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The WeatherPixie
Weather Conditions, Wish we were there...

Odd things and such things, as I feel appropriate, possibly relating to the war.
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Jerry Lawson, Proprietor

Comments by: YACCS

Tuesday, April 29 - Iraqi who helped rescue POW granted asylum - Apr. 29, 2003
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Iraqi lawyer who U.S. officials say took great risks to help with the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch has been granted asylum and offered a job in the United States, officials told CNN on Tuesday.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced Tuesday that Mohammed Odeh al Rehaief, his wife, and their 5-year-old daughter had been granted humanitarian parole the day before.
Woo-hoo! Good for him!


Quick technique for dealing with telemarketers...

1. Get caller ID. (The machines are cheap at any virtually office supply store, I've seen phones with it going for $15 - or you can order caller ID readers or enabled phones from Target to Lowes to Radio Shack to Office Max to ... well, you get my drift, right?)

2. When the ID shows "Unavailable" or "Blocked" on an incoming call - pick up the receiver and LISTEN for a second or so. If you don't hear anything on the other end, keep waiting for a couple of seconds. If you STILL don't hear anything, you've been tapped by an automatic dialer. And here's the secret...

If you don't say anything, if there's no noise - it won't connect you to a telemarketer. Just hang up and go on.

Of course, if you REALLY want to mess with them, blow into the receiver when you're ready and as you hear them pick up say "Goodbye", and hang up the phone.


Times Online
We went to war just to boost the white male ego

By Norman Mailer

With their dominance in sport, at work and at home eroded, Bush thought white American men needed to know they were still good at something. That's where Iraq came in...

Exeunt: lightning and thunder, shock and awe. Dust, ash, fog, fire, smoke, sand, blood, and a good deal of waste now moves to the wings. The stage, however, remains occupied. The question posed at curtain-rise has not been answered. Why did we go to war? If no real weapons of mass destruction are found, the question will keen in pitch.
And you, Norman Mailer, write such drivel because...

It pays well...

It brings you notice...

AND it strokes your big, white, well-lubed with KY male ego when someone goes "You're so SMART! You have such good IDEAS!" - when your last literary sucess (actually, popular novel) was "A Fire On The Moon" in 1970! Since the, you've not sold much fiction and precious little fact that was popular long-term...

You DO have something that's relatively popular, "Why are We at War?", on the Sales Rank charts at 1,073... but it seems a rather narcissistic blather of someone who sees GWB as trying to foment an American Empire - instead of someone who's doing a job that the intelligensia such as yourselves have resolutely ignored the need to do.

What's the job? Shovelling the shit of the world, my friend. Or, perhaps, pumping out the collective consciousness septic tank.

And you know, it's interesting to me how you don't mind helping to filling up the septic tank with every criticism of the country that made you rich that you can generate, but you'll call a specialist to clean it out, right? When you FINALLY admit it's full and needs pumping. (Think 9/11) And you can feel superior to that person - because they have to deal with the shit you and people like you generate day in and day out. And that's about all you really do generate - politically motivated shit that someone's going to have to clean up someday, but YOU won't touch - because you're too good to do so.

But you'll bitch about everything in the cleanup process, won't you, Norman? The pumper truck's the wrong color. The tank's too big for the job. The tires have a funny tread on them. And keep that hose off my lawn! Endless criticisms - and no suggestions to help get the job done. Pardon me, no WORKING suggestions to get the job done, that is...

Hell. Shit happens, Norman. You should know that. The question is - you just going to bitch about the stink? Or are you actually going to help clean it up, and prevent the next overflow?


Sunday, April 27
Yahoo! News - Eerie Silence in Hollywood as Anti-War Stars Vanish
In the weeks leading up to war in Iraq (news - web sites) actors Martin Sheen, Mike Farrell, Sean Penn and Janeane Garofalo joined a cast of thousands in a fierce Hollywood resistance played out in protest marches and from the sofas of television talk shows.
But with the war in its waning hours, all is quiet on the western coast -- leading conservatives to suggest that Garofalo and her fellow travelers are in full retreat from a public backlash and feeling chastened by a swift American victory.
Hey - they knew the job was dangerous when they took it. Oh, how BRAVE of them to speak out about the atrocities they knew were coming! The quagmires! The general incompetence and stupidity of our military is only surpassed by the stupidity of the President!

Uh, Earth to Hollywood - it didn't work out that way.
Farrell said that the ability of U.S. troops to topple Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s regime in relatively short order has not softened his opposition to the war.

"An illegal war is an illegal war no matter what the result. We'll never know now what could have been achieved through peaceful means."

Prof. Howard Suber, founding director of UCLA's film and television producer's program, said the eerie silence from Hollywood was to be expected once American troops were on the ground in Iraq.

"It's one thing to oppose the war and it's another thing entirely to appear that you are supporting the enemy," Suber said. "That's the trap Jane Fonda fell into when she went to North Vietnam (during the Vietnam War) and was a labeled traitor. I know of no public figure who supported Saddam, so once the troops are in the field you've got to shut up."
But, he added: "To suggest they've been muzzled I think is bull. They've just got nothing to say. Once the deed is done there's nothing to say until the next time."
And hopefully, they'll have learned from THIS time that maybe being an actor doesn't automatically give you expertise in world affairs, diplomacy, or military matters. They're actors. They can have opinions - but in the end, their opinions are worth what they're paid for expressing them.


