Sunday, July 17, 2005

Poem of the Day

I Saw the News Today by Loyal F Ramsey

On the screen the words read
A FATHER BEAT his 3 year old SON to DEATH because he THOUGHT he might be GAY.
I'm still trying to grasp these words.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

The words don't parse even when I type them myself.

Father: v. tr.
  • To be the male parent.
  • To create
  • To acknowledge responsibility for.
Father: n.
  • A man who begets or raises or nurtures a child.
I cry for this child I did not father and know that it means nothing.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

Beat: v. tr.
  • To strike repeatedly.
  • To subject to repeated beatings or physical abuse; batter.
  • To punish by hitting or whipping; flog.
  • To strike against repeatedly and with force; pound:.
  • To shape or break by repeated blows;
  • To make by pounding or trampling:
  • To defeat or subdue
Beat: n.
  • A stroke or blow, especially one that serves as a signal.
  • A pulsation
  • A throb.
  • The sound of the human heart
How can this be counted as human?

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

Son: n.
  • One's male child.
How could one so damage one's own?.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

Death: n.
  • The termination of life
  • The state of being dead
  • Bloodshed
  • Murder
  • Termination
  • Extinction
  • Execution.
How could the progenitor so quickly become the executioner?

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

Thought: n.
  • The action of thinking
  • Cogitation
  • Consideration
  • Reasoning
  • Intention
  • Plan
Do you think this father planned to kill?

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.

Gay: adj.
  • Showing or characterized by cheerfulness and lighthearted excitement
  • Bright or lively
Gay: n.
  • A man whose sexual orientation is to men
A man child killed for something he had not a glimmer of understanding.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.
And still I cry for this child, this son, this bright and lively boy that his destroyer fathered.
Father. Beat. Son. Death. Thought. Gay.
I try, but the words on the screen still do not make sense.
Father. Beat. Son. Death.
I refuse to believe that this is human behavior
Father. Son. Death.
And I remain ashamed of being a man.
Father. Death.
I ask myself again, how can the progenitor be the executioner?

Beat. Death.
Beat. Death.
Beat. Death.

A Favorite Place


The Kingdom of Lord Kalvan, His Good Queen Rilla and Her Father, King Ptosphes

An Alternate Earth Central Pennsylvania

Piper's knowledge of these hills is so good that one can read the novel and trace the action on the ground. I have spent many wonderful hours following Lord Kalvan on his adventures through central PA.

Happy Birthday


Blogger, bookseller, curmudgeon, geographer, poet, science fiction fan

  • Penn State Science Fiction Society (1969)
  • Zen Druid Lunatics (1974)
  • Central PA Science Fiction Association (1976)
  • Twice Told Tales Bookshop (1984)
  • Seven Mountains Books (1993)
  • Webster's Bookstore Cafe (1999)
  • Wordstock, A Festival of Language (2001)
  • Committee to Defenestrate the President (2004)
  • Holy Fool Press (2005)
  • Chief Book and Wattle Cosher, CPaSFA Alumni Association
  • Convenor, Spring Creek Slammers poetry group
  • Roommate of HRH, The Lady Xanthippe, Feline Ruler of the Universe

  • Player of ashikos, djembes and other hand percussion
  • Amateur chef and professional eater
  • Lover of all things hop flavored
  • Friend to all dogs
  • Servant to all cats
  • Loyal to friends, Kind to strangers and Unforgiving of idiots

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A Favorite Place


Created by Lewis Carroll
Home of The White Rabbit, The Red Queen and the immortal Mad Hatter

Poem of the Day

Sweet Dancer by William Butler Yeats

THE girl goes dancing there
On the leaf-sown, new-mown, smooth
Grass plot of the garden;
Escaped from bitter youth,
Escaped out of her crowd,
Or out of her black cloud.
Ah, dancer, ah, sweet dancer.!

If strange men come from the house
To lead her away, do not say
That she is happy being crazy;
Lead them gently astray;
Let her finish her dance,
Let her finish her dance.
Ah, dancer, ah, sweet dancer.!

Happy Birthday

Ginger Rogers

One of my secret loves

Beautiful, the picture of grace with a heart of gold and a hearty laugh

Oscar winning actress (Best Actress for Kitty Foyle)

An extremely talented dancer who was often partnered with the legendary Fred Astaire in some of Hollywood’s best musicals, most notably, “Top Hat” (1935), “Roberta” (1935), “Swing Time” (1936), “Follow The Fleet” (1936), “Shall We Dance” (1937) & “Carefree” (1938).

Friday, July 15, 2005

Late Friday Cat Blogging

The Eyes of Xanthippe

Why did the blogger feel like he was constantly under observation by an intellect cold, vast, and indifferent?

Was it just the result of his natural paranoia or was it a mindset deliberately induced by a sinister new DeptHomeSec campaign?

He will never know, but you can find out the shocking truth.

You must see the Eyes of Xanthippe.

Coming soon to a screen near you!

Happy Birthday

( July 15, 1606, .--Oct. 4, 1669, )

Dutch painter, draftsman, and etcher of the 17th century

He was a master of light and shadow whose paintings, drawings, and etchings made him a giant in the history of art.

Poem of the Day

Knoxville Tennessee by Nikki Giovanni

I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
From daddy's garden
And okra
And greens
And cabbage
And lots of
And buttermilk
And homemade ice-cream
At the church picnic
And listen to
Gospel music
At the church
And go to the mountains with
Your grandmother
And go barefooted
And be warm
All the time
Not only when you go to bed
And sleep

A Favorite Place

Independence Hall
Philadelphia, PA

My country's birthplace.
Part of the most historic square mile in America

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I Am Profoundly Shaken By This.

from DED space:

Man suspects toddler of being gay and beats him to death

Obviously upset over the gains made by North Carolina and other states in the "sick right-wing monsters" category, Florida now brings us a man who killed his three-year-old son by forcing him to box, repeatedly hitting him in the head, and physically punishing him if he vomited from the torture.

The Tampa father forced his son to box because he thought the boy might be gay.

It comes as no surprise that the Florida Department of Children and Families had already placed the boy in protective custody once, but then had sent him home. The father has been charged with capital murder and the mother has been charged with felony child neglect.

