The British anti-war demonstrators shouldn't have protested the people who got them involved in a war which killed their people that very same day. Instead, when Bush hands them a lemon, they should make lemonade*.
* One of my e-mail sig lines: When life hands you lemons, throw them back at life's head screaming, "I don't want your damn lemons!"
¶ 9:53 AM
I was going to write something about this myself, but why bother when Josh Marshall does such a good job:
The greatest deceit perpetrated by the architects of the war turns out to have had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction or ties between Saddam and al Qaida. The profoundest deception was the claim that the IGC was designed to be a transitional governing authority when in fact, as is now becoming clear, its true purpose was to provide a sort of dark, Falstaffian comic relief to balance out the ominous backdrop of postwar Iraq.
Much of the jockeying we're now seeing involves efforts by the IGC to perpetuate its power into post-occupation Iraq even though -- with the exception of the Kurdish faction leaders -- few of its members have any serious base of political support in the country or, to put it bluntly, any armies on hand for when things really get fun next fall.
So, while the real players jockey for position and await our departure, these boneheads are trying to use the paper power we've given them against us in order to hold on to authority even after we leave.
We watch Hulk on DVD. It blew green chunks. Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad. Visually wonderful, but I thought everything else was really flat, despite the interesting, high-potential themes and subtexts. All that said, watching it was a good way to chill out, so I s'pose I should recommend it.
And I'm in no mood to blog tonight, so I'll see you tomorrow.
I see that a few of our members have been caught red-handed gaming TTLB traffic rankings:
[S]ix weblogs are being put on notice that they are about to be suspended from the Ecosystem. If suspended, their entries will not be displayed on any Ecosystem pages (either by traffic ranking or by links); their links will not count to other weblogs, and their votes will not count in the New Weblog Showcase.
The reason for these suspensions is that it has come to my attention via the Commissar that some weblogs are posting multiple SiteMeter counters on their pages which point to other weblogs.
Come on, folks, let's be grown up here. I'm all for increasing the visibility of liberal blogs, but I was always under the impression that we would do it by working hard, posting compelling content and promoting our blogs in effective, above-board ways. I see the usual "are you surprised Lefties would do something underhanded" comments already springing up on TTLB, and I for one am pissed that this happened.
We are better than this childish attempt to boost some blog's rankings. It might be silly, but I've been happy and proud of my slow increase of traffic and stature since I started blogging in June. To see others try to circumvent a system that NZ Bear has created for fun and the good of the blogosphere while I've been patiently attempting to grow my readership really is insulting. Further, it damages our cause, such as it is, because our reputation is a tarnished.
Let's start acting like the good guys again. We are right, the truth will out, and we don't need to play stupid games. The League has been good to me, and I'd hate to turn in my secret decoder ring, but I will if shit like this continues. To those who bent the rules, I would ask that you rectify the situation at once and do not try any such tricks again in the future. Let's focus on getting our message out in less nefarious ways.
PS--The Commissar is a poopy head.
[Update: there's been quite a discussion on the League mailing list, as well as at TTLB. Also, Barry has responded to the "charges" on his site. These meta-blogging discussions can be so lame, so I'm not going to discuss this here any longer, though I might continue posting thoughts/updates on my Notes page.]
¶ 3:05 PM
100 "coalition" deaths this month in Iraq. 316 wounded. That's not counting 6 Spanish intel officers who were just killed today.
CENTCOM trumpets the 30% decrease in attacks against our troops, but there has been a 100% increase in attacks on government officials, security forces, and civilians. Almost 7 months after major combat operations were declared over, and still no security or stability in Iraq. Our presence has fostered this situation, and we're not helping it improve. And while we're told we can't/won't abandon Iraq, soldiers and civilians continue to die, and we throw billions of good dollars after bad.
As I noted over at Atrios, wingers will haul out the "he gassed his own people, and killed 200k Iraqis" line as though that magically makes our actions just. Leaving aside the 9000 Iraqi civilians (and goodness knows how many soldiers) we killed this go 'round, leaving aside the dreadful impact of sanctions that killed tens of thousands of Iraqi children, leaving aside the weapons and support we provided Saddam over the years, etc, we've wasted treasure that could have gone to addressing real national and global problems that would have on balance done greater good than removing Saddam.
How many people get infected with AIDS throughout the world because they don't have adequate education, condoms, and healthcare? How many people live in poverty in the world? How many people are starving? So much good could have been done if Bush had real moral clarity. Instead, the PNAC obsession with Saddam has damaged our ability to be a positive force in the world.
What's more, our humanitarian approach to the issues facing us today could have the added benefit of addressing the root causes of terrorism. Alas, BushCo chose a destructive, rather than constructive, path and it is harming the security and stability of the entire globe.
If the last century was the American Century, what are we making this century into?
Stef had taped the Philadelphia Kennel Club dog show on Thursday and is watching it now. I forget who the roving reporter was (Andrea something?), but she was observing that the poodle that had won its group was getting some rest before Best in Show, and about 30 minutes before the final competition, the owner would groom and "fluff it up a bit". The color commentator then drolly noted that he would kill for a fluffer. And here I thought this was a family show.
Damn it, I have to leave the house. It's cold, blustery and snowy, and I was all prepared to spend the day nesting, but I have to get some victuals to augment our T-day leftovers. Well, some nice wine will make it worth my while, I guess.
And yes, I am going to blog for real at some point today. My powerless laptop has had a chilling effect on blogging for some reason, but I shall overcome.
Here are a few places to go today while you anxiously await my throwing off the shackles of lameness:
* BBWW discusses the brewing culture war, brought to you by Pat Puke-anan. I think some of this is about Mustang Bobby's quest for a toaster.
* The Modulator points us to some photos of NYC and San Fran. An interesting look at the mundane.
* The Mahablog shares some thoughts on Bush's heroism. Sigh, Bush is so super and heroic. Not.
* The Poison Kitchen tells the story of Canadian Thanksgiving, which apparently has nothing to do with ours. When are we just going to invade and stop the godless commies from subverting all that is sacred?
