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  • Monday, March 31, 2003


    What the hell?

    As of, oh, now, 10pm Monday night, Blogger has blown out my template and added some weird graphics.

    Hopefully, by the time you read this in the morning, things will be back to normal.

    posted by tbogg at 9:58 PM




    Driving while Iraqi.

    The Army announced tonight that American soldiers killed seven women and children this afternoon after a vehicle in which they were riding failed to stop when troops from the Third Infantry Division waved them down and fired warning shots.

    This is just the start. While the media likes to keep us focused on the big booms ("Explosions heard in Baghdad...this is a recording") the real "little'' war is going to go on forever with random killings of both civilains and American "liberators". Sniper attacks. Car bombs. Suicide missions. It's going to be daily guerilla warfare where no American soldier will ever be able to let down their guard. Soon American distrust of the Iraqis will boil over into hatred and resentment, and a year from now, maybe sooner, we will have our first Iraqi My Lai.

    Saddam or no Saddam, we...are...in...their...country, and we were not invited this time.

    Call it Cheney's law: Those who ducked out on their chance to fight in Vietnam are doomed to force others to repeat its mistakes.

    I pity our servicemen.

    posted by tbogg at 9:30 PM



    Pre-emptive attack

    What with the attacks on Rumsfeld becoming the lead story everyday, Republicans have started their counter-attack...on retired General Wesley Clark. Digby pretty much nails it:

    When Coulter and Limbaugh both launch character assassinations on the same day, you know the word has gone forth. The Republicans are worried about General Wesley Clark.

    Looks like the RNC blast-fax-o-matic is back in operation.

    posted by tbogg at 9:11 PM



    The Angel in America

    Tony Kushner has a few things to say...and isn't afraid to say them:

    "We're seeing this sort of grotesque, illegitimate recrudescence of the Reagan political agenda that was solidly rejected in three straight presidential elections," Kushner said. "Bush started with no political clout after the electoral college fluke and the political theft of the elections process by the Supreme Court. He'd be in the toilet now if he had not benefited tremendously from 9/11."

    That's just a warmup. Here's what Kushner had to say about why Bush steered the country into a war with Iraq:

    "He wants to secure oil markets by unilateral military action and give back as much as possible to the very rich. If he didn't start this war and if Congress hadn't given up its war powers, what would we be doing but watching Wall Street swooning, unemployment going up and the economy tanking. This guy is a catastrophe. He's given away the goodwill of the world and turned America into a rogue nation."

    On the war itself:

    "Right now, we've got to hope he gets what he wants: a zipless little war. Who doesn't want to see Saddam Hussein go away? Hooray, George W. Bush. But there could be consequences far beyond what we see now. Even if he manages to 'liberate' the Iraqi people, what then? I'm happy the Taliban are gone, but the Afghan people have been largely abandoned."

    On patriotism in a time of war:

    "We're all supposed to just shut up and fall in line when Americans are in danger, when our bombers are bombing. It's nonsensical that we must respect this ghastly president when our troops are on the line. This guy is a disaster and an idiot who executed so many people as governor of Texas. He's really just an appalling little plutocrat."

    And for good measure:

    "The heartbreaking thing is, this is a turning point in history. Listen to me. I'm going on and on and on. But I love this country, I love the accomplishments of American democracy. But we've never done anything like what we're doing: waging war with imperial purposes. It feels very tragic, especially because it's being done in the name of 9/11. Before he was elected, Bush openly acknowledged a hatred for New York City, and now he's benefiting from our tragedy."

    I think that about sums it up for me.....

    (Thanks to Chicklet)

    posted by tbogg at 1:07 PM



    "What's the sin of the children? What have they done?"

    The Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld axis looks like they are having a "hearts and minds" problem.

    The boys were killed at 11 a.m. today when, as another relative recalled, "the sky exploded." Daif had been digging a trench in front of the family's concrete shack that could serve as a shelter during the bombing campaign that continues day and night. He had been working with Sabah Hassan, 16, and Jalal Talib, 14. The white-hot shrapnel cut down all three. Seven other boys were wounded.

    The explosion left no crater, and residents of the Rahmaniya neighborhood struggled to pinpoint the source of the destruction. Many insisted they saw an airplane. Some suggested Iraqi antiaircraft fire had detonated a cruise missile in the air. Others suggested rounds from antiaircraft guns had fallen back to earth and onto their homes.

    Whoever caused the explosion, the residents assigned blame to the United States, insisting that without a war, they would be safe. "Who else could be responsible except the Americans?" asked Mohsin Hattab, a 32-year-old uncle of Daif.

    "This war is evil. It's an unjust war," said Imad Hussein, a driver and uncle of Hassan. "They have no right to make war against us. Until now, we were sitting in our homes, comfortable and safe."

    ...and Bush sleeps like baby.

    posted by tbogg at 8:42 AM



    Should we call it "Fox Radio"?

    Clear Channel, of course.

    Clear Channel Communications has long been the company that the music industry loves to loathe, so aggressively dominant as the nation's biggest radio broadcaster that some critics refer to it as the Microsoft of music. Now, though, Clear Channel finds itself fending off a new set of accusations: that the company is using its considerable market power to drum up support for the war in Iraq, while muzzling musicians who oppose it.

    The company's executives insist they have no political agenda, and even some of its most outspoken business antagonists say many of the latest accusations do not stand up to scrutiny. But the criticism has grown sufficiently loud that Clear Channel hired a crisis communications firm last week to help it handle the uproar.

    One former Clear Channel executive said that the company's rapid rise — from 43 radio stations only eight years ago to more than 1,200 now — had not prepared it for the bruising life at the top of the industry. "They don't recognize the playing field they are playing on now," this person said.

    The critics, whose views have been expressed in newspaper articles and columns, and on Salon.com and other Web sites, cite an unusual series of pro-military rallies drummed up by Glenn Beck, whose talk show is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, a Clear Channel subsidiary. He has convened the rallies in part to counter antiwar comments by celebrities.

    The company's critics also point out that some Clear Channel country music stations stopped playing the Dixie Chicks earlier this month after the group's lead singer, Natalie Maines, told fans during a London concert, "We're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

    Clear Channel's opponents either imply or say outright that Clear Channel has taken these steps to build support within the Bush administration at a time the Federal Communications Commission is considering regulations over how many radio stations a single company can own.

    John Hogan, the president and chief executive of Clear Channel's radio division, dismissed the idea of a corporate political push as "laughable," saying, "I won't kid you and tell you that Clear Channel is above criticism, but the brush that is painting us as evil and mean-spirited, and with some sort of onerous political agenda is one that I have a hard time getting my arms around." Clear Channel, he said, is purely a company that builds audiences through entertainment so that advertisers can sell goods and services to them. "We're in the business of having the largest possible audience," Mr. Hogan said, not "the most politically unified audience."


    More difficult is explaining away the 18 "Rally for America!" events that had been held through last Friday at the urging of Mr. Beck and co-sponsored by one of his advertisers, Bills Khakis. Thirteen of those rallies were co-sponsored and promoted by local Clear Channel stations, including one held March 15 in Atlanta that was sponsored by Clear Channel's WGST and attended by an estimated 25,000 people. Further plans for rallies include events in Tampa; Lubbock, Tex.; and Dothan, Ala.

    Such rallies are highly unusual, said a longtime radio executive at another company, who, citing Clear Channel's power, spoke on condition of anonymity. "It flies right in the face of the fact that the government has always said that radio stations should have a balanced view of what is going on, serve the public interest and not take sides," the executive said.

    Clear Channel, which hired Brainerd Communicators, a financial communications and crisis-management firm, last week to help deal with the controversy, did not make Mr. Beck available for an interview. But in a draft op-ed article he circulated, Mr. Beck described the rallies as a grassroots response to his personal broadcast call to "Mr. and Mrs. America" to urge their local radio stations to hold rallies. "There is no corporate conspiracy, hidden agenda or grand design," he wrote. He derided criticism of his campaign as "a concerted media effort to marginalize the voices of patriotic Americans."

    posted by tbogg at 8:02 AM


    Sunday, March 30, 2003


    London calling to the faraway towns

    Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls

    posted by tbogg at 11:40 PM



    Now caddying for Miguel Estrada....Byron York

    Byron York sure has a woody about getting El Topo on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Sam Heldman points out that York is full of crap.

    posted by tbogg at 11:27 PM



    A Volcano Virgin for Peggy.

    What's a little human sacrifice among friends if it will make you and the townspeople feel better? Remember those old jungle movies where the terrified villagers would offer up a Volcano Virgin (sit down, Ben) to an angry volcano god so they could live in peace again? Looks like the Jungle Princess of the Upper West Side thinks a little war is just the kind of thing to get the world to see that we're serious, goddarn it, and, hey, we could stock up on a bit more self esteem while we're in the neighborhood:

    The second Gulf War will not be quick. And one senses no one will doubt, when it was over, that every medal was earned.

