Monday, August 27, 2007

This is hilarious

Australian indie rocker Ben Lee covered Against Me!'s new album from start to finish. I especially like his version of Thrash Unreal.

Take a listen.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Proving once again that Ted Nugent is an unremitting piece of dog-doo.

On stage recently, Nugent told an excited crowd that Senators Barack Obama, Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein could all suck on his machine gun. He also called Hillary Clinton a worthless bitch.

What's funny is that there is literally nothing a conservative can say that will make him radioactive to other conservatives. This is just par for Nugent's course.

Still don't believe me about that Surge?

Then check this out:

This year's U.S. troop buildup has succeeded in bringing violence in Baghdad down from peak levels, but the death toll from sectarian attacks around the country is running nearly double the pace from a year ago.

Some of the recent bloodshed appears the result of militant fighters drifting into parts of northern Iraq, where they have fled after U.S.-led offensives. Baghdad, however, still accounts for slightly more than half of all war-related killings - the same percentage as a year ago, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press....

  • Iraq is suffering about double the number of war-related deaths throughout the country compared with last year - an average daily toll of 33 in 2006, and 62 so far this year.
  • Nearly 1,000 more people have been killed in violence across Iraq in the first eight months of this year than in all of 2006. So far this year, about 14,800 people have died in war-related attacks and sectarian murders. AP reporting accounted for 13,811 deaths in 2006. The United Nations and other sources placed the 2006 toll far higher.
  • Baghdad has gone from representing 76 percent of all civilian and police war-related deaths in Iraq in January to 52 percent in July, bringing it back to the same spot it was roughly a year ago.
  • According to the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization, the number of displaced Iraqis has more than doubled since the start of the year, from 447,337 on Jan. 1 to 1.14 million on July 31.
According to these statistics, the surge has made some difference in Baghdad at bringing down the death toll, right? But at what cost? What about the rest of the country, where death rates are double? Do we just send in more troops that we don't have? Pull out troops from Korea and send them into Iraq?

What do we do to keep the Army and Marines from flying apart at the seams to sustain this occupation?

Aren't these questions that someone should have asked before we invaded the joint? What will the consequences be for those that should have asked and didn't, leaving us in this current mess?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

In keeping with my post below.

Man, this is a good song.

This is complicated, but it shows just how screwed up this war has become.

Once upon a time (like three years ago) a guy named Ayad Allawi was Prime Minister of Iraq. He was voted out of office in favor of a different guy, who was succeeded in turn by another fella named Nouri Al-Maliki. He's the current Prime Minister of Iraq.

With me so far? Good.

Now that the surge has accomplished approximately none of its goals (at least as they were told to us when Congress approved it), the Bush administration is desperately looking for someone to blame, and they keep changing the definition of success in this war:

Before the surge started:
Surge is not a term I’ve ever used. But the point is you’re trying to add strength to the forces in Iraq so that they’re going to be successful in taking out sectarian violence and also al Qaeda violence, so that you have the conditions under which people can pursue the important business of political reconciliation and economic development.
After the surge:

QUESTION: Is it still administration policy that the U.S. commitment in Iraq is not open-ended?

JOHNDROE: I think the president has made it clear that he would eventually like to see the United States in a different configuration in Iraq. There’s no doubt about that. The surge was designed, as we have said repeatedly, to help bring security to Iraq.

And just like that, creating a viable political environment is no longer a goal of the surge. It probably didn't help that the Iraqi Parliament took August off for vacation.

Which brings us to Nouri Al-Maliki. One day the President tells him that he's on thin ice, the next day, he's a guy with a tough job to do. The message is delivered. We brought you into this world, and we can take you out.

And this is where it becomes obvious how screwed up things have become.

One of the top Republican lobbying firms in Washington was paid $300,000 to hype Ayad Allawi as the next Savior of All Iraq.
So he gets to write an op-editorial in the Washington Post talking about the failures of the current Iraqi government (which are real), without revealing he has paid American lobbyists to set all of this up for him. His representatives from that firm go on national teevee talking up the failures of the Iraqi government without revealing they are being paid to do so.