* The Politburo Diktat ignores one of the most influential blogs in the universe (mine) in creating a world map of the blogowhatever. The outrageous omission has been duly noted, and this insult will never be forgotten.
My own incredibly important blogging to commence sometime this century.
I've been remiss in linking to the latest insightful piece by my overlord and fellow League infiltrator, Ayn Clouter, on the insidious liberal phenomenon known as cat blogging. It's much worse than you think. You'll notice that Ayn doesn't mention this blog, not because it's unpopular, but because I would never engage in such nefarious activity. Never.
So Cairo has been letting some deadly, sulfurous farts go this evening. Her farts usually smell like broccoli, so I was wondering if maybe she was ill. I haven't found anything online that indicates something is wrong, but I did find this tidbit:
A carnivore's protein-rich diet produces relatively small amounts of intensely stinky gas because proteins contain lots of sulfur. A dog's or cat's farts are rarely audible, but the odor is overwhelming.
You learn something new every day. For more on farts, go to SmellyPoop.com, which I'm sure Triumph would give 2 paws up. This post is all part of the immense value I bring to the blogowhatever.
President Bush's surprise visit to Iraq was the talk of Baghdad's teahouses, kebab shops and mosques Friday, with many Iraqis asking why he didn't take advantage of his trip to see firsthand how his rule has treated them.
Stef and I just watched Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on DVD. I hadn't seen it since the 80s, when I saw it at the Masonic Auditorium in Toledo, OH. And I feel really dirty: I loved Donny Osmond as Joseph.
I also liked The Narrator a lot. A very interesting production, with a sorta hybrid of theater and film staging. You should watch it.
Number of John Kerry signs seen in NH: 1 (Mount Washington Valley area)
Number of Howard Dean signs seen in NH: 4 (various places)
Number of elderly couples standing in the rain, protesting the war: 1 in St. Johnsbury, VT. One of their signs said: "Stop spending our taxes on the war instead of on our needs." Stef clapped and I flashed a peace sign--they smiled.
Seen on a piano store sign just outside of Danville, VT: War is not about who is right, but who is left.
Stef played with the camera while I drove, and took her very first pics with it:
NTodd looking very much like a Vermonter, driving on a rainy day. Yes, I need a bit of a trim.
Next car will have padded armrests for Cairo to rest her head upon.
This year's trip home was less stressful than the drive through last year's blizzard. And we came home to find both cats alive and all in one piece.
Long story short: I left my power supply in Marlboro last Friday, and won't be getting it back until next week. In the meantime, I've been limping along with an old flaky power supply, and it finally gave up the ghost today. So I'll be trying to blog, but I will probably end up time-sharing with Stef on her machine. Traffic is wicked light today anyway, as it was yesterday, so I guess it's not that big a deal! Anyway, expect some content up here, but not too much.
And BTW, I very much appreciate those of you who have been visiting even over the holiday. Glad to see some good discussions going. Maybe it's cheesy, but I am indeed thankful for your readership in addition to those other things I mentioned yesterday.
Still have some fam time and travel left today, so no blogging until afternoon. Here are some pics I took this week--think of them as leftovers...
One million dollars to anybody who can guess what this is. Be specific.
I'd seen some stuff in this park on a walk with Cairo, then ran back with my camera mere minutes before dinner so I could catch stuff in the light I liked:
I was very disappointed with this shot, but decided to include it anyway, as I've done with many of my less-than-successful pics. I really didn't have enough time to compose this one, and I needed to find an angle that didn't show a cop car and garbage dumpster. I thought I'd eliminated the gap between the gazebo support and the birch, but I was so focused on the flag that I somehow missed that. Oh well. I'm enamoured with the shape of the flag, and wish the rest of the shot had worked out.
I wasn't sure if I liked this shot overall, either, but I really dug the effect of the play of horizontal, vertical, and curvy lines, as well as the varied color contrasts (Steve, I hope they look okay on your CRT).
This is my favorite of the series of tree shots. I really liked the texture.
What, you thought I wouldn't post a picture of Sam?
President Bush made an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Thursday to spend part of Thanksgiving Day with U.S. troops, surprising not only the soldiers but also virtually everyone else in the world, including some members of the Secret Service.
[The visit] came amid persistent insurgent attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq -- and less than a week after a cargo plane was struck by a missile and forced to land at the Baghdad airport.
Air Force One, with its lights turned off for security reasons, touched down at Baghdad International Airport at 5:31 p.m. (9:31 a.m. EST) and taxied to a remote corner of the airport.
If only Bush were brave enough to deal with British protesters and MPs. Or to face maimed US soldiers. Or to actually address America's problems instead of staging more stunts. Ah, but BushCo's conscience has been stripped bare...
Today is not only the American Day of Thanksgiving that my family observes, it also marks the end of Ramadan with the Muslim celebration of Eid Al-Fitr. May everyone forget grudges and ill will toward each other on this day, Muslim or not.
Check out Anarchy Xero's Why I'm Not A Liberal--a good perspective on being an anarchist (in a League of Liberals). Being a quasi anarcho-libertarian, I might be a little biased toward his philosophy, though we also have some disagreements.
Rupert Murdoch yesterday hailed a compromise between the White House and Senate Republicans on how many TV stations companies like his News Corp. could own.
The provision would allow a company to own local television stations reaching 39 percent of the nation's TV homes, a level just above what Fox parent News Corp. and CBS parent Viacom already own.
That would be lower than the 45-percent limit the Federal Communications Commission adopted in June but higher than the old 35-percent cap that negotiators for the House and Senate had agreed in conference to restore.
It might only be 4%, but it's one more little attempt to chip away at our democracy. Too much power in the hands of too few is bad, and control of the media represents an immense amount of power. This is bad news all the way around.
Just wanted to bring to your attention 2 new votes for the TTLB showcase (see the right nav). I've also started adding a date to them, for no real reason 'cept I wanted to have dates so I can more easily verify that my votes have been cast and counted.
