Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Beasley to play in UEFA Semi-final

Damarcus Beasley could be the first American to actually get playing time for his side during a UEFA Champions League Semi-final match when his side, PSV Eindhoven, run up against Italian powerhouse AC Milan today (2.45 pm EST).

Couldn't be happier for that dude - class act, and a heck of a player. Best of luck!

Here's a bizarre factoid that I've never heard about - Damarcus has an older brother who used to be awesome himself, but he washed out of professional soccer because he got too busy drinking? Holy cow. Sad. He's supposedly making a comeback in Futsal. Blah. I guess he wouldn't be the first to not know what he had until it was gone.

UPDATE: Beasley's side lost 2-0 away in a home and home, but the game was much closer than the score would suggest. Next match will be exciting.

UPDATE: Beasley apparently injured in that last game - didn't play today, and PSV won 3-1 today, but still fail to advance b/c they gave up a home goal. Funky tie-breaking rules, but that's life in a home-and-home series. Sounds like I missed a scorcher, today.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Could it happen here?

We've heard it before, but a whitewash commission with Baker and Carter - yeah, that Baker - was set up to hear complaints and suggestions about voting. I didn't even know it was going on, though I did see a bunch of stuff about it on the blogs after the fact.

There are two kickers from the article. The first is this great quote from Margaret Atwood's great book, The Handmaid’s Tale:

That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.

I thought of this line as soon as I heard Tommy Franks talking about doing away with that problematic Constitution thingy. And then I thought of all the other 'temporary' measures the government has taken since 9/11 - can you say Patriot Act? Tax cuts? The policy of illegal detainments and torture, including that of U.S. citizens?

The next kicker is this quote from the consulted WaPo article:

...advocacy group leaders and politicians invited to testify yesterday provided a dizzying list of electoral problems that might make some wonder how any ballots were counted in November.

We need paper ballots. And we need a Dem candidate who is going to actually stand up for the voting rights of minorities. Kerry didn't even stand up for his own votes! His own votes! It really does defy belief.

The exit polls weren't wrong for the first time in history. The exit polls were right. The manipulated counts without paper trails - mostly counted by Republican-owned and controlled corporations - were wrong, and threw the election to Bush.

Mexico about to explode?

The Mexican fascists are trying to shut down their opposition, but a million people came into the streets today. I think, though I can't be sure, that this judge will not indict the mayor. An indictment would remove the strongest opposition to incumbent Vincente Fox from the upcoming Presidential election ticket, and would also force him to step down as mayor of Mexico City.

I get the feeling that with things being as bad as they are here in America, down in Mexico they must be significantly worse. A move by the fascists, it seems to me, would mean tanks in the streets. Maybe a compromise will be reached that allows the mayor to remain mayor, but still kicks him out of the next presidential election? That would probably be enough to satisfy fascist Fox and pacify the population enough to keep them from rioting.

Mexico is not like Ukraine. Too many Americans speak the language. They're too close to us. We're connected. They're almost a 51st state. Mass state violence would no longer work. We'd get it on camera, and Fox would be condemned worldwide - but most importantly from the U.S. citizenry - and forced to leave office.

Really need to practice my Spanish so I can make out all the wire reports and independent media coming out of Mexico...

1,542 and counting

This WaPo online exhibit helps us keep track of all the U.S. enlisted folks who've paid the ultimate price for Bush's games. 1,542 right now. That's just the dead - not the injured, severely injured, brain-damaged, crippled, emotionally destroyed, etc.

Read through the list. Every po-dunk town in America. Young. Old. Roadside bombs. Over, and over, and over again. Roadside bombs. All. Day. Long.

Guys inside military vehicles hitting some rough spots in the road, flipping the vehicle into some ditch that is filled with water. The exhibit doesn't explicitly state 'drowning', but that's the implication. And that has to be a horrific way to die - being completely disoriented, gasping for air inside a cramped, dark container vehicle, uselessly pounding on the metal coffin that now guarantees to bring you to your maker. You're scared, but you're still conscious - you work furiously for a minute or so, before you just have to take a breath - but that breath only gets you a mouth and throat full of water. Water fills your lungs, and soon - hopefully - you black out. And then you die.

What on God's green earth are we still doing there?

UPDATE: Let's not forget, with Rummy running this war, you're just as likely to get your head blown off. Rumsfeld and this entire administration should be jailed for life - at least.

UPDATE: Had another thought today on Rummy. Rummy's goals in Iraq and elsewhere do seem a bit ambiguous, and perhaps it's a little difficult to believe that he's not actually trying to downsize our military force by killing them off, but there's another explanation - sabotage. That's right. But not sabotage for its own sake - but for the sake of humanity - the larger goals of humanity - the propagation of the species.

