August 19, 2009 archive

Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports At least 95 people are killed in series of bomb attacks in central Baghdad around official buildings that also left 563 people wounded. “Taken together, the attacks were among the most devastating in Baghdad since the withdrawal of American forces from street patrols at the end of June.” The death toll is expected to rise.

    “The blasts were so intense that parts of a main highway near the Finance Ministry collapsed and were littered with shrapnel and splotches of blood. At roughly the same time, attacks in other parts of the city, including three roadside bombs and some mortar and rocket fire, left 17 people wounded, Iraqi officials said. In response to the chaos, the police and the Iraqi Army closed two main bridges over the Tigris River.”

    McClatchy adds this was Baghdad’s deadliest day in 18 months. Not since February 2008, has a day been this deadly in Baghdad. Some in the city fear violence will return as the government removes the blast walls and open roads that have been closed by the intense days of sectarian fighting from 2005 to 2008.

    “It is brother killing brother, son killing father,” said Katheema Hanoon, who owned a street vending booth next to the Foreign Ministry where she sold snacks and water. She was buried under her goods and shelves after the bombing. A taxi driver helped her out, and she felt fine an hour after the explosion.

    Of today’s attacks, the LA Times reports Bombs target ministries. “The main targets were the Finance and Foreign ministries, which were shaken by massive explosions minutes apart, demonstrating that the insurgency still has the capacity to strike at will against major institutions. In the first attack, a car bomb demolished a bridge beside the Finance Ministry.”

    The CS Monitor wonders if this is the start of a Sunni backlash. A Pentagon report to Congress released in July, “Measuring Stability in Iraq“, “warned of increasing disputes between the Shiite-led government and Sunni groups” because the Bush surge did nothing to resolve the sectarian tensions. The Guardian has a Timeline of bombings in Iraq since US withdrawal from cities.

  2. The LA Times reports Violence and death toll mount before Afghanistan elections. “Thousands of new U.S. troops arrived over the summer. Safeguarding the election was one of their primary missions. Despite their efforts, both troop deaths and civilian casualties have soared.”

    In a separate article, the paper reports a Gang takes over a Kabul bank and a bomber strikes a military convoy.

    In another burst of preelection violence, a suicide car bomber targeted a Western military convoy Tuesday in Afghanistan’s capital, killing at least 10 people, including a soldier with the NATO-led force and two Afghan employees of the United Nations.

    More chaos broke out today, the eve of the presidential vote, when a gang of armed men took over a major bank in the heart of Kabul and got into a shootout with police. There was no immediate word on casualties.

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks…

    Elsewhere, “two U.S. soldiers died Tuesday in a roadside bombing in eastern Afghanistan, bringing the number of American military deaths in the country this month to at least 26”.

    Meanwhile Afghanistan Imposes Censorship on election day, reports the NY Times. Just two days before the presidential election, the Afghan government is “barring news organizations from reporting on election day violence.”

    The National Security Council had made the decision “in view of the need to ensure the wide participation of the Afghan people in upcoming presidential and provincial council elections, and prevent any election-related terrorist violence,” the statement said.

    The Guardian counters that Afghan journalists ignore ban on reporting election violence. “Afghan journalists have rejected a government order not to report attacks or violence on election day, saying the ban would stifle press freedoms that were supposed to have returned after the fall of the Taliban in 2001.” The Afghan government fears that reporting on the violence will “deter people from voting”.

Four at Four continues with Obama’s foreign drug victims, food speculators, and Exxon oil sabotage.

No Drama Post-Partisanship Abandoned, Reality Embraced

Simulposted at Daily Kos

Ok, let’s get this out in the open, fight it out and “move forward,” lol.

Let me say from the outset that this does NOT mena that Obama is “bad.” This is about political tactics and strategy, NOT about him as a person.

I LIKE Obama, ok?


Obama supporters everywhere will no doubt find a way to spin this as an 11th dimensional win that we mere mortals and common folk can’t understand…but after allowing the Republicans to cost them 30 points in the polls on the Public Option and 10 points on Barack’s personal polls….it appears the Obama Administration has woken up to the political reality they face.

The reality that they are not in some political fantasyland where there opponents are reasonable, honest and have a shred of integrity or honor, they have apparently, finally figured out that they are dealing with the 21st Cenury Republican party and their whiny wannabe acolytes the Blue Dogs.

They seem to have finally figured out, as some of us have been saying all along, That they are in a fight with pirates, not at a tea party.

Luntz crafts new attack on PO on Fox with Hannity. Thanks to new TV machine, we get to watch. FAIL!

Thanks for the bump to the FP, Buhdy

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Frank Luntz, Republican Strategist:      It’s one of the most important points in this entire debate. If you call it a public option the American people are split. If you call it a Government Option than the public is overwhelmingly against it.  

Sean Hannity, RW Mouthpiece, Fox News Host:     You know, that’s a great point. From now on I am going to call it a Government option.

more Fail and Balanced strategery below the fold

WorldNet Daily Wingnuttery On Health Care Reform

There is always value in knowing what our opponents are saying in any fight. Since Matt Barber of Liberty University and the Liberty Counsel insists in spamming the Dog’s public e-mail with his toxin, malignant idiocy, the Dog figures he might as well share it with his fellow Netroots activists.  Just a little background on the odious Mr. Barber; he is a graduate of Colorado Christian University, and has a J. D. from Regent University Law School, the same school that brought us Monica Goodling and so many other illegally hired ideologues in the Department of Justice. This slime ball is also a member of the Anti-gay group Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality.