    But the long haul is going to mean and demonstrate more than that. A resentful world is about to see that America had to fight for it. They are about to see America could fight for it--that we had and have the stomach for a struggle. Our implacable foes and sometimes doubting friends will see that America's armed forces don't just shock and awe, we stay and fight.

    The world will be reminded that America still knows how to suffer. In a county as in an individual, the ability to withstand pain--the ability to suffer--says a great deal about character. It speaks of maturity and courage, among other things. The world knew half a century ago that America will absorb pain to reach progress. It is not all bad that they are seeing it again.

    Americans too may be heartened to see that we know how to absorb pain. Deep in the heart of many pro-invasion thinkers has been a question they do not ponder for it could only be answered in time. It was: Can we still take it? It won't be bad for us to see that the answer is yes.

    Our armed forces, the professionals, are going to learn that they can do it. They've wondered too. They are also going to learn how to do their jobs better, because they're really going to have to do the job. They are not going to feel when they return that they got all dressed up and the party was canceled. They're going to know they put on 50 pounds of gear and then slogged through a sandstorm to take town after town. And no one is going to wonder if there was grade inflation in the medal giving.

    Pretty brave words from the saucy New York divorcee who has the inner strength and stamina to crank out 900-1200 words a week for us to slog through...with, or without, her non-fat, no-foam venti vanilla latte.

    But come a clear and sunny June 27th morning, with "the fresh warmth of a full-summer day", when the stones have been piled up in the village square by the young boys, and Mr. Summers brings out the black box.

    Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box. Mrs. Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. "Come on," she said. "Hurry up."

    "It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs.Hutchinson Noonan screamed, and then they were upon her.

    posted by tbogg at 11:04 PM



    Where in the world is Mike Hawash?

    I received an email today regarding the arrest and detention of Mike Hawash, and I think it's very important that the word gets out on this. According to the Oregonian:

    A software designer was being held Thursday as a material witness in a terrorism investigation after FBI agents searched his Hillsboro home and his office at Intel.

    According to neighbors and co-workers, Maher Mofeid Hawash, 38, was the target of Thursday's searches by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

    Hawash was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on Thursday afternoon and put on a "material witness hold" at the request of the U.S. Marshal's Service, a sheriff's department spokesman said. A material witness designation allows the government to hold someone in order to compel testimony.

    The FBI issued a short statement Thursday morning saying that in an "ongoing investigation," the Joint Terrorism Task Force had executed four federal search warrants in the Hillsboro area and that the Hillsboro Police Department assisted in the searches.

    Prosecutors and investigators refused to say who the target of their search was or what they were looking for. The federal search warrants filed in the case are sealed, meaning the information in them is secret. Asked whether anyone was taken into custody as a result of the searches, officials said they could not answer the question because of a court order.

    It is important to note that Hawash is an American citizen and, citizen or not, he is being deprived of his basic Constitutional rights. This is the kind of thing that happens when the highest court in the land steps in and picks the President who then appoints a paranoid Christian bigot, who couldn't beat a dead man in an election, as the Attorney General.

    For more information on Hawas please go here and help anyway you can.

    Democracy begins at home. We ought to consider trying it again.

    posted by tbogg at 5:24 PM



    You've probably already read it...

    ...but go read Mo Dowd again.

    We're shocked that the enemy forces don't observe the rules of war. We're shocked that it's hard to tell civilians from combatants, and friends from foes. Adversaries use guerrilla tactics; they are irregulars; they take advantage of the hostile local weather and terrain; they refuse to stay in uniform. Golly, as our secretary of war likes to say, it's unfair.

    Some of their soldiers are mere children. We know we have overwhelming, superior power, yet we can't use it all. We're stunned to discover that the local population treats our well-armed high-tech troops like invaders.

    Why is all this a surprise again? I know our hawks avoided serving in Vietnam, but didn't they, like, read about it?

    I don't know about you, but I would have paid good money to see Rumsfeld's face when he read that, and believe me, he read it.

    posted by tbogg at 11:55 AM



    Both hands on the wheel, Buddy.

    Amy over at Rubber Nun points out the growing problem of masturbating drivers.

    Something, by the way, that's not as prevalent in Iraq because they're not free like us.

    USA! USA! USA!

    Two questions come to mind: Is this why they still put ashtrays in cars?...and is this what they mean by autoeroticism?


    posted by tbogg at 11:24 AM



    Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy

    Shakespeare's Henry IV, fearing the people's perception of his reign as illegitimate, advises his slacker son, Prince Hal, to direct the public's attention elsewhere.

    "I had a purpose now to lead out many to the Holy Land, lest rest and lying still might make them look too near my state. Therefore," says the old politician to his drunken, frat-boy son, "(let) it be thy course to busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels."

    Ashamed of the boy who carouses with Falstaff and friends, Henry nonetheless educates his unlikely heir in Realpolitik. The kid converts, dumps his party animal pals, and becomes "the mirror of a Christian king." Newly crowned, he takes his dad's advice. We meet him in "Henry V," seeking support for war from his financially needy advisers. Then, careful to distinguish the manly English from the effeminate French, he invades France.

    Shakespeare's evergreen history plays – always equivocal about the uses of power and lately subject to darkly ironic readings – parallel recent American events so closely it's eerie. But Shakespeare wrote nearly 200 years after Henry the elder's death in 1413, dramatizing this Lancastrian family ambition when Elizabeth I was securely on the throne.

    Today's playwrights aren't waiting. Living in democracies where heads aren't supposed to roll for art, they're bolder than the Bard, quicker with the mighty pen.

    Tony Kushner struck a week before the American bombs rained down on Iraq, publishing the first scene of his bleakly exuberant new play about a baffled Laura Bush sweetly reading to Iraqi children. Iraqi children in their dear little pajamas – dead Iraqi children.

    Kushner won every theater award in the known universe for his dazzling two-parter "Angels in America" (1993), about the state of the nation during the Reagan era and the age of AIDS. His most memorable creation was Shakespearean in dimension: the closeted, red-baiting attorney, Roy Cohn. Kushner next proved prescient months before Sept. 11 with his "Homebody/Kabul," about a curious Englishwoman dismembered in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

    Now, in his "Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy," First Lady Laura Bush arrives in heaven (or is it?) to read to the children. Well-meaning and innocent, though clueless as to who she actually married, the former librarian asks questions to the young ones seated around her. Being souls, they cannot answer. But an angel interprets.

    One died in 1991 when a smart bomb mistook a shelter for a nuclear plant, the angels tells her. Another from dysentery when a bomb polluted the water near a cement factory. And so on.

    The first lady responds with a long monologue about her favorite writer, Dostoevski, her favorite novel, "The Brothers Karamazov," and her very favorite scene – the harrowing Grand Inquisitor sequence. It's a little advanced, this scene, for the children, but being dead, she thinks, perhaps they "command a broader view."

    She says she was already miffed at Bushie for teasing her and for going to bed so very early every night. And now, for staining her conscience with the blood of these children, which not "all the perfumes of Araby" can wash away. In a final turn-the-tables passage of "Exorcist"-like horror, she begins to fear that the messianic leader and liberator of Iraq, her husband, may actually be what she thought Saddam was – Satan.

    No word on when the entire play will be premiered. But Kushner has made the first scene available free for readings or performances. Permission "will be happily granted," he says, at MysteryGuardians@aol.com.

    posted by tbogg at 10:50 AM


    Saturday, March 29, 2003


    Andy's Cult of Personality newsletter

    EMAIL OF THE DAY: Some political predictions:

    Once again the media -which is almost genetically anti-Bush- has whipped itself into hysteria fueled by the hope that he will fail. I believe their hatred of him is the motivator and they are indulging in a kind of optimism that this will be his Waterloo. The most obvious comparison is of course Modo and Afghanistan.
    But my point is that the more they screech that we are losing, the GREATER the glory of victory.
    They are walking into a political trap of their own making. I believe they are about to make utter fools of themselves one more time. On some level, a substantial portion of the public senses this, "gets it" and in the end, this will only enhance Bush. They will be doing him a political favor.
    Any politician's career is hardly an important thing compared to the outcome of a war. Bush knows this. He does not care that he is risking all on this. His ultimate goal is life is not political, that is secondary. He has a deeper aspect to him that Clinton -a more "intelligent" president- never had. For Clinton, political victory is the epicenter of the universe. For Bush in this particular, protecting the country is.
    Once again, the second guessers have underestimated Bush, this time by underestimating temporarily our military.

    Without the war, George W Bush, the Steely Eyed Rocket Man is George W Bush the One Termer Just Like His Dad.

    Sully also takes a potshot at a real journalist, RW Apple while he's at it:

    IT'S A QUAGMIRE! Johnny Apple, fresh from a couple of bottles of the best Chardonnay, uncorks a memorable vintage of his: the "This-War-Is-Vietnam" thumbsucker, brought to the table in every conflict, undeterred by its catastrophic record in the past. Actually, there's something vaguely comforting about this kind of piece. Like a rite of spring, it blossoms early in every recent conflict, a slightly different exhausted metaphor each time - in 2003, in the desert, it's "quicksand" - a gentle reassurance that the people who have always got it wrong are saying the same thing yet again. Well, we'll see.

