what our government has done to these brave men and women and continues to do but we sure as hell should be trying out best to correct it.
Neoconservatism is a dangerous and unstable ideology and a profoundly anti democratic, anti American phenomena. Fascist in essence the total package is poisonous as a gestalt of radical religious fundamentalism, trans government economics, legal and illegal determinism, and unilateral militarism. Characteristic of the Bush administration is the disastrous and seemingly unstoppable entropy of incompetence that is mandating a certain failure of all the above ventures and the rapid decline of the American State, at least as most of us have always conceived it to be----a true democracy. The Casandra of our age, wailing the judgment, is New Orleans the perfect paradigm of what awaits the country as a whole. When Bush leaves office and bequeaths the next administration a balloon loaded with explosive nails the financial interests that bought us our demise will profit mightily from our collective tragedy. These people plan well. Cheney's retirement fortunes are tied to Haliburton's profits in Iraq and he is but an example how the neocon ideology is fundamentally not about America, but a trans global corporate governance.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
I also think I pretty much kicked the cold in the butt with a good day of rest(Madam Monk was very insistent) and several doses of Alka-Seltzer Plus and Airborne.
Every once in while a road trip gets all the breaks and this seems to be one of them. I complain sometime about the travel but these little lagniappes dull the pain. Just checked in so I haven't had time to do any cruising on the blogs but it is early and I may be back tonight after I have some dinner. Later.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
UNITED NATIONS - Some 18,000 children die every day because of hunger and malnutrition and 850 million people go to bed every night with empty stomachs, a "terrible indictment of the world in 2007," the head of the U.N. food agency said.I am not going to climb up on my soapbox here but I just want people to remember that the tragedy of our efforts in Iran and soon Iraq are more than the deaths of Americans and Iraqis and more than the destruction of a way of life for millions.
The treasure and effort we are pouring into Iraq on a daily basis is being diverted from so many other important things. Things that could make life better for millions instead of making life miserable for millions.
I am not suggesting that we could feed the world but we could be using some of our wealth to lessen the tragedies of these 18,000 children. There will always be hunger in the world but it is not right to turn our backs on it and not try and do something about it.
I am against war in all it's shapes and fashions and this is one of the primary drivers. War takes resources that could have a positive effect on our world and doesn't just withhold them but squanders them in such a way as to produce more pain and suffering. Just stopping war, though not enough, would at least be a move in the right direction.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Digby has a new post up that brings up some interesting questions. We keep hearing our incompetent leadership saying that all options are on the table with respect to Iran but I have not heard anyone exactly list those options. Continued saber rattling? More "axis of evil" statements? Surgical strikes at weapons facilities? What, exactly, are the options?
A lot of people seem to be overlooking the fact that we are now a failed state with respect to our position internationally. George Bush and company have managed to show the world that we are untrustworthy, incompetent and mostly not serious about a peaceful world. The rest of the world knows that the world is a worse place and greatly more dangerous than it was six years ago when Bush arrived on the scene. Digby says it better than I but the 411 is that we are the most powerful nation on the planet but one that no one trusts and , in addition, the rest of the world mostly loathes and fears us.
One of the most important things our new Democratically controlled Congress can do is to change our image. The rest of the world needs to see that we are a thinking and peaceful people and that armed conflict with the U.S. will only be the result of armed aggression against us. The Dems need to loudly and completely renounce the Bush doctrine of "preventative war" and convince the rest of the world that we are not bullies and gunslingers aching for a fight. We need to show the rest of the world that the US can operate with calm, deliberate competence. Until that happens, we will continue to be seen as an unpredictable, threatening superpower and the nuclear proliferation and global war we are so worried about will become inevitable. I keep saying this but maybe, just maybe, we can get the grownups in charge?
Great News and a great idea. Al Gore has announced a series of concerts around the globe on July 7th to highlight the challenges to our planet by Global Warming. This looks like it could be big. I'm sure a bunch more big name talent will hop on board especially as they announce the U.S. cities.
Al Gore announced on Thursday a series of worldwide concerts to focus on the threat of climate change, with a powerhouse lineup from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Snoop Dogg to Bon Jovi.