It should be noted that the Tampa police did not question the parents separately until it was too late. What kind of idiot police department, when it suspects child abuse, interviews the parents together? Unfortunately, the incompetent police officers will probably get off without even a wrist slap. As for the Florida Department of Children and Families, which is known for its incompetence--why didn't its staff interview the parents separately? I don't have enough evidence to say for sure that the department was negligent, but it certainly looks that way.

I hope all of the Dobsons and Falwells are happy with the brightly burning flames of the fires they have stoked in America.

comment from --handdrummer-:

I'm still trying to grasp what these words say.

A FATHER BEAT his three year old SON to DEATH because he thought he might be GAY.

The words still don't parse even when I type them myself.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Gay.

I cry for this child and know that it means nothing.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Gay.

How can this be counted as human behaviour?

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Gay.

I am so ashamed of being human.

Father. Beat. Son. Death. Gay.

Father. Beat. Son. Death.

Father. Son. Death.

Father. Death.


A Favorite Place

Ben Loyal
Sutherland and Ross, Scotland

My namesake mountain which named in turn my Great-Grandfather Findlay and my Grandfather Spang and then me.

A place of glorious isolation and brilliant color and a true claimant for my soul.

Poem of the Day

A Night-Piece by William Wordsworth

------The sky is overcast
With a continuous cloud of texture close,
Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon,
Which through that veil is indistinctly seen,
A dull, contracted circle, yielding light
So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls,
Chequering the ground--from rock, plant, tree, or tower.
At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
Startles the pensive traveller while he treads
His lonesome path, with unobserving eye
Bent earthwards; he looks up--the clouds are split
Asunder,--and above his head he sees
The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black-blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives: how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not!--the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent;--still they roll along
Immeasurably distant; and the vault,
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
At length the Vision closes; and the mind,
Not undisturbed by the delight it feels,
Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.

Happy Birthday

Woody Guthrie
Singer, Songwriter, Poet,
Chronicler of a Generation

"This Land is your Land, This Land is My Land, From California to the New York island"

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Favorite Place

Alan Seeger Natural Area

A place of serenity about 20 minutes from my house. Original growth hemlocks, 20+ foot high rhododendron and the best preserved black oak forest remaining in Pennsylvania.

A hikers' and seekers' delight.

Poem of the Day

The house was quiet and the world was calm. by
Wallace Stevens

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Happy Birthday

Harrison Ford
(1942- )
Actor, Carpenter, Nice Guy
Creator of Indiana Jones, Richard Kimball, and Bob Falfa

"Dammit, this is just another one of life's useless experiences!"

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Favorite Place

Tom Tudek Memorial Park
My backyard
This fabulous open ground is literally at my backdoor.

Poem of the Day

Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Happy Birthday

Pablo Neruda

In English, his words light up our hearts. In Spanish, they set fire to the page.

Monday, July 11, 2005


from the always brilliant Heretik:


Time Reporter MATT COOPER Sounds Like a Pledge at the Stupid White House Fraternity
in the latest revelations in the VALERIE PLAME affair. Young Matt Cooper wants to make the grade on his journalism class at the Cool College and he has a real just terrif tale to tell about terror and this hot coed married to some kid named WILSON, but Matt Cooper wants to be part of the White House Fraternity first and foremost so he can still go to all the White House Press Briefings frat parties. What a strange initiation and entry we have into how the Animal White House works. NEWSWEEK has more in its latest issue.

"Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation ..." Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, "please don't source this to rove or even WH [White House]" . . . . "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name," Rove told CNN last year . . . . Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"—CIA Director George Tenet—or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip."[NEWSWEEK]

Did the Frat Boy President George Bush know about what the BOY GENIUS Pledge Master Rove was doing? And does he care? Why doesn’t the Frat Boy President care about what happened to that undercover sorority sister Valerie Plame?

SOME MORE NOTES: DOUBLE SUPER SECRET BACKGROUND? Don't source to Rove or even White House? Got a big warning? Matt Miller sounds like he wanted to tell a story, but more than that he did exactly as he was told to do. This is what passes for journalism today. Spoke to Rove for about two minutes? Rove works quite efficiently when he turns someone's life upside down. Rove may have that same feeling himself soon enough. (more)

Poem of the Day

Metric Figure by William Carlos Williams

There is a bird in the poplars!
It is the sun!
The leaves are little yellow fish
swimming in the river.
The bird skims above them,
day is on his wings.
It is he that is making
the great gleam among the poplars!
It is his singing
outshines the noise
of leaves clashing in the wind.

Happy Birthday

E.B. White

July 11, 1889- October 1, 1985

Creator of my little brother Stuart and of my beloved Charlotte
Poet, editor, humorist, and my favorite essayist
I live for the day that something I write is called a pale imitation of E.B. White. That would be high praise indeed!

"One man's Mede is another man's Persian"

Liberals in Klan robes

comment from --handdrummer--
Chris Clarke, who gets my vote as the most articulate writer in the blogosphere, absolutely nails the underlying absurdity/racism/hypocracy in the prevailing attitude that calls on all Muslims everywhere to grovel in apology after an attack by their religion's versions of Randolph Terry, Tim McVeigh, and Eric Rudolph. Be sure to read the comments as well.

from Chris Clarke at Creek Running North:

The truly heinous thing, of course, is the horrendous loss of life taken by terrorists of any stripe, whether they're backpack-bomb-carrying teenagers or bomber pilots in billion-dollar planes.

But there's a subsidiary annoyance that gnaws at me increasingly: the demand when a bomb goes off - unless it's one of ours - that all Muslims drop whatever they're doing and condemn violence by Islamic extremists.

Are you white? Or male? Raise your hand if you've formally condemned the actions of Eric Rudolph. I know I haven't gotten around to it, and Rudolph's actions disgust me to the point that I'd find it hard to turn down an offer to compact his septum with a coal shovel. I have lived with Becky for 16 years, and she's Asian, and yet I haven't once heard her formally denounce Aum Shinrikyo's 1995 poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

We have been granted the courtesy, by society at large, of the assumption that we abhor acts of mass murder.

But mainstream liberals and racist reactionaries alike have no problem demanding ritualistic condemnations and apologies from Muslims when an extremist splinter of that massive, mindbogglingly diverse religion commits mass murder. And I have to say I expect it from the reactionaries. But I'm naive enough to be stunned when people who claim to be liberals trot out arguments that closely parallel demands for black obeisance issued by the likes of the White Citizens Councils.

