30 April 2008

Iraq News (30 April)

The Good: Iraq's major source of income is oil exports, and with the crackdown on militias/smugglers in Basrah coupled with the high price of crude, they are set to reap a windfall of dinars. Whether or not their government spends it wisely is a whole nother ball of wax. US involvement in Sadr City is deepening (which used to be off-limits more or less), and with that there will need to be a whole new level of service initiatives along with the combat operations. More good news from Basra as there are a resurgence of weddings (despite the author of this blog being grouchy about such occasions back in the states).
The Bad: Another female suicide bomber strikes, this time attacking in Diyala province. A top-level official at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has been assassinated in Baghdad, along with one US soldier being killed by an IED in more Baghdad violence. The LA Times is reporting that civilians were killed in a Sadr City airstrike. Two Sahwa fighters were killed near the northern city of Kirkuk.
The Ugly: Richard Butler says he was kidnapped by Hezbollah-type thugs, which further illuminates Iranian involvement in the southern city of Basra. The trial for Saddam's old deputy Prime Minister Aziz, alleged to have been complicit in massacring 42 Iraqi merchants back in 1992, has been put on hold until late May due to one of the defendants being in poor health. The defendant in "poor health" is genocidal nutjob, Chemical Ali, who went on a hunger strike earlier this month to get put back in a cushy US detention center. Also, Tariq Aziz's lawyer didn't show up (these ex-Ba'athist guys just don't get any love, who would've thought!).

"Dude, where's my Lawyer?"

The Tobacco Terrorists

Is our most celebrated and stress-relieving vice of smoking supporting terrorism? From the Fox News blogs:

Cigarette smugglers are able to generate millions of dollars in illegal profits with a great deal of this wealth being sent to terrorist groups overseas – groups that would like nothing more than to inflict devastating harm on our country and its citizens.” The fifteen page report, obtained by FOX, includes intelligence from law enforcement sources as well as New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance.

I should probably feel guilty for smoking, but then I realized that this was Fox News and they might just be making shit up. Besides, everyone knows terror finances are somehow connected to oil. It doesn't help that oil is used for just about everything in modern society.

29 April 2008

Solution to Nuclear Waste: Just Dump It on Al Gore's Lawn

An environmentalist friend of mine from the Seattle area once questioned me on a possible solution to CO2 emissions in the energy sector in response to global warming. I strongly suggested nuclear power since it emits no CO2 and has been used safely for decades. However, the problems with nuke power is that it requires an enormous amount of investment capital to construct a power plant, training personnel for safe operation is costly, public hysteria to splitting atoms resulting in never ending protests, and where in the world to dispose of nuclear waste. She sent me this Scientific American article which discusses the problems with reprocessing spent fuel.

In lamens terms, the fuel used in most reactors is a combination of the U-235 and U-238 isotopes of Uranium (which can be mined). When the fuel is exposed to neutrons bouncing around to heat up the reactor, some of the U-238 become Plutonium-239. This stuff does not occur naturally in mother nature, since it's quite unstable, and is also used in nuclear warheads. The author of the Scientific American article argues that since it is so expensive to recycle the plutonium and terrorists could get their mitts on it, fuel reprocessing is a bad idea. Ultimately, the question becomes how do we dispose of spent fuel from nuclear reactors in a cost-effective and safe fashion.

While most environmentalists are kind folks who live modest lives and enjoy hiking on the weekends, there is a dangerous trend towards celebrity environmentalism amongst modern American society. These douchebags fly around in gulfstreams, live in huge mansions that no doubt destroyed huge swaths of the landscape to construct, and might show up in a Prius at some awards ceremony to show how "compassionate" they are about the cause that is in-style that week. Al Gore is one of these hypocritical assbags, who lives in a mansion in Nashville, but tells all the rest of us commoners that we need to reduce our carbon footprint. In an apparent PR stunt, Gore installed a bunch of "green" fixtures in his mansion, but the fact that the guy consumes way more resources than the average Joe is still apparent.

So the problem with nuclear waste is that we don't have a place to dump it, and it might get in the hands of terrorists. I say put it on Al Gores's lawn since 1) It will show how committed he is to reducing CO2 emissions and inflate his already massive ego, and 2) He'll be able to scare off any potential terrorist by boring them to death with his recap as Vice President or how the 2000 election was rigged against him. This might have the fun-filled consequence of bombarding Al Gore with gamma rays, thereby turning him into some sort of Gore-Zilla. Just thinking outside the box here.

What If There Was an Assassination Attempt And Nobody Cared

Recently, there was an attempt by the Taliban on President Karzai's life in Kabul. While the scant media devoted to the topic focused on it being a "propaganda victory" for the Taliban, Cannoneer #4 suggests we should be ridiculing our enemy for incompetence. I certainly agree with him and understand that the spread of ideas is an important part of our overall strategy. But do people care about what is going on Afghanistan? A milblogger from Afghanistan suggests that the American people pretty much don't. From Bouhammer:

My feelings are that this year will continue to build on the trend of each year being the worst one since 2001, by progressively having more violence, more brazen attacks and newer enemies to face...I just hope and pray that the American people realize this and step up as a nation to support the military and its people. Your sons and daughters are coming back in way you never imagined and they will all need your help.