    No. It's not like Viet Nam at all:

    The Marines enter the home, in two-man teams. Soon one emerges with the AK-47 that the Iraqi man had mentioned, and leans it against a wall. "You'll get this back when we go," Simone tells the man. It's common for ordinary Iraqis to have such a rifle. "Have you seen Iraqi troops near here? How recently?"

    He is told that there were soldiers in the area five or six days ago, but that they are now gone.

    And then, from inside the house, an excited Marine shouts: "Hey, we have a machine gun in here!"

    The farmer turns nervous, and begins speaking quickly. He tells the interpreter that his children are ill from drinking the water, and that they have no place to go to school. "Tell him that once Saddam goes down, we're gonna bring food, medical supplies and water."

    Platoon Sgt. Eric Strause, walks out carrying a light RPK machine gun, which the Marines found wrapped in blankets in a bedroom.

    "He's not keeping it," says Strause, 32, of San Antonio. "He never told us he had it."

    "Ask him where he got the machine gun," Simone says. The man says that he bought it.

    "Tell him that it's too dangerous to U.S. troops," Simone says. "We are taking it."

    A moment later Todd, 23, from Monroe, N.Y., brings up a shiny black sighting device used for aiming mortars. It was found in the dresser next to the man's bed. Earlier in the day, Marines from a different platoon had found a mortar tube in a nearby field.

    It's going to be worse.

    This won't be another Vietnam...it's going to be more like Russia's Afghanistan adventure.

    Hope the workers from Halliburton and Bechtel like kevlar.....

    posted by tbogg at 9:27 PM



    Clear Channel strikes again

    Remember this from a few days ago?

    Flag-draped "Rallies for America" across the country are drawing thousands of people to demonstrate support for U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf — a less visible counterpoint to the large crowds who have flocked to anti-war protests.

    Now this....

    Thousands across U.S. rally for, against Iraq war

    In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the steps of the state Capitol were packed with flag-waving war supporters. Police said about 8,000 people showed up, while organizers put the number at 12,000.

    "I knew that today we would show where America is at on this issue," organizer and radio talk show host R.J. Harris said. The 48-year-old noted that an anti-war demonstration at the same site a week ago drew about 100 people.

    That would be RJ Harris of WHP580 owned by...

    Clear Channel Communications.

    And look, they carry the usual suspects, Glenn Back, Paul Harvey, and Rush.

    On a powerful mission to take America back from the liberals, America's greatest American waves the flag for conservatives while uncovering the shenanigans in Washington. No one is safe from Rush's acerbic wit and biting commentary.

    posted by tbogg at 9:16 PM


    Friday, March 28, 2003


    And now for something completely different...

    Susan over at Random Thoughts is talking about the Attack of the 50-Foot Woman and my guess is that you won't find anything like this anywhere else on the Internet.

    At least for tonight.

    posted by tbogg at 9:35 PM




    Blogger has allowed me to add Vote Quimby to the hotlinks.

    Please visit...and behave. You weren't brought up in a barn...except for you red staters...but that wasn't your fault.

    posted by tbogg at 12:46 PM



    Quagmire, Now.

    Bring these guys home.

    posted by tbogg at 12:38 PM



    Dr. Krauthammer and...Dr. Krauthammer.

    As pointed out below. Charles Krauthammer is really big on getting rid of the bad guys in Iraq through military means and everyone should just hush up until the deed is done.:

    And then on Sunday, bloody Sunday, the media discovered that war is hell and descended into a mood as dark as any of Churchill's "black dogs." But the blackness came from confusing two different phenomena: war and battle. The narrow focus of the camera sees not war but individual battles, which, broadcast live, gave the home front the immediate (vicarious) experience of the confusion and terror of combat. Among the chattering classes, a mini-panic set in.

    By Monday the media were in full quagmire mode. Good grief. If there had been TV cameras not just at Normandy, but after Normandy, giving live coverage of firefights at every French village on the Allies' march to Berlin, the operation would have been judged a strategic miscalculation, if not a disaster. The fact is that after a single week we find ourselves at the gates of Baghdad, servicing the longest supply lines in American history, with combat losses astonishingly low by any standard.


    The way to win hearts and minds is not to try to appease those who wish us no good but to stay in Iraq and use the authority of the victor to build a decent and open society. We will not win the propaganda war with words. We will win it by overthrowing Hussein and exposing the nature of his barbarism -- and the shame of those who supported him and tried to shield him from the just fate American and British soldiers are trying to visit upon him today.

    Here's Dr. Chuck...back in the day:

    THERE are two ways to look at war. One school sees it as a temporary emergency, the result of bad people taking control of important countries and wreaking havoc. The other tends to see conflict as endemic, ingrained in human nature and the perpetual striving of peoples for power and dominion.

    Liberals, with their belief in the perfectibility of human nature, tend to believe the first. Dour conservatives tend to share Ambrose Bierce's definition of peace as "a period of cheating between two periods of fighting." The liberal view borrows its prestige from a pretty major example, World War II. The problem, however, is that the Clinton administration deployed the idea indiscriminately to any place it wanted to intervene.

    It was this logic that got us into Haiti, for example. Some evil generals, it was explained, were doing terrible things to the country. Our goal was to get rid of them, restore democracy and fix things up. So we invaded, sent the bad guys into exile and brought back the "democratically elected president," Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Six years later, Aristide held a sham election, sent his thugs to physically attack the opposition and had his senate call for the arrest of the head of the opposition alliance. Haiti remains the impoverished, murderous dictatorship it was when our troops arrived.


    The Albanians did not wait for their Kosovar state. They have already struck. And peaceful Macedonia, some of whose soldiers went into battle this week in sneakers, is a poor candidate to fight a deadly counterinsurgency. This conflict was never caused by one country or one man. Yugoslavia, after an interlude of quiet imposed by totalitarian repression and fear of the Soviet Union, has reverted to its centuries-old state of convulsive ethnic and religious conflict.

    What to do?

    Unfortunately, getting out is not an option. Even though the original commitment was folly, once a superpower makes a commitment to Balkan stability, its very presence creates a new national interest -- credibility -- where there was none there to begin with.

    We have two options: deputize and "Vietnamize."

    (1) Deputize the Europeans to do the dirty work. NATO has just announced that a British-Scandinavian unit in Kosovo will deploy near the Macedonian border. This makes sense. While we're stuck with peacekeeping because of our previous commitment, an escalation to counterinsurgency is absurd. It is the Europeans' front line, not ours. They ought to man it.

    (2) In Vietnam, we tried to get out by getting the locals to replace our soldiers. In this case, ironically, the locals are Serbs. We've already "Vietnamized" one part of the conflict by allowing Serbs to return to a border region that had become a center of activity for the Albanian guerrillas. Macedonia is a harder case, but in the end it may be Serbia that will guarantee the security of Slavs in Macedonia.

    There is little more that we can do about this quagmire. But it should be a lesson the next time a president comes to the American people and asks for intervention in a local war, on the grounds that if we could only get rid of the bad guys, peace and light will reign. Sometimes that is true; most times it is not

    Wow. Looks like Dr Krauthammer has more personalities than Sybil. Maybe he could write himself a prescription for either Hypocaway or Denyitall.

    Better double the dosage, Dr.

    (Thanks to Tresy)

    posted by tbogg at 11:38 AM



    Maybe that should be Steely Eyed Thin Skinned Rocket Man

    Ohh oh. Looks like someone needs a nap ...and a getaway to Camp David (Secret Service Codename: Chickencoop I) this weekend:

    President Bush has "some level of frustration with the press corps" for accounts questioning the U.S. and coalition war plan in Iraq, and he finds it "silly" that such skepticism and questions were being raised just days into a conflict he says is going quite well, according to a senior administration official.

    The senior official said Friday that Bush believes the "war is going well" and that Bush had no doubts about the battle plan or frustration with developments on the ground in Iraq


    Bush appeared somewhat exasperated Thursday when -- appearing with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at a news conference at Camp David, Maryland -- a reporter asked whether the war would take months, as opposed to weeks.

    "However long it takes," Bush said, repeating that line as the reporter pressed him on the matter. "That's the answer to your question, and that's what you got to know. This isn't a matter of timetable, it's a matter of victory. "


    At Thursday's session with reporters, Bush and Blair were planning to take six questions at a brief session with reporters -- three each from U.S. and British reporters. Minutes before the event, it was cut back to two questions for each side, and Bush appeared exasperated with questions about the timetable for the war.

    Presidentin' is hard.......

    How long before he starts hitting the bottle again?

    posted by tbogg at 11:06 AM



    Dude. I am so out of here....

    Des Moines Area Community College President David England is, like, totally bummed, but, you know, you, like, gotta move on, man.

