Chris's Rants

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The first step is candor.

Sen. Russ Feingold:
The first step is candor.
Indeed.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Priceless

When Harry Reid was named the minority leader, he was hardly known outside of Nevada and DC. On seeing his first press conference I thought to myself: "why did they pick this milquetoast? The dems are so screwed". I couldn't have been more wrong.

Beneath that milquetoast facade is a brilliant politician with keen instincts who has made the unctuous Dr. Frist look like an incompetent fool each time they have gone head-to-head.

This story is simply priceless. In one swell foop, Reid completely unravels the republican talking points that the dems are obstructionists who are simply playing politics with Dubya's judicial nominees.
Seeking a possible consensus nominee, Reid recommended Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mel Martinez of Florida, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Mike Crapo of Idaho.

Reid described them all as bright and able lawyers who would be strong additions to the nation's highest court.

"We have had approximately 10 members of the Supreme Court that came from the United States Senate over the years," Reid told reporters.

"There are people who serve in the Senate now who are Republicans who I think would be outstanding Supreme Court members," Reid said.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Drat, lost the pool

Transcript: Bush Speech on Iraq: Only 5 references to September 11... off by ten. However, Dubya invoked the word "terror" or "terrorist" 34 times, "progress" 7 times. What drivel. Bush has no plan and has to resort to people's fear of another terrorist attack to avoid admitting that he has no plan.

I am still sickened by the fact that the administration continues to try to make a connection between 9/11 and Iraq when the 9/11 commission and all of the various other investigations have concluded that there never was a connection. The leaked Downing Street memos reiterate that point repeatedly... the Brits knew that was bullshit from the start. They also suspected there were no WMDs.

For aWol to use Fort Bragg as a backdrop only serves to highlight his pucilanimousness.

If I hear how "hard" it is one more time, I think I'll barf. We're wasting billions that we don't have to waste on his little oedipal crusade to oust Daddy's nemisis. Let's get the U.N. involved. Let's stop giving all of the contracts to Darth Cheney's former croneys at Halliburton and open up the bidding to the French, Germans and Russians so that they will back a U.N. peacekeeping mission. Let's fire Rummy and his neocon back office spooks who keep getting it wrong. Let's stop the torture.

Let's stop the lying and face reality.

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You do the math

We've spent $208B USD thus far in Iraq over a period of 118 weeks. That's $1.76B USD per week. If, as Rummy suggested on MTP this weekend, we could be waging this war against the insurgency for upwards of 12 years, the ultimate cost of the war in Iraq at the current rate of expenditure would top $1T USD (yes, that's with a 'T').

(For you brits reading this... a Billion USD == 1,000 Million and a Trillion USD == a Billion in the Queen's english)

1B == 1,000,000,000 or 109
1T == 1,000,000,000,000 or 1012

Whatever, it's a really big number. If you stacked 1012 dollar bills between here and the moon, you would have 15.364 stacks of bills.

It's not like we haven't anything better we could be spending that money on.

2 Comments:

  • Chris, do you mean $208B so far or $17.6M a week? Otherwise it doesn't add up.

    By Anonymous Jacek, at June 29, 2005 7:27 AM  

  • Also with the powers, 1B = 10^9, 1T = 10^12 is what you wanted to say. Careful with posts you call "you do the math" because somebody will. 8-)

    By Anonymous Jacek, at June 29, 2005 7:29 AM  

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Starting a pool

I'm starting a pool. The question is:

How many times will Dubya invoke 9/11 in tonight's speech?

I'll take 15.

Given the frequency with which the administration officials are spewing references to 9/11 on TV and in their press gaggles, I'd say it's a safe bet the number will be fairly high.

Winner gets a cupie-doll.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Anklebiters & Cheryl

More pics of the anklebiter clan and Cheryl.



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Saturday, June 25, 2005

YAAB

Yet another ankle-biter.