It's difficult to highlight success to the American public when no one even gives a shit about the sensationalized bad news (which always receives the most press). I wager some people don't even know there is still a war there.

Registering a 1.4 on America's interest scale (pic from an Australian website)

Tuesdaze Bloggin' Roundup (29 April)

Tuesdaze Gone with the Wind. Here's some more blogs on Iraq:

Some more items over at VetVoice:

I shamelessly swiped this tribute to awesomeness from a blog I just discovered, The Army 2.0, an IRR blogger from A-stan. Go check him out.

Iraq News (29 April)

The Good: Grug Bruno of the CFR has an extensive write up about the Sahwa movement that's worth your time. Ambassador Khalilzad drops the rhetoric on Iran and Syria about their role in Iraq. There's been an unprecedented number of airstrikes from drones/UAVs due to the recent uprising of Shi'ite militias. I knew the Air Force was good for something besides making me envious with their plush bases!

The Bad: Four of our troops were killed by indirect fire yesterday in Baghdad. The Provincial Reconstruction Teams, crucial to helping Iraqis run their country, are understaffed because the State Department doesn't have the people. Apparently, there's more military musicians that Staties.

The Ugly: Does the head of the Iranian Quds Force control Iraq? McClatchy seems to think so. Iranian influence in Iraq can be lethal due to their export of weaponry and Hezbollah-style training, and some Iraqis are getting more and more upset about Iran's role. Read about the life and times in the Green Zone...the awesomest place on the planet (not really as of late). Although the article comes off as a bit...whiny in its characterization of the denizens. I assure you I only complain 80% of the time, not all the damn time.

FTIZ (pic from Boston Globe)

More Swell News From Our Neverending Drug War

And you thought the war against Islamic Extremism would never end, at least it is justified (uh, we got attacked, remember). The Drug War has been fought ever since the days of Reefer Madness to control the "public health" of the American population and to prevent vice. Unfortunately, it has had horrendous unintended consequences such as creating availability for dangerous drugs that can actually kill you (e.g. crack, meth), and it has allowed gang-bangers and thugs from around the world to compete for the lucrative piece of the black market in America. These goons include the FARC, the Taliban, and these asshole drug cartels in Tijuana (from the San Diego Tribune):

A confrontation between rival criminal gangs left 13 dead and nine injured early yesterday in gunbattles that started along a major thoroughfare and continued near a private clinic where police exchanged gunfire with injured suspects. The shootouts were among the fiercest the city has seen in recent years. They come amid a spike in violence along Mexico's northern border as drug gangs battle one another and face off against law enforcement agencies that have stepped up efforts against organized crime. The dead appeared to be members of criminal cells linked to organized crime, but their identities were not revealed, nor would officials name any specific criminal organization, saying the investigation was continuing.

Despite what faux-populist Lou Dobbs of CNN says, America has longstanding cultural and economic ties with our friends to the south. The drug war in America has not only resulted in the destruction of our inner cities, it's caused the destruction of border cities in Mexico too. What's it all for? So Hollywood actors can buy coke from their buddy Hugo Chavez instead of down at the liquor store. What a waste...

All this is okay, because the drug war is "for our children"

What Conservative Babes Are Thinking

My weak attempt at meeting Liberal Babes bombed when they found out my old job involved clubbin' baby seals. Since that blue state sector of the population is now off-limits to anyone with access to google, I must search elsewhere. Right Wing News (h/t Sniper) has interviews with six wingnutted ladies on what they're looking for in a guy. Most seem to think that liberal guys are bunch of self-centered, whiny weenies. There also seems to be a consensus that the time-tested "dinner and a movie" is a guaranteed schnooze fest (that's girl code for the guy's not getting any). At least Ms. Holmes (pictured below) says she'll see a movie, but she'll judge the guy on what movie he picks. My future ex-wife explains:
With my guy friends, I'd want to go see something like Cloverfield, but I wouldn't want to see the Hills Have Eyes part 6. It says something about a guy when he can choose something that a girl will want to see also
Wouldn't want to see the Hills Have Eyes?!? I guess I'm SOL. I thought all chicks loved radioactive mutants going around wreaking havoc. She sounds like a hard woman to please. Sheesh. I guess I'll have to keep my midget porn collection under wraps too.

So... you wanna go protest Planned Parenthood then head back to my place

28 April 2008

Iraq News (28 April)

The Good: U.S. forces are seriously pushing utilities, services, and humanitarian aid in Sadr City in an effort to wrest the district of Baghdad from militia control. This coincides with the offensive to take out militia thugs, 38 of whom were killed in fierce fighting yesterday amidst a Hades-like sandstorm that resulted in steel rain on the Green Zone. Vice President Hashimi and Prime Minister Maliki are finalizing political arrangements for the Iraqi Accordance Front's return to the Iraqi cabinet. Three members of the dangerous insurgent group, Ansar al-Sunnah, have been detained in Western Mosul by Iraqi Security Forces.

The Bad:
Another female suicide bomber has killed three Iraqis in eastern Baghdad at a checkpoint. There are extensive details about shoddy reconstruction efforts from US-based companies that failed to finish the job as revealed by an audit (almost 900 unfinished projects). That was taxpayer dollars well spent!

