Saturday, August 7

Ham Radio

In one of the first posts on this blog, just over a month ago, I was doing a stream of conscience thing while riffing on an episode of the twilight zone featuring Alien Beatnik Biker Dudes. It is one of my favorite episodes and it has one of the few references in television to Ham Radio aka Amateur Radio, which happens to be one of the hobbies I enjoy. On the same note I like to watch the movie "The Vanishing", because at one point in the background you hear about some alpine stage in the '84 or '85 tour de France playing on the radio. Now I don't speak french with any fluency, but could recognise quite a bit of it as most of the French I do understand is related to cycling terminology, and having followed the race in question I could reverse engineer the rest.

What does this have to do with anything you might ask? Well I checked the mail today and there was a small manilla envelope from the northern Illinois DX association, which meant QSL cards, specifically international QSL's confirming contacts with other stations around the world. And if you want to qualify for any of a variety of awards you need these cards as proof of contact. Personally I'm not that interested in chasing awards, but I get a real kick out of receiving the cards.

Today brought cards from Belgium, Columbia,Germany, the Netherlands, my first from New Zealand, Japan, another one from the Netherlands, Turks and Caicos Islands (carribbean) , one from Cape Verde, S. Vicent island (off the east african coast), Portugal, Sweden, Spain, England, and another from Japan. Just too cool. All of these contacts made from this room with 100 watts fed into a variety of wires I have strung up in the trees around the house. With the sunspot numbers quickly declining, it will be much more difficult to get a signal to Japan and New Zealand, let alone south central asia and the Middle East, India and Australia.

A couple of years ago I had read that part of if not most of the Baltic sea was frozen, later that day I had the opportunity to have a nice chat with a ham in Riga, Latvia and asked him if it was true that one could Ice Skate to Stockholm from there. He said that the icebreakers pretty much made it impossible but admitted that it was one of the colder winters that he could remember in the area. Another time I had a nice long chat with a Ham in Copenhagen, Denmark and found out that the bridge that had been built connecting Denmark to Malmo Sweden was underused, due to the high tolls. I told him that I had visited my Fathers Mothers, Brother in Malmo in '80 and had taken a ferry to visit Copenhagen for a day. So we talked about the Tivoli Gardens (breathtaking) and how impressed I was with Scandinavia.

Most of the international operaters speak excellent English so it is very easy to communicate, and if things get sketchy, there are a lot of shorthand and Q signals that are recognised by everyone. In fact the only operator I made contact with who did not speak English was a Japanese woman operating from an Island off of Costa Rica, who was primarily occupied in contacts with compatriots in Japan, some of these islands can be rare and in fact may not have any native hams. It really depends where you are located. For me the Carribean is like shooting fish in a barrel, but for the Japanese it is rare territory. The Europeans can have their way in the middle east and central asia, India, and Africa. I have only clearly heard 3 stations from India and I was late to the party, because I could hear hundreds of other guys from all over trying to contact these stations. Anyway I hope this gives you a little insight into a really cool hobby. I mean email is cool, telephony is reliable, but firing up a tranciever or separate transmitter and reciever, in your room, firing RF into some homebrew antenna's and making contact through the ether, you just can't beat it.

By the way some Ham Radio Operators that many of you may be familiar with. Barry Goldwater, Curtis Lemay, King Hussein of Jordon, and I recently found out that Walter Conkrite, and former Eagles guitarist, Joe Walsh, are also members of this geeky fraternity.

I love Baseball

I have since I played the game as a kid in little league. I was a very good defensive player, but could not hit very well. I took up Tennis, hoping that it would improve my hitting, but it didn't, though I got pretty good at Tennis. Anyway I have paid the game far too little attention this year, as I have been focused on keeping track of the disaster that is the Bush and Delay show. So I'm looking for some other angles to hammer the idiots, and come across a nice baseball story. I am a Cincinatti Reds fan, partly because they are the closest team to my hometown and also as a catcher and second baseman, I could not have had better role models for those positions than, Johnny Bench and Joe morgan. It didn't hurt that my little league carreer coincided with the days of the Big Red Machine.

Enough bullshit about me, lets get on to the story I stumbled across, ok a little more about me. I love the game period, sure I like it when the Reds win, but my appreciation for the sport transcends team loyalty, I was overjoyed by the possibility of a Cubs/Red Sox series, after the Marlins, knocked San Francisco out of the playoffs, and when the Marlins Came from behind for the second time to knock out the cubs, I rejoiced in their dismantling of the Yankees a Great Post season it was. Enough with the preface already.

One of my favorite players who has never worn a Red's uniform is Larry Walker, a perrenial Gold Glove winner, lifetime batting average of .315, a Solid Player and he has a great sense of humor, not quite in Kruk's league (another favorite) but funny. Turns out that he is going to leave Colorado and play for the Cardinals, getting a chance to get to the world series. In a classy move this is what the Rockies General manager had to say:
"This is a great opportunity for him to go to a great baseball city and have a chance to win a world championship," Colorado general manager Dan O'Dowd said. "We tried very hard to put him in a city where he can accomplish his dream of winning a world championship."
Walker is on a short list of Players that I would really be happy to see leave the game with a world series ring and it is a testiment to his carreer in Colorado that management would work to help that dream along.
"He has had a great career here and accomplished so much in a Rockies uniform, it is really bittersweet," O'Dowd said. "He didn't initiate it at all. I initiated all the conversations. When a player is at a certain point in his career, then you know there are certain things that he is looking for."

