Saturday, December 31, 2005

Associated Press Wins!

Jonah Goldberg caught this one today. Wow. Just effin' Wow.

Just when you thought you couldn't find a story stupider than this one, the AP finds a way to out-do it.

The White House Web Site has a hit-counter!!!!!!

Congratulations to the Associated Press for coming in under the wire to win the stiff competition of "Most Inane News Story Of The Year".

In accepting the award an anonymous AP spokesman was quoted as saying:

"We're hoping to start off 2006 right out of the gates with a seven column-inch story on fonts used at the Department of Justice's website. Unnamed sources have reported that some are more than 18 points, and while they aren't technically illegal, administration critics have noted that Nazis also used 18 point fonts for some of their publications. Sources close to the administration have reported a rift between moderates at Justice and the extremist right-wingers in the Vice President's office who favor the oversized fonts."

They put themselves in danger so that we are not

Amy Proctor put together a fantastic video montage of photos in tribute to the men and women doing out fighting. It's really well done. Go watch it.

And a big thanks to Stop the ACLU for pointing it out.

Finally - A warning label that should be there but isn't

For Christmas my parents gave my son a pair of Moon Shoes. They are sort of oblong cylinders about eight inches tall with rubber bands stretched over the top to which you are supposed to strap your kid's feet. All I can say is a plantiff's attorney must have come up with this brain-child. Two little personal trampolines strapped to a kid's feet.

He had them on for thirty seconds. Then, mean Daddy had to take them away. No way a kid wears these things for 15 minutes and comes away with anything short of a torn ACL. They say they can hold up to 180 lbs, however.

Tonight we'll see how they perform on an icy sidewalk with my 200 lb business partner as the operator after half a bottle of Captain Morgan's. I'll try to get some video for Garfield Ridge.

*** Update ***

Not even the Captain could get my buddy to try this "made for Jackass" device. I think his exact words were, "How fucking stupid do I look?"



Nod to Say Anything.

About two months ago leftist hack Mike Luckovich decided to celebrate the 2000th KIA in Iraq by creating this cartoon out of the names of the dead.

Now, obviously he wasn't seriously asking why. If someone does not to know why after over three years of debate, they are NEVER going to know. When someone is still asking why after that much time, they simply don't WANT an answer.

A teenager in GA decided to give him one, though. Danielle Ansley decided to spend her time on a little project as a reminder for all the people who still pretend they don't know why we went to war in Iraq. The Atlanta Journal Constitution was good enough to publish it.

Michelle Malkin has also posted Danielle's letter to the editor which accompanied it. Go read it.

On a side note. I know it's an obvious thing, but it's so obvious that I don't think about it that often. How cool is it that a teen-aged girl in Georgia can spend her time doing this nifty work, and BAM, I get to see it in St. Paul, MN?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Pack of Chihuahuas attacks police officer

I'm sure there's use for this story as a metaphor for something, but I'm just left with a really funny picture in my head. I wish it had been caught on video.
FREMONT, Calif. - A pack of angry Chihuahuas attacked a police officer who was escorting a teenager home after a traffic stop, authorities said.

The officer suffered minor injuries, including bites to his ankle, police Detective Bill Veteran said.

List of scandals

I'm going to attempt to compile and keep updated a list of all the "scandals" that are going to bring down the Bush administration any day now.

