So we've decided to give it back then?

Expanding on an issue previously covered by RAW STORY, the Washington Post reports on US commanders' expanding of efforts to align Sunni militiamen with American interests in Baghdad neighborhoods as untrained, uniformed “irregular forces.”...

General David H. Petraeus calls this effort the most significant trend in the “last four months or so,” and hopes to integrate these fighters, anticipated to be predominantly Sunni insurgents and locals, into the Iraqi security forces.
Link: The Raw Story | US expands drive for Sunni militiamen to patrol Baghdad

Setting out

Setting out, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Here's a thought: Why don't we just light a match?

Congress will be asked by the Bush Administration to approve $20 billion in advanced weapons and planes for Saudi Arabia, at the same time that Israel, along with Congress, are nervous about Saudi Arabia's role in the war effort, the New York Times will report Saturday.

The US hopes to have assuaged this by offering Israel an aid package totaling $30.4 billion over the next ten years.
Link: The Raw Story | US plans massive arms deal for Saudis

Blah blah rainy something something

I have a three-day weekend. It's supposed to rain three days.

Of course.

OMG! Another scary wife!

And speaking of chit-chat news (see earlier post), this from the NYTimes?

Mr. Thompson, 64, has said that he is intent on running a different kind of presidential campaign — on his own timetable and with the heavy use of all the tools available on the Internet, including online fund-raising and blogging. But the recent reshuffling has left unclear what balance he is striking between a traditional campaign and something truly different. And Republicans are still trying to determine who is really calling the shots and how much power is held by Mrs. Thompson.
I feel faint.

Link: Thompson’s Race Hasn’t Quite Begun, but Turmoil Has - New York Times

Q: Is “Pentagon planning” another one of those oxymoron things?

You know, like “military intelligence”?

He [that would be Secretary of Defense but not necessarily Homeland Security Robert Gates] said he would work with the Senate Armed Services Committee to find a way to keep senators informed about the “conceptual thinking, factors, considerations, questions and objectives associated with drawdown planning.”
A: Yup.

Link: Pentagon makes contingency plans for Iraq pullout | Reuters

News: It's not supposed to be just idle chit-chat, is it?

CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Brian Todd get all outragey (see the link) over the big cheese-bomb scare of a few days ago:
“That bulletin for law enforcement eyes only told of suspicious items recently found in passenger's bags at airport checkpoints, warned that they may signify dry runs for terrorist attacks,” CNN's Brian Todd reported Friday afternoon. “Well it turns out none of that is true.”
Not true! Nope. It was an internal training bulletin of some kind: All the incidents it described (exploding cheese! killer ice packs!) had been discredited and no terrorist “dry runs” were involved, no charges brought. Ho hum.

The question Blitzer doesn't raise is why did they report it before sort of, I don't know, asking around?Dude, the news is supposed to be a little more than just OMG, isn't it? I can do OMG. Those guys are supposed to do let's-find-out. More often than not, it seems, they don't.

But then entertainment is where the real money is, and it's horror movie summer, Bunky. Better buy a double tub of popcorn.

Link: The Raw Story | CNN: TSA knew 'dry run' terror alerts were bogus


Woe is me: Forsaken and forgotten by a talking house

At the urging of top conservative bloggers, the White House set up a Friday morning conference call to promote its message on the subject of executive privilege, RAW STORY has found....

The White House did not immediately respond to queries about the conference call from RAW STORY.
OK, House if that's how you feel. Don't bother calling next time either, I'm staying home to wash my hair.

Link: The Raw Story | White House runs conference call on executive privilege for right-wing bloggers

File under Some Ideas Make More Sense Than Others

He told authorities he began calling 911 because “I have no minutes on my phone and 911 is a free call,” the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
Link: 292 911 Calls Land Florida Man in Jail

Sounds a little iffy to m e

According to an imported superstition, good weather can be assured through a ceremony involving a virgin, some knives and fresh, whole onions and peppers.
Link: Virgin Secret to Good Festival Weather

Feeling a little bit deflated there, Bunky?

Feeling deflated?, originally uploaded by tedcompton.