The 24-hour event on July 7 is part of a campaign, Save Our Selves — The Campaign for a Climate in Crisis, that promoters hope will trigger a broad movement to address what the former vice president calls a global climate crisis.h/t to AmericaBlog
Jane Hamsher and Marcy Wheeler and Firedoglake on the cover page of the New York Times, above the fold no less. Congratulations to you two ladies and also to the fabulous Christy Hardin Smith and also to Swopa and Pach who all have done an outstanding job with the Libby trial. The growth and power of Firedoglake has been absolutely amazing and this recognition by the NYT is well deserved. Jane has to be awfully proud of what she has created.
Here is a highlight from the article.
Jane is also covered in this article in USNews.
Sheldon L. Snook, the court official in charge of the news media, said the decision to admit bloggers — 5 to 10 of about 100 reporters present on busy trial days — has worked out well.
“It seems they can provide legal analysis and a level of detail that might not be of interest to the general public but certainly has an audience,” Mr. Snook said.
Even as they exploit the newest technologies, the Libby trial bloggers are a throwback to a journalistic style of decades ago, when many reporters made no pretense of political neutrality. Compared with the sober, neutral drudges of the establishment press, the bloggers are class clowns and crusaders, satirists and scolds.
photo credit Michael Temchine for The New York Times
Note that the GOP calls it a "war room" even though it is in the very safe and protected confines of the Capitol building and is using it to criticize a member of Congress who actually served in the war that the House is debating. Murphy's office responded:
"Congressman Murphy is absolutely proud of his service and the work done by the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq. The right wing's go-to move is to try and smear veterans. Fortunately, Pennsylvanians understand that it's no contradiction that Congressman Murphy is both proud of his service and opposed to the Bush administration's wrong-headed policies in Iraq."What defies explanation is why the GOP can't figure that it's possible to oppose Bush's mis-guided and disastrous war while still supporting the troops -- even when members, like Patrick Murphy, who served in Iraq -- explain it to them. These guys aren't stupid but for some reason this simple fact escapes them completely.
Another irony in all of this is the GOP using the term "war room" to attack a real war veteran. To the GOP this is all a big political game. Unfortunately for real soldiers like Murphy, it is life and death.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Did solve my connectivity issue whilst in Indy though as I am now the proud owner of a Sprint Broadband Wireless Modem that works pretty well. Should be able to find the Internet anywhere I go now.
I know I am rambling a bit here as I am waiting for the Oracle 10g client to download and it is nearly a Gig zipped. The client in Indy is moving to this version at the same time he is upgrading my application to the latest. Gonna be fun.
While we are waiting for Oracle to arrive how about a recipe?
Hearty Barley Mushroom Soup
This is a vegan recipe that is very quick to prepare and is good and hearty and great for these cold winter days. It is also flexible in that you can play with the ingredients depending on what you have in the fridge and cupboard.
2 cups of button, porcinni (sp?),baby bellas or shiitake mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup pearl barley(not instant)
8 cups of vegetable stock
1 TBSP of soy sauce
Saute the onions, carrots and celery in your soup pot with a couple of tablespoons of canola or olive oil until they start to brown a bit and then add the barley and cook until it just starts to color. Overall this stage should take about 10 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 -30 minutes or until the barley is tender. Finish with a tablespoon of soy and then salt and pepper to taste. Like I said this is flexible though I wouldn't leave out either the mushrooms or the barley. You can skip the celery if you don't have any but I like the added texture. If you don't have real vegetable stock you can use 4 of the large Knorr vegetarian vegetable broth cubes and 8 cups of water. Not a vegetarian? Use chick stock... just the low sodium kind. ( I like the Swanson's Organic). Sometime a splash of balsamic vinegar will brighten it up as well. Enjoy and don't forget some crusty whole grain bread.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
This is a busy week and there is a lot I have to get accomplished this week before I have a couple of weeks in Indianapolis but there is something very important going on and I want to make sure the few readers who do stop by here don't miss out on it. Maybe if enough of us get the ugly truth out in the open?
