~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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.


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Housekeeping update

Spammers have finally located my comments section, so I've added the "type the word you see" feature to fight the bots.

Also, I'm thinking of revamping the site again. I've always been partial to light gray on black, but dark grey on white would probably be an easier read. Which do you prefer?

FRIDAY UPDATE: Computer needs serious repairs which will send it into the shop, most likely. Unexplained, spontaneous reboots have stymied my last several posts over the last several days. I'm at a loss. I'm typing this as fast as I can before it crashes again. More as soon as I can resolve the problem.....

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Forget "Catcher in the Rye" the Great American Novel is "Confederacy of Dunces"

or, my homage to the great city of New Orleans.

New Orleans is, hands down, my favorite American city. And "Confederacy" is my favorite book. I'm addicted to the French Quarter like a junkie to smack. There's nothing in my soul that cries foul when the proud residents of New Orleans proclaim their city to be the center of the Universe. Of course it is. And who could argue?

And so my heart is torn when I see news that hurricane Katrina has damaged my favorite place on earth. Right now, you're the center of the media Universe because of your loss, because of the damage Katrina has caused. But not for long. Be well, New Orleans. Soon, you'll again be the center of the Universe, and for the old reasons.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Classic "chicken and egg" comment

We had a big problem with looting in Baghdad after the war, and didn't deal with it strenuously enough. Watching Hannity & Colmes last night, I got the impression that things would have been very different if Haley Barbour had been in charge. Talking about any possible looters in Mississippi, the governor said (I'm quoting from memory) that they would be dealt with “ruthlessly,” that they are “sub-human,” and that they would get “a lesson they wouldn't soon forget.”

Yeah, but which came first? Tough talk against looters? Or looting itself?

I remember hearing on BBC radio while in the suburbs outside of Baghdad that Iraqis had (sadly) gotten hold of possibly radioactive drums that they were using for water reservoirs. Say what you want about a failure on the administration's part to guard against looting in Mach/April 2003, it's open season. Fire away. But do you seriously think a little harsh language would have kept those drums away from thirsty civilians?

Come on, now. I rolled into Sadr City (back when it was still called Saddam City) with the 1st BN 5th Marines, and all I saw was the Wild West. Throngs of people hauling plates of aluminum to take home and patch their roofs, rolling mismatched tires down the street so that they could maybe repair the family car (taxi services are a excellent source of income for Baghdad suburbanites.) I was a Arabic linguist assigned to the 1/5 and actually spoke to many of the people filling the streets, so thick our convoy ground to a halt. I explained, as best I could, to one man that the aluminum sheet that he'd laid claim to, was needed to patch a hole in the wall of our overnight bivouac site. "DO NOT take this metal in the middle of the night. You will be shot. WAIT UNTIL MORNING." He agreed. Very reluctantly.

I don't see how pledging "ruthless" action against such desparate "sub-humans" is even remotely comparable.

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Christopher Hitchens is the most valuable asset we war-mongering, death-merchant defenders of Iraq could possibly hope for

Hitchens, a committed socialist, with whom I disagree on just about everything concerning economic policy, is proving himself to be my most staunch supporter, my mouthpiece, my eloquent defender. He's been going from network to network, paper to paper, defending the righteousness of our military efforts Iraq. What does he get in return from his fellow leftists?

"Is Christopher Hitchens becoming a fascist?"

That's right, anti-war types shake their heads in wonder and bandy about the term "fascist." Once upon a time, in a land far away, leftists used to support things like human rights and the toppling of dictatorships.

Hitchens understands the disconnect between old-school leftist values and the modern Left, whose fractured agenda has only one overlapping goal: to discredit President Bush. And so, for straying from the "smear Bush even if it means supporting a genocidal dictator" program, Christopher Hitchens gets labeled as a fascist (though, in a telling way, his accusers reveal their emotional distress at doing so by couching the accusation in the form of a question. "Is Christopher Hitchens becoming a fascist?")

(Via: LGF)

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Monday, August 29, 2005

American Red Cross remains an excellent donation

The graphic on the left (and now below) was originally intended to drum up donations for last year's tsunami relief. Well, a natural disaster has struck rather closer to home this time. Let's step up to the plate once again. We're gonna lose American lives tonight. Not to mention entire, historic districts of the Gulf Coast.

American Red Cross DONATE if you can

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

No, not dead yet

My new job has been monopolizing my time.

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The must read of the entire month

... with pics! No other reporter currently on the ground in Iraq tells it the way it is. Many journalists have been in-country, and a few are even pretty good, but no one can touch Michael Yon.

I wrote in my journal shortly after a mortar attack on our position in 2003 that, "Nothing scares me more than indirect fire. The casual, random nature of "death by artillary" fills me with such dread, I actually prefer taking a bullet. At least I could shoot back if the enemy was close enough to hit me with a well aimed shot."