The Ugly:
The Iranian propaganda apparatus is becoming increasingly upset that members of the Iraqi security forces are detailing their malign role in Iraq. The Iranian government seems more and more foolish as massive amounts of Iranian caches are unearthed on a routine basis (especially in Basra, and Long War Journal has pics). There were protests in Sadr City about the ongoing military operations, with many members of Iraqi Parliament being in attendance. Where will this all go? Who knows at this point. I've come to expect the worst.

The hearts and minds offensive in Sadr City (photo from Christian Science Monitor)

Ron Paul's Gated Community Paradise

I'm no fan of gated communities. Mostly because I enjoy having derelicts sleep on my couch. But Ron Paul's people are setting up a gated community in West Texas for "freedom and liberty lovers". Anyone want a take a stab at the ratio of dudes to chicks and how frequent the Star Trek conventions are going to be? (h/t Agitprop)

27 April 2008

Women in Action

No all you male pervs! Don't let the title of the post fool you. This is about female soldiers in Iraq in the Lioness program. Traditional Muslim culture prevents male soldiers from searching women, so it has been necessary to have all-female units deal with these situations. There's a documentary coming out about it, which the Fayetteville Observer has an extensive article well worth the read. One thing I've been flabbergasted with is the prominent feminist movement giving women serving our country very little attention. This is most likely due to the politically incorrect nature of being in the military, therefore more praise is directed towards the aging windbags in Code Pink and the patriarchal conspiracy keeping Hillary Clinton from being elected (note: Hillary Clinton shouldn't be elected prez because she is evil, not because of her gender).

Views of OIF Vets

On Iraq and politics: John Bruhns (against the war) argues that collegiate-aged war supporters who have no stake in Iraq/Afghanistan are douchey on HuffPo, while Hello Iraq (supports the Iraq strategy) argues that collegiate-aged leftistas are whiny, entitlement-grubbing socialists. This leads me to the conclusion that many vets think others our age are whiny douchebags (this is not surprising).

On the Petraeus nomination: Kokesh of the IVAW thinks the General Petraeus nomination to CENTCOM is an inevitable precursor to war with Iran. Let's not go off the deep end here...

On picture taking: SGT Grumpy snapped a picture of a palace in Iraq and will give a beer to whoever can name it. At first I thought it was Al-Faw because of the Saddam-style moat, but I think I'm wrong. He also called livin' on da FOB "depressing" after being out and about the last year in the real Iraq. I disagree, because at least I have full access to "teh internet" in relative safety in my t-walled existence. Being on a submarine...now that was soul-crushing and depressing! The only thing I had to cheer me up my last deployment was the second season of "The OC", which was rudely interrupted by 6-hour watches, a crisis with nuclear-type paperwork, or the occasional fire.

Oh the Humanity!

Damn Pirates!

A Spanish fishing boat, Playa de Bakio, has been freed from Somalian pirates, but only after a 1 million Euro ransom was paid. The Horn of Africa has seen an obscene amount of piracy and the journalistic expert on Somalia, David Axe, routinely cites problems with the troubled African country. If international shipping were to be stopped near the Horn of Africa tomorrow, I would expect worldwide food riots on Tuesday, and cannibalism in middle America on Thursday (perhaps that's a bit alarmist). Despite the fact that the decline of pirates is directly responsible for global warming (see Flying Spaghetti Monster for explanation), this egregious threat to the world economy and the right for ships to travel the high seas must be stopped. What is this, the 16th century?
Piracy: Not as cool as it used to be

Proselytizing My Crazy Beliefs To Young Soldiers

A young Specialist (an E-4) was hassled by a Major (an O-4) for his atheist beliefs in Iraq according to this New York Times article. Generally speaking, impressing political or religious beliefs in a coercive fashion is strictly forbidden and highly unethical in normal officer-enlisted relations. This is due to the fact that the authority held by officers in the military hierarchy should not fall outside of rigidly defined aspects that are essential to the mission. However, if this Major goes unpunished, that would finally set the precedent for me to force my religious beliefs on every Joe in theater!

My religion involves a modern, 21st century version of the Heaven's Gate sect, who courageously killed themselves with Nikes and bags packed in 1997 to get on the spiritually divine spaceship hiding amongst the Hale-Bopp comet. To meet up with our brothers, we will be looking at a 2009 departure to Jupiter where we will take a space truck to Alpha Centauri, which has a plethora of hot alien babes and free parking. All E-4 and below will be required to attend the weekly meetings on base or else they will have to clean latrines and they won't be allowed to use the phone bank.
Strap on those Nikes and join the party!

Iraq News (27 April)

The Good: The neighborhood of Al-Huteen in Basra is under Iraqi Army control a little over a month after the operation was launched on March 25th. General Sir Richard Dannatt, head of the British Army, defends the low-key role of the Brits in Basra, citing the necessity for Iraqis to take the lead. 4 terrorists have been killed near Samarra, one of whom was Saudi. SGT Maupin, who was missing since 2004, has returned home.

The Bad: Efforts to provide services in Sadr City (in this case trash collection) were halted due to fighting from the militia. Much like the mob controlling the union, the Mahdi Army will fight to maintain its monopoly over services in Sadr City. An Iraqi teenage girl was the victim of an abominable "honor-killing" since she had a crush on a British soldier. Many civilians killed and injured due to three suicide bombs in Mosul. The biggest city in northern Iraq has seen extensive joint operations to flush out what some have called "the last Al-Qaeda bastion" in Iraq.

