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Comments by YACCS
Thursday, June 30, 2005

No booze, no handshake, no meeting

Belgians are great beer- and wine lovers ,
which is the understatement of the

Iranians in Belgian alcohol row

Iranian officials on a visit to Belgium have upset their hosts by trying to ban alcohol from the lunch table and refusing to shake women's hands.

Belgium's parliament speaker, Herman De Croo, decided to cancel a lunch rather than hosting a meal with no wine.

Strict Islamic teaching instructs Muslims to avoid looking at alcohol, as well as to avoid drinking it.

Belgian Senate president Anne-Marie Lizin later cancelled talks with the visitors over the handshake issue.

"We tried to find a solution, but they held fast to their position of not wanting to shake her hand," spokesman Patrick Peremans said.

The Senate said the meeting with the 12-strong delegation had been called off because of the "continued refusal" of Ms Lizin's counterpart to shake her hand.

So, did they think they were in Tehran?

Well, what do expect from fundies. They all want to tell you how to live.

posted by Steve @ 10:26:00 PM

10:26:00 PM

The News Blog home page

Fragging is bad

Despite the t-shirt, high explosives do not
solve all your problems

I got this e-mail, and dashed off an answer, but I want to discuss this at some length.

First, the day the right denounces Karl Rove for attacking American soldiers in combat, instead of a blind defense, then there might be something to talk about.

However, I think Ms. Jackson thinks we're murder defenders or something and I want to get into this a bit.


Churchill: "For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who's already been inducted in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal. But let me ask you this: Would you render the same level of support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?"

"...Conscientious objection removes a given piece of cannon fodder from the fray. Fragging an officer has a much more impactful effect."

Here's what I sent back.

Too bad he's an idiot.

In the majority of Vietnam-era cases, crime or petty revenge motivated fragging, not bad leadership. He should look at the court-martial records sometimes

Look, Ward Churchill is as much a loon as Randall Terry. No sane person would advocate murder as a political solution.

First, when the officer dies, the senior sergeant takes over, then they get a replacement. It might stop a patrol or two, but the Army expects their officers to be wounded and killed.

Second, fragging has been romantized by people, when in most of the Vietnam-era cases, it was about money, women, drugs, race or some other beef. Rarely did it happen in combat units. When it did, the NCO or officer had plenty of warning. It was not subtle, as first a yellow, then a red grenade was tossed under the target's bunk. It was rare to have it go to a live frag. In 1969, in an Army of 500,000 men in Vietnam, 209 cases were charged. While widespread across the Army, it was relatively rare in actual practice

The most celebrated case of attempted fragging was with Lt. Col Weldon Honeycutt, a battalion commander in the 101st ABN. His men blamed him for their heavy losses during the assault and withdrawal and they tried to kill him seven times, but failed.

What Prof. Churchill, and Mr. Jackson, miss, is that fragging is a very bad thing and no one who cares about soldiers want to see happen. Churchill should understand that when you have an army turn on its officers, more people are likely to die because of the lack of discipline. Once killing officers and NCO's are part of the equasion, the unit is likely to be attacked with far more success than in the past, and more people hurt. There are other ways to resist bad leadership, and this was widespread in Vietnam: combat refusals. Units would just refuse to do certain things. Go on patrols, do guard duty. That's a lot more effective than the random murder of a bad officer.

Mr. Jackson seems to have confused Democrats with hairbrained college radicals. Churchill would be lucky to have a ad agency job if he wasn't an academic. I doubt anyone, especially the veterans who post here, are pro-murder.

I am certainly for a withdrawl from Iraq, but an army which is fragging it's officers is useless, useless in Afghanistan, where we have real enemies, useless in Korea, useless in humanitarian relief.

The inter-Army violence didn't end in Vietnam, either. There was a massive riot at the Manheim Stockade in 1972, there was a riot at Mare Island in 1969. There was a violent racial confrontation on the USS Kitty Hawk in 1975.

This is the kind of thing which is poison in the military, and only a moron who had not read history would encourage it.

posted by Steve @ 7:24:00 PM

7:24:00 PM

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Nice guys stay out of jail


Time Decides to Hand Over Notes of Writer Facing Prison

Published: June 30, 2005

Time magazine said today that it would provide documents concerning the confidential sources of one of its reporters to a grand jury investigating the disclosure of the identity of a covert C.I.A. agent, Valerie Plame. In a statement, Norman Pearlstine, Time Inc.'s editor in chief, said: "The same Constitution that protects the freedom of the press requires obedience to final decisions of the courts and respect for their rulings and judgments. That Time Inc. strongly disagrees with the courts provides no immunity. The innumerable Supreme Court decisions in which even presidents have followed orders with which they strongly disagreed evidences that our nation lives by the rule of law and that none of us is above it."

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down appeals from the magazine, one of its reporters, Matthew Cooper, and a reporter for The New York Times, Judith Miller.

On Wednesday, Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the Federal District Court in Washington said he would order the reporters jailed for up to 120 days if they do not agree to testify before the grand jury in the meantime. He also said that he would impose substantial fines on the magazine.

The decision by a major news organization to disclose the identities of its confidential sources appears to be without precedent in living memory.

In an interview on CNN, Mr. Pearlstine said the threat of fines played no role in the magazine's thinking. "We are not above the law," he said.

The magazine made its decision over the objections of its reporter, Mr. Cooper.

The documents to be turned over include Mr. Cooper's notes. Mr. Pearlstine said that the magazine's move should make moot the threat of jail time for Mr. Cooper.

I guess we live in an age of cowards now. But then, Matt Cooper is a nice guy, so he shouldn't go to jail.

Bye, Judy.

But the upside: oh Scooter, I guess you better get that bid in for a Presidential pardon early.

posted by Steve @ 11:56:00 AM

11:56:00 AM

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But we love him

Compare and contrast

Mexican Stamps Racist, Civil Rights Leaders Say
Images Feature Popular Cartoon Character

By Darryl Fears
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 30, 2005; Page A01

The Mexican government issued a series of stamps yesterday depicting a dark-skinned Jim Crow-era cartoon character with greatly exaggerated eyes and lips, infuriating black and Hispanic civil rights leaders for the second time in weeks.

Mexican postal officials said the five-stamp series features Memin Pinguin, a character from a comic book created in the 1940s, because he is beloved in Mexico. A spokesman for the Mexican Embassy described the depiction as a cultural image that has no meaning and is not intended to offend.

"Just as Speedy Gonzalez has never been interpreted in a racial manner by the people in Mexico," embassy spokesman Rafael Laveaga said. ". . . He is a cartoon character. I am certain that this commemorative postage stamp is not intended to be interpreted on a racial basis in Mexico or anywhere else."

But the leaders of the NAACP, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the National Council of La Raza and the National Urban League denounced the image in strong terms, calling it the worst kind of black stereotype. The curator of a Michigan museum that collects Jim Crow memorabilia said the Memin Pinguin caricature is a classic "pickaninny" -- a black child, oafish and with apelike features.

"It is offensive," said the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, who like other leaders called on Mexican President Vicente Fox to apologize and stop circulation of the stamps. Jackson vowed to lead a demonstration at Mexican consulates if Fox does not do so.

Marc H. Morial, executive director of the National Urban League, joined Jackson in calling on President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to denounce the stamps. "It's outrageous, it's offensive, and it really raises the question of whether President Fox's apology was sincere and meaningful,"

This is the reason Disney has cartoons which are not shown today. These same images.

Also, degrading images of blacks are not unknown in Latin America.

posted by Steve @ 11:33:00 AM

11:33:00 AM

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The funniest thing I've read in a while

Harvard is coming to help.........NOT

This is hillarious

Army Recruiting Continues To Lag


Charles Moskos, a sociology professor and expert on military personnel issues at Northwestern University, has said the Army's recruiting woes are likely to persist until the children of upper-class America begin to enlist more readily. He also sees a possibility of the services relying more on non-Americans to sign up.

