31 August 2008

Sailor Accused of Child Rape

Dahmer-esque crimes seem to be happening in the Navy

Damn. A Bangor-based chief on the USS Ohio stands accused of child rape of a girl aged 13 and a boy when he was between 8 and 12 years old. Not exactly the Honor, Courage, and Commitment the Navy is looking for. This is the 4th child molestation related offense I can count in the last year. The other 3 include:
  • Master Chief at Bangor convicted of molesting an 8 year old girl (October 2007)
  • Master Chief in charge of base at Kitsap (where the shipyard is) charged with soliciting sex from two 12-year olds in a sting at a Bremerton hotel (March 2007)
  • Pearl Harbor sailor accused of molestation of a 13-year old on a flight (January 2008)
It's fucked up.

Jesus Built My Ford Ranger

Mercon V Transmission Fluid: Delicious, but Deadly

Anyone else get the compulsion to listen to Ministry's Jesus Built my Hotrod while performing routine maintenance on your car?

That's a good tune. And it gives a sense of coolness while you perform an otherwise dull task.

30 August 2008

For the Long Weekend


Here's hoping your secret Tera Patrick folder doesn't get burned up in a Labor Day deluge caused by unsafe BBQin' practices. Not being accustomed to long weekends in the Navy, I'm not sure what the hell to do with myself. There's always free mullet removals down at the local boutique, or maybe I'll get some background on Gov. Palin at VPILF.com...Anyone got any cool plans for the weekend? For those deployed, it's always the endless drumbeat of Groundhog Day, but at least Labor Day is one less 24-hour period in the suck.

29 August 2008

Money Talks, Bullshit Walks

Just throwing in my two-bit commentary on the thing no one is talking about: The Obama speech! (full transcript here)

Dispelling Criticism: I've never doubted that Obama and his family are swell people, so the fact that he spent the better part of his speech talking about how he feels the pain of an average schmoe to diffuse the "elitist" label bestowed upon him from the right was pretty lame. Oooo, average Americans working jobs in flyover country are decent people, what a provocative statement! Who gives a fuck if the future president is Mr. Rogers or a raging asshole. Obama's not going to come over and pass out on my couch when he's too drunk to drive home, so why is he so hung up on convincing America that he's a good person. We don't need a president to be a buddy, we need a leader to deal with pressing crises, and Obama wasn't convincing me of that during the first part of his speech by acting like some lefty blogger dispelling McCain camp rumors. Zzzz!

Throwing a bone to vets: "The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America." Very inspiring, indeed. Obviously, I'm a little interested as to how any politician deals with the military and veterans, and I thought he had some decent things to say about military sacrifices. But he still gets caught in the trap of not supporting the mission in Iraq, where many of our personnel have spent time, and many have had some misgivings about someone who thought what you were doing for your country was a "mistake" or a "foreign policy blunder". Recent polling on the political leanings of military members seems to suggest that many share my sentiment. But, on the flip side, I doubt Obamamaniacs are going to be featured on C.H.U.D. Busters anytime soon, and GI Kate loved the speech.

Bin Laden: "John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won't even go to the cave where he lives." Does this mean that Obama wants to send troops into the FATA in Pakistan? Uh...there might be some problems with that. But along with the Brooks and Dunn lyrics at the end of the speech, this sounds like empty, fist-shaking rhetoric. I would've liked to see him spend a bit more time focusing on the details of policies as a wartime CinC, because some of the Dobbs-esque red herrings, like toys from China, aren't high on the priority list right now.

Government Working For You: In 10 years we'll have independence from foreign oil? Cutting taxes for 95% of Americans (booyah, I'm in that lower 95th percentile!)? Slashing bureaucracy? Free health care if you don't have the cash for it? Solving global warming and having a polar bear epidemic? We've been burned by these people and their promises many times before. These are some pretty lofty goals, and I'm not going to whine, sulk, and moan if Obama gets elected in November, but don't think that maintaining a non-cynical attitude about government is wise. Vote for the best...prepare for the worst.

28 August 2008

Politics Goes Emo

Wek gives "some" credit that is deservedly unenthusiastic to the genre of Emo. While there may be a need for some to hear why some skinny-jeaned hipster broke up with his girlfriend, Emo has no place in politics. The country faces serious problems that require well-detailed and complex solutions, and just appealing to people's base emotions (hope, change, love, fear) isn't doing a great service to democracy.

McCain Ad on Obama and Iran is Dishonest, But the Obama Temple is Hilarious

Joe Scarborough called bloggers a bunch of cheetos-eating losers today on MSNBC. Of course, the subjects of his mockery were big time internet people who are schmoozing with the elite class in Denver. I can't imagine what he thinks of small-time bloggers who look forward to getting off work so they can check their RSS feed. If it helps Joe's case, I spilled a bunch of Busch Light on my AC adapter today, which should shed some light on my lifestyle. Anyways, McCain has been releasing these ads on the internet so that he'll get some free face time from folks not feeling the hope or the change. Personally, my favorite McCain ad is the McBain spoof, but this latest one isn't just lame...it's bullshit.

The charge from the McCain camp is that Obama is weak on Iran comes from a quote they take out of context from one of Obama's May speeches in Oregon. The Senator's speech from ABC:

"Strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries. That's what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That's what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That's what Nixon did with Mao. I mean, think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela -- these countries are tiny, compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet, we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying, 'We're going to wipe you off the planet.'"

Indeed, the Soviet Union had a massive army, navy, and nuclear stockpile that could have wiped out America in mutually assured destruction. In comparison, it is still unclear whether or not Iran even has one nuke, the best their navy can muster is hassling our Navy in international waters with their engine-powered snow tubes, and Iran's land-based military displays are less about superior firepower and more about propaganda to distract a population in a lousy economy. Iran is truly making a nuisance of itself by hampering democracy in Lebanon and sowing discord with proxy Special Groups thugs in Iraq. But Iran's pathetic attempt at a Tet offensive in late March in Iraq was a dismal failure. It was all irregular warfare, goons hiding in alleys in Sadr City to launch rockets at the Green Zone, which only encouraged the Iraqis, with coalition backing, to seize control of areas in Iraq that the militias once had free reign. The U.S. embassy was not evacuated in Baghdad, like it was in Beirut in the 80s, and most of the militia proxies have fled back to Iran.

