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2007 March — Why Now?
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Posts from — March 2007

The Games They Play

Everything is politics with these people.

CNN reports that War efforts funded through July, analysis finds, but the Shrubbery and his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have a different story:

President Bush and Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have said the Pentagon needs Congress to approve additional war funding by April 15, or military operations will begin to be affected.

Pierre Tristam plotted the other line of attack yesterday in Swine Story, i.e. that the Shrubbery will claim the bill is filled with “pork barrel” projects [like the money promised to people recovering from hurricanes and rebuilding the New Orleans flood barriers].

On cue in his weekly liar-side chat Bush vows to veto Iraq war bill; vet says it should pass:

President Bush, seeking to one-up Congress’ Democratic majority in a showdown over the Iraq war, suggested Saturday that lawmakers should be ashamed that they added non-war items to an Iraq spending bill.

“I like peanuts as much as the next guy, but I believe the security of our troops should come before the security of our peanut crop,” Bush said in his weekly radio address, referring to a provision in the war funding legislation that earmarks $74 million for secure peanut storage.

Excuse me, the agricultural elements are part of a supplemental appropriation to cover disasters. The funds for the military should have been in the main budget that was submitted, but the entire war has been funded off budget, so the Shrubbery can lie about the deficits he is racking up.

March 31, 2007   4 Comments

Iran Hostage Crisis Day 9 or 79

Update: Via Avedon Carol of Sideshow, Terry Jones [of Monty Python] writes in The Guardian: Call that humiliation? – “No hoods. No electric shocks. No beatings. These Iranians clearly are a very uncivilised bunch.”

Just to help calm down the situation, after deciding to hold war games off the coast of Iran, now the US rejects Iran captives exchange. As Ellroon Rants from the Rookery puts it: Do as I say. [/snark]

The US raided an Iranian liaison office in Northern Iraq on January 11th and seized 5 Iranians working there. The Iranians have been “disappeared”, but no one is supposed to question what happened, and there is no contact between the prisoners and their government. The Iranians were there at the request of the regional government to coordinate border crossings.

The Iranians want to exchange the 15 UK personnel for the 5 Iranians. The US has produced no hard evidence that the Iranians were doing anything that wasn’t within their mandate in the agreement with Kurdish authorities, just as there is no hard evidence that the British personnel have done anything wrong.

An exchange would have gone a long way towards reducing tensions, but the Shrubbery can’t deal with reality. The history of Iran hostage rescue missions is not good.

March 31, 2007   10 Comments

They Have “Cooties”

Update: Via Alice in comments, Think Progress reports: Republican Delegation Currently Visiting Syria, Spared From White House Attacks. There are currently two Republan Congresscritters in Syria, and another is accompanying Speaker Pelosi. IOKIYAR.

We are told that the White House criticizes Pelosi’s planned Syria visit:

“We do not encourage and, in fact, we discourage members of Congress to make such visits to Syria,” said White House deputy spokeswoman Dana Perino. “This is a country that is a state sponsor of terror, one that is trying to disrupt the (Prime Minister Fouad) Siniora government in Lebanon and one that is allowing foreign fighters to flow through its borders to Iraq.

“I don’t know what she is trying to accomplish, and I don’t know if anyone in the administration has spoken to her about it,” Perino said. “In general, we do discourage such trips.”

Responding to a follow-up question, Perino added, “We think that someone should take a step back and think about the message that it sends … to our allies.”

What allies? We still have allies?

It would appear that the message the Speaker is sending is that some portion of the American government is willing to talk to people, and more importantly – to listen.

The Siniora government is in trouble because the government is a parliamentary system and it has lost its majority support after the Israeli attacks. The Shi’ite parties want a new election in accordance with the laws of Lebanon.

Foreign fighters can move around the Syrian-Iraqi border because the American military killed several Syrian border guards in hot pursuit of sheep smugglers earlier, and the Syrians aren’t anxious to repeat the experience. Of course, there is no one to stop the infiltration on the Iraqi side because we don’t have enough troops to seal the border. It’s a feature of borders that they can be sealed from either side.