    I did manage to find a picture of President England.

    posted by tbogg at 10:43 AM



    Christian reinforcements poised to invade Iraq.

    Franklin Graham, who hates Muslims as much as his dad hates Jews, is ready to bring to soup, blankets, and the teachings of their Lord and Savior Jesus H. Christ to the shivering wartorn infidels and hellbound of Iraq.

    Haven't they suffered enough?

    posted by tbogg at 10:24 AM



    A tale of two wars.

    Lapsed psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer, who never served in the military, thinks the war is going "just swell".

    By Monday the media were in full quagmire mode. Good grief. If there had been TV cameras not just at Normandy, but after Normandy, giving live coverage of firefights at every French village on the Allies' march to Berlin, the operation would have been judged a strategic miscalculation, if not a disaster. The fact is that after a single week we find ourselves at the gates of Baghdad, servicing the longest supply lines in American history, with combat losses astonishingly low by any standard.

    Col. Jack Jacobs (U.S. Army retired) begs to differ:

    Unless the public is being treated to an exceptional misinformation campaign, the coalition is stretched to the limit. There is not enough combat power to achieve the combat mission, control the population and protect the troops.

    It does not matter that precision-guided missions may be perfectly precise, which they are not, or that the military may have perfect knowledge of enemy targets, which it does not. In the end, the campaign will only succeed when U.S. and British ground troops defeat Iraqi ground troops and occupy the land.

    Given the forces currently at the command of Gen. Tommy Franks, who is directing the war from Central Command headquarters in Qatar, that is not possible. With only two divisions in Iraq and one in reserve, there are no soldiers available to exploit successes, put down major counterattacks, protect interior lines or assault enemy formations along multiple and differing axes.


    One would think that the military experience of planners would have inculcated the wisdom of applying overwhelming combat power from the very beginning of the conflict. Events thus far demonstrate either that they have forgotten the lesson or that CENTCOM has been overruled by those with less combat experience and a more reckless approach to war.

    I guess we should wait for Starship Commander Steven Den Beste to break the tie....

    posted by tbogg at 10:09 AM



    Things to do...people to see...links to visit.

    It's official. Jim's gonna run...maybe. By not fully commiting just yet, he's showing signs of being a politician at heart.

    Fox News ("We make shit up...you buy it...") is taunting Americans exercising their First
    Amendment rights.

    The Solomon Islands found out they got drunk one night on an absinthe binge with the Steely Eyed Rocket Man and apparently enlisted....but they don't remember. Resorting back to the way he wooed Laura, George must have slipped them a rohypnol.

    The media can't get anything right.

    Focus groups don't want anti-war protests. They want fuzzy puppy stories and clown college graduations.

    Sullivan admits to knowing only one thing...and he's wrong about that too.

    The Pentagon is saying that they didn't botch the start of the war..which is why they are adding 120,000 more troops to the 300,000 already there...seven days after the war starts.

    The Steely Eyed Rocket Man's handlers and meat-cutters are preparing a "He's focused" media blitz.

    David Ignatius writes:
    As with Stalin and Hitler, the very brutality of the Iraqi leader has helped create a bizarre mystique -- a culture that mixes fear and adulation. To Iraqis, Hussein has become a kind of human god -- vengeful, unpredictable, implacable.

    But he could very well be talking about George Bush and Free Republic.

    Jerralyn is stalking the Patriot Act (also known as the: Sorry. We're All Out of Freedom, How About a Nice Banana? Act).

    ...and Ted Rall is going to piss everyone off again. Good.

    posted by tbogg at 9:15 AM



    The Clear Channel connection

    Clear Channel Communications, the company that has single-handedly destroyed radio, has really branched into the Rally for America business.

    Flag-draped "Rallies for America" across the country are drawing thousands of people to demonstrate support for U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf — a less visible counterpoint to the large crowds who have flocked to anti-war protests.

    Many of the pro-military gatherings were originated by syndicated radio host Glenn Beck, whose Philadelphia-based show is heard in more than 100 markets. There have been nearly 20 in recent weeks, with organizers estimating total attendance into the tens of thousands


    Beck is syndicated by an arm of Clear Channel Communications, the nation's largest radio station operator with about 1,200 stations. Most of the rallies are organized and paid for by local Clear Channel stations, with financial help from one of Beck's advertisers, clothing manufacturer Bills Khakis of Reading, Pa.

    Clear Channel has a reporter embedded with a Marine unit in Iraq, leading one expert to question whether the company's support for the rallies creates at least the perception that its news report is compromised.

    "When a media company takes an advocacy position on a significant public policy issue, it can certainly undermine the credibility of that media company's journalists," said Bob Steele, director of the journalism ethics program at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.

    Here's what Take Back the Media has to say about Clear Channel:

    There are close ties between the company and President Bush. The Vice Chair of the company is Tom Hicks, a member of the Bush Pioneer club for elite (and generous) donors. The relationship between Bush and Hicks goes back even further, however. The two were embroiled in scandal when Hicks, as University of Texas Regent, was responsible for granting endowment management contracts of the newly created (under legislation signed by Bush) UT Investment Management Co. (UTIMCO). The contracts were given to firms politically connected to both Hicks and Bush, including the Carlyle Group - a firm which has the first President Bush on the payroll and had the second one on the payroll until just weeks before receiving this lucrative business. The board of UTIMCO also included the Chair of Clear Channel, L. Lowry Mays. In addition, Hicks purchased the Texas Rangers from George Bush, making him a wealthy man through a deal that was partially sweetened by a shiny new taxpayer financed stadium, which included valuable land obtained at below market rates through the use of eminent domain.

    Local radio racist and disgraced former San Diego mayor Roger Hedgecock has jumped on the war rally bandwagon.

    Did I mention that he's carried by...a Clear Channel station?

    posted by tbogg at 8:38 AM



    It ain't so, Joe.

    Local columnist Joseph Perkins makes that all too common mistake of equating Bush-bashing with anti-Americanism. For those unfamiliar with Simple Joe, he was hired by the UT as a columnist based on the fact that he was an aide to Dan Quayle. Since when did being a go-fer for the village idiot qualify you for anything?

    Drop Perkins an email (be nice) and help him out. He needs all the help he can get.

    posted by tbogg at 8:19 AM


    Thursday, March 27, 2003


    Wide Open Spaces...Closed Little Minds

    From Eric Alterman:

    Apology from Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks

    As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I now realize that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect.

    I hope everyone understands, I’m just a young girl who grew up in Texas. As far back as I can remember, I heard people say they were ashamed of President Clinton. I saw bumper stickers calling him everything from a pothead to a murderer. I heard people on the radio and TV like Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott bad mouthing the President and ridiculing his wife and daughter at every opportunity.

    I heard LOTS of people disrespecting the President. So I guess I just assumed it was acceptable behavior.

    But now, thanks to the thousands of angry people who want radio stations to boycott our music because criticizing the President is unpatriotic, I realize it’s wrong to have a liberal opinion if you’re a country music artist. I guess I should have thought about that before deciding to play music that attracts hypocritical red necks.

    I also realize now that I’m supposed to just sing and look cute so our fans won’t have anything to upset them while they’re cheating on their wives or getting in drunken bar fights or driving around in their pickup trucks shooting highway signs and small animals.

    And most important of all, I realize that it’s wrong for a celebrity to voice a political opinion, unless they’re Charlie Daniels, Clint Black, Merle Haggard, Barbara Mandrell, Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, Travis Tritt, Hank Williams Jr, Amy Grant, Larry Gatlin, Crystal Gayle, Reba McEntire, Lee Greenwood, Lorrie Morgan, Anita Bryant, Mike Oldfield, Ted Nugent, Wayne Newton, Dick Clark, Jay Leno, Drew Carey, Dixie Carter, Victoria Jackson, Charleton Heston, Fred Thompson, Ben Stein, Bruce Willis, Kevin Costner, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Bo Derek, Rick Schroeder, George Will, Pat Buchanan, Bill O’Reilly, Joe Rogan, Delta Burke, Robert Conrad or Jesse Ventura.

    God Bless America,

    (I guess I need to add a disclaimer here, that this is a parody....)

    posted by tbogg at 9:40 PM



    Embedded on in-bed-with?

    When you get right down to it, "embedding" the reporters was the smartest thing that the Pentagon has done so far in this war. The military controls what they see (and by extension, what we see) and what they report on. These Ernie Pyle wanna-bes (sit down, Michael Kelly) in their Kevlar and bush jackets, and bandanas can't wander off the path to see what is really happening in the forest. And that suits the cable stations and news organizations just fine, making it easier to wave the flag and provide us with "home front" stories featuring the girl he left behind or the stoic rural folks talking about the All American quarterback-son gone off to fight for freedom and democracy and bringing Hardees to the victims of evil. Archetypes sell themselves..

