~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Monday, February 28, 2005

Who knew?

Times Online examines the psycho-sexual makeup of the noble cow and other farm animals.

Choice quote :
“Cows look calm, but really they are gay nymphomaniacs...”

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

mp3 woes...

Lat night I finished ripping my wife's cd collection into our shared mp3 folder... or so I thought! I forgot to toggle a button on the ripper and now I'm stuck with 700 wav files instead!

(and there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth...)

Does anyone know of a way to convert wav to mp3 keeping the tags intact? It's starting to look like I'll need to start over.

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Friday, February 25, 2005

A faux review of "the Gates"

"It's in this context that "The Gates" covers, even metastasizes, over Central Park like a vast dollop of neo-maternalistic, neo-Marxian mayonnaise."

Read the rest. It's hysterical.

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Legitimate criticisms of the Bush administration

He's weak on the deficit. (Compassionate conservatisism apparently means "regular" conservatisim with the spending limits off. War or no war.)

He's weak on immigration. (The border is a sieve and nothing that the President has said so far convinces me that he's going to do anything about it.)

He's weak on education. ("No Child Left Behind" is a joke. Throwing more money at the problem is not a solution. See criticism number one.)

He's weak on abortion. (That's right, he's weak. An extreme anti-abortion stance is easy to maintain. But if you never mention the fact that no credible anti-abortion group advocates the view that abortion is immoral even to save the life of the mother and you look like a simpelton. And rightly so.)

He's weak on national defense. (Again, that's right, he's weak on national defense. The Department of Homeland security is extraneous and silly. The very real problems of our defense agencies not being able to talk to each other are better addressed by a more narrowly drafted Patriot Act... not a new arm of executive beaurocracy.)

He's weak on gay marriage. (YES! He's weak on homosexual relationships. In the minds of the majority of Americans, homosexuals should not yet receive the same status as heterosexuals. In my mind he's playing it safe. The tide is shifting on this. The majority may be on his side today, but I see the future. And the future includes gays, dammit.)

He's weak on Europe. (His recent love-fest tour of Chirac's Europe not withstanding, the fact of the matter is that the most powerful nations of Europe are not with us. Never have been, never will be. Each nation works for it's own interests, which is as it should be. As the nations of Europe band together to challenge the U.S "hyper power," we should remind the borg-like collective of Europe that the U.S. values independant nations with honest negotiations and an independant identity.)

(NOTE: I accidentally 'posted' instead of 'saved' this afternoon. Here is the rest of the post.)

It is NOT a legitimate criticism of the Bush administration if it includes the words Hitler, chimp, shrub, fascist, moron, evil, imperialism, junta, cocaine, conpiracy, or torture.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Video linkfest

Because I'm bored with nothing better to do today.

Not for the feint of heart. Click here if you dare.

As a kid I was never a skater, too much of a nerd, I guess. But what this guy does defies the laws of physics.

Is there a country with more nationalistic pride than China?


Terrifyingly NOT funny. My hat is off to the men and women who work to clear mines.

It's digital Carnivale! (NSFW)

From the "I didn't know the human body could bend that way" department... this and especially this.

This is why I hate kids. Exorcist anyone?

Ass kicked by a girl. It's clear from the beginning that she has the advantage.

(h/t: Jonah for the first link. Exbyte is a great time waster.)

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A little thing I like to call, "The Creepiest Picture I Have Ever Seen In My Entire Life..."

The war was over, and there we were in Diwaniya, Iraq at the height of summer 2003. Sweating, stripped down to nearly naked, camped atop a grassless, dusty medical landfill, fighting debilitating gastro-intestinal distress, shooing latrine flies from our faces and contributing to post-war rebuilding and security. Trust me, it was a thoroughly miserable three months. One of our few joys was receiving letters and packages from home, a rare event given the remotness of our position. Finally, no longer on the move, mail began to catch up to us on the front lines (well, one step behind the front lines, as we were attached to the HQ Company of a Marine infantry battalion.)

A flood of letters arrived from various elementary school kids, most of which were touching in their naive patriotism, sweet in their unconditional support. These letters and post cards truly made our day, especially when letters from family were absent from the mail bag.

