September 2004 Archives

I Guess He Didn't Throw His Band-Aids Over The Fence

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We have a Red Cross blood drive coming up here at the Imperialist-Capitalist-Running-Pig-Dog-Military-Industrial-Complex, so there are flyers all over the building. One of them has a picture of a Band-Aid with the caption "Wear It Like A Badge Of Honor."

Underneath it, someone wrote "Kerry did."

So played-out gimmick-rocker Marilyn Manson (immortalized forever in this Onion story) has a 'Best Of' album (incidentally, that's one of the fringes of being a two-hit wonder instead of a one-hit wonder - your 'Best Of' single at least has a B-side!), called, desparately enough, "Lest We Forget."

I think he's too late.

[Part I is here. Part II is here.]

After a while, we said our goodbyes to Jim-billy and Will-billy (although I'm not sure they noticed; they were encased in a cloud of batter dust from non-stop fish frying and probably couldn't see who we were) and headed over to a different part of the lake chain to visit Wilford's brother. When we got there, Wilford and Squeak were already there. As were Carmine and StitchMistress, in their pontoon boat. Which had a good ten-degree list to it.

Damn Russian subs.

Comments Broken


The comments function seems to be broken; whenever anyone submits a comment, they get this:

An error occurred:

Quantifier follows nothing before HERE mark in regex m/

(Followed by what appears to be my entire blacklist file, followed by)

at extlib/jayallen/ line 3028.
I'm working on it.

Update: Fixed. I added a broken URL string (it contained two asterisks in a row, twice) into my blacklist file when I despammed late last week, and I guess comments have been broken ever since. Removing that line from my blacklist.txt file fixed it.

I Said Fish Fry, Not Fish Face


[First installment is here.]

I awoke the next morning to a Category Two hangover: Shotgun Going Off Inside Head At Five Minute Intervals. I was trying to reconcile the previous night's consumption with my current state of mind, because it seemed like I was a lot more hung over than I expected to be. Then I realized that the shotgun was going off outside my head (what gave it away was the hail-like clatter of buckshot through the trees outside the house).

Unreasonable Expectations From Rathergate

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The more optimistic elements of the right side of the blogosphere are saying "Rather's dead," "CBS is toast," and other similar predictions. After watching the latest CBS News non-apology, I have concluded this:

  • Rather isn't going to get fired. No way, no how. He'll probably coast through until the end of the year, then retire.
  • Heads will roll at CBS News, but it'll all be just peons. If I were a low-level staffer and I had anything to do with this story, even if it was just carrying the tape from the interview room to the control room, I'd be shitting pink Twinkies right now. The bloodletting may go as high as producer Mary Mapes, but I doubt it.
  • 90% of the viewing audience will have forgotten about this incident by the end of the year.
  • And this is the one that will really get the triumphalists' collective goat: CBS News will never, ever, EVER admit that either (A) the documents were not just 'unverifiable,' they were proven forgeries, and (B) the reason they rushed through to production is that they wanted them to be true.

Today on Iraq The Model:

Iraq is not an adventure. Toppling Saddam was never the main reason for the war and should never be thought of as this. Removing Saddam could’ve been done 13 years ago by just preventing him from using his helicopters in the uprising. It could’ve been done also by deploying the Iraqi opposition groups into the north, which together with the Peshmerga and with air support from the coalition could’ve done the job. It could’ve been done through a military coup planned by the CIA or the M.I.6. After all, Saddam regime proved to be much weaker than it looked. It certainly didn’t need hundreds of thousands of coalition soldiers and all this massive power. Besides, if it was the main reason, then why didn’t the American troops pull out of Iraq soon after doing it?
I agree with Ali's premise, and his conclusion, but I disagree with a bit of the road between them. By saying essentially "Iraq's army wasn't nearly as strong as suspected, so if all we wanted to do was depose Saddam, backing a coup would have done the trick," Ali makes a couple of what I think are dangerous assumptions:
  • That because the Iraqi army proved largely inept against the full might of Coalition ground forces, that it would have proved equally inept against a 'sponsored' coup attempt. Internal security seemed to be the one thing the Iraqi army could do.
  • Given our previous track record of hanging Iraqi coups out to dry, it isn't even certain that we could have gotten a coup off the ground. "Fool me once, shame on you..." and all that.