Cheney, with Bush following meekly behind, is about to take the next step outlined in the PNAC. Expect the U.S. to attack Iran, probably before spring is over. All of the symptoms are appearing just as they did with the run up to the attack on Iraq. There are some excellent sources you should be following on a daily basis. Jeff Huber over at Pen and Sword is on top of the bullshit being spread from his excellent military perspective. McJoan at Dkos is, as always, paying attention. You might also consider getting another view of the news from the foreign press.
Most of all it is important to watch for the fnords. In an excellent post at Dkos Stagarite reminds us of the concept coined by the late Robert Anton Wilson and examines propaganda in its light in I have seen the fnords.
It is very hard to accept that our government has been hijacked by insane people. It is very hard to accept that virtually everything we hear from the government with respect to the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and soon Iran are webs of half truth, outright lies and propaganda meant to blind us to the tragedy of war and make us support more and more of it. Accept it you must or you will just follow the homicidal maniacs running our country blindly into the next useless and reckless war.
You need to get this into your head and not ever lose sight of it. This simple thought should filter every thing you see and hear from the media or government.
Our leaders are insane and drunk with power. They have led our great country far astray and if we follow them will lead us to further and final destruction. Everything they say is a lie until proven otherwise. Don't ever underestimate their capacity for evil and hate.
Even though I am horribly ashamed to say it, take the above paragraph to heart, it will serve you well. I'll leave you with a dose of Krugman.
First, you’d set up a special intelligence unit to cook up rationales for war. A good model would be the Pentagon’s now-infamous Office of Special Plans, led by Abram Shulsky, that helped sell the Iraq war with false claims about links to Al Qaeda.Updated 2/14 to correct a spelling error
Sure enough, last year Donald Rumsfeld set up a new “Iranian directorate” inside the Pentagon’s policy shop. And last September Warren Strobel and John Walcott of McClatchy Newspapers — who were among the few journalists to warn that the administration was hyping evidence on Iraqi W.M.D. — reported that “current and former officials said the Pentagon’s Iranian directorate has been headed by Abram Shulsky.”
Next, you’d go for a repeat of the highly successful strategy by which scare stories about the Iraqi threat were disseminated to the public.
This time, however, the assertions wouldn’t be about W.M.D.; they’d be that Iranian actions are endangering U.S. forces in Iraq. Why? Because there’s no way Congress will approve another war resolution. But if you can claim that Iran is doing evil in Iraq, you can assert that you don’t need authorization to attack — that Congress has already empowered the administration to do whatever is necessary to stabilize Iraq. And by the time the lawyers are finished arguing — well, the war would be in full swing.
Finally, you’d build up forces in the area, both to prepare for the strike and, if necessary, to provoke a casus belli. There’s precedent for the idea of provocation: in a January 2003 meeting with Prime Minster Tony Blair, The New York Times reported last year, President Bush “talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire.”
In the end, Mr. Bush decided that he didn’t need a confrontation to start that particular war. But war with Iran is a harder sell, so sending several aircraft carrier groups into the narrow waters of the Persian Gulf, where a Gulf of Tonkin-type incident could all too easily happen, might be just the thing.
O.K., I hope I’m worrying too much. Those carrier groups could be going to the Persian Gulf just as a warning.
But you have to wonder about the other stuff. Why would the Pentagon put someone who got everything wrong on Iraq in charge of intelligence on Iran? Why wasn’t any official willing to take personal responsibility for the reliability of alleged evidence of Iranian mischief, as opposed to being an anonymous source? If the evidence is solid enough to bear close scrutiny, why were all cameras and recording devices, including cellphones, banned from yesterday’s Baghdad briefing?
It’s still hard to believe that they’re really planning to attack Iran, when it’s so obvious that another war would be a recipe for even bigger disaster. But remember who’s calling the shots: Dick Cheney thinks we’ve had “enormous successes” in Iraq.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Talk about justice.....
I have always been a pretty big fan of the Chicks even though I am not especially a country music lover. Their behavior and attitude after the treatment they received as a result of the Bush comment by Maines upped my respect even more. This is really an 'in your eye' to the all the country stations around the U.S. that have blacklisted them. Screw 'em.