Moskos said in an interview Wednesday that of the 750 males in his graduating class at Princeton University in 1956, more than 400 went on to serve in the military. Of the 1,100 males and females in last year's Princeton class, eight joined.

"That's the difference," he said.

Professor, they joined because of the draft. They HAD NO CHOICE. Even the, the numbers were about 60 percent. I wonder if only 60 percent of New Brunswick's high school males joined the military.

Moskos, who is an expert on the draft, is apparently NOT an expert on modern American life. Because he's the guy who said the social cast of the military has been the same for 200 years, working class and poor enlisted men, led by lower middle class officers. Where do the upper class enter into this? They didn't even fight in the Civil War. They sought the Air Corps and ASTP programs in WWII. Yet, he thinks the class of Princeton is going to join the Army to be crippled in Iraq. I mean, he has to be joking or in need of medication.

We all know how the Howard Deans of the world had verifiable medical records when they entered the draft board. Not that he tried to dodge the draft, but that he had the medical records to get exempted. How many poor kids will have that option? Go to every emergency room in Brooklyn to round up their records?

This upper class aversion to military service is nothing new. When Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain enlisted in the Union Army, he had to lie to his collegues at Bowdoin College and say he was going to Europe. His actions on Little Round Top saved the Union Army at Gettysburg from being routed. Yet, his collegues wanted someone else to serve.

Moskos must live in an alternate reality where military service is somehow encouraged by the upper classes and their sons vie for West Point slots. He knows the history of the Army. He knows the number of rich cadets can be summed up as Robert E. Lee and George Patton. So why in the fuck, shy of a draft, does he think the canned veal kids of Princeton are going to be serving in the US Army this century?

Moskos also believes in national service where recruits can be trained to be MP's or infantry.

And exactly who wants their kids drafted? They are threatening to kill recruiters. I mean, Americans have accepted that shopping and chickenhawking is the same as fighting in Iraq. They dispose of their duties with a metal ribbon of support the troops. Not raise taxes to pay for the war, not enlist, but "support the troops"

Immigrants? From where? A place without newspapers? Those car bombs are just as loud on Mexican TV as they are in the US. Maybe we can have a general amnesty and induct MS 13 members into the Army. With their gang training and firearms handling, that should work out.

The Army already has a lot of green card soldiers and has since the 1950's. Don't think some parent in Manila wants their kid to die in Iraq for a green card any more than the Valdez family wanted their daughter to die in Iraq. In fact, the war is extremely unpopular in most of the target countries for such recruitment. What? Only Americans have newspapers? You want more soldiers, stop fighting in Iraq.

posted by Steve @ 11:21:00 AM

11:21:00 AM

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No more blogs

Mr. Met is no longer a mascot, but a Team PR
spokesman and performance artist.

Kos and Atrios are mocking the idea that blogs are not protected, but "online magazines" are.

Carol Darr, our netiquette violating friend testified before the FEC today, as did Kos and Atrios.

This is what she said:

At its essence, [the media exemption] allows a media corporation, through certain of its employees -- reporters, editorial writers, and cartoonists -- to spend an unlimited amount of corporate money communicating with candidates, asking them anything about their campaigns, with no question relating to money or strategy off limits, activities, in short, that would be considered "coordination" if the person doing the asking were not considered media.

This exemption is so broad that, aside from the various journalists' codes of ethics, there is absolutely nothing to stop the reporters from becoming partisan advocates of a candidate - what reporters derisively call "getting in the tank" with the candidate.

The media exemption, however, allows them this leeway, because to do otherwise would interfere with their rights as journalists. And all members of the press are entitled to this exemption: the good, the bad, the hacks, the partisans, and the crazies. Everyone from The New York Times to the National Inquirer to the independent journalist working in his basement distributing his work around the neighborhood on a mimeographed sheet is protected by the media exemption.

This broad treatment is in keeping with the legislative history, and is consistent with the FEC's previous advisory opinions. Given these precedents, I expect that the members of the Commission will grant the exemption widely to bloggers, or you will send it back to Congress and they will specifically include bloggers.

But this broadly granted media exception contains within it an absolutely unavoidable consequence. And that is, there is no way to keep big money out of this picture.

My concern is not with the average citizen who chooses to publish a blog and share his or her viewpoints on the Internet, but with large corporations and unions who seek to unfairly influence campaigns by spending huge amounts of money under the guise of being a blog [...]

That is what I fear about the widely granted media exemption. Not that the old media will lose it power. They can take care of themselves. What I fear is that our fragile, very flawed system of campaign finance regulation will completely destroyed

Darr, like a lot of people, have confused the tool for the person.

No matter what you call it, online publishing is here to stay.

Website, message board, blog, they're all just tools to communcate, content management systems.

When Darr talks about the privledges of journalists, she misses the point. A blog is what its owner is. If they are journalists, and that's what goes into the blog, then it's journalism. There is no special catagory of writer called a "blogger". They are a blogger in the way that a cameraman is a cameraman, defined by their tool. However, the cameraman for CNN is a journalist, and the cameraman shooting a Tarantino film is an artist. Same basic tool, different job.

As long as people like Darr try to define blogging by the use of a tool, they will miss the point.

posted by Steve @ 2:27:00 AM

2:27:00 AM

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Alien watch

I build e-meters

Salon's doing a series on the space religion and deserve a great deal of credit.

For anyone interested in the Church of Scientology, the May 6, 1991, issue of Time magazine remains a milestone in news coverage. For those who back the church, it ran an outrageously biased account that eventually led to a libel suit by the church -- later dismissed -- and prompted Scientology leaders to launch a counterspin that continues today.

But for many who have long questioned the church, founded by the late L. Ron Hubbard and embraced by a string of Hollywood stars, that article represents one of the genuinely aggressive reports on the organization. And their concern is that what subsequently happened to Time -- and to other publications that tried to peek behind the church's cheerful exterior -- explains why few investigative reports on the church have followed.

The Time cover story, written by Richard Behar and headlined "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power," called the church "a hugely profitable global racket" and described its intimidation methods as "Mafia-like." The story was one of several by major news operations who took on the church with in-depth reports in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Los Angeles Times launched a series that focused on Hubbard's rise to power and the myths and distortions about his life -- including bogus military claims and a dysfunctional relationship with his son. The series also looked at church marketing techniques and high-pressure tactics against members; accounts of former Scientologists about life in the church, which included the micromanagement of everything from careers to the preparation of baby food; and its counterattacks against critics, including the press and the IRS.


Take a look at the write-in campaign to Salon

It is interesting that a man who may be the highest-profile celebrity of our time has managed to stay out of the tabloids for so many decades because he actually leads a clean life. People want to know how Tom Cruise does it, and it would be wrong for him to keep his religion from the masses who want to know how he navigated the surly world of Top Celebrity. So he shares how he has managed to keep his life on track and offers help to anyone out there who wants it and the hacks go absolutely wild.

I actually can't get enough of the new Tom Cruise and love watching him come alive for the rest of us instead of living a sheltered life that none of us get to see. As for Scientology, you mention that he helped the firefighters at ground zero, can help people get off drugs, learn to read and stop being criminal. This is the man the press is attacking? I would bet money that his attack of psychiatry and its multibillion-dollar industry is what is stirring all of this up. A reward should be offered for the first patient of a psychiatrist who can offer up their lab work showing a chemical imbalance in the brain. Hate to say it, but I don't think people have Ritalin or Paxil deficiencies. You can't even get an insulin shot without proof of your blood sugar levels from a test. But psychiatry just looks at you and says, yep, your chemicals are out of whack, take this drug that will essentially damage your brain and you'll feel better after a while.

Maybe Tom just decided that saving humanity from this fraud was worth any amount of stone throwing. There have been a few throughout history who have had to stand up to the wrongheaded mobs of their day and try and put things right. Go, Tom, go!

