Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Rethinking American Democracy, a site sponsored by Stephen Colbert--which one, though?
Ah, screw it! Let's get heavy! I just restarted my laptop which has a USB TV stick plugged into it--it's so I can watch TV on my PowerBook. Anyway, so I restarted and the TV came on. There was a commercial which was made up of a single shot of a fighter pilot in a cockpit. The camera looked to be mounted in the dashboard with plenty of space in the frame dedicated to the world around the cockpit. As the plane took off, I was entranced--I used to be on the path to being a pilot--at least for a little while there, back in high school and college, so any time I see a fighter plane I get nostalgic.
Then I notice the patch on the pilot's flight suit. It's a "Thunderbirds" patch. The Thunderbirds are an elite exhibition pilot team made up of the top acrobatic pilots in the Air Force. These guys are the most skillful fliers in the world.
Then, the fighter plane enters a barrel roll--this means the plane spins around it's center, horizontally. Think of it like you're lying on a bed and rolling over. It's like that only you've just taken off and you're doing it really fast.
The world spins around the fighter while it, and the shot, are in a perfect, calm, center of the spin. While still in the roll, the pilot looks around, as though he's enjoying the view.
Then the screen cuts to black and a URL for a United States Air Force recruitment website pops up and a voice over guy is heard telling us that we should experience something more.
This is the worst kind of propaganda bullshit.
1) Getting a job as a fighter pilot is incredibly hard. You have to be incredibly lucky, skilled or connected. The only reason I got as far as my pilot physical (which I failed) was because I was in Air Force ROTC in college. I did NOT have a slot waiting for me, but they let you take your physical just so you know if you should aim for a fighter pilot slot or something else.
2) That pilot was a Thunderbird pilot. The percentage of Air Force pilots who actually get to become Thunderbird pilots is incredibly microscopic. Essentially, there is NO WAY you can become a Thunderbird pilot.
3) Barrel rolls are not difficult maneuvers, but generally (if memory serves), they are considered dangerous and not something to try so close to takeoff.
4) I haven't heard of this happening recently, but I do know that in Iraq and Afghanistan and in previous instances where the Air Force provided aircraft the pilots were "encouraged" to take stimulants (drugs) to stay awake longer so they could fly more missions. That's not only immoral, that's unsafe. If a pilot is tired, let him go to sleep. If you need more missions to be flown hire more pilots! Don't DRUG the ones you've got! This alone makes me glad my eyes weren't 20/20--passing that physical would have meant I'd have been asked to take drugs to stay in the air and that would have been a hard order for me to follow as caffeine is where I draw my personal drug-line. I love flying, but not at the expense of my principles.
5) When you're flying in a fighter aircraft, you usually end up killing people. That's something they left out of their little commercial.
6) Another thing they left out is that you have to kill people you may not want to kill under normal circumstances. That is to say, in a country you may not want to go to war against. Perhaps, a country that hasn't done anything directly to threaten or even harm you. Like, Iraq. See, in the commercial, the pilot was as free as a literal bird to perform a dangerous maneuver and to not kill anyone and not kill people who did nothing to threaten the US. Oh and he also didn't have to take orders from an amoral pretender who couldn't fly himself out of a paper bag in the cockpit of anything bigger than a trainer.
Now, I know that the US military needs to step up it's recruiting efforts thanks to the Iraq war going all shitily and all, but perhaps a better draw for recruits would be a government that doesn't start needless wars, that doesn't inflict its will on other countries and practices an even, temperate hand on it's enemies.
You know, a nice government. A fair government which actually has the moral compass it claims to.
For a short time, after 911, I actually thought about going back to the Air Force and giving it another try--not as a pilot, just as a concerned American. But then I remembered how Bush dealt with that whole "US Spy Plane in China" thing and thought that Bush had already made some questionable choices in dealing with the Chinese government, do I really want to trust him to get the response to 911 right?
I think I made the right choice and until we see a regime in control of the US that doesn't like to wage war at the drop of a hat (and actually has the average American's best interests at heart instead of the average corporation's), I'd say everyone should stay away from the US military.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Pretty wild, huh?
The words "Plastic bags" in the original post link to a Salon.com article on this subject here: http://urltea.com/16qf
I wonder if the management of my local Ralph's supermarket would mind loading up my groceries into a Trader Joe's brand non-paper-or-plastic grocery bag...I've got five of them, I think.
Regardless, it's pretty disturbing to think that part of why we're in Iraq today is so we can keep using those damn plastic bags--and if that's how many barrels of oil just the bags represent, think about everything else oil-based in our lives.
All of the plastic found in our computers, TVs, DVDs, cars, kitchens, bathrooms. Then there's make-up, chemicals and a great deal more.
If Al Qaeda really wanted to get at us, they'd stay right where they are, assuming Bush is right (ha!), and blow up all that oil.
We would be so, intensely, completely screwed.
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Technically any good? Unbelievably solid. I would have liked a larger scope for the film, but th 3rd Reich's last few years still made for an interesting film. I wish the director would have made an epic like Das Boot about this subject matter. The acting is amazing--almost every single actor nails the ambiguity of working for a man who was amoral in some ways and delusional in others. You can almost understand why they didn't stop him. Those same scenes provided a disturbing mirror to what must be going on these days inside the White House.
How did it leave me feeling? Depressed. There are some seriously heavy scenes in this film--child murder, suicide, and lots of delusional people absolutely convinced that what they were doing was right.
Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now - Excellent film. Just excellent (but not for kids, duh).
Now, to me, this always seemed like an empty gesture since pollution is immediate and it takes years for trees to grow. It reminded me of fat people ordering a huge chocolate sundae and then a Diet Coke. Diet Coke isn't actually good for you at all, it's just less bad for you. There's nothing healthy about Diet Coke. There's nothing that helps you lose weight. And, it turns out, according to a September 23, 2007 article at http://TimesOnline.co.uk (readable here: http://urltea.com/1lkn), that carbon offsets are just as less bad for the Earth as Diet Coke is for you.
In a nutshell, a carbon offset company called Climate Care pays impoverished farmers in India to stop using polluting diesel pumps in favor of human-foot-powered treadles that power a pump used on farms. The catch? It's the kids of the farmers who get stuck doing all the work and it gets worse. Check out a cutting from the article:
Last week Indian experts criticised the scheme, saying it was promoting child labour and forcing poor farmers to work harder so that wealthy air travellers could enjoy exotic holidays without worrying about the environment.
â€œThe problem is the number of times child labour is involved,â€ claimed Ashutosh Pandey of Emergent Ventures India, which advises companies on clean technology.
