Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sing Us a Song You’re the Oud Man

OK. Imagine a war-torn shithole of a country. People dying every day, explosions on your way to work. Even local pilgrimages are being fucked up by stampedes and threats of suicide bombers. What would you be willing to do to get the hell out? Would you go on a show called Iraq Star?

Oh yes, let’s scrape the very bottom of our corrupt, immoral society’s barrel, scoop out a dollop of sludge like American Idol, and drop it like a steaming pile of feces smack in the middle of the most violent of all culture wars over there in Iraq. Let’s watch:

As Mohammed Ahmad Younis puts it, he's little more than a 26-year-old loser, a failed artist, son and boyfriend unable to accomplish anything worthwhile in his life.

In hopes of changing that, one day this month he put on a pair of sunglasses, fake-leather jeans, platform shoes, blue contact lenses and a black "Star Trek" T-shirt, and became a contestant on "Iraq Star," the local version of "American Idol."

Some of the 500 aspiring talents competing for a trip to Beirut [ed. - a trip to Beirut is the "prize?" And Bush says we're winning?] and a record deal have been beaten, threatened and ostracized. Although Iraqis gobble up tapes, CDs and videos of sexy Lebanese and Egyptian entertainers, Islamic militants often group singers and dancers with prostitutes.

Many artists and intellectuals have been killed in his native Mosul, Younis said.

"I'm afraid," he said. "I fear for my life wherever I go. But what can I do? This is my only shot. I've made my decision. I'd rather just die and be dead than stay alive and be dead."

Nada Samaraii, a 36-year-old flutist and music teacher who was among a handful of women daring to compete in the contest, said neighbors had trashed her apartment, hit her and threatened to turn her out onto the street after her first appearance on "Iraq Star." Her landlord jacked up her rent and cut off electricity and water.

"They told me I'm not respecting Islam," she said as she nervously awaited her turn to appear on the show, "that I'm an infidel."
On the one hand, what were these people thinking? Allah Ackbar! Women singing American songs and dancing in provocative clothing? Who could possibly have foreseen a problem in that?

On the other hand, I sure wish I had the chance to beat the living crap out of that Bo Bice choadsmoker.

Whatever the case, I guess it’s yet another example of Bush’s Freedom on the March. God bless America.

Living in Oblivion

When I say Americans are dumb, this is what I’m talking about.

The poll found that 42 percent of respondents held strict creationist views, agreeing that "living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time."

In contrast, 48 percent said they believed that humans had evolved over time. But of those, 18 percent said that evolution was "guided by a supreme being," and 26 percent said that evolution occurred through natural selection. In all, 64 percent said they were open to the idea of teaching creationism in addition to evolution, while 38 percent favored replacing evolution with creationism.
I don’t even know what to say about that. I mean, is America, the center of innovation and curiosity for the last 200 years, just prepared to lie back and wait for the world to pass us by? We landed on the fucking moon for fuck’s sake! If these people were alive in the 60s they’d say, “Why do we want to fly to a hunk of cheese stuck to the ceiling of the earth 20 miles in the sky?”

Look. It's fine if you don't understand evolution. I'm no expert. But can you please explain to me why you'd want to teach your kids (your God blessed fucking kids) your ignorance as well?

I Smite Thee!

Inexplicably, the usual sure-headed Christians are unclear about why God murdered all those people in cold blood.

As I previously mentioned, the Columbia Christians for Life think it was because of New Orleans’ free-wheelin’ abortion-lovin’ lifestyle.

But now Repent America is telling us that He caused all this suffering to prevent some gay (yes, that kind of gay) party called Southern Decadence from taking place starting today.

This raises many questions, none of which is why do these people worship a guy who is so clearly a massive asshole. No, the questions I have are:

1) Why doesn’t God make it clearer who He is smiting and why?

2) If He is so powerful as to be able to control the weather and still take the time to insert a soul into every single zygote the moment it is fertilized, why can’t He just kill the evildoers like the abortion doctors and faggots directly and specifically instead of wiping out an entire town of hard-working Christians? Are they just the supernatural version of Bush’s “collateral damage?”

3) If God is taking on killing sinners as a hobby, why doesn’t He go after the rapists and murderers in Sudan?

4) Why can’t God just chill out, shotgun a beer, and bribe girls to take their tops off with cheap beads like everyone else? Hey Dude! You’re the genius who made their breasts so aesthetically pleasing, not me! Take it down a notch!
Yeah, I don’t know. God kills in mysterious ways, I guess.

No, No, Don't Stop Rockin'

New Orleans may be underwater, but the president’s gotta get his jam on! This picture was taken yesterday:

Also taken yesterday:

Hey! Lady! The president is kickin' a hardcore solo right now. Don't be harshin' his buzz, yo!

Out of the Mouths of Christians...

They’re so adorable! I told you Katrina was God’s and sinners’ faults.

In an e-mail message we just received, a group calling itself Columbia Christians for Life alerts us to the fact that a satellite image of Hurricane Katrina as it hit the Gulf Coast Monday looks just like a six-week-old fetus.

"The image of the hurricane ... with its eye already ashore at 12:32 p.m. Monday, August 29, looks like a fetus (unborn human baby) facing to the left (west) in the womb, in the early weeks of gestation (approx. 6 weeks)," the e-mail message says. "Even the orange color of the image is reminiscent of a commonly used pro-life picture of early prenatal development."