Walker was batting .324 with six homers and 20 RBIs in 108 at-bats this season. He said in recent weeks he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to a playoff-contending team. One of his two Colorado homes is on the market.

Burch, 21, was 5-5 with a 3.61 ERA and 21 saves at Class-A Peoria. He was selected in the 21st round of the 2003 draft out of Nebraska.

Colorado began the night fourth in the NL West at 47-61.

"He was not going to be with us after next year," O'Dowd said. "This gave us the best opportunity to put him somewhere with a chance to win, and it gives Matt Holliday the opportunity to play every day.
Good Luck Larry, I'll be rooting for you and the Cardinals if you make it to the big dance. And kudo's to 'O Dowd for enabling this good man's dream.

Freedom of the Press

Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, shut down the bagdad office of Al-Jazeera for "inciting violence"

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The Iraqi government closed the Iraqi offices of the Arab television station Al-Jazeera for 30 days, accusing it Saturday of inciting violence.

A spokesman for Al-Jazeera called the closure "unwise" and said it restrained freedom of the press.

"It is a regrettable decision, but Al-Jazeera will endeavor to cover the situation in Iraq as best as we can within the constraints," spokesman Jihad Ballout said.

Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said the government convened an independent commission a month ago to monitor Al-Jazeera's daily coverage "to see what kind of violence they are advocating, inciting hatred and problems and racial tension."

Based on the commission's finding, the National Security Committee ordered the monthlong closure, Allawi said.

Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said the closure was intended to give the station "a chance to readjust their policy against Iraq."

"We do not tolerate those who exploit the freedom of the media," Zebari said then. "These channels have become channels for provocation against the interest, security and safety of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government will not be lenient toward such behavior."
It's a good thing for Bush that Scaife and Murdock, have the fourth estate bound and gagged in a basement somewhere, otherwise he might have to bleat on about "toleration of those that might exploit the freedom of the media"

Cole says what we have all been thinking

Juan Cole suggests that which has crossed our minds and that which the polite British chaps chose to avoid. First it was "the Plame Identity", for the sequel and possibly more damaging turn of events, we now have "the Packistani Supremacy". Cole goes as far as to suggest that this all might been a result of Presidential Reelection Campaign Related Program Activities™ (And yes, I intend to flog the program activities pony until a village in texas get back their idiot, or that same jackass, accepts a party invitation from Queen Beatrix) First saw this Kos, heres Cole on Khan:
Anyway, Khan had been secretly apprehended by Pakistani military intelligence in mid-July, and had been turned into a double agent. He was actively helping investigators penetrate further into al-Qaeda cells and activities via computer, and was still cooperating when the "senior Bush administration" figure told Jehl about him.

Pakistani military intelligence (Inter-Services Intelligence) told Reuters,

' "He sent encoded e-mails and received encoded replies. He's a great hacker and even the U.S. agents said he was a computer whiz . . . He was cooperating with interrogators on Sunday and Monday and sent e-mails on both days . . ."

In other words, the Bush administration just blew the cover of one of the most important assets inside al-Qaeda that the US has ever had.
As I Flashback to the "Dukes of Hazzard" and wonder if Cooter would have so royally screwed the pooch. As I posted previously, The charming Brits stopped short of placing blame for their "hurried up" raid, on this leak, But Juan is an American, charming as he may be.....:
The announcement of Khan's name forced the British to arrest 12 members of an al-Qaeda cell prematurely, before they had finished gathering the necessary evidence against them via Khan. Apparently they feared that the cell members would scatter as soon as they saw that Khan had been compromised. (They would have known he was a double agent, since they got emails from him Sunday and Monday!) One of the twelve has already had to be released for lack of evidence, a further fall-out of the Bush SNAFU. It would be interesting to know if other cell members managed to flee.
I suggested earlier that George might wish to take on a new nom de guerre, I suggested King Merde(s) because every thing the dude touches turns to shit, this latest misadventure confirms the legitimacy of the title.
Why in the world would Bush administration officials out a double agent working for Pakistan and the US against al-Qaeda? In a way, the motivation does not matter. If the Reuters story is true, this slip is a major screw-up that casts the gravest doubts on the competency of the administration to fight a war on terror. Either the motive was political calculation, or it was sheer stupidity. They don't deserve to be in power either way.
Sing it Brother, Shout it from the rooftops. Dubya is looking more and more each day like a composite characature of Gilligan, Gomer Pyle, Cooter, and my favorite, Cletus the slackjawed Yokel competing at the special olympics in the govermentin competition. Cole lets the other shoe drop:
So one scenario goes like this. Bush gets the reports that Eisa al-Hindi had been casing the financial institutions, and there was an update as recently as January 2004 in the al-Qaeda file. So this could be a live operation. If Bush doesn't announce it, and al-Qaeda did strike the institutions, then the fact that he knew of the plot beforehand would sink him if it came out (and it would) before the election. So he has to announce the plot. But if he announces it, people are going to suspect that he is wagging the dog and trying to shore up his popularity by playing the terrorism card. So he has to be able to give a credible account of how he got the information. So when the press is skeptical and critical, he decides to give up Khan so as to strengthen his case. In this scenario, he or someone in his immediate circle decides that a mere double agent inside al-Qaeda can be sacrificed if it helps Bush get reelected in the short term.
By now it should be abundantly clear that when this administration speaks, thry are using words from a different dictionary, than the rest of us. In this dictionary, Clear means dirty, up means down, heathy means "the Bald Mountain nature preserve, politics equals policy, Conservation means Halliburton will conserve the US treasury in its numbered Swiss Bank accounts, and the War on Terror means the destruction of everything that is good about America. Following this line I feel a need to quote Digby again.
One of the secrets of conservative America is how often it has welcomed Republican defeats.
That's no surprise. You have to be either a fool or a patriot to feel the duty to govern after a Republican has been in power. They come in to office, reward themselves and their rich friends, totally fuck up the country and then leave the mess for the Democrats to clean up. Then they use their time out of office assassinating the characters of the Democrats for fun and profit preparing the way for them to get back into office and fuck it all up again. These people are not interested in governing in a democratic system, which takes negotiation, compromise and patience. They are about power which requires far less complexity.
Blotchy the Babboon assed, Dauphin has dug us into a Marianas trench type of hole in pursuit of that irresistable snipe of a war on yet another verb. If only the fourth estate, was not bound and gagged, slowly starving to death in a closet of some long abandoned house, We might never have allowed this spectacularly incopetent adventure to progress, if started at all, to the ninth ring of hell.

