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Quote of the Day

“I decided to tot up the tally. Since 1940, the media have predicted seven out of the last one quagmires.”

Rand Simberg








Joke of the Week

Via Stefan Sharkansky, the best joke I have seen in a while:

Five surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients to operate on.

The first surgeon says, “I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered,”

The second responds, “Yeah, but you should try electricians. Everything inside them is color-coded.”

The third surgeon says, “No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order.”

The fourth surgeon chimes in: “You know, I like auto mechanics. They always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end and when the job takes longer than you said it would.”

But the fifth surgeon, Dr. Morris Fishbein, shuts them all up when he observes: “The French are the easiest to operate on. There’s no guts, no heart, no balls and no spine. Plus the head and ass are interchangeable.”








A Tale of Two Cities- A Photo Essay

In San Francisco, people take to the streets to protest the “Bush Regime’s” unlawful war (Indymedia Photo).

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Loudly they denounce this unprovoked aggression. The status quo is always better than any bloodshed, particularly unilateral actions undertaken by 40 or so nations (Indymedia Photo).

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Here is what they wanted to stop (Jerome Delay – AP):

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It is almost too horrible to keep viewing:

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My goodness, how awful. They are giving the evil imperialist invaders flowers. How much more of this can we take? Quick, dust off the little red book and head to the streets(AP Photo – Jon Mills ):

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Clearly, these people would rather we had stayed home, or gone through the UN – but we should not have toppled the legitimate Hussein. Why, according to the BBC, just months ago Hussein got 100% of the vote. These pictures must be fabricated (Karim Sahib/Agence France-Presse).

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How dare we impose our will on these people (Chang W. Lee – The New York Times)?

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The difference between Baghdad and San Francisco?

Baghdad was liberated from 30 years of an oppressive regime, and now they hope and pray to live in blissful peace.

The residents of San Francisco were liberated from their senses 30 years ago, and continue to reside in blissful ignorance.

*** Update ***

American RealPolitik, Occam’s Toothbrush, and Donald Sensing (scroll down- he has posted a lot today) also have some great stuff.








The Agonist

Mac Diva gives a good rundown of the Sean-Paul Kelley (aka the Agonist) plagiarism bit (click here for the Wired story). I agree with most of what she has to say, and an anecdotal piece that leads me to believe he is still up to no good- at least finding links and then not providing the obligatory (as far as netiquette goes) hat tip.

At any rate, Sean-Paul today posted an interesting story about children jailed by Hussein being released by the Marines. He posted the story at 2:23 EST, and the site he linked to was an from Spacewar.com.

All well and good- if I hadn’t posted the same damn story, ten minutes earlier, on the Command Post.

Guess what- two major coincidences! I used the spacewar.com link too! So did Sean-Paul- ten minutes later! Weird coincidence, considering it was widely reported by a number of news sources other than a site called SPACEWARS.COM.

Another weird coincidence- before this, Sean-Paul had NEVER cited the spacewars.com cite. Guess what this leads me to believe?

Yeah- Sean-Paul’s news collection method is to read other people’s weblogs and then to post the information to his cite. Classy- but then again, he is an unrepentant plagiarist (although he claims to have learned something- probably something he should have known before, mainly that publishing someone else’s copyrighted material as your own work is dishonest, illegal, and highly unethical).

In fairness, this could be just a weird bunch of coincidences, but then again, Sean-Paul has no credibility. He will probably be working at the NY Times in a matter of weeks. Also- let me be clear- I am not accusing him of being a plagiarist (that much is already proven). Nope- just someone incapable of proper netiquette. Check the Command Post Archives- when we have seen something on his site, we attribute it to him. But then again, we are not self-centered promotion hounds with inflated egos and deflated sense of right and wrong.

I must also disclose that I haven’t liked Sean-Paul since he wrote an obnoxious screed claiming that he, and only he had come to an enlightened position regarding the war. The rest of us were just bloody warmongerers.

*** Update ***

The delighfully crabby Andrea Harris has some comments on the issue.








Those Funny French

Today, Jacques ChIraq, who has been an unending source of amusement, had this to say about post-war Iraq:

“We are no longer in an era where one or two countries can control the fate of another country,” Chirac told a news conference after a meeting with U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers.

“Therefore, the political, economic, humanitarian and administrative reconstruction of Iraq is a matter for the United Nations and for it alone.”

In the headlines today:

“British Pick Local Leader to Control Chaotic Basra”

US Forces Push Further Into Baghdad; Saddam’s Fate Unknown

Is Chirac just trying to be amusing, or does he really not recognize we don’t care what he thinks regarding post-war Iraq? He, Tanzania, Syria, and Paraguay can huff and puff and give us all the suggestions they want- but it just doesn’t matter anymore.








Basketball and Beer

If you haven’t noticed, I did not post much this past weekend. Although the war seems to be going pretty well, I need a break from it all. The death of Michael Kelly was absolutely awful, the loss of David Bloom equally so (go read Jarvis’s letter to his Bloom’s beautiful little girls). Every time I see a picture of Bloom I get upset, because it was just so clear to me that he was having the time of his life. MSNBC is my cable channel of choice, so I had grown accustomed to seeing him, and I always thought you would be hard-pressed to find a guy who enjoyed his job more. I am consoled only by the fact that he was doing something he loved when he died- and he was doing it well. Maybe I am a sentimental sap, but I won’t recover from this loss for awhile- hell- hockey night on ESPN has sucked for me since Tom Mees drowned tragically 6-7 years ago. Every time I turn it on I think, jeebus- these guys just can’t compare. And so life goes on.

Just like every life cut off too short in this war, it is just a damned shame. God damn Hussein.

I am going to go watch basketball and drink beer.








