Monday, June 30, 2003

I'm really trying to stay away from the partisan fight that's soon to unfold about Iraq's WMD (and please...WMDs looks stupid. Techincally, it should be WsMD. But I'm a nitpicker.) But I've said it before and I'll say it again. If there were no weapons and we went to war, then we have problems. If there were weapons, and said weapons were 'dispersed', then we REALLY have problems.

We need to find those weapons. Now.
Overspill is back...bout time.


and where oh where is Les Dabney of Testify! Hope everything is alright.
TS Bill moves toward the Gulf Coast.


Sunday, June 29, 2003

What a surprise! I woke up from my nap and there's a new tropical storm!
GRAD SCHOOL LIST


I've decided that the economy probably won't be any better when I get around to graduating, so I'm going right to graduate school. I do need some advice though. I'm certain of the general field : Political Science. I'm not sure how far I want to go. Doctor Pinder does have a certain ring to it, but that's another half-decade of school and god knows how much debt. Anyway, here's my list, so far.

1. Howard University, Washington D.C. (Masters and PhD programs)
2. Penn State University, State College, PA (Masters and PhD programs, but I think their program is geared more to the PhD)
3. Suffolk University, Boston, MA (Masters, has a Caribbean program that allows for a semester of study in Barbadoes)

That's it so far. I'm clearly an East Coast, Northeast boy. . . no California or Florida for me, at least not yet.

Should I just go for a masters or go all the way and become a Doctor? heh, suggestions in comments. (I do know that I don't really want to teach for the rest of my life, although a doctorate can open a LOT of doors.)

Friday, June 27, 2003

Everyone go buy a t-shirt and annoy FoxNews.


And I'm taking a short hiatus. The last few posts have been scattered. Be back Monday.
Former South Carolina Senator and one time Presidential Candidate Strom Thurmond is dead at the age of 100.


That is all I'm going to say about that.
The blogroll has been adjusted. When personal attacks stop on other bloggers, I'll readjust. I'm really tired of this, and it's kind of sad.
Walter lays the smackdown.

Bravo!

I too hate it when people profess to know what's right and then don't go and do it. "Change the culture?"


Whatever.

(that had to be one of the single most offensive lines...this week. Something else will outrage me sooner or later...)

Thursday, June 26, 2003

I think I just heard every person of the Religious Right collectively froth at the mouth. Kinda has a gurgling sound, like a toilet backing up. Oh wait, maybe my toilet IS backing up. . .



What is with this Supreme Court lately? They are really surprising me. I'm using the words good and Supreme Court in the same sentence, without hurling insults and curses and other pejorative terms.
Moral Clarity? WTF??????

Ichtaca of The Agonist is reporting an Independent story about torture. Americans torturing prisoners.


The interrogators call these "stress and duress" techniques, which one former US intelligence officer has dubbed "torture-lite". Sometimes there is nothing "lite" about the end results. The US military has announced that a criminal investigation has begun into the case of two prisoners who died after beatings at Bagram. More covertly, other terrorist suspects have been "rendered" into the hands of various foreign intelligence services known to have less fastidious records on the use of torture.

What is perhaps most disturbing about all this is that the US officials who have leaked the information have not done so out of a need to expose something that they see as shameful. On the contrary, they have made it clear that they wanted the world to know what is going on because they feel it is justified.


I don't think any languages have words strong enough to describe my disgust, horror, and fury.
Blogger ate an important post but basically, I'm not reading Treason because I find it deeply insulting to be called a traitor for having a liberal mindset. Seriously. I wanted to seriously harm the last person who dared do that (and he did it over instant messenger). So I'm staying away.


Those with longer fuses and stronger stomachs, go right ahead.
CHAOS in Liberia.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

OPEN LETTER

I calmed down enough to actually write an actual opinion.

The Internet is the world's biggest Libertarian experiment. Anything goes on the net. That means, unfortunatly for artists, piracy. It's too bad, but it happens.

Now people share files with each other over the internet. Music files, video files, image files, etc. As technology becomes more advanced, more stuff gets shared and better encrypted.

Senator Orrin Hatch proposed destroying people's systems if they share files "illegally." On another site (and I don't remember where, might have been Kos) it was estimated that many, many federal government computers share music files "illegally." If Sen. Hatch's system goes into effect, think of the chaos. ("Oops, can't communicate with that Army division at the front? Sorry, a few computers at CENTCOM needed the latest Toby Keith. Too bad, they're all dead now.")

I'm not sure what the RIAA's heavy-handed tactics are going to get them. Frankly, CD's are the same price they were when they came out more than a decade ago. Often, they're even higher. That's because they fixed prices (the recording industry, that is). Will people stop file sharing? Nope. We'll just find a new way to do it. It's easy. And what's to stop one person from buying one CD to make copies for all his friends? You can write-protect it, yes. However, I believe some 12-year-olds cracked that. Try again.

They can't stop it. And suing everyone to "make a point" and "to make them afraid" gives them no moral clarity. Bunch of assholes, that's all they are.
The RIAA is run by whiny bitches. Awwww... people are sharing music. Bummer. Maybe they shouldn't charge 20 bucks for a CD, which is, if I remember correctly, the same price they were when CD's first came out.

Hey, RIAA, I hope you read this. I share music. Come get me bitches.

(real bad mood, unrelated to the RIAA. They just made a good target, being the whiners that they are.)
Excuse my language, as I have been on a screed lately, but what the fuck is Kristoff talking about?


Oh yes, that's right, he's talking about that ever offensive evangelical fundamentalist Christianity that has the President's ear, and apparently the ear of 46% of Americans, according to polls.

TBOGG, that genius from San Diego, writes in much nicer terms what I would say, which would probably amount to something like "fuck off" or something. I can't even talk about it anymore. This form of fundamentalism offends me so. It offends me in Islam. It offends me in Hinduism. It offends me in Judaism. And it REALLY offends me as a Christian.