    The end product is "America's war" as opposed to "the war" which is what happens to all who are involved, willingly or not. We have to rely on the foreign press to show us what is really happening as the domestic press looks on disapprovingly, alarmed that the public might see that watching war unfold is a lot like watching sausage being made, and we can't have that. No need to discuss failed international relations or wars of aggression or policy failures or.....well, anything that might give the American public moral vertigo. It's all rah-rah and hey, look at the funny Direct -TV commercial, and hon, can you get me a beer while you're up? Empty calories for empty heads. We've got lots to look at...just nothing worth seeing.

    Here's something that you won't see from the US media.

    I hope you felt shock and awe.

    posted by tbogg at 3:44 PM



    We think we know so damn much.

    We think we know cause and effect. We think we know basic systems and human nature and the arc of time, what sort of hellish road we are paving right this minute, all those big colorful maps and arrows and diagrams and missile trajectories on CNN, all the clusters of little green plastic army men pushed around a giant map table by embittered generals.

    We think we know what will happen to the collective unconscious, to the soul of the population at large when the scowling GOP war hawks issued the order to rain 3,000 multimillion-dollar warheads down on a bedraggled piss-poor food-starved nation in a single day.

    Or when we massacre tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians and lay waste to an entire culture and landscape and history, as a 20-mile-long procession of U.S. troops rumble into Baghdad to kill anything with a turban and an Islamic faith and a dusty 1983 U.S.-Iraq chemical-weapons sales receipt, and call it patriotism.

    Mark Morford is back. Just in time.

    posted by tbogg at 3:07 PM



    Il est temps de grandir, Glenn

    One would have thought that Professor Reynolds would have risen above the whole make-fun-of-the-French-hyuk-hyuk trailer park crowd. One would be wrong. No More Mr. Nice Blog points out the what Glenn can't or won't see.

    You can take the boy out of Tennesee.....

    posted by tbogg at 3:02 PM



    Switchboard Jesus, won't you give me a ring?

    Call J-E-S-U-S-#-1 now to put money in the pockets of the Christian Coalition and get unlimited talking-to-God minutes.

    The company, founded five years ago, also operates under the brand name Freedom Telecom, raising money for conservative groups whose agendas are far broader than opposing abortion, said Dalton, who founded the business with his wife, Jane.

    "The ministry was started based on a direct calling from our Lord and savior Jesus Christ," he said. "It is unusual what we do. But that's also the reason for the wonderful response we get. Other companies have used long distance and communications for fund-raising in the past, however they only donate a portion of the profits. We donate all the profits."

    posted by tbogg at 1:51 PM



    Looks like the war in Iraq is going to last longer than they said

    Not that they're linking the war to the Steely Eyed Rocket Man's re-election or anything.

    That would be politicizing it.

    That would be wrong.

    posted by tbogg at 12:51 PM



    Well, that's one way to get the moneychangers out of the temple.

    Priest's words spark walkout in church

    Rev. Gary Mercure told the congregation at four Masses Saturday and Sunday that the war in Iraq was evil, immoral and contradictory to Christian doctrine.

    According to those who attended any of the services, Mercure called for parishioners to not support President Bush, and said the U.S. should work closer with the rest of the world. As many as 60 congregants responded by leaving the church at one of the masses, several yelling comments in the priest's direction and heckling him on the way out.

    Clem LaPietra, a Troy resident attending a mass for his father, was stunned when Mercure began the homily. "Father Gary, I think he went a little bit over the edge," LaPietra said. "He said how morally wrong the U.S. was. He told us to remember the Germans, and the English, and the Roman Empire. A lot of the older gentlemen got up and left. Someone stood up and told him he was out of line. There was some heckling."

    Rose Romano, a Wynantskill resident, attended the 8 a.m. mass on Sunday, the third time the homily was given. She claimed that Mercure called Americans bullies, and said the people shouldn't support the president. Romano said the comments were so shocking she had to catch her breath. Three people directly in front of her left the mass immediately. "I was stunned. After a few minutes I was numb," she said. "I'm going to church for my own welfare and a place to pray. That's no place for a political platform."

    Rose Romano...the Christian that we all know.....

    posted by tbogg at 12:47 PM



    Holding a mirror up to war.

    There is a link that has been sent to me, and you have probably already seen it too, that shows the high cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom on the civilians in Iraq. Up until this time, I have chosen to not post the link because...well, because it's just plain brutal and sad and horrible. But then I read this today over at Andy Sullivan:

    KEEP ON HAMMERING: If the war is more protracted, that makes the home front much more important. The propaganda organs against this war will fight hard to weaken American resolve. They are Saddam's only real hope - that Americans will tire of casualties, lose confidence, and make some sort of deal with the devil. With this president, that won't happen. But heaven knows, the anti-war right and left will do all they can to derail a war they so fiercely opposed. They will use even the slightest civilian casualties, however tiny in relative terms, into an hysterical campaign to foment regional unrest and sap morale at home. We have to counter and challenge their every argument. And the White House needs to be clearer now than ever, as Safire points out this morning, that we intend to win no matter what, and that winning means unconditional surrender of the regime. We have to reiterate tirelessly that we are morally in the right; that a regime that is sending its own troops into battle at the point of a gun deserves to die; that a gangster's mob cannot and will not be allowed to terrorize a country and a region for much longer. And at some point, if Saddam's terror mob doesn't crack, we have to live with the higher numbers of civilian and military casualties that a less squeamish battle to destroy it might require. We're not at that point yet - far from it. We're actually still within reach of an amazingly casualty-free victory. But if it comes, and I deeply hope it doesn't, we must simply aim at victory. If we have to live without a perfect scenario - regime collapse, infrastructure intact, civilians spared to an historically unprecedented degree - we have to.

    Perhaps Andy would like counter and challenge the following arguments, and then he can remind us again how we are "morally in the right".

    (The following pictures are not for the squeamish. They come from shockingelk.com, if you're inclined to go to the site)

    Scenes from a liberation

    Andrew Sullivan: And at some point, if Saddam's terror mob doesn't crack, we have to live with the higher numbers of civilian and military casualties that a less squeamish battle to destroy it might require. We're not at that point yet - far from it

    George Bush is a war criminal.... and Andy Sullivan is a cowardly sanctimonius idiot.

    posted by tbogg at 12:34 PM


    Wednesday, March 26, 2003


    All you need to know about Texas

    From Dahlia Lithwick writing about sodomy, Texas, and the Supreme Court:

    THE FACTS OF Lawrence are straightforward and mostly undisputed: Texas police entered the apartment of Houston resident John Lawrence in response to a neighbor’s fabricated claim that a man in there with a gun was “going crazy.” What the cops actually found was Lawrence and Tyron Garner having anal sex, for which they were promptly arrested under a Texas law prohibiting “deviate sexual behavior” (i.e., oral or anal sex) between persons of the same gender.

    Pause here to consider that bestiality is not considered “deviate” under Texas law.

    I am sooooo not suprised....

    By the way...you really have to read the whole thing. Lithwick is one of the best writers anywhere.

    posted by tbogg at 11:18 PM



    What I should've said was....

    This is why I like Amy over at Rubber Nun.

    posted by tbogg at 11:01 PM



    Beat the press

    Don't ask me why, but I actually sat down and watched a bit of Hannity and Colmes tonight (I was home alone, unsupervised and I didn't feel like playing Grand Theft Auto 3). This was the first time that I had seen these two in action. What a treat.

    All you need to know is that Sean Hannity posed this question:

    With the Iraqis hiding their soldiers in hospitals and child care centers, should we consider those facilities targets and attack them?

    He asked this of...Henry Kissinger.

    You can't make stuff like this up.

    posted by tbogg at 10:55 PM



    Ben Shapiro...Cub Reporter

    Heeding Peggy Noonan's dictum:

    "Is it irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to."

    The Virgin Ben discovers French perfidy (after looking up 'perfidy", of course).

    The other day, I received a letter from a U.S. Air Force officer stationed on a base in Saudi Arabia. He wrote that coalition commanders expelled French soldiers from his base late last week. The French had apparently been caught hacking into the U.S. secret computer system. Their rooms had been evacuated, and British and American troops were allowed to move their own belongings into the plush surroundings the French had previously enjoyed. The officer reported that the information was 60-70 percent reliable, as a couple of semi-reliable sources had corroborated the story.

    This story has been kept under tight wrap by the governments involved -- perhaps because the information is false.

    60-70 percent reliable?....semi-reliable sources?....information might be false?

    In the journalistic food chain, that puts Ben slightly below Bill Safire but miles above Fox News when it comes to "facts". Here are some more gems:

    French President Jacques Chirac pledged to oppose any U.S.-led effort to gain an "after-the-fact" U.N. resolution condoning our campaign to disarm Iraq. In a letter to fellow peacenik Pope John Paul II,

    Pope John Paul II...peacenik? Sure there's the incense and the sandals and he has seemed kind of down since Phish stopped touring, but, come on....

    And just to prove that Ben is majoring in PoliSci at UCLA and not math:

    France currently has 5 million Muslims, totaling somewhere between 5 percent and 10 percent of its population.