Do you get that? In this war for Democracy, we're now fighting to recycle the same old deck of leaders, over and over, until one of them waves their Magic Iraq Wand and fixes everything. We had to send more troops to save Iraq. And once we're there, we can't get them out, because then the other troops might be less safe. We're staying there just to save ourselves so we can stay there.

And just in case you missed the point, this week President Bush compared Iraq to Vietnam, saying that Americans had better learn the lesson of what happens when you end an occupation early. He even compared himself to the bumbling character of Alden Pyle in the Quiet American. This character is the literary embodiment of American imperialistic arrogance, the written example of what happens when people who don't know jack about the world start wars in places they've never been.

Hey, did ya hear that joke? What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? George Bush had a plan to get out of Vietnam.

Happy Occupation.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

We did it.

Dr. Mrsinallmyyears and I ran 13 miles today. That is the amount that we were training for--the Chicago Half-Marathon.

Today we did it.

I'm pretty sore right now.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Watch Rudy Guiliani Insult an African Lion for being on Welfare

Ahh, America's Mayor. Here is playing up to the worst imaginable racial stereotypes of 'African lions', whom we all know are just shiftless bums, mooching off our tax dollars as they soak up welfare payments. He sure is dignified, that mayor. And don't forget to check out the new ad from Gays for Giuliani:

I love the youtubez. But somehow, I doubt Rudy loves it as much as I do. In fact, I rather bet he doesn't like it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wish me luck. And my family.

Today I have an enormous union election. Today also is the funeral service of my late-great, great-aunt. Wish me and my family well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Two seemingly unrelated events.

On the one hand, half of all poor people who qualify for food stamps aren't getting any (and are thus not likely eating the kind of food they're entitled to under the law). On the other hand, Stephen Baldwin has endorsed Sam Brownback for President.

Coincidence!!?? I think, probably, yes these are two coincidences.

A rough weekend

Sometime Sunday, my great-aunt died. She was my mother's aunt, but since she outlived my grandmother by a good 20 years, she served as a kind of stand-in, grandmother type for most of my life. Her quality of life in the past year had slipped to a point where she wasn't really herself anymore. For lots of reasons, that's obviously sad (as well as a fact of life), but the chief reason to me why that is sad is because in her vigorous life she was a very funny lady with a sharp, self-deprecating sense of humor. She was, in other words, a gas. She will be greatly missed by my family, and not easily forgotten.

Times like these are tough on all kinds of families. One thing that has made this tough time much more bearable than it might have been is that I've gotten to know my great-aunt's son and his wife. They are two remarkable people who picked up roots when she needed them, moved across the country and resettled with her, filling out her last days with kindness, care, and companionship. Befriending them has been a great personal reward, as my family is small and dispersed across the country.

Also at this time, one of my closest family friends (who has also served as a grandparent to me) is in the hospital facing several serious maladies. She's advanced in age, with some complicating factors that will make recovery a very tough road.

What has made this time more bearable is that the occasion of her illness has actually brought her family back together. One of her children had been estranged from the family, and has been in regular communication with them to be with them as best he can. Seeing them reconnect has been joyous to me, because I know personally the cost the estrangement has borne on the family.

I don't know why I type this except to say that I feel lucky to have these problems as my problems. It's a good problem that you may have loving people in your life who will, at some point, leave. It's a good problem to have to go through these dramas, as they provide a chance to connect with people you never knew (or did know, but grew away from) and find out how to serve them in their time of crisis, and how they can help you survive yours.

These are problems, but they can be rich ones to have.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Oh yeah, this is good news.

The Pentagon is sending evangelical Christians to Iraq to proselytize among soldiers. In a majority Muslim Country. And Stephen Baldwin is involved.

This should go well. Nothing to fear here. All the hilarity of the 2nd crusade mixed with Bio-Dome.




