Thursday, September 28, 2006

Musings 175--Barney might want to "cut and run."

According to Bob Woodward, President Bush is living in denial and is doctoring the figures about the number of violent incidents in Iraq. Bushie wouldn't do something like that...would he?

Woodward has been extremely kind to Bush in his last two books. Much to kind, in my humble estimation, but he is apparently making up for it in his newest tome. Woodward, the consummate insider, has given an interview to Mike Wallace at CBS' 60 Minutes. Raw Story has viewed the tape and garnered snippets of information that show us the real Bushie we all know and loath. (See Link)

The title of Woodward's new book is: State of Denial, Bush at War III.

Raw Story reports that Woodward says that attacks against coalition troops average one every 15 minutes--24-7! He is quoted as saying that there are 800 to 900 attacks per week, or about 100 per day.

Woodward also says that intelligence estimates for 2007 show that violence will get worse instead of better. Privately, he says, everyone knows that it is getting worse, but in public they paint the lying picture of everything getting better. has the following quote from Woodward: President Bush is absolutely certain that he has the U.S. and Iraq on the right course, says Woodward. So certain is the president on this matter, Woodward says, that when Mr. Bush had key Republicans to the White House to discuss Iraq, he told them, "I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me."

Now, I don't know about Laura, but Barney is not stupid. He'd have left years ago and taken the Teletubbies gang with him.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Musings 174--Torture cartoon

There is not much to say here. The editorial cartoons pretty much sums it up.


All from Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Musings 173--Maybe we misplaced 7,000 soldiers.

It really doesn't make you feel good when the generals in Iraq don't know how many troops they have under their command. (See Link)

I suppose that if they don't know how many troops they have, then it would be too much to ask how many have been killed.

This if from the above link on The precise number of U.S. troops is murky. Abizaid today it was over 140,000. His staff later said it was closer to 142,000. Colonel Nelson McCouch, spokesman for Casey, said in an e-mail from Baghdad Sept. 17 that the current level is about 147,000.

So basically, Casey has lost 7,000 troops somewhere. Does that seem weird to anyone other than me. I suppose, when you are a general; then, things like how many men are under your command kind of slips through your mind. I mean, you have to remember the important stuff, like when lunch and dinner is served. Pardon me if I sound sarcastic.

By the way the number of dead in Iraq, as of today, is 2,689. The wounded stands at 19,945. (See Link if you don't believe me.)

Hey, General Casey...if you pull up my blog, I'll keep you current. West Virginia is just around the corner from Iraq.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Musings 172--What's a syndicanted columnist?

So there I was watching C-SPAN Friday morning, when Robert Novak came on as the featured guest. He was explaining how his version and Richard Armitage's version of the Valerie Plame leak conversation were not the same. (See Link for Novak's column)

Novak is not the most photo-friendly guy, but as soon as I saw him on C-SPAN I knew something was wrong. Let's see....ah, white hair, squinty eyes, windsor tie, $1,000 suit...ok, that's normal. Then it struck me. It wasn't Novak, it was the way C-SPAN identified him with the caption at the bottom of the screen. It said, "Robert Novak, Syndicanted Columnist." Hmmm...syndicanted. Is that really a word.

I know that Novak is a syndicated columnist, as are a ton of other talking heads that jabber their blather on cable, but I did not know that C-SPAN was in the word creating business. I thought that Steven Colbert had a corner on that market.

Syndicanted! What a great word. It has to mean a columnist that cants or slants one way or the other. For 10 minutes I watched this new word to the English language flash on screen. I even called my wife in to see it. I thought maybe my education had been short-shifted and syndicanted was a word that I had missed during my education at Marshall University.

"Not a word...they mean syndicated," she said.

"But it's been up for 10 minutes," I said. "Surely, C-SPAN has someone that can read."

"Apparently not," she said and left the room to do other things. She has no sense of history in the making.

Then, suddenly, the camera went from the C-SPAN moderator to Novak...and, the caption at the bottom of the screen read: "Robert Novak, Syndicated Columnist.

Wow! That C-SPAN has a crack crew of folks.

I think it was an unintentional-intentional Freudian slip on the part of liberal media at C-SPAN. I mean it was up for 10 minutes. Syndicanted. It just rolls off the tongue. Yeah, baby!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Musings 171--Leland and me.

I heard the chirping when I came into the building to go to work. I thought that it was just a loud bird on the roof. It wasn't.