â€œItâ€™s not being monitored properly. Itâ€™s not reducing emissions. People are selling their diesel pumps to others who are using them.â€
Sunita Narain, an environmentalist at the Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi think tank, said: â€œIt wonâ€™t help global warming if people take more flights to the Seychelles.â€
Just like Diet Coke.
There's no immediate way to get around ruining the environment with carbon-burning tech. Absolutely none. I take the bus around LA or walk (!) but that doesn't help the environment--it just Diet Cokes it--makes the damage a bit more slow going. The same goes for carbon offsets. The damage is done when you fly a plane--period.
So, what's the solution?
Well, as usual, I lay the
All we can do is switch to fluorescent light bulbs, recycle our trash and grocery bags, eat locally grown foods, drive a hybrid or take the bus. You know what? It's going to take more than that to counter-act all the technology that is still going to be spewing in the meantime.
Force big business to start giving a crap about the world and you'll see some serious changes. Let's see one of those billion-dollar businessmen sacrifice some of his salary to help save the sky from going gray forever.
Come on, are we still going to use the "they've got to make a living" excuse for the continued trashing of Terra?
Oh and if you're a Digger, please digg this story by going here:
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I can't believe I can actually keep track of all of these damn socnets! I'm going to have to have a separate post with links to all of them as opposed to the cute little boxes underneath the site logo...
So, yesterday it was my Tumblr blog and today it's Virb and Mashable. I'd post a link to my Facebook, Mixi and Y!Mash profiles, but you have to be members of each of those sites to even see them. Very weird to have sites rely solely on word of mouth and not allow potential users a chance to have a look.
Ah well... if you're on any of the sites that I'm on friend me, damn it!
UPDATE 2:18AM: I just HAD to join another. Now I'm on Bebo. What's worse is that my URL for the site isn't even my name--someone else is going by ThePete on there and the system won't let me change it to "thepetecom". LAME.
3. Payment â€“ we offer an innovative pageloads-based payment system which means that the earnings on your posts are not capped, and you continue to earn money from all your posts while youâ€™re with XXXX.com. At the same time, we also offer a minimum guaranteed payment per post.
Yeeeah, I don't think I want to let my pay ride on a fickle public or a possibly un-marketed blogsite, thank you very much. When are employers going to get back to actually paying us for working for them?
Technically any good? Definitely. The Coen Brothers made this film. You may recall their Raising Arizona or their Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. Good, if not a little weird, stuff. Solid acting from everyone involved and a script that doesn't make complete sense, but I don't think it was supposed to. John Tuturro steals every damn scene he's in. Brilliant, that man is.
How did it leave me feeling? Feeling good to be alive and to not have John Goodman's character as a friend. I think after this viewing of the film I realized that I've grown some Lebowski-esque traits since the first time I saw it. I can't tell if that's good or bad.
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - it's a little violent, a little "out-there" and a little sexual, so it may not be for you. But if you don't mind those things, you'll probably enjoy it just fine.
ThePete abides, my friends, and aren't you glad he's out there?
One of the daily decisions we all face is what to eat. How do we eat well and in a way thatâ€™s good for the environment â€” and at the same time have meals that are easy to fix and taste good?
One food that fits all this is the simple Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. According to the PB&J Campaign website:
* Eating a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich instead of a grilled cheese or chicken sandwich saves 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Thatâ€™s almost half of what youâ€™d save if you switched to a Hybrid car.
* The same sandwich will save 280 gallons of water since growing peanuts takes less water than livestock.
* Growing peanuts also takes less land than animals â€” so your sandwich could help preserve 12-50 square feet of land from being used for cultivation.
I bet you didnâ€™t realize that eating three Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches could have the same environmental impact as switching your showers to a low-flow shower head.
Uh, yeah, I didn't actually know that last bit about swapping my "showers to a low-flow shower head." Not sure why I should know that (or how many showers I'm supposed to have), but still pretty amazing how efficient a PB & J sandy is. The funny thing about the 21-c-c.c post is that it tries to suggest that there's no difference between mainstream corporate peanut butter and all-natural stuff that is simply made of peanuts. There is so much extra crap in, say, Jiff or Skippy that it scares me. When I switched my diet around back in 2003 to consume as much natural food as possible, one of the first things I did was change PB brands.
If you don't believe me, try all natural PB just once to compare what real food looks and tastes like compared to the corporate crap. If memory serves, if you take a jar of corporate PB, unscrew the cap and hold it upside down nothing spills out.
That's really not supposed to happen. The natural stuff, especially before you stir it up, is almost a syrup. That's because it's (say it with me) natural.
Sure, according to some government sponsored scientists the crappy corporate stuff isn't always worse for you than the all-natural stuff. However, see the real thing for yourself and make up your mind. It's not like those government guys aren't listening to the will of big business, or anything.
FYI, I use Trader Joe's Creamy Unsalted Peanut Butter (just peanuts in it!), TJ's organic fruit spread (the only thing added in the raspberry flavored is vitamin C & citric acid), and TJ's LOOK PA! NO FLOUR! Sprouted Wheat Berry bread.
By the way, when I switched to all natural foods, I lost 20 pounds in a month, though I gained a bit of it back by eating too much healthy food.
Hey, healthy doesn't mean it won't make you heavy.
Come on, it's your body and it's made to eat natural food, not chemicals.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
INCREDIBLY useful tutorial if you're writing a short story, book or poem and plan on submitting said creative work for publication someplace. Linked to from here: http://urltea.com/1l47 (AndromedaSpaceways.com)
This badboy links up your Twitter stream to your Del.icio.us account so all of the links you Twitter end up there. Pretty sweet! And yes, I'm getting addicted to this Tumblr thing.
Social bookmarking service. Fast tagging and posting to all major social websites - SocialMarker.com (ThePete sez: Seems cool enough...I'm trying it out...)
Social bookmarking service. Fast tagging and posting to all major social websites - SocialMarker.com (ThePete sez: Seems cool enough...I'm trying it out...)
Oops, I said "blog"!
Â What I meant to say was Tumblr Blog!
Â Anyway, so, I stumble across Tumblr.com, have a look at a few featured "Tumblelogs" and write a post on my blog (here: http://thepete.com/tumblrcom-seems-to-make-you-a-jerk/) bagging on Tumblr because it seems to encourage users to be glib, shallow, and generally unoriginal.
I was curious if I was right, so here I am putting my money where my mouth is.Â
Â I know from my experience with Twitter, I've learned to say things with fewer words and that trait has followed over )to a certain degree) to my blogging, which is good.Â The question is whether or not traits I learn to use Tumblr will follow me back home, too.