(CNN) -- The Dixie Chicks sang "Not Ready to Make Nice," but the Grammy Awards were certainly ready to make them winners, honoring the trio with five awards Sunday night.
The Chicks, who ignited controversy four years ago when lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush on the eve of the Iraq war, won all five of the awards for which they were nominated, including the big three: album of the year (for "Taking the Long Way"), song of the year and record of the year (both for "Not Ready to Make Nice").
Sunday, February 11, 2007
This has to give one pause. The third carrier mentioned below is the Enterprise and she is already in the Arabian Sea and well with striking distance of Iran and Afghanistan. Bush is playing games with the lives of millions of people and we, as a people, have a duty to do everything we can to stop the insanity. If you haven't called your representatives in Congress then now would be a good time.
Newsweek on “The Hidden War With Iran.”
At least one former White House official contends that some Bush advisers secretly want an excuse to attack Iran. “They intend to be as provocative as possible and make the Iranians do something [America] would be forced to retaliate for,” says Hillary Mann, the administration’s former National Security Council director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs. …
A second Navy carrier group is steaming toward the Persian Gulf, and NEWSWEEK has learned that a third carrier will likely follow. Iran shot off a few missiles in those same tense waters last week, in a highly publicized test. With Americans and Iranians jousting on the chaotic battleground of Iraq, the chances of a small incident’s spiraling into a crisis are higher than they’ve been in years.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
The culinary report from here is mixed. At the suggestion of one of the client folks we walked to Alcatraz, a local micro brewery for dinner. Beer is good but the food is just so so. I wanted something light so I just had an appetizer for dinner and selected the General's Calamari. I think the squid started off nice but is was blended with chopped Napa cabbage in a funky lopsided bowl and the moist cabbage took its toll on the crisp calamari so you wound up with a squishy melange of cabbage and soggy calamari which wasn't too nice. Walked past some places that hold more promise judging from the crowds. Further reports tomorrow evening.
Thanks for all the support in the last thread. All you southerners sympathizing with me and my thin skin against the cold and pitching in to defend me against our resident Finn Pekka was heartwarming. Just kidding Pekka as I truly value your input here since you are the only non U.S. person to visit regularly. Your views from across the pond are great for balance and an alternative view of things. Not to mention you make a great foil for my complaining about the cold weather. It is kind of funny knowing the winter you must be having and me complaining about a mere zero F and a little snow. From my memories of Kuopio in the winter I should welcome such nice weather. Thsnks Pekka for adding to the tebare
Someday when I am not so sleepy I will regale you with my Kuopio dragon boat racing story. Remind me.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
This is not going to be a fun three days as I am supposed to go in and rescue a client driven implementation that is going south. In trying to save a little money clients sometimes try to skip on paying us for our implementation expertise, we are not cheap I admit, but usually the people they assign aren't relieved of their regular duties and are supposed to manage a large software project as an afterthought. Almost never works and they wind up in deep guacamole and months behind schedule. In an effort to not waste the money they have already spent and to get things back in order they wind up having to call us anyway and rescue projects are always more expensive than doing it right the first time. This is probably going to involve a few weeks commuting to Indy which is not my favorite place. It is probably OK if you live there and know the deal but I don't think it is too visitor friendly.
I just wish they would do this all in the summertime. I know Pekka I'm a wimp.
I stole the Feingold quote below from Kos in its entirety because I think it is important that we all realize that politics and not the courage of their convictions (and obviously not their constituencies) are driving this whole load of crap in Congress right now. We really need to let our Congress critters know what we think and how we feel about the failure of our elected officials to reign in our out of control and frankly criminal president. If we stand on the sidelines and wait for them to get some spine and stand up to Bush and Cheney who knows how many more American soldiers are going to pay for Congress' lack of courage and our lack of will to force their hand.
Digby has a great post on the recent James Fallows article in The Atlantic regarding stopping escalation in Iraq and also stopping the charge to war with Iran.
In a sane world, the congress would move very quickly on this before that notion jells. But it won't, because they believe they must allow the president to have all "options on the table," — a "duty" which Republicans repeatedly failed to fulfill when Clinton was in office and which an earlier group of Democrats understood to be nonsense. Still, that seems to be where they are, at least with respect to Iran. Not only are they not prepared to stop it, they are either silent on the issue or actively supporting the premise upon which the president's argument is built.
