Saturday, August 19, 2006

Te Aworo!

As you read this, I will be en route (or possibly landed in) to Bonaire, the diving capital of the east coast and Caribbean.

It was from this island that I took many of the pictures so many of you have viewed at my Flickr gallery, like these:

So, everyone, enjoy your week, and I will post live upon my return. In the interim, my able assistant (and general "keep Carl honest" best buddy), Katrina, will be posting some stuff I've written ahead of time. Most of it is retrospective items, things that I've been mulling but never had the chance to post, and so anything that ends up being irrelevant with respect to newsworthiness, don't blame her.

But since I'm usually right....

PS I've put comments on moderation, and will review upon my return. I've noted a tendency on the part of right-wingers to wait until a weak moment and strike with all sorts of horrid nonsense. None of that will apply here.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging


I found this old photo of my daughter's cat, and since Friday seems to be this whole "pet blogging" thing....and a picture of a kitty corpse probably wouldn't be ironic enough...I thought I'd throw ol' Qui Gon JinAndTonix up...nevermind, of course, that every time you comment, a kitty gets a treat.

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Friday Music Blogging

Oasis, with "Whatever" & "Octopus's Garden" by the Beatles.

Friday Funnies

The longest day in anyone's life is the workday before a vacation:

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(You may need to click on the images to make them a readable size)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Caption This Photo!

Sleazy Rider

Another Dumb Idea...

....brought to you courtesy of the Source Of All Dumb Ideas, Congressman Peter King (R-Richville, Money Island):
King endorses ethnic profiling
Newsday Washington Bureau

August 17, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Declaring that airport screeners shouldn't be hampered by "political correctness," House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King has endorsed requiring people of "Middle Eastern and South Asian" descent to undergo additional security checks because of their ethnicity and religion.

Discussing the recent revelation of an alleged plot in England to blow up U.S.-bound airliners, the Seaford Republican said yesterday that, "if the threat is coming from a particular group, I can understand why it would make sense to single them out for further questioning."
OK, Mr. King, let's take that to its logical outcome, shall we?

Mr. King...that's an...Irish name, is it not? OK, Mr. King, the Irish Republican Army is a terrorist group. It has bombed in London, just like Al Qaeda operatives and sympathizers did.

So by your logic, all Irishmen, including yourself, should be singled out for additional security checks. I can't wait to see the looks you'll get from Ted Kennedy at Dulles as his fleshy mounds are poked and prodded and wanded.

Now, I imagine this might stir up a bit of resentment amongst some of your constituents, Long Island being a den of the Irish, legal and illegal immigrants and second-, third-, and even fourth-generation.

My god, but do you people BREED or what?!? You breed possible terrorists each and every day, like rabbits! Perhaps we should start surveilling the hospitals? Oh wait, many nurses are Irish. Maybe there's a grand conspiracy to kill Americans, real white Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans of ENGLISH descent, one at a time, eh? Maybe we should make sure that all Irish nurses are forced to quit and say, pick potatoes, huh?

Why, it would be exhausting work, tracking all the IRA terrorists among us! We'd need to stop in at our local tavern to have a beer somewhere along the way.

Oops, that bartender...he know....Irish!!!!! Let's find a bar with a good Italian manning it, or better yet, some Jew...

Do you see where I'm going with this, idjit? Stop it. We haven't had a terror attack since 9/11 on our soil, and we wouldn't even have had that under President Gore, or at least if Bush had bothered to do something with the August 6th PDB. Focus on the problem, not a solution to a problem that scares you unnecessarily.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I Got One Question....

White House: 'Hunt not downgraded' after Reid highlights disbanded bin Laden unit

Spokesman Tony Snow is denying charges that the White House has downgraded its search for Osama bin Laden after a key CIA unit specifically targeting the terrorist kingpin was earlier disbanded, RAW STORY has learned.

In his daily briefing today, Snow addressed accusations by Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) that the disbanding was an example of "misplaced priorities in the Bush administration."

"The notion that the president has shut down a program designed to capture Osama bin Laden is utterly without foundation," Snow said. "It was a reorganization, not a reduction in effort and commitment."
OK, so my question is, how much more of a "reduction of effort" could it possibly have been?

Because, Tony, you know...
"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
- G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

"I am truly not that concerned about him."
- G.W. Bush, repsonding to a question about bin Laden's whereabouts,
In other words, how much less could Bush have cared about Osama if he's "truly not concerned about him."?

I'm not concerned about monkeys flying out of my butt. I can't imagine being less concerned about that.

I'm not concerned about an asteroid hitting the planet: it hits, we're dead, the math is simple, and we may not even know it's happened. I can't imagine being less concerned about that.

I'm not concerned about the standings in the Australian Rules Football league (until I meet an Aussie chick, of course). I can't imagine being less concerned about that.

So seriously, Tony, how much less than zero is this reduction going to be? Cuz, even tho you said it wasn't a reduction, we all know you're fulla shit.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Just A Reminder Of What We're Up Against...

The United States, however, did invade Iraq with the intention of making that state a model for the Middle East, promising that success in Iraq would be followed by efforts to transform the political systems of Iraq's neighbors. This was not a vision any of those regimes was likely to embrace. Nor have they.

When states disintegrate, the competing claimants to power inevitably turn to external sponsors for support. Faced with the prospect of a neighboring state's failure, the governments of adjoining states inevitably develop local clientele in the failing state and back rival aspirants to power. Much as one may regret and deplore such activity, neighbors can be neither safely ignored nor effectively barred from exercising their considerable influence. It has always proved wise, therefore, to find ways to engage them constructively.

