Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bless You Molly Irvins

Thank you for your wisdom and good humor. Your 62 years here were not enough.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Best-selling author and columnist Molly Ivins, the sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to President Bush as "Shrub," died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Business Evolution

As business grow up they change to meet the need of their clients. They may add service, change they way they operate, even develop totally new business models. Sometimes this can evolution can lead to the death of a business. A discount clothing chain that keeps adding customer services, and raising their prices to cover the cost of these services may eventually no longer be a discount store. The fact that the discount cloths are now priced in the same range as the name brand stores will likely kill them.

Over the last few weeks I have noticed an interesting evolution in a business that is as old as time.

Gentleman's clubs are evolving. In a couple of cities I have been driving through, on their marquees, some have started promoting a new reason to visit their establishment.

In the past this may have been discount or free admission, cheap drinks, Video Star dancers and even lunch or dinner buffets, but this latest twist strikes me as a little odd.

Come into our strip club and watch sports.

I have seen playoff football games, big basketball games, and now even WWF wrestling used as come-ons to get people into the clubs. They are promoting the number of big screen TVs, the sound systems and other techno issues to get men to come into a club that, is appears, still offers nude dancing girls, but only when there isn't something better on TV.

My how have times changed. In the past the lure used to get men to come in and spend money in these clubs were the unclothed woman and the exotic, erotic dancing taking place only a few feet away. Now the lure is the chance to see sweaty men, shown in amazing high-def with surround sound, jumping up and down on each other.


Friday, January 26, 2007

On Patrol In Iraq

Our troops start with a prayer, and then get to see how well our lessons about proper military behavior have been learned by the Iraqi troops.

The You Tube Video of the patrol is over at American Entropy.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Local Boy Pleads Guilty to Triple Murder

Attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to obstruct justice. If he were a civilian, he would be bound for a death sentence, or at least life. If he were a cop, he would be facing the same grim future.

But since he is in the Army and he was killing Iraqis and not Americans, it will be interesting to see what happens.

A 101st Airborne Division soldier pleaded guilty Thursday to murdering three detainees in Iraq last year, saying he went along with a plan to make it look like they were escaping.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Heavy Loses Today, 5 Mercenaries and 2 Troops

US forces had another bad day in Iraq. Five of the mercenary troops were killed when their helicopter crashed in Baghdad.

{edited with New Information added, link changed}

It appears that the mercenaries may have been killed after the crash.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Four of the five Americans killed when a U.S. security company's helicopter crashed in a dangerous Sunni neighborhood in central Baghdad were shot execution style in the back the head, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Wednesday.

In addition to the mercenary deaths 2 addition traditional troops have also been killed.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Escalation Off To A Rocky Start

I don't think our escalation in troops is directly related to these deaths, but we had 25 more troops killed Saturday.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The U.S. military on Sunday reported six more American troops killed in fighting the day before, raising the toll to 25 in the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Iraq in two years.

Four U.S. soldiers and a Marine were killed Saturday during combat in Anbar, the Sunni insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad, the military said. A roadside bomb also struck a security patrol northeast of Baghdad, killing one soldier.

Saturday's carnage also included 12 soldiers killed in a Blackhawk helicopter crash northeast of Baghdad, five killed in a militant attack in the holy Shiite city of Karbala and two others slain elsewhere in roadside bombings.

But I will say that this is a preview of what the Bush/McCain/Lieberman plan for Iraq will do for us.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Interesting And A Little Unsettling

China Tests A Satellite Killer

China has given notice of its increasing power in space - and provoked widespread international concern - with a successful test of an anti-satellite weapon that could be used to knock out enemy surveillance and communications craft.

15 years ago, with the fall of the Soviet Union, there was an effort to make China our next big enemy. At that time is was a silly notion. While China did have a large army, they lack the means to effectively project power much beyond their own borders.

Things sure have changed.

For years US corporations have poured manufacturing resources into the country at an amazing rate, while American consumers have filled China's banks. Western industry, both heavy and high tech, are making huge contributions to the skill level and manufacturing base of the nation, and we have been shipping hundreds of billions of dollars a year to them. This has allowed them to achieve an unprecedented level of growth and development, scientific, industrial and for their military.

By our own efforts to find cheap labor, and a way to finance our low taxes and debt, we have made the silly proposition of 1991 a reasonable concern of 2007. Lenin was alleged to have said that capitalist would sell the rope that would be used to hang him. In the case of our relationship with china, he may be proven to be correct.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Clock Is Ticking

and today Stephen Hawking and Sir Martin Rees stood up and demanded that the world take notice.

"As we stand at the brink of a second nuclear age and a period of unprecedented climate change, scientists have a special responsibility once again to inform the public and advise leaders about the perils that humanity faces.

"We foresee great perils if governments and society do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and prevent further climate change."

A one two punch in this revision of the clock. Not only does the nuclear threat appear to getting worse, but the reality that we are destroying the planet we live on is being noted.


The Good Old Days

Another fine southern gentleman has made the choice to display to the world just how open minded and progressive he is.

