Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Meanwhile ...

As we contemplate the Dear Leader's continuing grabs at power in the once splendid nation called America, while his poll numbers drop and people are distracted by the Libby trial, Barbaro, and antiwar demonstrations, we have this brewing.

Al-Jazeera reports that the Turks are starting to lose patience with the depredations of the Kurdish Worker's Party, or PKK. It seems that the PKK, listed by the Turks as a terrorist organization, keep crossing the border between Turkey and Iraq, raiding and then slipping back across the border where the Kurdish authorities in the largely autonomous area (and the Americans) seem content to let them be.

Needless to say, the Turks are irritated - and one need look no further than the Armenians to see what happens when the Turks get irritated.

The article goes on to say that trade and business is flowing freely between the two nations, and why not? Money's money, and you have to set up shop and deal with your neighbors. The PKK are a lot like any terrorist group, from the Stern Gang and Irgun all the way to the Silver Wolves, the "Real" IRA, and al Qaeda - a bunch of troublemakers.

The problem is whether we are so distracted elsewhere that we fail to stop the PKK before the Turks get irritated enough to send troops into northern Iraq.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Back Off?" Fuck You (Redux)

The successor to Secretary of Defense and Maker of Stupid Statements Donald Rumsfeld, the colorless Robert Gates, recently implied that members of Congress and the general public who criticize the Eternal War are somehow encouraging The Enemy.

Dr. Gates?

Fuck you.

Dissent is American; had it not been for dissent, this region would still swear fealty to the British Crown. To blindly follow our Dear Leader wherever his folly takes us is servile and un-American.

What are we afraid of? Back in the 40s ("The Greatest Generation" - tm) we faced off against ruthless dictators equipped with nations, industrial might and armies numbering in the millions. Why are we so wet-our-pants AFRAID of a motley group of troublemakers with no fixed abode, no industrial base at their backs, and no standing army?

Oh yeah, that's right. This Administration WANTS us afraid, so that it can do whatever the fuck Dick Cheney wants. It wants us afraid so that we won't question Dear Leader when his ghoulish "Homeland Defense" and legal caporegimes decide to strip away another of our rights and freedoms. It wants us afraid so that the Ultra-Right Christian Fascist Wing of the GOP can continue getting fat and rich off our fear.

So, Dr. "Don't Know Much About Military Affairs" Gates, I for one - and millions of others - will continue to dissent and to protest. And as for endangering our troops (another mindless trope on your part, which only serves to prove that you need to wipe the semen off your chin), sending 21,500 more Americans into a city to referee a sectarian civil war (with no plan and no exit strategy - indeed, no Plan B if this plan goes tits-up on you) endangers the troops.

We're not endangering our troops, you stupid, stupid man.


Monday, January 22, 2007


Since I have to go to work the next morning, I will just program my VCR to record Our Dear Leader, High Generalissimo and Purveyor of the Divine Pax Americana Upon Undeserving Brown People's speech to his realm on Tuesday night - followed by Senator Webb's rebuttal and the refreshing sarcasm of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Beating Around the (Other) Bush

Oh, please, Dear God, NOOOO.....

Here's a little lighthearted romp through Hell, courtesy of the Washington Post (italics are, as usual, mine):

What Would Jeb Do?

By S.V. Date
Sunday, January 21, 2007; B01

Tuesday would have marked his sixth State of the Union address -- and it might have been his best yet.

I suppose we should thank Lawton Chiles for that.

The nation is in great shape, President Jeb Bush would have reported: record tax cuts propelling the economy to greater heights; a revolutionary school-vouchers program for the first time granting low-income parents real education choices; and, five years after the capture of Osama bin Laden, the final 20,000 U.S. troops returning home from Iraq.

Uh huh. And the Great Flying Pink Unicorn smiled benevolently down.

The president would break into his fluent Spanish and wave at his Mexican-born wife, Columba, gazing at him from the balcony. The cameras would settle on their eldest, George P. Bush, 30, and commentators would speculate on whether the dashing lawyer would soon run for Congress and carry on the Bush dynasty.

While the ultra-right racists who are the GOP's actual backbone commit mass suicide, right?