Wednesday, April 23
qUirKy jAPan hOmePaGE
Are you tired of shrines and temples, reconstructed ferro-concrete castles and tea ceremonies? Do you like to get off the beaten track? Would you like to meet Japanese people who do not meet the conformist stereotype? Japan, behind the conservative grey suits and formal bows, is a country quirkier than you can ever imagine. The Quirky Japan Homepage provides information about oddities such as the The Meguro Parasitalogical Museum, the Thousand Person Bathtub, Love Hotels, temple lodging, and the Yakiimo man (the ice cream man's evil twin).
And this fantastic site has info on...

Hotel the Rock is a love hotel with an Alcatraz theme. Prison sex. How romantic. The exterior and hallways fit the theme completely, with a robotic warden to greet you when you come in and lots of sound and visual effects, but the rooms are just like you’d find in a regular hotel without any particular themes. No dusty old Sean Connery in this one. It’s on national route 17 near Takasaki station.
Oh, lordy. The things you can find just by browsing Metafilter. I'd heard about these decades ago - and it's interesting to find a section of a web site devoted to them.

And, after all the war news - "Make Love, not war!"


Tuesday, April 22

Just what you might think...



The Observer | Review | Come and join us...
On the subject of mindless distractions and/or the pursuit of perfection, this is the time of year when some bright sunlight and a bank holiday inspire many of us to indulge in a bit of light dusting before putting in a call to the window-cleaner, or to throw away all our belongings and start a new life as an olive-sexer in Tuscany. C4's No Turning Back pioneered the now wildly popular Running Away From Reality strand, which has been given a cheap gameshow-style twist by BBC2's Get A New Life.

In this show, couples who are feeling a bit underwhelmed by their lot get two weeks in which to pack their bags and relocate to a foreign country, where, for a month with all expenses paid, they can decide if they fancy the lifestyle enough to stay or whether they need to return to lives of humdrum predictability in a place where louring skies may weigh heavily on your shoulders but where you can also, nonetheless, make yourself understood in B&Q on Bank Holiday Monday.
Reality shows... well, guess there's nothing much realer than changing your reality for for a different one.

Let's see... where would I want to go - what country...

Hmmm. So many to choose from...


CIA infiltrated and used Human Shields in Iraq to take down Saddam : SF Indymedia
CIA infiltrated and used Human Shields in Iraq to take down Saddam
by boston_liberty Monday April 21, 2003 at 08:09 AM

From the beginning, the heads of the American Central Intelligence Agency followed a plan to use the work of agents posing as "human shields." The CIA chiefs used peace activists in America carefully and systematically.
Can you think of a better way to make sure that 'human shields' aren't accepted in to 'help' again?

I sure can't. This is pure tinfoil hat GENIUS. I do believe this gentleman deserves the coveted ALCOA award, symbolized by *5* rolls of aluminum foil in a pentagonal arrangement.


Monday, April 21
Telegraph | News | Galloway was in Saddam's pay, say secret Iraqi documents
George Galloway, the Labour backbencher, received money from Saddam Hussein's regime, taking a slice of oil earnings worth at least £375,000 a year, according to Iraqi intelligence documents found by The Daily Telegraph in Baghdad.
A confidential memorandum sent to Saddam by his spy chief said that Mr Galloway asked an agent of the Mukhabarat secret service for a greater cut of Iraq's exports under the oil for food programme.
Mr. Galloway was THE most vocal critic of Prime Minister Blair. Interesting, isn't it?
In the papers, which were found in the looted foreign ministry, Iraqi intelligence continually stresses the need for secrecy about Mr Galloway's alleged business links with the regime. One memo says that payments to him must be made under "commercial cover".
For more than a decade, Mr Galloway, MP for Glasgow Kelvin, has been the leading critic of Anglo-American policy towards Iraq, campaigning against sanctions and the war that toppled Saddam.
He led the Mariam Appeal, named after an Iraqi child he flew to Britain for leukaemia treatment. The campaign was the supposed beneficiary of his fund-raising.
I suppose it's easier to make a 'principled stand' against the war when you're getting paid about a half-million a year to make it.


I'd like to take a moment to touch on a subject that's near and dear to my heart, and to that of any member of our Armed Forces.


Yes, food.

There's an old saying - an army marches on it's stomach. Putting aside a rather odd visual image of individual soldiers humping along on their bellies like snails, consider that each soldier deployed in Iraq (or anywhere, for that matter) needs about 3000-4000 calories worth of food a day. Now, consider just how that food gets there - as a result of an immense logistical effort that's literally the equivalent of moving a fair-sized East Coast mountain in a week's time. (Okay, Kennesaw Mountain equivalent in volume, all right?)

But that food (and by extension the fuel, clothing, ammunition, comfort items, vehicles of a hundred different types, spare parts, medical supplies, tents, and indeed the people themselves) has to get where it's going somehow.

And you can't just call up FedEX and tell them you need a half-million crates of MREs delivered to Basra by tomorrow morning.

The military has - through many, many decades of theorizing, experimentation, observation, and learning from (some pretty horrendous) mistakes - created a logistics organization that can get darn near anything anywhere at any time, in whatever quantities are needed. With the rapid advances US forces made towards Baghdad - the absolute worst screwup I heard on the logistics front was that some units were only getting enough MREs for one meal a day per man. And this lasted for maybe two, three days at most.

No lack of gas, which stalled out Patton in WW2. No lack of munitions. No lack of people - transport worked damn well getting folks in safely and out again when wounded. Things got where they were needed when they were needed.

Now, it's popular in certain circles to portray the US military as a bunch of cretins bent on establishing world domination under the leadership of GWBush. The folks in the military are too stupid to make it in the real world, that's supposedly why they're doing what they do. And if caves were still popular, they'd be living in them and throwing rocks and clubs... but when you look at what the military has done, and what it CAN do, one thing becomes evident very fast.