As for the "terrorism" moniker...I'm a bit skeptical to apply that moniker. Simply because it confuses the Sunni Al-Qaeda threat (who routinely massacres civilians in deliberate, spectacular attacks) with the threat poised by Shi'ite militias (more engaged in racketeering, crime, and attacks on military & political forces). So, it's wise to keep a watchful eye on Iran's activities, but let's not forget where the most serious threat is coming from at this time, which starts with an "A" or "P" and ends in "Stan".

As for Obama and his Caligula-like opulence being planned in Denver, that shit's funny as hell! Maybe you can agree that both of the big parties suck?

27 August 2008

Zombie Pelosi Threatens To Eat Hecklers' Brains

I Can Smell Your Brains!

It can be suggested that Nancy Pelosi's possible plastic surgery is a clever ruse to hide the fact that she is a flesh-consuming zombie. Being disastrously wrong on Iraq and her terrible popularity in the polls adds credence to the fact that she is the living dead. Now, the Politico reports that Nancy Pelosi has transcended mere rumors of our apocalyptic demise and seeks to feast on the delicious brains of angry contrarians in Denver. The Politico reports:

House Democratic leaders and protesters waving McCain signs had a war of words Tuesday at a press event outside an old train station. The demonstrators interrupted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with chants of “Drill here! Drill now!” Pelosi paused and asked the group, “Right here?” Seeming to enjoy the back and forth, she followed with another question: “Can we drill your brains? Hot Air has the shocking video.

Instead of threatening to eat her opponents flesh, Pelosi could have changed her tune to allow developing more energy infrastructure instead of just providing the short-term fix of seizing the strategic oil reserve, as she initially proposed. It is preposterous that we continue outsourcing money and environmental impact to other parts of the world, while maintaining restrictions on oil shale, offshore drilling, and ANWR.

Since oil is only one piece of the energy puzzle, and I need a job when this Navy gig is over with, I was checking out the nuclear field. Westinghouse has the new AP1000 reactor, which will shut down safely without any human action and was designed to compete economically with fossil fuel power generation. There's only a handful in the NRC approval process (mostly down south), but China wants a 100 of these bad boys by 2020. It's comforting to know, that we'll still be able to borrow more and more money from the improving Chinese, while Congress remains deadlocked and likely to get swindled by the "Taxpayer dollars for T. Boone Pickens" plan.

It's Tough to Say Sorry in an Orange Pantsuit

Much like Ahnold in T2, Hillary has shelved her ambitions and sacrificed herself to the great church of the Democratic party. But is it for the greater good or is she leading the lemmings over the cliff?

26 August 2008

Yikes! Thugs Make Trouble at DNC

Gateway Pundit is reporting a full fledged riot in Denver this evening by the juvenile protesters who didn't get enough attention from their mothers. Unfortunately, their arrests will further their cause for martyrdom, so they can regale the hippy chicks back on campus with their tales of "smashing the police $tate". Also, meth'd-up white supremacist thugs supposedly had an assassination plot concocted against Sen. Obama. I suppose having an election cycle that doesn't resemble the political violence some banana republic would have been too much to ask...

And for no other reason. Here's a music video of the 1990 Black Box jam "Everybody Everybody" to cheer you up:

Not sure why I threw this in here, but I just think it's a real badass tune.

Why the DNC Makes Me Hate America

...my head really hurts...

It's often been remarked by my cohorts and I that we should just get out of this damn country and open a go-go bar with babes on roller skates in Thailand or something. You know, just sort of give up on life. At no time has that feeling been more sharp than tonight's viewing of the MSNBC coverage on the Democratic convention. The weeping delegates, the chortling MSNBC commenters practically in a fit of lust over their messiah, the stupid fucking signs, the dorky white people dances to crummy songs you hear on your local "soft rock" radio station, and the grandiose setup in a secured building that is presumably supposed to be speaking to the "common man".

The festivities started off with Ted Kennedy looking all schmoozy and smug on his yacht followed by a wretched speech about how he was the savior of America by directing taxpayer dollars from one group of Americans to another under the guise of healthcare. Shoveling money from point A to point B with a monstrous buraeucracy in between somehow makes one a benefactor and a hero in this day and age, I suppose. I would've thought it was, you know, the people like doctors and nurses that actually patch you up when you get ill or injured, but in this fucked up world, it's the guy cramming the gun of the state down your throat demanding money from you that supposedly goes to "help people out". They never talk about the money that gets lost in corruption or the cash that goes to some asshole trial lawyer so he can put another diamond ring on his fat finger. But money is overrated and you can get by in America with just a little and still "take a lot of pride in what I am" as Merle Haggard once said, what really is disturbing is the fact that these politicians create a narrative that we truly need them. That we are hopelessly irresponsible and incapable of existing without the state involved in every little affair of our personal lives. We allow government to exist, and the shit the government should be doing like infrastructure development, killing the enemy (this decade it has been Islamic extremists), and policing our streets has become woefully inadequate.

Instead these politicians that places like the DNC breed say we don't need to build up oil infrastructure, because we can just ship money overseas and get it somewhere else. Who wants a big ugly oil refinery in view of their place of recreation because it might interrupt their golf swing. They call us bad enivronmental stewards because we want to build it in America, where it could have proper emission controls, but they want it somewhere else, where the environmental regulations are more stodgy. They said we're torturing people in Gitmo and fighting and unjust war in Iraq. Well, why did you send us into Iraq in the first place, you motherfuckers? We're doing the best we can, and all you can people can do is knife us in the back, holding our pay hostage, in order to score a few political points with malcontents. A least people fighting the wars believe in a cause, while politicians seem more interested in hypnotizing voters that if they don't vote for their special interest groups you are some kind of degenerate. The moral superiority was rife at the DNC. Look at Michelle Obama. I'm a Horatio Alger story, but you people are all disgraces who would be drooling all over yourselves if it wasn't for the compassion of people like me and my husband. C'mon. And what was that bullshit about the military family who has an empty seat because the spouse is in Iraq? Does that imply that every military member is a victim because they got swindled into Bush's propaganda scheme. At least they believe in a cause greater than themselves, instead of trying to vote themselves largess and free government giveaways at the election.