And in case you're not getting the point, the e-mail message spells it out in black and white: "Louisiana has 10 child-murder-by-abortion centers," the groups says, and "five are in New Orleans."
You can’t make this stuff up.

Politicizing Katrina

Yeah, I’m doing it. You gonna do something about it?

You see, it’s not like I look at the devastation down there and blame Bush first. First I blame a cruel and vengeful God. Second I blame the evil sinners living and traveling in Gomorrah New Orleans. Then I blame Bush. Now, I’m not yet wacky enough to say that our fine president is capable of controlling the weather. No, of course not. But something of which he is capable is making preparations around the country to help mitigate the consequences of any disaster. In fact, I would argue that is one of his primary duties.

You may recall a presidential briefing memo entitled Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US. Ring a bell? For you, probably. Not for Bush, because he ignored it and went off fishing. And then what happened?

To today - as far back as 2001, experts have been warning him that New Orleans is a disaster just waiting to happen.

New Orleans is sinking. And its main buffer from a hurricane, the protective Mississippi River delta, is quickly eroding away, leaving the historic city perilously close to disaster.

So vulnerable, in fact, that earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country. The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City.

The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all.

In the face of an approaching storm, scientists say, the city's less-than-adequate evacuation routes would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston. Economically, the toll would be shattering.
FEMA, eh? Who do they work for? Right, forget it. The real question is what has our esteemed President Bush been doing in his infinite wisdom, to keep us safer?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has identified millions of dollars in flood and hurricane protection projects in the New Orleans district. Chances are, though, most projects will not be funded in the president's 2006 fiscal year budget to be released today.

In general, funding for construction has been on a downward trend for the past several years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the New Orleans Corps' programs management branch.

In 2001, the New Orleans district spent $147 million on construction projects. When fiscal year 2005 wraps up Sept. 30, the Corps expects to have spent $82 million, a 44.2 percent reduction from 2001 expenditures.

Demma said NOC expects its construction budget to be slashed again this year, which means local construction companies won't receive work from the Corps and residents won't see any new hurricane protection projects.
Sounds eerily familiar to Bush’s plan to protect our chemical plants and ports, and to keep Wyoming safe from terrorist attack. Hold on... Actually with that last one he's been quite good.

I would love it if you would go into the comments section and tell me one good thing he’s done in five years. And if you say how wonderful he is to cut his five week vacation short by two days because thousands of people are dead, I swear to that spiteful Christian God of his that I will leap through your computer and strangle you where you sit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Protect Me From Things I Don’t Like!

Salon has a story about the upcoming battle over indecency on broadcast and cable television. This story always sticks in my craw. I am so tired of a few uptight prudes deciding what everyone gets to see. Haven’t they ever seen the archive footage of the Nazi bookburnings? (I know, I know, we’re not supposed to use Nazi references. Well deal with it, the shoe fits.) Does someone actually need to sit each of these so-called Christians down and read them the definition of freedom in the dictionary?

That aside, the story’s big punch in the stomach is that they are going to be attacking cable shows now. Cable - which you choose to have, pay for, and oh yeah, doesn’t go over the public airwaves, which is supposedly the purview of the Federal Communications Commission. You see, back when they invented television and radio, the government struck a deal with broadcasters - you can use the public airwaves for free, and in return, we get to tell you what you can and cannot put on the air. Hence the FCC. It kind of makes sense that the government would be all controlling about things that are broadcast to everyone. But cable doesn’t use the airwaves. It can’t be sent into a home that doesn’t want it. And have you seen the parental controls on cable boxes these days?

Back when I was a kid, my parents had this stupid lockbox between the TV and the cable box. They would lock the box before they left the house and then I couldn’t watch Cinemax and the rest (but usually Cinemax). Now, no offense to Mom and Dad but they should have hidden the key better because I knew right where it was, and even if they moved it I knew how to rewire the television myself anyway, (the only problem with that one was getting it hooked up again between the sound of the garage door opening and them coming inside). But today you can block shows based on their TV rating and you can block entire channels. You type in a code on your remote to lock and unlock et voila – your kid is safe from the irreparable harm of hearing swears.

But to the article, they are going to fine and shut down stations - even pay stations - that carry shows that some person, just any old person that isn’t you, decides is inappropriate. Why?

Nance founded the Kids First Coalition, a group that fights abortion, cloning and indecency in the name of "pro-child, pro-family public policy." She has long been one of the nation's leading anti-pornography crusaders, testifying repeatedly before Congress. During the last presidential campaign, she appeared on Fox News as a "suburban stay-at-home mom" to say that women believe President Bush will "protect our children."
As luck would have it, one of the internets contains a copy of the United States Constitution. Article 2 defines the Executive Branch, and looking around in there I see heading up the army, signing treaties... Let’s see – oh, appointees, of course! Nope. No, I don’t see anything about protecting our children from porn. Nothing in there about that.

Now, let’s look at the definition of the word parent:
1. One who begets, gives birth to, or nurtures and raises a child; a father or mother.
2. An ancestor; a progenitor.
3. An organism that produces or generates offspring. [doesn’t say anything about having intelligence]
4. A guardian; a protector.
Oh!! There it is! Funny, it’s not the president’s job to protect your ghastly beast-spawn, it’s yours. And it’s certainly not my job to give up the shows that I find entertaining because you can’t be bothered to play a game with your kid instead of plopping its fat ass in front of the idiot box.

