Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Local Tragedy

OK, it's not really a tragedy, but it feels like one. My favorite local microbrewery is no more. Mogollon has been sold, and will be turning into a typical bar. It's a minor event compared to all the real problems in the world, but it's a real loss in my personal world.

For over ten years, Mogollon has been a fixture in my life. A friendly place where local folk debate politics over beer, and tourists from all over the world are welcome. All the co-bloggers here at Pygalgia are regular patrons. Mogollon always felt more like a community than a bar, having that "Cheers" sense of "everybody knows your name." The funky, rustic decor was a fitting home for a mixed clientele of river runners, laborers, aging hippies, professionals, veterans, artists, and musicians. And Mogollon had another special attraction:

The beer. Put simply, the guys at Mogollon make the finest of hand crafted ales. These are full-bodied brews that are meant to be appreciated. My personal favorite (and official beer of this blog), the "Horny Toad IPA", is about as good an India Pale Ale as you'll ever find. The aggressive hoppiness isn't for the faint of heart, but Zymurgian, Sweaterman, Gandhisxmas, and I are all fans of sophisticated brew. I'm still coming to grips with the very real possibility that this may be the very last batch, as between the changes and the world wide hop shortage, there are currently no plans to brew any more.
Changes happen in our lives. The bar has been sold to new owners who hope to attract a younger, more upscale clientele. The brewing operation is moving and becoming a subsidiary of a major distributor, and will be focusing on larger scale production of fewer styles.
There are other bars and other microbreweries in the neighborhood, and life will go on. But none will be a real substitute. Mogollon has been a special place for more than ten years; a haven of sanity in a time of madness. When the sign comes down at the end of this month it will be the end of a local fixture. I wont be alone in my grief.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Pair of Boobies

At least I posted the Friday boobies.

Five Years

Next week we'll mark five years of fun and adventure in Iraq. Half a decade wasted on a really bad idea, with no signs of improvement. Real soldiers are still dying:

Guerrillas fired rockets at a US base south of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing 3 US soldiers and wounding 2. An Iraqi civilian was also wounded.

A US soldier was killed and another wounded at Diwaniya on Tuesday by a roadside bomb (that is Shiite territory). So the death toll for Monday through Wednesday was fifteen US troops killed.

If you’re reading these words, you are better informed about US casualties in Iraq than most Americans, for whom it has become a forgotten war. If it is not on television, it does not exist.

And here's a brief reminder that this war was started based on lies:

ABC News has requested and obtained a copy of the Pentagon study which shows Saddam Hussein had no links to Al Qaeda.


It's government report the White House didn't want you to read: yesterday the Pentagon canceled plans to send out a press release announcing the report's availability and didn't make the report available via email or online.

Based on the analysis of some 600,000 official Iraqi documents seized by US forces after the invasion and thousands of hours of interrogations of former officials in Saddam's government now in US custody, the government report is the first official acknowledgment from the US military that there is no evidence Saddam had ties to al Qaeda.

The Bush administration apparently didn't want the study to get any attention. The report was to be posted on the Joint Forces Command website yesterday, followed by a background briefing with the authors. No more. The report was made available to those who asked for it, and was sent via overnight mail from Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia.

Asked yesterday why the report would not be posted online and could not be emailed, the spokesman for Joint Forces Command said: "We're making the report available to anyone who wishes to have it, and we'll send it out via CD in the mail."

Another Pentagon official said initial press reports on the study made it "too politically sensitive."

It's easy to understand why the administration wouldn't want the public to be reminded that Saddam had no ties to al Qaeda. What's harder for me to understand is how they keep getting away with it.

I haven't posted much lately in part due to my frustration. I wish I could be "live blogging" impeachment hearings.