Their arguments don't hold water.

You can't be stupid and supply a quarter million people half-way around the world. The military learns from it's mistakes, and virtually never makes the same mistake twice.

Which is why it's so deadly now.

You take a look at the military systems in other countries and you don't see the same level of education and self-criticism. Lessons learned are spread widely - and applied. In Arabic countries, you see the exact reverse situation as detailed in Why Arabs Lose Wars.
In every society information is a means of making a living or wielding power, but Arabs husband information and hold it especially tightly. U.S. trainers have often been surprised over the years by the fact that information provided to key personnel does not get much further than them. Having learned to perform some complicated procedure, an Arab technician knows that he is invaluable so long as he is the only one in a unit to have that knowledge; once he dispenses it to others he no longer is the only font of knowledge and his power dissipates. This explains the commonplace hoarding of manuals, books, training pamphlets, and other training or logistics literature.
Contrast that to the US military, where if a better way is found, or a mistake is made that can be learned from, the information is spread out quickly. This is not the case with those who we've been fighting against, who will cover up a mistake to avoid the blame for it. Covering up a mistake - whether it be in maintenance or logistics - affects the mission and can cause loss of equipment, casualties, or death.

There's a saying in the wargaming community, I believe.

"Beginners talk tactics, experienced gamers talk strategy, and experts talk about logistics."

Because if the beans and bullets aren't there, enough and on time, you're gonna lose. You get the food there, and the munitions - and you're halfway home.

An army marches on it's stomach.


Outspoken anti-war activist Susan Sarandon hit severe ratings turbulence on CBS Sunday night with her original telefilm ICE BOUND -- landing last in overnight ratings and losing nearly 40% of audience levels from the previous Sunday on CBS.
Well, I give her fifteen minutes before she starts whining about her First Amendment rights and how they've been violated here.

But they haven't been. Is she in jail? Has she been fined for her stance and outspokenness? Has the government done a blessed thing to her?


She managed to (apparently) piss off her fan base. The only reason she's a celebrity is because of that fan base. If she makes statements that the fan base disagrees with, then those fans who don't like them will cease to be fans.

And her ratings will drop.

This is what's known, kiddies, as the "Law of Unintended Consequences" or, as it's known by another name - "Oh, shit - I didn't mean for THIS to happen!"

Nobody forced her to be silent, nobody forced her to speak out against the war, nobody forced her to speak FOR the war. She chose to speak, and thus accept the consequences.


Sunday, April 20 Music: The Complex [ENHANCED]
Availability: This item will be released on April 22, 2003. You may order it now and we will ship it to you when it arrives.
New - from Blue Man Group.

I'm thinking about getting it - but... it has... um... vocals. (We saw the show in Vegas - they're silent.)

I've got "Audio" - and it's great. Put it in, crank up the volume, and it's mind (and ear) blowing.

But vocals?

Erg. Well... we'll see.


USS Clueless
The existence of NATO is not a fact of nature; like any human institution it has to justify itself in practical terms. What does the US get out of membership in NATO to justify what we actually contribute to it or might be required to contribute to it? A lot of other nations get a great deal out of it because we're members, but what exactly is in it for us? If membership benefits others but not us, then it means we're being cheated.
Long interesting post on NATO - and how the other NATO members (cough*France*cough*Germany*cough) used Article 5 of the NATO treaty (loosely phrased, an attack on one is an attack on all) to block our action (loosely phrased - "since an attack on one is an attack on all, then all must agree on the chosen action before any one can take action") we're being screwed by NATO membership.

Well, the world existed before NATO and the UN - it will undoubtedly continue to do so if the US leaves both organizations.


At one time I believed in the UN.

I don't anymore.

We played by UN rules in Gulf War 1. We got Iraq out of Kuwait. We played by the rules set by the UN and left Saddam in power, after he promised to disarm.

17 UN resolutions later, we were still waiting for him to disarm. So we disarmed him.

In those 12 years between Gulf War 1 and today, the UN doesn't have much of a good record. They failed miserably in Bosnia, and it was only the US coming in that saved millions of Muslims. The bad part? There are reports of the UN peacekeepers being ordered NOT to intervene to save lives. This... is not good. And hell, the UN folks even started prostitution rings - and you KNOW that if the US tried something like that the 'International Community' would scream bloody murder. But the UN does it - and it's apparently okay.

Rwanda was another massive failure for the UN. The US didn't help out with that one - and nobody really gave much thought to what was going on - even the UN didn't much care. Again, peacekeeping troops were told to stay out of the local issues. Again, a bad move and hundreds of thousands were slaughtered.

East Timor? Again, the UN didn't do shit. Australia had to send THEIR forces into help.

Now the UN (apparently prodded by France) is trying to maintain their relevance in Iraq, and have a leading role there.

Nope. Three strikes (major ones - we won't bother digging for smaller ones, but like the prostitution in Bosnia I'm sure there's a fair amount of shit floating in the murky waters of the UN peacekeeping practices) and you're out. I may support UNICEF - but as far as I'm concerned, the rest of the UN can go take a flying leap.


Bosnia Sex Trade Shames UN
Madeleine Rees, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bosnia, has broken ranks to demand that UN officials, international peacekeepers and police who are involved in sex crimes be brought to justice in their home countries.
Speaking exclusively to Scotland on Sunday, the British lawyer has also launched an outspoken attack on her former boss. She accuses Jacques Paul Klein, the former head of the UN Mission in Bosnia, of not taking UN complicity in the country’s burgeoning sex trade seriously enough.
Okay - and the UN is proposing that they be allowed to oversee all operations in Iraq?