Coming out of the bathroom, I thought I saw something move across the floor to the back door. I flipped on the light and that was my first encounter with Leland. He was huddled on the damp floor looking up at me with fear in his eyes. He was a sparrow that had somehow fallen out of his nest into my building. As soon as I saw him, the name Leland came to mind. No reason, it just fit.

I gently picked him up and saw that he was big enough to fly. I called to my wife, who loves to look at such things, and we gave the little bird the once over. He seemed healthy enough so we opened the door and I walked across the gravel parking lot to the chain link fence that marks the edge of our lot. I set the now-named Leland on the top of the fence. He immediately flew awkwardly over to some morning glory vines and hid. Looking up, I saw Leland's mother sitting on the roof watching my every move.

"He'll be fine," I assured my wife. "His mother will feed him until he can fly good."

The next day, I pulled into my parking lot and there, sitting in the dirt was Leland. I know it was him because he had a piece of bird down still stuck to the back of his head. I got out of my car and he looked at me, chirped and flew to the fence. I said: "Good morning, Leland," and went in to the shop for work.

Well, during the next few days, I would come across Leland playing in the dirt of the parking lot. He seemed to love rooting his head in the dust and flapping his little wings. He would not let me touch him, but he definitely remembered me. Maybe he had imprinted me to his birdy mind.

Sometimes I'd go make deliveries and have to shoo Leland from under my car. He would fly to the chain link fence and fuss at me. He was neat.

As time went on, I saw less and less of Leland. He had lost his piece of fluff on his head and he looked just like all the rest of his brothers and sisters. So yesterday, I walked outside and there, under my car sat Leland. He chirped, dipped his head into the dust and flew up to his spot on the fence. He then flew to a house roof across the street and then zoomed off with his bothers and sisters. It made me feel good.

Live long, Leland. Come back and play in my dirt anytime.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Musings 170--Congress turned down Clinton's anti-terrorism law.

If you delve around on the internet long enough, you find out all kinds of interesting things. Some are true and some are not. However, there is evidence that former President Bill Clinton tried to get the GOP controlled congress to give him some of the terror-fighting tools that Bush jr. just blatently took. (See Link)

CNN has a lot of stuff just floating around their archives. With just a little homework, journalist can find plenty of background information that sheds new light on current issures.

According to a July 30, 1996 report on the CNN US News Story Page, President Clinton said the following: "We need to keep this country together right now. We need to focus on this terrorist issue." He then asked congress to act swiftly on anti-terrorism legislation.

Clinton wanted congress to address a study of chemical markers in explosives. Senator Orrin Hatch, R, Utah, called the study, "a phoney issue." Hatch, who is not a leading cheerleader for Bush jr. wiretapping program, stated in the article that "he had some problems with the president's proposals to expand wiretapping."

Wow! Orrin you are the orginial flip-flopper. I guess party really does matter in national security. Now that Bush jr. is president, Hatch and the republicans are happy to give him a pass on the wiretapping program. Bush jr. didn't ask them, he just took it upon himself to do it and said "kiss my ass" to anyone who was against it.

If the republicans had any guts they'd buck the president on his wiretapping program. But, they won't...he's their guy...right or wrong. It is kind of like a fundamentalist christain marriage--till death do they part. The president and his party are on life support, and we all know how they feel about unhooking that.


Happy Birthday T. Michael!! You ain't getting older you're getting better--or, so your mom says. Life begins at 30...or 58...depending on your point of view and where you are on the scale.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Musings 169--Olbermann's speech...

Keith Olbermann gave the best speech on the current administration and Donald Rumsfeld, in particular, that I have heard in ages. It was thoughtful, concise and dissected the guys in charge with the scalpel of a surgeon. (See Link) I, respectfully, run it in its entirety:

The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American. For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as “his” troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq. It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For in their time, there was another government faced with true peril—with a growing evil—powerful and remorseless. That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the “secret information.” It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s -- questioning their intellect and their morality. That government was England’s, in the 1930’s.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England. It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords. It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions — its own omniscience -- needed to be dismissed. The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth. Most relevant of all — it “knew” that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused.

That critic’s name was Winston Churchill. Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History — and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England — have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty — and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts. Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy. Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards. His government, absolute -- and exclusive -- in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis. It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s Omniscient ones. That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely. And, as such, all voices count -- not just his. Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their “omniscience” as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris. Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire “Fog of Fear” which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically. And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

The confusion we -- as its citizens— must now address, is stark and forbidding. But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note -- with hope in your heart — that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too. The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a “new type of fascism.” As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it. This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow. But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: “confused” or “immoral.” Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” he said, in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

And so good night, and good luck.

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