Caught in a firefight, armed with only a camera, Mike recounts a similar frustration.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

A moderate milestone noted

Better than a traffic spike, these are real cumualtive hit counts (even if most of the hits are my own ISP. Sarcasm, you know, is the lazy man's notion of humor.)

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Thoughts on "Working Vacations"

Much has been made in the press about the President's cumulative number of "vacation days" spent in locations other than in close proximity to the White House Press Corps based in the capital. I must confess that I would indeed consider that a fine "vacation." But does anyone seriously contend that in this day and age, with the communication technologies now available, that any presidential vacation is anything other than a working vacation?

Here's an alternate theory. President Clinton, media's darling, stayed in Washington for most of his eight years in office because of easy access to the media, rather than difficult access to critical intelligence breifings.

Whereas President Bush feels no constraint to remain available to media types unwilling to follow him around. After all, he can fulfill his job requirements from pretty much any location in the world, and only the media would be inconvenienced.

So, is it any wonder that Bush's "extrordinary amount of time" spent on vacation, "more than any President in thirty years" is such a hot button issue with media types?

Hehe. Those who like to call Bush stupid, should well remember how easily Clinton manipulated them.

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I wouldn't exactly call it a "Hell Freezes Over" situation, more like a "Once Every Third Blue Moon" kind of event

Nonetheless, it's not every day (in fact I've never done it before) that you'll find me linking to lefty New York rag, The Village Voice. The reasons aren't ideological in nature, though we certainly have our differences, it's just that I've seemed to get along just fine not caring much about their publication. But this marks the very first time I've read a Voice article and found absolutely nothing I disagree with in it. Who says there's nothing new under the sun?

'Times' to Commoners: Go Elsewhere

The controversy surrounding the new NYT HQ is undoubtedly more complicated than the black and white treatment that the Voice gives it. But it is persuasive.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Pointless Quiz Time!

More Emotional

You have:
The graph on the right represents your place in Intuition 2-Space. As you can see, you scored well above average on emotional intuition and above average on scientific intuition.Your emotional intuition is stronger than your scientific intuition.

Your Emotional Intuition score is a measure of how well you understand people, especially their unspoken needs and sympathies. A high score score usually indicates social grace and persuasiveness. A low score usually means you're good at Quake.

Your Scientific Intuition score tells you how in tune you are with the world around you; how well you understand your physical and intellectual environment. People with high scores here are apt to succeed in business and, of course, the sciences.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Scientific
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Interpersonal

Ahhh, sweet, sweet validation. You can try your own hand at this, well... certainly unique test here.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

"The Quotidian Miasma of Discrimination"

Is this a parody of the feminist movement? Come on... it's gotta be satire because I don't seem to be able to stop laughing!

My negotiations with the Lothario were always easier and more successful when I honored his role as mentor, protector, patron, father, leader, and Don Juan. He liked to make comments about our secretary’s weight, and once he referred to our retired women colleagues as “dingbats.” When one of the junior women got pregnant, he claimed in her written department review that her pregnancy had affected her job performance. At one of my first faculty dinners, he tipped back several glasses of wine and asked if I would be dancing on the table.

Unfortunately, our soft-spoken, measured, diplomatic dean did not take seriously the women who came forward with complaints about life in the kingdom of Lothario. Instead, the dean read women as damsels in distress to be rescued and then sent on their way with promises of inheritance, departmental ownership and pats on the head for good measure. But alas, in the end he returned the women colleagues to the oppressor’s fiefdom, unwilling to betray the code of male privilege and loyalty that works to keep women distressed and in constant competition with each other for validation from the male power structure.

If it's not parody, than it's certainly parody-proof. Not even a Harlequin romance novel could possibly compete with this screed for sheer, over-the-top, cliched, buzzword density. Thanks for the entertaining read, Ms. Barone. My hat is off.

UPDATE: Upon rereading, I can't resist quoting this paragraph:

I managed to live through years of torment by self-centered, self-important, yet mediocre senior colleagues who eventually did grant me tenure, on the strength of my credentials, but to this day, old men roaming the halls tell tales of how the dean “saved” my job, or of how some other man was instrumental in my rescue. I might as well have been wearing a pointed pink hat and waving a hankie out the window of a medieval stone tower. In the patriarchal grand narrative, I was the damsel in distress. I began to wonder if I could ever emerge from this male tale.

I. Cannot. Believe. That this might be for real. "I began to wonder if I could ever emerge from this male tale?" Male tale!?

(Via: Insty)

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Charlie Rose again

I just love the way Charlie can state with a straight face that he has guests representing "two views on Iraq" when those guests are a university professor and a Washington Post journalist. Yep, the entire spectrum of opinion is clearly represented there. Sheesh.

