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Saturday, March 26, 2005
Ahh. The sweet smell of Iraqi freedom
I'm sure you're as anxious as I am to find out what $160 billion, 1500 and counting American deaths and countless Iraqi deaths have bought...I mean besides the knowledge that Saddam had no WMD's and no ties to al Qaeda. Oh, and besides the creation of a whole new generation of radicalized terrorist recruits.

Here's a preview of the coming theocracy:
"The students had begun to lay out their picnic in the spring sunshine when the men attacked.

“There were dozens of them, armed with guns, and they poured into the park,” Ali al-Azawi, 21, the engineering student who had organised the gathering in Basra, said.

“They started shouting at us that we were immoral, that we were meeting boys and girls together and playing music and that this was against Islam.

"...a gunman ripped her blouse off, leaving her half-naked. “We will send these pictures to your parents so they can see how you were dancing naked with men,” a gunman told her. Two students who went to her aid were shot — one in the leg, the other twice in the stomach. The latter was said to have died of his injuries. Fellow students say that the girl later committed suicide. Another girl who was severely beaten around the head lost her sight.

Far from disavowing the attack, senior al-Sadr loyalists said that they had a duty to stop the students’ “dancing, sexy dress and corruption..."
Read the whole article here. Funny how FoxNews and USA Today haven't run this, isn't it? This behavior is becoming more common in Iraq; another inspiring consequence of exporting democracy at gunpoint.

Jeb *did* call in the cavalry...

and they chickened out. (registraton required.)
Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of state agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted -- but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Herald has learned.

Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told police in Pinellas Park, the small town where Schiavo lies at Hospice Woodside, on Thursday that they were on the way to take her to a hospital to resume her feeding.

For a brief period, local police, who have officers at the hospice to keep protesters out, prepared for what sources called ``a showdown.''

In the end, the squad from the FDLE and the Department of Children & Families backed down, apparently concerned about confronting local police outside the hospice.

''We told them that unless they had the judge with them when they came, they were not going to get in,'' said a source with the local police.

''The FDLE called to say they were en route to the scene,'' said an official with the city police who requested anonymity. ``When the sheriff's department and our department told them they could not enforce their order, they backed off.''
Great.... Let's think of others in modern history who have used their own 'troops' to undermine the rule of law.

The hysterics are so out of control, somebody is going to get killed, and I don't mean Terri.

Via Americablog.
Friday, March 25, 2005
If they are the culture of life, we must be....

The fact that a bunch of religious loonies are setting Terri Schiavo up as a Christ figure is tiresome, but when Time Magazine's Blog of the Year get's in the act.... argh.

Or maybe they are just frustrated by losing elections, seeing the tide turn in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East (must Terri die for Bush's "sins"?), etc. Whatever the case, it makes for a sad and sorry spectacle.
The self righteousness of these conservative cultural elitists is astounding.

The General understands folks like these.

Click on the picture and exercise your capitalist rights this Easter weekend. Help put the General's little soldier through college by buying some fine merchandise.

No one got killed

Which, when you see this video clip, is amazing. It's a real tribute to how well an armored Humvee can protect these kids. Too bad we don't have enough of them.

Speaking of availability, I wonder how many more explosives the insurgents have available to make IED's with? Oh, that's right:

380 tons.

Out of Sight. Out of Mind.

Shameful: (registration required)
It's her first visit since she buried 1st Lt. Kenneth Michael Ballard, a fourth generation soldier, last fall.

Still fresh, like the soil churned behind her son's grave for another row of dead, is her anger. Anger at the way the Pentagon refused her sole wish when her son was killed by a sniper last May to photograph his casket returning from Iraq.

Meredith wanted to capture the way fellow soldiers respectfully draped the American flag across the casket, tucking the sides just so, and the way an honor guard watched over him as he was unloaded from a cargo plane.

But the Pentagon firmly said "no"
"It's bad enough that they won't let the country see the pictures of the caskets, but a grieving mother?" asked Meredith. "It's unforgiveable after what I lost."
She doesn't understand how a single photograph of his casket for her own personal album would violate her own privacy.

"It is ironic that this policy denies us the very freedoms of the press and speech my son — and so many like him — gave their lives to protect," Meredith says.
Be honest. Are you really surprised?

Body counts were hugely popular during the Vietnam war. The daily total of enemy vs. friendly dead was reported on the evening news, usually just before the weather. The prevailing belief in the newsrooms and living rooms of America was that as long as the "them" number was bigger than the "us" number, then it was a good day for the war and we were winning.