Yet contrary to the best-laid plans of the Bush family, it won't be John Ellis "Jeb" Bush addressing the nation this week, all because of that disastrous November Tuesday a dozen years ago. That was the day Jeb -- the articulate and handsome workaholic, the one who as a boy spoke of his White House ambitions, and the one the Bush family counted on to avenge the Great Usurpation of 1992 -- narrowly lost his bid to be governor of Florida. Meanwhile, his older brother George W. had overcome long odds and won the Texas governorship, putting George an insurmountable step ahead of Jeb in the race for the presidency.

"Great Usurpation?" Is that what the Bushes call the electoral process? Seems someone's a bit monarchist (excuse me, "unitary executive") in their outlook. And as for George winning while Jeb lost - well, every pig finds an acorn at least once in his life.

But what if Jeb had won the Florida governorship in 1994, been reelected and then taken the White House in 2000? How would the nation be different? What sort of State of the Union would he deliver this week?

And what if I'd hit the lottery last night?

This is more than an exercise in alternative history.

This is an exercise in fellatio.

Because of Florida's term limits, Jeb stepped down as governor three weeks ago, but he should not be counted out of the national political scene. I've covered Jeb Bush for eight years as a state capital reporter, and I'm convinced that he remains the GOP conservative wing's best hope for a post-Iraq comeback. And his own political ambitions burn as brightly as ever. Perhaps 2012 or 2016 or -- why not? -- maybe even 2008, if things break right.

Jeb and George W. are seven years apart but have much in common. Both are stubborn. Both appear convinced that anything that government does the private sector can do better. Both are enamored of tax cuts. And both seem to believe that voters don't have the right to observe the workings of their administrations and should simply trust them to do the right thing. However, the two display real differences on issues spanning crisis management, fiscal policy, foreign policy and, perhaps most important, personal style. Jeb pays much more attention to detail than his brother, and is far more dogged and competent in advancing his agenda -- meaning that a Jeb presidency over the past seven years would have been distinct from his brother's -- and a future one would be as well.

You forget - they both have the same parents; the same bloodless, soulless parents.

Look first to the home front. On key domestic policy issues such as tax cuts and education reform, Jeb probably would have mirrored his brother's instincts and proposals, though he might have displayed greater staying power in seeing them through. Under President Jeb, the nation still would have had large federal tax cuts, skewed heavily toward the rich -- or the "risk takers" and "job creators," in Bush family parlance. In Florida, he reduced taxes by $12.2 billion over his eight years, with more than half of that going to the wealthiest 4.5 percent of the population. That saved the average risk taker more than $1,500 a year by the time Jeb left office. And much as President George W. Bush cites tax cuts as the explanation for any positive economic results, Gov. Jeb Bush says that his tax cuts created jobs in Florida and gave us the best economy in the country. (In reality, Jeb had the lowest job-creation rate of any Florida governor dating to 1971.)

On education, Jeb quickly pushed into law a testing program, just as his brother did in Texas and later nationally through No Child Left Behind. Unlike George W., however, Jeb succeeded in introducing the nation's first statewide school-vouchers program. The results are unclear: Jeb says that students who used vouchers to attend private schools received better educations than they had been getting in public schools. But all we know is that the vast majority of such schoolchildren received religious educations at the public's expense. Gov. Bush refused to release the scores for the few voucher children who had to take the public-school standardized test, so whether their educations were superior or awful remains anyone's guess.

One recent article stated that there is no difference in the test scores for private, public and home-schooled kids - except that the home-schoolers lack social skills that would make them ardent Young Republican Sociopaths.

For a brief period, George W. sought to include school vouchers in NCLB, but he eventually relented; Jeb, I believe, would never have let it drop. Indeed, much more than his older brother, Jeb seems to take pleasure in the business of governing, as opposed to just campaigning. Whereas George W. claims to stay at 30,000 feet and see the big picture, Jeb is all about the details. He kept long hours as governor, took home fat binders to study each night and knew enough about policy matters to make detailed and cogent arguments for his ideas. It's hard to imagine a President Jeb countenancing the explosion of pork-barrel earmarks in the federal budget the way his brother did, for example. During his eight years as governor, Jeb took the time to slash thousands of such projects out of Florida state budgets, most of them inserted by Republican lawmakers.

So he's actually Bill Clinton, but with better hair and a shorter penis?