Arab Street?

Charlie Company Task Force 1-64 of the 3rd ID faces the feared ‘Arab Street’ in downtown BAGHDAD.

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Maybe the fear-mongerers and those saying the war was going poorly were talking about something else.








Bad Legislation

A friend of mine alerted me to some horrible legislation working its way through numerous statehouses:

The states of Massachusetts and Texas are preparing to consider bills that apparently are intended to extend the national Digital Millennium Copyright Act. (TX bill; MA bill) The bills are obviously related to each other somehow, since they are textually similar.

Here is one example of the far-reaching harmful effects of these bills. Both bills would flatly ban the possession, sale, or use of technologies that “conceal from a communication service provider … the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication”. Your ISP is a communication service provider, so anything that concealed the origin or destination of any communication from your ISP would be illegal — with no exceptions.

If you send or receive your email via an encrypted connection, you’re in violation, because the “To” and “From” lines of the emails are concealed from your ISP by encryption. (The encryption conceals the destinations of outgoing messages, and the sources of incoming messages.)

Go read the whole thing, and check to see if your state has any legislation pending. Make sure you read the comments to the site I linked.








Command Post

Remember, the authoritative source for war information and links is the Command Post, the best web collaborative available.








RIP, Michael Kelly

From the WaPo:

Michael Kelly, the Atlantic Monthly editor-at-large and Washington Post columnist who abandoned the safety of editorial offices to cover the war in Iraq, has been killed while traveling with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

Kelly, the first American journalist killed in the war, had also served as editor of the New Republic and National Journal. But his decision to join up with U.S. forces marked a return to his reporting roots, since he covered the first Persian Gulf War as a magazine freelancer and turned his observations into a book, “Martyrs’ Day.” While one Australian and two British journalists have been killed covering the war, Kelly’s death is the first among the 600 correspondents participating in the Pentagon’s embedding program.

*** Update ***

Edited to remove a tasteless comment I wrote about another member of the press, which does nothing to honor the memory of Michael Kelly, and was, well, tasteless and wrong.

*** Update #2 ***

From Atrios, a remarkably classy post about Michael Kelly (although still branding people who are in favor of prosecuting this war as ‘war-mongering’).

The sewer trout who comment on Atrios’s comments sections ( I call them Atriettes) are rather disgusting, ranging from muted glee to outright celebration. Losers.

*** Update #3 ***

Atrios’s commenters were so disgusting and over the top that he had to pull the thread out of respect to Kelly’s family. You will just have to trust me- Atrios did the right thing.








Media Irregularities

Mac Diva has spent a while trying to detail all the misreported information regarding the capture and imprisonment of PFC Lynch. In the process, she decides to take a swipe at me:

Stories such as the Chronicle’s were, in turn, used to support the claims of biased Right Wing bloggers, such as this one.

“Such as this one?” I wonder who that might be? Oh… Me.

I watched him single-handedly transform the hospital where Lynch was treated into a military headquarters pretending to be a hospital. He has yet to acknowledge that the latest, apparently accurate information, contradicts his claim of subhuman Iraqis torturing Pfc. Lynch in a torture chamber there because ‘that’s what Iraqis are like.’

Presto, watch me transform hospitals into torture chambers, torture chambers. It’s like, ummm, magic? Except I never did that. In fact, here are my words:

Mac also seems to want to believe the Iraqi propoganda over reality, and thinks that Jessica is being held in a hospital for treatment. This, despite all the evidence of Iraqi perfidy, despite the Saddamite thugs using hospitals as command posts for the duration of this conflict. It is mind-boggling, and as the evidence has shown today, there were maps, mortar rounds, car batteries (for torture), terrain mock-ups, and other various weapons in this command post in the basement of the hospital.

Note to the discerning reader- Mac agrees with methat all of the above is true- she cites it in the piece I linked to. The hospital was being used as a bunker/command post, as have previous hospitals, mosques, and Red Crescent vehicles.

Nowhere did I write that it can be stated without pause that PFC Lynch was tortured. In fact, here are my words:

She was in the hospital because it was the best place to hide her, and she had numerous broken bones and was reported to have been tortured.

She was reported to have been tortured- and that is still the case, as far as we know it. Nowehere have I stated that Iraqi’s torture people simply because ‘that is how they are.’ I am not a xenophobic, racist nitwit- I don’t think like that. Everyday Iraqis are probably very much like every other person in the world. However, the shock troops, the paramilitary leaders, the Ba’ath Party leaders- they are, in my opinion, subhuman. They have conducted numerous atrocities, and they are scum. It would not surprise me at all if they tortured her, as they have executed other Americans, and they have tortured in the past. What is so irresponsible about speculating that past behavior is a good indication of future behavior?

When Mac Diva can show me proof that she was not tortured, I will admit it and be relieved (for goodness sake, I hope to God I am wrong). Until then- I will base my speculation that she probably was tortured on the past behavior of the Hussein regime and the reports I read in the media. What else do I have to go on?








A New American Hero

And perhaps one day a new American:

New heroes have surfaced in the rescue of U.S. Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch.

Under the watchful eyes of more than 40 murderous gunmen, the 19-year-old supply clerk laid in Saddam Hussein Hospital suffering from at least one gunshot wound and several broken bones.

As her captors discussed amputating her leg, an Iraqi man leaned to her ear and whispered, “Don’t worry.” Lynch replied with a warm smile.

The man was already working with U.S. Marines to gain the critical information needed to rescue one of the first American prisoners of war in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Just a day earlier, the lawyer from An Nasiryah had walked 10 kilometers to inform American forces he knew where Lynch was being held.

Go read the whole story about how this brave Iraqi helped to save PFC Lynch’s life. I’d vote for him before I would vote for Kerry.