With people like Nicholas Kristoff spouting how great evangelical fundamentalist Christianity is and its ass-backwards take on reality, it's becoming harder and harder to even want to admit, without wanting to scrub the dirt off, that I am a Christian. Christ Jesus. I need a bath.


UPDATE, CORRECTION, AND MORE: Not all evangelicals are fundamentalists, and it is unfair of me to characterize them as such. In some areas, it can be hard to distinguish (the South...South Central Pennsylvania, which is an arm of the South anyway......) Also, Body and Soul has a take on this, along with Lean Left. I still stand by my bath comment. I really feel sick being associated with those people and as a Liberal Christian, I think it's my duty to call them on how they, in their false righteous freakishness, make the rest of us normals feel.
Hehe...I'm a Guardian of Liberty


yea the ACLU called and I signed on immediately. I probably can't afford it. However, there are some things that are worth being broke for. Liberty is one of them.
Affirmative Action

As I reported Monday, the Supreme Court is going to debate this ugly topic soon.

I promised to offer my thoughts.

CalPundit says it better, so go read him instead.

Oh hell, I'll say it anyway.

To those who believe America is a happy, color-blind society must live under a rock in Barrow, Alaska. It is not. Trust me. And because of this, affirmative action needs to stay around.

I'm sorry that it allows for reverse discrimination. That's wrong. But I'm going to have to be bluntly honest here. As a black man in America, I feel a rather snide joy when someone not black/asian/hispanic/etc. says they were reverse discriminated against. Now they know what it feels like. Now they know what I and what tens of millions of Americans go through and have gone through since 1865. Doesn't it hurt? Doesn't it make you feel low? Worthless? Wronged? Does it make you angry? Now do you understand why we are so angry?

I'm sorry, I apologize for that.

I usually only allow this feeling to last for five seconds.

Giving me that feeling is not affirmative action's intent. Its intent was to level the playing field for minorities AND women white, black, yellow and red. Quite frankly, it's doing its job. If we're gonna have the temerity to say equal rights for all, then we damn well better live up to it.

And if the Supreme Court wants to do away with it, then they damned well better come up with something better instead of expecting organizations to be responsible and fair, 'cause I don't see that happening.

Now, there would be no need for this if ERA had passed in the late 70s...but those housewives and the religious right got their way and wanted women in the kitchen with the kiddies. There wouldn't be this need for all these different acts to protect our minority populations. Just make ONE act that guarentees the SAME rights for EVERYONE! Is it REALLY that HARD?

Flame away, I know I'm gonna get it for this one.
Kerry 2004!

More later on why I like John Kerry so darn much...I'm late for class.
There are controls on some minerals coming out of Africa. The Kimberley Process is for diamonds. I think one is needed for all minerals.
DRC UPDATE/African Holocaust Update

Jeanne D'Arc has an excellent piece up on the Democratic Republic of Congo.

She wrote something that hit me with a sickening irony. Congo is blessed with vast mineral wealth. And one of those minerals, coltan, runs basically every electronic device you can think of. Including the computer I'm using right now to write about the horror of Congo.


There were always diamonds and gold, but the technology boom of the 90s created an enormous need for coltan, which is used in computers, cell phones, play stations, DVD players, jet engines, and -- if you can stand another ironic note -- weapons systems. The DRC holds more than 80% of the world's coltan reserves.


My god, I feel sick. I feel incredibly sick. The computer I use, the cell phone I gab to my friends about what happened at our last party, the CD player I listen to on my way to and from work, the DVD player I'm thinking about buying, the digital cameras ( I just ordered a new one) I own, the laptop I want for Christmas, the N64 and Playstation my friends and I play with . . . all could contain this mineral mined or plundered from a Central African country soaked in the blood of millions. An African Holocaust, aided by me and tens of millions of unknowing others. Nausea. Waves of Nausea.

Do I feel guilty, and should I? Yes. Will that help the Congolese? No.

I have argued, on this site, for an overwhelming multinational massive military and economic intervention.

I feel I must be absolutely clear, because watching this African Holocaust occur, and that's precisely what it is, has me enraged. I want an overwhelming multinational military force to go in there and pacify the region. I want those child soldiers disarmed and put in schools. I want schools built. I want infrastructure created. I want absolutely everything we're doing for the Iraqis done for the Congolese. And I want it done real soon. Preferably now. Why the hell do I feel like I'm screaming into the wind? Sending troops is a start, but troops without a mandate is not. I also want near constant media attention. Every day, we hear about some partisan scandal. Or we hear about some high-profile murder case. Meanwhile, millions of people are dying! Where's the compassion?

I am drawing the line here.


Yet, others disagree, including the Bush Administration.

But Negroponte took no position on the future shape of any U.N. force. "The United States favors a technical rollover to enable a discussion of the issues. We did not specify a period of time," he told reporters.

He said the central African nation was just too large for peacekeepers to manage. "Our view is that no amount of peacekeeping forces are going to be able to resolve this situation if there isn't the political will both in the Congo and in the neighboring countries."


What the hell does that mean? "Political Will?" That smacks of "let the natives kill each other. My Cell phone needs to run."




Oh yeah.... Bechtel (yeah, THAT Bechtel) is there. Puke.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I've thrown out my summer reading list and now I'm basically reading anything that strikes my fancy. Which is just about everything. I'll post a list in August when I'm done with summer.
Hey, remember that bit way back in May about the lost airplane from Angola? I wrote that I found that mildly unnerving.

Well, alarms are FINALLY sounding. I'm alarmed, because the original story I read in May was 10 lines long, and said nothing.

This story. . . well . . . just go read it.
I'm skeptical about The Skeptic's one week break.

It's been three, lol.

Monday, June 23, 2003

9/11 Commission Watch/Cynical Use of 9/11 Watch

Did you look twice when you read that title? I hope you did, because yesterday I read two things that made me howl with rage. I didn't post because I wanted to calm down first.

