Saturday, April 14, 2007

Satire of the day

Our buddy Tom has a post that I must link to. Just too good:
"Bush to Name Corruption Czar"

WASHINGTON, April 13 - Admitting that corruption is "not going as smoothly
as we'd like", White House spokesman Scott Stanzel announced today that Bush
plans to name a high-powered 'corruption czar' to oversee all aspects of corruption in the executive branch. Stanzel acknowledged public disapprovel of the administration's corruption efforts, and said the new post is the centerpiece of a plan to "get corruption back on track."

Stanzel tried to emphasize the positive aspects of creating the post, noting the growing importance of corruption under the Bush administration. The federal corruption budget has expanded by 17,000% since early 2001, and insiders estimate that at least 47% of the executive branch payroll currently works full-time on

Teen Sex

So a new report shows that "abstinence only" education doesn't work. What a surprise. Apparently, some teenagers are having sex. Shocking.

“After 10 years and $1.5 billion in public funds these failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs will go down as an ideological boondoggle of historic proportions,” said James Wagoner, President of Advocates for Youth.

“The tragedy is not simply the waste of taxpayer dollars, it is the damage done to the young people who have been on the receiving end of distorted, inaccurate information about condoms and birth control. We have been promoting ignorance in the era of AIDS, and that’s not just bad public health policy, its bad ethics”.

“This report should serve as the final verdict on the failure of the abstinence-only industry in this country,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS). “It shows, once again, that these programs fail miserably in actually helping young people behave more responsibly when it comes to their sexuality,” Smith continued.

Now, I'm no expert on this generations teenagers. I try to avoid them as much as possible. But I remember my teen years, and they included sex (not as much as I would have liked, but more than the parents knew about). Society wrung it's hands about teen sex in my generation. And my parents generation. And my grandparents generation. The only reason that teen sex wasn't a cause for public outcry in my great-grandparents generation was teen marriage (my great-grandmother married at 15 and gave birth to my grandfather 6 months later).
The folks who worry about "morality" have been wringing their collective hands about teen sex for many decades, and our current religionists thought they could do something about it. The fools thought that they could teach our youngsters to deny biology, to deny reality.
Do they remember their own teenage years?

What's in a Name?

I see that one of my favorite blogs is growing and changing. What was "NewsHog" is now "The NewsHoggers", and it's a new layout, too.
Cernig has been one of my favorites since before this blog began. He writes in depth, thoughtful posts that I envy. The recently added Fester is equally good, especially on Iraq, as are Shamanic and Libby Spencer. Read daily.
Congrats, 'hoggers!

Friday, April 13, 2007

The 5 million missing emails

Did they check the "junk" folder? Because that's the first place I'd look for anything from "" or "".
"I don't believe there's any problem in this country, no matter how tough it is, that Americans, when they roll up their sleeves, can't completely ignore." George Carlin

I'm confused

Reading about the Paul Wolfowitz scandal has me really confused. OK, the guy got his girlfriend a REALLY big raise at the World Bank, so that her salary is higher than the Secretary of State. He broke the rules of the World Bank to do this. Simple cronyism I understand.
But what confuses is me is this: Wolfowitz the comb-sucker is married with children, but is openly rewarding his self acknowledged girlfriend. And the right-wing is OK with this? I seem to remember that there was some sort of kerfuffle about extra-marital affairs a few years back that really upset a lot of the righties. Now, they're behaving like the French accepting that a married man can openly keep a mistress? OK.
So: as a republican, sex is OK outside of marriage; but as a democrat, blow jobs are an outrage.
My liberal mind can't grasp right-wing morals.
Added: Yes, he is "separated" from his wife.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Iranian weapons?

The media really pisses me off sometimes. I realize that most of the public doesn't understand the subtlety of the middle east, but after four years the media should have a clue. My latest outrage is based on all the reports of Iran providing arms to insurgents. While this may be happening, there's a major problem with the evidence. Here's a picture of the "Iranian" weapons shown to the press by Major-General William Caldwell on 4/11:
Joe Raedle/Getty
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - APRIL 11: Weapons seized in Iraq are
shown during a news conference April 11, 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq.