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Deep Throat II

While the DSM was ignored by the SCLM for over a month, the story just won't go away... yet more leaked British memos today -- Memos Show British Concern Over Iraq Plans:
LONDON - When Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief foreign policy adviser dined with Condoleezza Rice six months after Sept. 11, the then-U.S. national security adviser didn't want to discuss Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida. She wanted to talk about "regime change" in Iraq, setting the stage for the U.S.-led invasion more than a year later.

President Bush wanted Blair's support, but British officials worried the White House was rushing to war, according to a series of leaked secret Downing Street memos that have renewed questions and debate about Washington's motives for ousting Saddam Hussein.
It just gets better and better (or worse and worse, depending on your perspective).
On March 25 Straw wrote a memo to Blair, saying he would have a tough time convincing the governing Labour Party that a pre-emptive strike against Iraq was legal under international law.

"If 11 September had not happened, it is doubtful that the U.S. would now be considering military action against Iraq," Straw wrote. "In addition, there has been no credible evidence to link Iraq with OBL (Osama bin Laden) and al-Qaida."

He also questioned stability in a post-Saddam Iraq: "We have also to answer the big question — what will this action achieve? There seems to be a larger hole in this than on anything."
Indeed, in retrospect, what exactly has this action achieved beyond providing a fertile training ground for more terrorists and making us more hated throughout the globe? The post-war reconstruction has been so poorly managed that conditions are now worse than they were both under Saddam and in the immediate aftermath of the initial invasion. Only Haliburton seems to have benefitted. In focusing our attention, and billions of tax dollars on Iraq, we have ignored the far more substantial and immediate threats to our national security, North Korea and Iran such that the situations there are far worse than they were in 2001-2002.

Mr. President, exactly what have we achieved? Clearly, spreading democracy in Iraq was not high on your reasons for going to war, so exactly which of your objectives have we successfully achieved?

A large majority of Americans now believe that the war in Iraq has not made us safer, but in fact the opposite.

I'm placing my money on the fact that Dubya wanted to one-up Daddy to impress Mommy and the attacks on 9/11 provided the political climate (of fear and loathing of anyone Muslim) in which to perpetrate an illegal war of aggression with the support of the majority of the population who believed its leaders when they made mendacious claims of ties between Saddam and al Qaeda.

If sending a nation to war for the purposes of avenging a personal vendetta is not an impeachable offense, I don't know what is. Heck, if lying about getting a bj in the Oval Office is impeachable, then certainly cherry-picking flimsy intellegence findings and exaggerating their potential consequences should be right up there. For that matter, the manner in which the intellegence community was completely and utterly abused for their "massive intellegence failures" should in and of itself be impeachable. This administration has done more to undermine our national security than any before it.

Whom ever it is that is leaking these memos is doing both his(her) country and ours a great service. Thank you!

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Sunday, June 12, 2005

We get memos

Today's front page (about frickin' time!) of the WaPo reports: Memo: U.S. Lacked Full Postwar Iraq Plan.
A briefing paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq concluded that the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a "protracted and costly" postwar occupation of that country.

The eight-page memo, written in advance of a July 23, 2002, Downing Street meeting on Iraq, provides new insights into how senior British officials saw a Bush administration decision to go to war as inevitable, and realized more clearly than their American counterparts the potential for the post-invasion instability that continues to plague Iraq.
Note, this is not the same memo as the recent Downing Street Memo, it's a new one, a briefing paper prepared for the meeting that was the subject of the minutes of that meeting which had been previously leaked as the "Downing Street Memo" on May 1st, 2005.

The new memo, and other documents recently made available makes it clear that the British were concerned that the Bushistas weren't prepared for the aftermath of what the British clearly believed to be an illegal war of aggression (emphasis mine):
Now, disclosure of the memo written in advance of that meeting -- and other British documents recently made public -- show that Blair's aides were not just concerned about Washington's justifications for invasion but also believed the Bush team lacked understanding of what could happen in the aftermath.

In a section titled "Benefits/Risks," the July 21 memo states, "Even with a legal base and a viable military plan, we would still need to ensure that the benefits of action outweigh the risks."