First, and I'm aware this is a real old story (but for some reason I was praying it was that awesome Republican humor we read so much about) but this September Showtime will be showing a movie that has the day of 9/11 all tailor-revised to make the President into a god.


Trapped on the other side of the country aboard Air Force One, the President has lost his cool: "If some tinhorn terrorist wants me, tell him to come and get me! I'll be at home! Waiting for the bastard!"

His Secret Service chief seems taken aback. "But Mr. President . . ."

The President brusquely interrupts him. "Try Commander-in-Chief. Whose present command is: Take the President home!"

Was this George W. Bush's moment of resolve on Sept. 11, 2001? Well, not exactly. Actually, the scene took place this month, on a Toronto sound stage.

The histrionics, filmed for a two-hour television movie to be broadcast this September, are as close as you can get to an official White House account of its activities at the outset of the war on terrorism.


Uh, that isn't what happened. I know it, and the White House better know it. Unfortunatly, it was a friend of the White House who wrote the movie.

I found that little item above over at Eschaton. Upon surfing through the comments section, I read the following and upon agreeing with the commenter, I got angry.

What is so wrenchingly stomach turning is how cynically this administration uses the horrific deaths and unendurable suffering of thousands and thousands of Americans to enhance Bush's image.

Commenter Shaw is correct. Absolutely correct. How dare they.

Then, I paid a visit to Nitpicker, who wrote on the lack of press for a certain commission I've been writing about for months. He cites a maddening Salon article.
(Yes, you have to watch the stupid little commercial first, but it is worth it.)


While the administration of President George W. Bush is aggressively positioning itself as the world leader in the war on terrorism, some families of the Sept. 11 victims say that the facts increasingly contradict that script. The White House long opposed the formation of a blue-ribbon Sept. 11 commission, some say, and even now that panel is underfunded and struggling to build momentum. And, they say, the administration is suppressing a 900-page congressional study, possibly out of fear that the findings will be politically damaging to Bush.


As I continually ask...WHY? And then. . .


Adding insult for some family activists was the fact that Bush used the 9/11 attacks as a justification for the war on Iraq. "I sat and listened to the State of the Union speech [last January] when Bush mentioned 9/11 12 or 13 times," recalls Kristin Breitweiser, whose husband, Ronald, was killed when United Flight 175 slammed into Tower 1. "At the same time, we were having trouble getting funding for the independent commission."

Gabrielle was equally upset: "Bush has never personally met with the [9/11] families to discuss any of this, so for him to use Sept. 11 and its victims to justify his agenda, I myself am disgusted."


What bullshit. And . . .


Adding to the general confusion that day was baffling testimony by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta. "I don't think we ever thought of an airplane being used as a missile," he told the commissioners. But it was widely reported last year that several government studies had warned of just such a scenario.

For months, the commission was struggling to get by on a minuscule budget of $3 million. That low funding and the yearlong delay in creating the commission stand in stark contrast to previous panels formed to investigate momentous disasters in American history.

For instance, on April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg, killing approximately 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers. According to historians, Titanic survivors began disembarking in New York at 10 o'clock on the night of April 18. The next morning at 10:30, a special panel of the Senate Commerce Committee was gaveled into session inside the ornate East Room of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.

Last year, when Cheney called Daschle to urge him to limit any hearings into 9/11, the V.P. argued it would drain sources away from the war on terrorism. By contrast, just 11 days after Japanese bombers hit the U.S. with a sneak attack killing nearly 3,000 people, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order creating a commission to "ascertain and report the facts relating to the attack made by Japanese armed forces upon the Territory of Hawaii on December 7, 1941 ... and to provide bases for sound decisions whether any derelictions of duty or errors of judgment on the part of United States Army or Navy personnel contributed to such successes as were achieved by the enemy on the occasion mentioned." It was the first of eight government-led investigations into the Pearl Harbor.

The Warren Commission, headed by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, was formed just seven days after President Kennedy was assassinated. Last February, after seven astronauts died when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated 200,000 feet above Texas, NASA's Columbia Accident Investigation Board was created 90 minutes after the incident; $50 million was immediately set aside for the probe. And in just four months, the board has already made public significant findings about the crash investigation.

By contrast, nearly two years after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the 9/11 commission only recently opened up its New York City office. The commission's budget has been increased to $14 million, but many experts say that's still far short of the sum needed to do the job right.

Given that perspective, there's a growing sense among some 9/11 advocates that the news media have let them -- and the nation -- down. "I'm very disappointed in the press," says Breitweiser. "I think it's disgusting the independent commission is doing the most important work for this nation and it's not even reported in the New York Times or on the nightly news. I've been scheduled to go on 'Meet the Press' and 'Hardball' so many times and I'm always canceled. Frankly I'd like nothing better than to go head to head with Dick Cheney on 'Meet the Press.' Because somebody needs to ask the questions and I don't understand why nobody is."

Among frustrated family members of Sept. 11 victims, there's a feeling they're losing the battle of time in their struggle to get answers from the Bush administration. "There's a very, very small window to effect changes," says one 9/11 widower, Bill Harvey. "And unfortunately, that window is closing."


Xymphora has an excellent post about what we do not know about that day. (although xymphora continues to hold on to the theory that a 757 did not strike the Pentagon, which is bunk.)

Read that, and perhaps, just perhaps, you'll understand why I get so angry about this. The silence of our so-called liberal media infuriates me. What is happening to our country? The most important and historically decisive day in American History is probably September 11, 2001. Why doesn't anyone want to talk about it? Three Thousand Americans died, murdered, and why doesn't the government want it investigated? Yet all we get is silence. Unless, there's a war to be had, then it's 9/11 all over the place.

My God, that pisses me off.


DRC UPDATE


Gary Farber is still all over the Congo and that's a very good thing. His permalinks are bloggered in a strange way, so scroll down a bit.