The Ugly:
Turkey has renewed its bombing campaign against the PKK along the Turkey-Iraq border. They launched a ground force incursion a few months back with mixed results. You'd think our ally, Turkey, would take a page from the book of COIN and realize you can't just kill your way out of problems. There's some new movie on Abu Ghraib. Seriously, how much are we going to have to hear about this disastrous issue that took place more than 4 years ago. I'm sure it'll stop once the Dems get in the White House, and the Huffingtons and Greenwalds of America revert from criticizing the government to defending its heinous policies unabashedly.

Basra under control (from AFP)

26 April 2008

Unfunny Navy Humor and Zirkle

There's been some buzz about the imbecile Republican running for Congress in Indiana who thought it would be a swell idea to do outreach to political groups you usually don't hear about...in this case the local Neo-Nazi consortium in Indiana. Yikes, talk about a faux pas. Further investigation into Tony Zirkle's webpage indicates that the dude is a little, uh, weird:

I've been getting a flood of e-mails and phone calls, some of which include death threats, about my attempt to raise awareness of how the great porn dragon inspires Jews into pornography and prostitution and then, like the snake he is, turns the public against the Jews. Some have questioned whether there is any link to Jews and porn-prostitution.

Ah yes, the great porn dragon. Which seeks to undermine the very fabric of humanity in a sea of Chinese-made DVDs featuring fisting, DP, and sub-par storylines and cinematography.

Anyways, if you check out Tony Zirkle's "About" portion of the site, the guy went to the Naval Academy back in the late 80s. I have nothing against the fine Annapolis institution or its graduates, but as anyone in the Navy who did NOT attend the Academy knows, any discussion with a ring-knocker will involve the most schnooze-inducing conversation equivalent in pain level to discussion about the hottest babe on The Golden Girls. Academy grads love nothing more than talking about the academic rigors, those rough "plebe" years, and the awesomeness of their football team. Zzzzzzz. To counter all these years of verbal abuse I thought it would be funny to send out information about this unsavory Zirkle character asking my Academy buds if they were of the same indoctrination. Unfortunately, the jest did not go over well and I got an earful about how Zirkle was not really a true midshipmen.

I guess when your time on deployment is short, your temper becomes short as well. But if we can't share a laugh based on the mutual humiliation of others, is that a life really worth living? I say no.

McCain Courts the Coveted Rick Astley Vote

To fend off the GOP's uncool image, McCain has solicited the support of Utah's favorite drug warrior, senator, and crooner: Orrin Hatch. From the Salt Lake Tribune (h/t Crooks and Liars):

Hatch - a Utah Republican who won a platinum award for helping co-write lyrics for a song that sold more than a million records - crafted a tune called "Together Forever" for the presumptive Republican nominee. "Forever together / America is the land we're fighting for / There's a time in history / for a hero's destiny / together forever more," says Hatch's song.
I hope Sen. Hatch isn't in charge of the oversight of copyright legislation, because "Together Forever" was originally a Rick Astley Tune. The lyrics are as follows:

So don't stop me falling
It's destiny calling
A power I just can't deny
It's never changing
Can't you hear me, I'm saying
I want you for the rest of my life
Together forever and never to part
Together forever we two
And don't you know I would move heaven and earth
To be together forever with you

Why doesn't the GOP just incorporate soundbites from the greatest decade of music, the 80s? That would win over the hipsters.
I had a mancrush on Rick Astley before it was cool!

Iraq News (26 April)

The Good: Sadr took a step back from his "open war" comment last week and urged his Mahdi Army followers not to target other Iraqis. The mosques in Sadr City forbade attacking other Iraqis during Friday Prayers. The Prime Minister has outlined what the Mahdi Army should do to avoid further confrontations. Time discusses the juggling involved between the main Sunni bloc, the Iraqi Accordance Front, coming back to the cabinet due to Maliki finally getting tough on Shi'ite militias.

The Bad: Another oil pipeline has blown up south of Baghdad. Difficult to say whether it was insurgent caused or just an accident. Oil exports were down for Iraq in March, however revenue increased due to record high costs for that sweet, sweet crude. Despite the fact that the new US embassy is a complete oversized abomination and total waste of taxpayer dollars, it can't even house all the employees! I'm sure the Kuwaiti contractor that made a killing off this thing is shedding some crocodile tears about that.

The Ugly: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, had some pretty harsh words for Iran. Some "unnamed" sources in the intelligence community say Iranian arms shipments haven't increased, but that is not the conventional wisdom. Malign Iranian influence is a serious problem in Iraq...but making sharp rhetoric about a potential military conflict?!? Is that really smart with the current conditions...I'm not so sure. There's an interesting story about an Iraq vet who is taking 22 credits a semester while writing a book (a hard worker)...maybe it's time for a new GI Bill?

What Iranian weapons, you crazy Americans?

What Could've Been

You ever wonder what life in your 20s would've been like if you hadn't exposed yourself to the busload of nuns in your teenage years? Or if you never developed that meth habit which keeps you from top-notch employment? Well you probably would've looked a lot like these young successful people. From Fortune, and the "Faces of the Future" series:

Julie says: "I am extremely 'client facing,' to the point that I spend more time in the client's office than at an IBM office. It is exciting to be representing IBM to a client so early on in my career."