And when such people - like the truly execrable "Jen," whose rantings are displayed in the first of those links above - are presented with evidence that prominent Muslim clerics have in fact denounced the murders, and floridly, that somehow isn't enough. The Jens of the world want Muslims to fine-tune their public statements painstakingly, carefully watching to see if they are being obsequious enough. "Dance, Muslim monkeys, dance! The purpose of your public life is to satisfy my desires!"(more)

A Favorite Place

The National Aviary, Pittsburgh

Those who know me well might be surprised that I would have anything bird related as a favorite place. I have been intensely phobic of birds ever since an incident at age 4 involving me, a bucket of feed and 30 or so VERY hungry chickens. Let's just say, you shouldn't throw the feed on your feet, OK? Especially when you're not much taller than the hens to begin with. My grandfather heard my cries of terror and rescued me.

So you might expect that my fondness for the Aviary has to do with something other than the fact that much of the exhibit is a free fly zone for the birds kept there. You would be right.

I was quite ill during 8th grade and missed many school days. The authorities, fearing for my education I suppose, determined that I be sent to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh for tests and evaluation. So I was loaded on a bus in Clarion and sent off to my testing at the hospital.

My Father was taking some classes at one of the Pittsburgh universities to qualify for a promotion with the union he worked for. And since the roads in the early 60's left a lot to be desired, he was staying in a rooming house in Pittsburgh rather than making the 3+ hour drive each day. I was not exactly what you would call well travelled at that point in my life and at 8am I arrived in Pittsburgh a total nervous wreck, absolutely convinced my Father didn't know I was coming and that I would be trapped in the bus station.

There I was, far away from home, a semi-hysterical kid, scared out of my mind by the crowds of the city and determined in my belief that the doctors in the hospital were going to find out that I was near death.

Of course my Father was late. By the time he arrived, I was cowering in a corner, barely coherent.

He gently calmed me down and took me to the hospital where I spent the rest of the morning in painful and humiliating testing. After having lunch in the hospital caffeteria, we were rather gruffly told by the doctors that I would live. They gave me a huge bag of meds and sent us off.

My Dad then took me on a tour of Pittsburgh. We went to the Cathedral of Learning. We visited Forbes Field, home of my beloved Pirates. We had dinner in a real diner and then walked across a beautiful bridge to the Northside neighborhood where his rooming house was. He knew I loved science and had purchased tickets for the late show at Buhl Planetarium, just a block or so from where he was staying.

Since we had several hours until the show started and there wasn't really a place for us in the shared room in the rooming house, we walked around a bit. My Dad spotted the Aviary and thought it would be a good place to spend the time. Now I was at that point even more terrified of birds than I am today. I didn't exactly go willingly, but he insisted that I would learn a great deal. And he put a lot of emphasis on learning.

So in we went. The public areas of the aviary were constructed in such a way that you followed a path that ran from the entrance to the exit. It was not a simple matter to reverse your trail. I was mostly ok with the smaller exhibits. The birds were caged and I didn't feel threatened by them. And he was right, the exhibits were interesting and I did learn a great deal. But when we entered the tropical free flight cage, I started to panic. About halfway across the big open space, a parrot flew between my Dad and me and I just froze. I was totally unable to move. I could barely even talk I was so frightened.

It took him a few moments to notice that I was having trouble. When he realized that there was a problem, he told me to close my eyes and that he would see me safely across the room. He then put his hand on my shoulder and led me quietly out of the room, never letting on to anyone else that I was in difficulty. He valued my pride enough to not make me visible.

Once outside the cage, we sat and talked until I calmed down a bit. We then continued on past the smaller cages toward the exit. In one of the last cages, there was a mynah bird named 'Groucho'. We stopped to look at him and I said to my Dad that yes, the feathers above his eyes did look like Groucho's eybrows. And my Father laughed. And the bird laughed back at him in exact mimicry of his laugh. My Dad laughed again. The bird laughed back. My Father started laughing uncontrollably. And the bird joined right in. Neither of them could stop because when they tried, the other would start and they'd be off again.

My Father was not what I would call much of a laughter kind of guy. Oh he smiled a lot and had a gentle sense of humor, but laughing out loud happened seldom for him. He always said that his Dad never laughed and seeing photographs of Granddad Ramsey's dour Scot's countenance, I truly believed it.

So seeing my Dad lost in uncontrolled laughter was a new experience for me. Soon, I was laughing so hard I had to sit down on the bench. The tears started flowing from my eyes and my sides ached at the effort of laughter. A small crowd gathered to watch the show. Soon they were all laughing too. And still my Dad and the bird laughed. After about 10 minutes. my Dad finally was able to stop.

As we were walking away, my Dad said "thanks" to the bird and Groucho said "thanks" back in my Dad's voice. My dad smiled and we left to go to the Planetarium.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Poem of the Day

Deportees (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)
Lyrics by Woody Guthrie
Music by Martin Hoffman

The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting
The oranges are piled in their cresote dumps
They're flying you back to the Mexico border
To pay all your money to wade back again

My father's own father, he wanted that river
They took all the money he made in his life
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees
And they rode the truck till they took down and died

Good-bye to my Juan, good-bye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maris
You won't have a name when you ride the big air-plane
And all they will call you will be deportees.

Some of us are illega, and others not wanted
Our work contract's out and we have to move on
But it's six hundred miles to that Mexican border
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like theives.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts
We died in your valleys and died on your plains
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.


A sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos canyon
Like a fireball of lightning, it shook all our hills
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says they are just deportees.

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except deportees?

©1961 (renewed) & 1963 Ludlow Music Inc., New York,NY (TRO)

Happy Birthday

Arlo Guthrie (1947- )
Singer, Songwriter, Humorist, Humanitarian
"You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant (exceptin' Alice)"

A Favorite Place

Ricketts Glen State Park

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Happy Birthday

Nikola Tesla
Scientist, Inventor, Visionary

Poem of the Day

Over the Sea to Skye by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone,
Say, could that lad be I?
Merry of soul, he sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye

Mull was astern, Rum was on port,
Eigg on the starboard bow.
Glory of youth glowed in his soul,
Where is that glory now?

Give me again all that was there,
Give me the sun that shone.
Give me the eyes, give me the soul,
Give me the lad that's gone.