As for terrorists, I don’t suppose anyone checked the lists on the MEK, or, even the Dawa party of the current Iraqi prime minister, clients of the US. There isn’t a political party in the Middle East that didn’t start out as a terrorist group.

Just because the Shrubbery doesn’t have the courage to talk to people who don’t agree with him, doesn’t mean that no one is able to do it. Talk is cheap, wars are very expensive.

March 31, 2007   3 Comments

It’s Spring

And at It’s morning somewhere, Oldwhitelady has baby pictures.

March 31, 2007   3 Comments

More Pet Food Recalled

The wheat gluten that is suspected in the canned pet food was also used in at least one brand of Dry Pet Food:

…Hill’s Pet Nutrition recalled its Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry cat food. The food included wheat gluten from the same supplier that Menu Foods used. The recall did not involve any other Prescription Diet or Science Diet products, said the company, a division of Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Now that they are finally looking at the contents of pet food they are finding other things that don’t belong there. They are not, necessarily dangerous, but the companies didn’t know they were there – possibly because THEY NEVER BOTHERED TO LOOK!

March 31, 2007   7 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Where’s The Fire?

Friday Cat Blogging

Who is that guy?

[Editor: Three feral kittens laying in the leaves by a couple of old fire extinguishers. They are at least a month old, which makes them a month earlier than normal. Normally the first kittens are born around now. I like kittens, but I don’t need another month added to the season.]

Friday Ark


Take a little time to send some kind thoughts towards Scout Prime, who lost Teddy this week, and towards the owners of the pets who were poisoned by tainted food.

March 30, 2007   9 Comments

I’m A Bad Person

I really am, I have a terrible attitude.

Mustang Bobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof does a fantastic job in The Prophet from Colorado Springs with this killer final paragraph:

Dr. Dobson and his crew keep predicting the End of Days and the Rapture when all of his like-minded “Christians” get beamed up to heaven, leaving behind all their clothes, worldly possessions, and the rest of us non-believers. As far as I’m concerned, it can’t happen soon enough: all those annoying, constipated, gay-bashing busybodies will be gone, and we can sell all their stuff on E-Bay.

And my mind conjures up one of my favorite of all time lines from any television show: It’s a cookbook!

Now, admit it, that is really an evil mind at work.

March 29, 2007   12 Comments

No Real Help

UPDATE: Here’s the position plotted on Google maps with an overlay by bbs.keyhole.com. I would note that the position shown is using the helicopter GPS, which is commercial , and only accurate to 10 meters, and it reflects the location of the helicopter, not the ship, which appears to be some unknown distance away.

The British Navy has published the GPS readings, and pictures “to try to prove that its naval party had not gone into Iranian waters and ridiculing Iranian claims to the contrary.”

But there’s a major problem:

Richard Schofield, an expert in international boundaries at King’s College London, questioned whether the dispute would be eased if the Royal Navy released co-ordinates of where the sailors were seized.


“Iran and Iraq have never agreed a boundary of their territorial waters. There is no legal definition of the boundary beyond the Shatt al-Arab.”

The line on the British map has never been agreed to by anyone, so there is no agreement as to whether the coordinates the British published are in Iraqi or Iranian waters. The British personnel could be held up waiting for Iraq and Iran to agree on the border, which might be what the Iranians were after when they made the seizure.

March 29, 2007   5 Comments


The BBC that Dell gives the go-ahead for Linux:

The second largest computer maker in the world said it had chosen to offer Linux in response to customer demand.

Earlier this year, 100,000 people took part in a Dell survey. More than 70% of respondents said they would use Linux.

Dell has not released details of which versions of Linux it will use or which computers it will run on, but promised an update in the coming weeks.

“Dell has heard you,” said a statement on the firm’s website. “Our first step in this effort is offering Linux preinstalled on select desktop and notebook systems.”

This is very good news as it offers an easy entry to Linux for a lot of people. The worse part of any operating system is the installation, and Dell is going to that for you. There is good, free software available to do anything you want, within reason, on Linux.