There have been so many sychopants ranting on and on about the hope and change of what the Obama ticket is going to bring, that they have cast all self-criticism aside in favor of blindly following their leader to utopia. But there is no Wizard of Oz at the end of this suckass quest. Just a forced servitude to the government so that we are perpetually in debt and perpetually afraid to cast doubt as the world crumbles around us. My ancestors crossed the Atlantic for this bullshit? A better plan would be to set concrete goals asking Americans to make specific sacrifices. Afghanistan is in trouble, let's increase the size of our military with more recruits. Our electrical infrastructure is horrendous, more people should study engineering in college. Culture is degraded, turn off the reality TV and go see a local play. The industrial base is collapsing, more people should start businesses and learn a trade. But that's never going to happen in this day of "what has the world done for me lately?", because Americans only want to vote to indulge themselves in self-gratification. And when politicians make people feel like they are completely helpless, and that voting will make all the difference, it's such an easy sell.

(Note: If you read all this stupid, incomprehensible bullshit, you probably share the sentiment of this guy.)

Taking on Chuck Norris, Please Don't Roundhouse Kick Me in the Face

Try not to get Uzi'd by the Chuck Norris Underage Drinking Patrol

The fame of The Chuck Norris Facts within military culture really can't be overstated. Like "Kilroy was Here" during WWII, one-liners about Chuck Norris can be found throughout the porta-potty walls on FOBs across Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Norris is also an avid troop supporter, having visited Iraq twice to hang out with forward-deployed personnel. But frankly, I'm talking the side of Nicki and Eric in not knowing why the hell he would deny the ability for those that are allowed to serve our country grab a beer.

In response to an initiative amongst universities to treat people like adults, Chuck Norris writes a slam-piece in the conservative World Net Daily that cites the standard opposition to lowering the drinking age to 18 (more drunk-driving fatalities, caring for our children, blah blah). But what stuck out the most was his peddling of cultural conservatism to the youth, just after his shameless plug for his upcoming book, Black Belt Nation:

We need your help. I need your help to join me and millions of others in a revolution (or, if you will, a rebelution), not to abandon the principles of the past but combine them together with social action in the present to build a better tomorrow. In other words, it's time to make some noise!

The principles of the past? Is he talking about the "golden era" of AIDS, high crime, and god-awful baggy pants that plagued my generation? Or the Jim Crow laws, getting away with beating women, and social upheaval that plagued his? I never understood the cultural conservative argument, as it seems to harp on morals and values that only existed on television and were rarely practiced.

25 August 2008

Art That Doesn't Involve Peeing on Jesus

Pretty cool artist from Seattle named Spiral who has a website called Toxic Pretty. Some of her stuff reminds me of Ralph Steadman. The original painting was going for 600 bones (a little stiff for a government employee like myself), but she sold me a matted reprint for only 20 bucks. I'm definitely no expert on art, but I thought this was a cool picture because it reminded me of the Steve Guttenberg classic, The Day After. Any thoughts?

About Biden Being Shot At...

We all had a good chuckle when Sinbad outed Hillary Clinton for embellishing her sniper-fire story in Bosnia. Apparently, Malkin wants to put the same spin on Biden for saying he was "shot at" in the Green Zone in August 2007. She's even encouraging readers to do some fauxtoshop shenanigans to bring the funny. I was in the IZ in August 2007, and there certainly was quite a bit of getting shot at "indirectly" (meaning mortars/rockets lobbed in by militia thugs). Biden was making a point about the problems of withdrawing U.S. forces at the time, and not trying to look like a politically-conscientious Rambo (like Hillary was). IMHO, this isn't a valid source of criticism of Biden. To prove I'm not "in the tank" for the Dems, see this last post.

Rocket fragments, stray AK-47 rounds, and other fun stuff this blog found strewn about the Green Zone last year

Obama and Biden Agree on the "Carve Up Iraq" Plan

A tired internet meme is the only way to accurately describe Biden's 2007 partition plan for Iraq

Obama's VP has been announced, and the Dems are abuzz about his experience on national security issues to bring about credibility to a weak spot that has plagued Democratic politicians in previous general elections. While Afghanistan/Pakistan has become a more pressing concern to focus our strategic policy, Iraq still remains an important subject as the next Commander-in-Chief will, hopefully, preside over a large-scale reduction of military forces in Iraq while cementing long-term diplomatic relations with the new democracy. So, let's take a look at how Biden's non-binding resolution in September 2007 played out (voted on shortly after General Petraeus & Ambassador Crocker were in DC to testify that the Surge was having a positive effect). The plan essentially divided Iraq into three semi-autonomous states based on ethnicity/sect (Shi'ite, Sunni, and Kurd) with Baghdad functioning as a governing role. The plan didn't address mixed-ethnicity cities (like Kirkuk, Mosul) and it didn't take into account that oil is would primarily be in Biden's Shi'itestan. This was a non-binding Senate resolution passed in September 2007, and the controversial measure passed by a large amount.

The response to this abominable resolution from the Iraqis was with utmost contempt. One Shi'ite lawmaker said its purpose "only aimed to cause Iraq to slide into the pits of a civil war only God knows when it will end." according to Aswat al-Iraq. It has widely been stated in jest that the only thing uniting competing political parties in Iraq was their hatred for Sen. Biden's plan. Many foreigners don't understand the nuances of our hyper-partisan domestic debate regarding Iraq, and they assumed the resolution to carve up Iraq was official U.S. policy! This doesn't help the image of America trying not to be viewed as an "imperial aggressor", which is why the U.S. Embassy in Iraq promptly issued a press release decrying this abortion of a resolution. Some background on federalism being problematic for Iraq can be found at Historiae.