Â One thing's already certain, I don't like the interface for entering text.Â WYSIWYG is positively for squares, man.Â Who can't type in tags every now and again in today's world?Â Also, what's with the weird line spacing?Â When I hit "return" it double spaces.Â Nice, in theory, but since this is the only thing that does that, it's annoying.
It's good to conform in someways, bad in others.Â The balance between isn't always so hard to get to.Â
First off, Mac people only wish they were this elitist.
Check out what Tumblr.com's FAQ page says a "Tumblelog" is:
To make a simple analogy: If blogs are journals, tumblelogs are scrapbooks.
You can also look at tumblelogs as slightly more structured blogs that make it easier, faster, and more fun to post and share stuff you find or create.
You can find more information on Wikipedia.
So, they're not "Tumblr Blogs" even though the site that you create these blogs on is called "Tumblr.com." And then, what IS a "Tumblelog"? Their description is kind of odd, since, through the magic of hyperlinks and these things called "tags," my WordPress blog is very much already a scrapbook of my life, so knowing how a "Tumblelog" is more like a scrapbook and less like a regular blog would be nice. Sadly, nowhere on the FAQ do they tell you, only mentioning (as above) that we should go to their Wikipedia article to learn more.
Wow. Imagine if someone sat down for a TV interview but answered everything in vague advertising propaganda terms and when pressed referred the reporter to their Wikipedia entry.
Why have a FAQ at all? Why not just link to the damn Wikipedia?
But I don't give up that easily, I like "simple" and "elegant" (even with the quotes) so, I decided to check out some of the "featured" "Tumblelogs."
The very first thing I noticed about tumblelog.marco.org is that in the sidebar he's got excerpts from his regular blog which ALL look more interesting than the entries in his tumblelog. There are pictures and they seem to have meat to them. The entries in the tumblelog are all very short and kind of bleak. Here is a sampling:
Bug in Excel 2007 Microsoft Excel 2007 has a serious bug in simple arithmetic calculations that should produce 65535. The simplest example is 850 x 77.1, which results in 10000 instead of 65535. (thanks Anmar)
...I am against comments on Tumblr. Why? Because Tumblr is a site for tumblelogs. The tumblelog is a beautifully simple medium. One of the wonders of the simplicity is the lack of a commenting system. [...] Why would you throw all kinds of extra crap onto a medium that exists for itâ€™s simplicity? Wordpress is free. Textpattern is free. Symphony is free. Livejournal is free. Blogger is free. There are so many other platforms to blog with. Why duct tape comments onto a tumblelog?
â€” pixelspread: Tumblr Comments
How to operate email
1. Don't use auto-responders.
2. Absolutely don't use those stupid systems that send me a verification email and make me fill out a CAPTCHA before they send the message to you. It may stop spam, but it also stops legitimate messages while frustrating and inconveniencing people who try to email you. Your spam is your problem, not mine.
Lemur CATTA Read, comprehend, comment.
Rands In Repose: The Button How to operate each personality type in a job interview.
...Every few days Twitter stops working, and tells me "Features and improvements are on the way!" Well, you know what would be an improvement? Staying online!
...What all this come's down to is the sense of a nation absolutely fooling itself that it can carry on in the way it is used to. I'm hardly an advocate of the US giving up and committing suicide. What I advocate is a broad recognition that reality is compelling us to change our behavior. Reality is trying to tell us that we can't run an economy based on nothing more than investment schemes without directing investment into activities that produce things of value. Reality is telling us to be very worried about living arrangements that can only function with copious imports of oil from people who are disgusted with us. Reality is telling us that we can't divert our food crops into making motor fuels without people becoming unable to afford either fuel or food. Reality is telling us to redirect our culture more toward things-we-do-with-other-people and less toward things-we-do-with-new-things. Reality is telling us to shift from avoidance behavior and denial to engaging with reality in order to lead lives that are consistent with reality.
â€” Jim Kunstler (thanks AZspot)
...C++ is a horrible language. It's made more horrible by the fact that a lot of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it's much much easier to generate total and utter crap with it. Quite frankly, even if the choice of C were to do nothing but keep the C++ programmers out, that in itself would be a huge reason to use C.
â€” Linus Torvalds (thanks Anmar)
the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks (thanks Topherchris)
...But the main reason that any programmer learning any new language thinks the new language is SO much better than the old one is because heâ€™s a better programmer now! You look back at your old ugly PHP code, compared to your new beautiful Ruby code, and think, â€œGod that PHP is ugly!â€ But donâ€™t forget you wrote that PHP years ago and are unfairly discriminating against it now.
Itâ€™s not the language (entirely). Itâ€™s you, dude. Youâ€™re better now. Give yourself some credit.
â€” Why I switched back to PHP after 2 years on Rails (thanks Contrived Chaos and Dalas Verdugo - and yes, that was me who removes unnecessary numbers from blog-post titles)
Hopefully, that's enough to make my point--kind of depressing, overly critical stuff. Sure, not everyone must blog about the United States as a police state and this is supposed to be a "tumblelog" but I'm just not seeing anything unique about this thing aside from the fact that almost every post contains very little original content and only contains the (kind of selfish) mini-rant about how something sucks. Now, I know I blog about depressing stuff that sucks all the time, but the point is, why do it in this format? Seems, so far, that Tumblr is more a place that encourages you to grab textual soundbites from others. The fact that these are all fairly judgmental, negative quotes goes to the personality of Marco, I would think. But again, it's funny how his regular blog looks way more interesting than his tumblelog.
There's nothing overtly obnoxious about Blogable.net. At first glance, it's just a blog fairly short entries, again, featuring very little original content and links to other stories. The catch is, they're all links to stories on Digg. Lately, I've been getting more and more annoyed with Digg Whoring. Digg Whoring is when you beg people to Digg your blog posts to make them more popular. Blogable.net seems to exist only to make it's posts more popular. There is more to life than being popular, you know.
Next up, I looked at Tumbl.us. The unifying quality of tumblelogs is definitely having little-to-no original content. Tumble.us has more pictures that the other tumblelogs but they aren't accompanied by much. While not as negative as tumblelog.Marco.org, these are pretty judgmental. Check out this post on tumblelog etiquette which is basically just a quote from our pal Marco from earlier:
I loved this little rant by Marco. I do hate the term tumblrblog. I hate when people can't say tumblelog. Sometimes I feel like no one says anything outloud anymore. Like whoever named thoof...
"It's "tumblelog". Pronounce it like the complete word "tumble" followed by the complete word "log". No gaps, emphasis on "tum".
The following alternatives are all wrong and awkward:
- Tumblr blog
- tumble blog
Also, the correct present participle is "tumblelogging".