Bob Herbert picks up the cat 'o nine

MYT columnist Bob Herbert, yesterday joined a list of folks who should be reluctant to fly in small aircraft. In a column excoriating the administration, he asks the pertinant questions, ones that would have had geargie boy blowing a gaskit if he had presented them at the Unity gathering, where the simian sovereign was photo opping for ethnic folks. He introduces us to a couple of kids who grew up and joined the army together, and at the ages of 20 perished four months apart:
No one has a clue how this madness will end. As G.I.'s continue to fight and die in Iraq, the national leaders who put them needlessly in harm's way are now flashing orange alert signals to convey that Al Qaeda - the enemy that should have been in our sights all along - is poised to strike us again.

It's as if the government were following a script from the theater of the absurd. Instead of rallying our allies to a coordinated and relentless campaign against Al Qaeda after Sept. 11, we insulted the allies, gave them the back of our hand and arrogantly sent the bulk of our forces into the sand trap of Iraq.

Now we're in a fix.

Theatre of the Absurd, comedy of errors, its like Pere Ubu meets Br'er Rabbit, and they run off to join the Keystone Cops. (and all that cool stuff I had before the crash took it away-save early and often folks)Herbert has a few questions that shoul have been given more than a cursory glance prior to this "Land war in Asia":
What's the military mission in Iraq? Can it be clearly defined? Is it achievable? At what cost and over what time frame? How many troops will be needed? How many casualties are we willing to accept? And how much suffering are we willing to endure here at home in terms of the domestic needs that are unmet?

Neither Lyndon Johnson nor Richard Nixon was honest with the American people about Vietnam, and the result was a monumental tragedy. George W. Bush has not leveled with the nation about Iraq, and we are again trapped in a long, tragic nightmare.

As for the so-called war on terror, there is no evidence yet that the administration has a viable plan for counteracting Al Qaeda and its America-hating allies, offshoots and imitators. Whether this week's clumsy sequence of press conferences, leaks and alerts was politically motivated or not, the threat to the U.S. is both real and grave. And it can't be thwarted with military power alone.
For all his faults, Pere Bush, chose a simple objective, get Hussein out of Kuwait and I seem to remember nearly a half million coalition forces for that "Monty Burns inspired Kuwaiti slant-drilling Operation" restoration project. Not to forget the fact that with a "nudge as good as a wink to a blind bat" assurance that we didn't care if He invaded Kuwait he was still a quasi ally at the time.Lets let Bobs last graph speak for itself:
The United States is the greatest military and economic power in the history of the planet. But it lacks a unifying sense of national purpose at the moment, and seems uncertain, even timid, as the national security challenges continue to mount. That is what a failure of leadership can do to a great power.

Friday, August 6

Damn the Torpedos, Full Speed Ahead

Great movie review

I'm glad that I wasn't the guy who directed "the Village". I hope that this dude doesn't stop in this neighborhood.

Solemn violin dirges permeate the sound track. It is autumn, overcast and chilly. Girls find a red flower and bury it. Everyone speaks in the passive voice. The vitality has been drained from the characters; these are the Stepford Pilgrims. The elders have meetings from which the young are excluded. Someone finds something under the floorboards. Wouldn't you just know it would be there, exactly where it was needed, in order for someone to do something he couldn't do without it.

Eventually the secret of Those, etc., is revealed. To call it an anticlimax would be an insult not only to climaxes but to prefixes. It's a crummy secret, about one step up the ladder of narrative originality from It Was All a Dream. It's so witless, in fact, that when we do discover the secret, we want to rewind the film so we don't know the secret anymore.

And then keep on rewinding, and rewinding, until we're back at the beginning, and can get up from our seats and walk backward out of the theater and go down the up escalator and watch the money spring from the cash register into our pockets.