But every so often, an oddball sentiment made it's way through to us. There was the boy from Arizona who lamented, "It's sad that I am here safe while you are 'Over There' and 'In The Way.'" I'm parphrasing because his english was apparently none too good. And then there was the bumblebee picture that I like to call The Creepiest Picture I Have Ever Seen In My Entire Life.

It was hand drawn in bright crayon, a bumblebee crudely rendered in midflight with a big 'ol frown complete with dripping tears and a speech ballon which read, "Farewell, old friend."

We imediately taped it to the humvee in plain sight of the center of our outdoor camp. We indulged in many bemused discussions about what this poor kid's teacher said to convince the artist of our eminent demise. We were truly "In The Way" but not seriously worried about it. I mean, war has a way of hardening the mind when it comes to thoughts of mortality. But this kid was convinced of our doom, unaware of the casual, random nature of wartime unluckiness.

In the end, this letter was no less touching than the uber-patriotic letters from the other kids. Perhaps even more touching. It would be nice if all civillians understood the exact nature of war, the stress, the chaos, the immense satisfaction of being a part of a force for good. Alas, it will never be like that. When a school child displays a warped view of war, it's understandable. But the creepy thing is imagining what his teacher said to convey those feelings. This kid's bleak outlook could've been a result of something innocuous like, "You should honor these men and women for the sacrifices they make." But it could just as easily have been a statement like, "George Bush, your president, is sending these men and women off to die."

Not knowing which comment inspired the weeping bumblebee is what makes it creepy.

Others think this phenomenom may be more sinister than creepy. But I hold onto the view that it's just saddening.

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Monday, February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson, RIP

Hunter has apparently taken his own life. He was 67.

Washington Post:
"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone . . . but they've always worked for me," he once wrote.
If that neatly sums up a life spent pushing the envelope, all the better that those words came from the gonzo journalist himself.

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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Christo is a pompous ass...

... who rationalizes his gimicky "art" with the fact that it's totally self-financed. Great! As if we won't see through to the fact that by ponying up his own dough, he's thinks he's immune to meaningful criticism. "The Gates" are dumb. Period. God only knows how he managed to get the city of New York to lend legitimacy to his project by allowing him (even temporarily) to alter Central Park. I hope New York likes it as it doesn't directly affect me here in Kentucky. But I feel for the poor New Yorker whose artistic tastes don't run along the same lines as Cristo and his wife.

UPDATE: Now this is art I can get behind!

UPDATE: Ann Althouse rounds up some reactions to "The Gates" that actually look like interesting reading. Seems many skeptics are being won over. But I add for the record that I remain unconvinced. "Is anything art if done on a grand enough scale?" The answer is no.

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Conspiracy Saturday! v.1.4...

Is William Rehnquist Deepthroat?

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A tip for roller coaster fans...

Ther are NO LINES in February at Busch Gardens Tampa, FL.

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Friday, February 11, 2005

Conspiracy Saturday! v.1.3... (Friday edition)

I'm driving down to Florida to see the mom-in-law with my lovely wife this weekend. So this week's conspiracy theory comes a day early.

Mind Control Forum explores the phenomena of brain implants, survivor stories, even features a "Totally Anonymous, Untraceable Questionnaire for Mind Control/Electronic Harassment PERPETRATORS."

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Happy New Year

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The Berlin Wall's Revenge

Today's must read is Nelson Archer, whose grasp of the "big picture" is impressive.
In the same way as the murderers of 911 used the West’s technology against itself, the contemporary left will do its best to turn democracy into a suicidal pact. This is already being done, obviously. The fight for Guantanamo Bay is, in many ways, as important as that for Baghdad. And, whenever a British born terrorist is released and sent back to the UK, to be joyfully acclaimed by the pages of “The Guardian”, “The Independent” or through the waves of the BBC, that fight is being lost. Radical Islam is being given one more tactical victory and the left’s strategy is being vindicated.
Gitmo is the new black among the American Left. They invoke the sacred name of this small naval station as a symbol of all the mistakes, blunders, missteps, and debacles of the Bush administration. Gitmo is a symbol. It's a symbol that could stand for some of our greatest successes... if we fight for it. Eventually I'd like to see Afghanistan and Iraq retain more control over captured terrorists. Until then, Gitmo is what we've got folks.