Saying that "we need to be sure that the outcome of the military action would match our objective," the memo's authors point out, "A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise." The authors add, "As already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden."
I'm a little bit afraid that this will be treated by the press as old news. We had previously learned in reporting after-the-fact that the Pentagon had no post-war plans. That the neo-cons in Wolfie's cabal had effectively thrown the State Department's analysis of post-war conditions and plans, developed by people with decades of experience and training in such matters, right in the trash bucket in an internecine power-play between the Pentagon and Foggy Bottom.

However, that isn't the real news here. The real news is that this evidence further corroborates the original DSM's charges that the U.S. had no intention of pursuing peaceful means of disarming Saddam, but had every intent of effecting regime change by miliraty means as far back as April 2002. Fully 6 months before the administration sought permission from Congress with the empty promise that it would use that authority as a last possible resort.

As in all other "gates" before, the crime is not the issue, it's the cover-up, the lying that will be the undoing of this administration. Recent polls show that now 60% feel that the war in Iraq wasn't worth it. As many as 54% now believe that the war in Iraq has not made us safer. I think it is fair to say that the American public suspected all along that the shifting rationale for war -- from the constant fear-mongering by the most senior administration officials of Saddam's previous use of WMD, visions of mushroom clouds (Dick Cheney assured us that it was a fact that Saddam had reconstituted his nuclear program), spurious ties to al Qaeda and 9/11 to today's propoganda that the intent all along was to spread democracy throughout the world -- was clear evidence that either the administration is trying to downplay its mistakes (afterall, this is the first president in history who has not admitted a mistake, except in judgement of certain of his selected advisors-turned-malcontents) or that indeed, that the plan all along was to oust Saddam. The American public, has given the administration the benefit of the doubt all along (helped by propoganda and the tireless whurlitzer of the rightwing talkosphere), but I suspect that with the current sentiment of the majority opinion, that revelations the prove that the administration was lying all along will no longer receive that benefit. American's don't like being lied to.

This Thursday's hearings on the DSM should indeed prove to be interesting. At the very least, it will keep this story on the front burner, which is where it belongs.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Aw crap, I'll miss all the fun!

House Judiciary Democrats to hold hearings on Downing Street minutes. The hearings are scheduled for next Thursday, when I'll be out of the country. Anyway, it should be a good show. Kudos to Rep. Conyers!

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PITA

Mobile Pipeline | Federal Anti-Municipal Wi-Fi Bill Introduced (emphasis mine):
Dubbed by the Author, Representative Pet Sessions (R-Texas), the Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act of 2005, the bill prohibits state and local governments from providing any telecommunications or information service that is "substantially similar" to services provided by private companies.

The bill, HR 2726, is similar to a host of state bills pushed by telecommunications companies aimed at fending off municipally-run wireless networks. Some of those bills, most recently one in Texas, have been stalled in state legislatures.

The telecommunications operators say that such networks represent unfair competition while municipalities claim that the services are needed to promote business and close the gap between digital haves and have-nots.
The idiot from Texass couldn't have chosen a more appropriate name for his bill. It's acronym is PITA -- pain in the ass, which is exactly what this bill is. This one is right up there with Sen. Santorum's bill to prevent the NWS from providing forecasting services via the web (for free):
The bill, introduced last week by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., would prohibit federal meteorologists from competing with companies such as AccuWeather and The Weather Channel, which offer their own forecasts through paid services and free ad-supported Web sites.
Oh, did I mention that Santorum has received campaign contributions from AccuWeather's CEO to the tune of $4000?

Providing Internet access for free to everyone is a bad thing, how? Providing free web-accessible weather information is a bad thing how? Apparently, it's only bad for corporate concerns that also happen to line politician's pockets. These people really creep me out. They don't have the people's interests at heart, it's all about the moolah.

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Fire them all!

House Ethics Standstill Stalls DeLay Decision. This is pathetic. Really pathetic. The fox guarding the hen house. Frankly, there should be a completely independent body enforcing the ethics Rules of both houses of congress. Instead of cleaning up their acts and chasing down corruption and ethical violations (although everyone seems to be running around rewriting their travel history), they are quibbling over minutae that matter to no one outside the committee.