-- Mary Panton

This is the general tenor of the letters to Salon.

While the series has been mild, any coverage risks a brutally aggressive response from the space religion. So let's give Salon credit for taking a risk

posted by Steve @ 2:10:00 AM

2:10:00 AM

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Hate it

A Tower of Impregnability, the Sort Politicians Love
Published: June 30, 2005

The darkness at ground zero just got a little darker. If there are people still clinging to the expectation that the Freedom Tower will become a monument to the highest American ideals, the current design should finally shake them out of that delusion. Somber, oppressive and clumsily conceived, the project suggests a monument to a society that has turned its back on any notion of cultural openness. It is exactly the kind of nightmare that government officials repeatedly asserted would never happen here: an impregnable tower braced against the outside world.

The new design by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is a response to the obvious security issues raised by the New York Police Department, specifically the tower's resistance to car and truck bombs. The earlier twisted-glass form, a pastiche of architectural visions cobbled together from Daniel Libeskind's master plan and various Skidmore designs, lacked grace or fresh ideas. The new obelisk-shaped tower, which stands on an enormous 20-story concrete pedestal, evokes a gigantic glass paperweight with a toothpick stuck on top. (The toothpicklike spire was added so that the tower would reach its required height of 1,776 feet.)

The temptation is to dismiss it as a joke. And it is hard not to pity Mr. Childs, who was forced to redesign the tower on the fly to meet the rigid deadline of Gov. George E. Pataki. Unfortunately, the tower is too loaded with meaning to dismiss. For better or worse, it will be seen by the world as a chilling expression of how we are reshaping our identity in a post-Sept. 11 context.

The most radical design change is the creation of the base, which will house the building's lobby and some mechanical systems. Designed to withstand a major bomb blast, the base will be virtually windowless. In an effort to animate its exterior, the architects say they intend to decorate it in a grid of shimmering metal panels. A few narrow slots will be cut into the concrete to allow slivers of natural light into the lobby.

The effort fails on almost every level. As an urban object, the tower's static form and square base finally brush aside the last remnants of Mr. Libeskind's master plan, whose only real strength was the potential tension it created among the site's structures. In the tower's earlier incarnation, for example, its eastern wall formed part of a pedestrian alley that became a significant entry to the memorial site, leading directly between the proposed International Freedom Center and the memorial's north pool. The alley, flanked on its other side by a performing arts center to be designed by Frank Gehry, was fraught with tension; it is now a formless park littered with trees.

Yet another ugly building with no public support.

Maybe it's time for a park there.

posted by Steve @ 1:47:00 AM

1:47:00 AM

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Cut the shit

Please don't put me in jail

Judge Warns Reporters They Face Jail in a Week

WASHINGTON, June 29 - With mounting frustration and a hint of anger, a federal judge said at a hearing Wednesday that he would send two reporters to jail in one week if they did not agree to testify before a grand jury about their confidential sources in the meantime.

Lawyers for the reporters, Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, said their clients would accept jail time rather than testify.

The judge, Thomas F. Hogan of Federal District Court here, added that he would also impose very large fines against Time Inc., in an effort to force the company to obey a court order directing it to turn over documents in the investigation.

A lawyer for Time Inc., Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., told Judge Hogan the company was still considering whether to comply with the order.

"We are grappling with those issues," Mr. Boutrous said. "Time is part of a public company and has a deliberative process to work through these issues."

The grand jury is looking into the possibly unlawful disclosure of the identity of a covert C.I.A. operative, Valerie Plame.

Judge Hogan expressed surprise that a public company like Time Warner, Time Inc.'s parent, would even consider violating a final court order. The Supreme Court turned down appeals in the case on Monday.

"The only way we operate in this society, in a democratic society, is by the rule of law and to have people obey court orders," Judge Hogan said.

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the case, said Time has no choice but to comply with the order.

"I don't understand what Time can deliberate about," he said. "They don't have a right to break the law. We shouldn't allow people to think that court orders are sort of optional."

In court on Wednesday, Mr. Fitzgerald said that Time has a moral and legal obligation to assist in the investigation.

"This case is not about a whistleblower," he said. "This case is about a potential retaliation against a whistle-blower."

Judge Hogan directed the reporters and Time to file papers by Friday about where the reporters should be jailed and the size of the fine. He said the fine, which had been $1,000 a day but was suspended pending appeals, may be made retroactive and is likely to increase to "a very large sum."

posted by Steve @ 12:29:00 AM

12:29:00 AM

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Interfaith dating..........baaaaaddddd

Why can't you take one of them to the

Morning announcements at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester generally tread predictable terrain: schedule changes, meeting times, athletic events. But one item exasperated some teens last school year.

At several upcoming social events ? a coffeehouse, the Junior Ball ? upper-school students would not be permitted to bring non-Jewish dates, it was announced.

Upon hearing the policy, Karla Bertrand, a Schechter student whose father was Catholic when her parents married and whose boyfriend at the time was not Jewish, headed to the principal?s office to beg the administration to reconsider the dictate.

While the school saw the directive as a way to stave off interfaith dating, Bertrand and other students at the Hartsdale school said it encouraged creating a ?self-imposed ghetto? that could generate resentment and even stoke the flames of anti-Semitism.

?It was intended to promote Jewish continuity, but instead it insults non-Jews, it insults Solomon Schechter students, and it doesn?t reflect well on the school,? Bertrand said of the Jewish-only prom policy, which remains in place today.

Worse, she said, the decree might inadvertently prove racist
In a 2004 editorial published in the Westchester Schechter?s school newspaper, she wrote: ?[The policy] shows a lack of respect for our friends as well as for non-Jewish faculty. It is insulting that after one, two, three or even 12 years of religious education, the school doesn?t feel that it has instilled in us the values to be discerning in our choice of company. It is insulting that after nurturing such a long and close relationship with us, the administration feels morally justified in excluding our friends.?

She also argued that Judaism demands that Jews consider marit ayin, or how their actions appear to others. The policy is not intended as bigoted or derogatory, though non-Jews likely would perceive it as such, she said.

Jeffrey Jablansky, another Schechter student, rejected the notion that the school?s policy was ?segregationist? or ?exclusionist? in a newspaper editorial that ran opposite the Bertrand piece.

?Face the facts or abdicate from them: We are the next generation of Jews and we cannot afford a diluted Judaism in times of mixed marriages and anti-Semitic sentiment all over the world,? he wrote. ?How will we, the next generation of Jewish adults, make decisions rooted in Jewish faith without the proper guidance during high school??

Gilly--As a blonde, blue-eyed, HAM-and-blood-sausage-eating Jew whose family nickname among my (very dark in many cases) cousins was \"Snow White,\" you can imagine how I feel about this policy.

What a bunch of morons. My personal feeling is that if Jews DIDN\'T intermarry, we\'d be a tiny little tribe in the Jordanian dessert, and National Geographic would parachute in once a year to do \"The Old Testament Hebrews of the Bible\" photo spread around Easter.

Are they fucking kidding? Most Jewish guys I know chase non-Jewish women and the last couple of women I've dated weren't only Jewish, but Orthodox. This kind of thing is pathetic, because it doesn't work and sends a very bad message about tolerance. This is America, people date whom they choose.

posted by Steve @ 12:19:00 AM

12:19:00 AM

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Pale Ale for summer

Pale Ale

OK, this is the first in a series of articles on summer foods.

For people who don't drink anything more than piss Coors Light, let's start with the basics, beer is food. It isn't soda, or liquor, but food. Which means it, like wine, comes in a bewildering array of varieties, some more suitable for different foods and seasons than others. It's a bit much to chug down Guinness in a New York summer.

Pale Ale is an amber or light brown colored beer. The most popular version is Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale, which is sold on tap and in bottles in many bars.