Ms. Julie, your overexuberance for the mundane should cause some level of despair. Be weary of that "Bad-Boy" boyfriend who's going to run up all your credit cards to buy jewelery for his stripper girlfriend he keeps on the side. You will never be privy to this as you are working 70-90 hours a week.

Anshul says: "Imagine a job where you have experts in fields as diverse as computer security, optimization, data analytics, experimental game theory and supercomputers sitting in the same building."

Mr. Anshul, while we wager you are a pretty smart dude, there is no need to discuss the complexities of your job in a social-like setting. See those chicks you just scared off because you talked about how you were one of the original coders for Linux? They were totally unimpressed. They only thing guaranteed this evening is that you are going to get a wedgie by those meatheads playing pool.

Brooke Says: "From the minute the show begins, I am running from one dance to the next, quickly changing from one costume to another."

So... I may have just lost all my money at craps, but you look like you know how to party! They say women like to reach out and do charity work...I could be that charity! Your place or my car?

Sorry, but happy and satisfied people really make me angry.

25 April 2008


Accurate description of LT Nixon, except I always forget to wear my pants

For those of you who haven't been in the military, soldiers deployed to Iraq are seemingly divided into two broad characterizations: grunts and REMFs (or Fobbits). Grunts are the guys who go outside the wire, mingle with the locals, and engage the enemy. REMFs (Rear Echelon Mother Fuckers) are the personnel with jobs on the FOBs (forward operating bases). I was always interested in this military sub-culture, since there's nothing like it in the Navy (everyone pretty much has to go out to sea). Grunts are justifiably pissed off at people in the rear (see Acute Politics and SGT Grumpy) over what they perceive as a lack of respect. From what I can glean, soldiers outside the wire come back to sprawling FOBs only to have REMFs bitch at them for uniform violations (this should not be a priority in a war zone), taking up too much time in the MWR internet trailer, and using all the hot water. I suspect that front-line soldiers would also get pissed at REMFs telling ham-fisted tales of glory about their time in Iraq. I'm removed from all this, because I'm setup in the emerald city, which has a very civilian mindset. But I would hope that folks in support roles (like mine) have a little more respect for the people doing the hard time and keeping them from getting blowed up. Of course, I'm a sailor, so people don't judge me much and usually wonder what the fuck I'm doing in Iraq. I still am trying to get an understanding of Army culture and any insight would be appreciated.

Iraq News (25 April)

The Good: More excellent embedded reporting from Michael R. Gordon of the NY Times. This one's about our military providing medical aid to residents of the southern portion of Sadr City. On the political front, the Iraqi Accordance Front (Sunni bloc) will return their ministers to the government, since they see the Prime Minister being tough on Shia militias and not just out to marginalize Sunnis. The reconstruction of the Al-Askari mosque in Samarra is helping with reconciliation. This was the mosque bombed by terrorists in February 2006 that caused a disastrous increase in ethnic reprisal killings throughout Iraq. Oh yeah, for our Aussie allies and drinking buddies, it's Anzac Day.

The Bad: Despite progress in Basra, the plan to withdraw UK forces is on hold. One of the Marines killed in Basra was a Texas A&M alum, and there's a heart felt story here. There's tension growing in Kirkuk over who will control the city. The oil-rich city has long been a troublesome issue, as the Kurdish region thinks they should get it, but the Arabs and Turkomen think they should have authority over it as well. This was one of the key issues in the Iraq Study Report back in 2006, and it has yet to be resolved.

The Ugly: Despite Muqtada al-Sadr hanging out in Qom, the Sadrists are seeking to badmouth Iran to strengthen their nationalistic image. They have even accused Iran of sending proxies to undermine the Mahdi Army and tarnish their images. What a mess! Also, the SIGIR says the Iraqi Security Forces ain't looking too good.

A strange choice for a photo of the Prime Minister from WaPo

Oh No, Al-Qaeda Falls on Hard Times in Public Relations

The LA Times has a story about how Muslims are becoming more disenchanted with Al-Qaeda:

Such rifts have been emerging for several years, but they have become increasingly contentious lately, in cyberspace and on the streets of some Arab countries. In addition to Zawahiri, Al Qaeda leaders, including Bin Laden himself, have gone on a public relations offensive. In October, Bin Laden asked followers for forgiveness for the deaths of civilians in Iraq.

The rise of the Awakening movement in Anbar, Diyala, Baghdad, and Salah Ad-Din has been quite significant in my mind, as it shows that more moderate Muslims are, not only going to despise Al-Qaeda, but they are going to actively combat their brand of sick fuckin' brutality. It's good to see that people have taken note in other Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa, where much of Al-Qaeda's recruiting base is located. Who would've thought that massacring civilians would generate bad public relations?

Right-wing types often criticize Muslims for not taking a more proactive stance against terrorism. But the LAT article mentions a new anti-extremist group known as The Quilliam Foundation has just been launched to combat extremist interpretations of Islam. My hats off to them!