Yet further evidence that Washington is completely out of touch with reality and oblivious to the issues that matter to anyone living outside the beltway. Sadly, if history repeats itself, most of these criminals, er congress-critters will get re-elected because it is such an up-hill battle for a non-incumbant to raise enough money to wage an effective campaign.

Tom Delay is laughing all the way to the bank.

I say, fire them all. I'd fire my own critter if there was anyone opposing him... there never is. The arrogant a-hole doesn't even bother to have an aide, or even a software agent, respond to my emails. He never does jack as far as I can tell. This is what's wrong with Congress and our republic. Our representatives don't have to be representative to their constituents since the $$$ that funds their campaigns comes from the lobbyists on K street and the amounts are so ridiculously outrageous that few can muster an effective challenge.

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Stop the presses!

Apparently, the MSM is not dead yet. The Toledo Blade in Ohio has been performing yoman-like work in digging into the "Coingate" scandal. The story has now officially jumped the shark.
COLUMBUS — Gov. Bob Taft’s office learned seven months ago — not this week — that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation had lost $225 million in a high-risk investment.

In an Oct. 26, 2004, e-mail to Taft aide James Samuel, the bureau’s administrator-CEO, James Conrad, wrote that the "entire value" of the portfolio managed by MDL Capital Management was down about $225 million.

Mr. Conrad also alerted the governor’s office that the bureau had rejected MDL’s request for another $25 million and the firm was in danger of collapsing, which he said would be "likely to make national news."
No shit, Sherlock!

The Republican leadership in the state is in deep doo-doo, and they know it. What's even better is that this story has ties to Dubya as Mr. Noe, the numismatic collector who "lost" (ahem) $13M (I mean really, the coins were "lost in the mail"? How gullible do they think we are?) was one of Dubya's top fund-raisers in Ohio. But now it seems that the $13M is small potatos as contrasted with the most recent revelations that $215M of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation fund had been shifted from a "long-bond" fund to what effectively amounted to a hedge fund and that that hedge fund had subsequently lost all of its value.

Better still is that it is now known that there was a loss reflected against the initial $100M investment at the time that the additional $125M was added! Yikes!

This story is just oozing with wide-spread corruption and cover-up, and now the Republican candidates for Governor are trying to a) distance themselves and b) prove that they are the more aggressive in pursuing investigation and remedies. The fact is that they are all at least tangientally tainted since Mr. Noe was a large contributor to each of their respective campaigns.

You just have to follow this story as it unfolds. It gets better and more tangled by the day.

However, the important point in all of this is that the Toledo Blade is doing its job, and admirably at that, and fighting against a lopsidedly Republican-controlled state in the process. Without the Toledo Blade breaking and continuing to dig into this story, Ohioans would have no clue that there was a problem at all because the Republicans were doing everything in their power to cover it up.

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My Hero

Crooks and Liars has last night's clip of Coilin Powell's Daily Show visit (link leads to page with a link to wmv clip):
Powell was defending Bush at every turn, really defending his role in the run up to the war. Stewart did ask him good questions.
Absolutely. Jon Stewart was brilliant last night. He asked better, tougher, more probing questions than either Russert or Stephanopolis would ever dream of asking. Unfortunately, Powell simply parrotted back the party-line responses. However, Stewart was not a push-over like Larry King or Tim Russert.

This should be a lesson to the MSM.

We keep hearing that the reason that the MSM (or the SCLM) refrains from asking the tough questions for fear of retribution by the administration, and of losing the favor of their highly placed sources. So, rather than probe into a story like the DSM or question the motives in the lead up to the war in Iraq, they simply regurgitate the administration's talking points, effectively becoming a de facto propaganda arm of the administration.

Here we have a TV show that mocks the administration (equal opportunity mockery I might add) and never fails to call a spade a spade. They even poke fun at the guest sitting in the green room, yet no one has (to my knowledge) ever walked away from an appearance on the show.

Why?

