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Monthly Archives: June 2010

This guy is like Sarah Palin on steroids.

Robert Byrd goes down in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest serving American Senator, but he will be best remembered for his prescient evaluation of an Iraqi invasion. Here are few excerpts from his speech on the House floor:

  • “The cost of occupying Iraq has been estimated to be between one and four Billion dollars a month!” … “That’s one to four dollars for every minute since Jesus Christ was born!” … “and these costs do not include the cost of rebuilding Iraq!”
  • “What if Saddam goes on the lam?” We could be tied up in Iraq for months hunting him down.
  • “It will be up to the US to support 23 million Iraqis” after we leave them without a functioning government.
  • There’s the cost of reconstructing Iraq. … “Building roads just to deliver humanitarian relief.” “Providing electricity for hospitals.” “Drinking water.” “Phones.” etc.
  • General Shinseki, “who refuses to back down on his estimate of three to five hundred thousand troops needed to secure Iraq. “Now there’s a man who doesn’t break & run!”
  • “Gen. Barry McCaffrey estimated the occupation would take five years.”
  • “We risk becoming the next Colonial Power to occupy Iraq. Those who greet us as ‘Liberators’ in 2003 may come to view us as ‘interlopers’ in 2004, 2005, 2006, and beyond.”

I am amazed that the firing of General McChrystal didn’t piss someone off. Joe Barton, your thoughts?

Michael Hastings tells Huffington Post in a phone interview from Afghanistan, where he is embedded with U.S. troops: “Over here, soldiers were happy that he got fired. I’ve had a number of people come up to me, I got an email from a Marine this morning [Thursday]: ‘Hey man, you did great work. All the guys in my company think it’s good McChrystal is not there because he was putting or lives at risk.”

So what is it about chain-of-command is it that McChrystal does not understand? Time Magazine already have the flags at half staff.

I suppose he will have to be sacked now. He is not irreplaceable. There are more than a few fine generals in the Army, including Lt. General David Rodriguez, a McChrystal deputy with vast experience in Afghanistan. But it is a terrible setback, a diversion from the business hand at a crucial moment in the conflict. And it is a real tragedy, because Stanley McChrystal is precisely the sort of man who should be leading American troops in battle.

Jon Stewart is glad to see our President’s resolve to end our dependence on foreign oil. It is just so nostalgic!

How much oil company money do Republican candidates get? Well, enough that several have taken it upon themselves to apologize to BP for our President’s “over-reaching.” The GOP’s shakedown rhetoric  even has Fox New’s Bill O’Reilly embarrassed.

It’s official: Soccer is gay.

Gary Faulkner is on a mission from God. He wants the slay the giant of Islamic Jihad, Osama bin Laden. Only he is packing more than a slingshot. Currently, the mission trip has been interrupted and Faulkner is on dialysis for kidney failure. So, they got in common. I smell another buddy movie.

ISLAMABAD – An American construction worker detained in Pakistan while on a solo mission to kill Osama bin Laden claimed Wednesday that he was obeying an order from God to avenge the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said Pakistani security officials.

Gary Brooks Faulkner said God revealed the order in one of his dreams, prompting him to travel to Pakistan in search of al-Qaida’s leader, said two security officials, one of whom is part of a team of investigators questioning the American.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Catching bin Laden was 50-year-old Faulkner’s passion, his brother Scott Faulkner said. A devout Christian with a prison record, Faulkner has been to Pakistan at least six times, learned some of the local language, and even grew a long beard to blend in, relatives and acquaintances said.

“Our military has not been able to track Osama down yet. It’s been 10 years,” Scott Faulkner told reporters in Denver. “It’s easier as a civilian, dressed in the local dress, to infiltrate the inside, the local people, gain their confidence and get information and intel that you couldn’t get as an American soldier, Navy SEAL, whoever you might be.”

Gary Faulkner, of Greeley, Colorado, arrived June 3 in the town of Bumburate. He was assigned a police guard, as is common for foreigners visiting remote parts of Pakistan. When he checked out of a hotel without informing the guard, officers began looking for him, senior police official Mumtaz Ahmad Khan said.

Faulkner was found late Sunday in a forest.

“We initially laughed when he told us that he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden,” Khan said. But when officers found weapons, including a 40-inch sword and a pistol as well as night-vision equipment, “our suspicion grew.”

Well, not everyone.

Robert Scheer points out that Helen Thomas’ remarks, her forced retirement and her critics’ conflation of the Nazi  atrocities and the Palestinians loss of their homeland are all equally wrongheaded. At least Helen T has apologized. Now its everyone else’s turn.