I recognize that it doesn't take much skill to publish on the internet, but please make an effort to get your terminology right, even if the rest of your article is completely wrong.
Yeah, sounds like Marco to me.
But sheesh--what's the big effing deal whether people call them "tumble blogs" or "tumblelogs" or "TUMblogs"? Why the RULES?
Finaly, I checked out Anarchia.org, the site that claims to be the very first tumblelog, and it was actually kind of cool. Maybe it was the site's mix of pictures and text, or the fact that the author does include personal commentary, or perhaps it was that the author wasn't clearly a dick about things in each post. I think the fact that author seemed to be trying to make the blogiverse a better place with his posts also might have something to do with me liking it. That's something I try to do, too. Sometimes I'm pull it off, other times not.
In the end, it seems like Tumblr.com seems to encourage a lack of thought, a quick judgment that results in posts that lack a whole lot of information or perspective. Sure, we can find that elsewhere, but why spend time being shallow, short and judgemental?
Yes, I know I'm being judgmental by judging them, but I'm, at least, trying to be constructive about it.
In the meantime, you can judge for yourself by checking out the sites I mention. Here they are again for easy reference:
Will I sign up for a Tumblr Blog? Probably, just to see if the plague hits me, too...
Oh and for the record, if you make comments optional on Tumblr each Tumblr blogger can decide for themselves if they want them instead of this odd Greek-forum-style democracy. I just LOVE it when a handful of people get together and decide what's right for everyone else.
Technically any good? FX are pretty solid for it's time and the acting was pretty solid, too. Well, they were all believable little kids. The badguys were less believable, but I liked Robert Davi's twist on the typical Italian-American gangster. The story was pretty solid over-all--now we know where Nicholas Cage's National Treasure got the idea from.
How did it leave me feeling? Happy, but a little bored. Movies these days tend to have too many endings or too few. I wasn't used to the climax being a little flat and a wrap-up that managed to sneak in a few more fat-jokes, Asian jokes and a reasonable ending to a film. One truly nitpicky point: pirates on the west coast??
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - This kind of film is so much fun and perfect for everyone over the age of about ten or twelve, in my mind. There are a few randy jokes, but nothing you can't say "we'll explain that when you're older" to.
Monday, September 24, 2007
However, after signing up with them, I have another concern and that's security. As I finished the sign-up-process, I was told I'd get an email soon regarding my account. Assuming that the wait would be minutes, I clicked on the "LOG IN" link so I could quickly type in my username and password only to find myself logged into an account already--not mine--some dude called "Frederic." Check out the screencap:
Hm.... not really sure I want to be responsible for the contents of an account that can be accidentally accessed by some random stranger who just signed up, thanks. I didn't mess with Frederic's account because, frankly, I wouldn't want anyone messing with mine. But still, seeing that username of his in the corner says I was definitely logged in as him, and not that he had shared the contents of and access to his account.
Sad, because I was really looking for an only server I could dump all of my mp4s onto in order to have access to them anywhere I have a flash-capable browser (like Anywhere.FM).
Technically any good? The acting was good, but understated and the direction was invisible, the way it should be. The film is actually very slow. There's also not a whole lot of emotion or character development. Somehow, the film ends up being entertaining, nonetheless. The story is solid, interesting and only slightly predictable (and not even predictable in a bad way). It's got an incredible fight sequence that will make the film infamous and a quiet intensity that just earn this movie a cult following.
How did it leave me feeling? Definitely satisfied, but for very different reasons than I normally expect. The film was slow, but intense. It reminded me of Lonestar in that way.
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - it's a little disconcerting with some violence and disturbing imagery and it's rated R so it's not for the kiddies. The ladies might enjoy Viggo's completely naked fight scene, however.
The impeachment was voted down 281 to 8. The point is, he and 7 other representatives in the House were able to make an attempt to impeach the president. Now, why can't we get a SINGLE congressperson or senator to do that today when there are stacks of evidence to prove wrongdoing by the White House and Bush, specifically?
Not a single politician in Washington has the balls to do their job in this respect.
I'd give a politician credit just for putting forward a motion to impeach--even if it failed, I'd be happy that the attempt was at least made to do what was right.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
You can always stop by ThePete.Com/munity and click on TheSaturdaily to learn more (or just go here: http://thepetecom.ning.com/group/thesaturdaily).
Friday, September 21, 2007
Incidentally, one of the scientists they interviewed also mentioned that a cup of coffee per day lowers your chances of becoming diabetic. I'm guessing he meant that statistics show that a cup of coffee a day lowers your chances of becoming diabetic. I've never heard of any tangible link between coffee consumption and diabetes prevention.
As far as how chocolate (and wine) make(s) you healthier, studies have shown that eating it regularly lowers your risk for heart disease. Some how the stuff that makes up the chocolate (which is very similar to the stuff that makes up wine) effect blood vessels in a way that improves heart health. To be even more specific, I found a transcript of the interview at TheNakedScientists.com (read it entirely here: http://urltea.com/1jxk) and here's the important cutting:
Weâ€™ve done our own research in this area and shown that the potent effects, modifying the function of endothelial cells, which are the cells that line blood vessels, and these effects could definitely be associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Exactly the same molecules weâ€™re looking at when weâ€™re looking at red wine and thereâ€™s so much similarity between the effects weâ€™re observing and the molecules that weâ€™re studying that thereâ€™s a parallel between consumers of highly tannic red wine and those who like to eat dark chocolate, in terms of the effects observed.
Those were the words of one Roger Corder from the Royal London Medical School. So, there you have it!
I'm going to head down to Trader Joe's and pick me up a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck and a slab of the dark brown stuff!
Oh, damn... I just remembered that I don't drink and don't touch refined sugar...NO FAIR!
Technically any good? The designs are excellent. As with the
How did it leave me feeling? A little unfulfilled, which is a very common trait for anime shows. Lots of times you spend the entire series building up to something and then the pay off is much less than you expected. This is the case here, but ultimately, it could have been much worse. I found the resolution of the plot to be fairly solid nonetheless, though it didn't end up making much sense of the rest of the series (this was the "less than expected" part). It was tragic and sad and a tear-jerker right up to that point where it got a shrug from me. Still, it did leave me wanting more and luckily, the sequel series Mai Otome/My Otome is now available on DVD in the US (here: http://urltea.com/1jun) and there's another sequel series airing in Japan right now called Mai Otome Zwei (don't ask me about those titles because I just have no idea).