[T]he newspaper in the town near where [former Yankee pitching star, Jim Bouton] lives - Pittsfield, Massachusetts - wanted to use $18.5 million dollars of taxpayer money to build a new baseball stadium on property it owns. Turns out the property is polluted, although the newspaper didn't bother to disclose the fact, and that the new stadium was a way of passing off the liability to the public even while enhancing the value of the newspaper's property.
Turns out the newspaper, which Bouton thought was locally owned, is owned by MediaNews Group, based in Denver, Colorado, which counts among its 100 "media properties" The Salt Lake Tribune and the Denver Post. When Bouton and his partner went to the local publisher with a proposal to renovate the existing - and historic stadium - at no expense to the taxpayer, they were told: Out of our hands; check it with Dean (Dean Singleton is the mogul who runs MediaNews). They tried; Singleton didn't bother to answer, even when Bouton sent him a signed copy of Ball Four.
Turns out the conglomerate wanted its own stadium, on its own property, at public expense, despite the fact that the public voted down the proposal - three times! But, hey, what's a little democracy when the only daily newspaper and the largest law firm in town, and - hold on to your hat - General Electric (yes, that GE, which has title to its own media universe) want the indulgence of taxpayers for their little profit-making schemes.
The local newspaper publisher, Bouton tells me, "was being controlled by his boss in Denver. And the local politicians were being controlled by the local publisher. So there was a sort of puppeteer controlling the decisions that were made by the local government."
I keep coming back to the subject of media conglomeration because it can take the oxygen out of democracy. The founders of this country believed a free and rambunctious press was essential to the protection of our freedoms. They couldn't envision the rise of giant megamedia conglomerates whose interests converge with state power to produce a conspiracy against the people. I think they would be aghast at how this union of media and government has produced the very kind of imperial power against which they rebelled.
Go read the whole thing. Moyers is excellent, as always.
My wife shares her impressions of the Dean campaign as a new volunteer:
First impression? "Whoa, that's a weird place for a presidential campaign headquarters!"
You drive past Ben Franklin on what looks like a service road, cut through the back part of the Shaw's Grocery parking lot, and park where the road ends - which is in the midst of one of those odd identical condo complexes that have sprung up over the past decade. The four story condo equivalent of McMansions. Dean headquarters possess the third floor of one full building. (As it turns out, there are businesses and offices throughout this particular building, but it is identical to all the surrounding buildings which are indeed residences.)
Don't take the stairs if you go. You'll find the stairwell locked at the third floor, just as I did. Gotta walk back down and take the elevator, which releases you into the only quiet space on the third floor. Wave wildly to get the receptionist's attention, and perhaps you will be buzzed through the locked door. Then you whip out your photo ID to be traded for your "guest" or "volunteer" badge, sign in with your arrival time, and sit quietly to wait for whomever is meeting you.
The furniture is more OfficeMax surplus than presidential, and the walls in this first room are covered with blown up pictures from the campaign trail. (The rest of the floor contains all manner of wall decor, from slogans and posters that never left the ground to crayoned letters from first graders to a timeline displaying every state's primary filing deadline.) People are remarkably well dressed. I expected to see mainly scruffy college students but this group is well tailored, very precise, and very, very focused.
I'd peg the median age somewhere in the late 30s rather than the early 20s I had expected. People sprint regularly from one end of the building to the other, clutching cell phones and fistfuls of papers. While I waited, one of the volunteer phone-answerer-ladies put her caller on hold to find out if Trippi was available to take a call from Senator Kennedy's office.
Chaos reigns, but not in an unruly way. The entire place has the energy of a startup company in the 1990s: utterly crazed, but eager and determinedly focused. There are people working literally around the clock, every day of the week. You may be locked in the hallway, but Dean HQ is always open!
After filling out several pages of paperwork and signing my nondisclosure agreement, I was whisked around the entire floor and introduced to 114 people in the space of about six minutes. ("Hey guys, this is Stefanie - she's a new volunteer." "Hi Stefanie!" - 114 times.) Work spaces flow into one another with mismatched Habitrail cube walls dividing, say, the Policy and Research group from the Meetup group. It's an interesting balance of full-time employees, full-time volunteers, and part-timers like me.
Among the volunteers are a good number of Europeans who hopped the pond for the cause, an even better number of American professionals and educators who are on leave or sabbatical to work for Dean for the year, and a ridiculous number of retirees from all over the country. There are very nearly as many people from out of state as there are Vermonters....Dean draws people of all ages and from all places. No surprise there!
Did I mention the energy and chaos? All I did that first day was complete my paperwork, hear the Volunteer 101 spiel, and get my quickie introduction tour. I was there for all of 90 minutes, and I left feeling equally exhausted and revved up. I felt like I did after I presented my capstone project in grad school - completely drained, but more than a little manic. Just being there is exhausting...114 people all working at 120 percent. But it's exhilirating too, and I left feeling like I should either immediately go take a very long nap or go run a marathon.
Fast forward to today: Day Two as a Dean volunteer. In my professional life I am sort of a hybrid writer and webhead, and the Dean folks have assigned me to their web team. (Yay!) There are roughly a dozen people on the web crew, divided between the site and the blog. The blog folks are on the other side of the corridor from the site folks. Bloggers get the big picture window with the view of the Adirondacks over Lake Champlain, but we webbers get an unobstructed view into the teeny corner room that serves as Dean and Trippi's pad when they are in town.
I will be doing the glorious work of closing unclosed html tags, fixing typos, resizing wonky graphics....you get the idea. As I told them, I'm not looking for resume fodder here, I'm looking to do whatever they need me to do to get the good doctor elected! For the next few weeks, the team is ignoring all but the most egregious typos to focus instead on the massive task of moving from the current and rather clunky content management system to a much more elegant open source application. (The same one Salon uses - it's really slick for magazine style sites!) I'll be doing a lot of busy work, moving pages from one place to the next and checking for dead links and such.
But not today. I was all set to spend my whole afternoon doing my duty for Dean, but nobody had told me to bring along my own computer. Not enough workstations! (Or chairs, for that matter. Lots of people sitting cross-legged on the floor. And the webmaster sits in a wobbly chair with his laptop propped up on a cardboard box.) Grrr. So instead, I had a tour of the old and new content editors and got a better idea of what exactly I will be doing. I will begin actually *doing* it next week, this time with laptop in tow.
