Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why I'm Glad I Don't Live In Jena Right Now

Or really any other time, but now that the white supremacists are coming to town it's really time to run. And blacks have been running for a LOONNGGG time:

"No sooner did tens of thousands of African-American demonstrators depart the racially tense town of Jena, La., last week after protesting perceived injustices than white supremacists flooded in behind them.First a neo-Nazi Web site posted the names, addresses and phone numbers of some of the six black teenagers and their families at the center of the Jena 6 case and urged followers to find them and "drag them out of the house," prompting an investigation by the FBI.Then the leader of a white supremacist group in Mississippi published interviews that he conducted with the mayor of Jena and the white teenager who was attacked and beaten, allegedly by the six black youths. In those interviews, the mayor, Murphy McMillin, praised efforts by pro-white groups to organize counter demonstrations; the teenager, Justin Barker, urged white readers to "realize what is going on, speak up and speak their mind."

Hat Tip: Mithras

The Man Who Saved The World

I'm a day late, but it seems to me that the story of Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov should be told:

"The story begins on September 1st, 1983, when Soviet jet interceptors shot down a Korean Air Lines civilian airliner after the aircraft crossed into Soviet airspace and then, for reasons still unknown, failed to respond to radio hails. 269 passengers and crew died, including US Congressman Lawrence McDonald. Ronald Reagan called it "barbarism", "inhuman brutality", "a crime against humanity that must never be forgotten". Note that this was already a very, very poor time for US/USSR relations. Andropov, the ailing Soviet leader, was half-convinced the US was planning a first strike. The KGB sent a flash message to its operatives warning them to prepare for possible nuclear war.

"On September 26th, 1983, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov was the officer on duty when the warning system reported a US missile launch. Petrov kept calm, suspecting a computer error.

Then the system reported another US missile launch.

And another, and another, and another.

What had actually happened, investigators later determined, was sunlight on high-altitude clouds aligning with the satellite view on a US missile base.

In the command post there were beeping signals, flashing lights, and officers screaming at people to remain calm. According to several accounts I've read, there was a large flashing screen from the automated computer system saying simply "START" (presumably in Russian). Afterward, when investigators asked Petrov why he hadn't written everything down in the logbook, Petrov replied,"Because I had a phone in one hand and the intercom in the other, and I don't have a third hand."

The policy of the Soviet Union called for launch on warning. The Soviet Union's land radar could not detect missiles over the horizon, and waiting for positive identification would limit the response time to minutes. Petrov's report would be relayed to his military superiors, who would decide whether to start a nuclear war.

Petrov decided that, all else being equal, he would prefer not to destroy the world. He sent messages declaring the launch detection a false alarm, based solely on his personal belief that the US did not seem likely to start an attack using only five missiles.
Petrov was first congratulated, then extensively interrogated, then reprimanded for failing to follow procedure. He resigned in poor health from the military several months later. According to Wikipedia, he is spending his retirement in relative poverty in the town of Fryazino, on a pension of $200/month. In 2004, the Association of World Citizens gave Petrov a trophy and $1000. There is also a movie scheduled for release in 2008, entitled The Red Button and the Man Who Saved the World."

Hat Tip: Megan

The Burma Situation

Blow-by-blow found here.

Time has the write up, quote:

"By 12:30 p.m., hundreds of monks, students, and other Rangoon residents approached the police, stood in the road and began to pray. Then the soldiers and police began pulling monks from the crowd, targeting the leaders, striking both monks and ordinary people with canes. Several smoke bombs exploded and the riot police charged. The monks and others fought back with sticks and rocks. Many others ran, perhaps four or five of them bleeding from minor head wounds. A car was set alight — by the soldiers, some protesters claimed — and then there was the unmistakable crack of live ammunition: the soldiers were shooting into the air.

"They are not Buddhists," cried one student, who clutched half a brick in his hand, running from the smoke. "They are not humans. We were praying peacefully and they beat us. They beat the monks, even the old ones." An 80-year-old monk stood with the student, bleeding from a baton gash on his shaven head.