Still, we must at least begin to make this case and this James Fallows article is an excellent first step. I particularly liked this part, because it is absolutely true and shows the seriousness of the danger we are in:
If we could trust the Administration’s ability to judge America’s rational self-interest, there would be no need to constrain its threatening gestures toward Iran. Everyone would understand that this was part of the negotiation process; no one would worry that the Administration would finally take a step as self-destructive as beginning or inviting a war.
But no one can any longer trust the Administration to recognize and defend America’s rational self-interest — not when the President says he will carry out a policy even if opposed by everyone except his wife and dog, not when the Vice President refuses to concede any mistake or misjudgment in the handling of Iraq.
We are dealing with an administration that handled the overriding message of the mid-term election by doing exactly the opposite and escalating the war. They are not responsive to anything, not even political considerations. They are obsessed with their own legacy and if that means selling their own party down the river, they will do that too. There is nothing to stop them.
I am not convinced of that last sentence because I think there is a way to stop them. An overwhelming show of emotion and protest from the American people, so loud and strong that it can't be ignored. We are at a crisis in this country and the spineless demonstration by the GOP in the Senate yesterday tells me that if ever there were a time to stand up and be counted, it is now. We need to tell our elected representatives exactly how we feel and why. Tomorrow is too late, this is for all the marbles. It will be a tragedy if we have to wait until 2008 and hope for a super majority in Congress or a Democratic executive to take the appropriate action.
To quote Digby again:
As Bush and Cheney get more and more unpopular, their legacy becomes more and more predicated on the fact that they did the unpopular thing for the greater good. The more unpopular they get the more they have to prove.
Dwell for a few moments on the phrase above and contemplate what you think that means for the country and the world. After you wipe the tears from your eyes, start writing a letter to fax to your members of Congress. Give their offices a call and register your thoughts. Send a few e-mails to their local offices. Write a letter to the editor. Do anything you can think of to make sure everyone gets the message. Send everyone you know an e-mail with a link to the Fallows article and ask them to do the same. Do something. Do it now...today.
Ask yourself this question: Do you trust George Bush to be making the correct decisions for this country? Do you really believe, based on his abysmal record of failure, that he and his cronies are the people we want making the decisions and plans for America's future? I didn't think so.
Contact your elected representatives (the Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121, but if you click the link, you can find a direct dial number for your elected representatives). Let them know that you expect them to do their jobs. Don't sit back and think everyone else will do this job — They won't.
Senator Feingold had a conference call with bloggers after the Warner/Levin Iraq escalation resolution fiasco, and had some strong words for his fellow Democrats. From Bob Geiger:
He also discusses the pernicious influence of the DC Democratic consultant class. Crooks and Liars has the video of Senator Feingold's appearance on Countdown last night. Don't miss it.
"This is not a time to finesse the situation. This is not a time for a slow walk. This almost reminds me a little bit of the way Democrats behaved in October 2002, which was trying to play it safe, trying to use words such as 'well, we're going to vote for this resolution, but what it really means is that the president should go to the UN. That stuff doesn’t fly. And this kind of attempt to go a little bit of the way just to show you're on the other side of the president doesn’t fly either.
"This is an important moment to see if we're really going to try to end this war and, frankly, I am disappointed that Democrats are playing it too safe on this....
"They want to be immune from criticism from the White House. That's not how you win, by being afraid of the criticism. You stand up to the criticism and you say 'they were wrong. They took us in there on a fraudulent basis, they’ve screwed this up, they've screwed up the war against terrorism, they’ve weakened out military. We are going to take a completely different approach.'
"But the tragedy that we're facing, is that people simply will not do the strong thing when it needs to be done. They wait and they wait and they wait -- and in the meantime, thousands of Americans have died unnecessarily."