I think I'll go on Wednesday....that's the day the massage therapist comes to volunteer her time and services in one of the conference rooms....
I obviously have no clue how other campaigns operate, but I look at Dean's organization and wonder: can such an energetic, passionate group of people be stopped?
I'll likely start volunteering sometime around primary season, depending on my travel schedule. If it becomes clear that the Dean juggernaut really is going to pull off the nomination, I'm considering more drastic changes to my lifestyle to make sure he beats Bush in November. In the meantime, I just contribute money and volunteer by proxy (thank you, dear)!
A tip: set your blog to ping weblogs.com every time you publish. That will enable the "recently updated" highlight feature in my blogroll, which will alert readers to check out your sites when you have fresh content.
How: bring up the Blogger editing interface like you normally do when you post something. Click on the Settings tab, then click on Publishing. In the Ping Weblogs.com popup menu, select Yes. Hit the Save Changes button and you're all set.
Anywayz, I noticed a lot of blogs were not taking advantage of this ping feature. It's a relatively new part of Blogger, and I really like it--I used to ping weblogs manually, so this saves me all of about 30 valuable femtoseconds.
This helpful message brought to you by a large two-headed llama.
PS--Bloggers using MT and other platforms I think also have the capability, but I don't know about your settings.
¶ 7:51 AM
You might have noticed that there are no longer banner ads at DM. Acting on a suggestion from the Farmer, I wrote to BlogSpot tech support asking when their ordering system would be back online so I could upgrade to the Ad Free version. Their system is still down, and so they upgraded me for free. Cool!
What? Not a picture of Sam? Long-time readers might recall the days when I took pictures of other subjects. And here's a boring one, but I really liked what I saw out Sam's window this morning, with a light layer of snow and the play of shadows.
While I was vacuuming other parts of the house, Sam and Cairo beat a hasty retreat together to the bedroom. The family that's scared together, stays together.[Update: I should come clean and mention that I was a bad daddy, and left the vacuum running in the hall while I took this picture. Please don't report me...]
I've discovered one way to stop Sam from attacking me: wrap him in a blanket, which he proceeds to attack instead. Here he is, momentarily distracted.
Oddly, the candidate who has most gained from his opposition to the war, Dean, was the least vocal in the debate. Perhaps that was because Brokaw introduced the subject with Dean by discussing reports that Dean got out of the Vietnam draft by citing a bad back — an affliction that did not prevent Dean from leading an active life.
"You got a deferment," Brokaw said to Dean. "You took letters and an X-ray to your draft board because you had an unfused vertebrae in your back. But then you went skiing for the next year. Skied the moguls — I've skied the moguls. I know how tough they are on your back..."
It was a classic opportunity for the notoriously touchy Dean to lose his cool. But that didn't happen.
"Look, I did not serve in Vietnam," Dean answered. "I was given a deferment by the United States Government because they did not feel they wanted me in the Army. Dick Gephardt didn't serve in Vietnam. Joe Lieberman didn't serve in Vietnam. John Edwards didn't serve in Vietnam. None of us up here except for General Clark served in Vietnam, and Senator Kerry."
"I told the truth. I fulfilled my obligation. I took a physical. I failed the physical. If that makes this an issue, then so be it."
As Dean moved into an attack on other Democrats, particularly Kerry, for supporting the war in Iraq, the audience broke into applause.
After the debate, members of pollster Frank Luntz's television focus group judged Dean the winner...Perhaps the people were just reaffirming their previous support for Dean. Perhaps they sensed that Dean simply seemed bigger than his challengers. Whatever the case, at the end of an excruciating session, Dean was right where he was at the beginning: in the lead.
As always, I'm a little suspicious of NRO giving Dean high marks, but positive press is positive press. And York also happens to be correct.
I'm a little late getting to this, but here's what Rep. Jackson has to say about Howie:
Historically, the Confederate flag is a symbol of the Democratic Party. Today, however, Republicans can fly and wave it, but Democrats can't talk about it--and current Democrats don't know how to handle it.
As a result, the symbol Howard Dean used got in the way of his substance, but his substance was on point--and the point was that Southern whites and blacks together must focus on their common economic needs: jobs, good schools, affordable healthcare.
Howard Dean has a new Democratic Southern strategy.
Rather than repeating [the] stereotypical and condescending approach of appealing to whites in the South with a "balanced ticket" and "social conservatism," Howard Dean dares a new approach--to join whites and blacks around a common economic agenda of good schools and healthcare.
If Howard Dean wins the nomination around an economic agenda, and can effectively combat the certain Republican tactic of diversion--using social issues openly, and race more subtly, to sublimate economic concerns--then Democrats may once again be able to win in the South and pursue a progressive economic agenda for the benefit of all Americans.
That's Howard Dean's approach and his challenge. I support him because I think it's the right strategy politically, economically and morally.
A homemade videotape given to a French journalist showed...about a dozen men standing in an open field, several of them wearing checkered headscarves over their faces. A Black Hawk helicopter flew nearby at an altitude of about 350 feet, but appeared not to spot the men. Three cars were parked nearby.
One of the men raised a shoulder-fired missile, whose type could not be determined. The gunner aimed and launched the missile at an unseen target. Trailing white smoke, the missile initially climbed almost vertically, then executed a sharp right turn as it gathered speed.
The tape continued to roll, but showed the men scrambling to their cars. After a time, the camera was again pointed to the sky as the stricken airliner, trailing flames and smoke, descended toward the airport.
It's tough for know-it-alls to suck it up, admit they were wrong and confront the problems at hand. Not a particularly happy proposition, since guerrilla-fighting history isn't on our side. And putting down an insurgent movement is a strategy fraught with high risk in which the counterinsurgent needs the support of the people. Bombs and shells slamming down on the wrong targets will quickly feed an already-hot fire, producing still more recruits for the cause.