His willingness to delve into the nitty gritty probably would have made Jeb a radically different commander in chief than his brother during one of the most dramatic and tragic events of the Bush presidency: Hurricane Katrina.

When a spate of hurricanes struck Florida in the late summer of 2004, Jeb responded quickly. He didn't dream up schemes to give hurricane victims private-school vouchers for their children. He didn't try to privatize disaster response. Instead, he worked on obvious, sensible things: He implemented an effective and thorough evacuation, and then came in quickly with massive assistance, including search-and-rescue teams, water, ice, food, law enforcement -- in more or less that order.

This was Jeb's shining, nonpartisan leadership moment in Florida and, the tragedy notwithstanding, he relished the challenge. He loves to compete, and standing up to a category four or five storm is the ultimate challenge a Florida governor can face. In the state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center on the southern edge of Tallahassee, with its giant display screens and dozens of computers, Jeb was in his element, walking around, getting status reports about how many shelters were open, effortlessly issuing commands without worrying about obstructionist judges or meddlesome state legislators.

Had Jeb been president in the days before Katrina struck, he would have known that such a huge storm threatened catastrophe for New Orleans. He would have known that the levees could break -- and he would have made sure that the city and state governments got all the help they needed. Jeb would not have undermined the Federal Emergency Management Agency with cronyism and incompetence. He would have "federalized" Katrina while the storm was still in the Gulf, taking over the evacuation and even using the military to empty the Lower Ninth Ward ahead of the storm, if that's what it took.

"I have learned a lot during my tenure as governor," Jeb told the Pensacola News Journal during that hurricane season. "One is when to be partisan and when not to be. Storms don't hit just Rs and Ds or independents. They're all Floridians."

I believe Jeb was being candid. He would have responded just as vigorously if the storm had struck a predominantly black, poor and entirely Democratic town as he did when it hit Republican-rich cities such as Pensacola, Punta Gorda and Stuart. A poor Florida city is still a Florida city, and to let a hurricane kill hundreds of Floridians, or to allow it to destroy a town without quickly rebuilding, is to let the hurricane defeat him. Jeb Bush doesn't do defeat.

One cannot deny that Florida's emergency preparedness is/was superior to Louisiana's; however, I recall Jeb's reaction to the people of Miami when Hurricane Wilma dropped by via the back door - um, "You need to meet us halfway and do things for yourself," I believe it was.

That leads to the key question of a Jeb Bush presidency. In public, of course, Jeb has supported his brother's decision to invade Iraq. "It's tough," he said in a recent interview with Newsmax.com. "Thank God the president has been resolute, because it's not a popular war." But would Jeb have made the same choice? Would his state of the union speech this week have to include a lengthy discussion of a war in Iraq gone horribly wrong?

Unlike George, who ridiculed his classmates at Yale University for opposing the Vietnam War but then sought refuge in the National Guard, Jeb was troubled enough by that war that, according to his mother in a 1984 interview, he considered registering as a conscientious objector. Ultimately, he chose not to hurt his father's political career -- at the time, George H.W. Bush was President Richard M. Nixon's ambassador to the United Nations -- and registered for the draft. He was never called. "I had no compelling reason to go to Vietnam" he told the Miami Herald in 1994.

But he has grown more hawkish over time. Jeb Bush was a 1997 signatory to the Project for the New American Century, the neoconservative blueprint for a more "Reaganite" foreign policy. And his mother, Barbara, recalls in her memoirs a 1990 dinner gathering with President George H.W. Bush, their four sons and Air Force Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak. At the time, the president was pondering how to handle Saddam Hussein, who had invaded Kuwait, and Jeb (then 37) agreed with his brothers that their father should deal with Hussein harshly.

Yet Jeb did not sign on to PNAC's 1998 call to invade Iraq and depose Hussein. He also likes and respects former secretary of state Colin L. Powell; perhaps Jeb would have followed the "Powell Doctrine" in Afghanistan after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, pursuing the Taliban and al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden more zealously and using overwhelming force. With about 300,000 troops stabilizing Afghanistan, Iraq might not have become the imperative that it became under George W.

If his minders, handlers and puppeteers had allowed him to.