Now, I have no problem with a cold Bud, but once you try to eat anything with it, it kind of loses its limited flavor.

Personally, I tend to like Porter over both Stout and Pale Ale, but in the summer, Porter is a bit much. And there are other summer beers like Weisse , but for most people, a Pale Ale is going to be the easiest to buy and enjoy.

One thing, most beers beyond the pale lagers of Bud and Miller, tend to taste slightly heavier on the palate than they do. A good beer should be savored like any good liquid, from lemonade to single-malt scotch.

Crisp, Complex and Refreshing
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
Published: June 29, 2005

ON a hot summer night, a beer need only be cold and wet to satisfy. But consider if the standard were set a little higher. Imagine a beer that offered more than the internal equivalent of holding a cold, glistening bottle against a flushed and sweaty forehead. What if that beer did not merely satisfy, but inspired?

That leap from satisfaction to inspiration spans the gulf between the proverbial six-pack of suds in the American refrigerator and a good American pale ale. With the suds, you quench a thirst. It's a quick and specific act, the way an animal laps from a water hole. But with a pale ale, you can discover a host of aromas and flavors - more complex than a lager's - that can fascinate as well as quench. The physical sensation in each swallow is not simply of cold and wet. It's paradoxically dry and bitter and brisk and refreshing. It stimulates the palate rather than numbing it.

Two of the earliest and most successful of these craft brewers were the Anchor Brewing Company and the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

Both Anchor's Liberty Ale and Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale were American versions of English pale ale, a pure, mineral-y style with a dry, cleansing bitterness that is very refreshing. The English ales tend to be subtle, earthy and understated, reflecting the characters of the hops, that mysterious ingredient derived from the cones of flowering plants related to the nettle. Hops play no role in the fermentation, which is the province of water, grain and yeast. Instead, the hops, which are added at varying times in the brewing process, infuse the beer with bitterness and aromatics. There are innumerable varieties of hops, each with different qualities to contribute.

In a sampling of 24 American pale ales, the Dining section's tasting panel found an unexpectedly wide range of styles. Some were relatively sedate in the British manner, though the aromatics were American. Others showed the American tendency to want to make things bigger, louder, faster and more extreme: souped-up pale ales. Yet they stopped short of crossing over into another style, that of India pale ale, characterized by alcohol levels beyond the 4.5 to 6.5 percent of these ales and by even more pronounced hop bitterness.

posted by Steve @ 4:06:00 PM

4:06:00 PM

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Fuck you Bush: Iranian voters

Iran's new president with an American
in 1979

Iran Focus

London, Jun. 29 ? Iran Focus has obtained a photograph of Iran?s newly-elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, holding the arm of a blindfolded American hostage on the premises of the United States embassy in Tehran in 1979.

Prior to the first round of the presidential elections on June 17, Iran Focus was the first news service to reveal Ahmadinejad?s role in the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

The photograph was given to Iran Focus by a source in Tehran, whose identity cannot be revealed for fear of persecution. Iran Focus does not know who took the photograph or the exact date it was taken but it has learnt that it was taken in November or December 1979 in the U.S. embassy compound in Tehran.

Soon after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Ahmadinejad, who was studying in Tehran?s University of Science and Technology, became a member of the central council of the Office for Strengthening of Unity Between Universities and Theological Seminaries, the main pro-Khomeini student body.

The OSU played a central role in the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran in November 1979. Members of the OSU central council, who included Ahmadinejad as well as Ibrahim Asgharzadeh, Mohsen Mirdamadi, Mohsen Kadivar, Hashem Aghajari, and Abbas Abdi, were regularly received by Khomeini himself.
I guess that Iran's new president won't be looking to negotiate with the Americans.

So who do we thank for this? Michael Ledeen, handmaiden of the Pahlevis? Bush's increasingly provocative talk about Iran? Ariel Sharon? Who do we thank for placing the H. Rap Brown of Iranian politics as president of that country.

So how much help will SCIRI and Sadr get from Iran now? I think more than none is the right answer.

posted by Steve @ 3:50:00 PM

3:50:00 PM

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Support our first responders

See the cop on the left? The person who will do his job one
day will start at $25K, among the lowest in the United States

Some of rightwingers claim that to support the police, you don't have to join them. Well, in New York, you don't have to pay them a living wage either.

Arbitrator awards cops salary raise, but cuts starting pay

June 29, 2005

An arbitrator awarded the city's approximately 22,500 patrol officers each a retroactive raise of about $13,800 covering the two years ending in the summer of 2004.

But future cops, "the unborns" as other officers call them, will see starting salaries almost $10,000 lower than they are now.

Under the binding decision rendered Tuesday, new officers will be paid at an annual rate of $25,100 while they're in the academy. The salary jumps to $32,700 upon completion of the six months of training. Combined, first-year cops now will be paid a base of $28,900.

At the other end of the scale, the maximum salary for a patrol officer will increase by almost $5,500, to $59,588, meaning officers hired now would make about $64,000 more over a 20-year career than under the previous pay scale.

According to the Web site, which tracks police compensation, the new starting salary would place the starting salaries of New York City cops 185th lowest out of 196 police departments listed. Prior, with a starting salary at $34,515, the NYPD had ranked 151th on the list.


With the current contract having expired a year ago, Schmertz noted he was "distressed" at the "confrontational relationship" between the mayor's office and the police and fire unions.

"Bluntly, it is too antagonistic, too angry and too reciprocally suspicious," he wrote in urging the city's administration and public safety unions to work out a long-term contract and avoid future arbitration.

Just another way to support our first responders. Argue for years about their salary, then lower their starting pay to less than what a clerk makes in any city agency. Not that the teachers will go along.

Teacher contract won't follow police's, union head says


June 29, 2005

The teachers' union head Tuesday scrapped any notion of taking a page from the new police contract by agreeing to lower pay for teaching rookies.

"We will not consider a reduction to starting salaries," said Randi Weingarten, after it became known that police rookies would get lower salaries so the city can pay a retroactive, 10.25 percent raise over two years for the rest of the force.

City officials have not suggested anything similar for the teachers, but the tactic probably wouldn't work anyway.

Unlike recruiting for police, the city has had long-standing problems hiring teachers, especially in areas such as science and special education. Recruitment has taken the city far afield, from Great Britain to the Philippines.

Accusing Mayor Michael Bloomberg of "wage suppression," Weingarten said city officials are trying to hold teachers to the pay raise for other civilian unions instead of taking into account what teachers earn in the region.

"You have to negotiate with teachers based on who they are and what they do," she said.

Weingarten Tuesday said teachers are leaving at the highest rate ever due to pay, morale and other issues.

Yeah, despite stiffing the city's most critical employees with a surplus, Bloomberg isn't that bad, right? Remember, there are no unions in his company.

posted by Steve @ 3:46:00 PM

3:46:00 PM

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Steinbrenner and Bush

Hazards of the rich

I wanted to say something about this, but it seems the guy was pretty decent. Wolcott catches the right tone here

The Icarus Files
Posted by James Wolcott

News comes of the death of Wal-Mart family heir John Walton, whose ultra-light plane crashed near his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A Vietnam vet who earned the Silver Star for valor, Walton was said to be worth in the vicinity of $16, which certainly qualifies him as one of the former super-rich.

"The airplane," Ferdinand Lundberg wrote in The Rich and the Super-Rich, a mammoth study published in 1968 which is still a vault of valuable history and analysis, "is a special hazard of the rich and affluent. Few plane crashes, unless upon buildings, ever involve lower-class citizens [a pre-9/11 statement, obviously]; many tycoons have already met their end in the skies." The bored rich, he goes on to say, are keen on flying everywhere--not only, I suspect, because they wish to save time and jet off on their own schedules (or on impulse), but because flying in private, pampered personalized luxury like Elvis in the Lisa Marie or piloting their own planes frees them from associating with the rabble and makes them feel more like lords of all they survey, commanders of destiny.

