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April 05, 2003


JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF RIGHT-WINGE TACTICS

Yes I'm on a jag this weekend against right-wing stupidity. I could make this blog entirely about that - but there's only so many times I can beat the same drum.

Saying that, who's going to admit that this smacks of somebody's idea of a bright idea. Appropriating military jingo/talk because it excites them. Think it gives the actual military any disrespect.

570 KVI talk show host - John Carlson, who also ran and lost badly for governor in 2000:
"Members of the 570th? Are you out there?" [the show was calling people who were going out to rallies/protests]
Bugle plays. Caller talks about a corner where "anti-war" protestors now occupy a space where there used to be "pro-war" people.
Carlson: Ok, you know where you need to go . This is unacceptable ther eis no way we can allow the 570th to lose any territory.
CALLER: I'm a full scout for the 570th
Carlson: We'll need a status report. Go. Go.

And this is not a one-off example. This was on for an entire hour. In case you missed it, this was people being exorted to confront anti-war protestors. People who seem to enjoy thinking they are doing proud american things as members of the 570th. This is a tactic. Should the anti-war protestors just move along? Should they just leave?
They have a host who they call "Seattle's foremost military expert. Not a stupid man. However, he's in the reserves. Now. And he hasn't been called to duty, yet. I'm sure some of the officers at our many Navy and Army bases might think they have some higher expertise.




I GIVE UP

Dean thinks he's perfect. You can't argue or discuss anything with people who will never admit they are wrong and who are incredibly obtuse at seeing your points, however slowly and clearly you make them. Mr. Esmay reads long pieces of work on things he already agrees with and thinks himself learned. He is an ass in a hole of his own digging. More power to him. I'm tired of it.

update 19:42 4-6-03 Remembering that Esmay first sent me an e-mail congratulating me on my classy response to something else, I feel compelled to say - not an ass. I must have channeled Rush there for a second. Esmay would, by the way, make a great radio talk show host. He's even got the right number of syllables in his name.




BEST POLITICAL QUOTES OF THE WEEK

"I don't need any lessons in patriotism or in caring about America from the likes of the right wing and Tom Delay and others," said John Kerry, after his comment that American needed a regime change, got criticism from Tom Delay, Rush Limbaugh and Dennis Hassert.

Of course this followed a previous released statement: Kerry campaign spokesperson Robert Gibbs said, "Clearly, Senator Kerry intended no disrespect or lack of support for our commander-in-chief during wartime, but the point of this campaign is, obviously, to change the administration of this government. And unlike many of his Republican critics, Senator Kerry has worn the uniform, served his country, seen combat, so he'd just as soon skip their lectures about supporting our troops.

"There is simply nothing that Tom Delay can teach John Kerry about patriotism or service to country. The Republican right wing, particularly those who have never worn the uniform, are picking the wrong fight with the wrong democrat."


Don't know if I'll vote for Kerry but fighting back with the unadulterated truth is always very statisfying.

FROM COMMENTS -- From Vince: Dimn, Dimn, Dimn,........since when does wearing a uniform in service provide a monopoly on patriotism, etc.....Kerry's comments were in poor taste now and when he and others made empassioned anti-Bush ``regime change'' comments in California...similar to the point you and I agree on about the state of politics re the MLK post.......Kerry's comments were lame at best......problem is liberals are hanging their hat on any good slogan these days because they have to...sad, sad, sad...........

MY REPLY: yeah, but at the same time - what are the stakes?

Compared to the lies and the distortions that Kerry faces every day, his statements are and were very mild.

He made theose comments in New Hampshire BTW.

We can moutrn the loss of RFK, JFK and MLK, but even their eloquence was not typical. At the same time there was Lyndon Johnson, who was a mean SOB and who did not flinch to twist arms.

And yes, I realize a uniform doesn't give authority when it comes to politics - except when it does. If he hadn't served is there any doubt Republicans would be ripping apart. We need Kerry to fight back where it hurts.

Being nice and wishing for eloquence only keeps you wishing that you were president.

It's like gun control. We're too late in this country to turn back - not that that would be the perfect solution anyway.

We can push and push for better men and women, but progress is slow. We can't place [play] nice overnight. Hence the BYTE BACK name of this site.

You try and be nice and you get idiotic responses in return. I've been tired of that for a long time. I live my life on a much calmer plain - but I'm not going to fold in and die at the first whiff of "trouble."

At the same time, when the Democrat Party - different from liberals - is at an ebb now, yes t is good to see some fight back. Much of it is weak. I don't agree that it was in this case.

Remember the heavy implication of calling Max Cleland unpatriotic? A man who lost three limbs fighting for his country. And all because he voted against a Homeland Security bill? They didn't hesitate. You can't fight back with milquetoast and complex reasoned arguments always. You will lose.





BLACKLISTED

According to an article in the New York Post earlier this week, VISA canceled a humorous check card commercial starring papa Sheen and son Charlie at a video store after viewers called the credit card company to complain about the TV prez.

VISA, which pulled the ad March 11 after four months on the air, denies there's anything sinister about the move. " Visa does not use its advertising to make political statements, and neither the spot nor the conclusion of its run should be interpreted as one," said a statement released by the company on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, the Screen Actors Guild has issued a plea on their Website,
www.sag.org, to Hollywood producers of commercials and films asking that they avoid a return to the infamous blacklisting practices of the McCarthy era, when even a whiff of dissent could cost an actor his future.

Look this shit isn't funny. VISA, what kind of fucking idiots do you think we are? You pulled it because you have no balls. The commercial is funny. Period. It reflected well on your company.

After all, you have Charlie Sheen in there who's known to consort with prostitutes. You knew that going in. And anyway, do you really think people are going to stop using their VISA cards because they don't like Martin Sheen's politics? No fucking way. Of course, why VISA even bothers with commercials is another matter entirely - people barely have a choice as it is.