    ...although I imagine that even a PoliSci professor might have requested that he "show work" were he to submit that phrase and those numbers in a paper. But then UCLA has slightly different standards than Townhall.com.

    And it was inevitable that a turgid Ben, stewing in his own unrealeased bodily fluids, would finally lurch into full-fledged Steven Den Beste paranoia:

    The French government has nuclear weapons. What will happen if an extremist Muslim government rises to power in France, with control of full-fledged nuclear weapons? This is a problem that cannot be solved in the short term, with people like Jacques Chirac in charge of foreign policy. But over the long term, France must be given some sort of economic incentive or disincentive to disarm, before it is too late. If France is willing to spy on United States forces in the Persian Gulf now, can we expect any better if the electoral majority in France is militantly Islamist?

    Most kids set up lemonade stands...Ben got a column. Lucky him...lucky us.

    posted by tbogg at 10:20 PM



    Road to Baghdad

    Jeff Danziger

    posted by tbogg at 10:04 AM



    Regulators also said that "Water appears to be wet...and marshmallow peeps is kinda sweet".

    Boy. You can't slip anything by the brainiacs at FERC:

    Federal energy regulators said Wednesday that their investigation found widespread manipulation of natural gas and electricity prices and supplies in California.

    PAT WOOD, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said that as a result of the manipulation California would receive more than the $1.8 billion in refunds recommended by a FERC judge in December. The exact amount is to be determined in the coming months.

    The FERC singled out seven subsidiaries of bankrupt Enron Corp. and five other companies for taking advantage of a dysfunctional market and reaping millions of dollars in unjust profits.

    “The price gouging abounded,” Commissioner William Massey said. He said he regretted that FERC did not intervene earlier to police the newly deregulated power market in California.

    Maybe because Dick Cheney kept the watchdogs locked up in the kennel.

    posted by tbogg at 10:03 AM



    Flowers for Nooner

    Jesse channels Peggy in a most frightening way.


    posted by tbogg at 9:30 AM



    "Dawn came early this morning. Like a big Bloody Mary in the sky."

    Michael Kelly's dream has come true (no, not the Sally Quinn party invite)...he's a "war correspondent" in Iraq. Embedded like a suppository in the butt of the 3rd Infantry Division, Michael tells us that War is Hell™.

    On Monday afternoon, in a stifling hot tent that had been rigged up as the tactical operations center for the 3rd Infantry's 1st Brigade, Maj. Benjamin Matthews sat half-slumped in a metal folding chair by a metal folding table in the sand. He looked very tired. Outside, a moderate sandstorm was beginning to kick up, and the air in the tent was hazy with brown dust.

    Looks like someone has been boning up on his Hemingway...

    Matthews had arrived hours earlier here at the center of the 3rd Infantry's forces in southern Iraq, after more than 30 hours of hard desert driving and -- unexpectedly -- fighting.

    Matthews is the fire support officer for the 1st Brigade. He had traveled here in a small convoy of unarmored vehicles filled with fellow headquarters officers and staff. He had been following a route already covered by combat units, and by the time of his journey -- three days after the invasion of Iraq began -- this route was supposed to be secured. It had not been.

    Short declarative sentences....I like it. It's so....manly. So world weary. Just Chickenhawk Kelly sitting around in a tent with soldiers talking about war, and casualties, and freedom, and fighting the good fight and getting back home to that special gal...did I show you her picture?

    Meanwhile, back at the Kuwait City Hilton, a dusky maid restocks the mini-bar and turns down the bed...hoping that her man gets back safely...and pays his Spectravision bill.

    posted by tbogg at 9:17 AM



    Chung flung

    Connie Chung gets the axe.

    CNN has canceled "Connie Chung Tonight," which was launched last summer and has been criticized for its tabloid style.


    Chung, who has interviewed supermodel Nikki Taylor and other guests who don't fit with much of CNN's hard-news lineup, has been the target of particular criticism.

    Even Turner called Chung "just awful" in a much-quoted interview earlier this year.

    Though Chung attracts more viewers than many of CNN's shows, she has continued to be roundly beaten in the ratings war by Fox News powerhouse Bill O'Reilly

    Too bad. If Chung had maybe cut off Nikki Taylor's microphone, bullied 9/11 survivor's families, frequently used the term "wetbacks", lied about her upbringing, and been a general ass, she'd still have a job.

    posted by tbogg at 8:58 AM



    Dispatch from the nutzoid chatroom...

    According to Lloyd Grove the government's Computers for the Insane project is bearing dividends:

    In more Ari Fleischer news, the gossip columnist for Britain's Telegraph reports: "The balding White House spokesman . . . has females the length and breadth of the States a-swoonin'. . . . Some comments on the new Ari Fleischer Internet fan site: 'Some people don't understand how a hot blonde 24-year-old NYC girl could have such a major crush on Ari Fleischer -- but I DO!!' writes one groupie. 'I think it is so cool the way he can walk into a room full of press sharks and completely control the room and never ever flinch.' Another sighs: 'I am a 34-year-old wife and mother of two who still believes in right and wrong. Yes, even my husband knows of the crush I have on Ari, and finally I know I am not alone.' " Fleischer refused to take our call. Maybe he needs Fitzwater's advice on this one, too.

    "a hot blonde 24-year-old".....yeah, right. And I'm a busty 16 year-old totally hot nympho who just luvs cel phone engineers and unemployed Libertarians. Meet me at the mall....

    posted by tbogg at 8:51 AM



    The deserter talks to the troops.....

    President Can't Speak In Complete Sentences is in Florida this morning speaking at McGill AF Base to the people he wants to send off to die for oil. His speech (slurred...halting...jingoistic) was preceded by a performances by Toby Keith and Darryl Worley, which means it was only one Lee Greenwood away from being a complete crap-fecta. Click here for another picture of the steely eyed rocket man looking...well...stupid again.

    Meanwhile 14 Iraqi civilians were liberated from their lives when two cruise missiles hit a marketplace. One of the Iraqi civilians was heard gurgling "USA! USA!" before expiring from a sucking chest wound. US Central Command issued the following statement: "Whoops! My bad..sorry."

    In honor of the Steely-Eyed Rocket Man, all "smart bombs" used in Operation Halliburton Windfall will now be dubbed "Gentleman's C Bombs". (Thanks to Chuck for that one).

    posted by tbogg at 8:41 AM




    Backed up on posting last night because my daughter wanted to use MY LAPTOP ("because it's nicer...") to do some homework instead of using HER LAPTOP or HER PC.

    MY LAPTOP is the one with the internet connection...and I was too tired to argue with her.

    She's spoiled.

    posted by tbogg at 8:24 AM



    Kitty Kevorkian to become Kiddie Kevorkian

    Please take the time to visit Wampum and get caught up on how "Dr" Bill Frist is willing to sell his soul, and your childrens health, for a few pieces of silver.

    posted by tbogg at 8:22 AM


    Tuesday, March 25, 2003


    Special war edition...and it's free!

    Check out the Onion's special war edition. More fact-filled than CNN, but not nearly as funny as Fox News.

    This is especially delightful.

    ...and don't miss this:

    "The president carried me through an enemy minefield after my arm had been blown off by a mortar shell, blazing away with his pistol as he delivered me to safety," Pvt. Chris Adair said. "Then, after he'd gotten me to a medic, he went all the way back through that same minefield—carrying a 40-pound bag of ice the whole way—to retrieve my severed arm so the doctors could sew it back on. Now, thanks to President Bush, I'll still be able to play piano for the church choir back home in Appleton, just like I promised Grandma. He is truly an American hero."

    posted by tbogg at 2:00 PM



    The coalition of the hooting and feces throwing.....

    Dana Millbank points out that the "coalition of the willing" isn't exactly what it cracked up to be:

    There must have been shock in Baghdad and awe in Paris last week when the White House announced the news that Palau had joined the "coalition of the willing."

    Palau, an island group of nearly 20,000 souls in the North Pacific, has much to contribute. It has some of the world's best scuba diving, delectable coconuts and tapioca. One thing Palau cannot contribute, however, is military support: It does not have a military.

    "It's rather symbolic," said Hersey Kyota, Palau's ambassador to Washington, of his country's willingness to be listed in the 46-member coalition of the willing engaged in the Iraq war. Kyota said the president of Palau, which depends on the U.S. military for its security, on a visit to Washington, "thought it was a good idea to write a letter of support, so he did." Kyota said Palau gamely offered its harbors and airports to the effort, but the offer was graciously declined, as Palau is nowhere near Iraq.


    Administration officials have furnished the list to demonstrate, as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld argued, that the current coalition "is larger than the coalition that existed during the Gulf War in 1991." But that 34-member group was an actual military coalition, with all members providing troops, aircraft, ships or medics.

    By that standard, there are only about a half dozen members of the coalition in the current war. In addition to the 250,000 or so U.S. troops, there are 45,000 from Britain and about 2,000 from Australia. Denmark and Spain have sent a small number of troops, though not, apparently, for ground combat.