To those who resent the whims and dictates of their masters, all of this flying-about offers a gleam of macabre hope. Craig Nettles, former 3rd baseman for the NY Yankees, once wiseguyed there was an upside to Yankee owner George Steinbrenner's peripatetic meddling.

"The more we lose, the more Steinbrenner will fly in. And the more he flies, the better the chance there will be a plane crash."

There were a lot of dark wits during those Steinbrenner-Reggie Jackson-Billy Martin years. None today, I note, which makes the current Yankees less equipped to indulge in gallows humor.

According to Lisa Olson in the NY Daily News, Steinbrenner's PR guy let it be know that The Boss issued his latest edict on the Yankees' drag-butt season while pumping iron, an almost transparently poignant bit of off-stage theater intended to project "strength" from a 75-year-old year old man whose most recent TV interview--on the YES network--revealed the once fearsome Steinbrenner a wan, spent force.

Steinbrenner and Bush are beginning to remind me of each other. Bush still looks confident and walks toward the camera with gunslinger virility but his constant reiterations of "strength" and "resolve" have a hollow echo. Tonight he's going to surround himself with members of The Finest Military the World Has Seen as he delivers an address everyone is saying is intended to "rally support" for standing firm in Iraq. I really think he would have been better off making a briefer, more sombre and straighforward speech from the Oval Office where he leveled with the American people, but he needs constant pumping up these days, even if it's the artificial pumping of doing a dumbo Social Security event with Ben Stein of all people.

But rest assured that tomorrow David Frum and Cliff May will report into NRO that not since Reagan stood tall against communism has there been a more inspiring spire of democratic poetry...

Jim, I would only point out two things: Steinbrenner has actually suceeded in life without his daddy smoothing over every step. He has brought winning teams to Satan's portal in the Bronx.

Also, evil Yankee catcher Thurman Munson died in a plane crash.

As per usual, fuck the fucking Yankees.

posted by Steve @ 1:27:00 PM

1:27:00 PM

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Flight of the Chickenhawk

Be like me

DC Media Girl pointed out this Nation article.

Generation Chickenhawk
Max Blumenthal


In interviews, more than a dozen conventiongoers explained why it is important that they stay on campus while other, less fortunate people their age wage a bloody war in Iraq. They strongly support the war, they told me, but they also want to enjoy college life and pursue interesting careers. Being a College Republican allows them to do both. It is warfare by other, much safer means.

I chatted for a while with Collin Kelley, a senior at Washington State with a vague resemblance to the studly actor Orlando Bloom. Kelley told me he's "sick and tired of people saying our troops are dying in vain" and added, "This isn't an invasion of Iraq, it's a liberation--as David Horowitz said." When I asked him why he was staying on campus rather than fighting the good fight, he rubbed his shoulder and described a nagging football injury from high school. Plus, his parents didn't want him to go. "They're old hippies," Kelley said.

Munching on a chicken quesadilla at a table nearby was Edward Hauser, a senior at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas--a liberal school in a liberal town in the ultimate red state of Texas. "Austin is ninety square miles insulated from reality," Hauser said. When I broached the issue of Iraq, he replied, "I support our country. I support our troops." So why isn't he there?

"I know that I'm going to be better staying here and working to convince people why we're there [in Iraq]," Hauser explained, pausing in thought. "I'm a fighter, but with words."

At a table by the buffet was Justin Palmer, vice chairman of the Georgia Association of College Republicans, America's largest chapter of College Republicans. In 1984 the group gained prominence in conservative circles when its chairman, Ralph Reed, formed a political action committee credited with helping to re-elect Senator Jesse Helms. Palmer's future as a right-wing operative looked bright; he batted away my question about his decision to avoid fighting the war he supported with the closest thing I heard to a talking point all afternoon. "The country is like a body," Palmer explained, "and each part of the body has a different function. Certain people do certain things better than others." He said his "function" was planning a "Support Our Troops" day on campus this year in which students honored military recruiters from all four branches of the service.

Standing by Palmer's side and sipping a glass of rose wine, University of Georgia Republican member Kiera Ranke said she played her part as well. She and her sorority sisters sent care packages to troops in Iraq along with letters and pictures of themselves. "They wrote back and told us we boosted their morale," she said.

By the time I encountered Cory Bray, a towering senior from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, the beer was flowing freely. "The people opposed to the war aren't putting their asses on the line," Bray boomed from beside the bar. Then why isn't he putting his ass on the line? "I'm not putting my ass on the line because I had the opportunity to go to the number-one business school in the country," he declared, his voice rising in defensive anger, "and I wasn't going to pass that up."
You know, normally, I'd be inclined to humor these selfish fucks, but between seeing Bush's audience last night and reading the Daily News this morning, I'm just not in the fucking mood.

Ramona Valdez was 20 years old and she died as a Marine, in combat. Her family had none of the advantages of these people, her age, have had. And they do not even comprehend that the world is not just about words. Valdez's husband desperately wants to go back to Iraq, I guess to avenge his wife's death. Everything good about her is now just a memory.

She could have gone to school, she could have been drinking beer in a hotel. But instead she joined the Marines, just like thousands of other ambitious, but poor kids.

I'm tired of their excuses and their selfishness. I don't think anything but ill comes from Iraq. I wouldn't recommend anyone enlist to fight there. But these kids are utter and contemptible cowards. They think they can win a war by cheerleading and no one disabuses them of this notion. They are being coddled into thinking that a good speech is the same as going to Scout/Sniper school or being an MP and it isn't even close.

Their excuses are so palid, so insulting, so vile that it makes me ill. They want someone else to win a war they cheerlead. They think that all it takes is a good speech.

Part of me is revolted by this, but another part of me is heartened. Because if these people relyh only on words, their are as doomed as the New Left was. These kids are being pumped fujll of the same shit which killed the left. Make a good speech, say the right things, people will like you and you never have to actually deliver as long as everyone feels good.

They should have called this a generation of Bushes and Cheneys

Update: Greg Beato at Wonkette has the following snark:

Attack of the College Republicans

Reporting from the frontlines of the College Republican National Convention, Max Blumenthal profiles young conservative patriots who are making the ultimate sacrifice for their country during wartime, forsaking a chance at adventure and glory in Iraq to do the tough work on the ground here at home:

By the time I encountered Cory Bray, a towering senior from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, the beer was flowing freely. "The people opposed to the war aren't putting their asses on the line," Bray boomed from beside the bar. Then why isn't he putting his ass on the line? "I'm not putting my ass on the line because I had the opportunity to go to the number-one business school in the country," he declared, his voice rising in defensive anger, "and I wasn't going to pass that up."

And besides, being a College Republican is so much more fun than counterinsurgency warfare. Bray recounted the pride he and his buddies had felt walking through the center of campus last fall waving a giant American flag, wearing cowboy boots and hats with the letters B-U-S-H painted on their bare chests. "We're the big guys," he said. "We're the ones who stand up for what we believe in. The College Democrats just sit around talking about how much they hate Bush. We actually do shit."

Such as? Such as selling "Bush Country" tshirts in bulk. And putting his ass on the line against Saddam, Osama, and John Kerry via this crappy web game he developed. Or, as this excerpt from an August 2004 piece in Philadelphia Weekly suggests, eating a lot of meat:

A big Texan, he's wearing a weathered Houston Astros baseball cap and a Bush/Cheney T-shirt. He has seven--one for each day of the week. Bray chugs his beers and brags of the large amounts of meat he can eat.

President in, oh, 2036? That's our guess.

posted by Steve @ 12:00:00 PM

12:00:00 PM

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Died serving her country

Ramona Valdez

Her life of promise gone

Dreams die in Iraq for heroic daughter of Bx.



The Marines initially had trouble finding Valdez's family, which moved from the Bronx to Reading, Pa., in March.