Don't think so...


The Saddam Files
The fates of thousands of others are buried in Saddam’s numerous prisons. One of the most notorious was the IIS prison at Haakimiya, near a bustling commercial area in downtown Baghdad. A nondescript five-story building notable only by the extra barbed wire on the roof, the Haakimiya Prison is actually 10 stories. Belowground are interrogation cells where unspeakable horrors were committed. NEWSWEEK’s Liu, prowling the dank and empty halls, ran into a former inmate, Mohsen Mutar Ulga, 34, who was searching for documents about his cousin, executed under Saddam. Ulga said he was sentenced to 12 years in jail for belonging to an armed religious group called “the revenge movement for Sadr,” referring to a martyred Shiite cleric. He had been arrested with 19 others; the lucky ones were executed right away. The rest were tortured with electric cattle prods and forced to watch the prison guards gang-rape their wives and sisters. Some were fed into a machine that looked like a giant meat cutter. “People’s bodies were cut into tiny pieces and thrown into the Tigris River,” said Ulga
But hey, the left's okay with that. It's not like it's being done by the US or anything. I mean, it's their culture, right? Can't fault someone for their cultural imperatives, after all. Torture and repression, Arab world, it all goes together, right?

And if the Anti-War Left had their way, Saddam would still be doing it!

Ahem. Sorry about that. Guess I got a bit... emphatic.


Okay - after a weekend off (OFF? Like heck I was off. Let's see, yesterday was windows and such and restringing the broken deck umbrella - cheap cord, low breaking strenght, I replaced it with 550 cord and it should last for a summer or two) and getting rid of the old deck furniture, scrubbing the mildew (and a lot of the stain) off the deck, then there was the paint-matching at Home Depot, taking down all the light globes to wash 9 years worth of accumulated bugs & dust out (dishwashers are MARVELOUS things...) and getting them back up again (cheap-ass tiny screws that cross-thread in a heartbeat) and the usual stuff of a weekend Saturday - then TODAY... well, Easter Sunday (of course) then afterward we put the carpet back down on the deck and got new deck furniture at Lowes and THAT went together pretty easily (and gave me material for a flying saucer for Halloween) and did I mention putting in the two new light fixtures we got to replace the corroded ones at the front door?) I guess it's about time to put some new posts in place.

Relaxing. Yeah. Sure. I wasn't this busy at the base on Reserve weekends.

NEXT weekend, however, I ain't doing a thing around the house. Heh.


Thursday, April 17
Says it all there. Note who fought hardest to keep from going to war.

Yep. The Big Three.

Starts to make a bit of sense now, doesn't it? I'll bet Saddam's got QUITE a tab now that'll never get paid.


Society of Professional Journalists - Code of Ethics
Seek Truth and Report It
Oddly enough, found this through a post at - a wonderful little site that's set up so people can post what they consider to be truth. (The journalistic standards they embrace are somewhat less... clear than these. In fact, for an independent media site, they've got a real heavy agenda.)

But you can find jewels in amongst the shit if you look. And boy, is Indymedia a fertilizer-rich environment.


Jacques Chirac studied his face anxiously in the mirror. He felt every wrinkle as an insult, a scar upon his soul.
'How ze beauty fades,' he sighed. 'One day soon I will be an old hag. But...not yet, no, not quite yet. It will be a poor thing if I cannot still captivate a gauche Texan.'
Oh, god. Political slash fiction. Bad enough there was Kirk/Spock, and Luke/Han, Luke/Chewie and Han/Chewie slash - now they've got to bring POLITICS into it?

God, the horror of it all...


Red Cross says water flowing in Baghdad. 17/4/2003. ABC News Online
Coalition forces are continuing to restore infrastructure to the people of Baghdad with water and power supplies partially restored.

The city of 5 million people has been largely without water and power after three weeks of intensive bombing.

Red Cross spokesman Roland Huguenin-Benjamin says most areas now have some sort of water supply.

He says he expects this to improve in coming days.

"As of today there is water flowing in all the taps in Baghdad," he said.
"It's not yet back up to the normal level, but there is water everywhere. We repaired two water stations that had been damaged by bombing.
Did the Red Cross do it, or did the coalition forces? No matter - the important thing is that it's done.


Wednesday, April 16
Well, it looks like this phase of the war's pretty well settled out.

Oh, there's going to be problems still, but nothing insurmoutable. Of course, those on the left will spin every incident into an atrocity, and ignore the atrocities that occured before the war. I've been watching what's being posted in at SF Indymedia and Democratic Underground - and I've never seen folks frothing so much about how hate-filled conservatives are. You want to see hatred? It's there, loads of it.

And it's a funny thing - the better the US does, the more they froth. Afghanistan was supposed to be a tragedy, a travesty, a humbling of the mighty US war machine.

Didn't happen. We went in, kicked out the Taliban. Afghanistan doesn't look like Beverly Hills, but give them thirty years and they ought to be about at the Anaheim level.

Now we're in Iraq. We've won. Again, the predictions were that the magnificent Iraqi military would clean our collective clocks - that we'd take casualties and turn tail. And it got pretty apparent that the majority of the anti-war crowd wasn't looking to be seriously anti-war (after all, how many signs or marches did you see with protestors suggesting that Saddam disarm or open up to inspectors?) but were anti-Bush. Well, that's great work if you can make it pay - but with the stuff coming out of Iraq regarding the atrocities committed by Saddam, it looks really stupid for them to scream about how we shouldn't have done it.