Later, it turned out that the counts were at best innaccurate or falsified, and horrifyingly, often included civilian casualties as part or all of the "enemy" count. The phrase, "Kill them all and let God sort them out later" was considered inspirational when I went through basic training. Perhaps it still is.

Which brings me to my point. Remember that major victory that the nascent Iraqi security forces won over insurgents at Lake Tharthar the other day? You know, the one that was important enough to momentarily knock the Terri Schiavo tug 'o war out of the headlines?

Well, um, er, it probably didn't actually happen that way:
"...[T]wo U.S. military officials said Thursday that no bodies were found by American troops who arrived at the scene after the fighting.... "I wouldn't call it a major incident," said [Iraqi spokesman] Sabah Kadhim..."
This "victory" didn't smell right when I first read about it; now it turns out that there are significant questions about exactly what happened. This "insurgent camp" was located on a lakeside resort (remember the 30 boats that were "captured"? Why would the insurgents need boats to conduct attacks on a landlocked resort lake?).

So, who would be more likely to be at this lakeside resort? Insurgents? Vacationers? Both? Neither? In this case, I have no idea.

But I have a bad feeling about it. And all the bodies have disappeared.


David Neiwert, the blogoshpere's expert on right wing hate groups, has some disturbing insight into the Jeff Weise Red Lake Massacre. This runs in the same veins as 9driver's previous post.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Con Carne - Not Veggie

A woman bit into a partial finger served in a bowl of chili at a Wendy's restaurant, leading authorities to a fingerprint database Thursday to determine who lost the digit. The incident occurred Tuesday night at a San Jose Wendy's restaurant and left the customer ill and distraught, said Joy Alexiou, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County Health Department.

"She was so emotionally upset once she found out what it was," Alexiou said. "She was vomiting."
Dear Dr. Frist,

You have proven yourself to be astute man of medical letters. Your wisdom and uncanny insight into human suffering via various media lead me to believe that you are my only hope. With this in mind, I plead upon your mercy to diagnose this blemish that I have upon my ass.

If you would be so merciful as to enter this photo into the Congressional Record and pass legislation that would prevent my wife from trying to squeeze it while I slumber, it would save me the horror of waking with an even sorer ass.

Please Dr. Frist. Help me banish the scourge of this pustulant ass pimple and a plotting spouse.

Yours truly,

Inspiring thanks to MoDo
"Culture of Life", part deux

I found this via The General. I would have linked to his post, but for some reason satire just seemed inappropriate. It's hard to be funny when you want to punch the DOJ in the nose.
When she learned that she was carrying a baby with almost no brain and no chance of survival, a devastated young Navy wife from Everett pleaded with a federal court in Seattle to force her military medical program to pay for an abortion.

"I could not imagine going through five more months of pregnancy, knowing that the baby will never survive or have any kind of life whatsoever," the woman, then 19, told a federal judge in August 2002. "I understand that even if the baby is born alive, it will probably die after it takes a few breaths. I am really terrified of the prospect of giving birth, then watching the baby die."

She won her case and had the abortion. But more than two years later, the federal government continues to fight her, trying to get the woman and her sailor husband to pay back the $3,000 the procedure cost and trying to cast in stone a ban on government-funded abortions.

The case of Jane Doe. v. the United States will be argued before a federal appeals court next month. Like the Terri Schiavo case in Florida, involving a severely brain-damaged adult, this matter involves questions of what is human life, when can family decide to end it and how far can the government go to block that decision.

Federal lawyers have aggressively appealed the Navy wife's case, often using moral arguments against abortion. The case focuses on the Hyde Amendment regulations, which forbid use of public funds for abortions except if a mother's life is endangered, or in cases of incest or rape -- but not for lethal fetal ailments.
[emphasis mine]

I used to think that the pro-choice movement was engaging in hyperbole when they claimed the "womb police" would descend into personal medical decisions. Not anymore.
"Culture of Life"

The Freeper Moderators pulled the offending posts before I could copy them:

I guess you'll have to take my word for it that there were calls to storm a nursing home with guns drawn, threats against various state and federal judges, and of course promises to give Micheal Schiavo 'what he deserves'.

FreeRepublic does not tolerate things that could get them supeonaed or indicted. Unfortunately I suspect that this is their only motivation.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

I always knew that Tom Delay was nuts, but it's really gratifying to see him completely slip his leash in public like this. Heh.
Such Cooperation

It's curious and a bit troubling that we seem to be stonewalling the Italian government's investigation of the Giuliana Sgrena rescue shooting. I'm not a big fan of conspiracy theories, mostly because the Bush administration seems so totally incompetent at everything else; why would they be good at conspiracies?