Republican actors. God bless 'em. I don't agree with their politics. But if they're any good I'll go watch them. Schwarzenegger? If the film sounds OK, I'll see it. Clint Eastwood? I love every film he's ever done. I watch Tom Selleck and really wanted whatever his recent TV show was to succeed. I still think Magnum PI is one of the best 80s shows. I like him. I just don't like his politics. I wouldn't go see him speak about gun control. I'd go see his damn film. Dennis Miller? Funny man, though his last appearance on Leno earlier this week proved to me one thing - he's trying to get an invite to the White House before his star fades. I probably wouldn't pay to see him while this war is going on. But give it a year or so and he'll be more clear-headed. He's a funny man, even though lately that has verged on carefully directed hate. I never did like country music because of all the fake accents going on and I just didn't like the music, but Charlie Daniels? Well, I still listen to some of his classics. Who else? Michael Moore? A for effort but he's a shitface. James Woods? I'll still go see his films. Who else? I don't know.

The point is, it's all fucking stupid. Can't these people separate art and entertainment from politics? You like the Dixie Chicks' music? Listen to it you dumbass motherfucker, grade A asshole. You like Pearl Jam? Listen to it shit for brains.

Don't like the French? Well fine. But don't pass a fucking federal law about it, morons. This is supposed to be an advanced democracy, complete with thoughtful consideration about what can make this country better and run better. Of course, it's not, but we don't have to go out of our way to prove it.

Boycotts toward political talk show hosts - though I amazed they work - are a different animal. Their existence is politics and it relies on politics. And hate and being as offensive as possible. to be associated with hate is not the same thing as being associated with poorly delivered ideas or ideas you disagree with.

Here's your real fucking solution - a boycott of a politician is called a vote against the other guy. Do it. Vote. Get involved. Do something real, not boycott a fucking actor, feel manly about it and feel you've done your part to further the democratic ideal. Dickheads.

I just thought I'd troll my own site to stop me doing it elsewhere. Sorry, I didn't wanna go off on a rant there.





IF MLK WAS ALIVE TODAY HE'D BE IN JAIL

.. for his terroristic activities. Sadly, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was shot on April 4, 1968. 35 years ago. I didn't really see that mentioned anywhere else today. Thought it was worth a mention.

Go
here for a 4.9MB mp3 download of Robert Kennedy announcing oh so eloquently to a stunned crowd that MLK had been assassinated. Just a few months later, of course, Kennedy was assassinated himself.

UPDATE 11:25 04-05-03 A 1.3MB download of call and response between MLK and GWB as an intro to the Mike Webb Show.

GWB: It is fitting that we honor this great American in a church ... We need to listen to the words of Martin Luther King. MLK: Don't let anybody make you think that God chose America as a devine messianic force to be - a sort of policeman of the whole world. .. It seems that I can hear God saying to America - you're too arrogant. ... Nations shall not rise up against nations neither shall they study war anymore. I don't know about you but I'm not going to study war - no more.

It gets better. Take the time.



April 04, 2003




Eminem's anti-Bush song
(yes, this one classifies as an anti-Bush post. Thank you)

Link to full lyrics here.

Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won't come out
He's chokin, how everybody's jokin now


UPDATE 23:35 A note: This song is actually "Lose Yourself," the Oscar- and Grammy-winning song from the 8 Miles movie.



DISTASTEFUL

"Ice cream with a conservative flavor." I don't even wanna put any of that in my mouth.

Yep, it's there, it's square, it's
Star-Spangled Ice Cream. [link via Upper Left Coast Review.]

It seemd like an April Fool's to me - except they repeatedly say "this is not a joke." which sort of ruins the gotcha effect if it is.

I liked this parapgraph in the FAQ: Q. You say that you proudly donate 10% of your profits to charitable organizations that support the men and women of the US Armed Forces, as well as US veterans. Which charitable organizations specifically? A. Being brand new, we have not decided yet and are open to your suggestions!

Um, but if we don't get any suggestions, will anybody really pay attention?

Go to the mailbag for an idea of what they're really trying to do. And don't miss the point that three "Washington politicos" are behind the company.

They set themselves up as an alternative to Ben and Jerry's "wacko left-wing causes." Go to the B & J site and they order some of their basic ingredients from Indonesia, Mexico and West Africa. You know, helping people out by offering jobs.

Star Spangled Ice Cream also says their $76 for eight pints is $20 cheaper than B & J's mail order cost for the same amount. B & J sells six pints for $64, and don't sell singly - by mail. But even if the price can be assumed to be $10.75 per pint, then the B & J price would only be $9 more, not $20. [Can you tell I'm REALLY bored]

BTW let me remind myself of a point. Media Whores Online recently advocated a "send an e-mail to French's mustard campaign" to "tell the real story" about whether they use Frenc ingredients or not even if they aren't a French company. Um, in actual action campaigns can we please focus on shit that matters. And pre-emptively, this post is not calling anyone to ban or boycott or call anyone, so no, it's not the same.








FLY LITTLE BIRDIES FLY

The sweet image of a child's hands releasing an injured dove keeps on easing it's way ito my head whne I think of the American airline undustry.

My views have been conflicted. I really do not want the federal government to offe rup billions of dollars to an industry that's struggling. But if the industry dies, what will that mean for America and American travel. I do not kow why so many airlines hemorrhage money. I know why their losses exist, but they also struggled before Sept. 11, 2001.

It's the same way I think about the media industry - fewer owners is bad. We need diversification so we will continue to try and get better. We need more airlines because if a culture of poor safety infests oen airline we are less safe as travelers.

But then in Molly Ivins lastest column - a round-up of news in this case - we hear this:
Delta's top five executives got full salaries plus bonuses totaling $4.8 million, while the company is hemorrhaging money. Another 55 second-tier executives got six-figure bonuses totaling $12.5 million. Delta also spent $25 million setting up special accounts to protect certain executives' pensions in the event of bankruptcy. The plan calls for two more payments this year and next.

I can't wait to help bail them out.


And I now say - fuck 'em. If the executives aren't going to lead by example and eat it than let the idiot airlines die, die, die.