Because whether the MSM know it or not, the administration needs them just as badly as the press needs its highly places sources. The administration cannot rely exclusively on Rush, Hannity, Novacula, Coulter and Rupert Murdock to get their messages out to the public. The highly placed sources won't wither-up over night because leaks are inevitable as people in power within the administration use them to wage their battles with one another.

Memo to MSM: get a frickin' spine already.

File this one under: why, oh why can't we have a better press corps?

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Smoke and mirrors

Think Progress � Breaking: Bush-Blair Questioned on Downing Street Memo (emphasis mine):
BUSH: Well, you know, I read, kind of, the characterizations of the memo, particularly when they dropped it out in the middle of his race. I’m not sure who they dropped it out is, but I’m not suggesting that you all dropped it out there.
And this is the leader of the free world? He "kind of" read a "characterization" of the memo. (Interpretation: my Mommy read it to me. There were big words in it that I didn't understand.) He goes on to compose what has to be the most disjoint sentence in history. "I'm not sure who they dropped it out is...". WTF?
(LAUGHTER)

And somebody said, Well, you know, we had made up our mind to go to use military force to deal with Saddam. There’s nothing farther from the truth.

My conversations with the prime minister was how could we do this peacefully, what could we do.
Yeah, right... peacefully. Funny, that isn't at all what the minutes of the meeting say.
And this meeting, evidently it took place in London, happened before we even went to the United Nations – or I went to the United Nations.

And so it’s – look, both of us didn’t want to use our military. Nobody wants to commit military into combat. That’s the last option.
Really? Sure, this all happened before we went to the U.N., but what's that got to do with it. It also happened before Bush went to Congress to seek congressional approval. That's the whole frickin' point! True, the meeting took place in London (um... Mr. President... that's where Downing Street is, apparently) but it was a Blair cabinet meeting in which his top spook was reporting back on meetings he had in Warshington D.C.. You'd think that some uppity reporter would have asked an appropriate follow-up basically saying: "that's all well and good Mr. President, but you haven't answered the question". (note, the actual question was as follows:
QUESTION: On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street Memo from July, 2002, says “Intelligence and facts remain fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military actions.”

Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?
Preznit Doofus continues with his bogus, lame-ass response:
The consequences of committing the military are very difficult. You know, one of the hardest things I do as the president is to try to comfort families who’ve lost a loved one in combat.
It's hard work! Yeah, yeah, yeah, some kid is dead or maimed for life, but it's hard work to console the family members who will probably be collecting food stamps now that their major bread winner is dead. Dubya continues:
It’s the last option that the president must have, and it’s the last option I know my friend had as well.

And so we worked hard to see if we could figure how to do this peacefully, to put a united front up to Saddam Hussein, so the world speaks. And he ignored the world. Remember, 1441 passed the Security Council unanimously. He made the decision. And the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.
Again, nothing to do with the question which was that the memo strongly suggests that the U.K.'s top spook came back from D.C. to report to Blair that the Bushistas had already decided that military action was needed to oust Saddam and that they were "fixing facts" around the policy. All this nonsense about the meeting being before the U.S. went to the U.N. is so much smoke and mirrors. Note that Bush never said that the "facts" were not being "fixed". Note also that all of the "evidence" that Colin Powell presented to the U.N. in making the case for resolution 1441 has subsequently been debunked. Gee, you'd think a reporter would have a follow-up that basically called a spade a spade by saying: "with all due respect Mr. President, the 'facts' that were presented to the U.N. by Sec'y Powell were, well... they were proven to be completely wrong in what has since been characterized as a 'massive intellegence failure'. That sure seems to support the contention of the memo that 'facts' were being "fixed" around the policy, doesn't it?"

Idiots.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Did they get the memo?

Rep Conyers:
A reader asks whether a Post reporter will ask about the Downing Street Minutes during the joint Bush-Blair appearances in Washington this week. Morley's reply: 'If Post reporters don't ask Blair about the memo, they have abdicated responsibility in my view.'

What more can I add to that?
Indeed.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Homogenous intranets?