All the reporters dutifully filed the stories without question. But take a close look at the weapons...anyone have any questions?

Um, let's see...Iranians speak Farsi. I don't expect our media would be able to tell the difference between Farsi and Arabic (although they are very different languages), but the difference between Farsi and English should be obvious. Unless we have been selling arms to the Iranians.

This "evidence" is blatantly obvious propaganda. Will someone, anyone in the media call them on this?

Added: Should have put up source link:

Added again: The military explains:

Several mortar rounds on display at the news conference had markings that read
"2006," suggesting they had been manufactured -- and arrived in Iraq -- after
the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The markings on all the munitions were in English. Maj. Marty Weber, an explosives expert, said countries selling arms on the global market tend to use English lettering.

I'm skeptical, to say the least.

Blog civility

I have been reading a lot of debate about "blog civility" and a variety of "pledges", "guidelines", and "ethics". Given how few comments this blog gets, it's not really a problem for us. But I don't like rules. So I'm only making one simple pledge: if a comment REALLY annoys me, I will send this cute Verde Tarantula after the comment poster.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Who said this?

Unrelated to the previous post, who said this?

"Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where
the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang
of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, “Stay the course.”

Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I’ll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

Hint: Not the usual suspects.

RIP, Billy Pilgrim

One of my favorite writers has left us.

another San Juan pic

Because they make me happy.

Iraq by the numbers

Found this article breaking down the Iraq debacle by the numbers. Not a pretty picture:
Approximate number of U.S. troops currently in Iraq: 145,000

Percent of coalition forces contributed by the U.S.: 92

Number of troops the British government will withdraw from Iraq in the
coming months: 1,600

Number of additional U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq, according to the President’s surge plan: 28,700

Number of additional U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis of the President’s surge plan: Up to 48,000

Estimated cost of troop surge plan according to the Bush Administration: $5.6 billion

Estimated cost of troop surge plan according to CBO’s analysis:
Up to $27 billion

Approximate amount appropriated by Congress for Iraq operations so far: >$450 billion

Estimated total cost of operations in Iraq by war’s end: $549 billion - $2.26 trillion

Approximate amount spent by the U.S. in World War I (in inflation-adjusted dollars): $205 billion

Approximate amount the U.S. is spending in Iraq per month (including operationaland investment costs): $8.6 billion

Approximate amount the U.S. spent in Iraq per month in Fiscal Year 2003 (including operational and investment costs): $4.4 billion

Number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq: 3,260

Number reported wounded by the Defense Department: 24,476

Number of National Guard soldiers killed in Iraq through February 3, 2007: 415

Number of National Guard soldiers killed in the entire Vietnam War: 97

Number of Iraqi military and police killed since training began in June 2003: 6,401

Number of journalists killed in Iraq: 95

Number of journalists killed in Vietnam: 63

Estimated number of insurgents in Iraq (November 2003): 5,000

Estimated strength of Sunni insurgency (including non-operational supporters): 70,000

Estimated number of foreign fighters in Iraq in May 2003: 100

Estimated number of foreign fighters in Iraq in November 2006: 800 – 2,000

A good analogy

At Sabdariffa, Hibiscus posts a really good analogy on global warming. Well worth reading.

this is the last thing i'm going say here on the issue of whether it's settled science that we're responsible for creating this warming climate. i don't see the point in trying to convince people of anything. as far as i'm concerned, we're years late, and what we need to do is to develop social frameworks for facing the challenge, or we're fucked.


let's say, tomorrow morning, you wake up with a stomach cramp. that's sort of how it feels. maybe you're a little constipated but mostly what you have is some abdominal discomfort. you go through the day and still, pain. you take some antacids, they don't help. nothing helps with the constipation, either. getting uncomfortable.

you're busy. it goes on for a couple days like this. finally, you decide to see a doctor, somebody who can see you right away, and the doctor, after examining your rectum, and x-raying your rectum, says,