NB As an aside - Anybody even want to fly
Hooters Air. I see a billboard driving through Tacoma (the Tac of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) that reminds me everytime that it must have been one f the stupid bimbo waitresses [as opposed to one of the smart ones, there to earn a buck] must have decided now was a good time to launch an airline.

On April 3 they expanded their service to four locations. Here's a nugget from the airline:
Hooters of America, Inc. is the franchiser and operator of over 330 Hooters restaurants in 43 states and 10 foreign countries. The first Hooters opened in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida. Hooters is well known for its brand of food and fun, featuring a casual beach-theme atmosphere, a menu that features seafood, sandwiches and Hooters' signature chicken wings, and service provided by the All-American cheerleaders, the Hooters Girls. Hooters is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a year-long celebration that includes parties in all locations on the 20th of every month with a 20% customer discount on food and merchandise; a 20th Anniversary bash in Las Vegas, which includes the 7th Annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant; an exciting Double Decade promotion; and an exclusive 20th Anniversary merchandise line.





REPORTERS AIN'T SO BAD EITHER

CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT OPERATES ON IRAQI CHILD
Sanjay Gupta, CNN's medical correspondent, performed emergency brain surgery on Thursday in a vain effort to save the life of a wounded 2-year-old Iraqi boy. Hollywood Reporter: Gupta called because the unit he was embedded with lacked a neurosurgeon.


update 11:21 There's a little discussion about this highlighted at Romenseko News. Other links here and here.




THE WOMAN'S A BONAFIDE HERO

But I waited to post whether the idea that "she went down firing, wounded and dying" line would stick. Why? Because it seemed to much like a movie. Real life can be movie like, and even on occasion, vice versa, but I wondered how we knew. We never had a source for these ideas. So comes this:
Contrary to initial reports shortly after commandos freed her on Tuesday night, Mr. Lynch, who spoke to the doctors in Germany, said his daughter had not been shot or stabbed during the ambush of her unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, which was attacked in southern Iraq on March 23 after making a wrong turn.
"The doctor has not seen any of this," Mr. Lynch said when asked about the reports of gunshot wounds and a stabbing.


NY Times Link here.

It's not that I don't understand the need for people to believe such amazing things. But the business of this war, quite apart from what the troops are doing has been the sale of false expectations and the glossing over of what the American people supposedly "don't need to hear." Does anyone, for example, feel they'll ever get a true reading from the government of the actual American dead figure? Or of the number of estimated Iraqi deaths?

It pains me to say it - but look toward British and other world media for that information. And maybe the blogdom, who rightly will be persuing such "petty details."

As the title of this post suggests, she did something most people wish they could say - they stood up bravely in the face of danger. And she survived.

UPDATE 19:36 OH !@#$%. OK, I should have reserved judgment just a little longer. Now there's this from an AP story:
Pfc. Jessica Lynch suffered gunshot wounds when her convoy was attacked in Iraq, her family said Friday night. The family of the 19-year-old supply clerk spoke Friday with doctors who treated Lynch at a hospital in Germany. Word that Lynch suffered two entry and exit wounds contrasted the commander of the hospital, Col. David Rubenstein, who had said she was not shot or stabbed.



April 03, 2003

TWO TYPES
Can you sense a theme, a trend if you will on the last few posts? Can you tell where my head's at?

Speaking quite frankly and without partisanship - there are two types of Republicans - blood thirsty and money hungry. [NB I don't believe this. Caught me at a bad moment. I do believe the rest of this post]

But during war they are all the same - they don't want to ask questions of their government. It'd an instittion of which, at any other time, there faith wanes darkly. But the bombs fall and all of a sudden their government, which at any other time is inefficient, incomprehensible and an ugly beast, can do no wrong.

"Defense, it's the one thing government's good for," they would and do say. The war has brought out the worst in Republicans and conservatives. Their volunteer work throughout - some unfortunately get paid - has been to polarize and ostersize and demonize anyone who voices strong opinion against this 2003 action, most commonly referred to as a war.

And Republicans and conservatives are achieving their segregationist goals. Segregation in terms of opinion, not race. Republicans are quite quick to become offensive - and not just jokingly offensive - but seriously offensive. Right-wing pundits and bloggers point to wackheads on the left without realizing or acknowledging that these wackhead "left-leaning pundits and bloggers" are few and far between.

Find me a popular Web site as reactionary and base as Lucianne.com on the left. Find me a popular blog as hate-filled as Little Green Footballs on the left. Bartcop is the closest you'll get and he couches everything in humor. And damn there's a lot of truth in there amongst all the silliness and garbage.

When war and politics are the subjects of the conversation, engagement with Republicans and conservatives both is never profound, rarely insightful and often a complete waste of time. Which quite handily also describes the siatuation that unfolded and then fell apart at the UN. The pro-war Americans said, sure we'll dialog, just as long as you end up agreeing with us.

Those on the right find an extreme to make a point. Always. They'll find the vomit-in and the one so-called peace protestor out of thousands and thousands who acts stupidly. But once they find it, they change the power of one. Suddenly that one person represents all. That is so intellectually dishonest as to be shameful, yet it is that simple-mindedness which wins out. It wins because it requires the least amount of thought.

If the job of a pundit is to be a screechy, reactionary, boneheaded idiot, then more power to their own prison. For when will they learn anythng meaningful to further the progress of humankind?

Examples of questions they do not ask themselves.
Here's an act of ommission. If Bush was so accomplished and so proud of his own military service, how come he never mentions it? How come? You'd think he would, since, you know, he and his party are asking other men and women in uniform to risk their lifes - and in light of the villifaction of Clinton's perfectly understandable oppostion ot the Vietnam War.

Here's question two. If Saddam Hussein was so tight with Al-Qaeda, how come they haven't stepped up to intervene.

Here's question three: either Saddam's military is so weak that we can overthrow it easily or, as was one of the reason's given for war, it poses a threat to the world.

Question 4: In the same vein, there was no doubt that Hussein had chemical weapons. But despite persistent assurances that they will be found - eight of the top 10 places where American intelligence information thought they would be stored have been searched and have come up empty.