So I tend not to give a lot of traction to sources which report things like this, except that this particular source is kind of hard to pin an anti-government or anti-military bias on.

I see that the end of the article gives us assurance that there will be a "joint investigation". Just not right now. Later. Once we have everything properly set up for it.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Stooping lower and lower and lower.....
This is pathetic:
Ms. Iyer said that after Michael visited Terri one day for about 20 minutes, with the door shut, she went in after he left and saw Terri sweating, lethargic and "crying hysterically."

Carla checked Terri's blood sugar, and it was barely reading on the glucometer. She also saw a vial of "insulin concealed in the trash bin."

According to Carla, there were needle marks underneath Terri's breast, under her arms and near her groin. Carla talked to the police and then went to the director of nursing, who was very upset that Carla had gone to the police.
Fox, Limbaugh and all the usual suspects have been running with this.

I wonder if Micheal Schiavo has an attorney who understands the term "Libel".
Jeff Weise
What was this kid thinking? For at least a few months last year, he hung out on this message board, at first using the screen name "Todesangel", then switching to "NativeNazi". He was part of the Red Lake Ojibwe, and the media are loving the "Nazi" angle.

But that's not really what was going on here. The kid was a race separatist because he felt that mainstream (non-native-american) culture had destroyed his people and his heritage. Red Lake reservation has rampant poverty, alcohol, drug, education and health problems that are mostly ignored by those who don't live there.

Unfortunately, his identification with the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party didn't win him many friends there, and has also provided a convenient way for the press to ignore some of the underlying pathology up there on the Res. This particular band of Nazis blames "modern society" and race mixing for what Jeff did.

He must have felt very alone. But he wasn't alone; life on the reservations has created plenty of anger and hate to go around. Check out this blog, (which poor Jeff seemed to have confused with Native-American naziism).

And I thought the wingnuts had problems.
Monday, March 21, 2005
A win-win for the Republicans?
The Judge now hearing the Schiavo case, James Whittemore, is a 2000 Clinton appointee to the Federal bench. If he plugs Terri's body back in, the Christian Right will be thrilled with their Republican congresspeople.

If he rules the other way, we'll discover that he is one of those bad Liberal Activist Judges. In spite of the fact that he is a registered Republican who is known for his reliance on precedent in making his rulings.

Funny how that works out, eh?
Draw your own conclusions.

The Schiavo case is now primarily about one issue:

The role of the State courts versus the role of congress and the Federal courts. You may recall that most "conservatives" in this country believe that any power not specifically given to the federal government and not specifically forbidden to state government, belongs to the states, not the feds. It's in the constitution; Amendment X, I believe.

By passing a special federal law just for Terri's family, congressional "conservatives" have proudly unfurled the flag of their hypocrisy, confident that not enough voters will notice or remember it in 2006. Of course, the Repubs have done it before, but not to this ridiculous extreme.

Why would they discard their conservative principles? Why would they legislate a "do-over" when the law (that they claim to respect so much) gives them an answer that they don't like? One possible answer: It makes their Right Wing Christian base very, very happy.

The premise they used to create this legislation is that there is some "doubt" about her medical condition. But there isn't any doubt:
"Over the span of this last decade, Theresa's brain has deteriorated because of the lack of oxygen it suffered at the time of the heart attack. By mid 1996, the CAT scans of her brain showed a severely abnormal structure. At this point, much of her cerebral cortex is simply gone and has been replaced by cerebral spinal fluid."
Years of medical and legal wrangling have established to the satisfaction of every Florida court that Terri has the same splendid quality of life as a turnip. As one doctor put it, "The videotapes tell the truth but you can't have excerpts of the truth". To put it another way, you can't have "blue medical facts" and "red medical facts"; at least not yet.

Of course, Senator Frist disagrees. And the Christian Right disagrees. Their hope is that this type of legal shenanigan can eventually be used to legally define a fertilized egg as "life"; entitled to all of the same protections that Terri has. I think they'll be disappointed.

If the legal system in this country has any independent function left, this law will eventually be struck down; probably at the Supreme Court or just below it, and if Justice Scalia has even a shred of legal integrity (which is a separate debate) he will be first in line to do so.

In the meantime, they'll shove the feeding tube back into the animated corpse that used to be Terri Schiavo and pump her up again.
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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