The Tennessee Department of Correction will ban visitors from wearing thong underwear and bust-enhancing “water brassieres” when a revised set of visitation rules takes effect on Aug. 1, the Tennessean reports.
Link: FOXNews.com - Tennessee Bans Prison Visitors From Wearing G-Strings, Sexy Lingerie - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News

Of course not!

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton that a top Pentagon official did not intend to impugn her patriotism by suggesting that her questions about U.S. planning in Iraq boosts enemy propaganda.
Let's not make nice.

Link: Gates seeks to calm feud with Clinton - Yahoo! News

So Tony Soprano really didn't die then

PATERSON, N.J. — Daisy Valdivia is annoyed that someone stole her backyard pool — and baffled at how they did it without leaving behind a splash, drip or trace of the 1,000 gallons of water it contained.
Link: FOXNews.com - N.J. Woman Reports Thousand-Gallon Pool Stolen - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News


Up, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Why it's a really, really good idea, this “separation of church and state” thing

That evangelical support for Israel is largely based on “End Times” theology is largely irrelevant to the Israeli politicians who share the goal of expanding settlements into the West Banks and a military strike on Iran, but it is anything but irrelevant to the rank-and-file members and even one former House Majority Leader.

Blumenthal opens the video by interviewing Tom Delay, who when asked how much the “Second Coming” plays into his support for Israel, says, “obviously, it's what I live for, I hope it comes tomorrow.”

Delay closed by saying, “we have to be connected to Israel to enjoy the second coming.”
Link: The Raw Story | Delay: US and Israel must enjoy second coming

Perhaps, indeed

If the impeachment provision in the Constitution of the United States will not reach the offenses charged here, then perhaps that 18th-century Constitution should be abandoned to a 20th-century paper shredder.

- Barbara Charline Jordan, 1974
(Thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerrilla for the reverence, and this post.)

Link: American Rhetoric: Barbara Jordan - Statement on House Judiciary
Proceedings to Impeach President Richard Nixon

Where did we put the smelling salts?

The White House lashed out Wednesday at “pathetic” lawmakers on a key committee for approving rare contempt of Congress charges as a potentially serious constitutional showdown escalated.

“What you have right now is partisanship on Capitol Hill that quite often boils down to insults, insinuations, inquisitions and investigations,” spokesman Tony Snow said after the party-line vote.

“In our view, this is pathetic,” Snow said as the White House mounted a fierce counter-offensive in the wake of the House Judiciary Committee's charges against top advisers to US President George W. Bush.
Link: The Raw Story | White House assails lawmakers over contempt charges

High and dry

Duck ashore, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Go to the back of the elephant

So the clean-up squad was out in force again yesterday, hosing the joint down after another messy speech from Commander Guy.

A day after President George W. Bush sought to directly tie bin Laden to the Iraq group, CIA officer Edward Gistaro said the the two groups shared ideologies but that Al-Qaeda deferred to the Iraq branch to make decisions on the ground there.
Maybe after these guys get booted out of Washington they can all get jobs at the circus, following the elephant. Or the donkey.

Link: The Raw Story | Al-Qaeda not 'monolithic' group: US officials


When I have time I don't have time

Bah. On days when I don't have class I get a slow start in the morning, just sit around browsing newspapers and wondering what I'm gonna do with all that time and by the time I get my act together the sun's too high for good picture taking, so I get involved with a project and then along about mid-afternoon when the sun gets into a better place I'm busy.

So maybe I'll fool around for a while teaching my computer new things to say. Speech recognition has been a sometime thing for me, more novelty than anything useful. It's been in Macs for as long as I can remember, ten or twelve years at least, but finally the processors are fast enough and, thanks to iChat video, the microphones good enough to make it really work. So once in a while I turn it on, just for the company (a very sultry voice, has my computer). It has a fairly long list of commands it recognizes but the emphasis is on practical, so it needs to be lightened up a little. Now, when I say “thank you” to it it says, “sure, Dude,” and when I say “nice try” it says “buzz off.”

That's progress, eh?

So it's just sort of a starter embassy then?