Finally, there is a chance that Jeb's more internationally minded background -- he majored in Latin American studies in college and later lived in Venezuela for two years as a young bank officer -- might have made him open to a nuanced, more even-handed foreign policy, less susceptible to his neoconservative friends urging him to deal with Iraq once and for all.

Everything's possible, I suppose.

It is impossible to know, but I suspect that the United States still would have gone to war in Iraq under President Jeb Bush. He would have been amenable to a compelling case from the same neocon camp that influenced George W., and Hussein's 1993 assassination attempt against George H.W. Bush could have clinched the deal. However, once in Iraq, Jeb would have been less prone to botch the job through inattention and cronyism. As with Florida's hurricanes, Jeb probably would have considered the task of invading, occupying and rebuilding a foreign country too important to outsource to political hacks or ideologues.

Once the family's brightest hope for this generation, Jeb may now prove a victim of the political ruin his older brother has brought to the Bush brand. Barely three in 10 Americans think that George W. is doing a good job. What are the chances that voters will gamble on the First Brother?

No one should write Jeb's political epitaph just yet. Even a 2008 presidential run should not be ruled out entirely. Should John McCain or Rudolph W. Giuliani or Mitt Romney fail to build a dominating presence by mid-summer, there is probably only one Republican who could come in at such a late date and still build an effective organization and a powerful fundraising machine in a matter of weeks: Jeb Bush. After all, Jeb raised about $35 million to win reelection as Florida governor four years ago. Pulling in $100 million in a few months is well within the realm of the possible.

In all likelihood, though, 2008 would be tough. The Iraq war is not getting any more popular, and U.S. troops may not be coming home quickly enough to allow Jeb a credible run. A better fit for Jeb this time around is the number two slot. It would ensure his claim to be the GOP's front-runner in future contests. Coming on the heels of the George W. Bush presidency, the prospect of a Vice President Jeb Bush is not quite as scary as a President Jeb Bush. And the campaign trail is the ideal venue for Jeb to sell himself to the national media. The gap between Jeb, the Serious and Thoughtful Grownup, and George, the Perpetual Frat Boy, would become a major story line.

McCain swung by Tallahassee in December 2005 to sound out Jeb about running with him, and any Republican candidate would be foolish not to put him on the short list. He can raise money by the bucketfuls. Unlike his father and brother, Jeb does not tread gingerly through debates as though they were minefields, but uses them to his advantage. The fact that he has a Mexican-born wife could put Democrats on the defensive in California. And he remains popular in electoral-vote-rich Florida.

Jeb Bush will turn 54 next month. He has plenty of time. Given his personality and his sense of mission -- not to mention that his father and brother have already succeeded at this -- it seems impossible that Jeb would not run for president. Whether in two or six or 10 years, the United States will face the prospect of yet another Bush in the White House. Americans will then quickly learn what we in Florida already know: This Bush not only combines his father's interest in governing and his brother's permanent campaign but also brings a relentlessness to impose his will that seems entirely his own.

And ultimately, if Jeb is hobbled by the myth or reality of "Bush fatigue," one cure seems certain: Hillary Rodham Clinton. Should the junior senator from New York run away with the Democratic nomination, Jeb would have a ready answer for those who lament a Bush Dynasty.
"We're going to have a dynasty either way," he could respond. "The question is: Which one do you want? My family or hers?"

S.V. Dáte is the Tallahassee bureau chief for the Palm Beach Post and author of "Jeb: America's Next Bush" (Tarcher/Penguin).

Okay. With all respect to the reporter, who seems to know spin very well, there are two little words that should scotch all chances for a John Ellis Bush ("Jeb") ascendancy:
I watched gleefully as the Governor actually considered violating a judge's order and thereby putting himself at risk for arrest and jail over that nonsense. Much to my dismay, Jebbie backed down on that one. Date correctly points out that his policies have created fewer jobs than in the 36 years, but he's merely following in the family tradition on that one.
Independents would shy away from his last name and conservative credentials; the ultra-right would despise him over Terri Schiavo; the Democrats would look askance at his policies and track record (all apart from reflexively hating him for his family). So, who in this nation would vote for YET ANOTHER Bush?

Thursday, January 11, 2007


You normally expect to see crap like this in certain areas of the United States:

From the BBC:

Preacher to hang for sin burnings

A Nigerian high court has sentenced a Lagos preacher to death by hanging for setting fire to members of his congregation, killing one woman.