Billow and breeze, islands and seas,
Mountains of rain and sun;
All that was good, all that was fair,
All that was me is gone.

A Favorite Place

Mallaig, Scotland looking out across the Strait of Sleat to the Isle of Skye

Friday, July 08, 2005

We Have Resolve Too

comment from --handdrummer--

These consecutive posts from one of my favorite blogs make a powerful point. Many thanks to them.

from dharma bums:

Sometimes there are too many things competing for our attention. Should we comment on the London bombings? No. Already there have been many voices--ours would only add to the cacophony. We didn't watch but five minutes of the news last night-- enough to see that it was non-stop human interest -- bloodied bodies emerging from tunnels and buses. Just in case you forgot what horror looks like. In case you forgot that news is not news, but repetitive viewings of carnage and violence. Are you afraid yet? Maybe they could run that video just one more time.
So, we turned on the food channel and watched Emeril make delicious-looking Italian breads. One recipe produced two flat breads: one covered with carmelized onions, baby spinach, gorgonzola, and walnuts; one covered with fresh arugala, thinly sliced bresaola, shaved parmesan, and balsamic vinegar. We could do that. We could plan to make bread and not live in that fear.
What will the cost be for turning our attention from global warming, as the G8 summit is about to do? Why are we not afraid of that, the way we fear terrorists? Why do we not weep when we watch the degradation of our planet, while the world's important men sit somewhere with their chits deciding to whom the advantage belongs? The silent bombs tick away in our water, soil, and air.
The winds are fierce today, strong enough to blow down our lavatera. We staked it up and hope it has the strength to endure the storm that is coming. It does not appear to be afraid.

We have the resolve of renegades, such that we are:
The resolve to not live in fear.
The resolve to question our government.
The resolve to demand truth from the media.
The resolve to defend the environment.
The resolve to bake bread and freeze our garden peas.
The resolve to live our lives with compassion.

The Persistence of Plants

a small poppy

the entire plant is a scant 6 inches tall. elsewhere in our yard, in more favorable locations, there are poppy plants 4 feet tall.

the small, lonesome poppy in the midst of a sea of gravel. the picture shows an area about 6 feet on a side

A Favorite Place

Broadway, the greatest street in the world

Poem of the Day

Moccasin Flowers by Mary Oliver

All my life,
so far,
I have loved
more than one thing,

including the mossy hooves
of dreams, including'
the spongy litter
under the tall trees.

In spring
the moccasin flowers
reach for the crackling
lick of the sun

and burn down. Sometimes,
in the shadows,
I see the hazy eyes,
the lamb-lips

of oblivion,
its deep drowse,
and I can imagine a new nothing
in the universe,

the matted leaves splitting
open, revealing
the black planks
of the stairs.

But all my life--sofar--
I have loved best
how the flowers rise
and open, how

the pink lungs of their bodies
enter the fore of the world
and stand there shining
and willing--the one

thing they can do before
they shuffle forward
into the floor of darkness, they
become the trees.


from agitprop:

Uh, Have We Crossed It Yet Dick?

The following excerpt was taken from the comments section at Today in Iraq. It was left by an anonymous comment-dropper:


Cabal of oldsters who won’t listen to outside advice? Check.
No understanding of ethnicities of the many locals? Check.
Imposing country boundaries drawn in Europe, not by the locals? Check.
Unshakable faith in our superior technology? Check.
France secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
Russia secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
China secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
SecDef pushing a conflict the JCS never wanted? Check.
Fear we’ll look bad if we back down now? Check.
Corrupt Texan in the WH? Check.
Land war in Asia? Check.
Right unhappy with outcome of previous war? Check.
Enemy easily moves in/out of neighboring countries? Check.
Soldiers about to be dosed with *our own* chemicals? Check.
Friendly fire problem ignored instead of solved? Check.
Anti-Americanism up sharply in Europe? Check.
B-52 bombers? Check.
Helicopters that clog up on the local dust? Check.
In-fighting among the branches of the military? Check.
Locals that cheer us by day, hate us by night? Check.
Local experts ignored? Check.
Local politicians ignored? Check.
Locals used to conflicts lasting longer than the USA has been a country? Check.
Against advice, Prez won’t raise taxes to pay for war? Check.
Blue water navy ships operating in brown water? Check.
Use of nukes hinted at if things don’t go our way? Check.
Unpopular war? Check.

Vietnam 2, you are cleared to taxi.

. . .

I urge you to read the entire post on which this comment was left. It is a brilliant yet gruesome wrap-up of the events in Iraq during the past two years. Excellent work by Yankee Doodle, Friendly Fire and Matt from Today in Iraq.

Comments from --handdrummer --
Ahh, hell, when will I admit the truth that once again we're losing a war because those of us on the left don't ever clap hard enough for Tinkerbell?

Mr. Sensitivity Strikes Again

from Media Matters for America via DED space:

During Fox News' coverage of the July 7 London bombings, Washington managing editor Brit Hume told host Shepard Smith that his "first thought," when he "heard there had been this attack" and saw the low futures market, was "Hmmm, time to buy." Smith had asked Hume to comment on the lack of a negative U.S. stock market reaction to the London attacks.

From Fox News' July 7 breaking news coverage between 1 and 2 p.m. ET:

SMITH: Some of the things you might expect to happen, for instance, a drop in the stock market and some degree of uncertainty across this country -- none of that really seen today, and I wonder if the timing of it -- that it happened in the middle of the night and we were able to get a sense of the grander scheme of things -- wasn't helpful in all this.

HUME: Well, maybe. The other thing is, of course, people have -- you know, the market was down. It was down yesterday, and you know, you may have had some bargain-hunting going on. I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, "Hmmm, time to buy." Others may have thought that as well. But you never know about the markets. But obviously, if the markets had behaved badly, that would obviously add to people's sense of alarm about it. But there has been a lot of reassurance coming, particularly in the way that -- partly in the way the Brits handled all this, but also in the way that officials here handled it. There seems to be no great fear that something like that is going to happen here, although there's no indication that we here had any advance warning.

Comment from -- havana gila--
Once an ass always an ass. Unbelievable. And Faux News expects us to trust everything that comes out of his warbling piehole.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


And so begins the blowback from our stupidity in Iraq.