I'm reminded of the Blues Brothers, when Dan Ackroyd asks the honky-tonk owner, "What kind of music do you have here?" She answers brightly, "Oh! We have both kinds of music... Country and Western!"

I'm not familiar with Fouad Ajami from Johns Hopkins University but his thoughts on Iraq did not differ much from from those of Robin Wright of the WaPo whom I do know, and material from her recent article featured prominantly in her Rose appearance. That material is effectively neutralized by TallDave.

Robin writes:

The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

Dave responds with:

There’s a lot of carping that the admin is now lowering expectations, but I think it's really the expectations of critics that have been raised. Imagine if you had told someone in Jan 2003 the following:

"By August 2005, not only will the regime have been removed from power and its leaders be on trial, but Iraq will have held successful elections and be on the verge of approving a new constitution. Fewer than 2,000 American soldiers will have been killed by hostile fire, and resistance will be light, scattered and very unpopular among Iraqis."

You'd have been called delusionally optimistic. Now that situation is cause for despair.

You can guess which view I subscribe to, but that Charlie (who I like, and watch, and enjoy, don't get me wrong) didn't see fit to feature tonight.

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Preach it, Mike. Preach it!

Michael Barone on multiculturalism:

Multiculturalism is based on the lie that all cultures are morally equal. In practice, that soon degenerates to: All cultures all morally equal, except ours, which is worse. But all cultures are not equal in respecting representative government, guaranteed liberties, and the rule of law. And those things arose not simultaneously and in all cultures but in certain specific times and places--mostly in Britain and America but also in other parts of Europe.

I freely admit it. I'm a culture snob. An elitist. My culture could eat your culture for breakfast. I'll sing it loud and proud, "We're better than you, ya murderous, backwater, woman-hating, gay-stoning, intolerant bastards!" And for us to tolerate isolated enclaves of people dedicated to the erradication of our superior culture is tantemount to suicide. To that I say, not on my watch!

(Whew! If that doesn't earn me some hate mail, I don't know what will.)

(Via: The Elvis-lovn', Hitler-hatin', rock-n-roller Glenn.)

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Elvis: The anti-Hitler?

It's true, says professor Glenn Reynolds.

Hitler was aided by a new technological innovation: the radio. Nazism's totalitarian sibling, communism, spread largely by print and took decades to gain a foothold. But radio allowed Hitler to manipulate emotions wholesale, in a way that had never been possible before. And the masses - starved for entertainment and desperate for catharsis, and a sense of purpose - ate it up.

But now it's all different, and Elvis deserves a lot of the credit. Oh, there were big stars before Elvis: Bing Crosby's appeal is now nearly forgotten, but it was once huge, and Frank Sinatra was, in a way, a sort of proto-rock star. But after Elvis, the world was different.

I think Glenn has his cause and effect backwards. It wasn't the advent of rock and roll that protected Western freedoms, but Western freedoms that allowed for the advent of rock. But then again, that may well be his point after all. In either case, long live the King!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Architect David Childs on the Charlie Rose show tonight

I just want to note that, standing in stark contrast to this self important snob, David Childs is humble, intelligent, and well... charming. With Childs now at the helm, I'm feeling much more comfortable with the current Freedom Tower design.

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The New York Times eats it own over negative Iraq reportage...

I'm pretty damn "rah-rah" about our efforts in Iraq. Based on my own experiences there and recent reports from Americans currently stationed in Iraq, I believe wholeheartedly in our mission, and believe wholeheartedly that we're winning. So most news stories that emphasize the negative aspects of war upset me. War is hell. That's fairly well understood even by those with no direct experience. But to emphasize that hell without acknowledging the immense satisfaction that comes from being part of a force for good... well, it's disingenuious at best.

I'm enjoying an inordinate amount of glee over this article in the Times. In a rambling, incoherrent, hem-hawing sort of way, Katherine Q. Seelye of the New York Times examines the backlash against a damn-near ubiquitous "body-count" style of reporting:

Editors Ponder How to Present a Broad Picture of Iraq

Some editors expressed concern that a kind of bunker mentality was preventing reporters in Iraq from getting out and explaining the bigger picture beyond the daily death tolls.

She goes on to secure a couple of key quotes from Associated Press executive Mike Silverman:

"Other editors said they get calls from readers who are hearing stories from returning troops of the good things they have accomplished while there, and readers find that at odds with the generally gloomy portrayal in the papers of what's going on in Iraq," he said.

It's about time someone acknowledged the obvious.

"I was glad to have that discussion with the editors because they have to deal with the perception that the media is emphasizing the negative," he said.

The problem isn't a matter of mere "perception," Mike.