The Astute Blogger did this back in July, but with new things to outrage Democrats happening weekly, it needs updating. The first nineteen are from him.
  • "Mission Accomplished"
  • Valerie Plame
  • His National Guard service
  • Abu Ghraib
  • The Niger/Yellowcake line from the SOTU
  • "Bush Lied!!!!!" about WMD
  • Enron/Kenny Boy Lay
  • Cheney's Energy Task Force
  • "Iraq is a diversion" by Richard Clarke
  • Humvee armor
  • The missing explosives at Al Qaqqa (This one was only a scandal in the week prior to the election. The NY Times ran 10 stories in that week on this. Never mentioned it again after.)
  • Gitmo as a gulag
  • The Lancet "study" showing that 100,000 civilians had been killed by October of 2004.
  • "Funeralgate" This is the "scandal" that Bush doesn't go to soldiers' funerals
  • The looted Baghdad museum
  • "Bush said he'd fire any leaker now he's not saying that"
  • Someone urinated in the vicinity of a Koran
  • The flu pandemic of 2004 that killed half the population of the U.S. because Bush didn't make enough flu vaccine
  • Bush stole the Ohio election
The following are others that I can think of off the top of my head.
  • The "plastic turkey"
  • There was some reporter in the White House who was gay
  • The Dept of Education was paying for good publicity
  • The military was paying for good stories in Iraq
  • The military has been using white phosphorus weaponry for 60 years
  • Something about Halliburton
  • Kitty Kelley revealed Bush doing coke at Camp David
  • NSA "domestic spying"
  • The CIA not publicly stating where terrorists are being held
  • The Downing Street memos
  • Bush considered knocking down Al Qaeda's propaganda arm of Al Jazerra.
  • Mayor Nagin wasn't allowed to use his buses to evacuate New Orleans because Bush was on vacation
  • Eavesdropping on foreign diplomats at the UN.
Anything I've missed?

Added since original post:
  • Sinister Cookies -- I'm not even sure if it's possible for this one to be less serious than I think it is.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Why can't the media grasp this?

Over at Big Lizards they call attention to yet another example of the press, this time the Washington Post failing to understand why there is a distinction between uniformed soldiers and non-uniformed illegal combatants.

That is what the title of this article should be; instead, the Washington Post misleadingly titled it U.S.Airstrikes Take Toll on Civilians, as if to say that the U.S. military is killing Iraqi civilians indiscriminately.

In recent days, the US military has increased the number and tempo of airstrikes. Terrorists, rapidly losing local support, have taken to hiding amongst unwilling civilians. The terrorists barge into civilian houses, either hoping to use the family as human shields -- or simply to kill them and blame it on Americans

Ellen Knickmeyer needs to write on the blackboard one hundred times, "When combatants hide amongst civilians in a war zone it gets civilians killed, that's why they're illegal combatants." She then needs to be given the task of printing out and distributing one of the best essays I read all year, Sanctuary, at Eject, Eject, Eject.

Bush Attacker in Georgia Sews His Mouth Shut

From MOS News:
A man charged with the attempted murder of the U.S. President George Bush in Georgia has sewed up his mouth in what he says is a protest at a violation of his rights.

Vladimir Arutunyan is accused of throwing a hand grenade at Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili while they were addressing a public audience on Freedom Square in central Tbilisi on May 10. The grenade did not explode.
In an related story, Howard Dean, Barbara Boxer, John Kerry, and John Conyers have all failed to follow suit. They do however continue to engage in other self-destructive acts of nutballism.

Thanks to The Jawa Report.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Kooks to gather in Washington to demand impeachment

We The People remind Congress that they too took an oath to defend the Constitution, from both enemies foreign and domestic. 1. Call or Fax Congress and let them know, impeachment or else. 2. Organize State of the Union MOSH II protest, gather in DC to put the pressure on Congress the week before the SOTU. 3. Jan 31st, surround the capitol building, project truth videos to the riot cops, remind them that they too took an oath to defend the Constitution.
This is just too much to hope for. Please let Babs Boxer and her other barely sentient colleagues get involved. Many have mentioned the Rasmussen polling data showing that 64% of Americans approve of the NSA gathering intelligence against foreign terrorists even when they are speaking to people in this country, but Captain Ed puts the politics of it really succinctly:
After having the New York Times blow a secret defense plan all over its front page for the last two weeks and having Democratic Party leaders fall all over themselves in condemning the Bush administration for protecting the nation from attack, the Democrats will undoubtedly expect the American public to share their outrage. Unfortunately for Howard Dean, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi, the American electorate has proven themselves to be quite a bit more concerned with winning the war than with sharing the radical Left's paranoid fantasies.


Does anyone else get concerned about what their Tivo thinks about them? Seriously... what the fuck have I ever done in my life that would make anyone or anything think I would want to watch Love, Lies and Lullabies starring Susan Dey on the Lifetime Movie Network?