"However, after this confrontation, the monks regrouped and surged forward again. Shops along the road were shuttered, but people threw down water bottles from their balconies to aide the protesters. Minutes later, the arc of a tear-gas canister looped through the air toward the pagoda's east entrance. The air was full of dense black clouds from a burning car and motorbike. Running monks retreated through the smoke, many armed with clubs of scavenged wood, one armed with a riot shield snatched from the police. They were shaking and incandescent with rage. "The United Nations must know about this!" cried one. "They beat the nuns too," cried another. "

I know this is going to sound completely quixotic and naive but...what's up with beating up monks and nuns? I mean, they're friggin monks man! Looks like some more people bought themselves an first class flight to Hell. That's getting to be a pretty packed flight.

Hat Tip: Sully

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Meanwhile, Over at All Hip-Hop

I discuss why Bill O'Dumbass' realization means more than you might think...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

BlackWater Probed

But not for killing Iraqis, cause like, they don't matter I guess:

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday.

"...Officials with knowledge of the case said it is active, although at an early stage. They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, which has heightened since 11 Iraqis were killed Sunday in a shooting involving Blackwater contractors protecting a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Baghdad."

Maybe they just wanted to give Iraqis guns to shoot back at them; you know, like a big game of cops and robbers. Oh wait, that's what they play with Bush and Cheney.

Guilty Pleasure

I hate Nickleback, but this song's really grown on me:

I Have An Idea

Why the hell haven't we sent Britney to Iraq? I mean Bush is ready to send everything not nailed down over there but we haven't sent this waste of air yet? And whatever happened to the USO? I mean I remember growing up watching all those Bob Hope specials of him traveling the American Empi--I mean the globe to entertain the troops, but now that we're actually in a war (sorta) the well's dried up? I mean you can't even get Carrot Top and Andy Dick over there?

Seriously, send Britney. These guys haven't seen a woman in make up and a thong in years. You see how hard up they are. And the worse that could happen? She gets shot and Bush gives her a medal posthumously. And the best? When she gets into a car accident she might hit a IED. Britney Spears--saving lives.