Stupidity Related Intelligence Program Activities

Oh those moments, the "Oh Shit", the "You can't be Serious", the "Holy Mother of God" moment. Due to outrage fatigue, cognitive dissonance, and astonishment overdose, we'll have to file this story in the "Why am I not suprised", category of moments. Apparently an attempt by the administration to cover its ass, resulted in the "outing" of an undercover pakistani operative, and may have caused British anti-terrorism operatives to move up a planned raid against terrorist suspects in England:
ISLAMABAD/LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. officials providing justification for anti-terrorism alerts revealed details about a Pakistani secret agent, and confirmed his name while he was working under cover in a sting operation, Pakistani sources said on Friday.

A Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, who was arrested in Lahore secretly last month, had been actively cooperating with intelligence agents to help catch al Qaeda operatives when his name appeared in U.S. newspapers.

"After his capture he admitted being an al Qaeda member and agreed to send e-mails to his contacts," a Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters. "He sent encoded e-mails and received encoded replies. He's a great hacker and even the U.S. agents said he was a computer whiz."

"He was cooperating with interrogators on Sunday and Monday and sent e-mails on both days," the source said.
Probably working furiously trying to get some last minute work done because his jig was up. Stupid. Isn't this exactly the type of intelligence we need? Did I wake up this morning in Coveryerassistan

The New York Times published a story on Monday saying U.S. officials had disclosed that a man arrested secretly in Pakistan was the source of the bulk of information leading to the security alerts.
We find out the day or two after this latest Security alert, that it was based on information pre-dating 9/11, so in response they inadvertantly 'out' an agent working with us. If I was an operastive, I would think twice before working with this crew. Meanwhile across the atlantic:
A U.S. official said on Friday one of 12 suspects caught in raids in Britain this week was a senior al Qaeda figure, and Washington would try to extradite him.

But British police said they had been forced to carry out their swoop more hastily than planned -- a day after Khan's name appeared in the New York Times as the source of information behind the U.S. alerts.

On Monday evening, after Khan's name appeared, Pakistani officials moved him to a secret location.

The next day British police mounted the sweep that caught the 12 suspects. Such raids are normally carried out late at night or in the early morning, when suspects might be at home and less likely to resist.

But showing clear signs of haste, British police pounced in daylight. Some suspects were taken in shops; others were caught in a high-speed car chase.

Being the nice chaps that they are the Brits are stopping short of blaming the idiots in the bush administration. Here are what some in the intelligence community are saying.

"If it's true that the Americans have unintentionally revealed the identity of another nation's intelligence agent, who appears to be working in the good of all of us, that is not only a fundamental intelligence flaw its also a monumental foreign relations blunder," security expert Paul Beaver, a former publisher of Jane's Defense Weekly, told Reuters.

Kevin Rosser, security expert at the London-based consultancy Control Risks Group, said such a disclosure was a risk that came with staging public alerts, but that authorities were meant to take special care not to ruin ongoing operations.

"When these public announcements are made they have to be supported with some evidence, and in addition to creating public anxiety and fatigue you can risk revealing sources and methods of sensitive operations," he said.

Exactly. Can we get some grown ups back in charge. Please, for the love of god and everything Holy.

Sometimes you say OH SHIT!!

I was over at back to iraq, and had an Oh Shit moment. What caused it? A report that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was very sick, possibly close to death. I am by no means an Iraq expert, but I knew enough before the war started to realize the abject stupidity demonstrated by any comparison to Germany and Japan post WWII. I was operating under a foolish premise that it is much easier to build a democracy in a homogenous environment, free from sectarian or religious conflict. Call me stupidiot, but I have a hankering for history and I was pretty sure the neocons had it terribly wrong. Back to Sistani and Oh Shit!! The Ayatollah was a stabilizing force in the south a man respected by almost everyone, I am firmly convinced that resistance would have been far worse if he had not been around. If he shuffles off the mortal coil things could get ugly in a hurry.

While the Shi’a south seems to be on the verge of conflagration, Baghdad and elsewhere is rife with rumors that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is dying of a heart problem. He has been flown to Beirut and will continue on to London for treatment. From his office in Los Angeles:

Due to many calls, inquiring about the health of our grand scholar, Ayatollah Seyyid Seestani [sic], please be informed that he is sick with a heart problem and is under the supervision of several medical specialists. We hope that they send us a report about his well being as soon as possible.

As we thank all of those who are asking about his health, we urge all the Mo’mens to raise their hands in supplication to the Almighty Allah swt to bestow upon him health and shade him with total protection as soon as possible.

It should also be known that the Ummah of Islam, particularly the Shi’a, are in dire need for his presence in this sensitive era, the time that requires brave stands and honorable decrees.

Peace and blessings be upon you all.

Predictably, a representative for Sistani in Baghdad, Sheikh Jalaladin al-Sagheer, claimed to know nothing about anything, but would get back to me.

Despite al-Sagheer’s studied cluelessness, Sistani’s flight out of the country indicates his health condition is indeed very serious, because he hasn’t left his home in Najaf in years. His reclusiveness is, in part, a source of his authority, lending him an oracular air.