Question 5: If America is the most powerful country in the world then it's government alone has the power to take away it's ctizen's rights. Where is the outcry there? No. Instead conservatives and Republicans who are more than willing to accept extremes as fact to bolster theuir own arguments, don't accept this idea as fact - and idea that has more concrete and powrful purchase and existence than any "left" or "leftist" extremes.

Question 5: Why do you not ask yourselves hard questions?

Question 6: Why do you persist in the tactics of intimidation? We speak out - we're traitors, we're unpatriotic, we're unAmerican. By that lack of logic, if we all are made to shut up, then we might as well live in Iraq. You talk about punching us in the face - in a widely spread e-mail - to point out how we might be "logically" be wrong.

Violence=logic in the minds of Republicans and conservatives. Ahhh, that's how we got to where we are today, isn't it?





Every now and then I need prodding to get my brain in gear. DeanEsmay provided that this time. Thanks Dean. Thanks for saying I can admit that I'm wrong and that I'm sorry. Maybe next time, he'll indicate why.

Having clarified and distilled the POV of, seemingly all protestors, who he said spoke of humanitarian moves. I called him on it. I think he's reacting to only comments that have dropped at his site and right-wing commentary he's heard from the National Review and Little Green Footballs. I don't thin khe's walked among protestors or talked to them.

How many of the protestors have you had a conversation with Dean? Just asking, because it sounds like you - a pro-war person - are willing to speak for ALL of them.

>>I have asked this question before: how can anyone be so selfish, so cruel, so full of hate as to oppose this war?


You sound naive whenever you ask that question. I thought it was clear - you are for the war. [that was a joke, except for the "full of hate" part - or so it seems to me].

If I was an anti-war person, that just happened to not be any of the above I might point out that people continue to be killed in countries - by torture, by brutality, by dictators, by non-democracies - including those we give most favored nation trading status, too. Including Qatar, our current military home away from home.

If I was an anti-war person who wasn't selfish, cruel or full of hate, I might point out that thinking death on a grand scale is best avoided might be a good position to have.

If I was an anti-war person who didn't fit into whatever stereotype you try and cast us in, I might point out that if it wasn't for people and groups fighting for humanity, even in war, the commendable and somewhat successful efforts of the soldiers to "fight gentle" would not exist.

Oh wait, many many of us have made these points. You are just ignoring them. Fancy that. Consistency isn't always a virtue.

Knowing "peace type" eyes are on you can do wonders to remind the "military complex" of matters of life, as well as death.

We have very honorable soldiers fighting a dishonorable war.



ISN'T THIS WHAT CONSERVATIVES ALWAYS WANTED

Torture for murders, rapists and thieves. Actually the usual phrase is "string 'em up and let em hang" or "death would be too good for them." Just saying - different times, different causes, different words, different minds, same hypocrisy.

I refer, to the last paragraph of this article.

As an aside, CNN refuses to mention the BBC reporter but does mention the CNN guy who reports on a British report (ahem):

Report: Iraq torture chamber found
Correspondent Clive Myrie reports on the British discovery of a southern Iraqi police station where some locals
ABU AL KHASIB, Iraq (CNN) -- A torture chamber equipped with hooks hanging from ceilings and an on-site electrocution room has been found in the basement of an Iraqi police station, an embedded reporter with the BBC reports.

The reporter said the British Royal Marines from Alpha Company 40 Commando entered the facility -- home to Saddam Hussein's dreaded internal security police -- looking for clues about local militia groups. Weapons, maps and other documents were found in the raid in the town of Abu Al Khasib, the BBC reporter said Wednesday. But it was downstairs where they found the torture chamber.

One room was completely bare, except for two tires and an electric cable, the BBC reporter said. He said he was told that an interrogator would use the tires to stand on, while water was poured into the room and the prisoner electrocuted.

Other rooms had hooks hanging from the ceiling, while another 1.2 meter by 2.4 meter (4 foot by 8 foot) cell was equipped with just a pillow and mattress. The reporter said he interviewed one man, who did not want to be identified, who said prisoners were blindfolded, tied up, hung on the hooks and then beaten.

The man also said a citizen who committed a crime could avoid being tortured by putting up cash -- about $1,600 for stealing, and almost twice that for murder, according to the BBC reporter.


UPDATE 09:21 04-04-03 Discountblogger is absolutely right - I'm playing politics with this issue. I plead guilty. And I laugh at the implied suggestion that he and others have never done anything similar exactly the same. I don't need to look for examples.

I am also, apparently, one of these "leftists" whose "worst nightmare [is] that this will be over quick, with minimal casualties, and, god forbid, free Iraqis." Damn me and the horse I rode in on. He knows differently, he reads.





LIGHT POSTING

Sorry 'bout light posting. I've been as tired as the cliches that this is a good war. What's up with
Howard (guess I could e-mail him or something)? Is he in a funk 'cause of the Padres winning streak? Nah, he's a fan but he picked 'em low in his predictions. I imagine he's busy with fantasy baseball.




April 02, 2003


HALF BAKED REVISITED

Nothing like having a deranged hockey fan on your side - yes I mean you
Vince - to feel good about yourself. He offered to "bring the boys" over to sort out HalfBakedThoughts.blogspot.com and his "lifting" of my entire template - links, e-mail and all.

[NB - I first typed "hockey fan" as "hickey fan" which is extremely funny but not quite what I intended.

update 10:34 Forgot to mention that what adds insult to injury is that comments over HBT are counted, while mine remain at zero even though people have weighed in and left comments on the post below. and others.
update 10:42 Half-baked has changed his template and ridded himself of comments - and no apology or acknowledgement. An odd duck.






April 01, 2003

THOSE WHO TALK CRUDE, THINK CRUDE

Maybe the best headline ever in this 21st century, on so many levels.