"It is unfortunate that the explosions and shootings and fatalities and injuries on some days seem to dominate the news."

Considering the near-constant reporting of blood and gore above the fold of my newspaper, the lede stories on the nightly news, and cable news as well, the word "unfortunate" doesn't even begin to describe the problem.

"The main obstacle we face," he said, "is the severe limitation on our movement and our ability to get out and report. It's very confining for our staff to go into Baghdad and have to spend most of their time on the fifth floor of the Palestine Hotel," which is home to most of the press corps. The hotel was struck by a tank shell in 2003, killing two journalists.

Those "severe limitations" don't seem to be stopping this guy, arguably the most popular American reporter in Iraq among activated units and veterans alike.

Thank you, Ms. Seelye, for bringing this journalism insider debate into the public light. It's encouraging. At this point, this vet will take what he can get.

UPDATE: Audio of the recent Michael Yon interview is available here.

Greyhawk weighs in on this remarkable (and all too rare) NYT story.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Eastern KY "Hatfield/McCoy" jokes to be resurected in 5... 4... 3... 2...

Lexington Herald Leader - Aug 6, 2005:

A quarrel between two firearms vendors at a Floyd County flea market on Thursday allegedly led both men -- described as "good friends" -- to draw guns. Douglas Moore, 65, of Martin, who supports the war, shot and killed Harold Wayne Smith, 56, of Manchester, who opposed it, investigators said.

Moore was questioned at the Floyd County Jail, but he was released without being charged after Kentucky State Police said it appears he acted in self-defense.

(Via: SondraK)

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My first and only public comment on the Cindy Sheehan affair

I'm sincerely sorry for your loss, ma'am. We'll win this one for your son Casey, just as we've pledged to win it for every fallen service member. As you campaign for a second audience with the President, Casey's unit is campaigning to cement his honor with victory. I'm saddened that you take no comfort in that, but it's your decision to make. My frustration is too acute to comment further.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Today's "Watching America" moment: Terror propoganda in Iraq's newspapers

Watching America brings us this article from Iraq's Azzaman newspaper:

Where is the government?

[...]There is none of the prosperity, equity and hope that the government promised upon taking office nearly five months ago. On the contrary, conditions have deteriorated beyond anyone’s expectations. But still these officials love their chairs and stick to their money-spinning posts


A responsible government would have admitted its blunders, apologized to the Iraqi people and resigned to give way to more efficient leadership. But performance seems of little interest to our rulers. Prosperity, stability and security, once achieved, would undermine their true purpose.

Because if the bombs stop, food is made available, electricity returns, crime is checked and the country is back on its feet, the Iraqi people would then turn their attention to the most pressing issue - how to drive occupation troops out of the country.

Yikes! Talk about believing only the worst in people. Once "prosperity, stability and security" are achieved, it won't be neccesary to "drive the occupation troops out." We'll leave voluntarily. That's been the plan all along. But this author's last line proves that he clearly doesn't want anyone to believe that:

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that both the government and the occupation need each other, and that both thrive on our misery.

It's true that Iraq has a serious corruption problem. More elections are coming up soon, but the author never mentions them as a way to combat corruption. Instead, he's demanding resignations in order for some vague, unnamed "more efficient leadership" to focus on the "pressing issue" of "driving occupation troops out."

Hmmmm? I wonder who he could be talking about? I sincerely hope that the "more efficiant leadership" the author is wishing for doesn't accidently bomb him on his way to the newspaper office. They'd lose a valuable propogandist.

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New Michael Yon report

His most intense dispatch yet. Yon is THE reporter to watch for eyes-on accounts of what's really going on in Iraq. Thank you, Michael. Stay safe.

Jungle Law


A couple minutes later, we leave the base and begin the drive downtown; passing spots where so many car bombs and IEDs have exploded. Within a few blocks, we are 15 seconds from rolling over a large bomb buried under the road.

15 Seconds...

At least two terrorists are watching our approach, pretending to talk to a taxi driver. One holds a Motorola radio transmitter in his pants pocket.

14 Seconds...

13 Seconds...

The bombs are buried under the road ahead of us, on a route to the police station.

12 Seconds...

11 Seconds...

We are in a big Stryker. Usually the IEDs just make the ears ring--I wear earplugs--or maybe knock an air-guard or two unconscious, filling the cabin with so much fine dust that it looks like smoke. I’ve often wondered if this fine dust sometimes ignites when the armor ruptures, adding to the flashover that burns so many soldiers inside.

10 Seconds...

9 Seconds...

Sometimes IEDs blow through the Stryker, launching it into the air, and critically or fatally injuring the people inside. Odd body parts will often be left unscathed, such as a severed hand in a black glove on the road. About 43 Americans have died here during the past ten days.