I have had it with every goddamned policy decision in this country being about fucking children. Whatever happened to "seen and not heard?" What about all the adults? We run the place, why don’t we get to decide what goes on? In fact, let we who choose not to contribute to the overpopulation of this planet strike a bargain with the breeders out there. You don’t tell us what we’re allowed to watch, and we promise not to smack your whiny-ass kid upside the head when it throws a shitfit in the grocery store or the airplane or the movie theater or the furniture store or the baseball game or the restaurant or...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Okay, But When Do They Fight The Cavity Creeps?

The funniest thing you'll read all day:

A new comic series bearing the unwieldy title ''Liberality for All" is coming out in October from ACC Studios, a recently formed one-man publishing venture in Kentucky. Advertised as ''an Orwellian nightmare of ultra-liberalism," the series features radio pundits Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy, and Oliver North as biomechanically tricked-out members of a conservative underground resistance called F.O.I.L. (the Freedom of Information League). Writer and creator Mike Mackey, an affable comic book aficionado, says it's the conservative movement's first comic book series (unless you count the three 1987 issues of the exquisitely low-camp ''Reagan's Raiders") and the only series put together specifically for a right-wing audience.

Great, a comic book with less appeal than the free comics they used to give out at the dentist's office. You know, the ones sponsored by Aim toothpaste, where Spiderman and Dr. Shapiro would have to stop the Green Goblin from stealing some top-secret drill or the latest plaque-fighting technology.

Seriously, you expect quality from something published in that hot-bed of publishing excellence, Kentucky. First, isn't "Orwellian nightmare of ultra-liberalism" itself an Orwellian turn of phrase, considering that 1984 has basically become a conservative instruction manual? And speaking of Orwellian...Hannity, North, and Liddy as the...FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LEAGUE? What the---? Ok, Liddy maybe I could see, given his fondness for breaking in and stealing documents and setting up illegal wire-taps and so forth. I mean, that's a kind of freedom of information, right? Kind of like when you totally steal something from someone and say that you "liberated" it from them? And I guess if you stretch you could say that North supports freedom of information, if you mean that by shredding documents and lying through his teeth he was "freeing" us all from having to hear information about how he and the Reagan administration broke the law. But Hannity? No fucking way I'm buying that. But wait, there's more:
Set in the year 2021, the eight-book series imagines an alternative history in which Al Gore won the 2000 election and liberals went on to create a grim dystopia, with Chelsea Clinton as president, Michael Moore the vice president, a hyper-active Department of Political-Correctness, and the United States under the thumb of a corrupt United Nations world government. Meanwhile, Islamic terrorists no longer consider the kinder, gentler US government a threat, and have focused their energies on assassinating their true enemies--the arch conservatives who make up the resistance. Osama bin Laden, now the Afghan ambassador to the United Nations, plans to wipe out New York with a nuclear device, and it's up to our dynamic talk-radio trio to save the nation.

First of all, in 2021, Liddy will be 91, North will be 78, and Hannity will still be an asshole. Sounds like a recipe for non-stop action: 2 geriatric criminals and a douchebag. Which is actually a much better title than that "Liberality" hoos-a-fudge. Or maybe "The Ambiguously Gay Trio?" Second, this is the most awesome compendium of right-wing paranoia compiled in one place since... well, since the Republican National Convention, I guess. Chelsea Clinton and Michael Moore in the White House! Bin Laden an ambassador to the UN! What's next? Mandatory abortions for everyone? Phyllis Schlafly forced to go out and get a job? Al Franken digging up Reagan's corpse and having his way with it in the middle of Times Square?

Also, in order to wipe out conservatives, Bin Laden plans to wipe out New York City? Um... ooooookay. Seriously, if you really want to laugh, check out some of the preview panels here. And stop reading that freedom-hating homo Captain America...

I’m Incompetent? YOU’RE Incompetent!

Blah, blah, Halliburton. Yadda, yadda, yadda, whistleblower. So forth and so on, demoted.

A top US Army contracting official who criticized a large, noncompetitive contract with the Halliburton Company for work in Iraq has been demoted for what the Army called poor job performance, The New York Times reported.
Jesus. This story is so commonplace as to make it dull. If a patriotic American stands up and tries to protect us from the crooks and liars in the White House, he or she will be beaten like a yard dog, and have their livelihood taken away. Where is the shame? Where is the law? Where is our democracy?

Friday, August 26, 2005

1.21 Gigawatts?

Hey everybody. I’ve been away for a couple of weeks. You know I was moving, and that was part of it. But another interesting thing happened during that time off. You know how when you’re packing up your place, a place in which you’ve lived for, let’s say six years, and you find all these things you thought you lost? A cool sweater or that book you thought your ex-girlfriend stole. I ran across my old time machine. How did I ever lose track of that anyway? So I thought I’d take it for a spin to the year 2087.

Bad news, folks. It ain’t pretty. In fact, I would describe it more like a war-torn hellscape. Our great-grandchildren are running what’s left of the place, and boy, are they pissed. Naturally, I found myself a nice woody Irish tavern for some post-time-travel whiskies (some things never change) and chatted with the locals about their experiences and mine. When I told them how we’re running things in our time, they were aghast. They were both in awe of how little we cared about them personally, and also how cheap some of their most highly prized commodities are in our time. Our everyday waste just seemed so foreign to them, as if we were living in the time of Roman emperors with entire wings of our palaces filled with piles of treasure.