A state legislator's statement that black people "should get over" slavery and questioning whether Jews should apologize "for killing Christ" caused furious and tearful denunciations Tuesday before stunned lawmakers.


In the interview, Hargrove, R-Hanover, said slavery ended nearly 140 years ago with the Civil War and added, "I personally think that our black citizens should get over it."

The newspaper also quoted him as wondering aloud, "are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?"

Welcome to the south, where old ideas are lauded, and change is a multigenerational process.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy MLK Day

An observance that is now even occurring in most of the south.

Now, lets hope, all our students will actually develop an understanding of who he was and what he stood for.

In a recent survey of college students on U.S. civic literacy, more than 81 percent knew that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was expressing hope for "racial justice and brotherhood" in his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

That's the good news.

Most of the rest surveyed thought King was advocating the abolition of slavery.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Church And State

An interesting battle in the debate about the place of Christianity in our society is going on. Nathen Bradfield, at Church and State has put up a couple of incredibly stupid and uninformed posts on why he thinks the US is a 'Christian Nation'. His post have been reviewed by Ed Brayton at Dispatches From The Culture Wars, and found to be lacking.

Reading these post is a good way to see just how detatched from reality and history those who promote the US as a Christian nation are.


Cool Find In Russia

Evidence of human migration and habitation over 45,000 years ago.

An archaeological find in Russia has shed light on the migration of modern humans into Europe. Artefacts uncovered at the Kostenki site, south of Moscow, suggest modern humans were at this spot about 45,000 years ago.

One key point that this evidence brings forward is;

the team believes it has now found an alternative and possibly earlier entry route into the continent.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Trench Doctor Has A New Home

While he still spends his time in his medical mecca, his blog has a new home.

It looks real good, hop over and check it out.


Monday, January 08, 2007

A Splint And An Aspirin

The President is getting ready to announce his way forward in Iraq. He plans on interrupting our Wednesday night with a bold pronouncement that he (like John McCain and Joe Lieberman) support the idea of a limited increase in troops in the hope that it will make some difference.

The truth is this adding of a few troops is a fools errand. Iraq needed 350,000 to 500,000 troops 3 years ago. At this point it is doubtful that even that number of troops could do much to improve the security of the nation. We face a hard choice that our leaders are refusing to accept. I was listening to the news on the radio this morning and this clumsy and most likely deeply flawed medical analogy popped into my head.

A person is in an accident they have a number of injuries, mostly minor, some more serious, but their leg is badly damaged. It has been crushed, twisted, mangled; it is a total wreck.

The doctors look at it and then place a call to a few experts on major trauma. When they are asked for their opinion, they advise that there are two main options available. The first is to accept that the leg can not be saved, remove it, and concentrate of the other injuries. The second is that with major intervention, there is a chance (maybe not real great, but a chance) that both the persons life and the leg can be saved. It will me a major undertaking, making huge demands on the staff and resources of the hospital, and may require getting help from other health care providers. Even if the leg is saved, it may never function well, and they are again advised that there is an overwhelming likelihood it will not work.

The doctors in charge take in all the information, and decide that while they can not stomach the thought of removing the leg (no one is losing a leg on their watch), they also lack resources to do an effective reconstruction of the leg. So they decide on a new path (a medical surge) to put the leg in a splint, give the injured man a couple of aspirin, and see what happens.

For the Bush administration this surge is just a stall. He is taking the very Nixonesq path, his only goal is to not lose the war. We lack the resources to do the job right without making huge sacrifices, and calling in help. The idea of withdrawal will not be considered, so we are asked to put a splint on it, take a couple of aspirin and want for the next shift to come in.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

King For A Day

You're Arthur, King of the Britons: you're a noble, dignified sort, and you've had to put up with looney types much too often. Hang in there, and you'll achieve what you're after (um...right?)!

Take the Which Monty Python & The Holy Grail character are you? Test @ The Monty Python & The Holy Grail Unofficial Fan Site


Friday, January 05, 2007

The New Leadership Is In Place

Now we get to see if they can do anything to end the fraud, corruption and failure of policy that has defined DC for the last few years.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Our Obscene Behavior Continues To Be Exposed

Over the last couple of years some of the disgusting behavior of the US military and other aspects of the US security apparatus has been exposed. From Abu Ghraib to Cuba to the various black hole prisons we have created world wide, it is clear that we have abandoned the standards we once claimed to uphold.

In October 2002, a Marine captain allegedly squatted over a copy of the Koran during intensive questioning of a Muslim prisoner, who was "incensed" by the tactic


interrogators wrapped a bearded prisoner's head in duct tape "because he would not stop quoting the Koran," according to an FBI agent, the documents show. The agent, whose account was corroborated by a colleague, said that a civilian contractor laughed about the treatment and was eager to show it off.


one interrogator bragged to an FBI agent that he had forced a prisoner to listen to "Satanic black metal music for hours," then dressed as a Catholic priest before "baptizing" him.

What the Bush administration has made us is the antithesis of what we were conceived to be. At some point in time, those responsable for these acts, and those who allowed them to occur must be held accountable.