Free The Jena 6

I can't really say why I haven't written about the Jena 6; but, looking at the picture across, I get some idea. It's a painful reminder of how slow racial attitudes change. Not only that but the Jena 6 situation is nothing new. I've grown numb from discussing racial issues. From Sean Bell, to Diallo, to friends who consistently get pulled over for DWB, every day some black or person of color faces discrimination in some form or another.
Megan gives a pretty good run down of the situation here, but I actually wanted to post up a comment which was left under her post. It's long but it's worth the read:
"Woo! There has been a LOT of heat on this topic.
I have a very libertarian attitude towards most issues, and I am a strong proponent of the right of self defense.
So here comes the radical part of my opinion: it is POSSIBLE that those 6 black youths should be COMMENDED and THANKED for showing REMARKABLE RESTRAINT under the circumstances.
"What", you ask, "is this guy a NUTCASE?"
Well, my wife may think so, but let me give you a "devil's advocate" argument.
This is the SOUTH we are talking about. Blacks were held as slaves there for hundreds of years, and white-on-black lynchings were both prevalent and accepted for most of the 20th century. A noose is not only a symbol of grotesque and horrific oppression and murder, it is also a WEAPON. And it is a weapon that has been used to DEADLY effect against thousands of innocent blacks across the South, for decades, even centuries.
When those kids hung a noose fom that tree, it was no different than if a bunch of Nazi skinheads in Germany held up swastica flags, waved around full canisters of Zyclon-B gas, and threatened to release it into a Jewish Highschool.
The black students at the school waited patiently for the wheels of justice to turn, and for the white students involved to be arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to PRISON time (3 to 5 years each?) for assault. The justice system failed them UTTERLY.
Now, they were faced with a situation where they had been credibly threatened with murder, in a jurisdiction where the murder of blacks by whites was a socially acceptable hobby within living memory, and the forces of law enforcement had refused to either offer them protection or prosecute the offenders.
Individuals have a right to be secure in their persons. If the police refuse to do the job, then the individual if morally obligated to protect himself BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
I say that white kid got of lightly. I am Jewish. I am married with 4 children. If a Neo-Nazi ever threatened my wife or one of my children, he'd be lucky if all I did was kill him."
Of course, this dude took heat because many people said that at the moment that the 6 assaulted the white student they were "secure in their persons". This is right and wrong at the same time. There's something that most white Americans, and really Americans can't and don't want to understand, and that is that many, many, many blacks and people of color live under constant fear for their life. As a black man living in the most liberal city in America (and maybe on the planet), I live in constant fear for my life. I have a feeling, which I keep hidden, mostly to maintain my sanity, that if a police officer, or really any white person wishes to do me harm they can do so at their whim. Let me repeat that: I feel that any white person can kill me and get away with it like their name was Scooter Libby. It doesn't matter if it was done in front of a crowd, or caught on video tape, if they wanna kill me they will and then go home to their house and eat a wholesome dinner with their family. And why do I feel this? Because the law is not applied equally. Some people want to throw up there hands and be apathetic, others claim that the inequity doesn't exist, but it does, and when injustice comes for you it doesn't care whether you see it approaching or not.
Maybe that's the main reason I am why I am. Maybe that's the reason why I rail off at Bush and his administration, or go bonkers when war profiteers who swindle the American public get off scot free, and yes, even when the Newsom murders are ignored in the media. Because when every one of those crimes go unpunished and ignored I feel a little less safe, and I feel that we get a tiny bit closer to a state of anarchy. Yes, if all things were equal then one could say that the Jena 6 were "secure" before their assault, but when the law isn't equally dispersed then one must become a vigilante and take their defense in their own hands. If I, feeling the way I do in NY, lived down there, I probably would have done the same thing, driven out of my mind with fear and rage. Terror is a powerful force, and not all of it comes from the Middle East.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

American Spirit

Maybe we're not as bad as we thought:

Hat Tip: Sully

A Nuclear Iran

Matt doesn't think it's a problem:

"Retired General and former CENTCOM CINC John Abizaid argues that we could live with a nuclear Iran. And, indeed, we could. Iran getting a nuclear bomb wouldn't be a threat to the United States and wouldn't even be an especially serious problem for Israel or any aspects of American power projections in the region.

"Somewhat ironically, I think getting clearer about this might make it easier to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Acting in an unduly paranoid manner about the Iranian nuclear program suggests to Iranians that there are some large gains that might accrue to their country from developing nuclear weapons. In fact, a nuclear weapons program would be a largely useless waste of money. The United States has good reason to worry about nuclear proliferation in general and, therefore, to worry about the Iranian program as an instance of the general phenomenon. But Iranian nuclear weapons, as such, aren't a big problem for us."

Sounds right to me. But try to convince McCain of it.

Just when you think it

Friday, September 14, 2007

Must Read For Today

AL asks a question that is at the center of everything: Who are we fighting in Iraq?

Maybe I'm Being Sensitive But...

Not sure how many people heard about this story but on Long Island yesterday it was reported that one of the contestants on the TV show Top Chef, Josie Smith-Malave, who happens to be a lesbian, was beaten by a pack of thugs who screamed epithets at her and her friends while beating them up. Here's how the story was reported in the Post yesterday.

But today the follow up report was under this headline: Arrest in TV Chef's "Gay Bash". Ok, maybe I'm being sensitive (Fox News tells me that liberals have a tendency to be this way) but what's up with the quotation marks around Gay Bash? I mean, were the suspects quoted screaming "Gay bash!" as they beat her? Or was someone at the Post trying to be witty and make a pun on Chef? If so, the comedy was inappropriate, and just not funny. Or, worse yet, is the author trying to throw doubt as to whether the woman was gay-bashed at all? I've seen the quotation marks used in that manner. Either way it seems sort of offensive to me considering the subject matter. I mean how would it look if they published these headlines:

US Marine "murdered" in Iraq.