Emeka Ezeuko, better known as Reverend King, was found guilty on one count of murder and five of attempted murder.

In July last year, he accused six members of his Christian Praying Assembly church of sinning by having extra-marital sex.

He poured petrol over them before setting them alight.

Ann Uzor died in hospital from her burns.

Rev King allegedly told members of his congregation that he was Jesus Christ, a claim that gave him the powers to punish sin.

The BBC's Umar Shehu Elleman who was in court said Rev King began to shiver when the sentence was passed and then started to shout angry protestations.

He claimed he was innocent and accused people of plotting against him.

His lawyer said it was a sad moment and an appeal would be considered after they had read the judgement papers in detail.

Our correspondent says there was a heavy security presence around the courtroom and congregation supporters were not allowed in.

Story from BBC NEWS

Presidential Speech - MST3K Style

(SCENE: Darkened theater just after Movie Sign. Joel and the Bots take their seats as the Presidential Seal appears.)

President's Address to the Nation

All: Hooray!

Crow: About time, too.

The Library

Servo: There’s a library in the White House?

Crow: Sure – where did you think Clinton kept his porno collection?

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening.

All: Hi, President Bush.

Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror -- and our safety here at home.

Joel: We are embarked upon a great crusade …

Servo: To stamp out runaway decency in the world.

The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror.

Crow: Meet the new plan, same as the old plan …

When I addressed you just over a year ago, nearly 12 million Iraqis had cast their ballots for a unified and democratic nation. The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement.

Joel: Ballot box stuffing’s an achievement?

We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together, and that as we trained Iraqi security forces we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops.
But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq -- particularly in Baghdad -- overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made. Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause, and they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis. They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam -- the Golden Mosque of Samarra –

Crow: And the Platinum mall of Nineveh.

Servo: And the Silver Drive-Through Kebab Palace of Diyala.

- in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today.

Joel: A vicious cycle? Does that run on biodiesel?

The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people -- and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.

Servo: You don’t hear that every day.

Joel: He looks like he’s about to cry like Iron Eyes Cody.

It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq. And one message came through loud and clear: Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States.

Crow: And a lot of fun for Miss Moist of Knightsbridge.

The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities.


Joel: Quick! Have a drink!

The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty percent of Iraq's sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital. This violence is splitting Baghdad into sectarian enclaves, and shaking the confidence of all Iraqis. Only Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people.

Crow: Only you can prevent sectarian violence.

Servo: Yep, just the same as a forest fire – only not as much fun.

And their government has put forward an aggressive plan to do it.

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have.

Servo (doing Bush voice): And our leaders were incompetent – oh yeah, that’s me, isn’t it?

Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work.
Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences: In earlier operations, Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists and insurgents, but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers returned. In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter those neighborhoods -- and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.

I've made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people -- and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act.

Joel: Stand by – for ACTION!

Servo: Hai kiba!

America will change our approach to help the Iraqi government as it works to meet these benchmarks. In keeping with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, we will increase the embedding of American advisers in Iraqi Army units, and partner a coalition brigade with every Iraqi Army division. We will help the Iraqis build a larger and better-equipped army –

Crow: One not equipped with saggy diapers that leak.

, and we will accelerate the training of Iraqi forces, which remains the essential U.S. security mission in Iraq. We will give our commanders and civilians greater flexibility to spend funds for economic assistance. We will double the number of provincial reconstruction teams.

Servo: Those worked out well the last time.

These teams bring together military and civilian experts to help local Iraqi communities pursue reconciliation, strengthen the moderates, and speed the transition to Iraqi self-reliance. And Secretary Rice will soon appoint a reconstruction coordinator in Baghdad to ensure better results for economic assistance being spent in Iraq.

We will use America's full diplomatic resources

Crow: We have those?

Servo: I thought we used them up.

Joel: They’re renewable, like solar power.

to rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States need to understand that an American defeat in Iraq would create a new sanctuary for extremists and a strategic threat to their survival. These nations have a stake in a successful Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors, and they must step up their support for Iraq's unity government.

The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time.

Servo: Wasn’t that what they said about Coke Classic vs. New Coke?

On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation.

Crow: And in this corner – Donald Trump!

Joel: Donald Trump?