He's angry, of course, and so am I. I just don't know what I can do anymore, as watching the Congolese slaughter each other in their own little Holocaust is frustrating, maddening, and upsetting. I suppose I'll keep on writing about it, one of a few candles burning against the dark.
Hope

This is a great story to wake up to.


In a slim 5 to 4 vote, the court said that the University of Michigan law school's race-conscious admissions policies were constitutional.

In a majority opinion, written by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the court found that the law school's race-conscious admissions program did not violate white students' constitutional rights to equal treatment.

The court found that the equal-protection clause under the Constitution does not prohibit the law school's "narrowly tailored use of race in admission decisions to fulfill a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body."



UPDATE:
I'm fully awake now, and I may have jumped too soon, but it's still somewhat good news.


The court split 6-3 in finding the undergraduate program unconstitutional. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote the majority opinion in the undergraduate case, joined by O'Connor and Justices Antonin Scalia (news - web sites), Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas (news - web sites) and Stephen Breyer (news - web sites).


Justices John Paul Stevens (news - web sites), David Souter (news - web sites) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (news - web sites) dissented.


Michigan's undergraduate admissions structure is tantamount to a quota, the majority in that case concluded. While it set no fixed target for the number of minority students who should get in, the point-based evaluation system gave minority applicants a 20-point boost.


This story is still developing. However, despite the protestations of certain conservatives, it looks like affirmative action will be sticking around for awhile. Indeed it has to. The government has wars to pursue.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Oh My God.





Ann Coulter is gonna blog.



Oh. My. God.


(read at Pandagon.)

Saturday, June 21, 2003

I'm going to do it.



I'm going to read Ann "I love Fascism" Coulter's book.


Brave, aren't I?
Scary times for Salam Pax. Strange. . . not a lot of people are talking about Salam Pax anymore. I guess the action movie war must be over. The President said so, and anything the President says is the truth, period.
Onward to Libya?


. . . or Syria?


. . . nah . . . it's Iran.


. . . but it's not Liberia, Sudan, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, or Zimbabwe, or Uzbekistan, or Myanmar, or the Ivory Coast, or Somalia or. . .
Boggled!

This is bizarre.

The United States, which used Islamic fundamentalists against communism in Afghanistan in the 1980s, has embarked on an operation to use communists to bring about the end of the Islamic regime in Iran.



Rain


Yet again it is raining. It's rained every weekend since April. Before that, it snowed every weekend starting just after Christmas.


This is such bullshit. Yet another weekend ruined.
DRC UPDATE/Africa Update

More depressing Congo news. What's even more depressing is that its slowly falling out of the spotlight. A truce is holding though. That's good, I hope.


Oh damn, the pessimist in me says I really shouldn't hold my breath.

I have to be honest, blogging about the Congo has really, really depressed me.

That's why I've avoided talking about Liberia, another hell-hole. Their president is a bastard.


Nigerian accounts of the Liberian Hell.


Damn. I'm adding Liberia to my watch list.
Iran


Iran sucks. There I said it. It sucks. It sucks they're building nuclear power plants. It sucks that it has a huge pool of oil under it. It sucks that its government is repressive. And you know what else sucks? It sucks that WE are destabilizing it, planning military force if necessary. This whole thing sucks. It's eerily similar to LAST summer, when Iraq was planned. I told friends last summer. They were like "It's not going to happen." And of course, I was right and they weren't, but at that point, the war was on and saying anything bad about the war branded one anti-American, unpatriotic, harmful to the troops (!??) and other assorted beliggerant jingoistic rhetoric.

Just watch. In a few weeks someone will leak war plans. The pundits will drool and wet their pants. Of course, the lapdog media will overlook it and focus on some inane scandal (SCOTT PETERSON!!! LOOK THERE!!! SHARKS!!! LACI!!! CHANDRA!!! DISTRACT DISTRACT DISTRACT!!!). August will be hot and the pundits will talk about it. In September, timed of course for the 9/11 anniversary, someone will speak to the UN. Then the nasty cross-Atlantic sniping will start. We will demand a resolution. We'll get one. Iran won't comply. And then, early next year, we'll be liberating Iran with a "Coalition of the Willing" AKA a Coalition of other Authoritarian states. Of course, any debate, any questioning, and you'll automatically be branded unpatriotic. You'll get beat up. Your life will be threatened. Meanwhile, millions of Africans will continue to die. Child soldiers will run through Congolese streets, or Sudanese streets, or the streets of more than a handful of African countries. Myanmar will continue to oppress. Indonesia will continue running rampant through Aceh. Uzbekistan will continue boiling its dissidents. India and Pakistan will continue fighting. Afghanistan will continue to remain a shattered forgotten mess. Iraq will continue to simmer. Israelis and Palestinians will continue to kill each other. North Korea will continue targeting the West Coast, Japan, and South Korea. The Bush Administration of course will continue to ignore that threat. Russia will continue fighting the Chechnyans. Death will pervade our blue little globe.

And I say, THAT SUCKS!
Happiness and nonsense post (Cause we all have those posts that make no sense)

I $uspect Payroll made an error somewhere. I was very pleased when I checked my bank statement. Meaning I can move off of Blogger! At any rate, I may be moving to Movable Type this week, maybe not. The only thing with MT that I don't like is that it seems awful bland. Blog after blog with the same template. Unfortunately, Blogger isn't leaving me much choice with its suckyness. Research time.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Pennsylvania Senate 2004!


The rumors that Lancaster County Democrat Charlie Crystle (Pa) may run against Arlen Specter (R-Pa) for the Senate seat may actually be fact. More as this develops.
Blog Praise


Lancaster's own Gil Smart and Oregon's David Neiwart have both been raising the alarms to what can be oversimplified as fascism right here at home, alarms I intend to raise in my undergrad thesis. I suggest you read both. Just scroll down. Then go surf through the archives.

I use the term "oversimplified" because fascism is used far too frequently in arguing on both the Left and the Right. Randists call everyone who disagree with them fascist. Greens call Republicans fascist. The word itself is in danger of losing all meaning, and quite frankly, there is increasing evidence that fascism, in some form, still lives. The nightmare is not yet over.