Dare Obasanjo writes:
Based on how adoption of DHTML/AJAX occured over the past few years I suspect that Avalon/XAML will follow a similar path since the initial conditions are similar. If I am correct then even if Avalon/XAML is a superior technology to DHTML/AJAX (which I believe to be the case) it will likely be shunned on the Web due to lack of cross-browser interoperability but may flourish within homogenous intranets.
Exsqueeze me? Homogenous intranets? This line jumped off the page at me. Unless the homogeneity is related to the support of broadly adopted industry standards, or a complete lock on corporate intranets by a single vendor, it is a disaster waiting to happen. Can you say "mergers and acquisitions"? I knew you could. Has IT no collective memory that it is stupid enough to repeat the mistakes of the past? "Homogenous intranets" are the pipe-dreams of control-freaks without a clue and monopolists.

Dare is absolutely correct in observing that Avalon and XAML will likely be shunned "on the Web" because it will require homogeneity of a single vendor's product. But what is "on the Web"? Are not the corporate web pages, portals and web applications one uses "on the Web"?

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Good Intentions Gone Bad

It seems amazing that Newsweek has the cajones to print an article like this so soon after the administration made them their biatch for (correctly) reporting that an anonymous Pentagon source had seen in a report of allegations that the Koran had been flushed down the toilet. Note that the only thing that Newsweek was guilty of is getting the name of the report wrong, not the substance of the allegations. Note also that the Pentagon reported Friday of findings that a Koran was "splashed" with urine (how exactly does that happen?) This article, by Newsweek's exiting Baghdad Bureau Chief is definitely worth a read. Good Intentions Gone Bad (emphasis mine):
The abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib alienated a broad swath of the Iraqi public. On top of that, it didn't work. There is no evidence that all the mistreatment and humiliation saved a single American life or led to the capture of any major terrorist, despite claims by the military that the prison produced "actionable intelligence."

The most shocking thing about Abu Ghraib was not the behavior of U.S. troops, but the incompetence of their leaders.
Actually, what is most shocking is that despite "plain as the nose on your face" knowledge that their leaders have proven to be so incompetent, is the fact that they somehow managed to get re-elected.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Blogmap

(Via Geoff) I've added a blogmap. Look below in the right-hand navbar.

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YAPT

(Via Hal) YAPT... No surprises really. See Steve, I am not a flaming commie pinko liberal, just moderately so:-)

On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Moderate Liberal (24).
On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Moderate Liberal (37).

Your score is on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being fully liberal and 100 being fully conservative.

This political test is a part of the Political Brew website.

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New Toy

My son's Canon PowerShot A70 was recently stolen. So, in a fit of generosity, I gave him my old Coolpix 3200 and bought myself a new Nikon S1. (I had actually offered to by him a new camera, but he seemed uncomfortable with the expense). Let me just say that this new toy is way kewl! It should come in very handy for my upcoming trip to Amsterdam and my niece's graduation next weekend (I only wish that I had bought this before my daughter's graduation on Friday!). At 5.1 Mega Pixels, it is more than adequate for my needs. The user interface is a work of art, as is the form factor; not much bigger than my iPod mini. It's got a monster 2.5 inch display which is big and bright enough for outdoor use, as I learned today.

Here's a shot of my daughter and the ankle biter.

My daughter and the ankle biter

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Press finds its spine, film at 11

From today's WaPo page 1 (no less!) Bush's Optimism On Iraq Debated:
The disconnect between Rose Garden optimism and Baghdad pessimism, according to government officials and independent analysts, stems not only from Bush's focus on tentative signs of long-term progress but also from the shrinking range of policy options available to him if he is wrong. Having set out on a course of trying to stand up a new constitutional, elected government with the security firepower to defend itself, Bush finds himself locked into a strategy that, even if it proves successful, foreshadows many more deadly months to come first, analysts said.
Yes, it could have eaily started out: "The disconnect between Rose Garden optimism and Baghdad reality...". But, it gets better. Read the whole thing.