"Our [former] neighbors called and they said, 'There are some Marines looking for you,'" said her heartbroken sister, Fiorela Valdez.

The uniformed officers arrived at the family's new home Friday morning to report that Valdez had been involved in an incident and that her status was unknown, the sister said.

"As soon as my mother saw them, she just collapsed," Fiorela Valdez said.

Two days later, the Marines returned to deliver the terrible news that Ramona Valdez was dead.

Daily News columnist Michael Daly interviewed her former coworkers at Liberty Island, where she worked before joining the Marines

"Very alive, upbeat," Johnson said. "Always positive. Even when she was frustrated, she smiled. A beautiful person."

Valdez had been a student at Jane Addams High School when she started her first job, on the front line at the Statue of Liberty food concession in 2000. She worked weekends during the school year, full time in the summer and after she graduated. She put in 40-hour weeks, four 10-hour shifts, adding what she earned to her mother's wages as a home attendant.

Like her co-workers, Valdez wore a green visor, green-and-white striped shirt and gray pants. She made this the uniform of an ambassador who inspired goodwill in visitors from around the globe.

"They come from all parts of the world and they're not used to New York," Johnson said. "They're very closed. We have to change their mind, get them to smile, open up a bit."

A tourist who asked Valdez for a hot dog or ice cream would get a smile and maybe a little joke as well. Any number of visitors returned home thinking a little better of New York and America

posted by Steve @ 11:10:00 AM

11:10:00 AM

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The failure of Iraq

They don't have leadership problems
  • A year after taking the formal reins of government, the Iraqis are far from having a sense of control over their own destiny.

Sovereignty also means having the legal power to use armed forces or to jail and prosecute lawbreakers. But significant stretches of Iraq remain beyond the control of the government.

The Iraqi government, militias, the U.S. military and even insurgent groups all claim the right to use arms. The U.S. military holds thousands of Iraqi prisoners. Even foreign-influenced insurgent groups hold their own trials, using what they say is Islamic law and procedures, on Iraqi soil to punish alleged collaborators.

Western security contractors, like private armies, operate in a quasi-legal world that has drawn the concern of U.S. military commanders as well as the Iraqi government. Inside well-guarded compounds of security firms such as Sandi Group, founded by a wealthy Iraqi American, hundreds of uniformed young Iraqi recruits train in a warehouse amid crates full of machine guns, as if preparing to take over the world in a James Bond movie.
The sense that Iraqis, even after braving bombs and explosions to cast votes, still don't control their destiny wounds national pride and ultimately may play into the hands of the insurgents, who contend that the Americans actually are intent on imperial expansion.

"What does sovereignty mean to me if I can be shot at by any soldier on the street for any traffic violation without any responsibility on the American soldier?" said Ali Nejam, 37, a Baghdad merchant.

People need to understand something. There two Iraqi Armies, one which fights with us, one fighting against us.

Now, if you were a young officer, where would you rather serve?

In an Army run by foreigners, who openly insult you, call you racist names and do not trust you.

Or one where you can handpick your men, train them how you want, use whatever tactics you want and can say you're fighting an alien occupier.

Let me put it bluntly, without a strong government, widely supported, only hacks would sign up to be auxilliaries to a colonial power. The combat ineffectiveness of the Iraqi Army isn't just a matter of training or equipment, but they hurt. It is very simple, the best and brightest Iraqis are fighting us. Some of the resitance is B'aathist, but I think there is a FAR stronger nationalist component than people want to admit.

When the large numbers of Algerians returned from Vietnam, the best and brightest tired of fighting for France and decided to fight for Algeria. It is likely the same process hjas occured here. The people who were frustrated by the politics of the old Iraqi Army have been liberated to be soldiers. Which is why the resistance is so resilliant. Operation Viagra, Operation Levitra, Operation Cialis have all failed and failed badly to do anything to actually cripple the resistance.

Those not fighting with the resistance are working for mercenaries.

So the government is left with the eager. the young and the dregs. And they cannot fight.

The question is which day do they finally turn on us and attack. Because the resistance clearly must have that as a goal. They've intimidated soldiers and police. What day do they turn on us. As Bush keeps talking up the "training" of the Iraqi forces, the resistance will need to prove him a liar at some point.

posted by Steve @ 8:52:00 AM

8:52:00 AM

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Will Time rat out their source?

We give up, Judge Hogan. We will
betray our source. Please don't jail

Will Time Inc. Hand Over Documents and Keep Cooper Out of Jail?

By Joe Strupp

Published: June 28, 2005 4:00 PM ET

NEW YORK When Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and Judith Miller of The New York Times return late Wednesday afternoon to face the federal judge who ordered them to jail last fall for refusing to reveal confidential sources, two different outcomes may emerge.

While New York Times officials have maintained that Miller will not reveal the source who leaked to her the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, a source close to Time Inc. told E&P that the company is considering handing over documents that would reveal the source.

Cooper declined to comment.

In addition to ordering the reporters to jail, Hogan also ordered Time to pay a $1,000-per-day fine for each day that the source's identity is withheld. The Times was not hit with such a fine.

I'm of two minds on this.

One, betraying a source is despicable. One of the things that a journalist is taught in college is that protecting a source is paramount, worth jail time. 49 states have shield laws.. On the principles, this is a vile, vile thing they're doing.

Two, the person who leaked this is a traitor to this country and needs to be exposed for what he or she is. I will lose no sleep if this person is exposed and prosecuted.

But if Time was going to rat, like Novak and Timmah did, they could have done this months ago.

posted by Steve @ 8:22:00 AM

8:22:00 AM

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Lying to the troops

If we boo, we lose our pensions. So we'll just work for
Blackwater instead

George Bush's speech before America's professional warrior class went over like a fart.

It was recieved so coldly that the White House advance team had to start the clapping. The attendees were ordered to be polite tonight. But considering the audience was filled with various variety of paratrooper, 82nd ABN, Special Forces and Delta, that's an astonishing thing.

The majority of the men there were people who chose to be warriors. They chose airborne school, some chose Special Forces, some were picked for Delta Force. In short, these were men who were willing to serve their country in the most dangerous situations possible.

What did the President tell them?

Everything's fine.

They KNOW everything isn't fine. Some of the NCO's have masters degrees in international relations, some of the officers, doctorates. Most have been to both Iraq and Afghanistan. They know how fucked it is because they work hand in glove with the CIA or as it's called in the field, OGA (Other Government Agency). They are the people who send the intelligence to the president.

All the White House wanted was a serious military audience. The problem is that it's also a smart military audience, with real-world experience. So they were respectful to Bush, but the audience was icy cold, smirks and tepid applause. And that was from an audience which wanted to listen to him, along with the families of the dead. By the end of it, only the Sergeant Majors were left to shake his hand. Men who have seen more combat than most other humans outside the Congo. And they knew he was full of shit. They talk to generals. It's part of their job. They know Bush lied to them.

And that plea for military service dripped with cowardice.

But it was a gift from God.

Why? Because we can now ask if the twins have ever considered military service. Or any other members of the Bush family, since it's so fucking noble.

If we lived in a country with shame, Bush should feel some while lying before some of America's bravest soldiers. Butr we knew he wouldn't before he opened his mouth.

But unless they were a freeper, they knew they had just sat through a bit of delusion which rivaled calls for Army Group Steiner to save Berlin./

posted by Steve @ 1:33:00 AM

1:33:00 AM

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Drinking with the chickenhawks

College Republicans being trained

Nordy posted this up and it's pretty damn good. How he didn't get hit, well, they are College Republicans
College Republicans

As mentioned earlier, this weekend in DC was marred by the presence of the College Republican National Convention. Now, I had hoped to find a partner in crime who would be willing to videotape as I tried to get conventioneers to enlist in the army. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a camera for Thursday night. Friday, I had a soccer game, and Saturday I had tickets to the Nationals game, so I thought my weekend would be College Republican-free.