In no particular order, (writing on cocktail napkins is not the best way to organize one’s thoughts. A tip – when you go to the future, bring a pad), here’s a short list of the things they can’t believe we did:

  • Drove our massive gas-guzzling cars. (duh)
  • Buried our nuclear waste all over the place.
  • Hosed down sidewalks instead of sweeping them.
  • Changed nothing after we learned about global warming.
  • Pumped poisonous chemicals into the plants and animals we eat.
  • Filled their water and air with our toxins.
  • Ran up their national debt that they were unable to pay off when the bill came due.
  • Chopped down all their trees.
  • Had so many babies.
  • Built thousands of nuclear weapons.
  • Created a special anti-terrorist presidential military battalion to protect the president. (that one’s aimed more at the teenagers out there)
  • Allowed the A-TPMB to monitor elections to prevent “terrorists” from voting. (seriously kids, it’s important you listen up here)
  • Used air conditioning at all, let alone with the window open or when we aren’t home.
  • Ate things that had been "super-sized."
  • Strangely, the Iraq war didn’t really register on their radar. I guess after the devastation resulting from the fresh water running dry, it put the worry of high gas prices in proper perspective.

    Well, that’s word from the future. I don’t even have kids, so fuck ‘em. But I bet some of you do. Whatever. You’ll be dead.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    High Treason!

    What sort of hippy, coward, faggot, liberal, terrorist-appeasing, panty-waist pussy would have the audacity to criticize the Commander-in-Chief during a time of war?

    Apparently, this commie bastard 73-year-old Army veteran who was at the President's speech the other day, that’s who. America, pal! Love it or leave it!! Maybe it would have been better if you had been killed back there in Normandy or Korea or wherever the hell you were fighting for our freedom. If you love terrorists so much, why don’t you marry them, huh?

    I just don't get it. These Hate America First assholes have it in their heads all of a sudden that just because they fought in a foreign war or their kid was killed fighting terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them over here that they have the "right" to just say whatever they want! Don't they know that only people who have never fought in anything in their lives are qualified to make judgments about war? It's called keeping proper perspective - ideally the perspective one gets from staying drunk in Texas for the entire duration of any conflict.

    This traitor makes me sick.


    Ann Coulter is the Reason Why the "C" Word Was Invented

    You know, "Crazy." What "C" word did you think I was talking about? Here (don't click on the link, I'm warning you. Seriously, if you click that link I won't be your friend any more) she says that New Yorkers are a bunch of cowards.

    As Republicans were saying repeatedly – captured on Lexis-Nexis for a year before it showed up in a Frank Luntz talking-points memo in 2004 – the savages have declared war, and it's far preferable to fight them in the streets of Baghdad than in the streets of New York (where the residents would immediately surrender).

    Unlike the residents of New Canaan, Connecticut, where she grew up. I'm sure those rich fucks would defend their gated communities to the last man, woman, and child named Dakota or Sierra. They've had a lot of practice after all, what with working so hard to keep the blacks and latinos and Jews out of their neighborhoods, unless they're there to clean up the place or do their taxes, of course. Whereas all those pussy New Yorkers, you know, who ran into the World Trade Center and tried to save those still alive inside and who gave a big middle finger to terrorists after 9/11 and said we're not going anywhere and you're not going to beat us, would, I guess, just give up this time. I'm so thoroughly disgusted that I'm not going to say anything else. Mr. Grant can add his two cents if he wants. I'm sure he'll have something to say...

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005


    Just click here.

    Moral Authority

    Pat Robertson, who co-founded the Christian Broadcast Network with executive producer Jesus Christ, is proselytizing his new interpretation of everyone’s favorite of the Ten Commandments. Speaking about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, he said:

    "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."
    What’s a little murder among friends, right Pat? I’m no fan of Hugo, but wow, I must have missed a week of Catechism or something.

    Yeah. It’s great to be back.

    Friday, August 19, 2005

    Rush Limbaugh is a Fat Asshole

    Is that a "shooting fish in a barrel" title or what? Anyway, here's a list of the latest outrages by the moronic, fat, balding, sweaty, honky drug-addict. Check out the picture at the right, too, and ask yourself: "What the fuck?" I suspect it's a picture of him in front of a self-portait, with the kid he paid to take his Vietnam induction physical. Either that or a picture of him with a child he intentionally "hobbled," a la Kathy Bates in Misery.

    Limbaugh calls Native Americans "injuns" -- again

    Limbaugh, Coulter, Liddy, Hitchens, Barone continue attacks on Cindy Sheehan

    Limbaugh baselessly compared Cindy Sheehan to Bill Burkett: "Her story is nothing more than forged documents"

    Limbaugh: Liberals "would have sought out bin Laden and tried to make a deal with him"

    The "Truth" according to Limbaugh: Feminism established "to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society"

    Hell, I could go on and on. Instead, I'll just present a little Rush Limbaugh photo gallery, and allow you to speculate whether right-wing talk radio was established to allow fat, sweaty pin-dicks like Rush easier access to mainstream society.

    Hi! I'm Rush! This thumb's been up my ass!

    Geez, look what $5 at Glamour Shots by Deb gets you these days.

    This picture provides the answer to the age-old question: "Will a sleazy hooker really do anything for $500?"


    Oops! I wet 'em!

    Here Rush demonstrates how last night's sleazy hooker gave him a hand job.


    All right, enough childishness. For now.

    Enjoy Your SUV, Jackass!

    The Wall Street Urinal has an interesting article about how we've managed to bend ourselves over just in time for Iran to come along and give us a pretty sound rogering.