Crow: Do you know anyone who’s less into moderation?

Servo: Paris Hilton?

Crow: Point conceded.

Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship.

Joel: Aw. And I just got a new jump suit for the surrender ceremony!

Servo: Will Osama sign it?

Crow: We’ll finally be able to see where he’s been hiding.

Servo: Des Moines?

But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world -- a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people.

Servo: A functioning democracy in the Arab world? Like Turkey?

Crow: Like Israel?

A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them -- and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and our grandchildren.

Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman

All: (laughing)

and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror.

Joel: So we can continue to blame the liberals.

This group will meet regularly with me and my administration; it will help strengthen our relationship with Congress.

Fellow citizens: The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice, and resolve.

Servo: Just don’t think of drafting the twins.

It can be tempting to think that America can put aside the burdens of freedom. Yet times of testing reveal the character of a nation. And throughout our history, Americans have always defied the pessimists and seen our faith in freedom redeemed. Now America is engaged in a new struggle that will set the course for a new century. We can, and we will, prevail.

Crow: Stay alive! Whatever may occur, I will find you!

We go forward with trust that the Author of Liberty will guide us through these trying hours. Thank you and good night.

All: Good night, President Bush.

Joel: Twenty-one minutes. That wasn’t so bad.

Crow: Did you see the way he stood? I’m a robot and I’m more animated.

Servo: It was like watching the old Al Gore.

Joel: Well, enough of that – what did you think, sirs?

The Mads: IT STINKS!

(Joel, Tom Servo, Crow T Robot and the Mads are all copyright to Best Brains. The author hopes they won't object too strenuously.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Let Them Eat Thumper

This little ray of sunshine fron Der Spiegel:

Monster Bunnies For North Korea
By David Crossland

An east German pensioner who breeds rabbits the size of dogs has been asked by North Korea to help set up a big bunny farm to alleviate food shortages in the communist country. Now journalists and rabbit gourmets from around the world are thumping at his door.

It all started when Karl Szmolinsky won a prize for breeding Germany's largest rabbit, a friendly-looking 10.5 kilogram "German Gray Giant" called Robert, in February 2006.
Images of the chubby monster went around the world and reached the reclusive communist state of North Korea, a country of 23 million which according to the United Nations Food Programme suffers widespread food shortages and where many people "struggle to feed themselves on a diet critically deficient in protein, fats and micronutrients."

Szmolinsky, 67, from the eastern town of Eberswalde near Berlin, recalls how the North Korean embassy approached his regional breeding federation and enquired whether it might be willing to sell some rabbits to set up a breeding farm in North Korea. He was the natural choice for the job.

Each of his rabbits produces around seven kilograms of meat, says Szmolinsky, who was so keen to help alleviate hunger in the impoverished country that he made the North Koreans a special price -- €80 per rabbit instead of the usual €200 to €250.

"They'll be used to help feed the population," Szmolinsky told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "I've sent them 12 rabbits so far, they're in a petting zoo for now. I'll be travelling to North Korea in April to advise them on how to set up a breeding farm. A delegation was here and I've already given them a book of tips."

On the Eve

Our Dear Leader Kim Jong Bush (a coworker coined that, and I think it's way funny) will address the masses of people who he thinks are too stupid to appreciate the wisdom that God Almighty has given him at 9:00 tonight. The topic of discussion will be Operation Bleeding Wound, and his plan to turn it into Operation Hemorrhage.

Now, the Iraq Study Group's estimate of the situation and recommendations to fix things has been on the table now for about two months. Big Daddy Bush's attempt to have his family consigliere and chief fixer (James Baker) remedy matters has been thrown back in his teeth by Baby Doc - er, Bush. Bush, being the recovering alky that he is, clings to his faith which posits that any indecision is a sign of weakness.

So he's not going to appear weak or indecisive. And instead of "stay the course" we'll have the "surge."

We've seen the "surge" twice so far in the course of this debacle, and it failed both times. Third time's the charm, eh George?

Unfortunately, Bush could talk for six days straight and it won't convince the majority of the American people any longer. Oh, it'll probably convince the small fraction of us who think God talks to George more than the Jim Beam does, and between them and the Wind Machines Bush may feel that he's supported and still has "political capital."