Despite Biden's plan being a monumental flop that pissed off the Iraqis, Obama has seemingly joined forces with VP-pick Biden on Iraq according to Politico:

Biden and Obama are now in nearly total agreement on the war, with both advocating a staged withdrawal of most troops within 16 months of inauguration day. Obama has even shed some of his initial misgivings about Biden’s three-region solution, saying he’d be open to the plan if Iraqis themselves signed off on it.

A lot can change in 11-months, so maybe Iraqis are more open to America carving up their country like Ottoman Emperor. Here's IraqPundit with a scoop from the Iraqi perspective:

Barack Obama's choice for vice president can only drag the country into ugly territory. His pick simply confirms his total disregard for the Iraqi people. All along, Biden has made it clear that he sees Iraqis as nothing more than savages bent on killing one another. His solution is to divide the country to stop the beasts from murdering the other beasts.

The next four years in Iraq will most likely be characterized by U.S. military forces drawing down to function in a supervisory/training role while there is diplomatic support for legitimate Iraqi democratic institutions. In other words, we will reduce our footprint as the Iraqis become more capable of defending and governing their own country. Joe's big, grandiose plan to completely restructure Iraq from the halls of Washington was a huge diplomatic gamble that failed miserably, and him being VP might be problematic.

Programming Your Children, Obama Style

A notable quotable from Jung Chang to ponder: "If children were brought up to become non-conformists it would only ruin their lives. So parents all over China who loved their children told them to do as Chairman Mao said. It was not possible to tell them anything else."

It's a little frightening to connect the dots between that quote on brainwashing your children and the Obama onesie on sale for 18 bucks over at MyBO.

My Shameless Product Loyalty to Microsoft, You Suck Apple

MacNinja, the only decent Apple product recorded in history

Seeing how I've utilized Microsoft products since the MS-DOS days (you younguns may be surprised that getting the sound card on your computer to work properly to play Doom was once a baffling ordeal), and since Microsoft is the second largest company native to WA state, I may be a bit biased in favor of them. That's why I took offense at the hipsters over at Crave mercilessly mocking Microsoft for selecting Jerry Seinfeld as the new spokesman for Vista. These techy bozos suggested using the Borg to offer "sex appeal" to Microsoft, and they also proposed having Mr. Burns be the spokesman to highlight Microsoft's supposed plutocracy. Cram that pink iPod down your throat, poindexters, because I've got some spokesman suggestions for the hopelessly inferior products that Apple turns out to the mindless masses of the world. Possible Apple spokesmen:

1) Dennis Blunden (The Fat Kid from Head of the Class): Dennis always liked to talk up a big game to Mr. Moore, a real freakin' show-off, but most of his snappy commentary was derived from the superior intellect and innovation of his unsung, nerdy friend Arvid (who looks shockingly similar to a young Bill Gates). This is similar to the Mac OS ripping off ideas from Windows to package as its own. However, like Dennis, Mac's operating systems have been fat, slow, and annoying.

2) Jack Johnson (horrendous musical talent and unfathomable douchebag): Jack Johnson's laid back tunes, that speak to a wasted life of leisure, and penchant for surfing to up his cool quotient are similar to the hipster marketing ploy that Apple has developed to pawn off their iPhones to a generation of saps. The preposterous line of thinking that the iPhone is somehow "the evolution of man" led to a recent ad using 2001: A Space Odyssey footage to sell off this consumer monstrosity. Like Jack Johnson's All at Once organization, an environmental ploy to sell more records to you suckers, the self-righteousness inherent within the Apple community to dump more plastic trinkets on the global populace is appalling.

3) Randy Constan as Peter Pan (the internet celebrity who just can't grow up): The juvenile hordes of iPod abusers, who can barely glance up from their MP3 playlists to engage in a civilized conversation, have a natural tendency to gravitate towards the antics of Peter Pan, the boy who just can't grow up. Randy Constan's hilarious tight-fitting outfits are a symbol for a generation of Apple users who never could stomach the crushing reality of adulthood, and drown themselves in a sea of infantile products to delude themselves. Also, Randy Constan's internet fame peaked around 2001-2002, which is the same time Mac's Ad campaigns reached their height of silly with the Ellen Feiss ad, a girl stoned out of her gourd giving a mumbling rendition of why you should throw money down the drain for a Mac. There has been nothing funny from Apple or Randy Constan ever since.

24 August 2008

Zeitgeist and the Military

Shazzam! It Should Not be a Surprise that the Military is all Gomer Piles

Lela directs our attention to an account of two recent Dartmouth grads who got commissioned in the USMC. A faulty perception that people who only enlist or join the officer corps out of some kind of financial destitution conjures up a thought process that people in the ranks are somehow less patriotic because they didn't have any choice in the matter. The two Dartmouth Marines blast this line of reasoning in their article:

But when we did divulge our secret, it often felt as if a sheet had descended, separating us from our insouciant classmates. First came a brief stare, and then we were met with some variation of “Why are you doing that?” in a tone either brusque or reverential. We soon learned to size up our audience and respond appropriately. To people who we felt deserved an explanation, devoid of bravado or humility or caustic humor, we would start by saying, “Lots of reasons.”

The notable absence of America's elite class in the military, which The Onion once did a parody of, is a troubling sign of the times. Despite the fact that people like General Petraeus and his COIN cadre have many PhDs amongst them, the perception that the military is chocked full of rubes is evident in popular culture references like the horrendous movie Stop Loss.

So what to do about this quandary? The consortium of milbloggers seem to be (hopefully) making a dent in American public opinion that military members are capable of independent thought. This article from the Dartmouth grads will hopefully dispel rumors that everyone in the military was swindled into some morbid Ponzi scheme by their recruiter. And, it is important to note that, regardless of a servicemember's financial/genealogical background, they all wear the uniform and perform the same duty to their country.

TSO's Wherabouts Located

Unfortunate Gentleman Picked Up Cruising for Anus in Alabama, Could He Be TSO?

TSO has been MIA seeing how he didn't respond to my raunchy bit of gossip regarding IVAW in Hustler, so I can only assume he was taking part in the festivities in Alabama, in which the Huntsville police picked up 24 men cruising for sex at an overlook on Monte Sano Mountain. The pictures of the gentlemen are here and Gay Socialtie remarked "Talk About a Coming Out Party". I understand that this speculation might be a bit preciptious, because he's probably just leveling up his character on World of Warcraft or something.

