12.04.2004

the new look


Yep, the ole blog's had a makeover. A little tummy tuck, a collagen injection, botox, some saline implants, and a new wardrobe. Clairol came in and washed that grey right out of our hair. Oil of Olay smoothed out the wrinkles, Halliburton completed the $1,000,000,000 blog reconstruction project and the queer eye for the straight blog guys came in and made everything fabulous. Oh, and we got some boom! tough actin' Tinactin to get rid of the athlete's blogfoot.

The old look was getting kind of old and since I'm too lazy to learn how to write stylesheets, XML, or whatever they call this stuff, I set about the difficult task of perusing the two dozen available prefabricated templates and, after a lot of hard work and agonizing research that lasted all of three minutes said "that one looks allright", hit 'select', and little blog gnomes churned out the new, refitted, svelter, willowy, sylphlike beauty that you are beholding right now. You are beholding it, right?

Probably the biggest functional change is that I got rid of the comment options. A lot of bloggers get all depressed and whiny when people don't leave comments about how much they like the site. Not me. I never got that many and I was thankful because I always feel like I have to respond. Then they respond back and I have to respond to that and before you know it we've spent three days yakking back and forth because neither is sure how to end the 'conversation'. Plus a lot of blogs are getting hit by comment spam and I don't want to rush to have to fix that if/when it happens so I just put the kibosh on them altogether. I still welcome comments through email, and will post them if desired/applicable.

One other change is forthcoming. I'm going to go update the links section over there on your right, no your other right ---> and undoubtedly some will be deleted and some added as well. So peruse it and hunt out the sick and weak before I cull the herd.

12.02.2004

Funniest. Joke. Ever.

Q: What's Brown And Sticky?

A: A Stick.

Abstinence, Speedy The Sperm, and my political identity crisis.

Jesus' General, a hilarious satire site and one of only two "liberal" sites I read, has the most amazing post today on abstinence education. It is more or less a breakdown of part of Henry Waxman's report on Bush's costly abstinence education program, so it's obviously partisan, biased, or whatever you want to call it, but that doesn't do much to change the fact that the abstinence program is filled with curricula which is mindnumbingly insane. Bizarre, in fact.

Just read some of the quoted text and you'll learn that they're teaching kids that touching another person's genitals can result in pregnancy and that you can get AIDS from tears and sweat. But I laughed especially hard at the sections dealing with women and men which can best be summed up as this: men are smart, women are dependant and true happiness can be accomplished when a woman knows her place.

Then there's the epic story of Speedy The Sperm which I would summarize if it only made any sense in either the logical physical-biological world or the metaphorical universe, neither of which, unfortunately, it comfortably resides.

I don't really support school teaching sex-ed. To tell the truth I'm kind of torn on it. On one hand I generally think our public schools do well to teach addition and subtraction properly and shouldn't get involved in moral issues and on the other hand... well on the other hand I don't really give a shit. Don't have kids, don't want 'em, so who cares.

My liberal side says kids aren't going to stop screwin' and it probably is good for the public health if they have a little guidance but then there's my conservative side. No, it doesn't say to teach abstinence and pray with the kids that God will help keep them chaste. Instead, my conservative side is truly conservative and says that my taxes shouldn't be wasted on an asinine government program that has no affect on anything. Since I don't have kids, but I do pay taxes, my conservative side wins on this one. Screw everyone else's horny heathen yardapes, I have useless consumer gadgets I need to buy to fill the vacancy in my heart for not having kids, or something like that.

Now the silly part of all this is that my conservative viewpoint on this issue, as well as many others, not only goes directly against the Bush administration's actions but would be sneered at by most any "conservative" I bothered to share it with, because they don't want the government to butt out of things where it doesn't belong. Instead, they want the government to force people into their way of thinking.

Want another example? Gay marriage. An alarming number of "conservatives" want a Constitutional ban on gay marriage. It seems that allowing the states to decide the matter on their own is something that conservatives forget is already contained in the Constitution, not to mention equal protection, which hardly squares with targeted exclusion.

I, personally, don't care if gays get married. If you see a gay couple walking down the street, what the hell does it matter if they have wedding bands on? The best advice I know of for people against gay marriage is this, "Don't marry a gay person." Simple and to the point. Personal responsibility, I say. No need to get the government in the private affairs of others just so you can force them to live the way you want them to. Now I ask you, what could be more conservative than that?

Yet another example would be abortion. Personally, except in the cases of rape, inscest or the threat to the mother's life, I'm against abortion. If I got someone pregnant I'd take the kid and raise it on my own before I said yes to an abortion. But I can't support using the government to force people to live in harmony with my personal views. I have no problem condemning some rich slut who keeps having abortions because she can't keep her legs closed, but I realize that most abortions are done because people can't raise the kid. It's not plan A, in other words. It's usually the last choice of a desperate girl who made a mistake.

But that's not why I'm against using the government to deny people abortions. I'm against it because I'm not willing to do anything on my own to help those seeking abortion. I think that if you're against abortion you should put your money where your mouth is and do something to help instead of condemning people who have nowhere else to turn. Instead of picketing an abortion clinic, pro-life conservatives should stand outside and offer to adopt the babies if the mother will just have them. If they're not willing to make their own sacrifice, they have no business asking the government to do their work for them.