A Smug Outlook in the Blogosphere

I advocate maintaining a smorgasbord of politically-ranging blogs in the ole Google reader to get a wide spectrum of idears. I'm actually quite liberal on some issues, and it's good to at least know what the other side of the fence is thinking. While many of my comments out in liberal land could be chastised as troll-like, there's a certain sense that many of these prominent lefty blogs come off as a bit...smug. Not so much that they want to prosecute people like me of thought crimes, but there's a certain self-assured tone to it all that sort of creeps me out. A recent Dissent article on the left-wing blogosphere is a total stroke fest that confirms some of my suspicions (h/t to a liberal blog that isn't snooty Obsidian Wings):

I realized how deeply the intellectual landscape on the left has changed over the last few years, and how deeply it has changed for the better. I'm talking about a new breed of liberal writers who have emerged on the web—a network of writers who are bringing together reformism and idealism in a way we haven't seen in many years. These writers are exciting because they're unapologetically, un-defensively liberal, and because their liberalism isn't the cautious, hesitant, scared-of-its-own-shadow, skim-milk liberalism that we've all gotten used to. It's a militant liberalism, of a kind we haven't seen in decades.

How bout getting off your knees there for a minute, buddy! All this is going to do is create a more snooty atmosphere on teh internet, where pundits talk about how they rode their bike to work for Earth Day, how many phone numbers they got at a club in DC, and other snooze-inducing drivel that clogs up the net. Society is a sewer, and the best way to highlight that in a logical manner on the internet is to be a self-deprecating wreck who has a lifestyle equivalent of the homeless squeege guy who smokes cigarette butts found on the sidewalk.

An analogy in the Navy would be similar to when a new junior officer shows up on board. To prevent him from later becoming a pompous douchebag, he is usually subjugated to repeated humiliation with ass-grabbing shenanigans and verbal tongue-lashings for fucking up from both other officers and enlisted sailors (note: it was way more harsh in the "Old Navy"). This will ensure his proud membership in an alliance of bitterness and cynicism later on in his career. Due to the self-correcting nature of blogs, I say the same type of sardonic humor is true to the world of blogging, lest every post become some boring ass Facebook session about the party last night at Scooter's.

But, hey...that's just my asshole opinion, whadya all think? I just don't want people I know ending up like this self-righteous clown.

Dude, I am so like the Jesus of the Blogosphere

24 April 2008

Fem Bot Fantasies One Step Closer to Fruition!

An ex-marine has created a "Bum Bot" to chase away transients from his establishment in Atlanta (H/T Jules) . I applaud the man's ingenuity! But, due to the malaise that male-female interactions have been suffering due to overzealous expectations, confusion, and lousy intimacy, I'm saving my money up for the female version.
Bum Bot 2.0 will be more anatomically correct

Iraq News (24 April)

The Good: Four Iranian-trained militants were killed in a US raid north of Baghdad and five were detained. Despite the fact that Iran repeatedly denies any complicity in aiding militia activity in Iraq, the facts on the ground prove otherwise. While I don't advocate open conflict with Iran, it must be acknowledged that much of their activity is illicit. Lt. Gen. Austin, #2 commander in Iraq, discusses ongoing operations describing Al-Qaeda in Iraq remaining the #1 threat. There's also some chatter about one of Saddam's henchmen, Izzat Ibrahim Douri, being captured by Iraqi forces...unfortunately it's probably BS.

The Bad: The humanitarian situation continues to get worse in Sadr City. If only the small percentage of militia thugs making trouble would lay down their weapons, some supplies would be able to get in there. And the rockets red glare in Baghdad (700 fired in last month alone)...good thing I'm a professional in cowardly hiding.

The Ugly:
General Petraeus has been selected to lead CENTCOM, which would mean he is responsible for the entire region (including Afghanistan). Also, General (select) Odierno has been assigned to lead Iraq...after just getting back from being in charge of operations on a 15 month tour. Makes me glad I'm not a General. Some have speculated that this may be to take on a more aggressive stance towards Iran. Also, the Iraqis want to build an amusement park in central Baghdad. Sounds like good times, but there is probably more pressing issues that must be addressed before this can happen.

Disneyland comes to a war zone

Megan McArdle's Snide Take on the Military

There are different roles in this complex web of society. Some people are destined to be sipping on lattes while tapping out blog posts that influence the political world in some swanky NYC neighborhood. While others are fighting tooth and nail in Sadr City to prevent chaos erupting in the rest of Baghdad (and preventing me from getting dead). Certainly we can respect each other and our various lot in this world. Megan McArdle is one of those smart types, whom I respect. But when she equates the military with some creepy all-boys club that is hellbent on abusing power, I must take offense (h/t Counter Column):

But as the Milgram experiments show, most people given unlimited power over other human beings tend to abuse that power unless there are adequate institutional safeguards against us. We are natural bullies. And in mobs, we quite often make each other worse. Military culture fights this natural tendency with a pretty rigorous code of conduct--but in the end you've got a bunch of boys out on a corner with big guns. There's only so much that a code of conduct can do.

It is disturbing that snooty Ivy-league types find it so necessary to denigrate the military. The logic of her argument must be "over my head", and what did we ever do to you? In a time of recession and increasing costs for veterans health care, I predict there will be competition amongst various special groups to deny veterans benefits so that taxpayer dollars can be spent in a fashion that will benefit other portions of the population who have a larger voting capacitance (e.g. The Free Burgers for Fatsos Fund). This is what you get with a government with zero principles that only cares about winning votes.

