February 14, 2010 archive

1950-1980 — Was This Our Golden Era?

Great Depression Soup Line Pictures, Images and Photos

Is good news one of those quaint relics, exclusively relegated to our past, fovever doomed to never again be a part of our present or future?  

McCrystal Issues 1st Apology for killing civilians during Afghan surge

Valentine’s Day, Feb 14, 2010.  Gen. McCrystal issued his first apology today for the deaths of 12 Afghan civilians who were cowering in their homes when 2 HMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems) rockets went about 300 meters off target in Helmand, Afghanistan, and hit their house.  The largest surge in the 9th year of the Afghanistan War started Friday.

Of course, he couldn’t help but throw in an attempt to make this a bipartisanshipthingee:


Two Nato rockets aimed at Taliban insurgents in Helmand missed their target today, killing 12 civilians sheltering in their home and dealing a sharp blow to hopes that civilian casualties would be avoided in the largest western-led operation of the nine-year Afghan war.

Operation Moshtarak (meaning “together”) involves 15,000 troops, mostly US, British and Afghan. The first US marines arrived in Marjah by helicopter before dawn on Saturday morning, while British forces are sweeping through Nad Ali.

“We deeply regret this tragic loss of life,” said General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan. “It’s regrettable that in the course of our joint efforts, innocent lives were lost.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered an investigation.

Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, at a press conference in Kabul, said that the aim of  operation Moshtarak was :

” not to kill insurgents” but to “expand the government’s influence and protect the civilian population”.

Afghan officials are claiming 27 insurgents have been killed so far.

On the second full day of fighting, the Taliban and other insurgent foot soldiers remained a shadowy enemy: Western commanders still do not have a solid estimate of how many Islamist militants remain in the farming town and its environs, which for years had served as a Taliban sanctuary.

Estimates prior to the assault ranged from 400 to around 1,000 Taliban and other fighters in the town. Perhaps 150 of those were believed to be “hard-core” militants, including Central Asian fighters with possible links to Al Qaeda who would likely fight to the death rather than slip away.

Some Taliban fled before the battle.  The Marines had widely publicized their plans to take the town in hopes of driving off less committed fighters and thus limiting close quarters combat that could end up harming civilians.


Instead, before leaving, they left a lot of land mines and other bombs buried all over the terrain, which will have to be cleared.  Which is expected to take weeks.

2 British soldiers and 1 American Marine have also suffered loss of life, altho one of the British was not in this area of the latest surge. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2…

No word yet, as the effect of the latest stimulus spending spread,  on whether or not the bonuses earned by the CEOs of the Afghan banks were having a negative polling effect on the Karzai administration.  

Big Tent Democrat? Welcome, Shoggoth!

Somewhere deep in the snowy Two-Way Mirror Mountains, beyond the Valley of the Mystical Contemplation of Worldly Demarcations, on the Peak of the Weltanshauung Breakdown at the top of the Conventional Wisdom Divide, where ululations of the wind are mistaken for human misery, and nothing moves, marks, or signifies in the Umwelt but the pomegranate eye of the blackbird…

The Horrible Burden of Being Right All the Time, Part II

There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it, I have now surpassed. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone; in fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape, but even after admitting this there is no catharsis, my punishment continues to elude me and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself; no new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.

A great American once said that, and I had the quote bronzed and hung above my desk at City Hall so that I’d never forget why I’m here. Human Resources is a thankless and dirty business, but I’ve become pretty damn good at it.  

Happy Year Of The (Almost Extinct) Tiger


Tiger in Captivity

The Tiger is almost extinct.  This situation is beyond disquieting. It’s a very scary, dire one for our small planet.  As Meteor Blades wrote yesterday

“Sometimes fury and despair are the only responses that one can come up with. It seems as if nothing anybody does – laws, scoldings, appeals to people’s better nature – will stop this needless, heedless destruction.

Please join me in the jungle in Asia.

Winter Olympics- Day II, Afternoon

What?  You’re not watching the Daytona 500 on Faux?

What kind of ‘murican are you?  Traitor!

In other news- yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll get to it when I do.  There’s only a 1 hour break from 6 to 7 pm between the Afternoon and Evening shows today and America’s Cup kept me dinking around this morning from 5 am to 10:30 waiting for them to decide not to start.

Assholes.  Don’t they know I need my power nap?