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - I give it 3.5 stars, over all. I think it's a good show for teen girls to watch because it's about girls maturing and using their "new powers" to make difficult choices--this works pretty well as a metaphor for what girls are going through at age 15 (the same age as the characters in Mai Hime). Ultimately, if you can ignore the fact that there is never any explanation for why things are happening, then you'll probably enjoy this series.
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
Dissent and Al Qaeda!
2. Create a gulag
Secret prisons and torture, ring a bell?
3. Develop a thug caste
We've all heard of Blackwater, now, right?
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
How many times have I blogged on this?
5. Harass citizens' groups
Hey, even Michael Moore covered this one and I've seen undercover cops at anti-war rallies first hand (what protester would wear one of those ear-piece things you see on TV?) so this has definitely happened.
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
That kid in San Fran who was held in jail for over a year because he wouldn't give up a video tape is a good example--all the people released from Gitmo without charges are other good examples.
7. Target key individuals
I was a little fuzzy on this, so here is part of Wolf's explanation from the Guardian article:
Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on regents at state universities to penalise or fire academics who have been critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their major corporate clients to boycott them.
Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that "waterboarding is torture" was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.
Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks like insufficient political loyalty.
That would be the whole thing that derailed Gonzales, just recently. Good thing SOMEbody's doing their job in Washington! (Or not in this case!)
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
"If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists."
10. Suspend the rule of law
Already we've seen Bush do this for himself, but Wolf has more:
The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency - which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.
Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."
Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act - which was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having seen citizens bullied by a monarch's soldiers, the founders were terrified of exactly this kind of concentration of militias' power over American people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.
Yay! I'm not just some crazy, paranoid freak with a blog!
Well, I'm in good company, if nothing else.
HOT company--if you saw the Colbert interview, you know what I mean. Have a look:
Click the above image to see her interview on the Colbert Report. It's a 7.8MB mp4 file safe for iPod/PSP playing.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
White House in ContemptDear Pete,
I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on the status of the contempt of Congress resolution in the House of Representatives.
As you may know, the Judiciary Committee passed a resolution before the August recess holding the White House and Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress for their failure to provide documents and appear before the committee as legally required by subpoena.
The information we have received to date from the Justice Department from our U.S. Attorneys investigation indicates the White House played a central role in the firing of the nine federal prosecutors. Yet, the White House has stonewalled and consistently refused to cooperate with inquiries into this matter.
At the heart of our investigation is the evidence uncovered suggesting that the nine U.S. Attorneys were fired for politically-motivated reasons, while others may have been retained because they were pursuing partisan investigations.
We have also discovered that job candidates' political contributions and affiliations were considered in hiring decisions for nonpartisan positions in the Department of Justice. Our job has been made more difficult by apparent misleading testimony from the Attorney General and other Department of Justice officials.
This politicization of our judicial system cannot be tolerated. Our citizens have a right to expect that federal prosecutions will be conducted in a fair and nonpartisan manner.
There are many steps we can take in this confrontation with the White House. Some are more extreme than others. What we must first do is get the facts that show who made these decisions in the White House. Only once we have this evidence can we adequately pursue justice.
What is now required is for the House to pass these contempt of Congress citations and pursue legal action against the White House and Harriet Miers for their failure to meet the requirements of the subpoenas. Hopefully this contempt of Congress resolution will soon have a vote on the floor of the House. I am not prepared to allow this administration to operate above the law.
Thank you for your continued support for a better democracy.
John Conyers, Jr.
Hm, interesting. That's funny since that's not true. Of course, I had to call him on it. So, I clicked "reply" and typed up this:
Thanks for this email. The thing is, sir, you've been letting the White House operate above the law for years. Three years ago the GAO found the White House's production of Video News Releases that didn't credit the United States government as their source to be a violation of federal law, specifically, the federal law banning covert propaganda. If memory serves, the GAO also found that, since the White House used taxpayer money for this covert propaganda, they violated another federal law that prohibits the use of said taxpayer dollars on the production of propaganda. So, you and the rest of Congress have been allowing the Bush Administration to operate entirely above the law for some time now.
All it took for Bill Clinton to be impeached was lying under oath.
The really frightening thing is that this covert propaganda stuff is just the tip of the iceberg. There are stacks of other laws they've definitely broken and stacks more of laws they are likely to have broken.
Please do something about this. Save the reputation of Congress. Uphold the law. DO something. Do ANYthing to prove to me and millions of other Americans following your activities that the government can still function the way it is supposed to.
The stuff I mention is all stuff I've covered on ThePete.Com before, but then, I suspect Representative Conyers doesn't read my site. :( Of course, I had to shrug when the above email got bounced. I decided to try to submit my reply through JohnConyers.com, but their contact form threw me an error message: "You cannot send more than 3 messages per hour. Please try again later."
Whaaaa? That was just from clicking "Contact" in the menu bar underneath the header at the top of the page (where else would a header be? Duh). Ironically, at the bottom of the page, they have another email address seemingly aimed at campaign issues--which is odd, but I figure it's a valid email since it's there. So, I sent my reply there. Of course, it's just typed their in text, so it won't be long before spambots find it and start sending all sorts of penis-extension emails to it. Stupid spammers, Conyers is blaaaack! Penis-extension pills would be something he probably wouldn't need--IF you know what I mean...
Speaking of which, I used to think Conyers had balls, but it seems that his job is more important to him than America and the American system of government. To me it seems like he'd have even more public influence if he were to somehow lose his job for talking tough once again.
There was, after all, a long time where all I got, on his mailing list, were emails about impeaching Bush.
Maybe he needs those penis-extension pills after all.
Technically any good? Well, I'll always maintain that the flight sequences are truly thrilling (there are only a couple obvious model shots in the film) the story and acting was straight out of some low-rent acting school. No offense to Kelly McGillis, who really is a great actress, but she's pretty flat in this. If this movie were shot today, they'd cast the chick from Transformers as the dog fighting instructor. The music was cheesy and fun and the FX were great.
How did it leave me feeling? Astounded--how did I ever take this film seriously? I think most of us did back in the 1980s. Maybe I just liked the military more back then? I can't explain it. But it's seriously painful to watch now.
Final Rating? RTV - Rent The Video - for 1980s nostalgia's sake only. Don't expect an actual good movie.
The thing is, as good as The Corporation was, it only spent a few minutes out of its 3 hour run-time to talk about this planned coup. I've always been meaning to read up on it, but hadn't had the time. The other day I wrote a post that touched on this, but all I could find on the 'net to back my story up was the Wikipedia.org article (here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler). Well, it seems like Alan Bellows over at DamnInteresting.com read my mind because just yesterday he posted a full-on story about the planned coup--did all sorts of research for it and everything! You can check it out for yourself here: http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=883
Here's a taste to get you started:
In the early 1930s, a secret collection of prosperous men are said to have assembled in New York City to discuss the dissolution of America's democracy. As a consequence of the Great Depression, the countryside was littered with unemployed, and the world's wealthy were watching as their fortunes deflated and their investments evaporated. As men of action, the well-financed New York group sought to eliminate what they reasoned to be the crux of the catastrophe: the United States government.