Damn, I've been beating up on the left, and I don't want to offend my lefty readership! Time to throw out a blog-bone. Here's one... that "Bring it on!" shit Condi said in Baghdad about Sadr was completely devoid of any diplomatic foresight and reckless. More here.

23 April 2008

Jewel to Provide Technical and Intellectual Expertise to Save the Planet

The fact that celebrities often have the impulse to step out of their roles of doing coke on the Sunset Strip and consuming massive amounts of resources in the urban jungle of Los Angeles and wade into the world of politics has always made me bitter. I'm all for people speaking their mind, but do these ill-informed, plastic surgery frankensteins deserve a freakin' congressional hearing? Politico has the scoop on politicians in Washington being wooed by "star power":

Even the celebrities themselves are often surprised at the way politicians slobber over them. When Jewel first testified before a Senate committee last year, she thought, “Gosh, they don’t want to talk to me — I’m a songwriter,” she said during a recent interview with Politico. “There are professionals who know the information and statistics. But I was just brought in. “I had a naive belief that politicians were above being impressed by star status, and I was very disappointed,” she continued, laughing. “But I guess it makes sense. Everybody is just human. I was shocked — I thought they’d weigh things based on facts, not lobbying.”

Aw geez. Even our not-so-trusted political class is swooning over celebrities. And how much hubris can these megastars contain in their swiss-cheese brains to think that they are the most important people on the planet. At least when Brad Pitt talks about whatever the fashionable "cause" is for the week, he's got some good movies to back himself up (Seven, 12 Monkeys). But, as for Jewel, her music makes me wish disco and Cher were back in style.

Jewel to update Congress on 75-point plan for nuclear non-proliferation...and to sing a song about birds

Iraq News (23 April)

The Good: Depending on where you get your news, the conference with Maliki and countries in the region could either be a smashing success or a total bust. This Saudi newspaper seems stoked that Maliki is finally taking on the Shi'ite militias that have their mitts all over the place in Iraq, but if you get your news from the WaPo, you're going to get the impression that it was a big waste of time. Only time will tell, but even Iran is pleased with the crackdown on Shi'ite militias. It's looking like Sadr is becoming more and more isolated diplomatically. More detainees have been released from Camp Bucca (the biggest US-run detention center), which is viewed as an important part of the reconciliation process as most of the detainees are Sunni. The casualties keep mounting for the enemy in Sadr City as well. Don't believe the hype that the US is targeting civilians, as people running around launching mortars and rockets don't fall under the traditional definition of "civilian".

The Bad:
Speaking of Sadr City, this AP article talks about the despair felt by the residents. It's important to get services, food, jobs, and reconstruction to this sector with great haste or else these people will still be sympathetic to the militia. Two marines were killed yesterday by a suicide bomber near Ramadi. Also, another female suicide bomber in Diyala province has killed 6 policemen. The increasing use of female suicide bombers is increasingly troubling, as much of the Iraqi culture (so I'm told, I could be wrong) is adverse to searching women at checkpoints. Unfortunately, terrorists aren't so modest.

The Ugly: More from Zawahiri on how he hates Hamas and Iran. He also calls on jihadists to unite behind the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), which is led by the Egyptian, Al-Masri, and is public enemy #1 in Iraq. This is one case where the axiom of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" does not hold true.
Maliki hangin' with sheikhs in Kuwait that could buy and sell my sorry ass

When Peace Thugs Attack

Zombietime does a good job of characterizing some of the uglier sides of the protest culture. Eric Dondero at the Libertarian Republican had video of a woman getting assaulted by some Trostkyite in a beret. And now, the Gathering of Eagles has an account posted of how a family got attacked by some unruly peace protesters:

Seeing the escalating tension across the street, the veteran and his wife crossed over, leaving their three youngest children on the other side for safety while they went to retrieve their eldest son. Two of the female ‘peace’ protesters then attacked the veteran’s wife. When the veteran pulled one of those attackers off his wife he was jumped by four or five of the ‘peace’ people and knocked to the ground where they held him while beating him and smashing his eyeglasses.

The fact that peace and love people would resort to violence seems quite hypocritical. Obviously, protests are a necessary part of the democratic process, but resorting to violence falls on that slippery slope. If anyone wants to partake in the "glory" of where politics and violence mesh, swing by Iraq where kidnappings, assassinations, and extortion are rife within the political apparatus. So that's why I won't even support a face-punching of a group with a despicable ideology such as the Westboro Baptist Church.

What current event can't be explained with a Megadeth tune

China Joins the Brown Shirts

A cohort of mine, who once lived in Beijing, informed me that China's Communist Party (CCP) maintains "blog monitors" who readily patrol teh internets looking for people who say nasty things about China. They will usually claim they are a British or Aussie and talk about why the communist regime is "super awesome" in a covert fashion. I'm hoping to attract some of those psyop monitors to this blog amidst a massively embarrassing string of protests against the Olympic torch to allow the hilarity to ensue. The blog China Sucks Dick probably receives ample attention, and I want to partake. Here's some insight from The Telegraph on China's Cyber Brownshirts:

More than 30,000 Chinese "cyber police" surf the internet every day and have blocked thousands of sites that are deemed offensive or critical of the authorities. In addition, hundreds of officials go "underground" to take part in online discussions with the aim of subtly steering debates in support of the authorities.