    That sounds less impressive than the way White House press secretary Ari Fleischer described it last week: "All told, the population of coalition of the willing is approximately 1.18 billion people around the world. The coalition countries have a combined GDP of approximately $21.7 trillion. Every major race, religion and ethnic group in the world is represented. The coalition includes nations from every continent on the globe."

    Possibly. But the coalition remainsa work in progress. After initially including Angola in the coalition of the willing last week, the White House removed the country without explanation, as first noted by Agence France-Presse. Angolan embassy officials didn't respond yesterday to phone calls.

    Okay. Here's where it gets good:

    With luck, Angola can be replaced by Morocco, if a report yesterday by UPI is to be believed. According to the wire service, Morocco's weekly al Usbu' al-Siyassi claimed that Morocco has offered 2,000 monkeys to help detonate land mines.

    An official at the Moroccan Embassy could not confirm the presence of monkeys in the coalition of the willing.

    Insert your own Bush joke here......

    posted by tbogg at 12:09 PM



    Play that banjo music, white boy...

    I was watching a little bit of MSNBC last night and discovered that they had hired whiny, former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough as a commentator (obviously because of his liberal background). As you may or may not be aware, Scarborough has an interesting skeleton in his closet which you can read about here.

    You know, it seems only yesterday that little Joe was sitting on the porch playing his banjo and now look at him, all growed up.

    He's sure got a purty face....must be why MSNBC hired him.

    posted by tbogg at 10:24 AM



    Good work...if you can get it....

    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Police were looking for a newly hired convenience store worker suspected of stealing more than $12,000 in cash and merchandise the first night he worked alone.

    Andrew Mucci, 42, was hired to tend a 7-Eleven store about a half block from his home. Police said he cleaned out the store.

    A manager found the store unattended at about 5 a.m. March 11. Missing were 1,938 packs of cigarettes, $1,200 worth of prepaid telephone calling cards, 643 lottery tickets, 15 cell phones and $1,500 in cash.

    "The whole caper is on videotape," said Detective Todd Renner. "His whole shift he spends drinking beer and gathering things to steal. It's unreal."

    posted by tbogg at 7:56 AM



    "...that gaudy orgy of masturbatory liberalism known as The 75th Annual Academy Awards."

    From the President

    Indeed, True Americans know that if you want the biggest bang for your entertainment buck, you don't hand it over to the liberal box office, you put it in the campaign coffers of the GOP – because WE know how to produce a Grade-A, populace-anesthetizing circus of genuine carnage and destruction!

    posted by tbogg at 7:51 AM




    Bruce Bartlett says it's not about oil. He says:

    At some level, it is nonsensical to do this kind of analysis. Who can put a dollar value on liberty, security and peace of mind?

    But once he brings up the topic of oil:

    The central issue in terms of economic analysis is oil. Saying so does not imply that the war is about oil. If all we wanted was lower oil prices, all we had to do was lift sanctions on Iraqi production, as well as those on other oil-producing nations, such as Libya.

    That's all he can talk about:

    Its oil resources are very large -- second largest in the world after Saudi Arabia. Analysts put Iraq's proven reserves at 112 billion barrel of oil, with as much as another 200 billion barrels yet to be discovered. On top of this, Iraq has 110 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.


    To get an idea of Iraq's oil production capabilities, it is worth noting that there are only about 2,000 oil wells in the whole country. By contrast, there are about 1 million in Texas alone. Therefore, there is no question that Iraq could greatly increase its oil production once freed from sanctions and once the nation is open to foreign investment and the latest technology. Fadhi Chalabi, executive director of the Center for Global Energy Studies, says Iraq could become a "supergiant" oil producer with favorable political and economic conditions.

    How much Iraq's oil production could increase and how fast will not be known until hostilities end and Western experts can accurately survey the state of the industry. However, Iraq could certainly increase its production somewhat almost immediately. Prior to the first Gulf War, it was producing close to 3 million barrels per day, and experts think that figure could be doubled within a few years.

    It is hard to say what impact this might have on oil prices, but markets clearly expect lower prices. On the eve of hostilities, oil was selling for about $37 per barrel. At this price, Americans would be paying $270 billion per year for oil. But once it became clear that Iraq's liberation was at hand, the price quickly dropped to about $28 per barrel, cutting our annual oil bill by $70 billion. With full Iraqi production, the price might drop to $20 per barrel or less, giving us the equivalent of an annual tax cut of about $120 billion per year. And this is a tax cut the entire world benefits from.

    It's about oil.

    posted by tbogg at 7:35 AM




    posted by tbogg at 6:55 AM


    Monday, March 24, 2003


    Noonan liked that first part, too.

    Sullivan is impressed with this from David Warren:

    You wouldn't know it from reading most of the papers, but the war in Iraq is going fabulously well. After just five days the U.S. Third Infantry Division and supporting units are approaching Baghdad. The immense steel column continues to drive reinforcements across the Iraqi desert, while its leading edge rumbles through the fields, villages, and waterways of Mesopotamia.

    Oh mama. I need a cigarette.

    posted by tbogg at 9:00 PM



    Taking the night off.

    I'm reading Nobody's Perfect by Anthony Lane and he is vastly more entertaining than I am...so you'll all just have to amuse yourselves elsewhere. My wife got this for me at Christmas and I am hop, skip, and leaping over other books that have been patiently waiting their turn in order to to read it.

    My favorite snark so far (commenting on Indecent Proposal):

    The whole thing needs a leading man with snap and vim, instead of which it gets Woody Harrelson. Admittedly, it's an awful part, which calls for little more than unfocussed emoting, but then Woody trying to emote looks like anyone else trying to go to sleep. At one point he has to give a lecture on the inspiring joys of architecture, rising to the contention that "even a brick wants to be something." He should know.

    Now go on ...shoo. Read a book.

    posted by tbogg at 8:56 PM



    Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it

    Ah. That wistful faraway look. The non-threatening romantic lead gazing patiently over your left shoulder, waiting for you to say yes.

    Ah. That wistful faraway look. The non-threatening romantic lead gazing patiently over your left shoulder, waiting for you to say yes.

    posted by tbogg at 2:53 PM



    She chooses her words like she chooses her clothes...

    Pentagon Fashion Atrocity, Victoria Clarke did a bit better today...if you have a black & white TV, but she's starting to sound a bit like ARi, which isn't a good thing:

    Pressed about casualties suffered by coalition forces, Clarke said the losses have to be put in the broader context of the war.

    "We said repeatedly that one of the reasons you work so hard to avoid going to war is because bad things happen and people die and that is awful, but if you have context on this plan, it is going, according to most people who have the right kind of context, about as we expected," she said.

    Get yer context right...or shut up.

    posted by tbogg at 2:35 PM



    Fuzzy math at the Washington Post

    InstaPundit passed this off with a "interesting stuff", but you would think he, or the Washington Post would have been a bit more...curious, about these results. The Poll:

    Six in 10 agreed that the demonstrations were a sign of a healthy democracy, while fewer than four in 10 said opponents should not demonstrate against the war because it was better for the country to appear united. Only one in six said such protests should not be permitted.

    "I have a hard time seeing people protest the war," said Ted Stahl, 40, a metalworker who lives in Jasper, Ga. "I don't have problems with people having the right to voice opinions. But people live in the U.S., a great nation of freedom, and they mock our nation's freedom and our government."

    Overall the survey suggests that few Americans have attended anti-war demonstrations (2 percent) or rallies in support of the war effort (1 percent).

    Wait a minute. I'm hearing estimates of anti-war crowd counts of 50,000 to 200,000 in places like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington. Where has there been a war rally that has exceeded the 14,000 in Indiana? You can add up all the rallies in places like Bent Bucket Ga. you want, but you would be hard pressed to come up with 50% of what has been at the anti-war rallies.

    posted by tbogg at 2:28 PM



    No checks and balances for the unbalanced.

    Outside of President Steely Eyed Rocket Man, there is probably only one other man in Washington who should never ever have his finger on the button, or even be given anything other than round-tip sissors for that matter, than Attorney General John Ashcroft. So nothing should be scarier than this:

    Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Justice Department and FBI have dramatically increased the use of two little-known powers that allow authorities to tap telephones, seize bank and telephone records and obtain other information in counterterrorism investigations with no immediate court oversight, according to officials and newly disclosed documents.

    The FBI, for example, has issued scores of "national security letters" that require businesses to turn over electronic records about finances, telephone calls, e-mail and other personal information, according to the officials and documents. The letters, a type of administrative subpoena, may be issued independently by FBI field offices and are not subject to judicial review unless a case comes to court, officials said.

    Attorney General John Ashcroft also personally signed more than 170 "emergency foreign intelligence warrants," three times the number authorized in the preceding 23 years, according to recent congressional testimony.