(h/t: Instapundit/LGF)

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Re: I Never Got The Memo

Staff Seargent Daniel Felton at Schadenfreude jokes:
During the war, I was on-site at Camp Bucca when it was first built. I spent about five months at what was at the time a Prisoner of War (or EPW, as we call it now) camp.

How times change. I missed out on all the fun.

During my time in the Sand Carnival, as we dubbed the War in Iraq, I found myself immersed in a disturbing atmosphere of rampant sexism, racism, and all manner of other "-isms."

I did what I could at the time to put the brakes on what I thought was inapropriate behavior, but Abu Ghraib and this "mud wrestling night" at an MP camp prove that many leaders let this shit happen anyway.

War is weird. It's a truely surreal environment. If you haven't been there, it's hard to grasp how crazy the emotional landscape is. It's all too easy to get caught up in the heady feeling of power ("We're jolly green giants walking the Earth... With guns! When we rotate back to the world there won't be anyone left worth shooting!") It's up to the low-level leaders there on the ground, there on the scene to keep their men on task. Unfortunately, those leaders are among the youngest and least experienced and most susceptable to this crazy atmosphere.

War vets understand that things like these happen, because they know how the "fog of war" can cloud the thinking of otherwise rational people. I can only imagine the horror that these images evoke in the minds of civilians. But Staff Seargent Felton is certainly entitled to joke that he "missed out."

He understands the Sand Carnival. And his humor even more appreciated when you've been there ;)

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Hollywood goes to war

Via Drudge:
With America at war, Hollywood follows

Not since World War II has Hollywood so embraced an ongoing conflict. It took years for pop culture to tackle the Korean and Vietnam wars, and it took time before the country was ready to be entertained by those politically charged conflicts.
This is not a well written article. If the factual content is to be believed, it will be interesting to see what comes of the dozen or so film and television projects listed. But the author's "insightful" cultural comments are pretty juvenile.
But not any and every angle of war is being depicted. One aspect is glaringly absent from most projects: negativity. The U.S. soldier is the hero; his cause is just. Storylines featuring the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal or war protests are no-nos.
I'd say, "Great!" but the author obviously doesn't agree. The above paragraph follows this:
With no resolution in sight, Iraq remains a timely backdrop. Audiences are hungry for glimpses of history in the making. March 19 is the war's second anniversary.
Not to worry USA Taoday! The BBC has got your negative views right here:
C4 lines up Guantánamo-style torture show

The Guantánamo Guidebook will recreate some of the practices used at the US naval base where hundreds of so-called "enemy combatants" have been held without trial or access to lawyers for nearly three years.

Using an east London warehouse and declassified internal documents obtained from US sources, programme-makers mocked up conditions as they are inside Guantánamo, before subjecting seven volunteers to some of the milder forms of torture alleged to have been used by US authorities.

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Monday, February 07, 2005

Beards not optional

Via LGF:
Islamic Radicals Hunt Barbers in Baghdad.


Some extremists also consider Western-style haircuts an offensive symbol of the hated, secularized culture of Europe and the United States.

To them, sporting a clipped beard or a modern haircut is an infraction worthy of death.
Forget purple fingers, show your solidarity with the WORLD'S NEWEST DEMOCRACY by standing a bit closer to the razor.

And I just got my trimmer for Christmas, too. Heh.

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Saturday, February 05, 2005

Heh. I'm on the Corner

Jonah was nice enough to post my gut reaction to Juan Cole's assinine assertion that Jonah is not linguisticaly qualified to comment on the Iraqi elections...

Cole's remarks here.

My response:

"I CAN READ ARABIC." [Jonah Goldberg]

Lots of email like this:

He shouldn't be complaining that Moore and Kennedy can't read arabic... He should be complaining that I can read arabic. I served as a Marine intel operator and translator for seven months in Iraq. I've had Shi'ite instructors, talked with the Shi'ites of southern Iraq about their grievences. *I* know his pessimism is unfounded. I know he's on the wrong side of history and this "Goldberg doesn't know anything about Iraq" defense won't fly with me.