More later - I'm falling asleep. But the thread I'm thinking of is that we may NOT have to use force again. It's been proven that we will, when we consider it in our best interest. (And, sorry to say it, if the UN gets in the way it'll get pushed aside.) It's also been proven that there isn't a 3rd world country (or even a marginal 2nd world one like Iraq) that can stop us when we shove the throttles forward on the war machine. That we're strong militarily wasn't in doubt. That we had the will to use that strength was. And, thanks to France, we've shown we'll use that strength with or without UN approval, when WE feel it's needed.


Defections set Edwards’ hopes
Defections set Edwards’ hopes back
By Sam Dealey
Despite his impressive fundraising performance, the presidential campaign of Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) has suffered a rash of defections to rival candidates and lost key endorsements in recent weeks.

The defections and missed endorsements since late March suggest that despite outward appearances, including netting $7.4 million in the first quarter, all may not be well inside the Edwards campaign.
Read for that all Democrats. You're going to have a real hard time spinning Iraq into a loss.

Not that you won't try, of course.


Tuesday, April 15
Past the main house is an indoor swimming pool. While many Iraqis suffered under the U.N. sanctions that sharply cut their country's foreign earnings, there's no question the 39-year-old resident of this little slice of Iraqi heaven lived a life of fast cars, expensive liquor and easy women.
The inside of his master bedroom looks like the Playboy Mansion. There is evidence of a hunger for alcohol, drugs and lots and lots of women. There are also hundreds of photo albums — mostly of Odai himself.
Nice work, if you can get it. OR make other people get it for you.
There's Dom Perignon, 40-year-old French wines, some very good brandy, even more good whiskey, boxes of personalized Cuban cigars, six bags of heroin, boxes of pills and medicines of various kinds, ginseng sexual fortifiers, Prozac and an HIV screening test.
Odai's obsession with sex is evident everywhere. There are paintings of naked women and bundles of Internet printouts of what appeared to be prostitutes, complete with handwritten ratings of each. One black book lists hundreds of women's names and phone numbers.
There are also UNICEF boxes, with kids' school supplies meant for the children of Iraq.
There are multiple pictures of Odai's days as head of Iraq's Olympic Committee, where he earned a vicious reputation as someone who would jail athletes who failed to perform to his standards.
Shit. All the dough, and he steals school supplies?

Man. Good for Iraq he's dead, then.

Rodney King, whose videotaped beating led to the deadly 1992 riots in Los Angeles, was hospitalized with a broken pelvis after he lost control of his SUV while weaving through traffic at 100 mph and crashed into a house, police said.

He just plain shouldn't be allowed to drive. All LA needs is more riots because this guy shouldn't be behind the wheel.


Sunday, April 13
Telegraph | Opinion | Movers and shakers have moved on to the next 'disaster'
) "Rather than reforming the Muslim world, the conquest of Iraq will inflame it" (Jeffrey Simpson, Toronto Globe and Mail, April 10). MBITRW: Effective immediately, Palestinian suicide bombers are no longer subsidised by Baghdad; in Jordan, the Saddamite boot is off the Hashemite windpipe; Syria is under notice to behave. Despite the best efforts of Western doom-mongers to rouse the Arab street, its attitude will remain: start the jihad without me.

Yep. Cut off the funding - and all of a sudden it's not going to look so 'noble' to blow yourself up - especially if your family is going to get nothing but a razed home for it. 72 Virgins is one thing, $25k is another. The 72 may well look a lot less attractive now that the 'life insurance' policies have been canceled.


Friday, April 11
Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.
For example, in the mid-1990's one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government's ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency's Iraq station chief. CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk.
Working for a foreign news organization provided Iraqi citizens no protection. The secret police terrorized Iraqis working for international press services who were courageous enough to try to provide accurate reporting. Some vanished, never to be heard from again. Others disappeared and then surfaced later with whispered tales of being hauled off and tortured in unimaginable ways. Obviously, other news organizations were in the same bind we were when it came to reporting on their own workers.
So it's okay to let them be terrorised and killed - as long as you retained your station in Iraq?

Self-serving bastards. And they wonder why their ratings are dropping. You weren't reporting, you were being a mouthpiece for the Regime.


Okay, another quick note.

On the war: If you could point out where we've done something and it hasn't turned out well, what would it be? Civilian casualties? Remarkably low. Didn't get Saddam? Personally, I think he's gone to that big sand dune in the sky. You know, the one that Osama's sitting on. (Satan to Saddam: "Virgins? No, that was a mis-statement. It's URGINGS, 72 an hour. And since you're in the afterlife, you have no male member. So, 72 urgings an hour. And you have no dick, you're in hell.")

WMD? Well, I wouldn't be so sure of that. Like the CNN reporter who finally 'fessed up about their covering up of atrocities so they could stay in country, I think there's likely been some found but it's being kept a tight secret. Why? (There couldn't be 'made in France' labels stuck on, could there?) There's been a number of things found, then hushed without adequate answers. It may well be that Bush is preparing a list of what's been found, a truely damning list.

And that's another thing. Bush has played this whole thing FLAWLESSLY. He keeps letting folks have enough rope, then they hang themselves. Witness France making it known that they would veto any attempt to use force to disarm Saddam, and Bush going "Okay, we'll go with 17 resolutions instead of 18." And now France and Germany are saying that ONLY the UN should be allowed to admininster Iraq.

Well, if you'd given us support when we needed it and ASKED for it, you'd be in a much better position now to try to legitimatize the UN. But you didn't, and you aren't. The UN will have a role, I'm sure. But it won't be a big one, and it won't be an important one.