Actually, that's peripheral to the point I wanted to make. I also wanted to make a hockey reference, especially since it's probably the closest I'll get to actual hockey for a while. When the Wings won back-to-back in '96-'97 and '97-'98, one recurring complaint I heard from vanquished opponents was 'we just didn't play very well.' What they failed to realize was that the Wings' game plan was specifically designed to deny their opponents their own game plan. They didn't just not play well; the Wings made them not play well.

And I think that's what we saw in the dash to Baghdad. The Iraqi army wasn't necessarily a priori incompetent; they were rendered incompetent by the Coalition's overwhelming resources, execution, and, yes, 'game plan.' They denied the Iraqis the ability to gather intelligence, analyze it, and act on it. In other words, they denied to the Iraqis the ability to execute their own game plan.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear somebody say that because Saddam's army performed so poorly, he therefore wasn't a threat to anyone.

But I Didn't See Any Jumper Cables Or Naked Pyramids

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Took a few days off to bask in the afterglow of a second-order Instalanche. The Blogfather linked to a Ernest Miller article I linked to Monday, and since Miller's article included trackbacks in the comments section, and I was one of the first to link to it, a lot of people came here from there (about ten times my normal daily for a couple of days). It was a bad time to take a break, because the First Rule Of Getting Recurring Readers From An Instalanche (even a second-order one) is "For God's sake, keep writing!" but I had other things I had to take care of.

And that's why I'm late to this party, too, where the lawyer for a woman whose nose was broken by a chair thrown by Rangers reliever Frank Francisco goes over the top in the way that only lawyers can. Of course, he's positioning himself to sue the team (the ones with the really deep pockets), so he's got to drag them into the culpability spotlight:

"These guys should not get out of line like this. They should be disciplined, they should be trained. It's management's fault," said Gary Gwilliam. "It's like what happens at Abu Ghraib prison. It goes to the top."
So, then, a bench-clearing brawl would be equivalent to the Holocaust? Nice going, Gary.

Blogroll Update


Spotlight on the new entries on my blogroll:

And I still owe the other half of my Labor Day weekend story. And my other birthday party story. Sheesh.

CBS, Realizing It's In A Hole, Starts Digging Faster


Following is a transcript of part of a story on tonight's CBS Evening News about those pesky forgeriesdocuments:

RATHER: There's also been criticism of the new documents obtained by 60 Minutes and CBS News, but CBS used several techniques to make sure these papers should be taken seriously, talking to handwriting and document analysts and other experts who strongly insist that the documents could have been created in the '70s.

[Bill Glennon, 'Technical Consultant']: "Everthing that's in that docu-, those documents, that people are saying can't be done, as you said, 32 years ago is just totally false. Not true. Like I said, proportional spacing was available, sub-, superscripts was available was a custom feature, uh, proportional spacing between lines was available, you could order that any way you'd like."

Wow. And that was the take they kept. On camera much, Bill? But I nitpick.

CBS answers two questions and thinks they've dismissed everything. I don't think anybody doubts that there were machines in 1972 that could do proportional spacing and superscripts (never mind that none of the other TANG documents pertaining to 1LT Bush used proportional spacing and only one or two used superscripts), but there are so many other things wrong with the document that they'll have to do WAY better than that.

RATHER: Richard Katz, a software designer, found some other indications in the documents. He noted that the lowercase letter 'l' is used for the numeral '1' in those documents instead of the actual numeral '1.' That would be difficult to reproduce on a computer printer today.

[Richard Katz, 'Software Designer']: "If you were doing this a- a week ago, or a month ago, on a normal laserjet printer, it wouldn't work. You just couldn't, there just, the font wouldn't be available to you."
Wrong. In fact, both ones and ells were present in the document, which, if anything, makes it more likely that the alleged document was prepared in Word if you interpret Katz's nearly-incomprehensible remarks as meaning that many typewriters of the day didn't have a '1' key and used the 'l' instead. And recall this '1-challenged' machine would be the same uber-typewriter that could do proportional spacing, superscripts, and kerning.