But, George:

We were told we'd be greeted as liberators - we weren't.

We were told our troops would be greeted with candy and flowers - they weren't.

We were told that "major combat operations are over" - they weren't.

We were told that the insurgents were "dead enders" - they weren't.

We were told that the insurgency was in its "last throes" - it wasn't.

And now you dare to sit there and tell us - your BOSSES, the people you WORK FOR, that you want to try it again?

Send more brave Americans to their deaths?

Destroy our military and what's left of our credibility?

Continue raping our civil liberties until America resembles some sort of low-rent Banana Republic?

I'll say it now and spare myself the trouble later on tonight:

You're a Fucking Idiot, George W Bush.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"Kiss Her Where It Smells - Take Her to New Jersey!"

That's a beautiful joke from George Carlin, native New Yorker and a wonderful comedian. And before I start getting flak from Newark, Paterson and other places, I am originally from the Garden State, and I also make fun of Florida.

Yesterday a smell was detected in New York City, from Greenwich Village and the Battery north to Harlem and as far west as Newark. It was identified as methyl mercaptan, the additive put in natural gas to make it stink (natural gas has no odor of its own). Some people are blaming the stench on New Jersey.

Well, who can tell, especially if it was wafting across the river from Jersey City? Half of the state's northeast quadrant is an industrial park to some extent.

It might have been one of those nice Government experiments to determine the spread of poison gas (like when they "accidentally" released nerve gas in Utah, and spread influenza viruses off the coast of Los Angeles to determine the spread of bacteriological agents - oh, and let's not forget the Tuskegee Experiments on syphilis).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Oh, No.

From the BBC:

Inventor of instant noodles dies

The inventor of instant noodles, Momofuku Ando, has died in Japan, aged 96, of a heart attack. Mr Ando was born in Taiwan in 1910 and moved to Japan in 1933, founding Nissin Food Products Co after World War II to provide cheap food for the masses. His most famous product, Cup Noodle, was released in 1971.

Its taste and ease of preparation - adding hot water to dried noodles in a waterproof polystyrene container - have made it popular around the world. Mr Ando said the inspiration for his product came when he saw people lining up to buy bowls of hot ramen noodle soup at a black market stall during the food shortages after World War II.

Noodles in space

He developed his first instant noodles, Chicken Ramen, in 1958. The product came out as Japan recovered from the ravages of World War II and began a long period of economic expansion. It was the masterstroke of providing a waterproof polystyrene container for the noodles that made his Cup Noodle an instant success in 1971. Nissin has led the global instant noodle industry since then, selling 85.7 billion servings every year, according to Agence France Presse.

His firm also developed a version of Cup Noodle for Japanese astronauts to eat on the space shuttle Discovery in 2005. In 1999, Mr Ando opened a museum in Osaka devoted to instant noodles.

He retired as Nissin's chairman in 2005.

Japanese newspapers and business people have been paying tribute to Mr Ando. "He was a self-made man who developed an epoch-making instant noodle product and spread it to all corners of the world," Akio Nomura, chairman of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Kyodo news agency.

Mr Ando remained active until just days before his death, giving a New Year's speech to Nissin employees and having a lunch of Chicken Ramen with company executives.

The PNAC / AIPAC Wet Dream

Or, "Is that a nuclear weapon in your pants, or are you just glad to see me?"

According to an article in the Times of London, two Israeli Air Force squadrons are training to deliver a nuclear first strike on three of Iran's nuclear sites. This training includes a round trip flight to Gibraltar and back (rehearsing the 2,000-mile round trip they'll have to make to Iranian airspace). Several attack routes are mapped out, including one that overflies Turkey. Of course, no one is asking the Turks their opinion.

The idea, according to the Times, is to take out three sites by using conventional deep-penetration weapons to gouge open a hole for the small (1/15 the size of the Hiroshima bomb, the standard rhetorical benchmark - but that's still roughly 1 kiloton) nukes to destroy the buried and reinforced facilities.

Now, the US is understandably jumpy about this, primarily about the hell that will be unleashed if Israel actually does it. Our stated position is that we won't approve it - but the Israelis didn't wait for approval when they destroyed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak in 1981. They just did, and worried about repercussions later.