Originally posted at

How much security did $1 trillion buy?

I’m not going to add anything, I’ve been saying what this video, and the series Robert Greenwald is putting together for eight damn years, and I haven’t been alone!!

Rethink Afghanistan (Part 6): Security

Obama’s War Rhetoric


Now we seemingly have the Democrats back on track for some type of real health care reform which includes a public option, though we must concede the reform is TINY in the scheme of things, let’s see if we can’t get the Democrats to end these illegal, irresponsible and immoral wars.

Time to Jump Start the Anti War Movement


With the final betrayal of the progressive left still stinging like salt rubbed into a raw wound and the Pope of Hope’s filthy Judas administration in full damage control mode after Sunday’s slip by Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius that the public option was about to have its life support unplugged. The public option (without it any ‘reform’ of health care is no more than garbage)was the feckless fallback position for the corporate puppet Obama rather than the right thing which would be national single payer insurance and in true form the white flag was already run up by the reigning lord of the jackass party. You would think with armed thugs now carring assault weapons prowling Obama town halls that he and his rotten liar cabal of Wall Street and insurance water carriers that he would be a bit less likely to alienate those who are the true base but once again it is made evident of how much we are all being played for fools and chumps and have been ever since the DLC decided to throw in with the Reagan Revolution.

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Science

1 Smoke-spewing Trabant poised for rebirth as electric car

by Audrey Kauffmann, AFP

Sun Aug 16, 7:53 pm ET

BERLIN (AFP) – Once the much-mocked symbol of drab communist East Germany, Trabant cars are revving up for a dramatic rebirth as electric cars — 20 years after they drove through the fallen Berlin Wall to freedom.

A team of German firms is developing the “new Trabi” or Trabant NT, a revamped version of the famously unreliable and unattractive cars, and is aiming to unveil a prototype at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

And in contrast to the old model, whose noisy two-stroke engine sent a polluting cloud of burnt oil and petrol into the air as it chugged slowly through the streets behind the Iron Curtain, the new 21st century Trabi could hardly be greener.

NECN and Guardasil

Channel 6, my wife said.  One our cable system this is NECN. She swore there was a story about Guardasil.  Doctors refusing to give it, 300 deaths.  Magically it is nowhere to be found.


Ah, but lamestream media never lies, do they?

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

2009 Poems:  Dreamcatcher

Dream Catcher #8

Hardscrabble Progress


begets structure

hope gives birth

to greater hopes

dreams are dreamt

even by beings

existing only

between the breaths

of a dreamer

The present


out of untold

alternate futures

and drags the past


like a ball and chain

Life is endurable

if only one can find

the beauty

amidst the ugliness

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 19, 2009

Corporate fascism: a classic example

Coca Cola’s adroit, questionable practices during the Second World War are legendary. The company managed to play both sides of the European front against each other with breathtaking chutzpah, opportunism, and outright greed.

I stumbled upon this facet of history (or to be more accurate it whopped me over the head with a 2×4) as I wandered an area on Long Island steeped in history, looking for my bottles n’ cans. I was going to get more than I bargained for today.

There’s a building in Garden City – now boarded up and abandoned – just past the Roosevelt Field shopping mall on Old Country Road that used to host a data center for a gigantic hospitality industry “octopus” company called Cendant. Cendant had purchased the Avis rental car agency headquarters and made it their own, so most locals still knew it as the Avis building.

I made waves at Cendant during my first few weeks at Sun Microsystems by solving a three-month-old “severity 1” NetBackup tech support escalation in fifteen minutes. As a result there were those within the company who respected my skills, and for a period of time they became one of my regular clients, until they rolled up the sidewalks and moved their headquarters to New Jersey.

It didn’t hurt that an old college friend worked there, albiet in a completely different department. She was the one who explained to me that the building had been a munitions factory in World War II, and that was why the walls were three feet thick in places, and why it’s hallways were laid out in a maze that otherwise would have made no sense.

Several years later – oh, the rich irony – I stumbled upon the disused railroad tracks that obviously had led between the factory and the Roosevelt Field airfield.

It was rather bewildering. The dusty bottle I’d pulled out of the ground said “Sparkling New Orange Soda” in stylized applique paint that indicated that it would date anywhere from the late 1930s to the early 1960s. OK, fine, there were lots of weird little fly-by-night soda brands that came out back in the day, but on the back of this one it said “Coca Cola Bottling Company”.

I was boggled. WTF?!? This was obviously a Fanta bottle. Come on now, everybody knows that Coca Cola’s version of orange soda is Fanta. Right?

But for whatever reason, it wasn’t being CALLED Fanta. Why?

I found out why.

Doc’s Prescription for Health Care Reform 2009

Every thinking person agrees that the health care (actually, sick care) system in the United States is not performing as well as it should.  I say “every thinking person”, because special interest money can turn off one’s thinking cap very quickly.  This is what is happening now.

People, by our genetic makeup and millennia of experience, are averse to change.  We like thinks to be predictable, especially when it is fundamental to our survival.  We like our homes, familiar abodes of safety, just as well today as we liked our caves, or our hunting and gathering grounds, or any number of things that gave us a sense of security thousands of years ago.  Change, and the uncertainty associated with it, is scary for most of us.

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