Luckily for me - unlucky for the College Republicans - I ran into a group of about 15 of them at the bar following the Nationals game. What ensued was a classic example of why people are always surprised I've only gotten punched in the face once in my life.

There was nothing about the group that immediately screamed "College Republican." They were dressed like your typical young-20-ish person (minus the one I noticed later on wearing the "Kick a Commie for Ronnie" t-shirt). They looked uniformly white, dorky, and puffy, but I was on the Hill, and that's how most Hill kids look. But there was something special I detected about these kids, and as soon as they walked in, I had decided to hate them. When they got their beers and became way too excited about playing drinking games, I realized the problem.

"Hey, are you guys College Republicans"

"Yeah, man"

"Nice job on the Iraq war. That's going really well for you guys, huh"

(nervous laughter)

"Seriously, go fuck yourselves"

(hearty laughter...from my table)

They then resumed their festivities. But soon one of their members stood up to toast what a success the war in Iraq continues to be.

"Dude, if you like the Iraq war so much, why don't you enlist. The Army keeps failing to hit its recruiting goals...they could use some new cannon fodder."

"Hey man, my dad was in the Marines."

"I'm sure he'd be proud if he could see you now."

Again, each table turned back to its prior interests. Theirs, drinking away the pain of their wedgie-filled childhoods. Me, returning my focus on the San Jose/LA Galaxy game (where Landon got his deserved comeuppance). But then, I was disturbed by yet another toast from the spawns of Coulter.

Them: "One more year! One more year!"

I had no idea what this chant was supposed to mean. But it didn't stop me from retorting: "My God, their toasting their virginity!"

I actually started to feel I was taking it too far at that point. So I kept to myself. But I could only contain myself for so long. When I saw two of the mouth-breathers asking our waitress where on their list they should next take their geek-parade, I pounced:

"Hey man, let me see your list. I'll let you know where to go. Hmmm, let me see. Well, these places in Georgetown are a pain in the ass to get to from here, unless you have a car."

"Well, we rented a limo, so that's no problem."

"Of course you did. Well, they all suck anyways. If I were you, I'd head to 17th and P. It's a much younger scene and there are lots of cool bars around there."

Hopefully he heeded my advice, and left DC with a whole new appreciation for the term Santorum.

Meanwhile, over at, two young lefties suppressed their gag reflexes, went undercover, and actually attended the events. Their full reports (highly entertaining) can be read here. But it was this exerpt that really caught my eye:
    But really, what disturbs me the most is the utter disrespect and scathing cold-heartedness these students display for anything to the left of Tom DeLay. During the Leadership Institue session a presenter asked the crowd, "What makes you angry?" The answers:
    1. Liberals
    2. Hippies
    3. Gays
    4. Democrats

    Eek. Now, if these answers had been "tax hikes" and "abortion", I'd understand because those are policies, but instead, these are people. The students' anger and passion are driven towards negative stereotypes and blatant hatred for various groups of people. And they're enthusiastically encouraged by their leaders.
Which is why I have no problem mocking these scumbags.

posted by Steve @ 12:00:00 AM

12:00:00 AM

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bush asks for enlistments

The Bush Twins

Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, vehicle commander,
617th Military Police Company, Richmond, Ky.
, stands at attention before receiving the
Silver Star at an awards ceremony at
Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday,
June 16, 2005

Bush's speech

I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you. And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our Nation's uniform. When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom.

So, Mr. President, I assume this means your daughters are considering a military career and are planning to enlist, as are most of the Bush clan's younger members. And that thousands of youig Republicans will join the colors as well.

posted by Steve @ 8:43:00 PM

8:43:00 PM

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Gays, rights? Never

They don't exist and if they did, they have no rights

Michael Stickings posted this up.

From pride to disgust: Hillsborough County (Florida) shuts out gays and lesbians

It's now official. Florida is certifiably insane. (If there are any Floridians reading this, I urge you to explain just what's going on down there. Please. Add your comments. I (we) need to know.)

Yesterday afternoon, I wrote what one commenter called an "intimate and positive" post on Toronto's extraordinary Pride festivities, a fantastic week-long celebration that culminated in Saturday's Dyke March and Sunday's Pride Parade. If I may put it this way, Toronto Pride makes me proud to be a Torontonian. And proud to be a Canadian -- a same-sex marriage bill will soon be passed in the House of Commons.

But now, thanks to that same commenter, I've learned of the utterly stupid actions of the Hillsborough County Commission in Florida (the Tampa area):

The Hillsborough County Commission has enacted a policy banning county agencies from acknowledging gay pride events, despite several impassioned pleas from gay rights advocates.

Civil rights groups threatened to sue and called for a town hall meeting on the ban, which requires the Hillsborough County government "to abstain from acknowledging, promoting or participating in gay pride recognition and events." The board passed the proposal 5-1 on Wednesday.

Hillsborough Commissioner Ronda Storms, who recommended the policy, followed up with a second proposal, that commissioners can only repeal the policy on a 5-2 super majority vote that follows a public hearing.

Angry yet? Here's more:

The vote comes a week after a book display recognizing Gay and Lesbian Pride Month was taken down at West Gate Regional Library after some library patrons complained. Library officials have said the exhibit at West Gate was removed due to a misunderstanding and was later moved to a less prominent area in the fiction part of the library.

Details of the ban, such as whether any display about gay issues would be banned at libraries, were unclear. After the vote, Storms would only say that she feels the language is clear.

But when asked about whether gay student groups would be allowed to meet at a county library or another meeting space, Storms said they would.

"We're not saying that because of your sexual orientation you can't come into the library," she said.

Thanks for the clarification, Ms. Storms. But let me ask you a few questions: Do you just hate gays and lesbians in theory, or is it personal? What is it about them that worries you so? What's so wrong with "gay pride" that your government -- you know, the one that allegedly represents the people (all the people) of Hillsborough County -- shouldn't be allowed to have anything to do with it? And would you be happier if they had their own libraries? You know, separate but equal, or something like that? Is that next?

I'd like some answers, because, try as I might, I just can't figure out where the hell you're coming from -- unless it's just a simple matter of bigotry.

Of course it's simple bigotry. It's Florida. They took black people's tax money and wouldn't let them use the libraries or pools. Now, it's gays.

posted by Steve @ 6:05:00 PM

6:05:00 PM

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Stop the Iraqis at the Gates of Baghdad

We will send Volksturm units to stop the
Russians. With Steiner's Army Group,
that should be enough to halt them

Your Village Voice posted this up and it makes sense

Selective Remembrances On Iraq

Ray McGovern, co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, sums up the essence of what the US public is going to hear about Iraq tonight from Mr. Bush in his primetime fireside chat:
Forget the documentary evidence (the Downing Street minutes) that the war on Iraq was fraudulent from the outset. Forget that the United States and Britain started pulverizing Iraq with stepped-up bombing months before the president or prime minister breathed a word to Congress or Parliament. Forget that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his merry men, his co-opted military brass, have no clue regarding what U.S. forces are up against in Iraq. Get ready to hear President George W. Bush tell us this evening that we "have to stay the course."

As was the case in Vietnam, the Iraq war is being run by civilians innocent of military experience and disdainful of advice from the colonels and majors who know which end is up. Aping the president's practice of surrounding himself with sycophants, Rumsfeld has promoted a coterie of yes-men to top military ranks, men who "kiss up and kick down," in the words of former Assistant Secretary of State Carl Ford, describing U.N. nominee John Bolton's modus operandi at the State Department.
The insanity of Bush's stubborn attitude in the face of the bloodiest days in Iraq and the downward slope of approval ratings is obvious. I only hope the US people won't embrace the war now that the president has decided finally to address its pitfalls. Every time he speaks, his down-home mannerisms seem to win out over his destructive agenda. It is as if his words inspire the average American to wait-out an increasingly intractable enterprise despite all evidence to the contrary.

posted by Steve @ 5:50:00 PM

5:50:00 PM

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The Crock Pot Conumdrum

Grill pan, your summertime friend

Tony Shifflet asked the following question:

Now, I do have a question for you -- you being a cooking buff. Now, as a guy trying to save money for my own place when the bubble pops, I've quit eating out. I have a crock pot and a wok. I tend not to like the wok as much, because I find it creates a mess -- although I can cook in it. Crock pots are much better.