Now, there are factions within this country who anxiously await Israel's attack on Iran. The first, naturally, are the Christian Zionists, who don't like Jews but want Israel to succeed so that Jesus can come again. Most of these people need large doses of antipsychotic drugs.

The second faction is PNAC, the neoconservative "Project for the New American Century." These nattering nabobs include the brain-dead military geniuses who talked the President into miring us up to our noses in Iraq, based on faulty intelligence and ginned-up war hysteria. Most of these people need to be put in cages, and poked at through the bars with sharp sticks by jeering children every Saturday.

The final faction is AIPAC, the America-Israel Political Action Committee. Yep, the Israel lobby. Somehow these people wield great influence within our government, and have several officials in their pockets (like Senator Lieberman of Connecticut). These people just need to sit down and shut the fuck up. Israel is our largest beneficiary of foreign aid, and they feel they can dictate to us.

Now, all that aside, what would be the result of a nuclear attack on Iran by Israel? Well, for starters I see a vast wave of Iranian troops sweeping across the Iraqi border toward Basra, rolling over the Iraqi and coalition forces in their path.

I see a wave of missiles striking Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain (all of who were informed by Tehran that they would be the principal targets if the US or Israel attacked them).

I see our forces in Iraq, supply lines cut and under siege by the Shiite majority, set up a fighting withdrawal (probable axis of retreat, straight south to Kuwait; if not, maybe along the desert highways to Jordan).

I see smoke rising from Saudi oil processing plants and tankers as Iranian missiles make hash out of the global economy.

I don't see anything (not a fucking iota) good coming out of an attack by Israel on Iran.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sweet Zombie Jesus.

Read this, and sit back in awe:

Army asks dead to sign up for another hitch

Shuffling the Deck for a New Game

This is a good post by retired Army Colonel Patrick Lang, a onetime intelligence specialist (from his website):

"Among the most valuable indicators of intentions are the appointments of senior people to fill leadership positions.

In that regard it must be said that the appointment of Admiral William Fallon the the post of Commander, US Central Command is surely indicative of intentions.

This distinguished officer's career lay altogether within the field of naval aviation and latterly of joint staff and command functions. His official biography is posted below.

It makes very little sense that a person with this background should be appointed to be theater commander in a a theater in which two essentially "ground" wars are being fought unless it is intended to conduct yet another war which will be different in character."



Bush started shuffling the cards earlier this week. Let's see what he's done so far:

1. Replaced General Abizaid with Admiral Fallon. Refer to Pat Lang's post above. Why put an Admiral in charge of what is essentially a land conflict?
a. Bush wanted a Yes man?
b. Bush wanted to expedite Abizaid's retirement?
c. Bush wants to attack Iran?

2. Replaced General Casey (who advocated withdrawal) with Lt. General Petraeus (who is a supposed counterinsurgency 'expert').
a. Well, we do know there's a "surge" (read, escalation) coming.
b. The emphasis will probably be on urban pacification. Unfortunately, the insurgency has grown out of our control.

3. Move John Negroponte from DNI to State as Condi's #2. His sole focus will be on Iraq.
a. As Ambassador to Honduras, Negroponte was hip-deep in the establishment and operation of death squads in Honduras and El Salvador. With the proliferation of sectarian death squads in Iraq, this may be his area of expertise.

So, if this were a poker game, I'd say that Bush is trying to deal himself a winning hand. Unfortunately, he's trying to bluff with a pair of twos - and everyone but him knows it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pat Robertson Speaks!

And No One Seems To Care!

Seriously, Pat Robertson says the Creator spoke to him recently (apparently the Creator only speaks to Pat Robertson, which in other people is usually a sign that they need to increase the dosage on their medication), telling him that there will be a terrorist attack in 2007 here in America.

Funny how he should come out with that prediction just days after a year-end poll showed a majority of Americans thinking that there will, in fact, be another terrorist attack on U.S. soil in 2007.

Vox populi, vox Dei?

Robertson's just doing some pre-positioning so that if a terrorist attack does occur (perpetrated by Muslims, Jews, Christians or just plain Mother Nature) he can point to the death toll and the damage and crow about the Deity punishing America for the sin of electing Democrats.

Or something.

Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein is still dead, Osama bin Laden is still alive (presumably) and Our Beloved Leader is still acting like he's brain-dead.

Happy New Year.