It's not only the press that seems to have found its spine, but a few Republican, yes Republican, congress-critters as well. (emphasis mine)
"I am pleased that in less than a year's time, there's a democratically elected government in Iraq, there are thousands of Iraq soldiers trained and better equipped to fight for their own country [and] that our strategy is very clear," Bush said during a Rose Garden news conference Tuesday. Overall, he said, "I'm pleased with the progress." Cheney offered an even more hopeful assessment during a CNN interview aired the night before, saying the insurgency was in its "last throes."

Several Republicans questioned that evaluation. "I cannot say with any confidence that that is accurate," said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), a member of the House International Relations Committee. "I think it's impossible to know how close we are to the insurgency being overcome."
And then there are the voices of the "disgruntled employees" (e.g. career analysts at Foggy Bottom who have a clue and are simply disgruntled that the political hacks that the Bushistas sent in to run the place haven't got one (again, emphasis mine):
"It's dangerous when U.S. officials start to believe their own propaganda," said David L. Phillips, a former State Department consultant who worked on Iraq planning but quit in frustration in 2003 and has written a book called "Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco." "I have no doubt that they genuinely think that Iraq is a smashing success and a milestone in their forward freedom strategy. But if you ask Iraqis, they have a different opinion."

Phillips added that U.S. officials keep pointing to landmarks such as the January elections as turning points but "at no point have any of these milestones proven to be breakthroughs."

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Other Bomb Drops

The Other Bomb Drops (emphasis mine):
Michigan Democratic Representative John Conyers (news, bio, voting record) has called the latest revelations about these attacks 'the smoking bullet in the smoking gun,' irrefutable proof that President Bush misled Congress before the vote on Iraq. When Bush asked Congress to authorize the use of force in Iraq, he also said he would use it only as a last resort, after all other avenues had been exhausted. But the Downing Street memo reveals that the Administration had already decided to topple Saddam by force and was manipulating intelligence to justify the decision. That information puts the increase in unprovoked air attacks in the year prior to the war in an entirely new light: The Bush Administration was not only determined to wage war on Iraq, regardless of the evidence; it had already started that war months before it was put to a vote in Congress.

It only takes one member of Congress to begin an impeachment process, and Conyers is said to be considering the option. The process would certainly be revealing. Congress could subpoena Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Gen. Richard Myers, Gen.Tommy Franks and all of the military commanders and pilots involved with the no-fly zone bombings going back into the late 1990s. What were their orders, both given and received? In those answers might lie a case for impeachment.

But another question looms, particularly for Democrats who voted for the war and now say they were misled: Why weren't these unprovoked and unauthorized attacks investigated when they were happening, when it might have had a real impact on the Administration's drive to war? Perhaps that's why the growing grassroots campaign to use the Downing Street memo to impeach Bush can't get a hearing on Capitol Hill. A real probing of this 'smoking gun' would not be uncomfortable only for Republicans. The truth is that Bush, like President Bill Clinton before him, oversaw the longest sustained bombing campaign since Vietnam against a sovereign country with no international or US mandate. That gun is probably too hot for either party to touch.
Clearly, the ball of string is starting to unravel. Whether or not the Clinton administration is culpable in all this is now irrelevant. He is no longer in office. This country deserves to know the truth, whatever that may be. If this is about oil, then maybe the American public will awaken from its stupor. We've wasted over $300B on this war. That money could have been better spent than lavishing it on Haliburton's inept reparations. If oil is indeed becoming a problem, as I suspect it is to a much greater extent than most people know, then we would be better off knowing.

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Islamist Pastry Chef

Fafblog:
Q: Help! I'm being tortured to death in an American military prison! What should I do?
A: First of all, you should get your facts straight. You're not being tortured to death in an American military prison; you're being interrogated to death in an American detainment facility. America does not tolerate torture.

[...]

Q: When I die in a few minutes, will my death help the cause of freedom?
A: Not really. But in a way, isn't death itself just freedom from life - the greatest prison of all?
Q: Wow... you've *HRAAACK* totally blown my mind - and my lung and ribcage and my kneecaps!
A: Oh, don't thank us - it's all part of being tortured to death in an American military prison!

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