Oh yeah. Dammit.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The War is Over!!!!

Thank God! Can this please not be a discussion next year?

I don't know who is more annoying, those who get annoyed by generic holiday greetings or those who are apologetic about acknowledging the one they celebrate.

Christmas post

I got a whole lot of nice gifts from my family this year. Probably my favorite is a framed set of pictures of my son that my parents had taken.

Probably father's pride, but he does the bow tie thing way better than Tucker Carlson.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Patriot Act deal reached in Senate

I guess they came up with a way to break the filibuster. It still has to meet with the approval of the House and the President. I'm really hoping that the House says, "OK, we'll extend it... for 10 months. We'll have this debate in October of next year."

Keep the important decisions around elections, I say.


For all the people who were kind enough to leave comments... Thank you. Somehow comment moderation got turned on with Haloscan without my knowledge. It's been fixed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The NSA thing

I'll let the lawyers argue about the legalities of this. From what I've read, Presidents have been doing this for over 20 years, and the courts have approved.

On the politics of this, I can't believe the Democrats are so blinded by Bush Derangement Syndrome that they are actually going on TV to argue before voters that they don't think that NSA should be listening in on conversations of people when they are talking to Al Qaeda terrorists.

They just can't help themselves. How many ways can they think of to make themselves look like they're on the other side?

Democrats are worried that the NSA is intercepting calls from Al Qaeda to people in the United States and vice versa.

I'm willing to bet that most people are worried that they aren't intercepting all of them.

** Update ** Georgia at The Daily Kos thinks that this story about a FISA judge resigning is bad news for Bush because the NSA story isn't going away. Well, a) Chief Justice Roberts will be appointing his successor and b) why would Bush want this story to go away? By all means let's talk for the next few months about how Bush wants to be able to intercept communications of Al Qaeda terrorists to people in the U.S. and how the Democrats DON'T want that.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Showtime's Sleeper Cell

I really liked the show.

What I found myself thinking about while watching it though, was the politics of it. I don't mean how it will affect our political system or anything that weighty. What I mean is that anything filmed with terrorism as the subject carries the baggage of what 'side' it's on.

Even writing that last sentence made me skip a beat. Everything is part of the battlefield in this war.

I'm looking around the blogosphere for others that had opinions on the show. I'm looking to see what correlation there is between political beliefs and opinions about the mini-series.

So far I haven't found a single one. I found a fellow MN Blogger who had the opposite opinion on Sleeper Cell, but very similar politics. I'm just going to add to this post as I find more.

Should we invade Iraq?

I'm not sure how to put this more clearly. The argument about whether we should invade Iraq is moot. It's been decided. No matter how well you argue that we shouldn't invade Iraq you won't make us not have invaded Iraq. It's irrelevant whether you think we should invade Iraq. We've already invaded. No matter what you say about the reasons for invading Iraq, we're already in Iraq.

I'm trying to think of other ways to say it. Even if you get your masturbatory fantasy and get a signed confession that Chimpy McBushitlercohaliboil lied and invaded Iraq to steal their oil and give it to the Saudis and Jews, it doesn't change the fact that it is a moot point.

I recognize that there is a segment out there to whom nothing is more important than gaining political advantage on the President. You do nothing to help the nation by trying to show that we should not invade Iraq. That point is moot. That decision was made in 2003. It might be an interesting argument to have in a history class. But as far as making current decisions or judgments on how to proceed in Iraq it is irrelevant.... because... one more time... we already invaded Iraq. You think that decision was wrong, but arguing about it is pointless. See, we've already invaded so even if you win the argument, we still invaded.

Ok, let's review. Important argument in 2003? Should we invade Iraq? Important argument in 2005? Not, "should we invade Iraq?" Know why? Because we invaded Iraq in 2003. There isn't any point arguing about whether we should invade Iraq... we already have. Arguments about whether we should invade Iraq have been mooted and are irrelevant to current decisions.