8 Seconds...

7 Seconds...

The men are cautiously watching us, still talking among themselves. The transmitter is armed. A push of the button might make the final dispatch.

6 Seconds...

A terrorist is preparing to push the button, but the timing's got to be just right…not yet…not yet…we are almost there…

5 Seconds...

One of the terrorists does a double take at the lead Stryker, blowing his cover. The call instantly goes out to "Block left! Lock 'em down! Two pax!"

There's more. So much more. Rivetting stuff to say the least. I especially like his inclusion of this:

One soldier said, “You’re not going to write about this are you? That wasn’t anything. Don’t make it sound like a big deal, okay? My mom reads your stuff, and every time you write about something dangerous she freaks out.”

Reminds me of my attempts to self-censor the letters I used to send home to my own mother. Not that it did much good. I sure she was a basket-case for seven months.

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Cartoon Cancer bleg

Help Chris Muir's sister with a free click. I did, and it made me feel so good I'll click tomorrow, as well.

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Juan Cole smears yet another journalist that doesn't happen to agree with his world view

Nothing new there. Except this time the reporter in question can't defend himself because he was murdered by terrorists in Iraq. He's dead.

Martin Kramer (who's been making a hobby out of discrediting Cole, lately):

What reeks of bad taste is Cole's superior dismissal of [American journalist Stephen] Vincent, as if his death somehow proves his ignorance. Point of fact: you can know everything "serious" about Middle Eastern culture and never criticize it even in the mildest way, and still get yourself killed by fanatics.

But hey! That's just the classy sort of guy Juan Cole is! Remember this? Understand that Juan Cole knows more Arabic than you, knows more about Arabic customs than you because he's lived in the Middle East, and above all, if you write anything that challenges his entrenched beliefs he will assasinate your character as well as your words. Even if he has to defend your murderers to do so.

Lucky for us, he never does an especially good job of it. Not when Martin Kramer is watching his every move. Thanks, Martin.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Put down your drink before clicking...

Iowahawk is at it again.

As many of you know, the 2004-5 school year was an exciting and challenging period for all of us in the District 603 family.... During the Winter Quarter, we welcomed over 100 new district students with the arrival of the...

Ooooooohhhhhhh I don't wanna ruin it. Click here.

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In Vino Veritas - More booze in the news

- China Daily - Beer fountain warns us of moral decadence

Disturbing beer trend spotted in China:

The fountain is not only a tasteless promotional tool but also the manifestation of a trend that is of more concern than marketing professionals that lack imagination.

For some, the pursuit of affluence has become a drive for extravagance.

Society desperately needs to promote values that will encourage enterprises to use wealth sensibly and encourage citizens to abandon their dreams of unreasonably luxurious lifestyles.

"Tasteless?" Tasteless!? They have Bud Lite in China now? That is disturbing. And just my two cents, Bud Lite doesn't feature very prominently in my mental picture of "unreasonably luxurious lifestyles." (Via: Tim Blair)

- The Courier-Journal - Most cheer Sunday liquor sales

Not a bad article on reaction to our recently aquired permission to purchase a legal product on Sunday (only during certain hours, of course.) But who signed off on this sub-headline, "Customers pleased, but others protest"? Well, duh. I'd imagine the Protesting Customer is a rare breed, wouldn't you? And what about the Non-Protesting Non-Customer? Huh? Why isn't his voice being heard!

[I have a lot of fun with this feature. But I am working on a more serious piece about drug and alcohol policy. Mebbe tomorrow. - Kadnine]

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More cool news

Space Shuttle back safely. Welcome home.

Instapundit guest-blogger, Althouse, says Irish Trojan live blogged the landing. By the way, all of Glenn's guest-bloggers have been on fire with interesting content since yesterday.

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This is just too cool.

"Afghanistan's famous Bamiyan Buddhas are due to be recreated by multicoloured laser images projected onto the cliffs where they once stood."

California-based artist, Yamagata who's doing the project is careful to note that to him it's just a "fine art project" and "not political."

Fair enough, but I hope he has a heart generous enough to allow the Afghans to continue displaying his work of art for cultural morale and tourism (assuming it's not cost prohibitive for both the artist or the Afghan people.) What a wonderful thing.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

The "I Got Nothin'" post

Really, I'm spent.

But K-Lo points to this Bush Conspiracy Generator. Which is kind of neat...

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Sunday, August 07, 2005


Video of British Parliment Member George Galloway cheerleading for the defeat of Western Civilization. [Transcript]

"[The Americans] can control the skies, but only if they don't come within range of an RPG, but they can't control one single street in any part of occupied Iraq. Not one street!..." [Applause] "These poor Iraqis - ragged people, with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs... are winning the war. America is losing the war in Iraq, and even the Americans now admit it. Even the puppet ministers and regime in Baghdad know it[...]" "It's not the Muslims who are the terrorists. The biggest terrorists are Bush, and Blair, and Berlusconi, and Aznar, but it is definitely not a clash of civilizations. George Bush doesn't have any civilization, he doesn't represent any civilization."