The man is a highly respected cleric in a position that can only be gained through earned respect, rather than a boatload of cash from daddy and his palls. Juan Cole chimes in:
If Sistani dies it might affect the political development of Iraq. It is not clear that the other three grand ayatollahs have Sistani's high opinion of parliamentary democracy rooted in popular sovereignty. He would probably be succeeded by Muhammad Said al-Hakim, an Iraqi and distant cousin of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). SCIRI certainly does not have a long-term commitment to democracy, though Muhammad Said al-Hakim has never identified with that party himself. The other two possible successors are Bashir Najafi, a Pakistani, and Muhammad Fayad, an Afghan. Bashir Najafi is more vehemently anti-American than Sistani. Another contender is Sayyid Kadhim al-Haeri, sometimes called the "fifth grand ayatollah", who is still in exile in Qom. He is a follower of Iran's Khomeini and a radical reactionary on social issues. He had been Muqtada al-Sadr's mentor but has broken with him.
Without Sistani around the likelihood for a pro - US government, let alone a democratic state diminishes substantialy, if indeed it was ever a possibility. If fighting erupts over a power vacuum that arises should Sistani die, life get's much more complicated for everyone involved. We are not yet through the looking glass folks, take a long look at the architects of this folly.

George if you get a fancy invitation to a party being thrown by Queen Beatrix, please accept.

Hiroshima redux

The mayor of Hiroshima, had some advice for Dear Leader™ :
The Mayor of Hiroshima, Tadatoshi Akiba, marked the 59th anniversary of the first atomic bomb attack yesterday with an attack on the United States for its pursuit of next-generation nuclear weapons, and called for a ban on nuclear arms by 2020.

"The egocentric world view of the US Government is reaching extremes," Mr Akiba said at a service in the city's Peace Memorial Park.

"Ignoring the United Nations and international law, the United States has resumed research to make nuclear weapons smaller and more 'usable'," he said.

In June the US Senate approved spending for the Bush Administration's research into - but not development of - new nuclear bunker buster and mini-nuclear warheads.

Before Mr Akiba spoke, a bell pealed at 8.15am yesterday - marking the time when the US A-bomb levelled the city, 690 kilometres south-west of Tokyo.

Tens of thousands of survivors, residents, visitors and officials from around the world remembered the bombing victims by observing a minute's silence. Afterwards, 1000 doves were released.

In brief remarks, the Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, reaffirmed Japan's policy banning the production, possession and transport of nuclear weapons within its borders.

Hiroshima city added to a list - encased in a stone cenotaph - 5142 names of those who have died from cancer and other long-term ailments over the past year, raising the toll to 237,062.
Whats the point of Nukes if you cant use them. I hope that this research results in the development of firecracker sized nukes that we can fire off during the fourth of July. I'm thinking that that would be beyond cool.

Speaking of Anniversaries

Fifty-nine years ago at around 8:15 in the morning (japanese time) an atomic weopon exploded over Hiroshima.

and our Fearless Leader™ wants to start building a new class of smaller bunker busting nukular devices, now ain't that cool

Time flies when yer havin fun

I am happy to announce that the codpiece has been lowering the quality of political discourse for just over a month now, adding to the not insubstantial weight of bloviation on the interweb. I have to admit that I am all the more impressed by the guys that have done this better and for much longer than I have. While I really miss hanging out in the Whiskey Bar, Billmon is required reading. Over at Hullabaloo, Digby keeps knocking them out of the park. Atrios, nee Duncan Black, has established fantastic community over at the Eschaton, as does Markos Zuniga over at the Daily Kos. For single author blogging about news and political analysis, Billmon and Digby are least likely to piss me off, so I read just about everything they write.

For a humorous take on the News of the day, I like to head over to BartCop and WTF is it now. Maru has some of the best nicknames for members of the administration i.e. Snarly McCrashcart=Cheney, and lots of pretty pictures. Speaking of Humor, The Rude Pundit is the guy I would most like to have a drink with in Blogistan. I am pretty sure that we would end up on the floor in the fetal position, gasping for breath, while laughing our asses off. I have never met anyone as willing as I to trawl the depths of depravity and despair for humorous effect until I found the Rude one. Before I forget, (the other) Roger Ailes is also a must read.
Because I love the boxed blockquote and would like to share some of the lesser known but fun places to visit with you and because I can, here we go: Attaturk at Rising hegemon, Rorschach at No Capital, Athenea and freinds at First Draft, Sid at Sids Fishbowl, The Mahablog, and Corrente
If you are looking for news that is likely to be buried by the mainstream media hit Buzzflash. If you are looking for a breakdown of how the SCLM slants the news, The Daily Howler, and Media Matters are must reads. They go where god fears to tread, analysing transcripts from Punditopia, and various news articles and op-ed pieces. If the idea of hanging out at Town Hall frightens your children, not to worry World 'O Crap takes care of that particularly disgusting heavy lifting for us.

In other words there are lots of better places to hang out than in this little corner of blogistan, but don't worry, I'll keep plugging away and try to do my share in flogging stories that need to see the light of day. If nothing else this has been a cathartic exercise, for yours truly. Thanks for dropping by and please feel free to leave a comment or two, any feeback is appreciated.

Thursday, August 5

Bad News for W in Rush's hometown

Greeted by a throng of people in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Edwards climbed into the bed of a Pickup truck and delivered an impromtu speech:
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards (news - web sites) climbed aboard the back of a pickup truck for an impromptu rally Thursday after hundreds of supporters showed up in the parking lot of the motel where he stayed overnight.
Edwards had planned to spend just a few minutes shaking hands with supporters before heading to St. Louis, where he and John Kerry (news - web sites) will board a westbound campaign train. Instead, he delivered a short speech in which he pledged a Kerry administration would work to create jobs, improve health care, fight terrorism and protect veterans.
Thats pretty cool, a buch of people show up at your motel, why not give 'em some turkee.
The turnout was a bit of a surprise in heavily Republican Cape Girardeau, the hometown of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. Many in the crowd said they were simply ready for a change.