Are there any more ways to make this rather simple point? Well, Dave at Garfield Ridge made this point a bit better than I a while back.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Nancy Pelosi is right

Pelosi Hails Democrats' Diverse War Stances

Pelosi is absolutely right... the Democrats have a widely diverse field of opinion on the war. Some of them think we should run. Some of them think we should apologize first. Some Democrats think we should wet ourselves, THEN apologize then run. Lots of diversity.
Tough to know which of them is right. But lots of diversity.

Linked at Carnival of the Clueless.

I thought about it some more

I don't care what office. I don't care who his opponent is. John McCain has got to lose. If he is running for the office, I oppose him... If I can do something for his opponent I will. If there is someone on this planet who can direct me how to keep this self-aggrandizing fuck from getting more power, I want your advice. If Lindsay fucking Graham runs against him I'll vote for that lightweight. But I will never, ever EVER vote for McCain. If McCain winds up in a general election against Hillary, I will campaign for her... I will go out and convince people who otherwise wouldnt' vote to get out to the polls and vote for her.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Just Another Reason

John McCain should never come anywhere close to the presidency. How many times does this guy need to preen before the cameras and be fellated by Tim Russert before he's satisfied? His "be nice to terrorists" legislation that he was withholding funds from the military in order to get passed has apparently gotten through. It will prevent the saving of lives such as this from Never Yet Melted:

There is reason to believe that grabbing Mr. Zubaydah, shaking him, and giving him a good slap, may very well have saved a great many innocent American lives by thwarting a project he had been working on in his spare time, involving the detonation of a dirty bomb somewhere in the United States:

AP 11 Jun 2002:

Jose Padilla, the alleged American al-Qaida operative, became a protege of top Osama bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah late last year, even as the war on terrorism raged around them in Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.

But Abu Zubaydah fell into U.S. hands in late March, before Padilla could carry out any attacks, officials said. The prisoner became one of several sources of information that led U.S. authorities to Padilla.

And this from Junk Yard Blog:
Col Allen West, US Army. Stationed in Iraq and interrogating a captured terrorist, West tired of the terrorist’s intransigence and fired his gun near the terrorist’s head. Not at him, or even in his direction, but beside him. The terrorist quickly divulged his knowledge of the positions fellow terrorists had staked out to ambush American troops. West’s actions saved lives. Is what West did torture? Should it have been done? How should West have been treated after the fact?
I sure hope that terrorist wasn't "degraded" by COL West's actions. Who really cares about the American lives saved, right? We have our reputation to think of. If COL West hadn't done that, I bet that Al Qaeda would be abiding by the Geneva Convention and accepted rules of warfare right now.

John McCain not only should never get the GOP nomination for the presidency, he should be voted out of the Senate.

If the administration agreed to this they need to find some way to stop it. The executive branch needs to simply ignore it, or find some mechanism to invalidate it. This cannot stand.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Brit Hume's interview with the President

Brit Hume is probably my favorite journalist on TV. When he asks questions of people he's actually trying to elicit information from the person he's speaking with. He asks questions, then listens for the answers, lets them answer completely, and then asks relevant follow-up questions. You never get the impression he is trying to set up the interviewee for the followup. This is Tim Russert's specialty.

Too many interviewers go into them to try to get the subject to say what the interviewer wants. Hume is one of the few that actually seems interested in having the audience learn something from the exchange.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Best conversations of the weekend

From my five year old at my grandmother's visitation:

In front of the casket. "Boy, she really IS dead." ..... My mom... "I don't think he'll be giving the eulogy."

From my old college roommate the attorney:

After his daughter rejected potty training in a rather obvious way. "Who'd have thought four years ago that I'd have 3 kids in 3 years?"..... me..... "Who'd have thought four years ago that you would ever react so well to having someone take off their pants and piss on your floor?"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Nancy Pelosi promises to put politics over principle

There have been a lot of accusations that the Democrats have been making political considerations a higher priority than the war effort. I happen to be one who has made those accusations. I want to thank Nancy Pelosi for confirming it. Rich Lowry points out a piece in the WaPo that I didn't see.
The Washington Post reported today: "Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said that while Pelosi estimates more than half of House Democrats favor a speedy withdrawal, she will lobby members in today's meeting against adopting this as a caucus position." Got that? So Pelosi is going to lobby her caucus not to take the position that she supports and that they support too. In other words, she'll effectively tell them, “Please, whatever you do, don't make my mistake and say what you really believe about Iraq.”
Does anyone think these people care about ANYTHING more than political gain? Abortion, I suppose. Who would ever trust them to make decisions on matters of war?