    President Bush says the world is "coalescing around the notion" that Iran must be barred from getting nuclear weapons. But two factors -- soaring oil prices and chaos in Iraq -- are giving Tehran new muscle in its diplomatic standoff with Europe and the U.S.

    Iran's role as both an oil producer at a time of record prices and as a player in the politics of neighboring Iraq have made it trickier for the Bush administration to get tough on Tehran in the nuclear showdown. The administration has threatened to seek United Nations sanctions against Iran in the fall if the country refuses to accept international oversight of its nuclear program.

    For their part, Iran's leaders seem to sense their advantages. In recent weeks, they have made clear they believe they have plenty of leverage and are less vulnerable to economic pressures from the outside. The country's new, hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, recently said "no economic or political incentive can dissuade us from getting peaceful nuclear energy."

    And then comes my favorite part (and by favorite, I mean the part that makes me want to cry):
    A State Department official said the Bush administration has noted Iran's "new defiance" but believes it is symptomatic of "a new overconfidence by the Iranian regime in its level of international support."

    Apparently a State Department official with no sense of self-awareness or irony (see: Iraq war, lead-up to and prosecution of).
    High oil prices also have protected Tehran from outside leverage. Not only has the country's economy benefited, but Tehran also has made a successful push in recent years to slash its international debt and to strengthen ties as an energy provider to developing countries such as China and India.

    Uh oh.
    "Right now, they are fat and happy with the price of oil," Mr. Pollack said. "But that won't bail them out of their long-term economic problems. For that, they need the kind of investments that can only come from outside."

    Phew, that's a relief. Wait, outside investment? You mean like, from China and India? I say again: uh oh.

    So, to all you soccer moms out there who really, really need that 8000 pound Navigator to drive your two brats to school every morning (god forbid they should take the bus, and the regular cars that everyone managed to do just fine with for about 70 years or so are just too darn small to fit one adult and two small children), Iran thanks you for making their dream of nuclear power (and nuclear god-knows-what-else) a reality.

    (Yes, of course I know that there are also other reasons why oil prices are going ape-shit, but I also know that high demand + low supply = $$$$$$$ for oil producers, and I know that SUVs + idiots who don't need them = higher demand for oil. So choke on it.)

    Thursday, August 18, 2005

    For Our Republican Friends With Short Memories has a little post about the Clinton Administration's reaction to Bin Laden, and the Republican reaction to that reaction. Y'all musta forgot...

    Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    How Dare You Question the President When We're at War!?

    Read this post from Daily Kos. It lays out some of the comments from Republican lawmakers when Clinton committed troops to Bosnia. Smell the hypocrisy. Smell it!

    Get Comfy, This is Going to be a Long One...

    No, that's not what I told my dates in college. A friend of mine (let’s call him Mr. Republican) sent me this article from the National Review by some guy named Deroy "Howlin' Mad" Murdock, I suppose in an attempt to get me to see “the truth” about what's going on in Iraq. Instead, I was struck by a few things (ok, many things) that I find, shall we say, retarded.

    Amid roadside bombs, constitutional tensions, and even a blinding sandstorm last Monday […] one wonders if anything is going right in Iraq. Plenty is, actually, although the mainstream media rarely mention such good news.

    Oh boy, this guy’s going to show us all the things that are going right in Iraq, and how we’re all just being a bunch of Negative Nellies by focusing on depressing stuff like all the soldiers getting blown to smithereens and such. I can hardly wait. Do continue, Deroy, if that is your real name.
    Major news outlets correctly focus on the depressing consequences of the Improvised Explosive Devices and car bombs reponsible for 70 percent of July’s U.S. military fatalities in Iraq. Terrorist assassinations of civil servants and police officers obviously deserve coverage.

    So far, so good. He seems fairly reasonable.
    But it honors neither America’s soldiers nor Iraq’s selfless patriots to overlook the achievements they share in this new republic.

    Ok, I can go along with that. I feel the same way about smearing the grieving mother of a fallen soldier, so I think we’re close on this one.
    According to the Brookings Institution’s indispensable "Iraq Index", on-duty Iraqi security personnel have risen from 125,373 in January to 175,700 today. They fight beside Coalition forces against terrorists and Baathist holdouts.

    Ooookay. Apparently Deroy is hoping nobody actually looks at the Iraq Index. There’s a quote from Lt. Gen Petraeus listed in the March numbers, when Total Iraqi Security forces were listed at 151,618. He said “off-the-cuff” that about 50,000 security forces were “trained and effective.” (page 21) Which is the problem with all these numbers. You can throw a uniform on a guy and give him a gun, but that doesn’t make him an effective soldier or policeman. A couple of months ago, ran an interesting article about the effectiveness of Iraqi Security Forces, which illustrates the problem:
    From Salon: In early November, in the wake of the battle for Fallujah, Q-West, which had been pretty peaceful to that point, "fell apart," in the words of Maj. Kevin Murphy, 36, Becker's operations officer. Rather than stand and fight, most police in Q-West dropped their weapons and ran. They never came back.

    By mid-November, Becker says, "I went from 2,000 police to 50." There was a similar exodus in the Iraqi army. "Let me tell you, there were some sleepless nights," he says.

    Around the same time, Iraqi police in the contested city of Samarra "dissolved" under insurgent attacks, according to 42nd Infantry Division Capt. Robert Giordano. U.S. troops in Mosul, Samarra and elsewhere had no choice but to rebuild local forces from scratch beginning in November.
    Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top American officer in the Middle East, pointed in particular to the Iraqi police forces, who he said lack ''sophistication, chain of command, [and] cohesion of leadership," and are susceptible to corruption and intimidation. ''I don't know how much I would say time-wise they're behind, but they are behind,'' he said, according to the Associated Press.