Commentary from the blogosphere about the latest cowardly attack in London.:

from Billmon:
The cold blooded murder of Londoners is no more horrifying than the murder or New Yorkers or Madrilenos -- or Baghdadis. But today's target still has a special hold over my emotions. If your mother tongue is English, and you loved stories as much as I did as a child, then London is the city of your imagination, of Mary Poppins and David Copperfield, of London-bridge-is-falling-down and the prince and the pauper. And if you've been there, and visited the places you dreamed about as a boy, and ridden the tube to Picadilly Circus, and climbed the stairs of the Tower of London, and strolled through Hyde Park in the morning fog, then what happened today hurts more than maybe it should, logically. (more)
from Agitprop:

A Moment of Silence

For our friends across the pond . . .


London Thoughts

It's hard to say too much about the London bombings I guess. I have just a few quick thoughts:

1. There is a lot of evil in this world. To talk of these terrorists as anything but horrible horrible people is just offbase. To kill innocent civilians in their home countries is totally unacceptable and just insane. And then of course there's all the innocents that the US and Britain have killed in Iraq. I hear Bush talking this morning about the killing of innocents and I think, are you talking about London or yourself?(more)

from LiveJournal London:

London Incidents July 7, 2005

a rumor control live feed

from CBC News:

Toll rises to 37 dead, 700 injured in London blasts

London police are now confirming that at least 37 people were killed and 700 injured in a series of explosions that ripped through the city's transit system within minutes Thursday morning.

The remnants of a bus that exploded near Tavistock Square, central London, Thursday, July 7. (AP photo).

Scores of people suffered serious or critical injuries such as burns, severed limbs, chest and head injuries from the three explosions that rocked the subway network.

Police said at least two people died from a fourth explosion on a packed double-decker bus. (more)

from Blogfonte:

An attack on one of us is an attack on us all.
Well, goddamnit. Sorry, London.

from Your Village:

Bush Uses London Bombing As Soapbox

In response to the horrible events in London this morning, Bush decided to wax ideological again:
They have such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks. The war on terrorism is on!

I was most impressed with the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve.

We will find them and bring them to justice. And at the same time we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate.
It makes me truly nauseous that US President Bush is using the London bombing as his self-supported soapbox to spew out his own political agenda. His narcissism at comparing the resolve of the world as "strong" as his rather than speaking for himself really underscores the political expediency in filling the swamp with terrorists. Bush is squandering this golden opportunity to unite with the world and is again drawing the line in sand.

From a political standpoint, especially at the G8 summit, this is political ingenuity at its best. From a moral and social standpoint, this is emotional manipulation for political gain at its very worst.



Kos says that the London bombings demonstrate the flaw in the so-called 'flypaper' strategy:

Bush's latest rationale for maintaining the course in Iraq adventure has been the "flypaper strategy" -- it's better to fight the terrorists over there than at home. Nevermind that the Iraqis never asked to have their country turned into a dangerous den of terrorism, insurgency, violence and death. For war supporters looking for an excuse, any excuse, to justify the continued disastrous American presence in Iraq, the flypaper rationale was as good as any.

Except that it's not working. The war isn't making the West any safer. In fact, it's creating a whole new class of terrorists. Today it was London. Next time it could easily be the United States. And waging the war in Iraq, rather than make us safer, is further motivating Islamic terrorists to strike at the West.

...There are consequences to the mess in Iraq. And today, we're seeing one of them. Unfortunately, it won't be the last.

Mike the Mad Biologist makes a similar point:
Last night, I was talking to someone who said, "When people say that Bush is doing a good job against terrorism, I want to hear specifically what he's actually done. What has he done other than give speeches?"

The London bombings make one realize just how morally degenerate the attitude of "fighting them over there, so they're not over here" really is. And if you think I'm being inappropriate by bringing up politics and policy, just wait until the Republicans sink their teeth into this. Turd Blossom will do anything at this point...
Is it inappropriate to bring up 'politics'? Maybe, but it also might be necessary. We are still suffering from the reluctance of Democrats (and the media) to ask hard questions in the wake of 9/11, thus allowing the Right to 'frame' the event - and the response to it - for all time. Basically, Dems foolishly assumed that their goodwill would be matched from the other side of the aisle, that the GOP wouldn't politicize 9/11 if they didn't. Wrong.

Of course, the impact of the London bombings won't be as severe as that of the attack on the WTC. So we don't need to go crazy worrying about the political fallout. But unfortunately, the Right has created an atmosphere where we cannot simply put politics aside.

UPDATE: See what I mean?

A Favorite Place

Cathedral Grove in Cook Forest State Park in western PA is about 10 miles from the farm I grew up on. It is a place of majesty and wonder. A most holy place.

Poem of the Day

A Theory Of Prosody by Philip Levine

When Nellie, my old pussy
cat, was still in her prime,
she would sit behind me
as I wrote, and when the line
got too long she'd reach
one sudden black foreleg down
and paw at the moving hand,
the offensive one. The first
time she drew blood I learned
it was poetic to end
a line anywhere to keep her
quiet. After all, many morn-
ings she'd gotten to the chair
long before I was even up.
Those nights I couldn't sleep
she'd come and sit in my lap
to calm me. So I figured
I owed her the short cat line.
She's dead now almost nine years,
and before that there was one
during which she faked attention
and I faked obedience.
Isn't that what it's about--
pretending there's an alert cat
who leaves nothing to chance.

“Suspended Animation”

from Kolchak:

It could’ve been a funeral, but it felt like a reunion instead.

For the last few months the James A. Michener Art Museum in suburban Philadelphia has been featuring “That’s All Folks,” an exhibit of original art used in Warner Brothers cartoons.

Between the belief that computer-generated imagery (CGI) is going to supplant traditional animation and the tendency to make cartoons simply to promote toys, I wasn’t sure how much interest Bugs Bunny and company would generate. The last attempt to highlight Bugs, Daffy Duck and the others -- Looney Tunes:Back In Action-- was better than many critics made itout to be, but it didn’t make any real impact at the box office.

As it turns out, there was nothing to be concerned about. There was interest in the exhibit, and that interest was in the best place possible. The exhibit itself consisted of over 160 pieces, including such drool-producing items as background paintings from “Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century” and a model sheet from “Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarfs,” a notorious cartoon that it is rarely seen today, because of its extreme use of racial stereotypes.