RATHER: Katz also noted that the documents have both the so-called 'superscript' 'th' and a regular size 'th' that would be common on a typewriter, not a computer.

[Katz:] "There's one document from, uh, May of 1972, which contains a normal 'th' at the top. To produce that in Microsoft Word, you would have to go out of your way to type the letters and then turn the 'th' setting off or back over them and type them again."
Which, as you can see in the document, they actually did ("111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron").

And what the hell does he mean by saying superscript 'th' and regular size 'th' wouldn't be common on a computer?

RATHER: CBS News also relied on an analysis of the contents of the documents themselves to determine the contents' authenticity.
Then CBS needs to shit-can whoever did the content analysis, because the first thing I thought of when I saw the documents for the first time waaaaaaaay back on last Wednesday, even before "Hey, that looks like it was done in Word," was "No real light Colonel would write a memo that looked like that."

The new papers are in line with what is known about the President's service assignments and dates. For instance, the official record shows that Mr. Bush was suspended from flying on August 1, 1972. That date matches the one on a memo given to CBS News ordering Mr. Bush be suspended.
Translation: "This one fact (suspension date) lines up with something we know to be true, therefore the whole thing must be genuine."

Shortly after 60 Minutes broadcast the new documents last week, USA Today obtained another new document. In the memo dated February 2, 1972, COL Killian asked to be updated as soon as possible on flight certifications, specifically, Bush.

[graphic: "Update me as soon as possible on flight certifications. Specifically - ...Bush."]

That could be in line with what documents released by the White House last week showed - that in the spring of 1972, then-Lieutenant Bush stopped exclusively flying the F-102 and dropped back to piloting a training plane, part of an effort to maintain his flight certification.
What, exactly, does this have to do with anything?

CBS News asked the White House today to give direct answers to a number of questions:
o Did a friend of the Bush family use his influence with the then-Texas House Speaker to get George W. Bush into the [Air] National Guard?
o Did Lieutenant Bush refuse an order to take a required physical?
o Was he suspended for failing to perform up to standards?
o And did he complete his committment to the Guard?

In reply, a White House spokesman told CBS News today "As you know, we have repeatedly addressed these issues."

[Graphic: "As you know, we have repeatedly addressed these issues..."]

These direct questions have not been fully completely [sic] answered. The White House and the Bush/Cheney campaign always point out President Bush received an Honorable Discharge. What's in the 60 Minutes report, CBS News believes to be true, and believes the documents are authentic.

As the band played "Nearer My God To Thee." Or maybe "Autumn."

You Can't Fight City Hall


But apparently you can crash your truck into it. From just up the road in KendalltuckyKendallville comes this one:

An intoxicated man rammed a pickup truck into Kendallville City Hall on Saturday evening, destroying the front door of the landmark building, police said.

Kenneth Barden, 42, of Kendallville crashed into the building at 234 S. Main St. in a 1993 Nissan pickup truck just before 6 p.m. The metal frame and glass door were destroyed and will cost the city about $15,000 to repalace, said Sgt. Dan Leighty of the Kendallville Police Department. There were no injuries.

Barden was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and criminal mischief – both felonies – and criminal recklessness with a vehicle – a Class A misdemeanor. He was being held at the Noble County Jail in lieu of $9,500 bail.

Leighty had spotted Barden just before the crash as he was screeching the pickup’s tires. He followed Barden north on Main Street. A moment before Leighty planned to make a traffic stop, the vehicle made a sharp left turn and rammed into the building, Leighty said.

Barden told police he had problems with alcohol and wanted the city to do something about it, Leighty said.
Looks like he'll get his wish.

Geez. I haven't even finished chronicling my first birthday party, and I have another one. With cops. Really.

Oh, yeah. Completing Thursday's thought - I sure hope the sports books weren't using that 13 1/2 point line to get all the money on the fND side, because if they did, they got worked.

Sucker Bait?


Michigan is a 13.5 point favorite against fND - in South Bend!