Anywho, read them both.


and what's with the trolls at Eschaton today? I mean jeez.
Now I know certain conservative/libertarian/French-hating bloggers are probably all over the French roundup of Iranian dissidents. I don't support such action by France, I'll just say that.

However, they are awful silent on the fact that the American government has been doing almost the same thing to Arab-Americans and immigrants. And I don't support that action either.

The ladies doth protest too much methinks.
53 Soldiers dead since Mr. Bush said victory accomplished.
DRC UPDATE and other scary, depressing news

1. Lots and lots more death in the DRC. I know ER's finale focused on this conflict...but for all I know, Americans could think the conflict was made up. ER's writers should have made up a country, much like the writers of West Wing do.

2. As I write this, news is breaking. The AG is on TV talking about a bigwig Al Quaida member who has been caught. With more scary plots. I suspect the terror code will remain at orange. I'll have a link later today, even though everyone else will hop up on this.

3. The Japanese want to build nukes.

4. The Occupation cancels the vote in Iraq. Not that anyone cares. Paradise Hotel is on TV!!!

5. The Government has all the rights to withhold all the names of those it rounded up in the sweeps. Not that anyone cares. Ruben(or Clay, I didn't watch) isn't American Idol!!!!

6. Blah.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Pennsylvania Senate Race 2004!

Jim Capozzola, a recent immigrant to our fair state, is bowing out of the 2004 Pennsylvania Senate Race against Arlen Specter. (He coined "The Specter of Specterism...Haunting Pennsylvania since 1980"....a genius line if I may say so.) He alludes to a Democrat who may challenge Specter in the 2004 Senate Race, provided he beats Pat Toomey in the Primaries. A funny story: coming back from Philadelphia International, I noticed not one, not two, but three huge billboards with Pat Toomey's name all over it. The funny part: they were located in neighborhoods that likely won't vote for him. Go figure.

Anywho, I'm not sure who he's alluding to. The name that has come up in my Democratic Party circles is Lancaster County's own Charlie Crystle. I got an email from a friend who works for the local Party a few weeks ago...I'm still waiting to hear if he's running. PoliticsPA has the List...Crystle is the most likely person on the list.


UPDATE:

I sure hope Jim is not alluding to this:


Potential Democratic U.S. Senate candidates go down this week as the possible candidacy of Congressman Joe Hoeffel sucks the oxygen out their media coverage.


UPDATE #2:

An interview with Charlie Crystle.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Abercrombie is a store that I have an irrational hatred and disgust for. So it pleases me to read stories like this.

Monday, June 16, 2003

BRIEF HIATUS


I will be taking a brief hiatus as the last Pinder child ( my brother) is graduating tomorrow from high school. Much familial time should ensue. Blogging will commence on Wednesday, unless there's big news, then it will commence late tomorrow night.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

DRC UPDATE


More, on that firefight.


The firefight on the outskirts of Bunia, from which the French special forces emerged unscathed, occurred amid growing concern that the force's mandate is too limited and does not include the demilitarization of the town that six weeks ago boasted a university, a brand-new mobile phone network and a thriving trade in gold.
The Atlantic is hoppin again!
I'm moving to Maine since my insurance ran out...
DRC UPDATE

French troops come under fire.


French troops working for the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo have fired their first shots in anger - although it is unclear at whom.

A French column encountered gunfire on a reconnaissance mission south of the city of Bunia, where fighting between rival ethnic militia has claimed hundreds of lives in the last month.

It is not certain whether the shots were directed at the UN force or at rival militia.

Reuters Journalist Dino Mahtani was travelling with the French troops at the time.

"The French started deploying to the long grass to respond to the fire," he said.

"They came under fire from machine guns and mortars.

"I must have heard about 10-12 blasts of mortar and the French responded with machine gun and light grenades."


Friday, June 13, 2003

WTF?!


What the fuck is this?


KARACHI - Such is the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, compounded by the return to the country of a large number of former Afghan communist refugees, that United States and Pakistani intelligence officials have met with Taliban leaders in an effort to devise a political solution to prevent the country from being further ripped apart.


I'm hoping the Asia Times got it real real wrong. And I mean really REALLY wrong.
DRC UPDATE

I get the sense that not enough people are paying attention to this, and quite frankly, you really should. The latest reality TV craze can wait. Pay attention to this. Here's today's update:

1. UN troops were sent to defend civilians in the town of Bunia.

A military spokesman, Colonel Gerard Dubois, said Friday, troops were sent to defend the population from the reported attack about five kilometers outside the base. Details on the fighting were not immediately available.


Let's hope they were successful.

2.The European Union says the French-led force cannot intervene beyond Bunia.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The French commander of a European Union peacekeeping operation in Congo conceded on Friday that the force would not be able to stop ethnic bloodshed if it happened outside its limited area of operation.
Responding to an appeal from the United Nations, the EU is deploying around 1,400 troops to the eastern town of Bunia -- where hundreds of people have been massacred in tribal clashes -- in what will be its first military operation outside Europe.

But analysts fear ethnic violence may simply shift to other areas, leaving the EU peacekeeping operation looking irrelevant.


Thus the horror will continue. Bastards.

3. The German Cabinet approved sending 350 German troops to the DRC.

The German cabinet approved sending troops to Uganda to assist United Nations peacekeepers seeking to curb violence and ethnic fighting over land in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some 350 German soldiers will assist French troops in Congo by providing logistical and medical help from Uganda, Defense Minister Peter Struck told radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk earlier today.

The lower house of parliament will next week vote on whether German troops should join the peacekeeping force. The operation may begin immediately after the parliamentary approval and continue until the end of August, said Bela Anda, the government's chief spokesman.


Good start, not enough.