Anyway on NBC main Olympics kicks off today at 1 pm, an hour after the start of the Daytona 500, and I’d have put this up earlier except that like all NASCAR races there will be nothing important happening until the last 5 laps (around 4 or 4:30 pm) except for the wrecks and what kind of sadistic ghoul are you to be watching motor “sports” for the flaming chunks of twisted metal anyway?

It’s kind of the opposite of America’s Cup in that respect.  In the name of “parity” (and close racing to make flaming chunks of twisted metal more likely) they even have built in caution periods to allow the slower cars to catch up.

Pfui.  If I want to watch real racing it’s figure eight School Buses for me (or Trailers which are almost as much fun).

And I suppose I’ll have plenty of time to nap tonight when we’ll be featuring my least favorite sport of all (yes, even less than NASCAR though it’s hard to imagine)- Figure Skating.

I guess us red blooded ‘muricans can amuse ourselves by pointing and hooting at the French judges.

This afternoon we’ll be watching Men’s Downhill (postponed from yesterday when even Robert Redford wouldn’t have raced), more Colbert Nation sponsored Speed Skating (Women’s 3000m), Biathalon (Men’s 10k), the exciting part of Nordic Combined (the Ski Jumping), and 1 more run of Luge.

They’re saving the last run for the evening show to keep us chromosome damaged ‘muricans from tuning out in a NASCAR tailgating induced stupor.  Hopefully there will be plenty of crashes and flaming chunks of twisted metal.

On the aptly named USA Network, Team USA will play their opening game of non-chromosome damaged Hockey against China between 3 and 5:30 pm.  While it’s nice to root for your homies I can’t help but hope it’s a little closer than last night’s 18 – 0 blow out.

Umm… just because I’m totally getting my testosterone induced rage on doesn’t mean everyone else has to shut up.  It’s still ok to talk about politics and stuff.

Maybe you can find a way to hate on the French.

Docudharma Times Sunday February 14

Sunday’s Headlines:

Wall St. Helped Greece to Mask Debt Fueling Europe’s Crisis

Australia’s old ties with U.S. deepened in the past decade

Under Obama, more targeted killings than captures in counterterrorism efforts

Washington state lawmaker ascends to powerful funding post

Europe’s south refuses to downsize without a fight

El Bulli to serve its last brioche

Imprisoned Iranian protesters share a bond forged in hell

Paralysed Palestinian girl Marya wins a home

Coalition troops force Taliban retreat from key stronghold

The Year of the Tiger: The Chinese century

World Cup may trigger early general election in Zimbabwe

Can’t miss if you seek a kiss at Rio Carnival

Google Thyself

I highly recommend it.  Most revealing is the amount of stuff about you all over the net.  This is the first step toward knowing what “they” know about you so you can think about who could/would use it against you.

Net neutrality aside we may be entering that downward slide in the “wonders” of computing.  That double edged sword of technology once again.  Will it be used to unite or enslave people.

Happy Hallmark Day

Its kind of nice that we have homogenized the ancient rights into cardboard cut outs, inane one size fits all cards, when you consider the ancient alternatives. And there is no aphrodisiac quite like dark chocolate and red wines, which are better than having to ingest a bit of human entrails to become a wolf for 9 years to honor Lupa. Entrails can be so stringy, and the pieces stuck in your teeth? Total turn off. Yep, chocolate is a definite improvement. There are some rituals that have gotten worse, though. Watching all the village men run totally naked through town whipping their female audience playfully with soft sheep thongs as they trotted by might have been more interesting than, say, another shmaltzy Lifetime Channel made-for-tv romance movie. I suppose that depends on what the men in your particular town look like. Strange, what we do.

Seriously. The things human do to get laid.

Now, now. I’m not a total cynic. I mean, really, the fact that we indoctrinate the smallest of children into giving these love symbols to everyone in their classes, while desexualizing the holiday completely, yet keeping the symbols of love and fidelity says something. I’m not sure what. But something. Maybe it doubles their chances of getting laid later in life, either by Tom or Mary. “Hey, I still remember that card you gave me in 2nd grade. I liked it. Can we get naked now?” Its all good, you know. Heh.