Perhaps China should spend less time waging an information war and more time having restraint in beating the shit out of Tibetan monks to improve their image.

You posted bad things about China on Stuff Asian People Like!

22 April 2008

Tuesdaze Bloggin' Roundup of Iraq (22 April)

All the news that's fit to link:

Some VetVoice Stuff I did:

Iraq News (22 April)

The Good: Currently, there is a conference going on in Kuwait with Iraq and all of its neighbors, which Condi (Secretary of State) is attending. Prime Minister Maliki is calling for debt relief and more help to curb terrorism in Iraq (Reuters has the highlights of his speech). Seems like he may have taken a subtle swipe at Iran when he called for the neighboring countries to do more to strengthen their borders to prevent terrorists from streaming across the border, but it was probably directed at Saudi Arabia or Syria. The politics of this part of the world continues to befuddle me at times, and I just hope people stop shooting each other so we can leave and the Iraqis can have some semblance of peace.

The Bad: A female suicide bomber has killed 4 Sahwa members in Baqubah. This comes at a time when Al-Qaeda guy #2, Zawahiri, has called for Muslims to hurry to Iraq for the battlefields of Jihad, citing an "imminent victory". The fact that Al-Qaeda in Iraq is using female suicide bombers in their brutal campaign highlights a certain sense of desperation and not much of a "glorious jihad". Two US soldiers were killed in Salah ad-Din province.

The Ugly: Mastermind of the brutal "Anfal Campaign", which massacred thousands of Kurds in the 80s, has gone on hunger strike while awaiting the gallows, which will ensure his executioners have an easy time getting the rope around his skinny neck...I guess. Chemical Ali, you're an asshole! Also, SECDEF has chastised the Air Force for dragging ass in getting their UAVs off the ground. Gates is pissed because he believes some of the brass still think we're fighting the cold-war against those darn commies. Usually, things like this wouldn't be said in such a public manner with the press lurking, which indicates that the SECDEF is really, really pissed at the Air Force (don't worry zoomies, LT Nixon still loves you).

Who would've thought being on Death Row would be bad for your nutritional health

Hillary Goes from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove!

If Hillary Clinton was once a die-hard leftista burning her bra at Wellesley College, it certainly wasn't evident in her interview with Olberman last night (h/t Hot Air):

"We used [deterrence] very well during the Cold War when we had a bipolar world and what I think the president should do and what our policy should be is to make it very clear to the Iranians that they would be risking massive retaliation were they to launch a nuclear attack on Israel," she said.

I have nothing against Israel, but threatening nuclear war on their behalf seems just a tad bit hawkish. Is Hillary trying to bring about the "end of times" in some eschatological orgy of rapture? I hope not, because all that would result from a nuclear war is a society based on cannibalism and barbarism as we scrounge for the few remaining resources, and the only thing beneficial that could come out of nuclear apocalypse would be a make-shift Thunderdome where young female participants would fight in Xena-style warrior gear.

I'm no expert on Middle Eastern affairs, but it seems most of the Arab states are no fans of the Iranian theocracy. But, they fear hawkish American threats towards Iran as a path towards a massive regional conflict not seen since the Mongols last came through. Ironically, there's an LA Times article about the Persians closely watching our election. At a time when their economy is in the shits, and our Ambassador in Iraq seeking another round of security talks with Iran, shouldn't we a little more diplomatic in our approach. While nefarious Iranian influence in Iraq, Lebanon, and elsewhere signifies an exceedingly complex diplomatic problem, this isn't exactly the Cuban Missile Crisis in the desert.

Forget dodging sniper fire, Hillary, try living through Nuclear Winter

Shameful Habit Now Good For You

Is there anyone that didn't spank it to this scene from Fast Times like Judge Reinhold?

Success! It seems all those times that young boys run off to the bathroom with their mother's Victoria's Secret catalogs are paying off with huge health benefits. From the BBC on why masturbatin' is good for you (thanks Jules):

Australian researchers questioned over 1,000 men who had developed prostate cancer and 1,250 who had not about their sexual habits. They found those who had ejaculated the most between the ages of 20 and 50 were the least likely to develop the cancer.The protective effect was greatest while the men were in their 20s. Men who ejaculated more than five times a week were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer later in life.

So much for the crazy stories about growing hair on your palms that your folks tell you to prevent embarrassment while they host dinner parties. Anyways, I also came across a strange website called "Take the Action Corporation", by way of World-O-Crap, which is dedicated to stopping the heinous sin of onanism. According to this preachy website, the reason masturbation is so bad for you can be summed up in some gospel-like, scientifically-unproven bullets which include: You waste your valuable time on masturbation, Destroys your marriage or your relationship with your partner, and simply Masturbation destroys your health. This preposterous website then proceeds to talk about how Yoga or some other Age of Aquarius type crap is what you should be doing as opposed to batin'. I take issue with the proclaimation that you should be doing it with your partner as opposed to playing with yourself. Some poor souls are destined to not have partners until science can invent a anatomically correct robo-babe. Plus, the fact that guys in the workforce spend hours schwackin' it is absurd. Don't they know that we are pros at it by the time we hit high school?

All those wasted kleenexes!