It belongs atop an editorial by a British Conservative Party politician. He's talking about Rumsfeld and Bush via a memorial to his friend Daniel Patrick Moynihan:

A good politican has grace. Bush and Rumsfeld have none at all
Roy Hattersley --
... Pat Moynihan talked too much, worked too hard and, for part of his life, drank too heavily. He had a theory about everything. The last time we met, he would only talk about the restoration of Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue and the relationship between architecture and politics. The subject fascinated him. I went with him to the Plaza Hotel in New York when he unveiled the plaque which designated the building a historic monument. His speech compared its heavy elegance with the "new brutalism of monopoly capitalism" by which it was surrounded.

The Plaza speech caused remarkably little offence. The attribute by which Moynihan won forgiveness for conduct which would have ruined another politician was the quality which Americans call grace. It is a characteristic which is wholly absent from the administration of President George Bush. I suspect that Moynihan was in favour of the war in Iraq. Like so many of John F Kennedy's New Frontiersmen, he was a foreign policy hawk. But, had he been called upon to defend American policy, the world would have been spared the crude brutality of the Donald Rumsfeld approach.

Whatever the subject in which the secretary of defence "majored" when he was a college wrestling champion, it was certainly not subtlety and intellectual sophistication. His lack of grace should not only be a matter of concern to intellectual snobs. Politicians who talk like Rumsfeld think in the same way. And politicians who think like that are dangerous. The result is policy based on the mindless certainty that might is right and that the one remaining superpower is entitled to rule the world.

... My detestation of the style which reveals the substance has nothing to do with anti-Americanism. Quite the reverse. I resent the posturing and the policy because I know a different America - a United States which is the land of the lucid and the literate, as well as the free and the brave - a country with citizens, from sea to shining sea, who believe in peace and justice.




MOMMA'S GOT A ...

Bohemian Mama's got a brother in Iraq now.

But listen up guys and gals, this is kinda freaky shit and I don't know if the laws of the universe will allow it for too much longer. She's against the war but FOR the troops. It is a true Sir Arthur Conan Doyle moment: "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" -- Sherlock Holmes, "The Sign of Four"




ALL RIGHT-WINGERS ARE ...

A world without the right-wing is like a fish without a bicycle. At least that's what I'd say if I wanted to unfairly generalize. Or to put it another way, Discount Blogger posts a picture of a "war protester" with a "Kill Jews" headband. You might have seen it. I had. He found it at Little Green Footballs and I have seen it elsewhere, so perhaps he can be forgiven for momentarily having clouded vision.

He said he'd be curious about the caption, but didn't, apparently want to
search Google for "headband+kill+Jews" or something similar. So I won't search or post the photos I've seen of "pro-war" protestors that seem to quite easily speak to the death and arrest of "anti-war" protestors. In other words equally offensive and equally illogical.

If he'd done a simple Google search he'd have found out the woman was from Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad in Pakistan. Our ally in this war BTW. Maybe the photographer didn't want to stick around to get her name and become another Daniel Pearl.

But rather than point out that he just doesn't know, he leaves it open so as to paint the brush that all "anti-war" protestors think like this. Or just the ones from Pakistan.

Even Walk4israel asked "Anti-war or Anti Jew?"
update 19:02 A Jerusalem Post editorial says "she" is a "he." It looks like a university age woman to me though.




MARINER'S SEASON OPENER
update 00:47 -- Church Lady says: Well that was an uninspiring performance now wasn't it? We was blanked out by the Oakland As 0-5.

Not in Japan, but in Oakland. Should have been in Japan. But this is baseball, not military action.

Freddy Garcia goes up agianst stud Hudson. Like seemingly every Seattle team, Garcia is on when he's on and he stinks when he doesn't. He stunk it up in spring training, but who knows what he was trying to do and what he was working on. You cannot predict anything with spring training games.

Still, it does not bode well, when the "exciting nugget" the Mariners have on their official site today is this:
When Freddy Garcia throws the Mariners' first pitch of the regular season Tuesday night at Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, he will become only the second right-hander in franchise history to start the first game of the season three times.


Really? How not fascinating at all. Garcia in four years has a 60-29 record.

Opening day roster:
Pitchers (11) - RHP Giovanni Carrara, RHP Ryan Franklin, RHP Freddy Garcia, RHP Shigetoshi Hasegawa, RHP Julio Mateo, RHP Gil Meche, LHP Jamie Moyer, RHP Jeff Nelson, RHP Joel Pineiro, LHP Arthur Rhodes and RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki.

Catchers (2) - Ben Davis and Pat Borders.

Infielders (7) - Willie Bloomquist, Bret Boone, Jeff Cirillo, Greg Colbrunn, Carlos Guillen, Edgar Martinez and John Olerud.

Outfielders (5) - Mike Cameron, John Mabry, Mark McLemore, Ichiro Suzuki and Randy Winn.

Disabled List (2) - C Dan Wilson and OF Chris Snelling.
Other notes. Ken Cloude is upset about beign sent down. Jeff Nelson was agrieved at his treatment early on but seems ot have got over it. Edgar Martinez is 40. Jamie Moyer is 41. Randy Winn, an unknown commodity who came over when Lou punched out of Seattle, is beign touted as maybe the solution we've needed to stabilize left field.



BASEBALL - DAY 3
NL - *SF v SD 8-1
NL - COL v *HOU - 4-10
NL - LA v *ARI -4-5 - 10EXI
AL - *NYY v TOR - 10-1
AL - BOS v TB - 9-8 -16EXI
AL - SEA v OAK - 0-5
Al - TEX v *ANA - 0-10

Today's notables:
-The Mariners' new radio home
KOMO 1000 sucks in pre-game coverage and excitement [as does their Mariners Web site]. It's an hour away from the game and they're still on straight traffic and headline news garbage. They are a news station, not a talk show station. And not a sports station. Boy does it show.
The game commentators are the same so it should be "grand salami time" there, per usual.
later update - may have been too hasty. KOMO started soon after I posted and they have former Mariner Mike Blowers who's good. He doesn't sugarcoat things.
-Jeff Kent homers with his first at-bat for the Houston Astros.
-Barry Bonds number 1 as Padres lose first two.
-Howard's right so far - Mariners are number 4 in the West :)
- 16 innings for Tamba Bay to lose. 9-8. Dear God. The team's certainly better. Loooooooooooou.



