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Saturday, May 29, 2004
Sincere Curiosity

With all the hub-bub over whether John Kerry deserved his combat medals, I read with a little curiousity about the latest American war hero:
The Arizona Republic and The Argus of Fremont (Calif.) both reported the Army would announce Tillman, 27, was killed by fire from his fellow soldiers.

"It does seem pretty clear that he was killed by friendly fire," Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Republic. Franks said his panel was alerted to the information by the Army's Legislative Liaison Office.

The Argus cited a family friend and also government sources it did not name as confirming the friendly fire report. Tillman's family declined to comment.

An Afghan military official told The Associated Press on Saturday that Tillman died because of a "misunderstanding" when two mixed groups of American and Afghan soldiers began firing wildly in the confusion following an explosion.

The Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also contradicted U.S. reports that the American soldiers had come under enemy fire.

The Army has said Tillman was leading his comrades against enemy shooters who had pinned down other soldiers when he was killed on April 22.

Tillman, a member of the elite Ranger unit since 2002, was posthumously promoted from specialist to corporal. He also was awarded a Purple Heart and Silver Star.
If I am not mistaken, the Purple Heart and the Silver Star can only be earned as a result of enemy action.

*Let me be clear.* I do not want to take away anything from Tillman and his family. Dying in service to your country, be it from enemy or friendly fire is the ultimate sacrifice one can make.

However, why would the Army lie? In order to create a recruiting poster?

And... will the Freepers demand that the medals be revoked?

Just wondering.....
Friday, May 28, 2004
... and I thought the Three Penny Opera was prescient

If we could learn to look instead of gawking,
We'd see the horror in the heart of farce.
If only we could act instead of talking,
We wouldn't always end up on our arse.
This was the thing that nearly had us mastered;
Don't yet rejoice in his defeat, you men!
Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard,
The bitch that bore him is in heat again.

Bertold Brecht
The Resistible Rise of Artuo Ui

(thanks to teotwawki23)
Memorial Day
On Memorial Day we traditionally take some time to remember and reflect on those soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who have given their lives in service to our country. Sadly, we have 800 more to remember this weekend. The fact that these 800 have given their lives in a senseless battle, begun under false pretenses, which has failed to make the United States safer, is irrelevant.

These men and women fought and died in service to all of us, and they deserve our reverence and respect for that. I will save my anger and derision for the ones who sent them there to die.

Paul Wellstone was not a member of the military, but he fought for all of us, too. He died while trying to continue that fight. This is the first Memorial Day that his grave has been marked.
On the stone:

Public Servants
U.S. Senator
Dedicated. Loving. Devoted.

Never forget. Keep up the fight. Have a good weekend.
Back to Iraq
I didn't think they made journalists like this anymore. Wow.

Thursday, May 27, 2004
My Good Deed for the Day.
While dumpster diving last night, I came upon this thread over in Freeperland. Grand Forks is a medium-small town, and a city council race there isn't going to change the world, but I felt obligated to try to make a difference.

So I tattled.

Dakota Huseby at KNOX was not amused (scroll down a bit). I don't think Council candidate Scott McNamee was amused either (I can't find a link to his campaign web page, where he has reportedly issued an apology).
On edit: Here's the link, courtesy of Melinda at DU.

That felt good.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
I am a "Wackadoo"

John Kerry's advisers were surprised and annoyed to hear that Mr. Gore hollered so much, he made Howard Dean look like George Pataki. They don't want voters to be reminded of the wackadoo wing of the Democratic Party.

They would like Mr. Gore, who brought bad karma to Mr. Dean with his primary endorsement, to zip it and go away. But more and more Democrats think it is Mr. Kerry who should zip it and go away.
Fuck you, Maureen. You're the one who needs to "zip it". Please just retire. Your perpetual bitterness is growing old.
Truth to Power

The abhorrent acts in the prison were a direct consequence of the culture of impunity encouraged, authorized and instituted by Bush and Rumsfeld in their statements that the Geneva Conventions did not apply. The apparent war crimes that took place were the logical, inevitable outcome of policies and statements from the administration.
Hey Media!! Did you catch that? "War Crimes!"

Get your collective heads out of your asses and do some actual reporting. Who gives a rat's ass that he called for Rummy's resignation? You have the last man to win a Presidential election pushing for indictments of US officials by the Hague.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Same Ol' Song and Dance

Have I become so cynical that I believe my father's version of the new "The Terrorists Are Coming" schpiel rather than Attorney General Ashcroft's?

Yes I have.

Dad's wisdom:

  • This hype is coming from Ashcroft and the FBI, *not* Homeland security. I thought Tom Ridge was the one who was supposed to talk to us about terror threats.
  • Ashcroft and Mueller have a lot of PR work to do to repair the fact that the 9/11 Commission is going to tear them to shreds.
  • The "news" was released after the daily news cycle and after all Gov't offices were closed, hence making any analysis of this threat/press release impossible before Ashcroft's own tightly controlled press conference.
  • The Administration needs to get Bush's terrible Monday night performance and lousy policy speech off of the front pages. It has been their M.O. to "create" a crisis when there is bad political news for the past three years.
It's impressive to see a 73 year old man sit down at the computer and cruise 4 or 5 web sites just to analyze one story for his own consumption. He would make a great blogger. (That's a hint dad.)
Monday, May 24, 2004
Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

Do you think that the FBI would intentionally try to frame an attorney who once had an accused radical muslim as a client?