To assist them in their diabolical scheme, the resourceful plotters recruited the assistance of Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, a venerated, highly decorated, and considerably jaded former Marine. It was the conspirators' earnest hope that their army of 500,000 Great War veterans, under the leadership of General Butler, could overpower the US' feeble peacetime military and reconstitute the government as a more economical fascist dictatorship.
Here's just a bit more:
On the 1st of July 1933, Smedley Butler was visited by a pair of gentlemen who had come to urge him to run for the office of National Commander of the American Legion, an influential organization of veterans. Though Butler declined the invitation, one of the menâ€“ Gerald MacGuireâ€“ made several subsequent visits during which he disclosed additional details. He claimed to represent The Committee for a Sound Dollar, whose primary purpose was to pressure the president to reinstate the gold standard. He implied that his organization had the support of several political leaders, and the financial backing of some of the country's most affluent individuals and successful corporations.
The credibility of MacGuire's claims was reinforced when he produced evidence of considerable cash resources and made some eerily accurate predictions regarding personnel changes in the White House. He also accurately described the still-secret but soon-to-be-announced American Liberty League, a high-profile group whose stated purpose was to "defend and uphold the Constitution." The League's principal players were comprised of wealthy Americans, including the leaders of DuPont, JP Morgan, US Steel, General Motors, Standard Oil, Colgate, Heinz Foods, Chase National Bank, and Goodyear Tire. There are some who claim that Prescott Bushâ€“ father to the 41st US President and grandfather to the 43rdâ€“ was also entangled in the scheme.
It's always fun when the Bush clan shows up in these quietly told chapters of US history. Turns out, Butler actually said that he "helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12."
Brown Brothers would be joined by Harriman to become the bank that laundered money for Fritz Thyssen. Thyssen's banker? Prescott Bush. Read more about that here: http://urltea.com/1j9x and here: http://urltea.com/1j9y Suffice it to say that there were government records to prove that, as well.
How did the coup work out? In the end, Butler was too much of a hard-ass patriotic American to do these businessmen's bidding. He held a press conference and spilled the beans to the media. There were hearings on the Hill and everything--but, like the 911 Commission, despite the admitted evidence of serious wrong doing no one was ever charged or indicted or thrown in jail or anything. Essentially, the USG decided that there was something going on, but didn't bother to take it any further.
Like I said, just like the 911 Commission. Lots of changes are necessary, but no, no one's getting fired because the USG let 911 happen.
So, there ya go! Businessmen conspired to overthrow the USG. Why aren't we taught about it in history class? My guess is that we're not supposed to know our corporate
There's a LOT more to that article, you should really head over and check it out. Here's that link again: http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=883
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Technically any good? While I had my issues with the casting (young Anthony Hopkins is WAY hunkier than old Anthony Hopkins), I think everything was pretty damn solid. The story and script were both solid, acting was superb (though I think monotone doesn't count as an acting choice for Nicole Kidman). Everything was just solid.
How did it leave me feeling? Thoughtful--veeeery thoughtful. There's an interesting subtext (with the emphasis on "SUB") in this film of prison and slavery--I think in someways it mirrors our own reality. See? Like I said: it left me feeling thoughtful.
Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now - I really recommend this movie for anyone who enjoys good character studies and the push to think about their own lives.
However, one thing I think the other articles don't mention that Michael does in his post is how plastic bottles will break down. Here's how he puts it:...the plastic from the bottled water actually breaks down toxically into the water you are drinking out of it.
Crazy, huh? Now, the reason I started drinking bottled water a lot and why I filter my tap water at home is because the water that comes out of my tap is actually visibly disgusting. Rusted pipes (I'm guessing) turn the water a vague orange--however, the coloring doesn't last long. I can run the tap a bit and it clears up--still, if that's what I can see, how do I know there isn't worse stuff that I can't see?
Now, there are alternatives to both plastic bottled water and tap. Michael, in his post, recommends buying bottled water in glass bottles or some kind of reusable container that you can refill at the source. My friend John has a bottle from http://Sigg.ch and I'll be following suit, myself. Those are some nice bottles. Then, there's the guy from Ipswitch, UK that Telegraph.co.uk reported on (here: http://urltea.com/1hr8) who invented a bottle that costs about $400 so I won't be picking up one of these until after I get the new iPod Touch--hey, a guy's got to have his priorities! But if healthy filtered drinking water is something you think is worth $400 right now, you can head over to LifeSaverSystems.com/buy.html and pick one up yourself. There is also the LifeStraw, but that's only available to institutions currently. Read more about it at LifeStraw.com.
So, there are things you can do and once again we see there is nothing that Big Business won't do to make a buck--even if it means completely misleading us and ultimately wasting our money.
But hey, they've got to make a living right?
MAN, do I hate that phrase!
Don't assassins and hitmen have to make a living, too?
Back on the topic, here are some more quick facts when it comes to bottled water:
1) Bottled water is extremely harmful to the environment, with more than 60 million bottles of water thrown away each day and 20 million barrels of oil used each year to make the plastic bottles containing the water. (source: http://urltea.com/1hqy)
2) Nearly 90 percent of water bottles are not recycled and wind up in landfills where it takes thousands of years for the plastic to decompose. (source: http://urltea.com/1hr2)
3) It takes 6.74 times the amount of water to produce a single kilogram bottle of Fiji bottled water. (source: http://urltea.com/1hr3)
4) NASA and the WHO (the World Health Organization, not the rock band) think that by 2050 4 billion people will face water shortages. (source: http://urltea.com/1hr5)
5) The FDA's standards for tap water are much more strict than their standards for bottled water. (source: http://urltea.com/1hr2)
I could go on. Obviously there is a problem. What is my solution? Until I can get my hands on one of those filter bottles, I'll be buying myself a steel bottle from Sigg and then refilling it with filtered tap water. The filter pitcher I use is from Britta, but I have no idea how effective it is. Once I can get one of those filter bottles, I'll definitely be using it as a middle man between my tap and my steel bottle.