The libertarian in me (and keep in mind that I used to be a hard-core, quasi-anarchist libertarian of the Heinlein variety, "an armed society is a polite society" and it still influences me today as a partisan Republican) hates, hates, hates writing these words:

Free speech should have limits. This video qualifies as incitement of violence against his fellow countrymen and as such should carry criminal consequences.

Galloway should just go ahead and physically defect to the enemy, or, if he wants to continue living here, he should be held accountable for his actions. And I don't mean a slap on the wrist. As a free citizen of the same country where Salmon Rushdie lives in exile with a death decree upon his head, Galloway has sided against us with the same culture that issued that decree, safe in the knowledge that he will be, at worst, another Jane Fonda. Rich, famous, and free to speak his mind. I'm disgusted beyond words.

(Via: Ace)

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Michael Yon on the radio

I'll be tuning in on Sunday.

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Chrenkoff hangs it up

Arthur Chrenkoff is retiring his blog after accepting a new job that forbids blogging. He will be missed, sorely missed.

Good luck to you in all your future endeavors, Arthur.

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Michelle continues to be all over this Hawaii thing

Bush to support the Akaka bill!?

According to an article by Malia Zimmerman in Hawaii Reporter, President Bush is lobbying in support of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005 (aka the Akaka Bill), which would give Native Hawaiians the rights of self-government as indigenous people that American Indians now enjoy:

Hawaii's Republican Governor Linda Lingle is fighting for the passage of the bill along with Hawaii's Democrat Congressional delegation. Lingle has rallied the support of the president behind the bill, and behind the scenes President Bush is said to be lobbying Republican Senators to pass the measure. In addition, the president's administration reportedly has asked the U.S. Justice Department to downplay its concerns over the constitutionality of the bill.
Add this to my list of Bush weaknesses. He should be leaning full tilt against this bill. What? Does he think he think he can run for office again? Wake up and smell that 22nd amendment coffee, Mr. President. You don't have to be a nice guy, anymore. Whatever happened to that political capital you intended to spend in your second term?

This is turning out to be as disapointing as his false ethusiasm on Social Security reform.

But back to the Hawaii Reporter story:

The Aug. 2, 2005, decision outraged Hawaiian activists, parents, students and graduates of the school and supporters in the community who favor the Hawaiians-only admissions policy and special rights for native Hawaiians. [Emphasis mine]
Can you even imagine the angry backlash if the Kamehameha schools had a "whites-only" admission policy? Sheesh. The Akaka bill is bad. Bad like segregation in the south bad. Bad like the baddest thing you can think of. Bad bad bad bad bad.

(Read my previous rants on how much Hawaii seperatists bother me here and here.)

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"Americans didn't flock to Canada after Bush win"


(via: Marsha, whose comments here at the blog are very much appreciated.)

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The dog ate my homework... no, seriously

This was a homework assignment from my high school art class:

Look what Sugar did to it while we were out of the house:

Oh yeah, Sugar's getting a crate for Christmas.

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The post you haven't read since 9/11

[This is a rant. Many have ranted on this topic before. Those familiar with the "sea story" storytelling tradition might appreciate this one, though.]

So, there I was...... No kidding!(I'll keep this PG) I was wandering around LAX in January of the year 2000, almost two years before 9/11, when I was approached by the LAX military liaison, a Sergeant of Marines. "What are you doing traveling in uniform?" he demanded.

I explained in a stammering voice that my instructors at MCT (Marine Combat Training) in North Carolina had required that I travel in uniform to Califonia for Arabic Language School. Understandably, I might add. There had been a rash of fresh MCT graduates arriving at their secondary schools without their proper uniform. [Note: When a Marine reports to a new command, a certain uniform is required. That uniform would've done me no good if it was packed away in the underbelly of an airplane headed to another city.]

The Sergeant elaborated, "This is an international airport. We have bad guys flying through here every day who would love nothing better than to bomb you! Your uniform makes you an easy target. Go and change into some civillian clothes. Now!"

I managed to change clothes in the airport bathroom thanks to a delay in my connecting flight and with the help of a retired Army Colonel working in claims who helped me recover my checked baggage.

That sergeant recognized the dangers of international terrorism...... years before 9/11! Trust me. I was well chastised...

So don't try to tell me that America's defenses were caught with their pants down concerning international terrorism on 9/11.

[Fast forward one day.]