No matter what else happens this week, today my week is glorious. Few have done as much harm to America in such little time as Karl Rove. He is to the death of Democracy what the Bubonic Plague was to the death of real people. Never one to pass up the opportunity to politicize any tragedy or human drama, I can only hope that he enjoys retirement. Because I'll sure as shit enjoy the fact that he's retired.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Texas Church to dead soldier: We'd tell you to drop dead if it weren't already the case

File this one under 'classy.' A church in Texas had offered to do the wake of a dead veteran, even though they had known he was gay. The day before the scheduled service they canceled because they didn't want to promote the gay lifestyle. Or something.

See, it's nice that he gave his professional life to his country. It just doesn't make him any less faggy. And if there's one area where the Bible is clear, it's that you must ostracize and marginalize further people who are already marginalized and hated in society.

So this church has totally nailed that whole "WWJD?" business. Their kingdom awaits, no doubt.

Food Service workers demand more pay from Wall Street Giants

Here's a story worth repeating. After years of enduring meager pay, no benefits, no paid leave of any kind, and enduring a generally shitty standard of living, food service workers gathered in the heart of NYC's financial district to demand a living wage. Some of these employees serve food to the America's mightiest money movers, financial wizards, and back-room bank-rakers, and yet they can't make enough money to put food on their table.

So my hat goes off to men and women of the food service industry. Good luck in your fight, and may you be invisible no longer.

Prominent Right-wingers want 3,000 more Americans to die

At least, if that's being honest, that's what we'd say. Why do they want 3,000 more Americans to die in a terrorist attack? So we can get really serious about the war on Terrorism (or whatever it is we're calling it this week). I saw that some obscure columnist had written an article basically saying that the only way we're going to get back to that hallowed 'post 9/11 patriotic unity' is to, you know, have another major terrorist attack on the US.

That's what passes for serious thought. 'But self,' I told myself, 'Self, don't worry, no one would take such a ridiculous argument seriously. I just hope he's not some liberal, or we'll all get tarred with that brush.'

Au contraire, mon frer. Said columnist found a most welcome home on Fox News. See for yourself:

Well, thank God he didn't say something outlandish, like you know, our sitting President is a war criminal whose impeachment would reestablish the rule of law in our troubled land. That would be beyond the pale.

Update: Atrios does that whole "I'll say it better than you can" thing.
So if a massive terrorist attack happened, it wouldn't be a vindication of what they've been doing, it would be proof that they failed to do what George Bush claims is his most important job.

All of these calls for "unity" and prayers that thousands of people die so that people "wake up" have nothing to do with anyone preventing the Bush administration from doing what they want. They're simply expressing a deep anger that the dirty fucking hippies don't agree with everything they say. Ultimately, they're angry that their pet war isn't going well and angry that the dirty fucking hippies don't rely on quite as many adult undergarments as they do.

But if some sort of terrorist attack happens, it's their people who will have failed to stop it. Despite our best efforts, we haven't managed to impact Bush administration policy on this stuff at all.

Pretty much.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ah, hell, while I'm at it.

This was clearly the best song off that previously mentioned depressing-ass album.

I had a weekend like this one time.

This is probably the best song off the new album by Against me! I was soooo dreading this album, having read some of the reviews, which savaged it. But you know, it's not too bad. Not every song hits it out of the park, but there's enough on there to remind me why I originally liked this band. It's far less depressing than their last one, which I still can't listen to all the way through. So enjoy.

Monday, August 06, 2007

This is clearly the fault of liberals. Somehow.

30% of all weapons sold to the new Iraqi government have gone missing. Magically, George Bush deserves none of the blame for this.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth

Congressional Democrats have gotten some actual things done. I'm often puzzled by the criticism that Democrats have failed to get immigration reform, health care reform, and a plethora of other things through the Senate and signed into law. The Republicans are blocking them at every step, and Bush has threatened more vetoes in the past seven months than he has in the past six years. This is somehow the Democrat's fault? Oftentimes, I hear this criticism from the same people who pine for bipartisan consensus, as if that in and of itself were a worthy goal.