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Saturday, May 21, 2005
Feel like a frog, yet?
I do.

I could have sworn that somebody named Gallo--something or other gave some sort of statement to a Senate committee or something last week. I must be remembering wrong.

"...if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale -- then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.' And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. 'Reality control', they called it: in Newspeak, 'doublethink'..."
Friday, May 20, 2005
Bat Frogging

Thursday, May 19, 2005
I thought it would take longer.

But what do I know? I wonder how long Condi, Colin and Rummy thought it would take? Surely such sophisticated international experts knew what we would be birthing in Iraq. Right? And our military has a front row seat.

It might be time to seriously start thinking about....well, I must admit I'm at a total loss.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
I would be great to move back to Minnesota...

just so I could vote against Norm Coleman in 2008. I say without reservation that he easily qualifies for my list of the 10 most incompetent members of Congress.

That said.... John Aravosis, the lefty blogger who has a habit of creating shitstorms for hypocritical politicians, organizations and blowhards, is implying that Coleman might have skeleton or two in his closet. (Was that a pun? I do not know.)
Oh, and Senator Coleman: Before you go attacking other people's character based on a single source under questionable circumstances, you might want to take a peek in your own closet. I've received lots of info from sources claiming all sorts of things - well, actually, one specific thing - about your character. Think really hard (no pun intended) if you really want that to be the standard for public personal attacks on politicians' character.
John is a lawyer as well as an activist. I doubt that he makes threats idly. Just ask Microsoft, who backed down from their newfound neutrality on equal rights for gays because of Americablog's exposure and national influence.

Poor Norm. When all is said and done, he will be more of a relic in MN politics than Rudy Boschwitz.
The last two weeks.

Tommy S. Little
Derrick J. Lutters
John C. Spahr
Kelly C. Hinz
John E. McGee
Stephen P. Saxton
William J. Brooks
Aaron N. Cepeda Sr.
Lance T. Graham
Michael V. Postal
Lawrence R. Philippon
Dustin A. Derga
Michael A. Marzano
Richard P. Schoener
Gary A. Eckert
Jeffery L. Wiener,
Thor H. Ingraham
Nicolas E. Messmer
Stephen P. Baldwyn
Taylor B. Prazynski,
Anthony L. Goodwin
Nicholas C. Kirven
Marcus Mahdee
Michael J. Bordelon
Wesley G. Davids
John M. Smith
John T. Schmidt III
Kendall H. Ivy II
Steven R. Givens
Samuel T. Castle
Andrew R. Jodon
Kenneth E. Zeigler II
Travis W. Anderson
Christopher R. Dixon
Nicholas B. Erdy
Jonathan W. Grant
Jourdan L. Grez
Charles C. Gillican III

"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on"
Huh? Damn.

I know that River isn't a major news organization with lots of fact checkers and editors to help her keep her reports from Baghdad up to White House standards, but she is actually there, unlike just about any US reporter with the aforementioned benefits.

Her latest post is disturbing on a lot of levels. You should read the whole thing, but here are two excerpts which should make you wonder:
...One of the larger blasts was in an area called Ma'moun, which is a middle class area located in west Baghdad. It’s a relatively calm residential area with shops that provide the basics and a bit more. It happened in the morning, as the shops were opening up for their daily business and it occurred right in front of a butchers shop. Immediately after, we heard that a man living in a house in front of the blast site was hauled off by the Americans because it was said that after the bomb went off, he sniped an Iraqi National Guardsman.

I didn’t think much about the story- nothing about it stood out: an explosion and a sniper- hardly an anomaly. The interesting news started circulating a couple of days later. People from the area claim that the man was taken away not because he shot anyone, but because he knew too much about the bomb. Rumor has it that he saw an American patrol passing through the area and pausing at the bomb site minutes before the explosion. Soon after they drove away, the bomb went off and chaos ensued. He ran out of his house screaming to the neighbors and bystanders that the Americans had either planted the bomb or seen the bomb and done nothing about it. He was promptly taken away...
And this, at the end:
...It does seem like the people in charge have decided to make degradation and humiliation a policy.

By doing such things, this war is taken to another level- it is no longer a war against terror or terrorists- it is, quite simply, a war against Islam and even secular Muslims are being forced to take sides.
So, some Iraqis are at the point of believing that US forces are responsible for at least some of the bomb attacks. And River, who has always posted as a fairly secular young Iraqi woman, has concluded that this really is a war on Islam. This is bad. And we have you-know-who to thank for it.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Of course, this will be in the headlines tomorrow.


End Game for Unions

United’s mechanics have signed a new contract. It essentially gives management everything they asked for in the way of pay and benefit cuts; the same cuts that the mechanics said they would strike over, two weeks ago. They didn’t strike because they knew that it would be the end of the company. It turns out that Chapter 11 is a wonderful tool for gutting pay and benefits, and breaking unions.

United’s finances are a horror show. It’s not just the pension liabilities that they irresponsibly allowed to accumulate--those are gone now, along with the pensions. It’s their revenue model and business plan itself that sucks. Here is a summary of their first quarter results.

The article spends some time talking about pension-related and bankruptcy-related costs, but here is the bottom line: Their loss from operations was $250 million. That works out to about $16 for every passenger that walked through their doors.

Their total loss was $1.28 billion. For one quarter. Or $14.2 million per day. After two years of bankruptcy reorganization. With a CEO who was paid more than any other airline CEO in 2004, at $1.1 million. In a NYT article on Sunday, Delta’s CEO complained about the problems that United’s endless stay in bankruptcy is causing for the rest of the industry. He said that he had called the White House more than once to explain the need for some sort of intervention for the entire industry.

The Bush Administration’s response? “You can file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, too.” So apparently it is the official policy now, to put all unionized airlines into bankruptcy.

Too paranoid, you think? In 2000 and 2004, the Airline Pilots Association sent Bush, along with all of the other presidential candidates, a questionnaire regarding labor and airline issues. This is a respectful and fairly short document that every candidate has always responded to in some fashion. Sometimes we like the answers, and sometimes we don’t.

The Bush team has never responded to it in any way at all.
Monday, May 16, 2005
The light side of the GOP takeover of NPR.

Click here
All Your News Are Belong To Us.

Is it any secret that Republicans hate public television and radio? Along with the bullying and manipulation of news that goes on in the non-public media, the White House is steadily eroding the objectivity of National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It's getting so bad that NPR executives are going public with their complaints. Based on the practices of this Administration, that will probably cost them their jobs.

Even Bill Moyers, who should be enjoying his retirement, is thinking about jumping back into the fray. Any bets on whether they let him come back?
Rathergate Redux?

Newsweek has decided that perhaps their source in the Quran-down-the-toilet story was mistaken. Or maybe they misheard him. Or maybe it was a combination. Or maybe…..

Maybe the White House did what it often does, and issued threats against both Newsweek and the “source” for telling something resembling the truth. Based on recent history, I think I’d put my money on the latter possibility.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
For some reason
catering bookings are up and we are insanely busy. Postings will continue to be limited until after Graduation weekend in mid-June.

And shortly thereafter the lovely theater festival crowds show up and we work 80 hours a week to keep the blue-hairs from Jersey and Westchester satiated before the matinees. Joy of joys.

Hopefully, though, Lewis Black will be back for his standard summer-stock stint. In real life he is a very mild mannered guy who is a gracious customer along with many other recognizable names. The performers and crews make the tourists *almost* bearable.

(Hint. If you want to see celebs during small town summer-stock theater, find the lunch place that is most popular with the locals and visit around 3 pm.)
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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