So, there I was... in my destination city, and I (having redressed myself in the required uniform) was inspecting myself in front of the Denny's bathroom mirror, about to call for a cab and report to base, when this random guy came in and said, "Hey! You in the Marines?" I answered, "Yes, sir!" (training runs deep... what can I say?) He asked, "Did you travel in that uniform?" I answered, "No, sir! I traveled in civvies!" he looked me up and down for a few seconds, (it seemed like an hour!) and finally confessed that he was actually a retired Staff Sergeant of Marines, and said, "Smart thinking, Marine. You know there's a lot of people out there who would love to target a service member."

So don't try to tell me that America's defenses were caught with their pants down concerning international terrorism on 9/11.

[Fast forward almost two years later at Arabic Language School]

By this point, even a newbie like me had noticed the obvious. During the cold war there were undoubtedly more Marines studying the Russian language than Arabic. But now, out of six platoons, covering four languages there were two platoons studying Arabic. The two largest platoons were studying Arabic.

So don't try to tell me that America's inteligence comunity was caught unawares on 9/11.

[Fast forward to my third school in Texas]

So, there I was...... in the Great State of Texas, learning the last details of what I needed to know in order to do the job I'd contracted to do in the Marines. By this point I'd been in for almost three years. And that's when those planes were deliberately crashed by Islamic fanatics into three buildings, and one (thankfully) was diverted by it's passegers and crew into a Pennsylvania farm field.

My roommate woke me saying, "You'll never guess what's happened."

I found myself in shock, like much of the rest of the nation, but by the end of that day I understood what I'd been training for.

[Fast forward to what I call "The Most Important E-mail of My Entire Life"]

So, there I was.... My old sweetheart (now my beautiful wife) e-mailed me while she was touring Europe asking if I was okay (i.e. "not dead") on 9/12.

I answered back and long story short... we were married on a beach in Hawaii, just months before I was deployed.

[Fast forward to my deployment to Iraq. My first and only deployment.]

For seven months in Iraq I did the job I'd trained for. The job that had taken years of training. The job that Pentagon leaders planned ahead for. The job that did not catch anyone unawares.

September 11, 2001. Never forget what happened that day, and never forget that a savvy US military is always planning ahead for the threats that lie on the horizon.

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

I almost forgot...

This is the other movie I can't wait to see. (I can't resist serious, documentary treatment of geekitude. I went the USMC route to satisfy those same, universal urges and motivations. You understand? I'm a war-nerd!)

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New Michael Yon report

Read it here.

The key to long term stability in Iraq is the Iraqi Security Forces, which are comprised of the Police, Army, Navy, Border Police and similar organizations. From a ground’s eye perspective, the ISF progress is remarkable. In Mosul, for instance, the ISF is fielding increasing personnel, and operations. Their success has had a few unanticipated consequences. US Army Captain Paul Carron recently reported that so many undercover police are operating in Mosul, that they have been arresting each other, sometimes accusing each other of possessing fake ID cards.

In a country where the previous government resorted to color photo-copiers to print the national currency, such credential related problems are unsurprising, even if they are unanticipated.

Carrying any Government ID card is serious business. Just this morning, insurgents were randomly stopping cars searching for persons carrying government identification—people carrying such ID often are killed on the spot.

My hat is off to the brave Iraqis who continue to step up to the challenges that face them. Especially those who have committed themselves to Iraqi defense. (Some excellent photos included in this report, as well.)

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mark your calendars

Movies I wanna see:

Magnificent Desolation (IMAX 3d) - September

Walk the Line - November

Chronicles of Narnia I - December

Waiting for the DVD:

November - July

V for Vendetta - November

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"closest election in the district since 1974"

Veteran politician Jean Schmidt narrowly beats Marine veteran Paul Hackett in Ohio.

In a district that carried President Bush by a margin of almost 18 points, GOP strategists are sure to spend the next year analyzing why Schmidt only won by four.

UPDATE: Quick analysis at PoliPundit. "The good, bad, and the ugly of this."

UPDATE: Bill and the Commissar are upset with Rush Limbaugh for calling Hackett a "staff-puke."

As a self described "intel-puke" who was busy dodging mortars in Iraq, I can attest to the very real danger facing ALL service members there.

But Hackett is a politician now, and Rush is his rhetorical opponent. I suspect that if he has the guts to brave IEDs in Iraq, that he can hack a little name calling.

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The Onion isn't my brand of satire, usually...

But this is funny.

As Ramesh puts it:

"KARL ROVE'S MOST FIENDISH PLOT was to convince the world that he exists."

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Meanwhile, back at the combat tiddlywinks competition...

Don't laugh. I was nearly blinded once by those infernal things.

I've been making this joke for years. Little did I know that what I thought was only my imagination... was actually true!

Dear. God. I'm getting silly again. It's probably temporary.