4. EU troops find their hands are tied. They can't do a damned thing.

One week after the first French troops arrived the first rapid reaction intervention by the EU alone is in danger of being a toothless failure, observers say. If it is not allowed to leave Bunia it will hardly see the slaughter in the province, much less stop it. If unable to intervene in fighting it will not prevent the civilian massacres that invariably follow.


Again, bastards.

WHAT I WANT TO SEE HAPPEN

I feel I must be absolutely clear, because watching this African Holocaust occur, and that's precisely what it is, has me enraged. I want an overwhelming multinational military force to go in there and pacify the region. I want those child soldiers disarmed and put in schools. I want schools built. I want infrastructure created. I want absolutely everything we're doing for the Iraqis done for the Congolese. And I want it done real soon. Preferably now. Why the hell do I feel like I'm screaming into the wind? Sending troops is a start, but troops without a mandate is not. I also want near constant media attention. Every day, we hear about some partisan scandal. Or we hear about some high-profile murder case. Meanwhile, millions of people are dying! Where's the compassion?

I am drawing the line here.

I will be blogging about the Congo daily, sometimes twice daily. I suggest people start passing this on. I know I am.
Apparently, we're all supposed to be in awe that FoxNews has hired Dennis Miller.


Apparently.
Hesiod gets verklepmt. And it's a good reason why (well, if you're a commiepinkoidotarianliberalsocialist like me.)

Sorry, bad day.
HEH

This guy says voting against Bush makes you objectively pro-terrorist.

Gee. Well, I may be oversimplifing his argument. But I do plan on voting against Bush in 2004. And if that makes me objectively pro-terrorist, then I can be found at 1 South George Street. Millersville, Pennsylvania 17551


via Matthew Yglesias.


ADDENDUM: That's not my real address. And in addendum, that's the last time I ever read anything from the National Review. And right after lunch too!

Thursday, June 12, 2003

DRC UPDATE

Oh. My. God. Please pass this on, (via Matthew Yglesias, created by Gary Farber)

A REACTION. To a post elsewhere about the Congo:
I've written a lot about this.
And I have a very simple take. Perhaps it's too simplistic, but there it is.
Substitute the word "Jews" for "Lendu" or "Hema."
Then say, gee, gosh, it would cost a lot to save them.
Tough luck if millions die, because it's expensive, it's awkward, it's tough, to save them.
Bye, bye, Jews. Too bad. It's expensive to save them. It's expensive to save you black people, you Hema, you Lendu. It's tough to keep track of your names, even. Even your clan, your tribe, your people.
Bye-bye. Die in peace. Die by the thousands. Die by the tens of thousands. Die by the hundreds of thousands. Die by the millions. I have fast food. Bye-bye. I don't need to go to trouble. Bye-bye. Die well. Bye-bye. My conscience is untroubled. I could have saved you for a few days of work, but I don't want to be troubled. Bye-bye. Bye-bye.
Die well.
I can't be bothered to take a few minutes or hours to help stop it.
Bye-bye.
Die well.
Die.


People wonder why I take Congo so seriously. Remember, if we're going to say "Never again," then we better freaking mean it.

Otherwise. We. Are. Hypocrites.
DRC UPDATE

. . . and yes, I'm aware Liberia is a mess too, and so is Burundi, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Mauritania. . . .

European Union troops will be deployed to northeastern Congo. 900 of them will be French, and the total size of the force will be about 1500 men. That force, however, will not disarm the militias.

I misunderstood the September 1 deadline. The September 1 date is when the French-led UN intervention ends. A contingent of Bangladeshis will replace them starting that date, relieving the Uraguayans who have been under fire from local militas.

A UN Security Council Delegation visited the region, to apprise the situation.


Even if the UN Peacekeepers control the town, there's still violence in the hills. As glad as I am that someone is paying attention, I still say it's not enough. I'd lobby my Representative and two Senators, but I get the feeling their focus is elsewhere, being I'm from Pennsylvania and all.

Who let Richard Perle out of his cage?
HC

There's been some minor adjusting to the blogroll. Please Welcome Diplomatica!

Oh, and I hope the unfortunate virutal civil war Left Blogistan is experiencing lets up soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

SOLIDARITY


I'm a Liberal. Fuck you.


(I think this would be an interesting t-shirt. Especially since the discourse in this country is no longer civil...)
HACKS

I can't wait to see all the hacks attack Senator Clinton for her book without actually reading it. Best way to deconstruct their already inane arguments is below:

HACK: I hate Hillary. That b**** doesn't know what she's talking about. She has no right to say those things. (this is the part where the hack starts to sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown)

ME: Did you read the book?

HACK: Of course not, I wouldn't read that trash because its (Charlie Brown Teacher Voice, again.)

ME: Then shut up.


Simple. And no, I haven't read the book yet, that's why I have no comments on it.
DRC UPDATE


Fresh fighting in the Congo, this time in North Kivu.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

HURRICANE SEASON


This sites name comes from my love of storms. I used to be a meteorology major way back in the day, and decided that I did not like math all that much. Anyway, hurricane season started June 1st and looks to be active.

In fact, it's already getting started. Break out the tracking maps!


000
ABNT20 KNHC 102120
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
530 PM EDT TUE JUN 10 2003

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

AN UNUSUALLY WELL-ORGANIZED TROPICAL WAVE FOR THIS TIME OF THE YEAR
IS LOCATED 1400 MILES EAST OF THE SOUTHERN WINDWARD ISLANDS.
SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT THE SHOWER ACTIVITY HAS INCREASED
AND THAT A TROPICAL DEPRESSION MAY BE FORMING. THIS SYSTEM IS
MOVING WESTWARD 15 TO 20 MPH AND COULD BECOME A TROPICAL CYCLONE
TONIGHT OR WEDNESDAY.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH
WEDNESDAY.

FORECASTER AVILA



UPDATE
Storm brewin'.
(and if you think I'm weird, you should see me when severe thunderstorms roll through.)
WHAT I'LL BE PAYING FOR WHEN I'M 70. . .