All of which the British learned the hard way in 1917, when they marched into the former Mesopotamia and soon found themselves knee-deep in an ugly occupation. By 1920, casualties by the thousands had mounted on both sides, and the Brits - looking to cut their losses but keep the juicy oil profits pumping â€“ took a pen to a map and created the new country of Iraq: Kurds in the north in Mosul, Sunnis in the center around Baghdad, and Shiites south in the vicinity of Basra. All three groups hated each other, but unfortunately for the Brits, they hated the occupiers and their appointed puppet rulers even more.
Loud blasts have echoed across Baghdad after dark and loudspeakers at the headquarters of the U.S.-led administration ordered personnel to take cover as an attack was under way.
"Attack. Take cover. This is not a test," the loudspeaker announcements said, as sirens wailed at the coalition compound in one of Saddam Hussein's former palace complexes on the west bank of the Tigris river in central Baghdad.
The other campaigns desperately look for a way to stop Howie, and the media desperately look for a story on the "growing clash" between Dean and Gep.
PS--Full transcript of tonight's Dem debate is available at WaPo.
¶ 10:58 PM
What Is It With The Germans?
Tommy Friedman and Jonah Goldberg might hate France, but I'm more worried about Deutschland:
A German man who confessed to killing and eating a man he met through a website for cannibals has been charged with murder, prosecutors have said.
The 41-year-old suspect, identified as Armin M, is alleged to have killed the 43-year-old victim in March 2001 in the town of Rotenburg in central Germany, after meeting him through the site.
He then carved up and froze portions of the man's flesh, later eating some of it, prosecutors allege.
The crime was apparently carried out with the victim's full consent, however state prosecutor Hans-Manfred Jung told French news agency AFP that the victim's supposed "death wish" did not change the fact that the killer had wanted to commit murder.
Obligatory joke: apparently the victim went well with a nice Chianti.
PS--For the record, I'm drinking a Zin. Or so the Germans would have you believe.
¶ 10:11 PM
Sorry, More FEC
Battery's fully charged and I've got a 64 meg card, so what do you expect? Only family-oriented feline exploitation curiosa, of course.
Sam likes to use us for shelter, much like Saffron likes to use us as furniture.
My wife is so talented: she can entertain two animals at once. Three, if you count distracting Sam long enough so Saffron can nap.
Thankfully, Sam is pretty self-winding and will attack himself if none of our limbs are available.
Finally calming down...
...a little head rub always helps (well, unless he's getting into kitten mode and spins to attack).
Cairo likes to hoard her toys like a dragon hoards treasure. But really, she just wants Daddy to go play. I'm such a sucker...
I sometimes refer to evolutionary psychology both here (witness the "counter-dominant" label in the upper right) and on other blogs. Thus I found this article at Slate to be very interesting:
[E]volution didn't design us to read Us, but it did knit and purl our neural matter into patterns guiding many of the behaviors that guarantee humankind's survival, evolutionary psychologists tell us. Those patterns still skulk in our unconscious minds, inciting us to eat fatty food, recklessly eyeball the neighborhood for sex partners, collect gossip, and battle others for a place in the pecking order. "Our modern skulls house a stone age mind," as science writer William Allman once axiomized it, and capitalizing on the human ape's basest instincts is what moves 6 million copies of the Star, Us, and People each week. Whether you read them or not, the celebrity magazines help determine the content of newspaper gossip columns, celebrity TV programs (Entertainment Tonight; Access Hollywood), late-night talk shows, and the unavoidable office chatter about Jen, Reese, Britney, Ben, Ethan, and Brad.
I don't have really anything of substance to say except to remind my readers that we have brains of many layers, and the very ancient layer(s) still can influence great control over our lives. Puts things into perspective when you consider we still have to fight millions of years of evolution as we try to stop war, prejudice and other silly things. It will require great patience as we struggle to overcome our reptilian forebears' legacy. That's why I'm an incrementalist, even when it comes to issues I feel the most passionate about.
Oy. Leave it to NTodd to take a semi-fluffy piece on Jennifer Aniston and turn it into a comment on the human condition. Note to self: no more drinking and blogging.
* In honor of Daschle's appearance yesterday on MTP, and his support of the bogus energy bill, I bring your attention to this post from Opinions That You Should Have on Saturday: Daschle To Filibuster Self. Someday we'll have real oppo leadership, but not while Tom's in charge.
A fire at a university dormitory in Moscow has killed at least 28 people, many of them foreign students.
The fire broke out in the middle of the night, when most of the students inside the five-story dormitory were asleep.
[F]ires are increasingly common in many older, Soviet-era buildings, because of a lack of funds for proper maintenance and safety equipment. As a result, Russia has a high rate of deaths from fire.
I spent 3 months in Moscow in 1990, and lived in an obschyezhitiye* on Profsoyuznaya ulitsa (Trade Union street) while I attended the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys (I learned nothing about steel or alloys, just Russian). The building had 10 stories, IIRC, and I lived on the 5th floor.
Even back then the place was pretty decrepit. For example, our room lacked hot water for almost the entire summer, as the pipes that fed our column of rooms, for lack of a better expression, were broken. My 3 roomies and I would shower next door, where the hot (or more correctly, lukewarm) water mostly worked. Overall it was a pretty rundown building, but what dorm is a palace? While I never worried about it, I didn't ever quite feel like it was the safest building in the world.
Anyway, it's scary to think what might have happened to me and my friends had a fire occurred. The Soviets, and today the Russians, don't have the same dedication to safety that we do here in the US. While we obviously will always have our share of accidents and disasters, I think about how much worse things would be if we didn't have a government that creates and enforces building codes and other protective measures. An argument for not getting on the "deregulate everything" bandwagon BushCo and friends love so much.
* I guess more of a hostel than a dorm per se, with mostly students but some non-students as well. And please forgive the poor transliteration.
¶ 1:58 PM
A Leno appearance...is seen as a chance for shtick -- a place where John F. Kerry sharpened his man-of-the-people chops by riding a motorcycle onstage on Nov. 11. A Kerry adviser says that the Harley spin was the Leno writers' idea and that the show wanted Kerry on for Veterans Day, all good for his campaign message.