Woman gets "gang-raped" by twenty men.

Suspects in terror get "tortured". (Oh wait, they use that one in City Journal).

Anyway, you get the point. Maybe I am being sensitive, but well, whatever. Sue me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

On Another Side Note

I noticed that Masi Oka is up for an Emmy for his work on Heroes, but how don't you nominate the dude who played Sylar (Zachary Quinto)?

Except alot of brainless corpses to be lining that red carpet.

In any event, I'm pulling for William Shatner who's also up for an emmy in the same category.

Side Note

I was reading this post over at Daily Kos, and I noticed something. Considering it's pretty apparent that Mike Bloomberg is running for President, should I trust polls commissioned by Bloomberg news?

Just wondering.

Say What?

Putin dissolves Russian government:

"MOSCOW, Russia (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed his long-serving prime minister Wednesday and nominated little-known Cabinet official Victor Zubkov to replace him in a surprise move that could put Zubkov in the running to replace Putin next year.

After dismissing Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov -- triggering the government's automatic dissolution -- Putin explained the shakeup was required to "prepare the country" for forthcoming elections.
Legislative elections are to be held December 2, and presidential elections are expected three months later."

Business as usual in Russia. Note to Bush, probably not a great time to push the NATO missile shield.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Something Even More Tastless than Kayne?

How about vandalizing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on 9/11?

Someone just bought a first class ticket to hell.

Someone Tell Kayne to Shut Up

Yeah, yeah, no one cares.


Exchange between Petraeus and Warner:

""He [Warner] then asked Petraeus a pointed question: "Do you feel that [Iraq war] is making America safer"?

Petraeus paused before responding. He then said: "I believe this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq."

That was, of course, a non-answer. And Warner wasn't going to let the general dodge the bullet. He repeated the question: "Does the [Iraq war] make America safer?"

Petraeus replied, "I don't know, actually. I have not sat down and sorted in my own mind.""

My take? I think Petraeus has gotten a bad rap this last couple of weeks, especially with the farther left questioning his loyalty to the country, a charge that's both unwarranted and counterproductive. However his obstinate adherence to misleading statistics, his appearance on Fox News, and his robotic and ideological abstractions of the Iraq conflict lead me to believe that he's more interested in somehow figuring out a military solution as a academic exercise than looking at the problem in terms of the bigger picture of America and terrorism. Is he yet another talking head of the Bush administration? To me the court is still out on that, but that's really irrelevant anyway. We had more than enough info to decide to pull out before Petraeus delivered his report, and his presentation isn't convincing enough to change our minds. Maybe if he'd held up a vial of anthrax...oh, mah bad.

Next Step--GI Joe

Edwards proposes a multilateral Counterterrorism organization:

"Every nation has an interest in shutting down terrorism. CITO will create connections between a wide range of nations on terrorism and intelligence, including countries on all continents, including Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. New connections between previously separate nations will be forged, creating new possibilities.CITO will allow members to voluntarily share financial, police, customs and immigration intelligence. Together, nations will be able to track the way terrorists travel, communicate, recruit, train, and finance their operations. And they will be able to take action, through international teams of intelligence and national security professionals who will launch targeted missions to root out and shut down terrorist cells.The new organization will also create a historic new coalition. Those nations who join will, by working together, show the world the power of cooperation. Those nations who join will also be required to commit to tough criteria about the steps they will take to root out extremists, particularly those who cross borders. Those nations who refuse to join will be called out before the world."

I'm down, especially if it gets us closer to catching Cobra Commander--er, I mean Bin Laden.

Hat Tip: MY

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Obama Picks up Brzezinski Endorsement

I concur.

When Good Friends Go Bad

Methinks Sully's shooting from the hip when he criticizes Matt's observation that US doctors overtreat patients:

"According to Matt, it's over-treatment. Yep: they're making us too healthy, those fee-based doctors. Can't have that, can we?"