The massive embassy rising in Baghdad's fortified green zone may not be big enough to house all the planned employees, the LA Times reports. “Despite its brash scale and nearly $600-million cost, the compound designed to accommodate more than 1,000 people is not big enough, and may not be safe enough if a major military pullout leaves the country engulfed in a heightened civil war, U.S. planners now say,” the paper writes.
Link: Danger Room - Wired Blogs

Sun up

Sun up, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Most places, once is pretty much it

But not in Ohio, it seems. The Columbus Dispatch reports:

Bikers in Ohio die less often
(The Dispatch's web page does this thing with drop caps that sort of makes it all look underwater, don't you think?_

Link: The Columbus Dispatch : Bikers in Ohio die less often

We can only spin so many times before we get a little wobbly here

WASHINGTON -- During a tense seven-hour meeting in Baghdad yesterday, the United States accepted an Iranian proposal to set up a joint committee on security in Iraq, marking a major shift in US policy toward engagement with the Iranian regime....

“We'll see what they do,” Crocker said. “Over the last two months, we have seen, if anything, an increase [in, they say, attacks by Iranian-sponsored militia groups]. They maintain that they are serious about assisting Iraq to improve security. The opportunity is in front of them.”
So put the bad guys on the committee, I guess. Might work. Worked pretty well in seventh grade, but then the issue was litter in the lunchroom. Who knows now.

This might, of course, be good news indeed. It might mean Commander Guy and his gang have finally achieved, in their Iraq policy, the sophistication of seventh graders. But more likely, as we know - you know we know, Bunky - our foreign policy has now become oh what the hell why not.

Link: US, Iran will cooperate on Iraq security - The Boston Globe


Screw the lake, says geezer in Stockport (wherever Stockport is)...

...claims human rights violated by limit on water-skiing speed.

“It's unjust, unfair and unreasonable. You tell me any other sport where somebody with my disability, my age, my problems, could go out to take part in something that's as exciting and enjoyable as what I've just done. I really really enjoyed that ski.”
Yeah, right. I guess they care about that stuff in England (oh, that's where Stockport is!). Human rights, I mean. And lakes.

Link: Ananova - Blind water-skiier breaks speed limit


What caught my eye in the story from RAW linked below was its identifying some babe named Fran Townsend as “National Homeland Security Advisor.” OK, I haven't been paying attention: She has apparently been around a long time but still, I thought we had a Department of Homeland freaking Security now. Or did that close already, or something?

Some web site called GovernmentExecutive.com quotes colleagues as calling Townsend “charming” and “disarmingly frank” (not Fran) and says her job as National Homeland Security Advisor is to “ensure that all the departments with a role in counter-terrorism are on the same track.” Begging the question how many tracks can there be, isn't that what the Department of Homeland Security is supposed to do? Isn't that why it was set up in the first place? Wasn't that the whole freaking idea?

So Commander Guy just doesn't listen to them or what? (Yeah, right, I've seen her picture. I'd rather listen to her than that Chertoff guy myself. But anyway, WTF?)

Maybe she got the job because she speaks Commander Guy's language - namely, double - because after dancing around the subject of whether al Qaeda is a big deal or is not a big deal she falls back on just because we don't tell you we're not doing stuff doesn't mean we're not doing stuff and blah blah blah the national interest something something.

On second thought, maybe I'd rather listen to the skinny guy after all.

Link: The Raw Story | National Security Adviser Townsend 'tap dances' on Fox News


Launch, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


In other words, if people would just not allegate so much...

Li'l Alberto did a star turn in a DOJ internal video the other day “to assure employees that he would not step down from his post after his department was found taking political considerations into account during its hiring procedures,” reports RAW.

Bush's former lawyer expressed slight regret over the practices. “I am troubled because the allegations regarding the politicization of this historic institution, an institution that stands for and protects the rights of the citizens of the greatest and most free nation on Earth, have occurred on my watch,” he said.
Poor Li'l Alberto is working night and day to try to fix things up.

Link: The Raw Story | Embattled Gonzales: I'm sticking around to 'fix the problems'


Breslin on Commander Guy's faux war

If Bush did this in Queens, he would be in court on Queens Boulevard on a murder charge.
Link: Impeach George Bush to stop war lies, deaths - Newsday.com

Seeking shade

Seeking shade, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


July, originally uploaded by tedcompton.