But the visit proved that Leno can be devastating, too. Because Kerry, it turned out, was the second-billed guest, following a cigar-chomping, trash-talking puppet named Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. And the dog, voiced by comedian Robert Smigel, delivered a sharper critique of Kerry than any rival is likely to muster. His humor tends to center on dog waste, and this time he compared it to the Kerry campaign's momentum.
If things go poorly for Kerry, that could become the campaign's defining moment, said Matthew T. Felling, media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. "Michael Dukakis had the tank picture," Felling said, "and Kerry's going to have Triumph."
Leno should be given particular pause these days, Felling said, since he gave Arnold Schwarzenegger such glowing treatment at the start and finish of his gubernatorial bid.
Triumph, it turns out, had a riff on that one, too. "The Terminator can take over the show, but John Kerry, a war veteran, has to follow a freaking dog puppet?" he said on the Leno show. "What's going on in America?"
Why is a freaking dog puppet offering more insightful commentary than anybody else in America?
Speaking of which, if you haven't heard Triumph's Fresh Air interview (thanks faithful reader, Bill Simmon), you should check it out, especially if you like jokes about dog poop*. Triumph does an extremely funny bit on Terry's interview of Bill O'Lielly.
* All weekend during the film shoot, the director of photography and I were falling into Triumph's voice and talking about poop. I'll bet that happens on Spielberg's sets a lot, too.
¶ 12:18 PM
I've been doing a little blogkeeping this AM. I just added the first series of links to my new Photos site (found in the Poems/Photos top nav menu). Also note that yesterday I created a Haiku site and a Rummy Poetry site (consolidated in the top nav).
I also replaced Neal Pollack with Juan Cole in the Main Blogroll for now. Obviously they're quite different, but I've found I turn to Informed Comment quite a bit for news and analysis, so it's a main blog.
I'm considering ways to further clean up the blogroll madness. I am thinking about making the Main Blogroll more of a listing of "big names" sites I read regularly, and changing the name accordingly. So I'd take out the blogs that are run by friends/faithful readers of DM and consolidate my "co-conspirators" roll.
I am also planning on moving the "co-conspirators" roll into the top nav, although that has its drawbacks, to wit: that list is also becoming a bit unwieldy, those blogs would lose a little visibility, and we also lose the "recently updated" highlight feature. But I need to do something to clean stuff up a bit. Thoughts?
Guildenstern: What's the first thing you remember?
Rosencrantz: [thinks] No, it's no good. It was a long time ago.
Guildenstern: No, you don't take my meaning. What's the first thing you remember after all the things you've forgotten?
Rosencrantz: Oh, I see... I've forgotten the question.
My experience in today's film shoot was similar to that of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: my existence lasted for all of about a minute, and in that time I typed phantom documents on a computer, answered a phantom phone call, and feigned a conversation with a woman across the front desk. My receptionist character had no memory of anything before people started walking down the hallway by my desk, and once the primary characters moved behind a closed office door, I ceased to exist.
This weekend was tiring and a lot of fun, interleaved with the sheer boredom of inactivity alternating with that of repetition. As always, it was very cool to be involved behind the scenes. The shoot went really well, and I'm excited to see the final product--I think it will have success at the various indy festivals next year.
And now I'm very sleepy. I have the entire week off for T-day, and endeavor to blog more effectively than I have of late. And I really need to finish up my security book chapters--I'm way behind.
We've been doing run throughs of the movie for a while, and will begin actual shooting soon. Excuse me while I get into my role as the receptionist. This is going to tax my skills because I'm not really good at using the phone system or anything, so I really am going to need to kick my acting up a notch.
Increased international recognition of a forced famine that killed up to 10 million Ukrainians brought bittersweet relief Saturday to elderly survivors marking the 70th anniversary of a dark chapter in the history of Soviet communism.
Gathering at a cathedral in the now independent Ukraine, survivors recalled their desperation during a famine historians say was provoked by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as part of his campaign to force peasants to give up their land and join collective farms.
Two weeks ago, some 30 countries signed a joint statement to commemorate the memory of the millions of men, women and children who suffered because of the "cruel actions and policies of the totalitarian regime in the former Soviet Union." The U.N. statement became the first, significant international recognition of the famine, which was denied by the Soviets for decades.
I'm very glad the world is beginning to recognize the suffering my people suffered.
Between the tsarist pogroms, Stalin's atrocities, and the SS, my family members who did not have the foresight to leave Russia in 1913 were eliminated. And you know what? I still wouldn't have supported a US invasion of the Soviet Union to stop the genocide any more than I support our war to topple the Iraqi who tried to emulate Stalin.
If 2004 gets Diebolded, expect a velvet revolution just like we've seen in Georgia this weekend:
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has resigned after meeting the opposition and Russia's foreign minister, the president's spokesman told CNN.
CNN's Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty, who is in Tblisi, said: "It was an amazing moment here when news came through. It was electrifying, deafening."
Fireworks went off and tens of thousands of protesters, who have gathered outside parliament buildings during the past 24 hours, waved flags and sang.
They blamed Shevardnadze for a corrupt regime and extreme poverty.
The resignation comes after two weeks of protests complaining at November 2 elections, which the opposition and election observers said were rigged.
Our template for next year, Mr. Bush. You have been warned. Oh wait, his "objective staff" probably will filter this. Nevermind...
You might have noticed that I've reorganized the top nav a little. The menus were getting a little unwieldy, and something needed to be done. Anyway, more tinkering to come over the next few weeks. Feedback welcome.
This is why civilians rule this country, and the military follows orders. General Tommy Franks opines (thanks to Anarchy Xero for the heads up):
Discussing the hypothetical dangers posed to the U.S. in the wake of Sept. 11, Franks said that "the worst thing that could happen" is if terrorists acquire and then use a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casualties.
If that happens, Franks said, "... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we've seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy."
Franks then offered "in a practical sense" what he thinks would happen in the aftermath of such an attack.
"It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world - it may be in the United States of America - that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important."