Star of Sister Act II and Battlefield Earth Sing Praise for Obama

For a candidate that has taken some flak for being a tabloid-like cult of personality, I don't think this latest Obama video entitled "American Prayer" is going to help win votes from cynical moderates. Besides, everyone knows the best self-righteous celeb videos were made in the 80s when the hair and egos were bigger. See "Do They Know It's Christmas Time?":

22 August 2008

Guy Puts Big McCain Sign on the Wrong Part of the Sound

Simplified Map of Puget Sound

For some context, the more densely-populated, more liberal Seattle is on the eastern part of the Puget Sound, while the slightly more conservative Bremerton area (where I live) is on the Western part of the Puget Sound. Not pictured is Tacoma, which is to the south. I've lived in the area less than a year, and I enjoy different things about each part, but there's certain things you don't do. In the Bremerton area, you go with your wife to Macy's unless you want to walk home in the rain, in Tacoma you don't show up to the bar in a Volvo, and in Seattle you don't post a big McCain for Prez sign unless you want a new paintjob on your house. From Q13 Fox:

"I heard a loud splat on the front door, I walked out and looked, there was red paint all over the McCain sign," said Anderson. Anderson says he spent nearly 2 hours cleaning he paint from the sign and his home. The diehard Republican says he couldn't believe it, when the suspect showed up again at his home with more paint. "I was angry when I got to the bottom of the hill, and he was coming back for a second try," said Anderson. According to Anderson he chased the 57 year old West Seattle man who dumped the second can of paint in some nearby bushes. Anderson says the guy got away but not for long.

Mr. Anderson should've been given the advice by police that Merle Haggard got when he made a joke about Hillary Clinton last year in Seattle, "Dude, wrong side!".

Wealth and Fame While the World Collapses

Oh dear. It appears Soulja Boy has a new YouTube video entitled "Rich Nigga Shit Part 1" where he blows his nose on money and struts around in an embroidered robe while mumbling incomprehensible speech patterns (h/t NY Mag). Sadly, Soulja Boy's antics are hardly an isolated incident and seem to be indicative of the desired model by many of our nation's youngsters. While our country's citizens are increasingly crushed under a mountain of debt and home foreclosures in the 21st century, those, like Soulja Boy, coming into adulthood seem to still hold aspirations for the ever-elusive "wealth" and "fame".

USA Today has an article talking about newfound altruism immediately following 9/11, but polling that same year of 579 18-25 year olds speaks a different narrative about their priorities. For the top goals, "To Get Rich" tops the list, with "To Be Famous" at #2. The most important "important individual problem" is "Money/Finances", with "natl/intl conditions" bottoming out just below "miscellaneous". This polling data shows a shocking disposition towards a solipsistic outlook of the world, despite the fact that global communication and the information age have made it easier to consume news and understand distant cultures from your geographic location. Wouldn't it follow that young people (who tend to be more idealistic) would desire to put forth a marginal effort to end worldwide social injustices?

In light of much controversy over McCain's unknown plethora of homes sparking criticism of elitism and over-consumption, and that great innovation is more attributed to organizations than individuals, it should follow that people would be more satisfied attaching themselves to a worthy cause rather than getting their name in the paper. As for getting "rich", in a country where advertisement for unnecessary products is an industry unto itself, skepticism should be employed in buying into this scheme of perpetual debt and even a humble lifestyle in America can provide a lot of material benefits. I would never advocate for the seizure of wealth by the state, only that excessive wealth and narcissism seems to be a corrupting force on mainstream society.

America has a proud history of honoring the average schmoe. From the early days of the militia that won our independence from the British to the auto plant workers in Detroit that helped turn our nation into an industrial powerhouse. The culture of schmoedom is a galvanizing force on the internet, as groups of average citizens gather together to shape the political debate and new ideas. Where is this quest for money and power coming from?

Welcome Aboard, Petty Officer T-1000

But Why Was I Programmed to Feel Pain!

No more "field day" or troublesome and time-consuming preventative maintenance in the Navy seems to be the desired end-state for the CNO. The Navy is developing robots to perform shipboard functions that could render a lot of sailors obsolete. From Navy Times:

Take a good look at that sailor next to you, because he won’t be there in tomorrow’s Navy, according to scientists and industry exhibitors at the Office of Naval Research’s annual Science and Technology conference in Washington Tuesday.

Unmanned systems, already becoming common in aerial battlefields, will continue to edge into the maritime realm to ease the workload of sailors and, in some cases, take their place, researchers said on the first day of the three-day conference.

Anxiety over a Hal 9000 cutting the oxygen supply in the engineering spaces to terminate the crew notwithstanding, this overzealous desire of Big Navy to spend massive amounts of money on government contracts as opposed to actually training sailors to be better craftsmen is not working. CDR Salamander talks about how the lack of training machinists, welders, and techs is having negative implications on the shipbuilding industry. Unless we want to contract out the construction of new combat ships to India and China, it might be better for the Navy to re-think priorities.

Although, the SPAWAR robot lab is pretty interesting pics, and the third photo in the Wired gallery looks like a cross between Gyromite and Jinx from Space Camp.

21 August 2008

Protester Yahoos To Levitate the Denver Mint

Every Human Parasite's Dream, Free Money! (from Recreate 68)

Due to the drop in violence in Iraq, certain vermin in this country seem to be having trouble exploiting tragedy and death in the Middle East for their own political purposes (see DC protest where only one shabby husk of a human showed up on The Mall). So to market a more appealing message for the upcoming DNC protests, the Recreate 68 coalition plans to shake down the Denver Mint to steal a bunch of free cash:

It’s time to redistribute the wealth. Between security and corporate pay-offs, the DNC will cost over 100 million dollars for a party. We think the people deserve that money. Join us as we encircle the Denver MInt (where U.S. currency is produced) and use our collective power to raise the mint building in the air and shake the money out of it for the people. Don’t forget a sack to put all of your loot in. Bring noise makers, energy, spells, magic,costumes, anything that gives you power. We’ll need it!