What are you going to do? Hmmmm?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Technically any good? Not really. This seemed to me to be a quick and dirty "scifi" "action" movie that cost a few bucks to make and a few weeks to shoot (if that). There was one surprise in the script, but it happens early on and you might miss it or, if not, find it frustrating. The production values were kind of a joke and the acting was hit and miss. I blame the director for this, however, since all it would have taken was a second or third take to get something better out of them (yeah, it looked like everything was shot with as few takes as possible). The crappy FX were made passable by constant rain masking the low resolution.
How did it leave me feeling? Meh, like I had just taken an Alka-Seltzer by inhaling the fumes. Pretty unsubstantial but worth seeing in an MST3K kind of way. It's basically Battlefield Earth without the budget or the John Travolta, which means in some ways it's better than BE and other ways worse. Of course, it WAS better than Transformers, which was why I Netflixed it in the first place. While that movie was insultingly stupid and left me filled with bile and animosity toward Hollywood, Transmorphers left me feeling almost nothing, so kudos to director Leigh Scott for being less insulting than Michael Bay (like that's hard to do--sorry, Leigh!).
Final Rating? RTV - Rent The Video (but only for quipping)
Back on September 12, 2007, I spotted an article (here: http://urltea.com/1hpo) that had the headline:
The appalling fate of the polar bear, symbol of the Arctic
This is the kind of headline that just makes my eyes roll. Once again, don't get me wrong--I don't think Polar (or any other bears) should be extinct, but the first thing I thought of when I read this headline was this: "Who the hell cares about fricken' bears when humans are dying all the time??"
Now, the article is about more than just environmental issues. Here's a cutting:
Polar bears â€“ the very symbol of the Arctic's looming environmental disaster â€“ are crashing towards extinction as a result of global warming, the US government has found. The admission, the result of a massive investigation by the Bush administration, could force the President finally to take action against climate change.
The development comes at the end of the most momentous week in the human history of the Arctic, which is warming faster than anywhere else in the world. Satellite observations have revealed that its ice has shrunk to much its lowest ever level, raising fears that it had reached a "tipping point" where it would melt irreversibly, disappearing altogether in summer in less than 25 years, with incalculable global consequences,
And a separate Independent on Sunday investigation has found that polar bears are being shot in alarming numbers by rich trophy hunters from the US, Europe and Japan, even as their increasingly fragile habitat melts beneath them. Campaigners know that climate change and pollution are the biggest threats to polar bear survival, but believe that stopping sports hunting is symbolically important. Former US presidential candidate Senator John Kerry is leading the fight.
Of course, John Kerry "leading the fight" makes me roll my eyes again, but this story does actually, if indirectly, get to my position on the environment and animal rights.
Personally, I feel like the environment and the animals are not the things we should be trying to save. It's ourselves. All of the things we're doing to them we're doing to ourselves, also. Brutal deaths caused by rich white people? Yeah, that's what the Iraq war is all about! You think the average GI would be cool with killing Iraqis if there hadn't been all that rhetorical build up by rich white folks?
Of course not!
So, why was there all of that build up? It wasn't because of Iraqi WMDs (duh) and it wasn't because of Saddam's role in 911 (he didn't have one), so what was it for?
The oil is definitely a layer of the reasoning-onion, but it's a layer pretty close to the surface. Head past the the oil and you see all the money that is made on a war--the arms, the shells, the vehicles, the support crews (food, health care, entertainment, etc)--there's a lot of money to be made there. Then, don't forget Blackwater mercenaries--I've heard that there are STACKS of them over there. Of course, we're supposed to call them "contractors" but they're really mercenaries. Then there's the consultants who make money off of recommending certain contractors to certain politicians. I'm just assuming they get big finder's fees. Also, you can't forget all the money, Cheney, Bush and friends will get in the private sector after all of this is over--the lecture circuit, the books deals, the consultant deals from companies like the Carlyle Group, will likely make each powerful white man whose name you know millions of dollars (this includes honorary rich, white man Condoleezza Rice).
What's the unifying factor here?
But you can't stomp out or regulate a concept like greed (any more than you can stomp out terrorism) but you can regulate the system that uses greed as fodder. That's capitalism or corporatism. I'm not sure which is the better word to use here since the lines between their definitions and their practical applications have blurred dramatically as of late. Regardless, it's this system that allows and even encourages these rich "white" folks to keep exploiting the rest of us and the environment and the animals that live in it.
Is it the individual car owner who is causing global warming? No. It's all those damn cars out there. Well, who made those cars? Giant car companies. Why won't they make only cars that don't pollute? Because it's too expensive.
Ding! Ding! Ding!
See that? These guys own multiple homes, drive gorgeous cars and they don't want to give up any of it because they're greedy as hell and don't really care about the environment or the very animals that live in it (like us humans).
And how many other industries pollute because it's cheaper than not polluting? How many industries don't pay what their employees deserve? Hell, even those guys organizing the polar bear hunting expeditions are greedy bastards.
So, if we can put a cap on businesses that put the bottom line on top and moral and legal behavior well beneath that, I bet all of our environmental woes would go away.
Greed is not good. Greed does not work. And ultimately, corporatism/capitalism will eat itself alive from the inside unless it scales back its extremism.
Monday, September 17, 2007
A federal judge struck down controversial portions of the Patriot Act in a ruling that declared them unconstitutional Thursday, ordering the FBI to stop its wide use of a warrantless tactic for obtaining e-mail and telephone data from private companies for counterterrorism investigations.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in New York said the FBI's use of secret "national-security letters" to demand such data violates the First Amendment and constitutional provisions on the separation of powers because the FBI can impose indefinite gag orders on the companies and the courts have little opportunity to review the letters.
The secrecy provisions are "the legislative equivalent of breaking and entering, with an ominous free pass to the hijacking of constitutional values," Marrero wrote. His strongly worded, 103-page opinion amounted to a rebuke of both the Bush administration and Congress, which had revised the act in 2005 to take into account an earlier ruling by the judge on the same topic.
Of course, there could easily be an appeal and a future judge might overturn this judge's ruling or maybe not. If a future judge doesn't, then, while another appeal begins, the USG will just keep on doing what it's doing as it has in the past. Like violating FISA laws that require they get permission before illegally spying on Americans. ;) Also, like they did when they had those secret prisons.
And even if appeals do fail and the USG doesn't break the law anyway, that Washington Post article points out that there are still issues:
Marrero's decision would bar the use of NSLs to demand data from electronic-communications companies, a procedure that was the focus of the suit. But the ruling appears to leave untouched the FBI's ability to demand bank records, credit reports and other financial data related to counterterror and other probes, because those authorities are covered by other statutes, according to legal experts.
Ah well. At least we're getting somewhere, right? It shows that we can get further.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
This would allow people implanted with them to walk into a supermarket and roll out a cart-full of groceries without having to stand in line to pay. The RFID chips in the products you bought would let sensors in the door know what you have and the RFID chip in your ass would tell those same sensors what bank account to take the money out of.