PETARD ETC ETC
Today is mock the Cheney's day courtesy of
WhiteHouse.org who recieved a letter on official VP paper that he should remove satirical material from his site.

Actions speak louder than words. Here's but one example of Dick being a Dick. (via an old letter I'd saved from Bartcop.com)
Subject: Cheney in St. Louis Awaiting Spine Donor
From: Steve@Boeing.com
BC - On Wednesday, Dick Cheney appeared in St. Louis for a campaign visit to a homeless mission. The local TV stations, of course, were all over it. One station had a reporter do a one-on-one interview, and right off the bat the reporter asked him about cancelling the A-12 program.

Side Note #1: For those unfamiliar, the A-12 was an aircraft developed by McDonnell-Douglas (St. Louis) and General Dynamics (Fort Worth) for the Navy. In December of 1990, Dick Cheney cancelled the program. The cancellation was for default on the program, meaning the companies did not perform adequately and weren't able to convince Cheney they could recover. 6,000 people in St. Louis were laid off within two weeks, with a similar number in Fort Worth. I was one of the St. Louis people unemployed.

The companies protested, of course, saying that the cancellation was for the convenience of the Government, an important difference. Cancelled for default, you don't get paid. Cancelled for convenience, you are paid the costs incurred up to that date, and a penalty for cancelling. A federal court has found that Cheney cancelled for convenience, and the Pentagon owes he companies about four billion dollars. The case is still kicking around in the courts. Back to our story.

Anyway, on Wednesday the reporter was pressing Cheney about the cancellation. Cheney had the opportunity to be a man and say "yep, I cancelled it, and here's why". But the weasel couldn't grow a ball fast enough. He claimed he was always a big supporter of the program, and it was the Navy who cancelled it. Those of us involved remember that the Navy tried like hell to get Cheney to change his mind, but he wouldn't.

After the interview, the station had the current president of the union here talk about the lost jobs. You could tell by looking at him that he is a guy who WORKED for a living. He talked about friends of his who lost their jobs, lost homes, and so on. When the reporter said that it was amazing that people remember after all this time, the union president said something to the effect of "Somebody does something like that to you, costs you your job, you don't forget who did it to you".

WHAM!

Side Note #2: In 1988, my right-wing associates warned me that if I voted for the stinkin' Democrat (Dukakis), he would put us out of business, and we'd be out of work cause Democrats hate defense, right?

Steve. St. Louis





HALF BAKED BLOG

At least for now
Halfbakedthoughts.blogspot.com is only a weak effort. Why? Check them out and get deja vu (and I get double the hits). It's not my blog, but it looks like it.

See, they took my template, links and all. My e-mail and my comments link too.

It's one of three things. It's either an April Fools's Day joke (except it went up Sunday), a misguided attempt at flattery or satire. I can't decided, which. Let's just say, don't e-mail him or her - you'll get me. I have left a comment there, somehow on my account.

AND BLOGGER WAS DOWN AGAIN LAST NIGHT EXCEPT FOR PAID CLIENTS



UM - CASE OF BAD TIMING

The US State Department yesterday released its Human Rights Abuse report. That's just a sick and twisted early April Fools joke, right?
Link here. It's main point seems to be to piss off China. We've got nothing to worry about there BTW, we out number them in population and militarily. Yes, we sooooo, do.


March 31, 2003

TOUR BUS

VIA
Taco Shop Psychic Lost letter from 1st Gulf War returns home. Seattle Times. Link here

VIA Atrios Quick War expectations. Chicago Tribune link here [reg reqd.] Highlights: Smucker from the Christian Science Monitor has also been kicked out by the military - before Arnett being pulle dout and Gerald Riviera's boot.

MSNBC President Erik Sorenson is sounded particularly "ass-licking" lately. With calling Arnett "unpatriotic" cited before and this, actually made beforehand:

"I heard Rumsfeld, and I think he is absolutely correct," Sorenson said. "Particularly for cable, our reporting swings and our analysis swings are endemic in a 24/7 coverage situation. ... It may take a historian 40 years from now to get Rumsfeld's diary from his grandchild to figure out whether anybody was on plan or off-plan, or whatever," Sorenson said.

Not if you want or let your !@#$% reporters to do their jobs.

Also this salient point, though I can probably be pursuaded that there's been many changes since then. I could even argue that Lomperis seems to take the official line on when the war actually started. It was a long build-up through the '60s as far as I'm concerned and public opinion changed when the miltary got desperate and actually started doing bad things.

The skepticism in U.S. media [about] Vietnam really did not begin until the second year," said Timothy Lomperis, a St. Louis University history professor who was, during the Vietnam War, a military intelligence officer involved in what he called deceptive press briefings. "The skepticism here is starting in the first week. The margins that [President] Bush and the military have are much slenderer."


update 20:40 Kill Osama Bin Laden. I got 112 hits and 10 misses. Coincidentally or not, that's about a 10-percent miss ratio. [and I can't find the story at Yahoo where I saw it before]. Which this recent story highlights as the miss ratio for US munitions. So, with about 8,000 to 11,000 missiles and bombs shot off, that's 800 to 1,100 off-course bombs. A little different from the 7 announced on Friday by Gen. Franks.

And, oh yeah, COMMENTS ARE BACK.



BUSINESS IS GOOD FOR ARNETT

The story so far: Peter Arnett, a cross between Hannibal Lecter and an older Ari Fleischer, out of the CNN corner during the first Gulf War, got hired on by NBC and MSNBC this time around. Today they fired him for an interview he gave on the state-sponsored Iraqi TV - the one we've been trying to bomb off the air for the past week.

Today the UK Daily Mirror - not a TV outlet - hired him.