Aside from the fact that redistribution of wealth and resources didn't work out so well in the 20th century (see Stalin's Ukraine), these sheisters are pathetically unoriginal, as Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies already tried to levitate the Pentagon in the 60s. Further examination of the Recreate 68 schedule for next week reveals other attempts at money-grubbing like a whiny tween at Hot Topic (h/t Moonbattery). These include the "Everything for Everyone Capitalist March" on Monday and the "From Corporate Control to People Control" on Wednesday. Also, Code Pink will be having a concert, which presumably will be like a folksy Barbara Streisand, but more preachy, more shrill, and to include a drum circle of unemployed riff-raff. The Big Lewbowski's response to the dude that "The Bums Lost...Condolences!" seems to have an aura of truth regarding this event. And you wonder why the Denver City Council had to pass the "no flinging feces" law.

A Great Idea From Iraq

The NY Times Baghdad Bureau has an interesting post about keeping Shi'ite pilgrims cool in Baghdad's notoriously hot summer (think sticking your head in an oven while making a pit stop in Dante's Inferno):

It’s seventh circle of hell hot, you’re stuck in a traffic jam with four million people heading to the same pilgrimage, and Iraq’s version of the Squeegee Man dashes out into the road to wash you down.

Not your windshield. You.

When I lived in Los Angeles, which frequently involves sitting in traffic as a matter of routine life, I always wished for a good hose-down to cool off. Of course in America, this would probably subject the squeegee man to a string of lawsuits for providing such a great public service. The downside of affluence.

IVAW to Bare All in Hustler

Winter Soldier Article To Appear in November 2008

Slog has the scoop on a press release from Hustler that promises to give IVAW massive attention in their November issue:

In arguably the most shocking piece of the year, HUSTLER Magazine reports on the truth about what’s going on in Iraq. The “Winter Soldier” veterans, as they are called, speak out about the war and the thousands of innocent Iraqi civilian casualties. One of the brave soldiers brought back a video of his sergeant declaring, “The difference between an insurgent and an Iraqi civilian is whether they are dead or alive.” The soldier explains: “If you kill a civilian, he becomes an insurgent because you retroactively make him a threat.” Gruesome photos accompany the article.

As you recall, Winter Soldier II was the IVAW event in March detailing supposed atrocities in Iraq, that both TSO and Jonn provided some excellent live-blogging on. This blog has been quite skeptical of IVAW's intentions in the past, concerned that their public testimonials provide easy-to-consume fodder for those who seek to discredit the American military, but I reluctantly respect their right to free speech.

Assuming that IVAW is trying to get our attention and sympathy ("our" meaning porn-consuming, desperate males) between the Beaver Hunt section and photos of Jenna Jameson's ovaries, well, IVAW will probably have a high rate of success. Touche.

20 August 2008

Late Nite Tunes: Soundgarden - Rusty Cage

Just heard they reunited at a Cinnabon, and reminded me of this song.

Ongoing Operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Following up on my "Don't Be Ellis" plea to Pakistan, The Australian reports that Pakistan's military is conducting a massive operation into the border areas with Afghanistan (h/t Mudville Gazette):

In a speech to the National Assembly on Saturday, Mr Gilani declared the Government was determined to re-establish control in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. "We will establish the writ of the Government at all costs (as) a parallel government cannot be tolerated," he said.

The offensive, launched without fanfare to avoid conveying the notion it was done at the insistence of Washington, is targeting primarily Bajaur, slated as the most likely hiding place of Osama bin Laden. Fierce fighting is also under way in areas of the NWFP where many of Pakistan's nuclear weapons are believed to be based.

Dr Malik, who accompanied Mr Gilani to Washington, estimated yesterday that a force of more than 3000 well-armed and highly trained al-Qa'ida militants were operating in Bajaur.

Also, Karzai says good riddance to Musharraf, seeing Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency as bolstering Islamic militants to conduct cross-border operations. The Afghanistan President says:

The war against terrorism will not be won unless and until we go to the sanctuaries, to the training grounds, to the financiers, to the motivators of hatred that come across the border to kill us all." Those tribal territories of Pakistan, he said, "will not be peaceful as long as [the ISI's policy] continues. When that changes, yes, the tribal territories will become peaceful.

In Afghanistan, Sarkozy is on his way to Afghanistan after 10 French troops were killed during a prolonged gun battle with the Taliban. Can we officially drop "Freedom Fries" from the lexicon of the oughts. France also is sending more troops to Afghanistan, despite a negative perception in the French media of the mission.

French ISAF Soldier Patrols Outside Kabul

Parasites, Vandals, and Thugs Win $2M From NYC Lawsuit

Portrait of the 21st-century Protester: Taking A Smelly Vegan Shit on the Flag

Expect a sharp increase in the purchasing of kooky BushCheney effigies, crappy hippy clothing, and moltov cocktails, because a group of anti-war protesters just cleaned house with the NYC justice system for a whopping $2M (story at Reuters). There seems to be some "question" over whether or not this urban-dwelling riff-raff had their civil rights violated by New York's finest during a 2003 protest at the Carlyle building in Manhattan. But looking through some news archives, it seems that the group in question, M27, were more of a public nuisance to the nation's largest metropolis than political activists. From CNN:

About 100 people were arrested Monday after protesters blocked the entrance to the Carlyle Group, a private investment house with holdings in the defense industry, police at the scene said.

And from Gawker:

A group called the M27Coalition is supposedly out protesting the war this morning by blocking busy intersections, and by extension, annoying the very large population of Manhattanites who, although anti-war themselves, have actual jobs and responsibilities. (I'm desperately fighting the impulse to switch to a pro-war position solely out of contempt for the idiot portion of the anti-war movement.)

The first ammendment rights are an important part of American society, but so is respect for private property and not stinking up the joint in Manhattan because some gaggle of protester clowns haven't showered in three weeks.

The days of the noble civil rights protests are over, as cooler heads who choose to dissent have taken to cyberspace. All that's left on the streets are aging hippies who still think it's 1967 in San Francisco, young punks using political cover to destroy police cars, and a random assortment of crazies.