Sounds neat, sure--but machines make mistakes. Register scanners make mistakes already (always check your receipts!!). And what happens if you buy something, like a pack of gum and you go back inside the store later? Wouldn't the store charge you twice? Also, someone with a fairly inexpensive RFID chip reader could walk around outside your home and pick up the signals those little RFID chips give off and, in theory, compile a complete list of the items in your home. That way he'd know whether your home would be worth breaking into or not.
I won't even go into how the RFID chip in your ass could be scanned and copied. The point here is that the there are as many reasons not to embrace RFID technology as there are to embrace it. In fact, there's one more in the "cons" column as reported on in that Engadget post I mentioned earlier--cancer.
Yep, the C-word of diseases is apparently a side effect of implanting RFID chips into your flesh. Here's a cutting from that post:
a number of studies over the past decade have amassed which link the chips to malignant tumors in animal tests. Besides the potential foul play going on at the FDA and VeriChip Corp. that got the chips approved for human use in 2004, studies showing as little as 1% cancer rates in lab animals led researchers to note that the aggressive tumors which immediately encased RFID implants with cancerous cells were "clearly due to the implanted microchips", and not random occurrences.
WHOOPS! Well, 1 percent isn't too bad, is it?
Unless, you're the one percent.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
OK, the big news from last night was that Bush is going to withdraw a bunch of troops, right?
20,000 US troops will be pulled from Iraq--that's good news, right? It sounds like Bush is finally caving to all of the pressure put on him by the people of the United States who want the US out of Iraq, right?
In a way, both assumptions are not accurate. Of course, it sure sounds like good news--and it's meant to sound that way. Sadly, the reality is that hardly any mainstream media source is covering the fact that the US has built bases in Iraq that they intend to keep forever. In fact, just earlier this week as reported by www.AFP.com in a September 14, 2007 article at News.Google.Com (here: http://urltea.com/1hpg) that the US is not only building a another military base, but this one is guaranteed to piss some people off on the other side of the border in Iran. Check out this cutting:
The US military said on Monday that it is to build a base on Iraq's border with Iran to stem what it charges is rampant smuggling of weapons and fighters.
The base, which the military describes as a "life support area", will be set up near the headquarters of the Department of Border Enforcement in Badrah, in the central province of Wasit.
The province, currently the theatre of a massive US-led military crackdown targeting Shiite militiamen allegedly involved in weapons smuggling, shares a 200 kilometre (125 mile) border with Iran.
It said the base is "not really permanent, although it will be manned 24/7 and will be used for as long as necessary."
Hmmm, sounds pretty permanent to me. But isn't that funny how just four days after the US Mil says one thing that suggests they are becoming more entrenched in Iraq, Bush says something that suggests the opposite. Answer: either Bush is lying or he doesn't know what his own military is doing. I'm one of those people that really doesn't believe Bush is an idiot so I'm going to assume he's intentionally misleading us again, into thinking that a draw down of 20,000 soldiers means we're pulling out while he's quietly building a base on the fricken' Iraq/Iran border.
This will incite further tension with Iran. As if we needed more, Joe Lieberman has made it disturbingly clear that he wants us to go to Iran. How did he do this? Well, I'll quote him: "I want to go to Iran." (source: http://urltea.com/1hph) It seems that during the testimony of US Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus, Lieberman, the general and the ambassador had the following exchange:
LIEBERMAN: I want to go to Iran. Both of you have focused on the very destructive role that Iran is playing through its Quds Force in Iraq, by most counts responsible for the murder of hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi civilians and soldiers.
Ambassador Crocker, I know you've met twice with the Iranian ambassador to Baghdad. I know that some of my colleagues and others have called for a diplomatic surge with Iran to engage in negotiations with them.
In your view, based on those two meetings, are the Iranians responding to that diplomatic initiative that you commenced with them?
CROCKER: Sir, we have seen nothing on the ground that would suggest that the Iranians are altering what they're doing in support of extremist elements that are going after our forces as well as the Iraqis.
LIEBERMAN: General, do feel that you all the authorities you need from a military point of view to deter, disrupt and respond to the Iranian attacks on our troops and Iran's efforts to destabilize Iraq?
PETRAEUS: I do, Senator, again keeping in mind that that my area of responsibility is limited to Iraq. So it does not include going into Iran.
LIEBERMAN: Let me ask you about that, because I know your military spokespeople in Baghdad have made very clear that we have evidence that Iran is taking Iraqi extremists to three training camps outside of Tehran, training them in the use of explosives, sophisticated weapons, sending them back into Iraq, where they are responsible for the murder of American soldiers.
Is it time to give you authority in pursuit of your mission in Iraq to pursue those Iranian Quds Force operations in Iranian territory in order to protect America's troops in Iraq?
PETRAEUS: Sir, I think that really the Multi-National Force-Iraq should just focus on Iraq and that any kinds of operations outside the borders of Iraq would rightly be overseen by the Central Command, the regional combatant command.
LIEBERMAN: I want to just -- my time's up. I thank you both.
Jeez, dude! Crocker said the Iranians are changing anything and the general's all like "that's not my department, bitch!" so, why the mad-jones to go into Iran? Who knows? Maybe Lieberman's got mega-investments into the Military Industrial Complex or maybe he actually IS getting telepathic messages from the Israeli government. Either way, this is getting more dangerous the longer it goes on.
Oh and in case you find yourself wanting to believe the sentiment Bush expressed, that things are less bloody, don't forget my post from the other day (here: http://thepete.com/so-the-surge-is-working-then-why-all-the-blood/) and then there's the story that http://Guardian.co.uk is reporting (here: http://urltea.com/1hpi) about one of America's chief Iraqi allies being killed. Have a read at this cutting from the September 13, 2007 Guardian article:
A key figure in the US-backed revolt of Iraqi Sunni leaders against al-Qaida was killed by a bomb today, hours before George Bush was due to defend his war strategy.
The White House suffered the setback when a roadside bomb killed Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha and two of his bodyguards near the tribal leader's home in Ramadi, Anbar's provincial capital.
Abu Risha was killed 10 days after meeting Mr Bush during his surprise visit to Iraq. He led the Anbar Salvation Council, an alliance of clans that turned against al-Qaida and went over to the Iraqi government and the US military.
So, this should pretty much establish that Bush has whatever the opposite of the Midas Touch would be. He's like the video tape in The Ring. Shake his hand and ten days later... YOU'RE DEAD! (Offer not valid outside of Iraq... we assume.)