And that's it for tonight.

By the way, did I mention Aaron got a rock tumbler? I'm trying to show him that even though a rock looks pretty yucky on the outside, when it's polished it's a different matter. And that good things take time. Maybe it'll work.


Yes, I know. Bloggings been sparse this week, for a number of reasons. Firstly - this week sucked weatherwise. Gray, rainy, disgusting weather drags me down, and then there was that damn time change. What sadist insists that Daylight Savings Time is the way to go? It sucks. It sucks dry pea gravel through soda straws, then swallows.

I dislike it intensely. I have little energy, darn near no initiative. Not good, not good at all.

Secondly - the war. It's hard to blog... I'm posting stuff on Warfilter, a Metafilter offshoot where people actually seem to be discussing the war instead of coming up with cute little putdowns like "You're just a dickhead who wouldn't know a fact if it came up and pissed on your foot." I may be their pet conservative, I don't know. But it's fun, and chock full o' feedback. And boy, hasn't there been a lot to post about. That's a big problem, just trying to keep UP with everything.

Third - time. Time, time, time... I find I'm getting cranky on less than 6 hours sleep a night, don't know what's the matter with me any more. Can't be because I'm getting older, can it?

Fourth - Parents, child, cold, hack-cough-sneeze, job, and the internet at large.

Anywho - that's why I've been blogging a bit less this week.


Wednesday, April 9
Space Station Science Picture of the Day: High Tea
ISS science officer Don Pettit paused for afternoon tea--above--and showed us how it's done: "It's easy," says Pettit. "You just take your chopsticks, pick up a blob of tea, and pop it in your mouth. This is a practical demonstration of all the surface chemistry we learned about in college."
Neat! Tea using chopsticks.

Man, I wish I could try that... The whole zero-G thing. The Vomit Comet isn't quite the same - but I'd still LOVE to try it.


Times Online
The Iraqis did not wish to suffer the fate of the Palestinians, that is to say to die in large numbers for decades so that other Arabs, safe in their homes, would feel good about themselves. The Iraqis know that had the Palestinians not listened to their Arab brethren, they would have had a state in 1947, as decided by the United Nations Security Council. The Iraqis know that each time the Palestinians became heroic to please other Arabs they lost even more.
These days the Arab media are full of articles about how the Arabs feel humiliated by what has happened in Iraq, how they are frustrated, how they hate America for having liberated the people of Iraq from their oppressor, and how they hope that the Europeans, presumably led by Jacques Chirac, will ride to the rescue to preserve a little bit of Saddam’s legacy with the help of the United Nations.
Thank God, the peoples of Iraq, not deceived by Arab hyperbole, are ignoring such nonsense.
Freedom's a scary thing. It'll be interesting to see what the Iraqi people have learned from 25 years of Saddam's rule.

I think the first thing will be to not let a dictator get hold of you by the short & curlies again. And second - the US is a friend.

A tough-love friend, but a friend to the end.


San Francisco Indymedia -

The concept is independent media publishing - but the end results are... interesting. Independent would seem to mean a diversity of opinions, a wide spectrum of stuff up on their main screen. Freedom to say and do what you want, you know?

But it ain't so. They routinely hide stuff they disagree with. And really, who can blame them? Hard to get a good anti-war rant going when you're faced with Saddam's Thugs BURN KIDS - is this okay with you?" They don't want to know - it distracts from their main message.

Ideological purity. Ain't it great? Almost looks like Democratic Underground over there. They're all for independent thought also - as long as it's along the proper lines.

J. | Saddam's killing room (April 07, 2003)
For even the mildest complaint - such as complaining about a child's teacher or the lack of buses or fresh fruit and vegetables - locals could have an ear lopped off or be branded with hot irons.
This evidence, said coalition commanders, shows the reality of how harsh life was in Saddam's Iraq.
As well, witnesses told yesterday of how members of Saddam's Ba'ath Party had tortured and killed dozens of innocent children, leaving their tiny bodies hung from street lighting in the besieged southern city of Basra.
Children as young as four have been taken from their parents during the night and murdered after extremists targeted families thought to have been aiding coalition forces.
Okay - any anti-war protestor care to step up and justify this? Anyone?


Tuesday, April 8
Yahoo! News - Jailed Iraqi children run free as marines roll into Baghdad suburbs
More than 100 children held in a prison celebrated their freedom as US marines rolled into northeast Baghdad amid chaotic scenes which saw civilians loot weapons from an army compound, a US officer said.

Around 150 children spilled out of the jail after the gates were opened as a US military Humvee vehicle approached, Lieutenant Colonel Fred Padilla told an AFP correspondent travelling with the Marines 5th Regiment.
Read this - and remember all the anti-war protestors. All the guys and gals going 'No Blood For Oil!" All the protestors WANTING Saddam to stay in power.

Would THIS be worth shedding blood for?

I say YES. (Along with all the other reasons, such as him destroying his own people and building palaces - and hoarding food while his people starve.)


A captured Iraqi colonel being held in one of the hangars listened in astonishment as his information minister praised Republican Guard soldiers for recapturing the airport.

He looked at his captors and, as he realised that what he had heard was palpably untrue, his eye filled with tears. Turning to a translator, he asked: "How long have they been lying like this?"

You know, sometimes you just have to feel sorry for the poor bastards. Fed crap so long, and then they get free of it - and then they realize they've been fed crap for years.

And how many people died because of it? Because the UN decided resolutions were 'effective', and that enforcing those resolutions were unimportant?

Hundreds of thousands? Millions?

Because of Saddam - and because the UN proved helpless.