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Plumbing woes = domestic bliss

This is my kitchen ceiling after the plumber fixed the leak that has been plaguing us for days. The solution required a bit of "exploratory surgery."

*sigh* Just another joy of home ownership. I'm starting to lose some of my disdain for the condo concept. Remember "Stump-Gate"?

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Just for the record...

... all that stuff I said over the weekend? You know, about movies and foreigners and multiculturalism in North Dakota and Australian racists and Sci-Fi conventions?

Well... well the truth is Karl Rove made me do it.

So, um... sorry 'bout that.

Housekeeping Update is imminent! (Big changes are on the way here at KADNINE so stay tuned.)

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War Nerds Rule!

Charles is calling it the Freakish Rant of the Day. And, boy is it ever odd:

Victor Hanson: Portrait of an American Traitor

[...] This fool passes himself off as a military historian, writing columns about Iraq and Afghanistan and everything else he feels like babbling about, but he doesn’t have a clue about contemporary warfare. Every war nerd on the net knows more about what’s happening in Iraq than he does. But that doesn’t stop him. He teaches Classics, he’s written a half dozen books on ancient warfare, and he never lets you forget that he’s a professor and you’re not.
What the...? Someone has access to the good stuff... and refuses to share, I might add. Truly bizarre.

I have been to war, and I am a nerd. So, as a newly minted mil-blogger who finds himself posting more and more about military matters, I guess that would make me one of these "war nerds" that knows so much more than VDH. Well, let me tell you, if I ever get to the point where I know even half as much as Professor Hanson, I'd consider that a serious accomplishment.

But, rest assured, my dear readers, I'll keep posting links to Victor's excellent essays, and (if I can find any) links to those who refute his opinions. That is, until the "war nerds" take over the world. Then Victor will have to link to us! Muuuuuuhahhhahahahahhahahahah!

I am so co-opting this logo...

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Hollywood bets on America's lack of critical reasoning... again

Our public education system does not teach healthy skepticism. And that is what allows activist entertainers to sell politics as "art."

There was a survey, years back, that I heard about. (Apparently my google kung-fu is not strong enough to find it online, so take this evidence as annecdotal, not scientific.)

In this survey, pollsters asked America's teenagers about daytime talk shows. Specifically Jerry Springer.

Q:Do you watch Springer?
A:Oh, yeah. All the time.

Q: Does Jerry ever have "troubled teens" on his program?
A: Oh yeah! All the time! It seems like every other show is about "out of control" kids.

Q: Do think those shows accurately portray your experiences?
A: Oh, no! That stuff is obviously fake! No teen on that show looks or acts like me or any of my friends!

Q: Does Jerry ever have KKK members as guests?
A: Oh, yeah! All the time.

Q: Do you think those interviews are accurate?
A: Well, I guess those shows seem real, so those are probably real.

Thus demonstrating how a majority of teens fail to take evidence of "obvious fakery" when it comes to topics they have personal experience with, and apply that same skepticism to topics with which they have little to no experience.

All of this is a long way of introducing the highly skeptical review of FX's new series, "Over There" by Faces From The Front.

FX's new drama OVER THERE about an Army unit in Iraq is well produced and visually arresting but takes a sharp left turn from reality.

After watching the Pilot episode of 'Over There,' I conclude that the only thing they got right were the uniforms which, right down to the black socks used to cover goggles, were spot on.

Unfortunately, the costume designer is the only person who seems to have actually studied the war, pictures of the war or video of the war.As someone who has been over there it was easy to see that if Steven Bochco hired a military consultant, he didn't pay attention to him or, if they did listen to him, that consultant should be fired.

"Over There" may still turn out to be a hit, despite terrible accuracy problems and an obvious political agenda easily spotted by veterans. Case in point: I've never been a firefighter, but I'm a huge fan of the successful FX series, "Rescue Me." Here's to the hope Americans won't consider either one a documentary.

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War? What "war"?

Andrew McCarthy notes more politically correct posturing from ... The Bush Administration?

So, the folks who brought you "compassionate conservatism" now offer "The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism." Perfect: A war that's not called a war for fear of making people think about war, which is waged against an enemy who is not identified for fear of offending mass-murderers and the people who coddle them, and which occurs everywhere on the planet so no one is left out, but nowhere specific so no one is put in.

I have another suggestion. Let's call it "The Thing Involving the Teeny-Tiny Number of People Who Made Certain Things Go Boom After Reading that Book that We Didn't Flush and Who Absolutely, Positively Do Not Represent the Vast, Enormous Majority of Very, Very Nice People Who Read the Same Book Without Making Anything Go Boom."

Note to Republican stategists in Washington: I didn't vote for your candidates on the strength of their PC catchphrases. I voted for "Bring it on." So let's say it plainly, ok?

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