Is this $2M going to come out of the pool of money that Rep. Weiner wanted the military to give New York because public servants were being called onto active duty? Glad to know that the NYC authorities know that the real "sacrifices" being made are by filthy, unemployed urchins who rival European soccer hooligans in wreaking havoc.

Perpetually Outraged Mothers Stick To Their Guns on Drinking Laws

You're Either w/MADD or You Get 2 Days of Time Out in the Lobotomy Room

The Amethyst Initiative is a group of college professors who got together and asked the completely radical question "Hey, if 18 year olds can vote, serve on a jury, drive a HAZMAT truck full of toxic chemicals through downtown, die in a war, and move into their own place, why can't they enjoy a delicious beer legally?". These educators were most likely tired of the increasingly "Peter Pan" effect of our college students, who have been so coddled by their parents this day and age that they can't even tie their own shoes without calling home to Mom. It's not that radical a proposition and was tried once before in this country. During the 70s, when you could get drafted to serve in the jungle at 18, the drinking age got lowered to 18 as well. However, in one of Reagan's more totalitarian moments in 1984, he signed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which cut highway funding for states that didn't submit to this ridiculous encroachment on personal responsibility.

Anyways, it took the "supreme moral authority" nannies at MADD about two seconds to issue a massive attack against the Amethyst Initiative on their website. They've even published a list of chancellors from the universities that dared to suggest we treat people like adults threatening "to think carefully about the safety of colleges whose presidents have signed on." The root of the problem seems to be with this statement on their website:

"Maintaining the legal drinking age at 21 is a socially and medically sound policy that helps parents, schools and law enforcement protect our youth from the potentially life-threatening effects of underage drinking."

Treating college students, the future leaders of our country, like "youth" will certainly ensure that we become a nation of self-serving man-childs who can't take responsibility for their own actions...let alone solve future crises threatening our civilization. So this is how cuddle parties for adults got started! The only words for MADD can be quoted from a wiser man than myself "Mind Your Own Fuckin' Business!".

Profile in Hubris: Kite-Surfing in a Hurricane

Someone watched too much X-treme TV growing up:

That has gotta hoit! More explanation/commentary at the local CBS affiliate. Luckily, it wasn't blog buddy Wek, who contemplated surfing the ultimate wave during Tropical Storm Fay. Of course that would be the ultimate in coolness, like Swayze's final scene in Point Break, but the unfortunate kite surfer getting tossed around like a sack of potatoes was just pathetic and tragic.

Wek is Secretly 1991 Swayze in Disguise

19 August 2008

Late Nite Tunes: Megadeth - Foreclosure of a Dream

Dave Mustaine predicted the sub-prime mortgage crisis...way back in '92.

Diyala Province Update

Iraq Vet and VFF member, David Bellavia, offers this dispatch available on popular milblog BlackFive from an embed in Diyala province. Good to see that COIN-doctrine is being utilized successfully and that the Chief of Diyala police, whose sectarian allegiance has been extremely questionable, was recently replaced by the governor of the province. But, Diyala has been a hotbed of insurgent activity after the Anbar Awakening in 2006 and the initial surge in Baghdad in 2007 pushed many militants into the province. To complicate problems, the police force is primarily Shi'ite while the majority of the population is Sunni, and it borders Iran. This allows for exportation of weapons across the porous border, including donkeys smuggling munitions into the province. The Sahwa movement in Diyala has been essential to maintaining some of the security gains in the province, and that's why Dr. Irack of Abu Muqawama has some disturbing news concerning their future:

Dr. iRack has also heard credible rumors that Maliki hopes that his provocative treatment of the SoIs will encourage them to start a fight, giving Maliki an excuse to bring the Iraqi security forces down on them. Hard. Some of Maliki's concerns about the SoIs are legitimate, but a failure to accommodate them could spell big trouble.

The situation in Iraq remains complex, and as Democracy Arsenal recently stated after having an associate in Iraq "Despite the improved security environment, no one in Baghdad, including Gen. David Petraeus, is doing a victory dance (even as a rising number of commentators in Washington do just that)." It's a bit of a disservice to our troops in the field and the Iraqis to simply wash our hands of the war and assume the mission is accomplished. Issues like how the Iraqi government employs the Sahwa members are significant both politically and tactically.

All Hail the Commentariat

Comments are an important part of blogging, and by association a significant part of our online society...just ask Politico. I blog here and at C.H.U.D. Busters, and I certainly never thought of myself as being wise enough or totally convinced of my own opinion that I would ignore feedback and detracting views. Bloggers that snub their viewers seem to be either self-centered assholes or on ego trips which rival Bono. Coinciding with the fact that my traffic is on the same order of magnitude as the "British Conspiracy in Georgia" on the Larouchebag website, I consider myself a commenter first. Some interesting places to engage in the proverbial online townhall meeting are Obsidian Wings, VetVoice, Hot Air, and casual engagements with other milblogger types. Furthermore, I'm glad that some people chose to leave their own stories on this post on what historic event changed their political ideology. So give the comments a read, as they are pretty interesting (except for Eddie Willers, who is kind of annoying). Please leave advice/feedback on making this dumb blog better, because I doubt very many people take part in the blogging community to get rich quick or meet babes. It's about, you know, not being a dumbass anymore.

About That Liberal Bias in the Media

Washington is traditionally a "blue" state, and has voted for a Dem in the general election since Dukakis. But still, you'd think the local weekly for Seattle's hipsters, The Stranger, would pick at least a few more non-Democrats in their election cheat sheet they just issued on their website. They only picked one non-Democrat, Sam Reed for Secretary of State, who seems to be a RINO in the pocket of the unions judging by his endorsements. The Stranger was also the weekly that had the Erotic Obama contest to allow readers to express their love for the Senator. Not to get all overly huffy about a fact that everyone knows anyways, but, c'mon man, only one non-Democrat? Like Code Pink's shenanigans providing red meat for those not on the same ideological plane as those opposed to the Iraq War in this country, The Stranger is only subjecting themselves to a host of criticism that's easy to whip up in the days of the uninformed commentator. At least they didn't endorse that Green Party jackass for governor who wants to turn all of the Boeing facilities into vegan dirt farms or whatever. That guy's an asshole.