Monday, April 7
U.S. investigates chemical finds
U.S. military forces in Iraq were reported Monday to have uncovered at least two caches of what may be banned chemical weapons — barrels of chemicals buried outside an agriculture compound near Karbala and medium-range rockets found in a warehouse south of Baghdad. Senior Pentagon officials reacted cautiously, saying the preliminary positive tests have not been confirmed and noting that previous reports about possible chemical weapons had turned out to be unfounded.
Shrug. Big surprise, isn't it? Medium range rockets...

Look - I know there's folks out there who will insist that Saddam's as clean as a newborn babe, that he never would even THINK of WMD, much less use them (on his own people, cough-cough) and that it's ALL just a plot by the Evil US to gain a foothold in the ME.

But things are not looking anywhere near as pretty as they'd like. Saddam was evil, and I know it's not PC to use that word - but there's no other word that fits. A 5 year old is bad, occasionally. Mean, even, at times. Malicious? Possibly. But evil? Only in horror stories.

Grownups, however, can be evil. Jeffrey Dahmer, Stalin, Hitler. Saddam and his sons. The horrible stories that have come out of Iraq have been denigrated - but there's more and more evidence showing that they weren't nearly as horrible as they should have been.

You have warehouses full of food - in a city that's starving. You have a regime that would turn off the water to a city - knowing that the US and Brits would halt their operations for a day or two to get the water going again for the people.

You have 'soldiers' who would fire on their own people when they were trying to escape Basra, to force them back into the city.

This is evil. Not storybook evil, but banal, selfish and unremitting evil.

And you have 'peace' protestors this side of the pond who want that regime to continue uninterrupted. If you support evil, and want to see it continued - are you not evil yourself?


Sunday, April 6
KRT Wire | 04/06/2003 | Troops, journalists undergo cleanup for nerve gas exposure
U.S. soldiers evacuated an Iraqi military compound on Sunday after tests by a mobile laboratory confirmed evidence of sarin nerve gas. More than a dozen soldiers of the Army's 101st Airborne Division had been sent earlier for chemical weapons decontamination after they exhibited symptoms of possible exposure to nerve agents.
Well. What a surprise...

Are these the WMD that Blix couldn't find?


Al Jazeera - objective and balanced global news coverage and analysis- main page

Hey, they managed to stop an M1!
"One hour later President Saddam Hussein came to congratulate us and asked us to fight until the end," he said. Khoder, wearing civilian attire but armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and with ammunition strapped across his chest, said there were four men and one woman inside the tank. "They're all dead," Khoder said.
Uhhh, dude? Like, there's only four in the crew... And if you take a look at this - the turret doesn't seem anywhere near large enough. In fact - the profile (or what we can see of it) doesn't really match.

You know, Al down at the used tank lot may have ripped you off if he said this was an M1.


Saturday, April 5
United States Central Command Home Page

If you're looking for transcripts of the daily briefings, or photos, or the targeting videos, here's the place...


Professors Protest as Students Debate
Professor Sarat said the change in tone reflected a larger shift.
"The notion that campuses are awash in political correctness," he said, "is given the lie every day in my classroom."

Still, he and others expressed wistfulness for days gone by.
"In Madison, teach-ins were as common as bratwurst," he said. "There was a certain nobility in being gassed. Now you don't get gassed. You walk into a dining hall and hand out an informational pamphlet."

The students' attitudes have many possible explanations. There is no draft this time. Students on small liberal arts campuses like this one are more diverse than those of the 60's and 70's. More receive financial aid, and many are more concerned about their careers than about protesting. But the students have also been pulled toward a more conservative mainstream than their parents.
Hmmm. Interesting.

Once again, the students are showing actual signs of thinking for themselves instead of going with what the professors are saying regarding politics.

Rebellious little brats, aren't they?

Good for them...


Friday, April 4 is the Mother of All War Web Sites.

Looking for Al Jazeera feeds? Got them.

Baghdad cam? It's here.

AP radio news? CNN radio? Federal News? Fox? Iran Radio? NPR, Tehran 1, 9 MSNBC streams on one page?

Got it. And War television like crazy.

This is a one-stop shop. Don't blame me if you lose sleep.


Thursday, April 3
Struggling to get by on $10,000 a month
Actor Jim Carrey’s ex-wife wants a judge to award her more child support, saying that their daughter must get by on $10,000 a month and cannot afford her own bodyguards, personal trainer or Pilates equipment, according to court papers obtained by an investigative Web site Wednesday.


Wish I had $10,000 a month coming in. I think they've kind of lost sight of the real world.

Oh. Wait. That's Hollywood. In California. They have only a nodding acquaintance with reality out there.


Jordan Times (Home News Section)
The Iraqi Red Crescent has rejected a shipment of humanitarian assistance donated by their Jordanian counterpart and ordered the trucks loaded with medicine to return to Amman, sources said Thursday.
The sources, who spoke with The Jordan Times at the Iraqi border crossing, said they were instructed by the Iraqi Red Crescent Society to return the six trucks loaded with humanitarian aid that have remained at the crossing point since their arrival.
In transit from Ruweished to Amman, President of Jordan Red Crescent Society Mohammad Hadid told The Jordan Times Thursday night that he had received a letter from his Iraqi counterpart earlier in the day.
“[The letter] informed us that they would not accept any humanitarian assistance or medical relief. They said that they only wanted us to condemn the aggression against Iraq, the killing of civilians and the violation of International Humanitarian Law, particularly the bombardment of the Red Crescent Hospital several days ago, which caused damage to the hospital and left several injured.”
So - screw the people, they don't deserve any aid because they didn't fight hard enough, right?