    So, back to Deroy. He also doesn’t mention this graph on page 8:

    Luckily, Deroy is a “glass is 1/100th full and not 99/100th empty” kinda guy. And I love saying that name. Deroy.
    Civil-affairs work by uniformed personnel may have persuaded average Iraqis to furnish useful information. On August 5, GIs and medics from the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Division, plus Iraqi police, performed health screenings on 200 children in Mosul. They also gave these kids soccer balls. During five such missions since mid-July, at least 1,000 of Mosul's kids have received basic medical attention.

    Soccer balls! It’s so simple! We’ve got this thing licked now! We’ll just… hand… out… soccer… what the fuck? Handing out soccer balls and providing basic health care to Iraqi kids “may have persuaded average Iraqis to furnish useful information?” Wildly speculate much, Deroy? I have this magic rock that keeps away tigers too, Deroy, maybe you’d like to buy it? Can't...stop..saying...Deroy.
    Most Iraqis actually see the overall security situation improving. A July 12-17 Tips Hotline survey of roughly 1,200 Iraqis in Baghdad, Basra, Diyala, Irbil, Najaf, and Salah Ad-Din found that 75 percent of respondents believe their security forces are beating anti-government fighters. Twenty percent saw the security situation as “somewhat worse” than in April, and 14 percent found it “much worse,” but 46 percent considered it “somewhat better,” and 16 percent described it as “much better.”

    Sooooo, a survey conducted as part of a program that allows Iraqis to gives tips about suspected insurgent activity finds that “most Iraqis” are opposed to the insurgency and see the government as winning. I mean— can we— do I really have to explain—
    Ok, I’ll say this slowly so Deroy can understand it. Do you think there might, perhaps, possibly, be problems with regard to the representativeness (I think I made that word up) of a survey about attitudes toward the insurgency conducted amongst people who are calling in to report insurgents, and therefore, by definition, against the insurgency? It’s kinda like taking a survey of only guys with Cheesehead hats and green-and-yellow painted faces at Lambeau field and asking them about their attitudes toward the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. I'll go out on a limb and predict "For" and "Against," respectively.
    The deaths of 54 American troops in July were maddening and painful tragedies, one and all. But these fatalities were considerably below the 137 GI deaths recorded last November, though only 36 were killed last March.

    So, this is his evidence that things are getting better? Fewer soldiers got killed in July than in November? Halfway through August, we’ve already lost more troops than July. And apparently he didn’t look at the following graph on page 4 of the Brookings Iraq Index before he wrote that list bit. Otherwise he would have seen that a reduction in deaths from one month to the next doesn’t necessarily mean a downward trend overall.

    Infrastructure improvements also are encouraging. Blah blah water treatment blah blah.

    I think I should point out here that you don’t get to take credit for bombing the shit out of something and then rebuilding it. Blowing up a power plant and rebuilding it three years later is not progress. It’s getting back to the starting point.
    Some 18,000 pupils will study in rehabilitated classrooms when they go back to school in mid-September. According to U.S. and Iraqi officials, 43 more schools were slated for renovation on August 6. So far, 3,211 schools have been refurbished, and another 773 are being repaired.

    You know, there are a couple thousand AMERICAN schools that could use renovation and refurbishing, and wouldn’t result in the deaths of almost 2000 American soldiers. Just saying…
    Iraq’s monthly petroleum exports have grown from $200 million in June 2003 to $2.5 billion last month.

    Well thank god for THAT! Finally, something to be proud of! (Oooh, a sarcasm detector, that's a real useful invention!)
    Iraqis who endured Baathist censorship now enjoy a vibrant, free press. Commercial TV channels, radio stations, and independent newspapers and magazines have zoomed from zero before Operation Iraqi Freedom to — respectively — 29, 80, and 170 today.

    Yes, but do they have Iraqi Idol yet? Funny that a free press took us decades (or centuries) to develop here, and the Iraqis have done it in 3 years! Good for them. Or, uh, maybe just the number of commercial TV stations isn’t really a good indicator of a “free press," per se.
    Internet subscribers have boomed from 4,500 before Iraq’s liberation to 147,076 last March, not counting the additional Iraqis who use Internet cafes. When Saddam Hussein fell, Iraq had 833,000 telephone subscribers. In July, that figure soared 356.4 percent to 3,801,822.

    So they call their relatives every night to make sure they didn’t get blown up by a roadside bomb! Bitchin’! A couple thousand soldiers got slaughtered and all I got was lousy Sprint long distance service!
    In the political arena, women hold seven of Baghdad’s top 40 ministerial positions. While Iraq is more than 17.5 percent female, this is an impressive level of political involvement for women in the world’s most sexist region.

    Oh Deroy, you sneaky scamp, you! See what he did there? He changed the focus from Iraq to the whole Middle East! Here’s what Human Rights Watch has to say about women under Saddam’s regime:
    Historically, Iraqi women and girls have enjoyed relatively more rights than many of their counterparts in the Middle East. The Iraqi Provisional Constitution (drafted in 1970) formally guaranteed equal rights to women and other laws specifically ensured their right to vote, attend school, run for political office, and own property. Yet, since the 1991 Gulf War, the position of women within Iraqi society has deteriorated rapidly. Women and girls were disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of the U.N. sanctions, and lacked access to food, health care, and education. These effects were compounded by changes in the law that restricted women's mobility and access to the formal sector in an effort to ensure jobs to men and appease conservative religious and tribal groups.