"I don't believe in the war situation, and I don't like the way the economy is going," said Roy Davault, 78, of Cape Girardeau.
"They are not just out for the metropolitan areas. They have concerns for the rural areas as well," said Jiles Markham, 42, of Advance. "The level of leadership we've gotten from Washington has really hurt rural America."
Let us recognise that no matter how much the SCLM tries to keep bush's ass out of the fire, there are many regular people out there who are tired of the BS and aren't drinking Karl's Kool Aid anymore. I think after a couple of days in the dumps that we are back and motivated.

Fun with book covers

Over at, fun is being had with Michelle Malkins new book cover.

Instajackass is perturbed. No link, I can't hardly believe I visited myself.

I couldn't help myself

Image Hosted by
I got this from a hilarious site that i suggest you visit. This image appears here, and the site homepage is here.

The AP whodathunk

The AP calls it misspeaking, that which was pulled from the whitehouse website on the previous post. In an article titled: Bush Insists His Administration Seeking 'new Ways to Harm Our Country'
the focus on the money quote
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
Interesting way to frame it.

Bush signs defense spending bill

Is it me or did I just hear the Money sucking Hoover™ fire itself up.
Second, this bill meets our commitments by making sure that our armed forces have every tool they need to meet and defeat the threats of our time. This bill provides $25 billion in emergency appropriations to support current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the front lines in the war on terror. This money will buy more armored Humvees, more ammunition, more fuel, more spare parts. It will upgrade our helicopters with the latest equipment, allowing them to fly more safely in the dangerous theaters.
The second sentence confirms my suspicions, another 25 billion in emergency appropriations, what was that sound, oh yes, the creation of numbered accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. I keep wondering why we wen't to war without enough armored hummers, amunition, fuel, spare parts, etc. It might just be me but it sounds like the military is in trouble.
This bill provides $10 billion for systems to defend against the threat from ballistic missiles. Later this year, the first components of America's missile defense system will become operational. This will fulfill a pledge I made to the American people more than four years ago. America and our allies face a deadly threat from ballistic missiles armed with the world's most dangerous weapons. And we will deploy the technologies necessary to protect our people.
Missle defence gets 10 billion. Awesome. Maybe it will work this time, color me doubtful though.
Third, this bill meets our commitment to America's Armed Forces by preparing them to meet the threats of tomorrow. Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we. We must never stop thinking about how best to defend our country when we all must always be forward-thinking.
Did you really want to end that third sentance with "and neither do we". I mean it's like a dangling modifier or something. It kind of implies that the administration is dedicated to harming the country or something. That fourth sentance just doesn't make sense

Laugh a minute Cheney

Wow, the democrats are making it nigh on impossible for this administration to govern. At a time when the republicans control all branches of government. Snarly McCrashcart, at a campaign stop in Arkansas, blamed democrats in general and John Kerry and John Edwards specifically for high gasoline prices.
The Bush-Cheney campaign accuses Senate Democrats of blocking a Bush energy plan that would increase petroleum drilling and energy conservation and provide new tax breaks and other incentives to spur exploration and production.
Wouldn't that be the "Cheney energy plan", developed in secrecy, with big oil companies. Kind of like the Fox writing the henhouse rules. Increase drilling (anywhere, anytime, regardless of evironmental impact). Increase conservation (yeah right, if you're talking about conservation of the US treasury in your Swiss bank account.). Tax incentives for exploration and production (is there nothing that cannot be accomplished via government handout). I think Halliburton does business in oil, didn't Snarly work for them or something?
"John Kerry and John Edwards voted no," Cheney said. "It's another area where I think there is a significant difference."

Cheney advocated increasing domestic oil production in wildlife areas in Alaska and other regions that are off-limits to development.

"We have put ourselves into a box. The only thing I can think of to do is to keep pushing for a comprehensive energy policy," he said. "We are at the mercy of those international oil prices."

Why do those damn internationational oil prices hate america? Why do the democrats? If we were only able to open up anwar we would not have to import a drop of oil. See its easy.
On the GWOT he shares his vision:
Cheney said Bush's re-election is crucial to making America safer.

"This campaign is about what kind of strategy (voters) want. Do they think the president and the rest of us who serve him are on the right track?" he asked. "Sometimes the other team is stuck in the pre-9/11 mentality. They haven't made the transition."

Cheney said the heart of the strategy for the war in Iraq is to do what the coalition is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq training, supporting and equipping locals to take over the political and security responsibilities for their own country.

"We don't want to leave too soon and leave a mess there," he said. "The bottom line is ... to leave behind the kind of government that will never again be a safe haven for terrorists."

Crucial to american safety, the botched jobs in Afganikitty and iraq. Leaving the first one before the job was finished has left Afganikitty a haven for terrorists, and Iraq had a government that was not a safe haven, untill we screwed the pooch and adopted the flypaper strategy. What he is really saying is that the giant money sucking Hoover is not finished looting the US treasury, I mean rebuilding Iraq.