In this scenario, Rummy has actually seen the light - he now knows that the U.S. is its own worst enemy, and is also the biggest threat to the 'civilized' world, and the human race. But he doesn't tell anyone, because he knows he'll get shitcanned as soon as he mentions that he's landed back on earth with the reality-based community. To prevent the neocons and the theocracts from bringing about Rapture, Rummy sets about strengthening the insurgency with particular care not to make it too obvious what his true goals are. He doesn't actually deliver massive amounts of weapons into the hands of the insurgency leaders - he just leaves them unguarded. He doesn't purposely lose battles, he just makes sure that our troops are undermanned and underequipped to handle the job. He doesn't explicitly reduce the fighting capability of the forces in theatre, he just keeps the troops on ever-longer deployments to destroy their morale, and with it their fighting effectiveness.

In this 'sabotage scenario', Rummy's got it tough - he has to straddle the line between incompetence and hardline ideology - both of which will keep him in strong favor with the current regime. Importantly, he knows he has to continue to make corporations aligned with the Bush administration lots of money - lots. He knows happy corporations yield happy politicians and happy media coverage, and all of that allows him to stay in power and get the U.S. ever-closer to defeat. So far he's achieved this sustaining goal in spades.

The question is, at what point does Rummy manage to pull off his own Tet offensive - the insurgent attack that breaks the will of the American people for this war? And how many GI's does he need to have killed/maimed/kidnapped/tortured to jolt the American people out of their stupor, without provoking them so much that they nuke Baghdad after clearing the green zone of U.S. personnel? (Of course, he knows that Truman dropped the bomb on American POW's in Hiroshima, so the Bushies would probably do the same in Baghdad.) 200 GI's? About as many as Reagan's disaster in Beirut (241)? 500? Maybe a Clintoneque Somalia-like moment with several U.S. marines being dragged, partially conscious and bloodied, through the streets of Baghdad, as the world watches - in the latest and greatest of reality tv shows since the first day of the illegal invasion of Iraq was televised to the world?

Again, Rummy knows he has to stay in power long enough to make sure that America is well into the jaws of defeat in Iraq before he 'retires for personal reasons' at the behest of the corporate White House. How does he do it? Time will tell. All eyes on Rummy.

A Doctor In Favor of Malpractice Suits?

Seems so:

Most medical malpractice litigation is frivolous. That's what defense attorneys, insurance companies and even the U.S. president would have you believe. Some 80 percent of cases are, after all, resolved in favor of the defendant doctor.

But little is made of the advantages that doctors take into a courtroom. Physicians are apt to prevail in these cases because of their professional culture of silence, which can make it difficult for injured patients to secure reliable expert witnesses who will testify on their behalf. Nor is there any acknowledgement of the countless people who are unaware that injuries they have sustained in the hospital should rightly be blamed on medical negligence or error. As a neurosurgeon with some 50 years of clinical experience, I can say from first-hand observation that it's often not the patients' claims that are frivolous, but rather the manner in which those claims are treated.

I like this guy...

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Paris on the Potomac

DC definitely reminds me of Paris, but I'd only just now heard of this ... festival(?) ... which has been going on since Februrary, apparently, and is supposed to last through the end of May. The website has this blurb:

Paris on the Potomac is a citywide celebration that honors the longstanding cultural ties between two world capitals: Washington, DC and Paris. From Valentine’s Day through Memorial Day 2005, more than 100 French-themed exhibits, performances, walking tours, lavish restaurant experiences and romantic hotel packages highlight Paris’s influence on Washington, DC’s arts, culture and culinary scene. Paris on the Potomac is produced by The American Experience Foundation in partnership with the Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corporation and Cultural Tourism DC and the Embassy of France and is sponsored by Metro and the Sofitel Lafayette Square. ParisOnThePotomac.org 1-800-422-8644, ext. 1789.

Don't know much about Paris on the Potomac, but seems like it might have some good info for you cheese-eaters...

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Maurice Clarett Drafted by Denver!

That's awesome news.

Let's hope he flourishes in Denver. If he does you can expect all the haters to scream "it's the system! the system!", but they can't have it all ways.

People who hate Clarett because he's black, or because he fought the system, will probably always hate him. But that's their problem - not ours.

If you're down with justice, then check out my extended tirade on DraftClarett.org.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Scalia Gets eFF'ed in the A!

I just watched that South Park episode again. Hilarious. The title of the episode serves us well as we help illuminate the fact that inJustice Scalia, a sitting member of the U.S. Supreme Court (& duck hunter extraordinaire), just got served.