What MP3s are the Candidates Illegaly Downloading on Limewire?

Finally, the dreaded media elite are upstaging boring presidential issues like the energy crisis and the War on Terrorism to talk about the important shit: musical tastes of the candidates. We've already heard about Obama rocking to Earth, Wind and Fire, and McCain's strange love affair with Eurotrash phenom, ABBA, but until today we hadn't heard anything from LP candidate Bob Barr. From the front page of the Style section of WaPo (h/t Eric Dondero):

Barr stands in a cubicle, near his deputy campaign manager, Shane Cory, talking about how much he loves Bob Marley, whom he discovered in 1978 after getting out of the CIA. Oh, and Pink Floyd.

Sweet. An inauguration speech which would be followed by the 23-minute version of psychedelic Floyd jam, Echoes, synched up with the Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite portion of 2001 could only be described with one word: awesome!

As Ed Morrisey notes, the big media conglomerates aren't really open to third parties, frequently depicting them as nutty Lyndon Larouche types running their campaigns out of a Dodge van. But frankly, I'm not seeing what's so crazy about trying to reduce the size of our already bloated government that has run up a $9.6 Trillion debt and is cranking out funny money that could put Parker Brothers out of business.

Besides, Barr's affinity for Marley and Pink Floyd shows that he has appreciation for the classics. The only presidential candidate who could top him for better musical taste would be if Vic Rattlehead ran for office.

Vic Corners the Market on Good Music for a Presidential Candidate

18 August 2008

Late Nite Tunes: Pennywise - Fight 'Til You Die

I saw these guys about 10 years ago, and they put on a pretty good show. This clip is from Warped Tour in '99.

Hail To The Chief, Jon Stewart

The New York Times has a massive article on Jon Stewart being the king of media and stating that the Daily Show has been a massive cultural force in contemporary America. Some have accused The Daily Show of having an overtly liberal bias, especially after the whole Jonah Goldberg diatribe, but I suspect the perceived bias has more to do with there being a Republican presidency. The Barack Oboner segments could be a consistently hilarious portion of the show in the future if the presumptive Democrat nominee wins the general election. Keep 'em coming, this show has been consistently good for years.

Flashback: Remember the whole "Hanging Chad" ruckus back in 2000. Check out Jon Stewart ridicule the stupidity that often comes with the democratic process.

A Plea To Pakistan: Don't Be Ellis

(shirts available at Cafe Press)

Jihadica has an al-Sahab release from Al-Qaeda #2, Zawahiri, who uses rhetoric to plead with Pakistan to side with the terrorist group. This is highly disturbing to anyone concerned about the capability of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Newsweek reported last year that militant Islam was gaining popularity in Pakistan, and their government's preponderance to attempt to broker deals with militant groups in the northwestern tribal areas, such as the Waziristan Accords, have proven disastrous for the worldwide counterterrorism effort. That is why an there is an urgent need to plead with the powers that be in Pakistan with this simple meme: Don't Be Ellis.

Ellis was the sleazy businessman in Die Hard who attempted to negotiate for the surrender of McClane (played by Bruce Willis) to the terrorist thugs that had seized the Nakotomi Plaza in Los Angeles. While Ellis held no ill-will in his heart, he attempted to appease the enemy, when the only logical discourse was to meet an irrational foe with overwhelming force.

U.S.-Pakistan relations saw a boost when the U.S. provided aid after the devastating earthquake in 2005, but they have soured considerably since then. However, both the U.S. and Pakistan have a love of cinema, and iconic movie like Die Hard could transcend cultural boundaries to comprehend the serious threat that appeasement of terrorists could bring.


3 Million in Karbala took part in Pilgrimage

Al-Jazeera English
says that the pilgrimage to Karbala, Iraq to commemorate the birth of the Imam Mahdi has been a success. They quote Ministry of Interior Bolani saying "The day will come soon when we will announce that al-Qaeda's coffin has been thrown in the garbage of history." This is in stark contrast to last year's pilgrimage where Sadr's band of thugs fought with the Iraqi Security Forces in Karbala (many of them Badr corps)...dozens of civilians were killed in the cross-fire. No word yet from Sadr's enablers in the American media about this event, but they'll most likely assert that the Mahdi Army is lying low and only Obama's gift of speaking can convince them to disarm.

Seattle Hemp Fest Lights Off

The Seattle Hempfest is currently ongoing, and there are reports that many of the baked revelers are railing against our cougaresque Gov. Gregoire for applying limits to the amount of marijuana medicinal users can possess. Currently, state law vaguely states a "60-day" supply, but new legislation would rule for a more definitive amount of 24 ounces and 6 plants. The Seattle Times reports from Hempfest the opposition to this law:

"Every single patient I know will not be in compliance with the 60-day rule. It's not going to work. It's driven by law enforcement, not science," said Douglas Hiatt, a lawyer who represents medical-marijuana users.

While 24 ounces (1.5 lbs or ~0.7kg) seems like enough for a Cypress Hill backstage pass, the root of the problem is that law enforcement should have no business fighting victimless crimes such as marijuana usage. For anyone who grew up in a town with a prevalent drug culture, you are well aware that the worst thing a stoned person could ever do is talk philosophically about the infusion of communism inherent with living in Smurf village while eating a bunch of Cheetos. Reason TV has an interview with a 34-year veteran of Seattle's Finest, where he discusses how draconian drug laws can lead to heavy-handed police work that include raiding the wrong house and jailing non-violent offenders. Our police need to devote their resources to prosecuting real crime in the Puget Sound area, and when society clamors for arbitrary laws to criminalize citizens who use a plant that grows naturally, it overburdens law enforcement assets.

This is not to say that being stoned on the job should be condoned, in the same vein that being drunk on the job should not be accepted by society. Recently, I had trouble getting some dinner at KFC because most of the teenaged staff was obviously high as a kite (bloodshot eyes, paranoia setting in that "someone would know", initial fear to help me at the register because I was in uniform, etc.), but that really is just a humorous example of routine life such as this classic article found in The Onion, and I was hardly about to call the cops.