. . .good god! $400 Billion?
THOSE CHEESE EATING SURRENDER MONKIES. . .


. . . . . rescue American citizens from war-torn Liberia.

Merci! Merci!
It's BACK

West Nile Returns


ATLANTA (Reuters) - U.S. health officials reported on Monday that the West Nile virus had resurfaced in two dozen states, but they stopped short of predicting another record outbreak of the deadly mosquito-borne disease.

West Nile has been detected in birds, horses and mosquitoes in at least 24 states so far this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has tracked the virus since it first emerged in the United States in 1999.
SUN

What is that bright shiny yellow orb up there in the sky? It's the sun! FINALLY!
SHOUTOUT

Happy 52nd Birthday to my dad (and if anyone needs a programmer with international experience, please hire him)

Best of luck to Sean-Paul Kelly, on his way to Central Asia right now.

Monday, June 9, 2003

REQUEST FOR INFO

Does anyone know where I can locate a list of Coalition casulties? I cannot find anything updated past Memorial Day. CNN seems to have scrubbed it from their site. I did not feel like going to FoxNews or MSNBC, really wasn't in the mood for them.

UNDERGRAD THESIS

Expanding on a paper I wrote earlier this spring, my undergrad thesis topic has been chosen. Tentative title is: Nationalism and Fascism: Old Ills, Future Evils? A Global Survey of Populist Movements

A large portion will be devoted to religious fundamentalism, which I have discovered is on the rise and could be the deciding factor on whether our species makes it to the 22nd Century. It's due to be finished (I hope) by Summer 2004 although I'm shooting for April 2004. I need to have my mind clear for the upcoming 2004 election.

Sunday, June 8, 2003

CLARITY

If my next paycheck is big, I'm moving to Moveable Type. I've had it with Blogger.


Anywho...I've wanted to post this all darn day.
It's becoming increasingly clear that someone lied or twisted facts about the WMDs. I'm not yet ready to place blame, but if it goes to the very top, then that person who sits at the very top should be impeached. Period. The last guys who sat at the very top who lied were impeached. Therefore, this guy at the very top, if it's found he lied, should be impeached. PERIOD.

In addition, if there were no weapons and we invaded on that pretense, then we have problems. If there were weapons and our invasion scattered them to the winds, then we really have problems.

I have nothing else pithy to say. But Monday should be wild...

Saturday, June 7, 2003

RAIN

I'm this close to declaring jihad on all this damned rain. It has seriously done NOTHING but rain. Frankly, I liked the drought better!
WHAT WAS THAT?

Oh yea, apparently some stuff went down at the New York Times that I'm apparently supposed to really care about but I really don't. The adults have more important things in the world to worry about. Not some scandal at a left-leaning international newspaper. Kinda reminds me of the "ALL LACI, ALL THE TIME" on the networks while soldiers died in Iraq AFTER the war, oops, battle, was declared over. Humph.
DRC UPDATE

Residents of Bunia seem to be happy that outside Western troops have arrived, however, they're more interested having law and order instituted. Sadly, more fighting has erupted. The Security Council is sending a mission to the area to press regional leaders to put down their arms and start talking, again. (Bottom of the article).
THIS WILL MAKE YOUR DAY

Now, French obstructionism wasn't all that cool. American backlash (well, childish right-wing revisionist backlash led by FoxNews and its Puffy-Lipped Botoxed Alpha-gurl Interchangeable Aryan Princess Anchorettes*) was really not cool. So those who hate FoxNews, or hated the "America Cool, France Cheese-eating-Surrender-Monkeys" pre-war rhetoric will be ever so pleased to know that FoxNews talked the talk, but couldn't walk the walk.


'Le Facteur' O'Reilly


• For the past several weeks, Fox News Channel star Bill O'Reilly has been bashing France and its government, urging viewers to boycott French products because they "lied" to and "double-crossed" the United States in the war against Saddam Hussein.

Even after the Iraqi dictator was tossed out of power, O'Reilly announced last month: "Until President [Jacques] Chirac apologizes to all Americans for putting us in danger, the boycott stays."

But yesterday, in what might be further evidence of a spring thaw in Franco-American relations, O'Reilly had lunch at La Colline, one of Washington's better-known French restaurants. "He had a soup and salad," part-owner Paul Zucconi, obviously an Italian Frenchman, told us, adding that his restaurant is popular with Fox News types because it's in the building that houses their Washington bureau. "He was eating light. He dined alone. He tipped 22 percent and was very nice."

Fox News spokesman Robert Zimmerman, meanwhile, said O'Reilly's boycott applies to products from France, not French cuisine being served in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Bold is my emphasis.


ASSHOLES, YER BUSTED!


Hat Tip: Maru!
*Interchangable Aryan Princess Anchorettes via The Mighty Reason Man. I found the statement so funny (I literally fell off my chair) I just had to co-opt it. Make it mainstream.

That's my over-the-top partisan moment for the day. I return you to normal programming.
Afghanistan, that OTHER American-led nation building project


Not a quagmire, right?

Officials in Kabul say an explosion has hit a bus carrying German members of the international peacekeeping team in Afghanistan, killing several people.


Okay.

Friday, June 6, 2003

CUTENESS

This is by far the cutest kitten ever! It's just so damned cute!

(Sorry Shadow and Nerkle.....you guys were cute when you were babies...wait...cats don't read blogs, do they?)
DRC Update

Even though certain members of the blog world seem to want to shift the focus to Myanmar, I'm not. I'm sticking with Congo.

The Latest. UN Peacekeepers arrived to a skeptical reception. The link I posted this morning was a bit off. The force that arrived today was a small group designed to pave the way for the more heavily armed (thank you!!) French-led force that could start filtering into northeastern DRC this weekend. Unfortunatly, the peacekeepers might not do what they should do: disarm the rival tribes that have been fighting since the Ugandan army pulled out. Also, this:

It has no authority to remove weapons from the child soldiers who largely make up the militias or to stop the flow of arms entering Ituri. And, for now, its mandate lasts only three months.