The problem here is Sully's statement that they're making us 'too healthy' completely misconstrues Matt's observation:

"...I don't see any politicians wanting to tackle -- the fact that doctors frequently overtreat patients in ways that are sometimes directly harmful and even when not harmful per se, contribute to a terrible maldistribution of health care resources. That's not to say that America has "too much health care," but rather that at the same time as many Americans have too little health care other Americans are, in fact, getting too much. Doctors are, in essence, prescribing all the treatment that will get paid for -- which means too much treatment for people with a large ability to pay, and too little for people with little ability to pay."

Of course, that doesn't stop Sully from using his fallacious reasoning as a jump off to diss the entire idea of universal/ socialized/ any other type of health care policy other than what we have now:

"And who would be paying their salaries? The government of course, in some form or another, looking over doctors' and patients' shoulders to make sure they don't behave incorrectly, by over-prescribing, or prescribing one of those new, expensive drugs that actually cure or treat diseases. (Of course, if Matt and liberal Democrats have their way, there will be far far fewer new expensive drugs anyway.) It's often clarifying to see the leftist mind at work: we know best; the profit-motive is inherently suspect; doctors and patients cannot be trusted with their ow health decisions. Yes, I know insurance companies and HMOs make similar decisions. But if you think they're callous and irrational, wait till you give the same powers to Washington D.C."

Ooo the bogeyman! Watch out! Because the government can't be trusted with anything! Especially war, er I mean health care. Sure glad the government doesn't oversee the foods we eat or the cars or drive or anything like that--oh wait, they do? Damn you government! Damn you to hell!

(Short story: I have a friend who's had a drinking problem. He went to a doctor who sent him to AA and, after over a year of him not drinking still prescribes him nine different psychotropic medications. Now his hands shake worse than when he was withdrawing and he can barely formulate a sentence. But he leaves his faith in his doctors because, well they're doctors and they know best. Meanwhile he can't hold down a job. Now has he gotten better or worse? Overtreatment can be a problem, and even if it's not because of the influence and greed of the pharmaceutical industry, human arrogance can be just as dangerous.)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Heart Warming

A little lesson in the power of non-violent protest:

"Saturday May 26th the VNN Vanguard Nazi/KKK group attempted to host a hate rally to try to take advantage of the brutal murder of a white couple for media and recruitment purposes. Unfortunately for them the 100th ARA (Anti Racist Action) clown block came and handed them their asses by making them appear like the asses they were.Alex Linder the founder of VNN and the lead organizer of the rally kicked off events by rushing the clowns in a fit of rage, and was promptly arrested by 4 Knoxville police officers who dropped him to the ground when he resisted and dragged him off past the red shiny shoes of the clowns.

“White Power!” the Nazi’s shouted, “White Flour?” the clowns yelled back running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelt “White Flour”.“White Power!” the Nazi’s angrily shouted once more, “White flowers?” the clowns cheers and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.“White Power!” the Nazi’s tried once again in a doomed and somewhat funny attempt to clarify their message, “ohhhhhh!” the clowns yelled “Tight Shower!” and held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under to get clean as per the Klan’s directions.

At this point several of the Nazi’s and Klan members began clutching their hearts as if they were about to have a heart attack. Their beady eyes bulged, and the veins in their tiny narrow foreheads beat in rage. One last time they screamed “White Power!”The clown women thought they finally understood what the Klan was trying to say. “Ohhhhh…” the women clowns said. “Now we understand…”, “WIFE POWER!” they lifted the letters up in the air, grabbed the nearest male clowns and lifted them in their arms and ran about merrily chanting “WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER!”

Maybe we haven't gone to hell just yet.

Hat Tip: Digby

50 Cent is an Idiot

Says of Bush, " incredible… A gangsta. I wanna meet George Bush, just shake his hand and tell him how much of me I see in him."
Bush immediately made 50 Cent Attorney General.
Dear God, I hope Kenny Chesney whips his ass.

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