I know Vegas generally sets lines in order to get a roughly equal amount of play on both sides (they make their money on the vig rather than having more bettor money on the wrong side of the result), but this one looks so out of whack to me that I wonder if it's a sucker bet and the books know something we don't (if so, this line indicates that fND is much worse, and U-M much better, than both looked last week). I'm skeptical, though - strange things happen in Domersville, and fND is the beneficiary far more often than not.

Anyway, Detroit News columnist Bob Wojnowski is always good for a laugh or three, but he's got a real zinger this time:

Now, we see two very uncomfortable head coaches. Lloyd Carr has to pretend Notre Dame is still mighty, and act as if U-M’s 38-0 victory last year never happened. Willingham, on the other hand, has to pretend Notre Dame is still mighty, and act as if U-M’s 38-0 victory last year never happened.

Actually, the Irish have developed quite a chip about the Wolverines. During the summer, players did push-ups in repetitions of 38, to remind them of the score. No word on whether they added another 45 push-ups (points scored by Southern Cal), then 37 (Florida State), then 38 (Syracuse), then 0 (nonexistent bowl game).

And in a break from tradition, ESPN Classic is showing a Michigan game where they actually won - U-M @ fND, 1986.

I'll get back to the lighthearted drunken antics of my neighbors and me later, but there's something I just realized about the Beslan massacre. It's the operating theory now that one of the big bombs the terrorists had in the school went off accidentally, taking down the roof and forcing the Russians' hand. So as pandemonium reigned and the hostages broke for safety, most of the terrorists chose to stand their ground and shoot the fleeing children in the back as the Russian troops poured in. A few terrorists fled the school, but 27 were killed there.

That they would rather die than save themselves, as long as they could murder children in the meantime, is a mindset that I absolutely cannot comprehend. We are somehow supposed to understand their plight, to appreciate where they're coming from?

I recommend tatooing it to the bottom of one foot; that way you have it on you even if you're arrested while naked. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning - actually, a bit before the beginning, as a large contingent of the Usual Suspects were already at the Secure Undisclosed Location before we got there...

Execute Evacuation Drill


Heading up to the lake for Labor Day weekend. My 40th birthday is Saturday. History indicates that I may need your prayers. Or maybe just bail money.

Well, Actually, That IS What He Said...

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Here's an example of the 15% push Big Media is trying to give Kerry: on CBS News, go to "Video -> Top Stories", and look at "Peek At Bush Speech" (this link may work). John Roberts says this:

"And when Cheney charged Kerry would be soft on terrorists:

[Cheney:] 'He declared at the Democratic convention that he will forcefully defend America after we have been attacked.' [emphasis in original]

He seemed to ignore the fact Kerry also said this:

[Kerry:] 'I will never hesitate to use force when it is required; any attack will be met with a swift and a certain response.' [emphasis added]"
Roberts closed his piece by saying "I am not talking to you on television right now."

Not really. But he may as well have; that statement would have been no less true than Roberts' statement that Cheney ignored what Kerry said, and the implication that Cheney was being disingenuous. Kerry said exactly what Cheney said he did: a President Kerry would respond to an attack.

Out Of The Bunker To See... Nothing

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OK, my fantasy football league's draft is done and I can now get back to blogging. Forgive me if I'm not back up to speed right away.

Hey, wasn't this 'A31' anarchist group supposed to raise havoc in NYC two days ago? You know, liberate everybody, destroy the Evil Republicans, that kind of thing? Like this:

Well, apparently they got 0wnz0r3d:

Tuesday, August 31 – The day protesters had designated as "direct action" day certainly lived up to its billing, but not as they had planned. As the second day of Republican convention speeches dragged on a few blocks away at Madison Square Garden, an extremely aggressive New York Police Department pre-empted protest actions, trapped marchers in no-escape cul de sacs, and surrounded groups and individuals in orange netting as though they were capturing schools of fish. Police arrested hundreds (the New York Times reports at least 900), perhaps more than 1,000. Most of the arrested were young people who were merely exercizing their right to free and peaceful assembly.


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