This saga makes me wonder:
"United States authorities had been holding Mr. Mayfield, ,[sic] a former Army lieutenant and convert to Islam, because they said that a fingerprint lifted from a plastic bag filled with detonators found at the bombing scene was traced to him. On Thursday, Spanish authorities said that the fingerprints attributed by American authorities to Mr. Mayfield belonged instead to an Algerian, Ouhnane Daoud. They said the prints were of Mr. Daoud's thumb and middle finger on his right hand.

Just after the attacks, the Spanish authorities said they could come up with no match for the prints when they ran them through their database, so they sent them to investigators abroad as a routine matter.

The F.B.I. then said the prints matched those they had in their records for Mr. Mayfield, whose prints were on file from his Army days."
Just how coincidental is it that the FBI finds a match with a Muslim attorney who was involved with a terror suspect? Could they have had Mayfield under suspicion on other matters? Just how close a "match" does the FBI need to sweep someone away into the dark?

Somehow I doubt that a computer found the bad match. Was it wishful thinking by an analyst or an intentional frame up?
Sunday, May 23, 2004
The Sharpest Satire in the West!

The mug below is just one of the many items you can buy via The General's blog.
Again, I verily say unto thee, The General is the funniest and most effective commentator of our religio-wacko culture. Put him on your daily reading list.

(Hey 9Driver, we need to come up with some nifty stuff to fleece our handful of readers... er ... I mean share our wisdom.)
Who-the-hell is on First?
Should major city newspaper editors prevent guest contributors from making fools of themselves? Nah...

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Usually 9Driver's territory but...):
It has been said that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. While sports do not create character in a person, sports do develop traits inherent in the person. Important lessons are learned on the pitcher's mound; steps are taken into manhood.
like how to spit.
Bush is the first Little League player to occupy the Oval Office, and he played baseball at Yale. So did his father and his grandfather.
Little League is where he belongs. Also, he quit the Yale Baseball team after Freshman year when he learned that he would never make varsity.
Baseball is not football. It is not territorial. It's not ruled by a clock; it could go on forever
But as a politician, his disgraced ass is going to be tossed out of the White House on January 20, 2005
.[snip]To wage war against an enemy that might attack at any time, anywhere, with long periods of inaction and then surprise assaults, it might help if you had strong nerves and an ability to watch out for action on three bases, home plate and the outfield -- at once. It certainly requires coordinated intelligence.
If the world were a baseball diamond and W was the manager of the team in the field, we would have a pitcher (The US), a catcher (The UK), a third baseman (Poland), our shortstop (Spain) would have quit, the first baseman (Lithuania) would be about two feet tall, our second baseman (Japan) would send a surrogate, and our entire outfield (France, Germany and Canada) would have run straight for the showers after reading the opening lineup.
After managing his father's winning campaign for the White House in 1988, George W. Bush helped put together a group of investors who bought the Texas Rangers. The team included stars like Nolan Ryan, who later campaigned for him.
Junior has a penchant for washed up old heroes who are still trying to play.
"I run a baseball team," Bush explained to a campaign aide. "I don't pick up a phone and criticize the players when they screw up in the outfield. That's my manager's job. I'll let you ... run the campaign, but I'm in charge."

A commander in chief needs to be in charge -- and delegate to a very talented team.
Bush likes to delegate things... A LOT! As Kevin Drum once noted, bad CEOs think that because they delegate everything, it is automatically accomplished. There is no understanding or follow-up. Junior has run every company he has every handled into the ground, or he as been bailed out by the same guys who helped him buy the f***king baseball team in the first place. This time, Daddy's friends can't help.
The citizens of the United States, who now seem to have a nine-day attention span for war, have a president who is willing to combat terrorism for 10, 12, 13 innings -- whatever it takes.
It's funny. I remember Rumsfield stating that we would be out of Iraq by September of last year. As for the real war on terror, mostly being fought in Afghanistan, it is clear that much more progress would have been made if BushCo hadn't diverted 137,000 troops to Iraq. (There are less than 10,000 in Afghanistan.) Orwell talked about a permanent war in 1984.
Baseball has to have helped him to overlook Bronx cheers from nations like France -- and worse, from U.S. citizens reliving the "Hell no! We won't go!" Vietnam War era.
Yeah.... those frogs. How dare they insist that Hans Blix be given 6 weeks to finish his search for WMDs. Just because French Intelligence said that Colin Powell's assertions were crap... Those bastards... and they like Michael Moore and Jerry Lewis!
"From baseball I developed a thick skin against criticism," said Bush. "I learned to overlook minor setbacks and focus on the long haul."
Translation: "I was hit in the head with the ball and now I'm a little slow".
9/11 pushed the World Series of 2001 into November, because it was held in New York. Bravado, bravery and a battered flag opened the game at Yankee Stadium. Our president pitched the first ball with F-16s circling the air space above a packed stadium.
... And we ALL cheered. It's too bad that the GOP decided that this time of national unity was the perfect time to ram through their radical agenda. Within 90 days, the right wing was hysterical that the majority of Americans had not become registered Republicans and born-again Christians. Instead we were called traitors if we thought it was the wrong time for tax cuts.
We're in a different kind of war. No one knows how to win it quickly.
No one knows how to win it... period.
Bush, at least, knows how to play ball.
T-ball, that is.

A Pothole the Size of Iraq

The General figures out how to get a local pothole filled.

Just go read it. His work is always some of the best of the web.
Shouting into the closet to inform and entertain the 10 people who actually read this thing. In our new format as an online magazine, we take pride in our reporting and opinions. Please leave reader feedback on our online magazine message board so that we can better serve you.

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” -Paul Wolfowitz

Cost of the War in Iraq
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