    So, it’s disingenuous to imply that women were as oppressed in pre-war Iraq as they are in other Middle Eastern countries. Certainly life wasn’t ideal, or even good maybe, but it wasn’t exactly Saudi Arabia or Taliban Afghanistan, either.
    Despite the Left’s ceaseless lies to the contrary, America’s 138,500 GIs do not fight alone in Iraq. A multi-national force of some 23,000 soldiers still stands shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. and NATO.

    Ceaseless lies!!! Hee hee, he sounds like Ming the Merciless or Dr. Doom or somebody. Seriously, though, he’s right. We aren’t going it alone. Although if you take out the UK, all those other nations only contribute 15,000 troops. So, we and the UK contribute 90.5% of the troops in Iraq, and the rest of the world contributes 9.5%. Really. This site has a pie chart and everything. And I haven’t found any data about how many of that 9.5% are combat troops and how many are support staff. And don’t forget Poland!
    …terrorists there know just one word: “Destroy.” They interchangeably demolish people and property in their quest to turn Iraq into a 1980s-style Beirut as big as California. These mainly foreign murderers contribute absolutely nothing positive. They neither construct, nor maintain, nor clean anything that does not go “Boom!”

    Can’t… stop… laughing…
    Last September 30, suicide bombers killed three dozen children who gathered around U.S. soldiers as they gave away candy at the celebration of the opening of a Baghdad water-treatment facility. These Islamo-fascist butchers must be eliminated as thoroughly as Orkin dispatches rats.

    There Deroy goes again, focusing on the negative instead of the positive! He should go get a job on Air America with Al Franken, the America-hating commie!
    The White House communications team — hobbled by institutional bashfulness and a nearly terminal incapacity for self-expression — must educate Americans and allies more effectively on what works in Iraq.

    Institutional bashfulness?! What the fuck? First of all, it takes brass balls for these guys to even SPEAK to the American people without apologizing to us for 45 minutes first. Second, did you ever think maybe they don’t trumpet all this stuff as progress because the average thinking American (I’ll admit, it’s probably a group the National Review doesn’t have much contact with) will look at some refurbished schools, some better phone lines, and the fact that Iraqi’s can watch MTV now, and weigh that against the 1858 dead American soldiers, and decide that this so-called "progress" isn’t fucking worth it?

    There, that'll keep you all busy for a while!

    Friday, August 12, 2005

    Please Do Not Adjust Your Set

    I must apologize to our loyal fans out there. It's been a rough August. I'm moving; he's on vacation. If the president gets five weeks off during wartime, I think we're allowed a week or two. And you too! So get out from behind your computer and go outside. Enjoy the summer. It'll be over before you know it, (albeit later than usual - thank you Bush and your global warming doesn't exist!)

    We'll be back before you know it, recharged and funnier than ever. Stay tuned...

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Just one more question, Ma'am...

    Watch out, crooks! The crack congressional investigation team is on the case! What could be so important that Congress is leaping to the rescue virtually instantaneously during the August recess?

    Is it about how military doctors and psychologists are conducting brutal experiments on prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to study how people respond to torture? Nope.

    Is it the missing $9 billion pilfered by Halliburton under the Coalition Provisional Authority? Guess again.

    Is it Tom DeLay taking bribes from both sides in a feud between dueling Indian casinos or any of the other underhanded schemes he's got his fingerprints all over? Hardly.

    Is it the defense contractor who bought Republican Representative (and member of the House defense appropriations subcommittee) Duke Cunningham's house for $700,000 more than it was worth? Yeah, right.

    Is it how the intelligence about Iraq was fixed to support the case for invasion, while anyone who wanted to think it over or at least fight the war more intelligently was fired? As if.

    Is it about the President's Deputy Chief of Staff who in a pique of political self-interest decided to undermine our national security, and has proven himself unable to keep state secrets? Not bloody likely.

    Is it even about how Bush did nothing to prevent 9/11, and in the four years since has done little or nothing to protect our ports, our nuclear and chemical plants, our water supply systems, etc. from a devastating terrorist attack? Get serious.

    Give up?

    They're going to investigate if baseball player Rafael Palmeiro perjured himself during that pointless dog and pony show that Congress called the steroid hearings.

    I'm happy to know that Congress has their priorities exactly in line with my own. God bless America.

    MY TWO CENTS (from emeryroolz): So, considering that pretty much everything else Canesco said about steroids has turned out to be true (McGwire was obviously on 'roids, as was Juan "injured again" Gonzalez, Pudge Rodriguez suddenly shows up to spring training this year 20 pounds lighter, coincidentally the same year mandatory steroid testing goes into effect, and now Palmeiro is caught on the juice) does that mean that G.W. Bush, who “bravely” came out against steroid use in the 2004 State of the Union Address (which also gave us all a reason to hate Tom Brady), knew all about the players taking ‘roids when he was part-owner of the Rangers and did nothing about it, as Jose alleges? Doesn't that make Bush a, you know, hypocrite? Who would have thought?

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Karl Who?

    From The Onion:

    The White House denied rumors of wrongdoing by anyone named Karl Rove Monday, saying the alleged deputy chief of staff does not exist.