Most of the interest though seemed to be centered on a television running the cartoons produced from these components. Both children and adults were laughing at the antics of Bugs and his posse.

What keeps the Warner Brothers cartoons fresh? According to Eric Goldberg, one reason is the well-defined personalities of the characters. Goldberg, who was the animation director for “Back In Action” and animator for the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, made these comments at a panel discussion called “The Legacy of Warner Bros. Cartoons” at the museum.

Bugs and Daffy have been developed through roughly 30 years of stories, Goldberg said, but even characters who appeared only a few times are memorable. He noted that the Tasmanian Devil appears in only five theatrical cartoons. In addition, Goldberg said, Bugs and Daffy are archetypal characters. Bugs is the Trickster, with the ability to extricate himself from tough situations through fast-talking and crossdressing. Daffy is Everyman, with his ambitions constantly frustrated.

Warner Brothers cartoons are hard to find on television these days, and when you do, they’re usually edited, to one degree or another. However, the Looney Tunes Golden Collection contains the original versions of nearly all the toons that are considered classic. There are two volumes in the series, on DVD.When I went to the exhibit, and put together this article, I started thinking about my favorite Looney Tunes. Finding the titles I wanted was a little harder than I expected.

Toons were remade and bits were recycled, so the first time I encountered a story may not have been the first time it appeared. Still, here are a few of my choices which, by happy coincidence, are on the “Golden Collection” sets:

  • Duck Amuck” -- Warner Brothers characters regularly talk directly to the audience and acknowledge that they’re in a “picture.” “Duck Amuck,” however, takes that idea to the limit, as Daffy runs, sorry...of an animator who gives him a new shape--and a new reality--every few seconds. This one is almost a perfect match of main character and subject. Director Chuck Jones re-made this cartoon as “Rabbit Rampage,” with Bugs in the starring role, but it’s simply not as funny.

  • Hair-Raising Hare”-- An Evil Scientist lures Bugs to his castle, with the intention of feeding the rabbit to his monster. The monster--who looks like a orange haystack with arms and tennis shoes--chases Bugs around the castle, but all he gets for his trouble is a nice manicure. This cartoon is one of the best examples of Bugs as fast-talking scam artist, throwing trick after trick at the monster without a pause. There’s no cross-dressing per se in “Hair-Raising Hare,” but Bugs does assume an effeminate persona while giving the monster his manicure. (“I bet you monsters lead such interesting lives.”)

  • Porky In Wackyland”-- Even the notoriously fluid laws of cartoon physics go out the window in this one, as Porky searches for the elusive Do-Do Bird. This cartoon is filled with visual non-sequiturs, like a rabbit sitting on a swing that’s attached to his own ears. “Wackyland” provides an example of how the Warner Brothers animators reused ideas. It was produced in black-and-white, but a color version, called “Dough for the Do-Do” was produced roughly 10 years later. The title card on one of these toons had a drawing of Dali-esque melting watches, hanging on a clothesline, but I haven’t been able to determine which one used it, or if both did.

  • Rabbit of Seville, The” -- This is one of two Warner Brothers cartoons inspired by famous operas. “What’s Opera, Doc?,” the other one in this pair, is probably better regarded by critics, but I’m going to put “The Rabbit of Seville” on this list because I think it’s funnier, and the animators seem less impressed by the fact that they’re using operatic music.

  • Rabbit Seasoning”-- There are lots of cartoons that feature Elmer Fudd hunting Bugs Bunny, but only three in which Bugs and Daffy try to manipulate Elmer intoshooting the other one. (Hardcore fans sometimes refer to these cartoons as the Hunters Trilogy. Yes, really.) This one includes a funny cross-dressing sequence, and a piece of verbal humor that deserves to be ranked with classic comedy routines like Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First.” (It’s the bit that starts with the question “Do you want to shoot me now, or wait ‘til you get home?”). “Rabbit Seasoning” was written by Michael Maltese and directed by Jones.

And here’s a favorite that apparently didn’t make it into the Golden Collection:
  • Falling Hare”-- Bugs Bunny encounters the Gremlin, in this World War II offering,directed by Bob Clampett (who went on to create Beany & Cecil). Bugs and the Gremlin perform some real mayhem on each other, but this is still a good example a wartime cartoon, with lightning-fast pacing.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Favorite Place

Tussey Mountain looking across Nittany Valley toward Bald Eagle Ridge
(Update: Thanks for the spelling correction, Mitch.)

Poem of the Day

here's to opening and upward, to leaf and to sap
and to your(in my arms flowering so new)
self whose eyes smell of the sound of rain

and here's to silent certainly mountains;and to
a disappearing poet of always,snow
and to morning;and to morning's beautiful friend
twilight(and a first dream called ocean)and

let must or if be damned with whomever's afraid
down with ought with because with every brain
which thinks it thinks,nor dares to feel(but up
with joy;and up with laughing and drunkenness)

here's to one undiscoverable guess
of whose mad skill each world of blood is made
(whose fatal songs are moving in the moon

ee cummings

happy 70th birthday!

Posted by Picasa

may you keep speaking about practicing loving kindness for many more years to come...

"our prime purpose in this life is to help others. and if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."

""my religion is very simple. my religion is kindness."

"love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. without them humanity cannot survive."

"today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life."


from skippy the bush kangaroo

Hop on over there and help them reach 1 million visitors in time for their third anniversary (July 10)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Giving Voice To The Liberal Military

from Respectful of Otters:

Karl Rove's repellent comments about liberals seeking "therapy and understanding" for the September 11th attackers have had one positive outcome: it led to the creation of the website Take It To Karl, which hosts the responses of liberal and Democratic soldiers, veterans, and military relatives to Rove's slurs. The site makes for compelling reading:

Whenever I get into an argument with a conservative, the story is always the same. First, they tell me I'm unamerican and unpatriotic. After I show them my military ID and mention I was in OEF, their next response is to say that I'm hurting my fellow soldiers. Then I confront them and ask them what they've done for the troops. Have they petitioned congress to make sure that the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have all the armor they need? Do they make sure that the Reservists still have jobs when they come home? Do they lift a finger to look out for soldiers families while they're away? Did they even send a care package? So far, everyone I've debated has given me a no to all of these questions.

