More or less it finally seems to be Spring

More or less Spring, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

If they're all so senior, why don't we just put an “early-bird special” on the menu and nab them when they show up?

BAGHDAD - U.S. forces detained 17 suspected insurgents in raids targeting al-Qaida in Iraq on Saturday, the military said, a day after the Pentagon announced the capture of one of the terror network's most senior and experienced operatives.
Turns out this particular senior operative was actually captured months ago (“last fall”) and has been secretly held since then. They only mention him now because they're sending him to Gitmo, a “prison for terror suspects.”

Link: U.S. raids target al-Qaida in Iraq - Yahoo! News

So maybe “mission accomplished” was a little premature...again

WASHINGTON, April 27 — The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, and many of Mr. Bush’s top advisers now anticipate that any gains by then will be limited, according to senior administration officials.

In interviews over the past week, the officials made clear that the White House is gradually scaling back its expectations for the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The timelines they are now discussing suggest that the White House may maintain the increased numbers of American troops in Iraq well into next year.
Raise your hand if you're surprised.

Link: The White House Scales Back Talk of Iraq Progress - New York Times

Sounds like a fine idea to me

NEW ROCKFORD, N.D. --Forget taking a limousine to the prom. One high school senior drove his date in a 1992 green John Deere 8760 tractor.
Link: N.D. senior goes to prom in tractor - Boston.com


If you want to get counted, better not get blown up

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren't counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians.

Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn't include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
And why would that be, you ask? Silly Bunky.

President Bush explained why in a television interview on Tuesday. “If the standard of success is no car bombings or suicide bombings, we have just handed those who commit suicide bombings a huge victory,” he told TV interviewer Charlie Rose.
If they counted bombs the terrorists would win!

Meanwhile Petraeus tells Iraqis...

“I don't think you're ever going to get rid of all the car bombs,” Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said this week. “Iraq is going to have to learn as did, say, Northern Ireland, to live with some degree of sensational attacks.”
...get used to it. Everything would be much better if the Iraqis would just quit whining about being killed.

Link: McClatchy Washington Bureau | 04/25/2007 | U.S. officials exclude car bombs in touting drop in Iraq violence

We're all hostages now, sweetheart...get used to it

WASHINGTON — The sectarian violence engulfing Iraq will only grow worse if the U.S. abandons its current military strategy and begins to withdraw its forces, the top American war commander said Thursday.
Link: Petraeus sees more violence if force shrinks - Los Angeles Times

Not all news is news

WASHINGTON — After Sept. 11, 2001, the Food and Drug Administration developed a comprehensive plan to guard the nation's food supply against tainted imports, which were seen as a serious security threat. But nearly six years later, the plan has languished because of a lack of official will and tight federal budgets, according to former senior officials involved in formulating the strategy....

“The bottom line is that the United States is being overwhelmed with food imports, and they are not being screened by the FDA,” said William Hubbard, a former FDA associate commissioner for policy and planning.
Just more damage wrought by an incompetent Republican administration, Bunky. Move along.

Link: A national food security plan exists, but it's stalled - Los Angeles Times


Hours, not days

How long do you think King George would last in the real world, forced to live like the average American?
Link: Crooks and Liars » Oregon Governor Lives On Food Stamps For 1 Week

If anyone's still paying attention here...

“We’re losing eight children and teenagers a day to gun violence,” she [Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund] said. “As far as young people are concerned, we lose the equivalent of the massacre at Virginia Tech about every four days.”
Link: Welcome to Pottersville: Bob Herbert: Hooked on Violence

We are shocked, Bunky

“If you can go back through five years of e-mails, you can go back 10 years of e-mails,” McNicoll is quoted as saying. “The Clinton administration was doing this too — they were using e-mail accounts that were outside the presidential records system.”
Clinton did it too! What a surprise!

And here's another thing he did first: get impeached.

Link: The Raw Story | GOP may target Clinton Administration e-mails

So is it is or is it ain't? (And WTF?)

The Justice Department is seeking to limit the autonomy of lawyers representing detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention center, which has sparked a “new legal battle over the administration’s detention policies,” reports the New York Times....

The dispute is the latest and perhaps the most significant clash over the role of lawyers for the detainees. “There is no right on the part of counsel to access to detained aliens on a secure military base in a foreign country,” the Justice Department filing argued.
Link: The Raw Story | US Justice Department seeks to limit Gitmo lawyers

Next time your favorite candidate campaigns in Iowa askyourself...

DES MOINES, Iowa - Riggs hardly looks or acts like a beauty king. A 3-year-old male bulldog, Riggs is a drooler with protruding teeth and a penchant for attacking noisy appliances, begging for crumbs and hopping on furniture.