Sheesh. Good thing we're bringing our own.


Foot, meet Mouth. Mouth, meet Foot.

(Or, Darwinian selection amongst the Democratic Presidential Hopefuls.)
Kerry says US needs its own 'regime change'

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. - Senator John F. Kerry said yesterday that President Bush committed a ''breach of trust'' in the eyes of many United Nations members by going to war with Iraq, creating a diplomatic chasm that will not be bridged as long as Bush remains in office.

''What we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States,'' Kerry said in a speech at the Peterborough Town Library.
Let's see now. The French said they'd pull any teeth and crack any backbones the UN might show signs of growing. Diplomacy did not work. Let me repeat that, a trifle louder.



And with that statement above, Kerry's pretty well killed off his chances of being President. Politicians are like entertainers - they REALLY need to remember that their audience is a whole lot wider than what they see before them cheering them on when they make statements like this. You're playing to the crowd, but there's more than one crowd - and crap like this might get you cheers from one and no votes at all form two or three more...

Diplomacy works from strength. You have no strength or you won't USE it, you are at a SEVERE disadvantage. The French castrated the UN when they announced that NO MATTER WHAT they'd never vote for military action in Iraq.

Bush didn't create the 'diplomatic chasm' - he just handed the French a shovel and let them dig their own.

But it makes me wonder - is THIS the spin the Democratic Party's going to try on this election? I'm sorry - but I just don't think it's gonna fly. (Actually, I'm not sorry. The Democratic Party seems to be embracing an almost Darwinian direction with it's candidates. How many will still be viable politicians after 2004 if THIS is the tack they're going to be taking?)


P.S.: Sorry about the yelling.


Tuesday, April 1
Times Online
HONG KONG moved more than 200 residents of a block of flats into isolation camps last night after an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars).
The rapid spread of Sars through Block E of the Amoy Gardens housing complex in Kowloon has sent alarm around the world because it suggests that the virus responsible can be spread by air or water.
Oh, boy. Doesn't it just keep getting better...


Two quick things...

The Dixie Chicks controversy continues with the trio getting some support from former Vice President Al Gore. Gore spoke to a college audience last week on the subject of fewer companies owning more media outlets, and what he sees as the increasing lack of tolerance for opposing views.

According to the Tennessean, Gore used recent attacks on the Dixie Chicks that followed anti-war comments by Natalie Maines as an example. Gore told the audience, "They were made to feel un-American and risked economic retaliation because of what was said. Our democracy has taken a hit," Gore said. "Our best protection is free and open debate."

Record sales have fallen for the Chicks and radio stations across the country banned the trio's music after Maines told a London concert crowd that she was "ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." Maines later released an apology.
Well, she released an apology after the Dixie Chicks sales started dropping like a rock. I think they forgot the main point of being an entertainer - that they have to give the audience what it wants. In Germany, they played an Anti-Bush riff to the crowd, who apparently liked it. In the US - people DID NOT like it. C&W fans take their patriotism to glurging heights, and they don't like it mocked. As far as economic retaliation goes - people are free to buy what they want, or NOT buy. I kind of like the Dixie Chicks - but that doesn't mean I'm obligated to buy their stuff if I don't agree with their politics. And in this case, I don't. Should it be otherwise? Not in a free country. Open and free debate means that people are free to disagree. People disagree with the Dixie Chicks stance. And nobody twisted Maines' arm to make that statement in the first place...

Freedom sucks when it doesn't go the way you want it to, doesn't it? Freedom includes being free to make a jackass of yourself - and there's consequences when you piss off your fan base.

Still, I'm not about to trade it in on a replacement.

Of course, the fact Al Gore is pandering to them... well, that stunt you tried in Florida kind of backfired, bub. Trying to get back in the news, favorably? This won't do it..

Second, today there was supposed to be a 'live' statement by Saddam. Instead...
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraqi information minister, reading a statement he said was from Saddam Hussein, called Tuesday for a jihad, or holy war, against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

"The aggression that the aggressors are carrying out against the stronghold of faith is an aggression on the religion, the wealth, the honor and the soul and an aggression on the land of Islam," Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf said on national television.

"Therefore, jihad is a duty in confronting them," he added, saying "those who are martyred will be rewarded in heaven. Seize the opportunity, my brothers."

The statement was issued as U.S. forces were reported within 50 miles of Baghdad and as B-52 bombers were pounding Republican Guard positions north of Karbala.

Saddam has delivered two televised addresses since the war began March 20. It was unclear why the Iraqi leader did not appear Tuesday.

"Strike at them, fight them," the statement said. "They are aggressors, evil, accursed by God. You shall be victorious and they shall be vanquished."
Well, it's fairly clear to me. Can you say... "he's toast"? Crunchy kibble? Crumbs on a plate? Pinin' for the fjords? OR, from the Monty Python Dead Parrot Sketch:
O: The Norwegian Blue prefers kippin' on it's back! Remarkable
bird, id'nit, squire? Lovely plumage!
C: Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot when I
got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had
been sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had
been NAILED there.


O: Well, o'course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that
bird down, it would have nuzzled up to those bars, bent 'em
apart with its beak, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!
C: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four
million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised!
O: No no! 'E's pining!
C: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more!
He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you
hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies!
'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig!
'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run
down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!
And we have an ex-dictator, I think. He's just WAY too quiet.

Whoops. One more thing....

Tobacco Shortage Makes Marines Irritable

God. Those Iraqis just CAN'T get a break. Irritable Marines. God help the Iraqi people.