Then I ask them why they haven't stood up and fought against Bush when he slashed veterans benefits. Why don't they care about troops being undermanned and underequipped in Iraq? Their answer is always the same: Vet's have all they need, and troops in Iraq are doing just fine. Nevermind all of the reports and newspaper stories saying otherwise. Nevermind that soldiers are dying. We're doing just fine over there. (more)

Poem of the Day

Ballade by Fran├žois Villon

I know flies in milk
I know the man by his clothes
I know fair weather from foul
I know the apple by the tree
I know the tree when I see the sap
I know when all is one
I know who labors and who loafs
I know everything but myself.

I know the coat by the collar
I know the monk by the cowl
I know the master by the servant
I know the nun by the veil
I know when a hustler rattles on
I know fools raised on whipped cream
I know the wine by the barrel
I know everything but myself.

I know the horse and the mule
I know their loads and their limits
I know Beatrice and Belle
I know the beads that count and add
I know nightmare and sleep
I know the Bohemians' error
I know the power of Rome
I know everything but myself.

Prince I know all things
I know the rosy-cheeked and the pale
I know death who devours all
I know everything but myself.

Trans. by Galway Kinnell

White House advance team FAKED the applause

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

ABC reports that White House advance team FAKED the applause
by John in DC - 6/28/2005 08:34:00 PM

ABC's Terry Moran just reported that the only time Bush got applause was in the middle of his speech when a White House advance team member started clapping all on their own in order to cajole the soldiers into clapping, which they dutifully did.

Why not, the had already faked that there was any news value to the speech. Dr. Goebbels will not be amused.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Poem of the Day

And so it ends by Victoria Sackville-West

And so it ends,
We who were lovers may be friends.
I have some weeks in which to steel
My heart and teach myself to feel
Only a sober tenderness
Where once was passion's loveliness.

I had not thought that there would come
Your touch to make our music dumb,
Your meeting touch upon the string
That still was vibrant, still could sing
When I impatiently might wait
Or parted from you at the gate.

You took me weak and unprepared.
I had not thought that you who shared
My days, my nights, my heart, my life,
Would slash me with a naked knife
And gently tell me not to bleed
But to accept your crazy creed.

You speak of God, but you have cut
The one last thread, as you have shut
The one last door that open stood
To show me still the way to God.
If this be God, this pain, this evil,
I'd sooner change and try the Devil.

Darling, I thought of nothing mean;
I thought of killing straight and clean.
You're safe; that's gone, that wild caprice,
But tell me once before I cease,
Which does your Church esteem the kinder role,
To kill the body or destroy the soul?

The IWW Celebrates 100 Years.

My Grandfather was a delegate at the Brand's Hall meeting. Active in the union movement in Western Pennsylvania, he served as a footsoldier in Mother Jones' efforts in the steel and coal industries. He had a long career as an organizer for the United Mine Workers and was a shop steward until the day he died of black lung in 1950. My Father and three of his brothers were also active union members and organizers. I am proud to be what my buddy Mitch calls a 'Red Diaper Baby.' Though not quite a Wob myself, I can appreciate their importance and the need for their efforts. Congratulations to them on their 100th Anniversary.

Still Fanning the Flames of Discontent:

On June 27, 1905, 186 labor visionaries, including Lucy Parsons, Eugene V. Debs, Mary "Mother" Jones, William Trautmann, Vincent Saint John, and Ralph Chaplin gathered at Brand's Hall in Chicago to hear Western Federation of Miners organizer William D. "Big Bill" Haywood open the founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World with the following words: "Fellow workers...this is the Continental Congress of the working class. We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working class movement that shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working class from the slave bondage of capitalism". Some speech. Some union. The American labor movement would never be the same.

Nicknamed the Wobblies, the IWW sought to recruit unskilled and exploited immigrants, people of color, women and migrant farm workers who were excluded from craft unions of skilled workers organized by the AFL. Seeking to build the "One Big Union" across industrial lines, the IWW enthusiastically promoted the concept of working class solidarity by adopting the motto "An injury to One is an Injury to All", and the revolutionary tactics of direct action - which included sit down strikes, chain picketing, flying pickets, car caravans, and other organizing inovations. IWW organizing stretched from coast to coast - in factories, mills, mines, logging camps, agricultural fields, and shipping docks across the continent. Confronted with brutal attacks from both employers and the State, including the the murder of Wobbly activists [ 1 | 2 | 3 ] the union led "free speech" fights to defend the right of workers everywhere to organize, speak out and dissent. The IWW's vocal opposition to WWI also led to the arrest and imprisonment of 165 IWW organizers. In the decades that followed, the Wobblies continued to organize among marginalized workers - frequently ignored by mainstream business unions - and their vision of a militant, radical and democratic labor movement continues to inspire new organizing efforts to this day. An IWW Chronology

Now, one hundred years later, the IWW is gathering once again in Chicago to celebrate a rich legacy of struggle for the rights of working people. Read More

Red State Chickenhawks

Not only do the Blue States pay the preponderance of taxes to the Federal government which then proceeds to spend most of its take in the Red States, it seems that the Blue States are also suffering a disproportionate share of the casualties from the Iraq war. I guess they figure what's some extra deaths of folks that weren't going to vote for them anyway, right.

And lest you wingnuts bleat that most of the military is Republican, well that's not true. Recent polls show that a majority of enlisted personel are Democrats while a similar percentage of the officers are Republican. So, who do you think has a greater chance of dying in combat, a general or a pfc. You do the math.

from democratic underground via captain normal:
Anyone else sick of being told by Bush voters that people who don't support the war are helping the terrorists? Anyone else sick of brave Republican warmongers finding all kinds of reasons not to join the military, despite the growing recruitment crisis? You may be interested to know that a breakdown of the Iraq war dead shows that more come from states that voted for John Kerry. In general, the bluer the state, the more dead soldiers.