H/T to McJoan at Dkos
Monday, February 05, 2007
Now we know for sure. There has never been a doubt that this war was a GOP war, now it's official. Below is the list of Republicans up for re-election in 2008 that voted against debating the Iraq surge:
Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Larry Craig (R-ID)
Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
Pete Domenici (R-NM)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Gordon Smith (R-OR)
Ted Stevens (R-AK)
John Sununu (R-NH)
John Warner (R-VA)
The Democrats stood as one and not a single Democrat voted against cloture. Harry Reid did but it doesn't count as it was a procedural step that will allow him to bring up the legislation again at a later date.
Lieberman, true to form, voted with his buddies on the wrong side of the aisle.
Note too that Warner and Hagel voted to prevent debate on their own resolution. Man that is party loyalty.
I was against a "non-binding resolution" because I thought is was an empty gesture but it turns out to have value after all. This vote can be used to beat Republicans over the head for the next two years. Recognize that because of the Senate filibuster and presidential veto it is going to be damn near impossible for Democrats to end this war alone. We do have some options and one that screams for action is to continue to bring these resolutions up for a vote. We need to shine the light on this mess and force the chicken shit Republicans to keep standing up with Bush in support of this war. They made this bed now let them lie in it.
I know that it seems like forever, but 2008 is coming. I know it means hundreds of more American deaths and thousands and thousands of more Iraqi deaths but when 2008 comes we'll elect people who will end this war. The more we can force the Republicans to block our efforts to end this disaster publicly and in the harsh light of day the more power we will gain. The majority of America is with us on this. Obstructing even the useless "non-binding" half-measures will allow the American people to see who wants to prolong the quagmire, and who wants to end it.When patience has such a high price it is doubly hard...but patient we must be. The Republicans that continue to stand with Bush on this American nightmare will rue the day.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Dan Froomkin has a unique ability to cut through the crap that pervades the Beltway and state the obvious in such a way that all but the most completely indoctrinated GOP/conservative/jumped by Jesus whacko ought to comprehend. Dan Froomkin has put together a list of lessons that we all ought to have internalized so as to never forget. We should have chiseled them into our hearts with the mess that was Vietnam so many years ago but for some insane reason we didn't. While he is specifically talking to journalists here, the lessons he highlights apply to you and me as well. They apply not just to evaluations of war and peace and national security, but also to pretty much any governmental undertaking, regardless of the promises of security, well being and other good things that may be attached.
You Can’t Be Too Skeptical of Authority
– Don’t assume anything administration officials tell you is true. In fact, you are probably better off assuming anything they tell you is a lie.
— Demand proof for their every assertion. Assume the proof is a lie. Demand that they prove that their proof is accurate.
— Just because they say it, doesn’t mean it should be make the headlines. The absence of supporting evidence for their assertion — or a preponderance of evidence that contradicts the assertion — may be more newsworthy than the assertion itself.
— Don’t print anonymous assertions. Demand that sources make themselves accountable for what they insist is true.
Provocation Alone Does Not Justify War
– War is so serious that even proving the existence of a casus belli isn’t enough. Make officials prove to the public that going to war will make things better.
— Demand to know what happens if the war (or tactical strike) doesn’t go as planned?
— Demand to know what happens if it does? What happens after “victory”?
— Ask them: Isn’t it possible this will make things worse, rather than better?
Be Particularly Skeptical of Secrecy
– Don’t assume that these officials, with their access to secret intelligence, know more than you do.
— Alternately, assume that they do indeed know more than you do – and are trying to keep intelligence that would undermine their arguments secret.
There is more good stuff in this article. It is definitely worth a read. The Bush administration should be evidence enough that we need to take the lessons of this article to heart and engrave them for eternity on our souls.
In the words of the late Molly Ivins, "The President does not have the sense that God gave a duck, so it is up to you and me."
h/t to CHS at Firedoglake
For those of you looking for an excellent resource on the environment with a focus on global warming look no further than The Heat is Online. This is a site created by Ross Gelbspan the author of The Heat is On and Boiling Point. All kinds of good stuff here.
h/t to Terrette via the comments at YDD.
Also thanks to Steve at YDD is a link to the IPCC summary for policy makers (.pdf, about 21 pages).