"there's a growth on your colon. my guess: cancer. it's pretty small, not hard to remove. i can schedule for you — next week."

you go to ten more, a hundred more. every single asshole saying the same fucking thing — growth. cancer. surgery. you've looked it up on the net. it could be a dozen other things! and the doctors all give you the same lame reasons that your self-diagnoses are wrong, wrong, wrong. idiots!

woah, you think. surgery? forget it! the doctor strongly advises the surgery, because it'll be reasonably easy, but you have some pretty strong feelings against having knives inside you. so you go for a second opinion, and the second doctor says,

"there's a growth on your colon. my guess: cancer. it's pretty small, not hard to remove. i can —"

what is with these people, with this surgery thing? you are so outta there. try again:

"i hate to tell you this, but it looks there's a growth —"

and another: "could be colon cancer. i'd get it out, fast."


Found on another planet.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Evidence of water has been detected for the first time
in a planet outside our solar system, an astronomer said on Tuesday, a tantalizing find for scientists eager to know whether life exists beyond Earth.

Travis Barman, an astronomer at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, said water vapor has been found in the atmosphere of a large, Jupiter-like gaseous planet located 150 light years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. The planet is known as HD 209458b.

It's nice to know that our local scientists are keeping busy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

stealing Monkeyfisters nukes

Our pal, Monkeyfister put up the winning link of the day. Video's of nuclear testing. Big Bangs.

But I have the beach dragon.

more on Najaf

The Najaf protests as seen by shrub's spokesman:

NEW YORK A huge anti-American protest swept two cities in Iraq today, but White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters this only
underscores how much "progress" the U.S. is making in that country.

Four years since the fall of Baghad, Iraq "is now a place where people can freely gather and express their opinions, and that was something they could not do under Saddam." Johndrove said, traveling with President Bush to Arizona.

Nice spin job, but I'm thinking that reality has a different idea.

But at least they're learning english.

Internet addiction

I'm back. We had a power outage yesterday, and it left the household network router "hinky". So I went almost 24 hours without access to the intertubes. The withdrawl symptoms were terrible, but I survived. Was there really life before the internet?

Monday, April 9, 2007

More on al-Sadr

Moqtada al-Sadr's statement seems to be under reported in the media. AP repeats the "radical cleric" many times, but fails to report what his actual words were. Here's the imporatant part of the communique:
"a call to the Mahdi Army and the security apparatuses to stop fighting [in Diwaniya]." He said, "That is enough struggling and fighting, for it merely ensures the success of the plans of our enemy and your enemy. Our Iraq can no longer bear the shedding of this blood. The blood of an Iraqi is a red line [that must not be crossed.]" He added, "Iraqi Army and Police: Do not get drawn in behind the Occupier. For it is an obvious enemy to you." He said, "The armies of darkness represented by the Occupation forces, and more especially the great evil, America, have begun sowing the seeds of conflict, whether openly or through their agents--who have sold their land and their honor. We behold the turmoil taking place in Diwaniya, which the Occupier planned out to turn brotherhood into struggle and fighting."

original in arabic here:
My arabic is not good enough to provide a full translation, but Juan Cole's is.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


I'll be keeping an eye on this one. I've posted before on Moqtada al-Sadr's influence and potential impact on Iraq's future. It appears that a confontation may be coming in Najaf.

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Thousands of Iraqis streamed to the holy southern city of Najaf on Sunday in response to a call by fiery Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for a big anti-American protest on Monday.

Sadr, who blames the U.S.-led invasion for Iraq's unrelenting violence, has urged Iraqis to protest on the fourth anniversary of the day American forces swept into central Baghdad.

"In order to end the occupation, you will go out and demonstrate," Sadr, who
accuses U.S. forces of deliberately fomenting civil strife in Iraq, said in a statement.

(photos from reuters)

This could end up very badly.

Hunting with Mitt

Is this the silliest controversy in political history?

(I think that's Mitt in front)

Happy Easter

I'm non-religious, but to my christian friends, happy Easter.