What the Thomas affair allowed was the repeat incantation of the Holocaust as the excuse for punishing not the Europeans who committed those unspeakable crimes, but rather the Palestinians, who had nothing whatsoever to do with what remains as the greatest moral stain on the history of people claiming to be civilized. It was not Palestinians or Muslim fundamentalists who ran the crematoriums, but rather highly educated and mostly Christian Europeans.
For that reason, one must support the right of Jews to live securely in the nation of Israel, the place they claim as their historical homeland. But not without consideration of the rights of their fellow Semites, the mostly non-Jewish Palestinians who happened to already be living there.
On that point the apology Thomas issued got it right: “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heartfelt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance.”

Open on a post-apocalyptic world. We see an expanse of sea. Humanitarian flotillas are being attacked by Israeli soldiers. Wild-eyed pirates are commandeering merchant vessels willy nilly. A world gone mad. But that is not the worst of it. A greedy corporation run by a man with a faux-British accent pumps gallons of oil into the ocean killing everything in sight. Music cue. Only one man can change things. Cut to a rugged Orange County Republican with a boyish smile, a cigar and a leather vest. Super: WATERWORLD II. Announcer thunders: “Just when you thought it was unsafe to get back in the water.” That’s right! Costner can save the world yet again. He has a machine.

Costner said that over the years he has had a difficult time getting any interest in buying the machines. He said he performed for the Coast Guard, private companies, and the government, but no one was interested.

“My enthusiasm for the machine was met with apathy,” said Costner.

But in May, BP asked for 6 of Costner’s machines to be flown to the Gulf to be tested. And now BP has ordered 32 of the machines because they have an almost 100% success rate in separating oil from ocean water.

Arizona has its hands full these days, which makes really hard to flip off both Latinos and blacks. But they are working on it. This from the Arizona Republic:

A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school.

The project’s leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children’s ethnicity. But the school’s principal says the request was only to fix shading and had nothing to do with political pressure.

The “Go on Green” mural, which covers two walls outside Miller Valley Elementary School, was designed to advertise a campaign for environmentally friendly transportation. It features portraits of four children, with a Hispanic boy as the dominant figure.

R.E. Wall, director of Prescott’s Downtown Mural Project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town’s most prominent intersections.

“We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars,” Wall said. “We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics).”

Wall said school Principal Jeff Lane pressed him to make the children’s faces appear happier and brighter.

“It is being lightened because of the controversy,” Wall said, adding that “they want it to look like the children are coming into light.”

Lane said that he received only three complaints about the mural and that his request for a touch-up had nothing to do with political pressure. “We asked them to fix the shading on the children’s faces,” he said. “We were looking at it from an artistic view. Nothing at all to do with race.”

City Councilman Steve Blair spearheaded a public campaign on his talk show at Prescott radio station KYCA-AM (1490) to remove the mural.

In a broadcast last month, according to the Daily Courier in Prescott, Blair mistakenly complained that the most prominent child in the painting is African-American, saying: “To depict the biggest picture on the building as a Black person, I would have to ask the question: Why?”

Blair could not be reached for comment Thursday. In audio archives of his radio show, Blair discusses the mural. He insists the controversy isn’t about racism but says the mural is intended to create racial controversy where none existed before.

“Personally, I think it’s pathetic,” he says. “You have changed the ambience of that building to excite some kind of diversity power struggle that doesn’t exist in Prescott, Arizona. And I’m ashamed of that.”

Faces in the mural were drawn from photographs of children enrolled at Miller Valley, a K-5 school with 380 students and the highest ethnic mix of any school in Prescott.

The racist-free convervatism of Barry Goldwater has fallen on hard times. The Economist explains:

The individualist Western conservatism Mr Goldwater articulated is one of the great strands in American political thinking. It is quite distinct from Southern conservatism, and has less room for the politics of racial resentment. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when George Bush and John McCain supported immigration reform and Republicans were winning substantial Hispanic votes, it appeared that this brand of conservatism might achieve cross-racial appeal. But in the past five years, that promising trend has been crushed. And now, in many areas of the West where racial diversity is re-emerging, one sees Western conservatism becoming very focused on racial politics indeed.

Remember that creepy kiss? Well, that was then and this is now. Lively Al and chipper Tipper are calling it quits. That’s what Hollywood will do to you. You win an Oscar and the next thing you know the fabulous marriage is over. Just ask Sandra Bullock.