Arnett said some very stupid things in the interview, which started with agreeing to be interviewed. He's a journalist in the middle of reporting. Write/report the news don't become the news. What he said was nothing new to anyone paying attention. But, fact is, it was a public relations coup for Iraq. Reporters should not be muzzled in reporting the facts and some analysis couched as such. But he needed to exercise better judgment and you can and should be fired for that when it distracts too much.

Bearing all that in mind MSNBC Erik Sorenson should not have called him "unpatriotic" in light of how inflamed that word has become. He should have exercised better judgement because now he has put all his reporters and commentators on notice that they shouldn't say anything challenging the Pentagon perspective. Or at least that's how I would feel if I worked there. Maybe he released some internal memos.

Also, please take notice of how many right-wing apologists DO NOT mention celebrity idiot Geraldo Riveria's far more stupid and far more immediately life-threatening action of, among other things, drawing in the sand an exact discription of the location of trrops he was traveling with. So much so that the US military kicked his Fox News ass out of the desert. And what kind of judgment was it BTW to have him there.

CNN gleefully posted the
entire transcript. (I've kept it also in case the link disappears.)







ARI WATCH

I have another site called
http://www.ariwatch.blogspot.com not only that but I've actually started posting to it, even though I started it about six weeks ago. It's about Ari Fleischer's duplicity.
Submissions welcome.





WAR STARTED MARCH 19, RIGHT?

This isn't a screed on how long the war might last or the idea that we will lose [very rare, though blown up out of proportion when one or two out of millions say it].
Ara Rubyan tackles thaat wrong idea that we will lose this war, or even that we are losing it. Have things gone wrong? Yes. And very prominent Rove admnistration officials won't admit it.

No, I'm talking about what I thought was a verifiable, pretty etched-in-stone date. The war and the bombing started March 19 or Iraqi time, March 20. Yet Rumsfeld this morning on "This Week" twice or maybe more said "This war is only nine days old." At the time he was speaking it was 11 days old. Even Fox News says so.

You can fudge it a little, but he seems to have quite deliberately come up with that number. You expect him to say whatever suits him. You don't expect, however, an AP story dated March 31 to still use the "nine day" figure. Unforgivable.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Facing questions that he brushed off advice from generals and underestimated the troops needed to attack Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld called his critics "second guessers" who fail to appreciate the war's success so far.

"It's a little early for post-mortems. It's a little early to write history," the defense secretary said Sunday, nine days after the attack on Iraq began.



March 30, 2003


BET ON WAR

Dean Esmay and OliverWillis.com and the site itself are where I've seen Blogshares being mentioned. Without investigating, I'm not too sure if there's actual money involved or it's simply a popularity contest, designed "funny."

Then comes Tradesports.com.
If you want to feel like you're a defense contractor with connections or a heavy stocks and bonds investor, you too can make money of this war. Think Saddam will be killed by the end of April? A bet of $19 with the Irish betting company will get you $100. When do you think Osama will die? June seems to be the prevailing date. Think there will be more than 5,000 "coalition" casualties in the taking of Baghdad? Well, you can't bet on that here. That would be too nakedly capitalist without concern, wouldn't it?

The owner says it's a way of some people to hedge their bets.




GHOST WRITERS OF THE WORLD

A handy list of mistakes listed as media bungles. In fact, bungled insofar as swallowing the shit - something I've mentioned a few times before. "Say it with me now" - The Biscuit (
Ally reference) - Skepticism is healthy.

3-27-03 15 Stories They've Already Bungled
By Greg Mitchell NEW YORK -- Opinion

The war is only a week old and already the media has gotten at least 15 stories wrong or misreported a sliver of fact into a major event. Television news programs, of course, have been the prime culprits. Newspapers, while they have often gone along for the ride, have been much more nuanced and careful. Newspaper coverage has not been faultless, as photos and headlines often seem shock-and-awe-struck but, compared with TV, newspapers seem more editorially -- and mentally -- balanced. Some have actually displayed a degree of skepticism of claims made by the military and the White House -- what used to be known as "journalism."

On Monday, I received a call from a producer of a major network's prime time news program. He said they wanted to interview me for a piece on how the public's expectation of a quick victory somehow was too high. "But," he hastened to add, "we don't want to focus on the media." I asked him where he thought the public might have received the information that falsely raised their hopes. In chat rooms, perhaps? The problem, I suggested, is that most of the TV commentators on the home front appear to be just as "embedded" with the military as the far braver reporters now in the Iraqi desert.

Surely this is a bipartisan issue. While many on the antiwar side complain about the media's alleged "pro-war bias," those who support the war, and the Bush administration itself, have also been ill served by overly-positive coverage that now has millions of Americans reeling from diminished expectations.
Here, then, is a list of stories that have been widely misreported or poorly reported so far:

1. Saddam may well have been killed in the first night's surprise attack (March 20).
2. Even if he wasn't killed, Iraqi command and control was no doubt "decapitated" (March 22).
3. Umm Qasr has been taken (March 22).
4. Most Iraqis soldiers will not fight for Saddam and instead are surrendering in droves (March 22).
5. Iraqi citizens are greeting Americans as liberators (March 22).
6. An entire division of 8,000 Iraqi soldiers surrendered en masse near Basra (March 23).
7. Several Scud missiles, banned weapons, have been launched against U.S. forces in Kuwait (March 23).
8. Saddam's Fedayeen militia are few in number and do not pose a serious threat (March 23).
9. Basra has been taken (March 23).
10. Umm Qasr has been taken (March 23).
11. A captured chemical plant likely produced chemical weapons (March 23).
12. Nassiriya has been taken (March 23).
13. Umm Qasr has been taken (March 24).
14. The Iraqi government faces a "major rebellion" of anti-Saddam citizens in Basra (March 24).
15. A convoy of 1,000 Iraqi vehicles and Republican Guards are speeding south from Baghdad to engage U.S. troops (March 25).






IT HAS EVOLVED

Howard Owens has a blog at the paper he does IT for, The Ventura County Star. He tells me he's the Howard in Scripps Howard, owner of said paper [OK, he doesn't say that].