And so deepens my political identity problem. It seems that everytime I read the news, "conservatives" are working hard to force their lifestyle on everyone through the use of government. What's so conservative about that?

11.30.2004

Telling the Fallujah Story to the World

Military.com has the html of the report on Fallujah from the 1-MEF.

Really the only good thing about it is the maps. The rest is fairly well politicized. This thing started out as a powerpoint presentation, which figures, because I've never seen a powerpoint presentation that was ever worth a damn.

What's funny is that every piece of evidence presented in this report was found by "Iraqi Security Forces supported by multi national forces."

Yeah, name one thing the Iraqis found that hadn't been picked over by Marines. And who was in this "multi national force" that supported the Iraqi Security Forces in their attack on Fallujah? I don't think anyone was with us on that little expedition.

The first fifth of the presentation is dedicated to making a case against the Fallujan fighters for fighting in mosques. I know they're not supposed to do that, but what "story" is this telling? One everyone already knew I'm afraid.

The second fifth is locations of IED factories and many photos taken at a few of those factories. The captions throughout this presentation are kind of silly, but one in this section is priceless. It reads "The material used to create IED munitions do not discriminate between killing ISF soldiers or innocent children"

Who wrote this? The same Japanese guy that wrote the instructions for programming my VCR? Wait, I get it. It's one of those liberal things. Like how guns are evil, not the people using them to shoot children, only in this case it's the material in the IEDs which is so evil that it disregards who it's target is.

The third section is titled Atrocities. I have no doubt that the Marines found "slaughter houses" where people were decapped in Fallujah, but this whole section is pretty lame. There is no photo evidence except a few shots of blood on a couple of walls and on the floor of the NIROC (National Islamic Resistance Operational Center). Judging solely on the photos, this could easily be where wounded were treated or it could be where Marines took out some bad guys. The NIROC is not even alleged to be a slaughterhouse, although I'd say the National Islamic Resistance is guilty of killing hostages. There is only one slaughterhouse labeled in the map and there's no photos of it, and as far as I know that's the only slaughterhouse we found in Fallujah. There is one photo of a man labeled "slaughterhouse hostage", but that guy wasn't found in a slaughterhouse. Again, who wrote this crap?

The fourth section details weapons caches found across the city. There were a lot of weapons found in Fallujah, but this section isn't evidence of it. At the bottom is an itemized list which is fairly impressive, but a drop in the bucket of what's available in Iraq. It's good that we secured a lot of caches in Fallujah, but I've heard people talking like finding these weapons broke the back of the insurgency, which is just wishful thinking. As the man who fathered "shock and awe" William S. Lind said, "Insurgencies, like octopi, are invertebrate"

The last section is dedicated to showing evidence of foreign fighters in the Iraqi insurgency. And the evidence? First, a GPS unit with waypoints originating in Syria found in an IED factory. To me, this points to smugglers coming over the border instead of foreign fighters. I don't doubt we will once again be calling for Syria to control it's border. 'Course, we control that border too, so maybe we should let some people we trust, like the U.S. military do it? No no, why do something sensible when we can rattle the sabers?

The other evidence is a ledger containing the names of 27 members of Abu Hamza's radical Islamic group. Abu Hamza, of course, lives in London. The names are broken down by nationality. 5 Saudais, 4 Syrian, 3 Iraqi, and one each from Sudan, Morocco and Algeria. This is fairly interesting in that Abu Hamza is alleged to be allied with Al-Qaeda. This ledger would seem to indicate as much, with the broad nationalities represented. And this is what we want to look for.

Unfortunately the administration is more interested in crying "foreign fighters" for political purposes. Politically, we'd like to blame the entire insurgency in foreign agitators though this is obviously not the case. I think we only slotted a dozen foreigners in the entire Fallujah campaign. Compare that to an Iraqi body count of, what, 1000? 2000? Realistically, finding evidence of foreigners doesn't mean much anyway because no matter where a war is fought, foreigners will be involved in some way, whether smuggling, fighting, advising, or supplying arms. What would be important is finding foreign government involvement, but that ain't gonna happen for a couple of reasons. One, they're not that dumb, and two, they aren't really needed. This is a full blown popular insurgency, funded in part by wealthy locals and probably in part by Saddam.

The real foreign elements we need to be on the lookout for are Al-Qaeda related ones like in this ledger. It doesn't seem like Al-Qaeda has gotten a very good foothold in Iraq, and that's good, but we shouldn't discount their ability to launch coordinated strikes now, and more importantly, in the future. If Iraq ever gets settled down, Al-Qaeda has the ability to carry out concerted attacks on whatever government gains power. And you know what that means? It means they have the ability to keep us there for as long as they want.

11.29.2004

Rock balancing

I read a post at Metafilter about people balancing rocks and remembered that I had stumbled on some of this art on my own near Gatlinburg, Tn. On June 14, 2003 to be exact, according to the exif data in the images (exif is information hidden in digital images).

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11.28.2004

Cool project

Are you a do it yourselfer? Have copious amounts of free time on your hands? Why not build a fish highway to connect two aquariums on opposite sides of a room?

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What's wrong with this world?

Israelis felt a little funny about one of their officers shoting a 13 year old girl, then emptying his magazine into her lifeless body and stating that he would have done the same thing if she were ten years younger. They get a tad edgy when they see their soldiers sticking a Palestinian head on a pike. But now something has happened that has left a great deal of Israelis totally shocked.

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