Check out these maps:

Now with the ol' Red vs. Blue map superimposed:

For some reason I expected to see more of the staunch Bush-voting "heartland" Republicans out west doing their bit for the cause...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Kelo v. New London

from Casual Asides:

Kelo v. New London seems to have created a political issue which unites extremists against the moderates, which is pretty interesting in and of itself. Contrary to what libertarians like Eric or Abu Gingy might believe, I don't welcome this expanse of government power. This isn't "quasi-socialism," it's quasi-fascism--how do we know? This isn't even "private property be taken for public use, [with] just compensation," as the Constitution would say; it's yet another advance in the legalization of corruption, the taking of private property for private use. This is corporatist syncretism, which is really just Fascism with an friendly face. (more)

I'm sure that it will surprise many of my rightwing blogger antagonists that I think the liberal writers of this majority opinion have their collective heads up their collective asses on this one. The definition of 'greater public good' they have formulated makes the full empowerment of the American Fascistic impulse all the more probable.

d.j. waletzky pens a much more cohesive critique of the horrendous majority opinion than the one I had planned. So, check it out.

Take Action Against Rove

We are all well aware of Mr. Rove's "Turd Blossom" or "Bush's Brain" comments, and we are all appalled (for except the GOP leadership who continues to support him, and saying that Rove's comments are historical fact). It is NOW TIME TO TAKE ACTION.

Sign the "Fire Karl Rove" Petition:

Also Email Pompus Ass Rove here:

Extraordinary Rendition

from NYTimes:

In Italy, Anger at U.S. Tactics Colors Spy Case

Published: June 26, 2005

MILAN, June 25 - The extraordinary decision by an Italian judge to order the arrest of 13 people linked to the Central Intelligence Agency on charges of kidnapping a terrorism suspect here dramatizes a growing rift between American counterterrorism officials and their counterparts in Europe.

European counterterrorism officials have pursued a policy of building criminal cases against terrorism suspects through surveillance, wire-taps, detective work and the criminal justice system. The United States, however, has frequently used other means since Sept. 11, 2001, including renditions - abducting terror suspects from foreign countries and transporting them for questioning to third countries, some of which are known to use torture.

Those two approaches seem to have collided in the case of an Egyptian cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, or Abu Omar, who led a militant mosque in Milan.

By early 2003, the Italian secret police were aggressively pursuing a criminal terrorism case against Mr. Nasr, with the help of American intelligence officials. Italian investigators said they had told the Americans they had strong evidence that he was trying to build a terror recruitment network, possibly aimed for Iraq if the United States went forward with plans to topple Saddam Hussein.

On Feb. 17, 2003, Mr. Nasr disappeared.

When the Italians began investigating, they said, they were startled to find evidence that some of the C.I.A. officers who had been helping them investigate Mr. Nasr were involved in his abduction.

"We do feel quite betrayed that this operation was carried out in our city," a senior Italian investigator said. "We supplied them information about Abu Omar, and then they used that information against us, undermining an entire operation against his terrorist network."

He and other senior Italian officials in Milan's police and prosecutor's office were angry enough to answer detailed questions about the case, but insisted on anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

"This whole investigation has been very difficult because we've been using the same methods we used against organized crime to trace the activities of people we considered to be our friends and colleagues," the senior Italian investigator said. "It has been quite a troubling affair."

The Italian warrants - requested by Milanese prosecutors after two years of investigations - accuse 13 people identified as American C.I.A. officers and operatives of illegally abducting Mr. Nasr from a Milan street and flying him to Egypt for questioning. The whereabouts of the 13 are unknown, but the charges are criminal. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 10 years and 8 months in prison.

looks like another of the 'coalition of the willing' is changing its mind. I wonder if da Prezidense and Toady Blair are feeling the heat yet.

General admits to secret air war

from Sunday Times:

THE American general who commanded allied air forces during the Iraq war appears to have admitted in a briefing to American and British officers that coalition aircraft waged a secret air war against Iraq from the middle of 2002, nine months before the invasion began.

Addressing a briefing on lessons learnt from the Iraq war Lieutenant-General Michael Moseley said that in 2002 and early 2003 allied aircraft flew 21,736 sorties, dropping more than 600 bombs on 391 “carefully selected targets” before the war officially started.

The nine months of allied raids “laid the foundations” for the allied victory, Moseley said. They ensured that allied forces did not have to start the war with a protracted bombardment of Iraqi positions.

If those raids exceeded the need to maintain security in the no-fly zones of southern and northern Iraq, they would leave President George W Bush and Tony Blair vulnerable to allegations that they had acted illegally.

Moseley’s remarks have emerged after reports in The Sunday Times that showed an increase in allied bombing in southern Iraq was described in leaked minutes of a meeting of the war cabinet as “spikes of activity to put pressure on the regime”.

Moseley told the briefing at Nellis airbase in Nebraska on July 17, 2003, that the raids took place under cover of patrols of the southern no-fly zone; their purpose was ostensibly to protect the ethnic minorities.

A leaked memo previously disclosed by The Sunday Times, detailing a meeting chaired by the prime minister and attended by Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, Geoff Hoon, the then defence secretary, and Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, chief of defence staff, indicated that the US was carrying out the bombing.

But Moseley’s remarks, and figures for the amount of bombs dropped in southern Iraq during 2002, indicate that the RAF was taking as large a part in the bombing as American aircraft.

Details of the Moseley briefing come amid rising concern in the US at the war. A new poll shows 60% of Americans now believe it was a mistake.

Well, well, well. Another treasonous lying liberal attempts to slander the Presidense and Emperor Chaney and Ratfucker Rumsfeld by telling the truth. We must put a stop to this indiscriminant truth telling. It confuses the people and makes them question their instant obedience to proper authority. This can hamper the war effort.

Baghdad airport closed indefinitely by dispute over payment for security

from BBC via Dohiyi Mir

Cash row closes Baghdad airport
By Jon Leyne
BBC correspondent in Baghdad

The British company that provides security to the airport, Global, has withdrawn its services in what it says is a contractual dispute.

Military flights, however, are not affected.

Travelling out of Baghdad airport is hazardous enough at the best of times but now it is not possible at all, at least on civilian flights.

It is understood that Global has not been paid by the Iraqi government for three months.

It is not clear whether there is any connection but the Iraqi transport ministry is frequently accused of corruption.

A former transport minister is wanted for questioning over the issue.

The Iraqi government is also notoriously unreliable about paying its own employees.

When the airport is open, several airlines provide commercial flights inside Iraq and to several neighbouring countries.

Because of the threat of missiles, planes execute a corkscrew manoeuvre on landing and take-off.

The airport highway is also one of the most frequently attacked roads in the country.

At last, real progress in the effort to totally corrupt Iraqi society. The NeoCons must be really proud.