The general went on to discuss his suspicion that al Qaeda is planning to corrupt our precious bodily fluids to undermine our liberty. "I first became aware of it during the physical act of love. Yes, a profound sense of fatigue... a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence," he said. "I can assure you it has not recurred. Women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, but I do deny them my essence."
General Franks concluded the interview by observing that the world will never be at peace because he aims to make it so.
Hey, you, with the blog! Open Source Politics is a growing organization and we're looking for new people to join our team:
Now that we've sorted through some of our initial growing pains, Open Source Politics is looking for few more good sources. Is that you? It could be, if you have what it takes. Here's a short list of qualifications:
* Your political orientation is progressive.
* You like to write about current events, political theory, economics, health of people or ecology, legal rights or events, or other topics relevant to OSP.
* You can write well without requiring much proofreading for errors in grammar, spelling, and composition.
* You are willing to commit to a minimum level of participation of at least one article or post a month.
* You are a team player, and will pitch in behind the scenes as needed (with the occasional extra article, idea for improving OSP, or other contribution).
* You want to help defeat George W. Bush in the 2004 election.
Depending on the response to this, we may or may not be able to accept all applicants, but we will consider and respond to every applicant. If you are interested, please send an email to email@example.com with the following information:
* Your name
* The web address for your blog
* Links to two to four posts that you feel represent what you can bring to OSP
* Any other talents or abilities that you have that might be useful (proofreading, graphics creation or editing, HTML/CSS/RSS/etc., leadership, unique perspective, or whatever you think might be useful)
* The section(s) in which you're interested in writing for and the posting schedule to which you're willing to commit
* Any other information that you feel would be useful for us to consider
We look forward to hearing from you!
Interested? I hope so. And let me put in a little plug: as manager of the Knowledge section, I'm in desperate need of authors. If you have an interest in education, IT, or anything possibly, arguably, remotely related to the subject of "knowledge", please apply.
Yeah, it's "not a scientific poll", and maybe it was freeped, but all the same it's a frightening thought to think that MJ was this week's top story in anybody's mind. The distraction campaign appears to be working. And to think I miss the days of Laci Peterson...
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has collected extensive information on the tactics, training and organization of antiwar demonstrators and has advised local law enforcement officials to report any suspicious activity at protests to its counterterrorism squads, according to interviews and a confidential bureau memorandum.
The memorandum, which the bureau sent to local law enforcement agencies last month in advance of antiwar demonstrations in Washington and San Francisco, detailed how protesters have sometimes used "training camps" to rehearse for demonstrations, the Internet to raise money and gas masks to defend against tear gas.
God knows we can't suffer the huge threat of an organized, well-funded anti-war movement poses. And we certainly don't want the protesters to be able to protect themselves from attacks like we sawinMiami.
Those ominous-sounding "training camps" are clearly dangerous as well. Jeebus.
The Quakers have been running such training forever. To ensure that demos don't devolve into riots, there are all sorts of civil disobedience training events to teach people how to stay calm and non-violent in the face of provocation from the police, counter-protesters, etc, so the message remains the focus, not any incidents that the media might use to deflect attention from legitimate grievances. Generally the training involves role play (from all sides) so people know what it will be like going into a protest, making it easier to act appropriately.
The FBI's actions are chilling and give lie to the idea that a police state can't happen here.
File under: 9/11 changed everything. Cross-reference: Stalin is laughing in hell.
Here's some info about the indy film my friends are shooting this weekend, according of faithful reader Bill Simmon:
The film is called "The Perfect Goodnight Kiss." It is being made three different times by three different filmmakers. I myself (a straight man) will be directing the lesbian version of the film, San Francisco-based filmmaker, Alex Woolfson (a gay man), will direct the straight version, and Burlington filmmaker, Alexis Holloway (a straight woman), will direct the gay-male version. Same script--three different perspectives.
The Perfect Goodnight Kiss is shooting throughout November and December and should be completed and ready to premiere by the end of January 2004. It will be submitted to film festivals throughout next year with an eye on the bigger festivals in the fall (Sundance, etc.). Executives at Miramax Films and the Independent Feature Project have already expressed interest in seeing the film.
They need about 6 grand total to get this puppy done. If you've got any spare change (after donating to Howard Dean's campaign), please consider supporting indy film and send the filmmakers a few bucks. Use the following handy dandy support levels as a guide:
Now that iraq is a new state of america when can we get a new flag? I have an idea for the new flag when the stars are not stars anymore but tiny pictures of george bush because he is the one who saved this country when he killed osama bin laden and saddam hussein.
(thanks to fellow League member And Then... for the headsup)
I am so hoping this is parody. But these days, it's so hard to be sure.
tenacious fog clings
to the hills, a grey curtain
hides the world from view.
the shroud parts slightly,
dark shapes emerge from the woods:
turkeys in the field.
¶ 10:13 AM
Now that I'm no longer distracted by teaching, I can direct my attention to other duties, including the exercise of my franchise. Thus, I cast my vote for the TTLB New Blog Showcase: fellow League of Liberals member Anarchy Xero - Winding the Iraq Deathwatch.
I love voting. Let the clarion call of freedom ring out. Or something.
But right now, I'm just an extra. My local indy film friends are at my office shooting a new short this weekend, and I'm hanging out with them. Should be a fun couple days! I'll post periodic reports as warranted. Right now, I'm pretty much a 5th wheel, so will be blogging in the background.
Look for me in my world famous bit part at Sundance...
The latest series of attacks in Iraq has continued with deadly bombings on two police stations and a missile attack on a transport plane, the U.S. military said.
Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt is probably right when he said of yesterday's attacks:
"They're trying to break our will. They're trying to seize the headlines ... but they're militarily insignificant."
Unfortunately, the General and the US is missing the forest for the trees. BushCo and the DoD has been using the "militarily insignificant" thing for months. Only trouble is they seem to be getting more significant as time goes on, both in terms of its toll on our military and also the perceptions of the Iraqi and American people.
[T]he main task for our leaders is to cut the spin and deal with the G's [guerrillas]: a lethal mix of street gangs, Islamic crazies, Arab mujaheddins and hardened criminals released from Iraqi prisons by Saddam, all stirred on perhaps by the Mustached Monster and certainly by many of his crew, who lost their cushy deal when our warriors put them out of the repression biz.