Wednesday, August 4

Tbogg made me do it

I usually avoid heading over to Freeperville, but this post at TBOGG made me do it. I have to admit that the vitriol, was less than I expected, but I only trawled the first page of comments.
If I were Springsteen I would be worried if Kerry won the election. Kerry's buddies in AlQaeda want to blow New Jersey off the face of the earth too.
I got nothing-this argument is airtight.
Didn't John Lennon threaten to do something like this in 1972? I find it so amusing that celebrities believe that they are so important and so many people just hang on their wisdom. Honestly, how many mindless twits are there that allow their opinions to be formed by rock stars?
I know, it just boggles the mind that someone might choose to exercise their first ammendamant rights
"Honestly, how many mindless twits are there that allow their opinions to be formed by rock stars?"

Believe it or not there are lots of impressionable young people out there that are swayed by Hollyweird idiots and "rock" stars. Sad...sad...sad.
I know, if only we could mandate that schools only use fox news and Rush Limbaugh for their curriculum.
I still have all 3 of my Dixie Chicks CD's, which have been collecting dust since their anti-Bush tour.

Waiting for my next target shooting weekend with the guys to dispose of these properly. We will see how many "Wide Open Spaces" my 30-06 makes in these.
Me too, I love to mix song titles with gun references, just to prove my street cred.
Ever wonder who is behind this well orchestrated hate effort of media, Hollyweird, unions? Can we use the hate laws?

It is not any more what is wrong, or what they can do better, it is hate of President who is trying to steer the country into safety and prosperity, away from bunch of perverts, corrupted prostitutians that found themselves out of power and are screaming in despair. The more they do, the more pathetic they look, more people realize how dangerous it would be to let them win elections. F'(Reep) sKerry, Chicksy Dicks and other purchased Moorons that keep appearing according to well crafted schedule of propaganda. Vote the ba$tards out, your vote is what counts, use it!

Hate laws-----hmmmmm. Political dissent is hate. I'm not sure who you can vote out.....why did I do this again, oh yeah that bastard made me do it.

Reading the article, they are more than anti-Bush. The money will go to a pro-socialism organization with the stated view of making America more "progressive" and defeating conservatism.

Natalie Maines has found herself some nice friends to play with. I would never patronize any of these leftist losers, but at one time I did like the Dixie Chicks.

By the way, I heard this advertised on Tampa radio the other day as a "political tour".

I used to like their music too before their politics got in the way. Me too, I am scared of political tours, I mean like the crap outta me scared.

I keep trying to figure out why I hate america soo much, I keep trying to stop, but it's like Hollywierd has it's tentacles in me. Is there a medicine that anyone can recommend?

Tuesday, August 3

Tolerance Wmerican style

From Americablog, continuing a mini 'southern fried hilarity' meme:
CONWAY, Ark. (AP) A farmer who acknowledged spreading 3 tons of manure along the route of a gay rights parade pleaded innocent Monday, saying he was exercising his constitutional right to free speech.
Two former radio disc jockeys pleaded innocent to handing out gay pornography at the June 27 parade.
The farmer, Wesley Bono, 35, of Greenbrier, is accused of dumping the manure in front of a gay couple's home and spreading it along two city streets.
Three tons of manure and gay porn, whats not to love. A farmer who hates fags and thinks that dumping 3-tons of shit on the street is an exercise of his 1st ammendmant rights, I'll have to think about that. Let's see if this shoe fits. Dubya hates Saddam, bombas the shit out of Iraq, topples his regime and occupies the country, I guess that could be an expression of his 1st amendmant rights, well maybe not, but hell the law is alive, a flexible thing is it not. Back to the Disc jockeys and the gay porn:

In the obscenity case, Phillip Beard and Christine Brown, both disc jockeys at KABZ-FM of Little Rock, are accused of handing out obscene material to minors. A 16-year-old boy said Beard, dressed only in a skimpy black swimsuit during the parade, gave him a DVD of gay porn.

KABZ canceled their show.

''I don't feel as though I've done anything wrong,'' Brown said after her arraignment. She called the legal process ''very overwhelming.''

Why does the first amedmant hate america? Unfortunately Christine, the IOKIYAR umbrella
doesn't cover every boneheaded activity even if it is in the devine service of intolerance.


Trent Lott is High-larious:

PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Sen. Trent Lott today told an enthusiastic Neshoba County Fair crowd that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry is “a French-speaking socialist from Boston, Massaschusetts, who is more liberal than Ted Kennedy.”

It was a line that Lott said he’d been working on for a while, and it produced loud applause from hundreds of Mississippians gathered at Founders’ Square, the centerpiece of the historic fair.

Trent Lott is "a knuckle-dragging, proto-fascist, racist from Pascagoula, Mississippi, who is more liberal that Adolph Eichmann". I'll bet he spent more time than I did. The only thing that made mine work was looking up Trent's hometown. Some other wisdom:
Lott also told the crowd that America is fighting a war on terrorism, and “you don't want to change horses in the middle of the stream.”
Nor in the midddle of an appocalyspse.............And the laughline of the night?
Lott referred to the Kerry-Edwards ticket as “waffles and grits.”
Now thats the kind of knee-slapping, good 'ole boy, southern fried humor, that plays well in the Mississippi hinterlands

Twice Baked Potatoes

Turns out that the elevation of the Terror Alert in Newark, DC and NYC,
The federal government raised the terror alert level yesterday to orange for the financial services sectors in New York City, Washington and Newark, citing the discovery of remarkably detailed intelligence showing that al Qaeda operatives have been plotting for years to blow up specific buildings with car or truck bombs.
was based on pre 9/11 intelligence.
More than half a dozen government officials interviewed yesterday, who declined to be identified because classified information is involved, said that most, if not all, of the information about the buildings seized by authorities in a raid in Pakistan last week was about three years old, and possibly older.
"There is nothing right now that we're hearing that is new," said one senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the alert. "Why did we go to this level? . . . I still don't know that."