Wait. That was still cynical, though entirely amusing. Let me try again. It is in fact, a reminder that relationships take work. It is good to focus on the needs of your partner and appreciate one another. Although I cannot think of anything that is quite the cocktail blend of salt peter and cold shower than “talking about ones relationship.” C’mon, even the girls know “Lets talk!” registers a cringe factor in men that no low cut blouse can overcome. Heh, they cannot see your cleavage with their eyes rolled back in their head. Besides. Love doesn’t happen by mandatory “Dates” or corporate definition. It happens in spite of it. Guys, pick your underwear and socks up off the floor; women, yeah its winter but shave your damned legs anyway. Say something nice to one another. That will work better than a card. Honest.

Better to forget all the contrived Hallmark Holiday symbols. They are confusing at best anyway.

Look at poor St. Valentine, always marrying the other people, signing his letters to a love unrequited, dying alone and virginal. Or murdered. Who knows? Its not like there is only one version of the story. But not one of them has him getting some.

Come to think of it, poor Cupid too. I mean, what good is living perpetually as an asexual baby, having to inspire love with the stroke of an arrow and never even have the parts to enjoy the spoils of love himself. It seems the stars of the Holiday are always doing without. Maybe that’s to make all the poor schmucks not getting any feel better.

I hope Cupid finally scores. And whatever Spring fertility ritual you choose to partake in, I hope all of you do too.


Look how happy he looks. And she surely looks sated. See? Even Saints and Angels need lovin’ too!


Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

America’s Cup Race 2

Update: 6 hours later we will apparently race.  10 minute pre-start.

So- what do we know about the America’s Cup that we didn’t know before?

Well, we know that today’s race is supposed to be a 39 mile triangular course if the weather conditions are right and TheMomCat informs me that conditions for Valencia are expected to be-

Mostly sunny. Breezy. Highs in the 70s. Northeast winds 15 to 25 mph.

So we’re probably not going to race at all.

Why?  The chase boats can’t keep up if the winds are 25 mph.  These boats sail at 3 x wind speed upwind!  My Uncle’s ski boat wouldn’t do 75.

But here I am as if they’re going to race because I like to make my marks and also I now know one other thing-

This will be the last race of the 33rd America’s Cup.

Best 2 out of 3 and BMW/Oracle already has one in the bag.  What’s more Alinghi has shown no indication at all that their boat is faster under any wind condition.

In the first race BMW/Oracle stalled out and took a full minute and a half to hit the start.  That was a 660 meter advantage and it was erased in 20 minutes.  After that it was just piling on.

Now I hear you say that the 15 and a half minute finish margin is because Alinghi botched a pointless spinnaker change and dinked around with their penalty turn, but it was a full 10 minutes before any of that.  When BMW/Oracle hit the line Alinghi was nearly TWO MILES behind!

It’s too late to build a new boat.

According to CupInfo.com they’ll only begin thinking about starting at 4:54 am (et) so I’m putting this on auto-promote for 4:30 because it’s already been a very long day for me.

Your streaming video sites (because it’s only available on the tubz) are-

I found my best results were from BMW/Oracle Racing.  If you think you are stuck in Full Screen mode try hitting the Escape Key.

ESPN 360 is covering it also, but without a permanent link.


In an unusually honest appraisal (compared to their usual left-wing rubbish), the Guardian has announced NATO’s complete military and humanitarian TRIUMPH IN AFGHANISTAN!

Just read the caption under their awesome photograph at the top of the story, which they ran immediately under the equally awesome headline “Coalition troops force Taliban retreat from key stronghold.”


“US Marines from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, protect an Afghan man and his child after Taliban fighters opened fire in the town of Marjah, in Nad Ali district, Helmand province.”

The Afghan man huddles behind US Marines, who protect him and his child against homicidal Taliban maniacs!

And it only gets better!

Hours before the offensive, the commander of British forces in Helmand, Brigadier James Cowan, had briefed UK troops to avoid shooting even if it meant putting their lives in danger. He said: “Hold your fire if there is a risk to the innocent, even if this puts you in greater danger. Restraint requires courage.”


By nightfall not a single civilian casualty had been reported!

Zero civilian casualties! Taliban on the run!

Reporters embedded with the troops yesterday reported US Cobra helicopters and Harrier jets firing missiles at tunnels, bunkers and other defensive ­positions before the ground offensive began.

NATO only fired missiles at “tunnels and bunkers and other defensive ¬≠positions!”

No houses or civilians were harmed in the making of this imbecilic cartoon which is supposed to represent the murderous and illegal occupation of Afghanistan and the slaughter of tens of thousands of primitive tribesmen who never attacked England or the United States before we invaded their God-forsaken country.  

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