This uber-sized smackdown that a gay NYU law student (Eric Berndt) put on Scalia is one of the most convincing and moving pieces of writing I've read in a long time:

Although my question was legally relevant, as I explain below, an independent motivation for my speech-act was to simply subject a homophobic government official to the same indignity to which he would subject millions of gay Americans. It was partially a naked act of resistance and a refusal to be silenced. I wanted to make him and everyone in the room aware of the dehumanizing effect of trivializing such an important relationship. Justice Scalia has no pity for the millions of gay Americans on whom sodomy laws and official homophobia have such an effect, so it is difficult to sympathize with his brief moment of "humiliation," as some have called it. The fact that I am a law student and Scalia is a Supreme Court Justice does not require me to circumscribe my justified opposition and outrage within the bounds of jurisprudential discourse.

Read the whole thing.

The Nation's reprint of the Eric Berndt's open letter is titled 'Debriefing Scalia'. Hilarious.

Debriefed. Served. eFFed in the A. Humiliated. Gotten the best of. Overpowered. Shamed. Shown to be the coward he is. Antonin Scalia - Astroglide's new biggest fan.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Who pays for contractors' health care?

Juan Cole pointed out this AP report, from the Times of India. The ambiguous report says a blast "injured four US contract workers". In this case, the report doesn't sound as though the four contract workers were just scraped up, but I imagine they could have easily been severely injured since others actually died in the incident.

So, who takes care of injured contractors? Am I, as a U.S. taxpayer, footing the bill for mercenaries and other military contractors in Iraq? And what about non-U.S. citizen contractors who are working with U.S. companies? Do they get medivac'ed to the nearest non-U.S. military hospital, or am I paying for their care in the green zone? If I'm not paying for their care, how not? Is the U.S. military actively billing CACI and other torturers for medical care their staff receives?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Army Reports Flaws in Stryker Transport

Wow. I'm really surprised by this new information about the Stryker that we've never, ever seen before.

I'm tellin ya, I am not convinced that Rumsfeld is not trying to kill our soldiers. I'm serious. At some point you have to say to yourself, where does incompetence and arrogance end, and sabotage begin? We already know that there was at least one group of people actively assisting Israeli and Iranian spies who were operating within the Pentagon with approval from Rumsfeld or his direct reports. That is treason. Why would be surprised to find out that Rumsfeld has actually designed-in a certain number of casualties? He does want a 'transformed military', and that, in part, means fewer soldiers - so maybe he just thought he get them killed on the battlefield instead of just kicking them out of the military? Maybe that's why he withheld, and continues to withold, body armor from getting to the troops? It's a good way to get guys killed outright, and if they're not killed outright, then insufficient armor can make sure they're severely wounded and/or brain-damaged, thus allowing the army to legally kick them out of the force without the Republican-war-base getting all uppity. Plausible. Certainly more plausible than any of the reasons that Rumsfeld has offered for not getting the armor to our troops - reasons which have been proven to be lies, but which the liberal media somehow fails to point out.

I don't pretend to know how these folks' brains operate - I report, you decide.

And, let's face it - $11 billion dollars is nothing to sneeze at. That's enough hometown business to keep reps of both major parties happy for a long, long time - ensure my re-election and I'll be quiet about Stryker - sure. In fact, I'll be quiet about a whole bunch of things for that.

Props to POGO for more good work.

UPDATE: Turns out Rummy didn't want the Strykers. The only reason I could find was that he didn't think they were light and/or fast enough - they weren't 'transformational' enough for Rummy. My gut is that he just wanted to crash anything that Shinseki was a part of. Rummy stole Shinseki's 'transformation' term for himself. Shinseki had originally started using the term in 1999 (I think), and talked about moving the Army to a lighter, meaner, faster, more flexible force. But being a soldier, Shinseki didn't want to jeopardize American security by recklessly cutting the Army's troop levels by 20% overnight so as to fund high-tech gizmo research for this new, faster army, as did the asshole, Rummy. Rummy had the chance to stop al Qaeda in Afghanistan and blew it, so his ability to maneuver now, on the political front, is akin to the maneuvability he afforded his very-limited military in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan.

Rummy hated Shinseki from Rummy Day 1, apparently. Think Rummy was just jealous - plain and simple. Rummy had no military experience, was aging, decrepit-looking, and was otherwise totally intimidated by Shinseki, who obviously knew what he was talking about, and was very well respected inside the military, unlike Rummy. And asshole Republicans supported Bushco as they had Shinseki fired for giving accurate estimates of troop deployment levels that would be required to stabilize Iraq after the invasion. Assholes.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Frank Speiser vs. Ann Coulter

Ran across an article from LewRockwell.com, entitled Noam Chomsky vs. Noam Chomsky, which we'll attack in a minute, but first, some background. I'd quickly come to expect decent writing from this website, but when I started reading this article all I could think was 'Ann Coulter would be proud'. Then I thought, well, maybe the author, Frank Speiser, is trying to 'out-hate' Coulter - thus the title of this post.