Just last week Ted Kennedy and Tom Daschle admitted to the LA Times that Democrats may have voted differently back in 2002 had the vote for war been held after the elections. For Chrissakes folks, whether it's Hillary! carefully constructing her position on the war or Kerry's disgusting performance from 2003-present, pick a fucking position. At least make an effort at convincing us you believe in it. If you think the nation would be better off immediately withdrawing from Iraq, say so. If you don't, then STOP saying so. It absolutely disgusts me that what is driving your positions is your political calculations.

At least I can say that much for Howard Dean. He doesn't seem to think about the politics before spouting off with his nutjob defeatist crap. And as James Taranto pointed out today, Howard Dean's position has received some international support:

Reuters reports from Dubai that Dean's views have been echoed by an important figure in the international community:

Al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged militants to attack oil targets in Muslim states and said Osama bin Laden was still leading its battle against the West. . . .

Zawahri said the United States had suffered a defeat in Iraq and it was only a matter of time before it pulled out its troops.

"Iraq is a catastrophe for America and Americans will leave, it will only be a matter of time.

"I say to Bush: You entered Iraq with lies, you will lose Iraq and lie about it and you will leave with the pretext that you have completed your mission. . . . America only has to decide on the number of (troops) it wishes to lose before withdrawing."

Air marshal misleads public into thinking passenger is threat

From the AP:
A passenger who claimed to have a bomb in a carry-on bag was shot and killed by a federal air marshal Wednesday on a jetway to an American Airlines plane that had arrived from Colombia, officials said. No bomb was found in the bag, a U.S. official said.
Clearly this air marshal lied about the threat posed by this man. He misled us all into thinking the man had a bomb. My guess is that he was trying to enrich his friends who work as paramedics and in the funeral industry. Why did this lying liar go after this man when he should have been out looking for Osama Bin Laden? Was it because of his ties to the Carlisle Group?

It is time to immediately withdraw air marshalls from our flights. Eighty percent of Americans want the occupation of our airlines to end. And the flight attendents with those small portions of peanuts are reminiscent of Bergen Belsen.

The Noonzwire has lots of updates. The right wing nuts at Stop the ACLU, The Jawa Report, and Froggy Ruminations are already making excuses.

They support the troops

Jeff Englehart and White Phosphorus

There has been a lot of talk about the "admission" by the pentagon that we used white phosphorus rounds in Fallujah. I want to concentrate on an exchange in an interview with Jeff Englehart (one of the soldiers interviewed in the Italian documentary.

Oh, yeah. I mean, I definitely heard it being called for. And I even talked to reconnaissance scouts after the siege, and they said they had actually called for it.

Yeah, they probably called for all sorts of rounds; smoke, illum, HE, Airburst, and cluster munitions. This isn't news. They actually called for it... no kidding.

The Pentagon spokesperson says that they use this for concealment, or some sources say they use it for illumination.
The Pentagon Spokesperson is right. They do use it for concealment. Are you implying otherwise? Some sources say it is used for illumination. Those sources are wrong. Some sources call it a chemical weapon. They too are wrong.

But, I mean, I think that's ridiculous, because we would use — just based on my training as a reconnaissance scout myself, we would use illumination separately, as it’s on exclusive ground.

His own training as a reconnaissance scout? What MOS is that? This guy was a Cav Scout? When and where was he trained as a reconnaissance scout? He's right that illumination rounds are different from what are commonly referred to as WP. More on this later.

Since my training, we were taught that white phosphorus is used for troops out in the open or to destroy equipment and that it burns and that the only way to prevent the burning is to douse it with wet mud.