One piece of information on one building, which intelligence officials would not name, appears to have been updated in a computer file as late as January 2004, according to a senior intelligence official. But officials could not say yesterday whether that piece of data was the result of active surveillance by al Qaeda or came instead from information about the buildings that is publicly available.

If we had any questions about the motives or integrity of the bush administration, we might answer the "senior law enforcement official" with "because that terrorist hairball coughed up by the Pakistani's didn't have the bang that they had hoped, and since Kerry is leading in the polls, they want to steal some of his thunder." That is of course, if we had any questions. From an op/ed in the NYT titled Mr Bush's Wrong Solution:

At a time when Americans need strong leadership and bold action, President Bush offered tired nostrums and bureaucratic half-measures yesterday. He wanted to appear to be embracing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, but he actually rejected the panel's most significant ideas, and thus missed a chance to confront the twin burdens he faces at this late point in his term: the need to get intelligence reform moving whether he's re-elected or not, and the equally urgent need to repair the government's credibility on national security.

There do seem to be a lot of appearance based administrative program activies, going on in the whitehouse and the campaign trail. In fact It seems to me that the whole term has been either that or thoecratic related program activities, with a dash of politically convenient terror alert-related program activities. The op/ed continues:
But it's unfortunate that it is necessary to fight suspicions of political timing, suspicions the administration has sown by misleading the public on security. The Times reports today that much of the information that led to the heightened alert is actually three or four years old and that authorities had found no concrete evidence that a terror plot was actually under way. This news does nothing to bolster the confidence Americans need that the administration is not using intelligence for political gain.
This administration crys wolf for politcal gain, would gangbang a goat in the rotunda if it would guarantee re-election. They have plenty more looting to accomplish and war crimes trials to avoid. I won't be suprised when another attack makes it past the dragnet of faith based security.

Monday, August 2



Retired former Airforce Chief of Staff, General Tony McPeak takes little boy blue to the wood shed.
"The report of the 9/11 commission makes this clear: Fighting terrorists alone just doesn't work," he said. "If our enemy hatches a terror plot in Rome, we will need help from the Italians. If German intelligence knows the whereabouts of a senior al Qaeda member, America must have that information."Instead, he said, Bush has "alienated our friends, damaged our credibility around the world, reduced our influence to an all-time low in my lifetime, given hope to our enemies."

McPeak said he backed Bush in 2000 because he "had hoped this president could provide" the leadership needed to face modern threats. But disillusionment, he said, has led him to change his voter registration from Republican to independent and shift his support to Kerry.

"The real deal for me is not whether a strategy or a plan or an idea is Republican or Democrat, but whether it makes us safer," he said. "And it means an awful lot to me that John Kerry fought for his country as a young man."

"We who have some experience -- who have seen war close up and sent troops to battle -- know that victory is not won by single combat," he continued. "War is not like that. War is a team sport.

"We built the team that won World War II. We put together the great team that won the Cold War. That's why what has happened over the last three years is such a tragedy, such a national disaster. Rebuilding the team won't be easy."
Sure it will., Once returned to office, he can outsource the state department and intelligence agencies to Halliburton, the military to Balckwater. This will allow him to get down to the nitty gritty of domestic policy, and stretch his legs as a peace president. Out of the mouth of babes, for consumption by rubes at a recent campaign stop:
"We will engage these enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere, so that we do not have to face them here at home".
Where have I heard this one before- thats it -operation flypaper, aka the theory.
"We'll continue to lead the world with competence and moral clarity'.
Did I miss the memo? Could someone tell me when we started?
"We put together a strong coalition -- a strong coalition joined together to defeat the terrorists. There are nearly 40 nations involved in Afghanistan, some 30 nations involved in Iraq".
Wash rinse repeat, still a lie? Wash rinse repeat, still a lie? Saying the same shit over and over and over and over and over and over and over, does not a truth make.
"And so last September, while our troops were in combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I proposed supplemental funding to support them in their missions. This legislation provided funding for body armor and other vital equipment for hazard pay, for health benefits and ammunition and fuel and spare parts"
That wouldn't be the september you were trying to cut combat and family support pay, would it. And while were at it, what are our troops doing without body armour, other vital equipment, amunition, fuel, and spare parts in the first place, I'm thinking that a few heads may need to roll.

Sunday, August 1

Fancy new Pants

Inspired by a few comments in a thread over at Atrios a couple of nights ago I learned how to make a trademark™ symbol. So my interest piqued I decided to jump back into the HTML waters and see if I could gather some FU.
While at Kos last night I recieved an answer to my inquiry about how to post with a shaded boxed blockquote, which I'll share with you here:like so: [div class=blockquote]text go to inside box here[/div], replacing [ ] with < >. So suddenly I was one of the cool kids.
I tried the technique with this blog and it failed, because the above fomatting is intended for use with Scoop. A bit of research later indicated that I would have to modify the CSS on the template of this page.

I'm going to search for the original source of the code I inserted, now if I can only remember the original search string......back later with some links to help you if you are inclined to get under the hood of your blogspot blog......So you can join the cool kids.