LewRockwell.com is a site I'd been meaning to point out as having some unique, honest views about politics and the Iraq War, in particular. These particular brand of libertarians are closely aligned, it seems, with the Republicans when it comes to being viciously pro-big business/anti-worker, but they are also viciously anti-war. Makes for an odd combination, or could, until you understand more about their line of reasoning.

'These libertarians' are those of the 'Austrian economics' school of thought - whose braincenter appears to be Mises.org, named after the creepy-looking old dude whose face they plastered all over their website. What 'Austrian economics' means, exactly, you'll have to figure out for yourself, because it's over my head, but here's what I gather of these folks' general philosophy: Freedom, freedom, freedom.

I'm down with that part of their philosophy, but my problem with them is that is all there is to their philosophy. As an individual, you have the freedom to do whatever you want. Therefore, corporations must be free to do whatever they want. And war inherently (somehow?) limits our own personal freedoms (and that of corporations?), and so war must be stamped out.

So, their anti-war stance has nothing to do with justice, or respect for human life, or anything like that - it is total personal freedom, alone, that is at stake. Total personal freedom is the highest achievable goal, and therefore it is total personal freedom which must be achieved before any other considerations can be made - including, say, considerations for bringing about a just society.

To say the least, not in line with my thinking, but, to each their own.

That's just my interpretation of what they're about, but the Mises.org FAQ is pretty informative - has a lot of good links to explain it for themselves.

I've actually read about 30 or so articles from Mises.org and LewRockwell.com - Rockwell being the current Prez of Mises.org, I believe - and most of the articles have been good - even very good. There were a couple I read recently about the virtues of the corporation and the Godliness of Microsoft (seriously), but most other stuff (anti-war, anti-fascism, etc.) has been tight.

Which brings us to the contested article I saw at LewRockwell.com. When I saw the headline I felt two things: 1) Shoot, I wonder if today is the day that someone finally makes a case that Chomsky is wrong or inconsistent about something, anything, please!, and 2) Shoot, today probably won't be the day for the same set of reasons that all the other days weren't 'the days' - Chomsky is, in my opinion, outrageously consistent and so damn right about nearly everything, and his would-be critics are so busy fuming that they can hardly string together coherent arguments, much less hope to win an intellectual battle with the heavyweight of all heavyweights, Chomsky.

I admit to being disappointed at the thought of Chomsky getting ripped. He's been such an incredible advocate for human rights for so long - I think it's only natural that we all want our personal heroes to remain unscathed by criticism. I also admit to being disappointed at the thought of yet another hapless Chomsky critique.

Well, here's my response to the author of the piece:

Your article is daft. If I didn't look up to double-check the site name, I would have thought I was at the fascism-supporting FreeRepublic.com.

You've distorted Chomsky's remarks, found controversy where there is none, engaged in unseemly personal attacks against your 'enemies' (a wanton, yet effective propaganda technique), and generally lowered the level of prose I've come to expect from LewRockwell.com (not that it was supremely high to begin with, but at least I could count on some thoughtful remarks).

Here are just a couple of points where you have gotten off the Ann Coulter-esque name-calling warpath long enough to try and make a point:

"Not only because he betrays any concept of standing for fairness in support of a draft"

This goes in the 'Frank just makes sh*t up' category. Unless you have some other secondary sources that you didn't refer to in your article, there is no justification for this claim.

"How can Mr. Chomsky possibly NOT be opposed to the draft?"

Let me help you out with that one, dog. From your own article: "The underlying theory Chomsky espouses, is that a citizen’s conscript army would not be willing to inflict the atrocities we see going on today." It follows that an unwilling army would make waging a war of atrocities impossible...thus bringing the end of the war. Got it?

Your passion for being loud has co-opted your ability to make a rational argument. Go ahead and try this article again as I'm guessing you do have something meaningful to contribute to the debate.

Yes, I'll be happy to look it over for you.


This article was truly a piece of shit. Personal attacks galore.

Then I read a reference about someone from the Mises/Rockwell crew giving an interview to FrontPageMag.com - the violently right-wing/fascist online zine. Giving interviews is not against the law, but I think it'd be a good idea to stay about from a hate rag whose readership, at least, loves to talk about nuking the entire Middle East.

UPDATE: Email from Frank Speiser, at his request:

Hi Peter,

I appreciate your offer to help out, but I am going to
stick with what I've got.

Even pretending to advocate a draft in a rope-a-dope
move is philosophically dishonest.

I'me definitely no fascist, though. I am not sure how
you got that.

One further note: usually, it is spelled "dawg".


He's right about one thing - I think it is 'dawg'. :)