Yep. I can't argue with this. He seems to think that it's up for debate whether getting hit with white phosphorus is a dangerous proposition.

To me, it's definitely a chemical weapon in the fact that it burns, and it burns indiscriminately.

Well, actually the fact that something burns ISN'T the definition of a chemical weapon. It's the definition of an incendiary device. Gasoline burns, so does diesel fuel. Are molotov cocktails chemical weapons? Also, what DOESN'T burn indiscriminately? We discriminate on what we fire the stuff AT, but the munitions, of course, don't discriminate any more than HE rounds do.

So, I mean, even if the Geneva Protocol says it's illegal, I don't see how we're able to use it and then say that it's used for our own cover or illumination, when it actually could hurt our own troops.

Well, first of all, the Geneva Protocol might say it's illegal. They can call landmines, bullets, bombs or whatever 'illegal.' Unless our nation has signed on, we aren't violating any laws. Secondly, the fact that he doesn't know how these rounds could be used for our own cover shows how little he knows about the rounds. They put off smoke. Lots of smoke. They don't put off as much as HC rounds, but they put off smoke. Just because you wouldn't fire the rounds onto your own position, doesn't mean you wouldn't use it for concealment. You might fire it between an enemy position and your own, or fire it ON an enemy position where it will hinder their view and hopefully kill some of them.

So I just think that, from the very top, the big problem with this war is that from the very top to the lowest level soldier, everyone's being lied to.

Well, now we know where he's coming from with his criticism. It's all a lie. Only HE knows the truth. Wonder which side of the political divide he's on?

And then the news gets gentrified by the mass media to make it sound like, ‘Oh, well, white phosphorus is a good weapon that we can use to help spot targets,’ when it's actually designed to burn its victims.

Money quote. This guy doesn't even understand the difference between spotting rounds and illumination. He manages to sound arrogant about how ignorant the mass media is while displaying his own ignorance. He seems to think that "spotting targets" means allowing us to see them rather than trying to mark them. He doesn't even understand that when you are spotting targets you ARE TRYING to kill them. You spot a target by putting smoke or some other marking signal upon it so that others can blast the shit out of it. "We can use it to help spot targets" shows this guy knows nothing about what he's talking.

I must admit that several things confused me about this thing. The first was the State Department, talking about things they are less knowlegable than SPC Englehart.

The State Department, in response, initially denied that U.S. troops had used white phosphorous against enemy forces. "They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters."
This made absolutely no sense to me. WP rounds aren't fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions. Like Dave at Garfield Ridge wrote, "Stay in your lanes."

Second, was my own ignorance. I didn't know that illumination rounds include phosphorus. NO ONE refers to illumination rounds as WP rounds. I finally learned about this from a commenter over at Confederate Yankee, and it cleared up a lot of the technical confusion. The fact that phosphorus is used in illumination rounds does not make them a WP round.

I've been really infuriated about this whole invented episode. People are intentionally slandering our nation and our military and they are using people's lack of familiarity with weapon systems to confuse them. If a guy like Jeff Englehart, who probably has some military experience, doesn't know the difference, what are people who have no knowledge on the subject going to think? ANYONE who claims that the United States military used chemical weapons in Fallujah is either ignorant and doesn't know what he's talking about, or is deliberately lying. There is no other explanation.

But they are probably showing their "true patriotism."

Jeff Goldstein absolutely nails this:

But I suspect that somewhere deep inside, even the true believers realize, each time they repeat debunked claims as if they’re received truths, that they are lying. Unfortunately, when you believe the ends justify the means, political opportunism and lies in the service are what you insist are largers truths seems a small price to pay for a few moments of dissembling.

In fact, such behavior is downright patriotic.

Update -- INDC Journal has the science on the stuff, and Mudville Gazette has some rather revealing quotes from SPC Englehart.

Update again -- Big Lizards has a few more things that just sound off about this guy. I'm really suspicious about his credentials. He just doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. Calling Bradleys "tanks", claiming that WP doesn't burn clothing, only the skin underneath, referring to it as "Whiskey Pete" rather than "Willie Pete".... just little things that make me suspicious.