The other plus is that you don’t have to pay the Microsoft tax if you buy a pre-built computer. Most of the big companies have an original equipment manufacturer [OEM] license from Microsoft that requires a payment for every machine sold. That cost is built-in, and the computer is shipped with the software installed. When you buy one and then install Linux, you have to clear the disk before you can start. You have to pay for something you don’t want, and waste your time removing it.

This will provide even more impetus for new Linux software to be written.

March 29, 2007   13 Comments

Homeland Security?

Debbye Turner, the resident vet at CBS, warns that there are indications that the final number of deaths will be in the hundreds when the results are in for the tainted pet food. Matthew Philips of Newsweek asks Is Pet Food Properly Regulated?

I don’t mean to pick on Mr. Philips, but he needs to look at recent history, which makes the answer obvious – pet food has a lower priority than human food, and the record on regulation of human food is shameful.

Wikipedia maintains a List of United States foodborne illness outbreaks. If you come forward from year 2000 you will find:

In case people have forgotten the mantra of Republans is that regulation is bad for business and should be avoided because of the costs. They forget about the costs involved when people and pets die from the lack of regulation. They forget about the cost associated with government bailouts after unregulated businesses go bust.

Right now we are looking at “Resolution Trust II” to clean up the mess in the home mortgage sector. More billions of tax dollars to rescue people from what unregulated business does under Republans.

And some people still believe these clowns are going to protect us from terrorists? All al Qaeda has to do is incorporate in Delaware and they’ll receive tax breaks and subsidies.

March 28, 2007   7 Comments

Revenge Of A Geek v. 3.14159

Via Crooks & Liars a report on some righteous embarrassment for John McCain’s Myspace page.

Techcrunch makes a mistake in calling what happened a hack.

What Newsvine Founder and CEO Mike Davidson did was change a graphic on his own site: he didn’t access the McCain site at any time. It was the fault of the McCain’s people that they used Mike Davidson’s template and then stole his bandwidth by not bothering to create their own graphics. Mike Davidson doesn’t mind people using the template that he created, but he wants to be identified as the creator and to have people host the graphics on their own server.

The only reason I will use a graphic from someone else’s site without hosting it myself, is if they make it a condition of use, like my weather info in the sidebar. Whenever possible I identify the source of things and provide links, because it’s polite and a legal requirement. If you look at the source code for my page you will find the name of the guy who wrote the code for the Shrubbery and Osama trackers, and a link. I made modifications, but the original logic was his idea, his creation. People like to get credit for their work.

McCain’s site wasn’t hacked, it was shown to be a bandwidth thief.

March 28, 2007   3 Comments

And Now, For Something Completely Different

Via Avedon Carol a video: La marche de l’empereur.

Not a bad metaphor for giving the Shrubbery his daily intelligence briefing.

March 28, 2007   4 Comments

Just Incompetent

The Associate Press reports: Mistake means tax cheat can keep $100 million

Poorly written Justice Department documents cost the federal government more than $100 million in what was supposed to have been the crowning moment of the biggest tax prosecution ever.

Walter Anderson, the telecommunications entrepreneur who admitted hiding hundreds of millions of dollars from the IRS and District of Columbia tax collectors, was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in prison and ordered to repay about $23 million to the city.

But U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said he couldn’t order Anderson to repay the federal government $100 million to $175 million because the Justice Department’s binding plea agreement with Anderson listed the wrong statute.

This is a rookie mistake. They have no one at the Justice Department who verifies the citations in plea agreements? One hundred million United States dollars is real money, not a parking fine, and no one bothered to check on the statutes that were cited? The worst government in US history.

March 27, 2007   3 Comments

The Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline


Lurch at Main and Central reports on the The Wounded Warrior System:

The Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline can be reached from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. [EDT] Monday through Friday at (800) 984-8523. The call center is under the command of the U.S. Army’s Human Resources Command. As the system gears up, it is expected that it will go 24/7.

This is a reaction to the problems with the military medical system. It is a start, and should be used so they can at least understand the scope of the disaster.

March 27, 2007   4 Comments