My question is, do you know of a good cook book for crock pots? I went to borders, and damn, there are like, fifty!

I have no idea. I just figured a cooking guru like yourself would know better. I do fine myself, but am getting more and more ambitious as the weeks go on. Several weeks ago I tried potato soup, which turned out to be a miserable failure. I do fine with informal, simple shit when I cook in it, but seem not be be able to do more complicated stuff.

Any ideas? Thanks for your help, if you have any to offer.

Ah, it's time for Steve's guide to the kitchen, the press of business has delayed me writing this.

First of all, a crock pot is an accessory, not something to be used in mid-summer. Nor is a wok. Which you really need a turkey fryer to get to the kind of wok heat you need to sear the food. But that is,well a bit much. We need a much more basic assesment of your kitchen.


First, look around your kitchen. What do you have? Good knives? Decent pots?

If not, you need some basics. An 8" chef's knife, tongs, a cast iron pan, a non-stick frying pan, an a soup pot.

You should have this and a basic set of dishware, which means four matching plates, at least four good glasses.

If you lack this, there is one place which will solve this for you.


You could go to Bed, Bath and Beyond, but all that will happen is that you will be overwhelmed by the choices. No, Target is where you need to go. It has a nice, basic selection of cookware, and their budgetware line of plates is great for every day eating. Get the dishes, the bowls and use that for your every day eating.

Once you have a basic set of tools, and you can just buy a basic knife set. glassware set, with glasses for booze, and a set of decent dishes for guests.

Once you have that, then we can talk appliances. You should have a microwave. You should get a blender and a food processor if you don't have them.

All together, we're talking $200. A toaster oven is a nice add on. You like Quiznos? I do. With a toaster over, you can make your oven grilled sandwiches and save them cash.

Now, let's talk about the crock pot.

Unless you want to eat a lot of chili, it's summer. Who wants stews and pot roasts now? Set it aside for winter.

Now, get a grill pan. This will be your summer crock pot. Unless you can grill outside, this will make your life easier.


How do you shop?

Do you shop?

OK, what I would recommend is that you plan on two shopping trips a week. One on Sunday, one on Wed evening. Why? Because you need to buy small, not big.

On Sunday, I would get the cans, the frozen food, the ice cream, the juice and milk, all the things which will keep for the week. And bread. You can also buy meat, fish.

You should use this day to stock the fridge with the items which will keep. After a couple of weeks, you won't need to buy so much. Your larder will be filled.

On Wed. evening, you would restock fresh fruit, greens, pick up any wine, beer and liquor for the weekend and more bread and milk as needed.

So if you shop twice a week for a while, then once a week once you have a store of goods, you should always have food around.


So how many cookbooks do you have? Considering that you probably do not want a diet of stews, you might want to pick up one or two. My personal favorite for the beginning cook is Cooking for Dummies by Bryan Miller, the former Times food reviewer. It is simple and has a range of information and recipies.

My advice on actual meal preperation is this: plan to have a variety of things you can fix quickly. Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals is a great place to start. But I would keep things like a couple of steaks, some frozen salmon, sausages and frozen meatballs. With pasta, canned tomatoes (which can be turned in to a much better sauce than Ragu) and rice, you can get a meal up and running in a few minutes.

One idea for a good, quick meal is this:

Slice two Idaho potatoes into fries. Soak in water overnight (or until you return from work), buy a sirloin steak or other decent cut and have the butcher grind it into ground meat. Get a set of patty makers, they usually come six to a package. They're so people can store hamburgers. Store the meat in these and toss it in the freezer. Take one or two out before you go to work. when you get home, take the grill pan, heat it up. You can fill a medium pot with oil. You should have a thermometer. Drain the potatoes. Dry them. toss them in the oil for a minute or so. pull them out and drain them on paper towels. Put them in again. until they brown. Cook your meat on the grill pan. Add toppings and bread and you have a pub burger and real french fries.

You can do this with steak, chicken or fish.

The idea is that you create a pantry which you can look around in and cook without spending insane time over the stove after work. Kielbasa heroes and cold beer can brighten up any day.

Also, keeping tacos around with taco sauce and canned salsa (available from the Mexican aisle) can turn that ground meat into tacos, empenadas or burritos. Beans can make it a quick chili.

The goal should be to set up your kitchen so that you can come home, cook quickly, and eat. A crock pot is not the solution, planning is.

posted by Steve @ 12:00:00 PM

12:00:00 PM

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Scratch one US helicopter

Two pilots killed in U.S. copter crash in Iraq

MISHAHDA, Iraq (AP) ? A U.S. Apache attack helicopter crashed Monday north of Baghdad, killing both pilots, after a witness said he saw the aircraft hit by a rocket that "destroyed it completely in the air."
The AH-64 crashed in Mishahda, 20 miles north of the capital, and witness Mohammed Naji told Associated Press Television News he saw two helicopters flying toward Mishahda when "a rocket hit one of them and destroyed it completely in the air

Ok, so what will Bush say? Things are OK?

Look, you need training to fire an SA-16, on a range. Guerrillas just don't learn it. They can, but my bet is that the Iraqi Army's air defense sections are back in the fight.

But it gets better, Juan Cole says the US wants the Brits to deploy more troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan

A Two-Front War

Tony Blair and the British military are caught between Iraq and a hard place. The Bush administration is putting enormous pressure on the British to send more troops to Afghanistan, where the Taliban are regrouping and launching an Iraq-style guerrilla war. So the British began making noises about reducing the number of their troops in southern Iraq (around 10,000) and shifting them to Afghanistan.

But no. Bush recently told Blair that Iraq is on the brink of disaster, and that the British need to send more troops to that country, in addition to sending new units to fight the Taliban.

The Scotsman reveals that

' Tony Blair was warned that war-torn Iraq remains on the brink of disaster - more than two years after the removal of Saddam Hussein - during his summit with President Bush in Washington earlier this month. Scotland on Sunday revealed last month that Blair is preparing to rush thousands more British troops to Afghanistan in a bid to stop the country sliding towards civil war, amid warnings the coalition faces a "complete strategic failure" in the effort to rebuild the nation. '

If the Pushtuns turn against the Karzai government in large numbers, rallying around neo-Taliban, the country could fall back into war. This danger was always the hidden cost of Bush going on to Iraq before stabilizing Afghanistan.

I don't think the British public will put up with being dragged into a two-front hot war, and you wonder whether the Blair government might fall over such a development.

The mystery to me is why the Americans think they need more British troops in southern Iraq. Most of that area has fallen into the hands of religious Shiite militias anyway, and I doubt the British get out of their barracks all that much. When they do, they appear to be angering a lot of the Shiites, as in Maysan, the provincial government of which yesterday launched a non-cooperation campaign against the British. Do the Americans want to move the British up to the hot zone in the Sunni heartland? Is the South more unstable than it looks on the outside (e.g. is the Mahdi Army reconstituting itself down there?)

Ironically, even as the Afghanistan venture appears on the verge of collapse, Dick Cheney instanced it in his Wolf Blitzer interview on Sunday as evidence of the undue pessimism of his critics and a reason to be optimistic about Iraq.
I think the Mahdi Army has been training for months myself. When they pop up again, it's all done, because they will seize shit and the local Army and police units will join them.

posted by Steve @ 10:27:00 AM

10:27:00 AM

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