Posted at 04:11 PM

Now if I can just get a link:)

UPDATE:Goldberg responds in full.

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Conspiracy Saturday! v.1.2


(h/t: ultimate insult)

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Friday, February 04, 2005

Social Security Reform

I'm for it.

I was for it when President Clinton called for it in 1999.

I was for it when President Bush called for reform last year.

I was for it when he called for reform during the SOTU.

Hell, I was for it at age sixteen when I sat down with my father so he could explain the deductions listed on my first paystub. Then, as now, I ask why the hell the federal government wants to plan my retirment at such shitty interest rates? 15 percent of my income compounded for the 40 or so years of my working lifetime should return a nest egg of at least $4 million dollars according to a fifty year average of stock market performance. Social Security promises no such thing. It's a garunteed formula for elderly poverty.

I know it's more complicated than that, I know about disability, medicare, all that. But the underlying princple is simple. Social Security is a bad investment. But it's mandatory. So I'm forced to invest an additional 15 percent the "right" way so that I can retire with dignity.

And 50 years of posturing over the "third rail of politics" has left me a little bitter at my young age.

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

This is why we go to war.

Janet Norwood, right, of Pfugerville, Texas whose son was killed in Iraq (news - web sites) last year, hugs Safia Taleb al-Suhail, leader of the Iraqi Women's Political Council, during the State of the Union address Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2005, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

If we allow our enemies to win this war, you won't even be able to see the faces of these two brave women. God bless them both.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"Let me save the people. Let me save my friends."

This story moved me to tears. I've never understood why Iraqi policemen are held in such low regard here in America. They really are heroes on par with our own cops.
Iraqi policeman gives his life to protect young democracy

By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY

BAGHDAD — Policemen guarding a polling station in Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood Sunday recognized the suicide bomber immediately. [...]

Fourteen-year police veteran Abdul Amir al-Shuwayli, 29, acted without hesitation.

The bomber was steps away from a line of voters heading into Al-Zahour Primary School when Shuwayli moved toward him, police Capt. Firaz Mohammed Ali said. According to Ali, Shuwayli yelled, "Let me save the people. Let me save my friends."

Shuwayli threw his arms around the bomber and drove him backward about 50 feet into an intersection. The rush seemed to catch the suicide attacker by surprise. The bomber had a hand grenade but failed to throw it. A second or two passed before he detonated an explosive belt, police Lt. Col. Kadham Abbas said.

The blast shredded Shuwayli, whose body took the brunt of the explosion. It also tore the bomber apart, leaving only his face intact. Shrapnel injured three other officers and perforated walls around the intersection. Windows in nearby homes shattered.

Voters continued to line up.
Voters continued to line up. Iraq is full of heroes.

(h/t: Joe's Dartblog)

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"We are more nationalistic than you think."

And events on Sunday's historic first Iraqi elections seem to have proved this to be true.

Austin Bay:
I spent the summer of 2004 on military duty in Iraq, and the January elections were a constant subject of discussion. Iraqis told me the election was their "big chance," the opportunity to escape the legacy of dictatorship. One Shia I met in Baghdad told me to beware of "your American view of us." He insisted that "you divide us in ways we do not divide ourselves."

He attacked the "American" view that Iraq's Shia, Sunni and Kurd would inevitably clash along ethnic and religious lines. "We are more nationalistic than you think," he warned me. "You will see that in the election."

Another Iraqi (a well-heeled Sunni) told me he agreed with that assessment.
I'll admit that my understanding of the history of Iraq put me in the tribal-factions-will-hinder-democracy camp, but I'm delighted to to be proved wrong.

The new Iraqi National Assembly will be a squabbling, ragtag forum charged with hammering out a constitution while terrorists kill in the streets. But the Assembly has several million purple fingers supporting it.

The transition from authoritarian whim to the democratic rule of law will require a score of Januarys -- but these are beginnings with strength and promise.
(h/t Instapundit)

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