UNICEF estimates that there are as many as 10,000 child soldiers. 10,000.

This deployment will be a test for EU troops, as they are going in without NATO. Actually, more accuratly, I see this as a test to the world's resolve to stop genocide, given our propensity for saying "Never again," and sitting back while it happens again and again, over and over.

I apologize for that brief bit of cynicism.

While I am pleased that some international attention is being given other than the standard "We Condemn This" lip service, I really, really don't think these peacekeepers will do a damn bit of good other than standing there looking pretty unless their mandate is changed to use force, and more troops are sent in to stabilize the region.

MSNBC (Which is good on the Web, assbackward moronic on the tube) has a good and grim story about the 1919-1920 Influenza pandemic that could serve as a grim reminder about SARS.
Sean-Paul has a post up that further adds to my hypothesis that the exeutive branch's left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing, and now they're swatting at each other. (Read his observations.)

On second thought, start at the top of the page and work your way down. I knew I was onto something...more later.
DRC UPDATE

French Troops Arrive in the northeastern part of the Congo.

Thursday, June 5, 2003

This is a damn good Get Your War On.
ANNOYANCE

I haven't quite been following the "Lack of WMD" story that's been growing. Hey, wasn't it about this time last year that we found out that the White House had been warned repeatedly about an impending horror now known as 9/11? And wasn't it May-June 2001 that the first chatter started up? Seems like a growing pattern for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave...May and June just ain't their months. Anyway, I'm on it now, and I'm just a tad annoyed.

First Why did Paul Wolfowitz say this? I suspect they'll say "We were taken out of context" but I also say "the lady doth protest too much, methinks."

Where ARE those WMDs? Two trailers does not constitute a reason to replace the government of a sovereign nation.

1600 needs to come clean NOW. WHY did we invade Iraq? If their intel was so good on the presense of WMD, then WHY have we not found one iota. If we invaded for humanitarian reasons then WHY are we not invading a host of nations. I can think of fifteen right off the top of my head. If we invaded to "cut the head off of terrorism" then WHY did 23 men blow themselves up, killing dozens in Morocco and Saudi Arabia?

They'd better come up with something, and fast.

UPDATE

Remember those jokes that sort of went something like "Well if we don't get Saddam, at least there'll be a regime change in Britain" or something like that? Well I'm going to make a very bold prediction.

I don't expect Tony Blair to last out the year as Prime Minister. They know how to ask questions over there in the United Kingdom. Perhaps it's because they aren't stupified by American Idol.

Tuesday, June 3, 2003

DRC UPDATE

Days before a UN Force (which I must add that I feel is weak and needs a much stronger mandate) is to deploy in the DRC, fresh fighting has broken out. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has proposed increasing the number of troops to 11,000. Tomorrow, the EU is to vote on sending its own force to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, there are some who feel this could turn into a quagmire...

Germany also appears to have some misgivings.

Sunday, June 1, 2003

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

via Nick at the Agonist, from the Baltimore Sun and the Charleston Courier.
Slighty off topic, but really, really not good. SARS may have entered the DRC.
The Democratic Republic of The Congo



Part Two of a Series

An article titled The Truth is Coming Out aided in this research. This article can be read here. Other media sources were also consulted. They were gathered mainly through Lexus-Nexus.

WHY THE VIOLENCE?

Part of the reason for the violence in the DRC has to do with foreign intervention, namely Uganda and Rwanda, who apparently are fighting each other in Congolese territory. Ugandan and Rwandan supported militias control the eastern half of the nation.

The Kabila government's allies, incidentally, are Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will be covered in a future series.

Rwanda and Uganda intervened in Congo due to their own security concerns (with the rise of Laurent Kabila, the nation had become extremely unstable) and they wanted a chance to profit off of the DRC's vast mineral wealth, talked about in Part One. Of course, these proxy troops disrupted an already chaotic situation. In addition, neighboring Rwanda has its own horrors which sent hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing into what was then named Zaire.

Human Rights Watch and the IRC estimate that the death toll, due to war, pestilence, and famine, is between three and five million people. Three million more are estimated to be displaced by the violence.

In recent weeks, Uganda has pulled troops out of regions under its "control" leaving tribes to fight each other. Which they did.

HOW ARE WE COMPLICIT?

This is mainly my own opinion. In the last decade of the last century, we saw horrors like the Rwanda, the Balkans, East Timor, Sudan, and a host of other nations. All these countries are tucked off into some remote corner of the world. You don't hear about them much. Then, they start bloody civil wars, genocides, politicides, purges and what have you which are all things that should inflame our senses. After the Holocaust, we said never again. After the War of Yugoslav Dissolution (I read that somewhere, and technically it's probably going to end up being the correct term for it when history looks back) we said never again. After Rwanda we said never again. How many more times do we have to say never again before we truly mean it? Never again.

Three to five million dead. Three million displaced, out of reach of humanitarian aid.

Now in Part One, I was annoyed by the silence of the Congressional Black Caucus mainly because, well, they're of African descent. In reality, I probably should be angry at everyone. The whole damn world has watched the DRC fall apart and done very little. The United Nations sent in too few peacekeepers who couldn't do a thing. No world organization that I could find has yet to decry and ban the purchase of diamonds and minerals mined from Eastern Congo and funneled through Rwanda and Uganda.*

*(Although, then again, those bans don't really work. Liberia has one in place, yet manages to fund its bloody little war....correction...the Kimberley Process is a start.)

Why should we care though? Simple. They're human beings, and they deserve the same things we enjoy in the developed world.

Part Three will try to think up solutions, and bring the latest developments. It'll be a few days yet, because I have to think up what I think a decent solution for this dangerous situation should be. I think I'll also talk about why I care so much.







Jesus. (courtesy of Newsday)



A background on the last year in the DRC (from Human Rights Watch)