    According to documents given to EPIC and the American Civil Liberties Union as part of their lawsuit, the FBI has issued enough national security letters since October 2001 to fill more than five pages of logs. There's no way to determine exactly how many times the documents have been employed because the logs were almost entirely blacked out, according to a copy provided to the Washington Post by the ACLU.

    The Justice Department and FBI refuse to provide summary data about how often the letters are used. Several lawmakers have proposed legislation that would require the department to provide that kind of data.

    FBI spokesman John Iannarelli said: "it's safe to say that anybody who is going to conduct a terrorism investigation is probably going to use them at some point. . . . It's a way to expedite information, and there's nothing that needs expediting more than a terrorism investigation."

    Beryl Howell, former general counsel to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and a specialist in surveillance law, described national security letters as "an unchecked, secret power that makes it invisible to public scrutiny and difficult even for congressional oversight."

    Imagine that? Handing over unchecked power to a man who couldn't even beat a dead man in an election in his own home state because he was so disliked. He's getting closer to God than he ever imagined possible...and with a lot less snake-handling

    (Thanks Chris)

    posted by tbogg at 2:06 PM



    Both are indefensible

    Before the warbloggers get too whipped up into a frenzy (I know...too late) about the Al Jazeera film of the US captives, they may want to remember this as well as the pictures of prisoners held off-shore, in Guantanamo Bay.

    Prison camp pictures spark protests

    The US Government has released photographs of the Taleban and al-Qaeda suspects held at its prison camp in Cuba which show them being subjected to sensory deprivation.

    The prisoners are shown kneeling down, wearing goggles, ear muffs, surgical masks and heavy gloves.

    The chief medical officer of the human rights group, Amnesty International, Jim West, said the photographs were reminiscent of torture methods used in eastern Europe in the 1970s.

    posted by tbogg at 10:53 AM



    .....the presence of these books on the best-seller lists is a living civics lesson

    Arthur Salm

    In all, the presence of these books on the best-seller lists is a living civics lesson: It's democracy in the real world, an honest exchange of ideas in the intellectual marketplace.

    To which one can only reply, "Oh, give me a break." I've no studies to back this up, but five'll get you 10 that these pundits are cashing in on the choir. There's no exchange of anything going on here, except for the 20-plus bucks people fork over to bookstores to have their belief systems stroked and their enemies savaged.

    For what left-leaning reader would even pick up Coulter's toxic, fact-challenged screed ("Progress cannot be made on serious issues because one side is making arguments and the other side is throwing eggs – both literally and figuratively," she writes on the first page; her appending "literally" says it all), except, perhaps, with a pair of tongs?


    (A curious sort of counter-logic is often applied to folks who criticize the government. Since they have the right to do so, the argument goes, they shouldn't – the old "They-wouldn't-let-you-do-that-in-Moscow" routine. In other words, we've got free speech in this country, so shut up.)

    posted by tbogg at 10:34 AM



    Life during wartime...vol. XXIII

    Courtland Milloy

    "We hear you've been asking curious questions," U.S. Park Police officer Michael Ramirez said as he and fellow officer Karl Spilde approached me from behind a blossomless cherry tree. "Why are you doing that?"

    Both officers carried 9mm semiautomatic pistols, Mace and batons. Perhaps because I had just left the Jefferson Memorial, where I'd read a few lines about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and "all men are created equal," I felt bold enough to pose a question of my own: "Why are you asking me that?"

    What I really wanted to know was why my questions about the box had made me suspect. Or was it that an African American -- whom someone may have mistaken for a Middle Easterner -- was asking them?

    The only way to get to the bottom of this, I thought, was to ask more questions.

    "Let me see your ID," Spilde said.

    "Why?" I asked.

    Wrong response.

    "Call for backup," Spilde eventually told Ramirez as he seized my notebook and pen and began to search me. Was I being arrested, I asked before turning over my driver's license.

    Eight officers responded to the call for backup. One told me that, legally, I was not being arrested, just subject to "investigative detention."

    Said Sgt. R.J. Steinheimer, "There have been reports of suspicious activity regarding you."

    "By whom?" I asked.

    "Can't tell you that," he replied.


    Even knowing I'd never get a straight answer, I pointedly asked whether I had been detained because I was African American or whether I looked Middle Eastern. The officers just smiled wryly. A Park Police detective would later say that "a tourist" had reported me to police. As soon as I heard that, I knew which one it was. I recalled that as I began photographing the metal box, a woman pulled out her cell phone and began keeping a not-so-discreet eye on me.

    Now we know how Peggy Noonan spent her weekend.

    posted by tbogg at 10:03 AM



    Well, he does look comfortable in his job...

    Julia, reminds us who our 'leader' is.

    The "steely-eyed rocket man".

    (see below)

    posted by tbogg at 9:46 AM



    Jeepers. This war is just swell. I wish we could always be at war. Let's sing a happy song...

    War makes Peggy perky.

    An old song from the American civil rights is on my mind and seems on point. It's about how far the movement had come and would go as long as all involved remained focused, in spite of setbacks, on the new day that was coming. "Keep your eyes on the prize, oh Lord, oh Lord," went the refrain.

    That's what the coming week is about. As we become, inevitably, bogged down and fogged down by the dailyness and messiness of war, we should keep our eyes on the prize. One senses it is going to be bigger than we think.

    We are about to startle and reorder the world. We are going to win this thing, and in the winning of it we are going to reinspire civilized people across the globe. We're going to give the world a lift.

    How sad that Up with People isn't around to help channel Peggy's boundless good cheer when it comes to war, death, and distributing the bounty of democracy through the barrel of a gun.

    Fortunately Peggy provides us with many comments that brought a smile to my face...but probably for the wrong reasons. Enjoy:

    The coming victory is going to be the biggest good thing that has happened in the world, the West and the United States since the twin towers fell.


    Victory will remind the world that faith and effort trump ennui and despair.


    It will demonstrate that we are not part of a long and unstoppable slide, that we can move forward and win progress, that we don't have to cower in blue suits behind the Security Council desk. We can straighten up, join together and make things better.


    The American president has, meanwhile, demonstrated to the entire world that he is neither a bombastic naïf nor a reckless cowboy but, in fact, another kind of American stereotype: the steely-eyed rocket man. Don't tread on him.


    A victory in Iraq is about to enhance America's stature in the world. America deserves it. Because of all the powerful countries in the world, it is the most trustworthy, reliable and constructive.


    (Jeez...that just has "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!" written all over it)

    Soon this war will be over. It was hard getting there, hard doing it and there will no doubt be hard going. But it will be over, and we won't come back from hell with empty hands. We will have won a great deal. In the next week and weeks it will be good to keep that in mind, and keep our eyes on the prize.

    Except for the rebuilding of the country, the thinly disguised resentment by populace at being made colonial subjects, the daily guerilla warfare, the instability in other Middle Eastern countries at they view the the white Christian occupation of an invaded country...... everything is going to be just "peachy".

    Isn't war keen?

    posted by tbogg at 9:30 AM



    In case you missed it....lucky you.

    Tori Clarke

    As Betty Bowers says, "Love the sinner. Hate the Clothes."

    posted by tbogg at 8:52 AM



    The innocent abroad

    Sully is shocked, shocked at what happens in war.

    THE TACTICS OF FAILURE: The setbacks the allies have suffered these last couple of days are all due to one thing: some Saddam units acting as terrorists. By pretending to surrender and then opening fire, by relocating in civilian neighborhoods, by shooting prisoners of war in the head, the soldiers apparently still loyal to Saddam are not reversing the allied advance. What they're doing is trying to inflict sufficient damage to improve their morale and increase the costs of the invasion. They want us to fire into civilian areas; they want us to panic at a few atrocities (as in Somalia); they are counting on an American unwillingness to persevere through serious casualties. And they intend to use the Arab media and their Western sympathizers, i.e. the BBC, NYT, NPR etc., to get this message out. The lesson to learn is that we have cornered the equivalent of a rabid dog. It will fight nastily, brutally and with no compunction. Those units who will go down with this regime will not go down easily. After an initial hope that this thing could be over swiftly, I think it's obvious by now that we're in for a nasty fight - and the Saddamite remnants will ally with the anti-war media to fight dirty and spin shamelessly.

    What did he think was going to happen? That the Iraqi soldiers were going to stand in formation with musket loaders while drummers and pipers played behind them? That they wouldn't use their media for propaganda purposes? Here's a news flash: Saddam or no Saddam, these people are fighting for their homes and country against an invading army. The "shooting prisoners of war in the head" is pure unfounded Sullivan hysteria, and severely diminishes what little credibility that Andy had to begin with. Iraqi soldiers are wearing civilian clothes and fighting from neighborhoods. Why does he find this so surprising?

    For someone who claims to have not watched the Academy Awards, it sure seems that his knowledge of war is based on old John Wayne and Audie Murphy movies. Someone send him the Library of America set of Reporting Vietnam so he can brush up on how war is fought by the home team before he embarrasses himself anymore.

    posted by tbogg at 8:36 AM



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