Saturday, February 03, 2007
This is a very good speech. He's studied his delivery very carefully. The speech is based on two themes: "It doesn't have to be that way", and "Will you stand up?". Then it's structured around these themes and he does it very well. He reiterates the theme and then he illustrates it. It's not quite challenge and response in the style of Martin Luther King, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, but it's very similar, and I guarantee that it will resonate in the South. Another key point to make is that it does a very good job of demonstrating how Democratic values line up with real families and this is something that Democrats have let get away from them in recent years. The danger I see is that he is almost too polished and too pretty and too youthful. In this situation you become a candidate for being too slick to be trusted. I can support Edwards and of the current field he is probably my pick. I really want Al Gore to run. He would win and things would get better.
Talk about sheep...I mean please, what is to discuss here? Get this quote from the story:
Senate Republicans have also been squeamish about Mr. Reid’s decision to debate the Iraq policy in the form of legislation, which would be sent to the president if passed as such. They see such a move as overly confrontational...Do you believe this? Karl Rove must have pictures and video of these guys humping sheep or something. WTF, the idiot in chief is sending the country down the toilet and the Republicans think that it's overly confrontational for the Congress to actually consider the situation in Iraq? I guess losing both Houses of Congress wasn't enough of a lesson for the Republicans. Maybe the American people teach them an even bigger lesson in November of 2008.
This is a serious time in the future of our country and it is time for serious people to be driving the bus. This bunch evidently have Dick Cheney's johnson up their asses and can't have a coherent thought without Darth Vader giving them a little thrust. Take a good look at the faces in the picture and see what you think the problem might be. Somebody has a firm grip on McConnell's balls judging from the look on his face. Don't even ask what might be invading Trent's personal space.
Damn this makes me sick.
P.S. To all the lovely ladies who stop by...I apologize for the language and the crude references. I just don't know how to convey my disgust in any other terms.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Despite the surge in violence, the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was called away from providing air support to coalition forces in Afghanistan to be part of the U.S. Navy presence off the Horn of Africa.
A second carrier, the USS John C. Stennis, has been dispatched to the U.S. Central Command theater of operations.
Vice President Cheney said the deployment this month of a second aircraft-carrier [Stennis] task force to the Persian Gulf delivered a "strong signal" of the United States' commitment to confront Iran's growing influence in the region.
This is very important to note and an extremely dangerous situation.
I wouldn't be too concerned about an "accident"at least from our side, until the Stennis is in position and we have assured air superiority in the region. Iran's defenses are specifically designed to repel this scenario so if the worst happens ,we are in for a fight. This could turn into a world o' shit in a heartbeat. Just one bull move from either side and it is going to be a bad one.
As the rhetoric grows more strident, a U.S. military official in the Gulf likened the U.S.-Iran standoff to the buildup in hostility in Europe before World War I, when the assassination of the heir to the Austrian throne triggered a tragic war that engulfed a continent.
''A mistake could be made and you could end up in something that neither side ever really wanted, and suddenly it's August 1914 all over again,'' the U.S. officer said on condition of anonymity, because of the sensitivity of the issue. ''I really believe neither side wants a fight.''
Iranian coast guard vessels recently veered into territorial waters on the Arab side of the Gulf, an event that could have been viewed as either a mistake or a provocation, the officer said. Both sides are on tenterhooks. ''A boat crosses a line ... but what does it mean? You've got to be very careful about overreacting,'' the officer said.
Leaked Congressional Budget Office report says real number of Bush troop surge is between 35,000 and 48,000 additional troops.
And not only that but the $5.6 billion Bush asked for to pay for the "surge," it was a lie too. From CBO:
CBO estimates that costs would range from $9 billion to $13 billion for a four-month deployment and from $20 billion to $27 billion for a 12-month deployment...In the best case scenario, this will be a four-month deployment. That means the cost will be around two times what Bush claimed.
To top all of the above, off in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee today General George Casey told the committee that only half the troops Bush is proposing would be needed to stem the violence in Iraq.
This is pretty much a textbook case of the "clusterfuck" in action. Nobody knows what to do so they run in circles and scream and shout and make up shit to sound like the know what to do. If this latest revelation doesn't cause some feces to hit the rotary ventilator I will be truly disappointed.