Fortunately for the canine from Prairie City, Iowa, those traits endeared him to judges Monday in the “Beautiful Bulldog” contest, an annual event held to draw attention to the 98th running of the Drake Relays.
...who are these people anyway?

Link: Riggs named most 'Beautiful Bulldog' - Yahoo! News

Thanks for clearing that up, AP!

Burlew was satisfied and released Hine on a $10,0000 appearance bond, meaning he'll have to pay that amount if he doesn't show up for his next court date.
I thought that “bond” thing had something to do with baseball.

Link: Ohio judge frees man after Bible quiz - Yahoo! News

Oh no...let's fix that pothole at the corner first

U.S. authorities plan to fill seven cross-border tunnels to keep smugglers from reopening them....

The tunnels will be filled with mix of asphalt emulsion and crushed aggregate to fill the tunnels. Work is expected to begin in May at a cost of about $2.7 million.
Link: Government to fill 7 tunnels on U.S.-Mexico border

We just need some place to put all our new rockets, is all

OSLO (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed as nonsense the concerns of some Russian officials that a planned U.S. missile shield in eastern Europe could pose a strategic threat to Moscow....

“The Russians have thousands of warheads. The idea that you can somehow stop the Russian strategic nuclear deterrent with a few interceptors just doesn't make sense,” she added.
And sense is what we're all about.

Link: Idea of U.S. threat to Russia is “ludicrous”: Rice - Yahoo! News


Don't worry, Bunky, it never crossed my mind

I bought this little two-step ladder thing because I figured it was about time I stopped standing on chairs and it has a sticker that says, “Do not climb backside.”

It's been that kind of day. I got an email from PFAW (“People for the American Way,” I think that means) with the heading...

Bring Back Ashcroft?
...and begins...

Of course we don’t want to bring back former Attorney General John Ashcroft, whose record as Attorney General was deplorable.
See what I mean? And the thing is, I upped my hard drive to some new and enormous size and I was just considering starting to save my mail, just because I can, which would be a big step to take because the whole idea of saving mail is way beyond my understanding (no I don't want to be reminded I said that) and that message turns up, ruins the whole thing. Or saves me from certain folly, whichever.

Ten or twelve emails are enough. That's my policy and I'm sticking to it. Get used to it.

Go read it all

So, great, the oldtimers are appalled that the President [sic] who they groomed, funded, lied for, stole elections for, and enabled all the way over the cliff turns out to believe in Fuhrerprinzip, along with His thirty-percent of bitter-enders who can’t undrink the KoolAid and form his only remaining base of support. My goodness, who could have seen that one coming?
Link: Republicans have never put loyalty to the country or the Constitution first | CorrenteWire

As long as his name's not Clinton, Dude, anything goes

More than 40 senior former World Bank officials called in a newspaper letter Monday for Wolfowitz to resign over revelations that he used his influence to ensure a favorable job and salary for his girlfriend, a World Bank employee.

The White House has staunchly backed Wolfowitz in the affair.
Link: The Raw Story | World Bank chief to change, not resign

Awwww...another dream crushed

JENN ABELSON, BOSTON GLOBE - Marketers around the world are using innovative audio technology that sends sound in a narrow beam, just like light, making it possible to direct messages right into consumers' ears while they shop or sit in waiting rooms.
So then the other day when I distinctly heard a woman's voice crying out my name it was only Procter and Gamble trying to sell me something? Damn.


Trickshot Dick bags himself

“It is cynical to declare that the war is lost because you believe it gives you political advantage. Leaders should make decisions based on the security interests of our country, not on the interests of their political party.
(Emphasis mine.)

Link: Whatever It Is, I’m Against It: Wherein Dick Cheney defines cynicism (in fact, when you look up cynicism in the dictionary...)

How obvious is this?

“The data from this school that you -- as a result of measurement helps teachers tailor their lesson plans to the specific needs of the child. Isn’t that interesting? The education system tailoring the needs to fit the -- tailor the curriculum to fit the needs of the child? That may sound simple, but it’s an unusual concept for a lot of schools.”
The reason schools don't “tailor the curriculum to fit the needs of the child” is that they are required to prepare their students for a standard test.

This is precisely the complaint of someone I know who teaches middle-school special ed: She is forced to assign her students inappropriate work - inappropriate to their abilities - because she must at least go through the motions of preparing them for a state exam. But then no matter, surely special ed kids are not the children the DOOFUS and his cronies have in mind when they prattle on about the schools.

Oh, I didn't mention? The quote is from the DOOFUS himself. You were wondering?

Link: Whatever It Is, I’m Against It: The pipeline is beginning to be full of little readers that are competent readers


So it's all true then.

London (UK) - A mineral matching the composition of Superman’s feared Kryptonite has been discovered in a mine in Serbia.

A research team in the mine at Jadar discovered the unusual mineral, and when they could not identify it they called in Dr Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London's Natural History Museum.