The way to do this is, of course, to win the people. As Mao proved long ago, the people are the supportive water and the G's are the fish. Disappear the water and the fish will flop around on parched riverbanks, easy pickings for a barbecue.
We diverted the water from our troops to the guerrillas long ago.
As I suspected I would, I did indeed have a losing night, but not too bad. Played decently, had some very good hands, but mostly somebody else had something slightly better. Two hands in particular cost me 11 bucks. In the end, I was 6 bucks down for the night.
What a blast. 11 people showed up (a record), and we had 2 tables going. All in all, several hours of sheer entertainment for 6 dollars--can't beat it.
Happy homecoming, now off to poker. I have a feeling it's going to be a bad night for me, but it will be fun since we've got a big crowd and I've been jonesing since I missed last poker night. Back to blogging tomorrow...
United States support for the mujahideen in the fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s is well documented. What is not so well understood is the US support for these same mujahideen in the struggle between Bosnian Muslims and Serbs, a move that helped globalize the jihadi movement, and that is now having ramifications in Turkey.
Yup. This is echoes what I've been saying for quite some time. We see the same pattern over and over again when we muck around in other countries' affairs: bad, unintended consequences. CIA-sponsored Iranian coup in 1953 -> Islamic revolution in 1979. Use religion to motivate fighters we support -> global terror.
All actions have consequences, of course, and we do need to act in the global community. However, violent actions always have violent consequences. We must eschew violence as a means, and our guiding principles must include non-interference. The more we tinker, the less secure we really are.
Robert Fisk in today's Independent (link to free full version at MyAntiwar.org):
We have a habit of thinking that the bombers don't understand the outside world. If they are "against democracy", they wouldn't understand us, would they? But they do. They knew exactly what they were doing when they attacked the Australians in Bali - they knew the Iraqi invasion was unpopular in Australia, that Howard might ultimately be blamed. They knew the invasion was unpopular in Italy. So Italy would be punished for Berlusconi's hubris.
They knew, too, of the demonstrations that awaited George Bush in London. So why not distract attention from the whole panjandrum by assaulting Britain in Turkey. Who would care about Bush's visit to Sedgefield when Britons are lying dead in the grounds of their consulate in Istanbul? Just so in Iraq. The Iraqi insurgents are well aware of George Bush's falling opinion polls in the United States. They know how desperate he is to extract himself from Iraq before next year's presidential elections. Thus are they increasing their assaults on American forces and their Iraqi supporters, provoking the US army to ever more ferocious retaliation?
We have a kind of fatal incomprehension about those against whom we have gone to war; that they are living in caves, cut off from reality, striking blindly - "desperately" as Mr Bush would have us believe - as they realise that the free world is resolved to destroy them. Just now, I suspect they are resolved to destroy Mr. Bush - politically if not physically. Mr Blair too. In a war in which we go all out to crush the leadership of our antagonists, we can only expect them to adopt the same policy.
But we go on misunderstanding. Take those tiresome speeches by Osama bin Laden. When his audio-tapes are aired, we journalists always take the same line. Is it really him? Is he alive? That becomes our only story. But the Arab response is quite different. They know it's him. And they listen to what he says. So should we.
Leaders of the al Qaeda terrorist network have franchised their organization's brand of synchronized, devastating violence to homegrown terrorist groups across the world, posing a formidable new challenge to counterterrorism forces, according to intelligence analysts and experts in the United States, Europe and the Arab world.
And here the Tommy Friedmans of the world thought McDonald's was going to win the war for us. Please, can we start dealing with root causes now?
We can't imagine that there's any other way to secure America than to support Bush's $87B boondoggle and keep US troops in Iraq, so we don't think Howard can be Commander-in-Chief because he opposes this approach.
Faithful reader Steve Bates shares his thoughts on the Howard Dean appearance he attended in Houston the other day. One snippet from Steve's very thorough, thoughtful post:
My political impressions are confirmed: Dean is not a liberal, but he is a solid, classic Democrat, of what the late great Sen. Wellstone would have called the "Democratic Party wing of the Democratic Party."
Now go read the rest of what the YDD has to say. What are you still doing here? Go!
"Howard Dean, speaking with reporters Tuesday afternoon following a campaign appearance in Bedford, N.H., expressed relief that the 30-year wait for answers about what happened to his brother might finally be over. As he has since the disappearance of his brother, Dean was wearing a belt buckle that belonged to Charles Dean as he spoke. "'This has been a long and emotional journey for my mother, Jim, Bill and me,' Dean said. 'We greet this news with mixed emotions but are gratified that we may now be approaching closure to this painful episode in our lives.' "Dean, in a soon-to-be released autobiography, called the capture and death of his brother 'the most traumatic events of my life.'"
I wonder if the remains would have been found if Dean wasn't running for president.
I seriously doubt that finding Charlie has anything to do with Dean's candidacy. As the AP observed when the news first broke about Charlie's remains, the group charged with locating all missing Americans (Joint Task Force-Full Accounting) was created in 1992. In fact, Dean visited the suspected site last year when he was Governor, and pushed for an excavation.
More importantly, the Dean family has suffered for three decades not knowing what happened to Charlie. They are finally getting a chance for closure, and Kurtz has the audacity to question the discovery of Charlie's remains? Fucking insensitive hack.
George Fox, founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), 1669:
For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests' or magistrates'; for it is God's ordinance and not man's; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together: for we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses.
Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. Today's decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court violates this important principle. I will work with congressional leaders and others to do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage.
"I disagree with the Supreme Judicial Court. Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. I will support an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution to make that expressly clear. Of course, we must provide basic civil rights and appropriate benefits to nontraditional couples, but marriage is a special institution that should be reserved for a man and a woman."
Don't like the results? Change the rules! Damn you for thinking about tinkering with the constitution to create a definition of marriage. That's not what our framing documents are for, you bigoted bonehead (or is it boneheaded bigot?).