Washington's vocal commitment to regional democratization and its concomitant challenge to the legitimacy of neighboring regimes work at cross-purposes to its effort to form, consolidate, and support a government of national unity in Iraq. Iraqi political leaders will work together only if and when they receive convergent signals from their various external sponsors. The administration's drive for democratization in the region, therefore, should be subordinated (at least for the next several years) to its efforts to avert civil war in Iraq. Unless Washington can craft a vision of Iraq and of its neighborhood that all the governments of the region can buy into, it will have no chance of securing those governments' help in holding that country together. The central objective of U.S. diplomacy, therefore, should shift from the transformation of Iraq to its stabilization, with an emphasis on power sharing, sovereignty, and regional cooperation, all concepts that Iraq's neighbors can reasonably be asked to endorse.
Now, couple that with this article, posted here yesterday:
The Arab world is seething at how President George W. Bush, after promoting free elections in Lebanon, made no effort to stop Israel from weakening the new government by destroying much of the country's infrastructure in a bid to cripple Hizbollah.
The problem with imposing a democracy from without is you end up bearing the burden if it fails. And since no one trusts the US is not acting in its own self-interest to the ultimate degree (i.e. permanent occupation of Iraq and ultimately the Middle East), it will be hard to get neighboring countries to get involved in picking up the slack in Iraq.

In Lebanon as in Iraq, the US 'assisted' democracy is on very shaky ground. If we pull out, like a huge game of Jengo, the entire region will topple into Iranian-based theocratic regimes, interspersed with the occasional island of Sunnism.

We really fucked this region, but good. If we could guarantee they'd remmain in isolation, then no big deal. September 11 proved, however, that their vengeance and hatred can carry them far away from the Middle East.

We need to find a solution and fast.

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To: Hamas

From: Patriotic Americans

Re: 2 Fox News Journalists Kidnapped in Gaza

Keep 'em. Please. They're Fox and, uhhhhhhhhhhh, we don't negotiate with terrorists....yea, that's the ticket!

Steve Centanni, 60, a U.S. citizen, and Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand, were seized by masked gunmen near the headquarters of the Palestinian security services.

No one has claimed responsibility for Monday's kidnapping, and police said no one has come forward with demands. Major militant groups denied they had anything to do with the abduction.

Monday, August 14, 2006

No, Really? Duh!

As if anyone didn't see this coming:
US Mideast clout may be casualty of war

By Matt Spetalnick

JERUSALEM, Aug 14 (Reuters) - The Bush administration's influence in the Middle East is in danger of becoming another casualty of the war in Lebanon, giving Iran a chance to build up its clout in the region.

Despite a U.S.-backed truce taking effect between Israel and Hizbollah on Monday, Washington faces erosion of credibility in the region and strained ties with Arab moderates that could doom its post-Sept. 11 push to spread democracy there, analysts say.

The Arab world is seething at how President George W. Bush, after promoting free elections in Lebanon, made no effort to stop Israel from weakening the new government by destroying much of the country's infrastructure in a bid to cripple Hizbollah.

But there is also unease among Israelis at a brewing debate in Washington about the Jewish state's value as a strategic ally against Iran, given the failure of its vaunted, U.S.-equipped military to subdue a small, Iranian-backed guerrilla army after a month of fighting.

"Iran comes out of this stronger, with the reflected glory of Hizbollah's performance," said Judith Kipper, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
Smoke and mirrors eventually comes back to bite you in the ass, George. You've fooled all the people, but as Barnum pointed out, you can't fool all the people all of the time. At some point, it comes to an end.

So now we raised suspicions on ALL sides of ALL Middle East would be nice if somebody came along to straighten out this tangle...someone with backbone, and who can argue a position cogently.

Someone like, say, a Democrat?

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Man Who Would Be Queen

Let me introduce you to John Tasini, who has taken on the uneviable task of challenging Senator Hilalry Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primary race for re-election to her Senate seat.

Tasini's bid is, well....quixotic, to say the least. He's hoping to ride the same thudded-headed anger that bloggers like Kos and Fireedoglake have exhibited towards Joe Lieberman (in supporting Ned Lamont) to a wave of victory overcoming a substantially bigger war chest and a substantially stronger candidate in Clinton.

What a doosh, in other words.

Look, I know Kos and Jane are crowing over their victory over Lieberman, only it wasn't their victory because they were for Lamont for the wrong reasons (or rather against Lieberman for the wrong reasons).

Lieberman's position on Iraq wasn't the pressing issue these folks (and by extension, the main stream media) made it out to be. Principled people of all beliefs are welcome in the Democratic party, and it is on THIS point that Lieberman lost: he appeared to sell out his party, time and again, for the sake of cozying up to the Republicans and to Bush in particular.

Clinton supports the invasion, and has never repudiated her vote on Iraq. I have a problem with those positions, but I also know a few things:

1) On substantially more issues, I agree with Hillary. Some of these issues are not as important as the Iraq invasion, granted, but adding them all up, it's enough for me to vote for Hillary because,

2) I live in New York, and Hillary along with Chuck Schumer have stood toe to toe with Republicans to get a better deal for the state. But maybe pork isn't enough? In that case, I'd urge you to vote for Hillary because,

3) Unlike Lieberman, Hillary has made no bones about holding the administration's feet to the fire in the invasion, as witnessed by her recent antagonistic grilling of Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

So John? Sorry.

If you were running for Congress first, and showing that you can do more than throw stones (former president of the National Writer's Union, and you know how much of a union man I am, as well as the lead plaintiff in the case forcing the New York Times to turn over on-line residuals and royalties for articles sold out of their archives to the writers who wrote them), and then ran for Senate against Hillary, I might give you a passing look.

This election is far too important. Try making a name for yourself first, then come talk to this progressive.

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