    "To my knowledge, no one by the name of Karl Rove works for this president, his staff, or for that matter, anyone on earth, since he is not a real person," White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters Monday.
    The phantom advisor has come under heavy fire in recent weeks from critics of the administration, who say he should be fired for his role in the scandal. President Bush has pledged that anyone in his administration found to be involved in the CIA leak will be dismissed.

    "There is no such organization as the CIA," McClellan said. "This is tinfoil-hat stuff."


    Fourteen Marines killed in bombing

    Enough already! Can someone please promise me that when (if) we pull out of Iraq, we won't turn around and send these guys and girls right back into some other meat grinder somewhere? Anyone? Rummy?

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    Your Honor, I Move for a Bad Court Thingie

    The Wall Street Urinal has an interesting article about the military tribunals that are trying "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo Bay. Apparently some of the "law-talking guys" involved in the trials don't think fixed fights are fair.

    Two Air Force prosecutors quit last year rather than take part in military trials they considered rigged against alleged terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Seems like it would take a lot to make a prosecutor quit because his job was too damn easy. Unless of course the lawyers had, you know, ETHICS, like these guys.
    Maj. John Carr, then a captain, and Maj. Robert Preston accused fellow prosecutors of ignoring torture allegations, failing to protect exculpatory evidence and withholding information from superiors. Altogether, the actions "may constitute dereliction of duty, false official statements or other criminal conduct," Maj. Carr wrote in a March 15, 2004, email summarizing his complaints to the then-chief prosecutor, Army Col. Fred Borch.

    You mean the secretive military trials run by the U.S. Government might not be on the up-and-up? I'm shocked! Shocked, I say! But never fear! It's John Roberts to the rescue!
    The Bush administration hopes to restart the military commissions trying Guantanamo prisoners as soon as next month, after a federal appeals court in July found the proceedings lawful. The ruling, by a three-judge panel that included Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr., reversed a lower court that halted the proceedings in November on the grounds that they violated due process and U.S. obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

    It’s time to get back to the indiscriminant, permanent jailing of Middle Eastern guys who may or may not be terrorists. Why bother finding out who is and who isn't? Jail 'em all, let god sort 'em out!
    Defense Department officials say several reviews, including one by a Pentagon inspector general, found nothing to substantiate the Carr and Preston allegations. "We found absolutely no evidence of ethical violations, no evidence of any criminal misconduct," says Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hemingway, legal adviser to the military commissions' appointing authority, as the administrative arm of the trials is called.

    Awesome! A Defense Department investigation! Rumsfeld's on the case! I'm sure Rummy will get to the bottom of this, right? Right?!
    Gen. Hemingway acknowledges personality differences and "an awful lot of miscommunications" in the prosecution office, but says organizational problems have since been corrected.

    Translation: we've "taken care of" anyone who might have supported those guys' claims, move along, nothing to see here, terrorist alert orange everyone!
    Still, military lawyers assigned to defend accused terrorists say the emails buttress longstanding complaints about the proceedings' fairness. They say they want to review the investigations of the former prosecutors' allegations but haven't been given access to the findings.

    Hmmm, so both the prosecutors and defense lawyers report that the trials are rigged against the defendants? Uh, maybe we want to, uh, take another look at this thing? Anybody? General Hemingway? Soon-to-be Justice Roberts? Rummy? Anyone? No? Okay. I guess we don't really need fair trials in this country, do we? It's not like it's, you know, a vital component of a democracy or anything...

    We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat! or A Really Crappy Metaphor

    I've been thinking a lot about the movie Jaws lately. Specifically, the character of Quint. Yeah, I know, just bear with me.

    So, in Jaws, there's this little town that has a problem. Namely, a big honkin' shark is eating people. Of course, just staying out of the water for a few weeks until the shark goes away isn't an option, because it wouldn't be in the town's best short-term economic interest. Although, you'd think that not being known as Sharktown U.S.A. might be better in the long term, but I digress.

    So, along comes Quint, saying that he's ready, willing, and able to kill the shark for everyone. He gets them to say yes by pointing out how the shark threatens their businesses and their very lives. He promises to bring them back "the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

    Then he procedes to fuck the whole thing up.

    They get a few harpoons in the shark but it just keeps going, and ends up beating the shit out of Quint's boat. Sherrif Brody, the voice of reason, tries to call for help, but Quint comes in and smashes the holy hell out of the radio. Thanks to Quint, they're in this thing alone.

    Quint's next brilliant idea is to tie the shark to his boat and drag it back to shore. Sort of a "fight it there so we don't have to fight it here" strategy. He stubbornly sticks to his course, over the protests of Brody and Hooper, in spite of the fact that smoke is billowing out of the engine. Eventually, he blows out the engine and manages to fill his hull with about 100 gallons of water.

    Then, as the boat sits there, dead in the water and sinking, Quint very calmly tosses a couple of lifejackets to Brody and Hooper, crossing his arms and resigning himself and his two companions to their fate. Of course, he never admits he was wrong or that he, you know, screwed up royal.

    So, in the end, Brody, the voice of reason, ends up killing the shark (sorry if I just gave away the ending, but, christ, the movie's 30 years old, what are you waiting for?). And guess what happens to Quint? Hint: see the picture above. Brody and Hooper swim back to shore, and, well, the shark (or a shark, anyway) comes back three more times, because everyone is still too stupid to stay out of the water.

    I don't know why, exactly, I've been thinking about this lately. But it'd be nice if we had more Brody's and fewer Quints in charge of things...