Link here. When I first went there he was cross-posting. Now that things have slowed, he's looking at questions raised. That's important. Also, perhaps because I've become slightly disengaged, he's pointed me to a couple of links I haven't seen before.

Of course he didn't find this - a, um, yeah, um, war protest idea only a vampire could love. And I quote:
I invite all women to send their tampons and pads to the white house to make the statement:
Our Blood for oil. let me know if you will take it through.

[Link via Kassandra.ch]



I'M TAKING AWAY COMMENTS

My e-mail is below. If it loads quicker without the comments let me know.
Discountblogger seems to think it does, which is why he removed them.

The reason I choose now is because they aren't registering whether somebody commented so I have to check each one to figure it out. I'm not going to do that.

update 14:49 Nope, not faster - still have photos. Found out I'm not the only with the problem, though. The guy puts it together for free, so I'll wait it out. Of course, three different [example of unnecessary word] people in the last couple of days have encouraged me to get my own non-blogger site, which as far as I can tell leaves me with Movable Type as a viable alternative.



PRAY FOR ATHEISM, THE WORLD'S RELIGION
Context here.
A military distraction in the desert - pray for Bush. Not burning.

Today's prayer: "Pray that the President and his advisers will seek God and his wisdom daily and not rely on their own understanding."

This is what soldiers are being asked to do - send in prayer postcards to George Bush Junior. Think maybe they have something better to do out there? Or is this the real reason there's been a pause in the roll toward breaking Baghdad. The pamphlets, with tear-off postcards, are from In-Touch Ministries.. The group's stated mission by the way - To lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and to strengthen the local church.

Not the Creator. Not "your god."

By the way, I know a well-funded, evangelical and devoutly religious group, "Atheists Reaching Minds Every Day" (ARMED). They've sent in pamphlets that say "Our god is on your side" to both Iraqi and American troops.



SHORT BIO?
Vince asked me this:
Hey Andrew (is that what you go by?)..... I've been reading your site (of course)......just wondering a bit about you and I hope you don't find it too intrusive to ask. But who do you work for and what beat do you cover (i.e., what do you do in the newsroom?)........ What's your short bio??? Have you always been a Seattle native?? Just curious...

And I replied:
Thanks for your interest Vince.

I'm sorry I'll sound like a Pentagon briefing in my reply [Lots of words, little that actually addresses the question.]


I started this blog to vent, to release feelings and ideas I didn't feel comfortable mouthing off about on the job. I already have restricted myself some in my wildest ideas because, I guess, I still would like to not turn away readers. I am a journalist, with state and county government beats. I also am quite good at one-on-one profiles.

Andrew is not my real name. Dimn is an anagrammatical concept. [Tell me if you get it, it's my puzzle for you.]

I talk to and deal with polticians pretty much every day and pride myself that they do not know whether I vote Republican or Democrat. Actually, in state elections, and the more local it gets, I vote both because the issues they deal with are truly less partisan. It becomes more of a nuts and bolts job where ideology has little effect on the work accomplished.

I don't want to deceive you, but I also don't know you. Even if you're all the way over where you are - Detroit right? - I still want to avoid the idea of looking over my shoulder or having to be wary that I'll be "uncovered." I don't think anybody would really care enough to look, but the possibity that it might compromise my job is, I feel, real. Keeping me and BYTE BACK separate was important when I started and it remains so. Sorry.

I realize it's hard to base a friendship on anonymity, but I believe it is easy to base a "cyber-friendship" on anonymity - and of course many other things. This is one reason I don't ask too much about the people who visit, even though I am, as always curious.

Saying that. I'm 31. I'm single with longtime squeeze/girlfriend. I live just outside Seattle - for now. I'm 6-5, 215 lbs and handy with both camera and keyboard. I have a degree in print journalism, with a minor in political science. I have terrible handwriting. I have an inate ability to understand the POVs and the circumstances of both sides; sometimes a blessing sometimes a curse. I am thinking of becoming a psychiatrist.

Through my teen years I lived in England. I was born in Arizona and we left there when I was three months old. I have lived in and around Seattle from 1975-79 and since 1991 through today. From when I was about 4 years old to when I was 11, my younger brother and I were brought up by a single mom. I have no children, so if you hear me start giving parenting advice - call me on it.

I earned 4.0s in two different college course in logic and that is often the first way I approach other people's ideas. I hope for a healthier public discourse and therefore hate true idiocy and lack of intellectual curiosity on both sides. I forgive some of that if a person's heart is in the right place. On the extreme right it never is. On the extreme left, it is, but rarely.

I quickly tune out people who I perceive let their egos lead their ideas. They start to believe the hype. That stretches from President Bush, down to Bill O' Reilly, Michael Moore, Daily Pundit and increasingly Instapundit. Arrogance seems to be a common trait among the right, which is probably what first pushed me ideologically the other way.

My first ever presidential vote possible was for Bill Clinton in 1992. My primary reason was that I could see him reaching out to heal the country as far as race relations. Perhaps the final push needed. I think he achieved that, though they are now, again, being eroded. It was not an anti-Bush vote. It was a pro-Clinton vote. I still support him. I do not think he should have been impeached. I could go on about politics for a long time here. But I'll stop.

I am a very loyal person and will stick with a person for a long time - unless they harm me or someone I care about. If that happens, I forgive once, maybe twice, depending on circumstances.

I do not put as much effort in my blog entries as I would like to, though the logic of a thing is still important to me. If I put as much work into it as I want to it would be exactly like, well work. I write every day. This is not meant to be work for me.

I appreciate comments left here, though I'm afraid that when I challenge people they take it personally. That's what often happens in real life no matter how I couch my statements - the other big reason I took BYTE BACK into Anonymityville.

People don't ask enough questions. I'm glad you did. Maybe by the time you read this final sentence, you're not. :)

I can't believe I had 18 entries yesterday. And I stopped at 17:00. I thought it was a slow day for me.
Regards Andrew | BYTE BACK