“Towards the end of my research I searched the web using the mineral's chemical formula - sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide - and was amazed to discover that same scientific name, written on a case of rock containing kryptonite stolen by Lex Luther from a museum in the film Superman Returns,” he told the BBC.
Link: TG Daily - “Kryptonite” discovered in Serbian mine

The DOOFUS didn't so why should we, asks multiply-named Fla R

Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., said catastrophe always follows when civilians turn a deaf ear to their military officers.

In the 2003 run-up to the war, Young said in an interview, administration officials dismissed a top Army officer's estimate that securing Iraq would probably require several hundred thousand troops.

“I just don't think that it's a good idea for us here in the Congress to try to manage the conduct of the war,” Young, a military appropriations expert, told his colleagues during a meeting Monday.
Monkey see, monkey do.

Link: Lawmaker: Listen to military on Iraq war - Yahoo! News
BAGHDAD — U.S. and Iraqi military officials scrambling to deflect criticism of a wall being erected to separate a volatile Sunni Muslim neighborhood from surrounding Shiite areas insisted Monday that the structure is not a wall at all.

It's a barrier....

“There's a difference between constructing a security barrier and a security wall,” said an infuriated Musawi. “Some media said the security forces will construct a security wall. This is inaccurate and groundless. As I said, these will be barriers.”
Confusion reigns, and Darlin', it ain't just me.

“People want to have freedom of movement,” [Park Ranger US Navy Rear Admiral Mark] Fox said. “But at the same time there is a requirement for security.”
Good work, Ranger Admiral Mark! And by the way, didn't you used to be a comic strip or something? Do you think those Iraqis are ever gonna learn to shut up and do as they're told?

Link: Military officials defend new barrier in Baghdad - Los Angeles Times


The job being...

“The Attorney General went up and gave a very candid assessment, and answered every question he could possibly answer, honestly answer, in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do the job,” the President said in a brief press stake-out.
...defending the bunker at all costs.

Link: The Raw Story | Bush starts week by expressing confidence in Gonzales

Friedman declares Iraq a four-very situation

BLITZER: So when Harry Reid says the war is lost, you are not
there yet. You haven't come to that conclusion yet.

FRIEDMAN: I mean, I certainly think that we're on our very,
very, very, very last legs. You know, we certainly haven't won,
that's for sure.
I think five veries is the max. Or maybe six or so. But no matter how you cut it, four is a lot. Four is definitely more than two, or even three. In other words it's quite a few.

Although, just to quibble a bit and for the record, I think all this talk about winning wars is bull. It's not a war we're losing in Iraq, it's an occupation. We won the war years ago. If the DOOFUS had been paying even the slightest attention to what he was saying on that aircraft carrier he might have got it right. The war was won in just a few weeks.

Occupations nearly always fail in the end. In fact I can't think of any right offhand that were ever “won.” But occupations don't get much political traction, I guess, so war it is. Whatever works.

Link: Crooks and Liars » Friedman for War Czar: …we’re on our very, very, very, very last legs…

And all is well with the bunker correspondent's corps

In between butternut squash, filet of salmon and petite filet, and mango mousse, the 3,000-plus attendees chatted, snapped photos, and sought to get close to the presidential dais for photos.
Apparently the entertainment sucked (Sheryl Crow was not on the official program) but hey, you've come a long way from the cocktail weenies, Dude.

Sheryl Crow Battles Karl Rove at D.C. Dinner: Strupp's Report

Wimp liberal peacenik...Army?

Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell's 104-page report on Haditha is scathing in its criticism of the Marines' actions, from the enlisted men who were involved in the shootings on Nov. 19, 2005, to the two-star general who commanded the 2nd Marine Division in Iraq at the time. Bargewell's previously undisclosed report, obtained by The Washington Post, found that officers may have willfully ignored reports of the civilian deaths to protect themselves and their units from blame. Though Bargewell found no specific coverup, he concluded that there also was no interest at any level in investigating allegations of a massacre.
Oh oh. Navy too.

A Naval Criminal Investigative Service report found that the Marines then killed five unarmed civilians whom they ordered out of a car -- one Marine alleged that another got down on one knee and shot them one by one -- before storming several houses and killing women and children, some of them still in their pajamas and lying in bed.
Wingnuts just might have to go this alone.

Link: Report On Haditha Condemns Marines - washingtonpost.com


A delicacy from the NYTimes

A Government Accountability Office report released on the eve of this conference described in stark detail a system rife with inefficiencies: the amount of food shipped over the past five years has fallen by half as shipping and other logistical costs have soared. Only a little more than a third of federal food aid spending actually buys food. The United States feeds about 70 million people a year now instead of the more than 100 million it fed five years ago.
(Emphasis mine.)

Link: Bush Administration Gains Support for New Approach on Food Aid - New York Times