TCA (my initials)

February 23, 2007

the last Democrat

Filed under: Doodling — TCA @ 12:16 pm

Check out the blogroll of the Bill Richardson for President Exploratory Committee. Atrios, Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Lefty Blogs, Latino Pundit, among others. This crew doesn’t seem to be intimidated by the likes of Bill Donohue. Not yet, anyway.

Richardson says that the next President of the United States must:

– get the U.S. out of Iraq
– restore the USA’s standing in the world
– bring the country together
– start reversing Global Warming
– make progress on energy independence
– make a commitment to renewable sources of energy
– make our economy work for the middle class
– start creating good paying jobs
– provide health insurance for all Americans
– pass comprehensive immigration reform

There are other items of interest at his website, such as some words about his recent trip to Darfur.

He may be the last Democrat standing when the primaries are over next year. Who knows? It’s not too soon to get in on the ground floor of his campaign.

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February 22, 2007

the forever brawl

Filed under: Doodling — TCA @ 4:59 am

Hillary Clinton’s core principles seem to shift whichever way the opinion polls blow. But I won’t mind if she’s elected president.

Most of the American people favored the U.S. occupation of Iraq when it began in 2003. So did she. Today most Americans have deep reservations about Iraq. So does she. She represents the American people.

Her presidency would reassure millions of people that their mistaken judgment on Iraq is forgivable.

On the other hand, I won’t mind if Barack Obama is elected. Or John Edwards, for that matter. However, my high blood pressure will probably kill me if the Democrat presidential candidates rip each other to shreds for months and months and months. 2008 is theirs to lose.

I think that an agreement should be reached among them. No campaigning for an entire year. Obama and Clinton and Dodd and Biden should go back to the U.S. Senate and get some work done. That would impress voters.

Fundraising to amass a candidate’s campaign war chest won’t impress anyone. Government for sale doesn’t make a favorable impression these days.

Telling lobbyists to “talk to the hand” would strike a resonant chord.

Throughout the Chinese Year of the Golden Pig attention should be focused on enabling the Democratic Party to take control of both houses of Congress in 2008.

Pertinent links:

Round 1 to Hillary
[Slate]
Clinton-Obama Hollywood Brawl
[The Caucus – New York Times blog]
Clinton-Obama Hollywood Brawl Scene 2
[The Caucus – New York Times blog]
Obama-Clinton Scene 3 in Iowa
[The Caucus – New York Times blog]

February 20, 2007

it’s not all about oil

Filed under: Doodling — TCA @ 7:17 pm

However, oil does have quite a lot to do with the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

British newspaper The Independent published two articles in January that said “the third-largest reserves in the world are to be opened to American and British companies” later this year.

The U.S. government “has been involved in drawing up” a new Iraqi law that “would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.”

Exxon Mobil “set a record for profits among American companies” last year. The New York Times reported that the giant multinational corporation enjoyed a “27 percent surge in profit for the fourth quarter as elevated fuel prices gave rise to a full-year profit in 2005 of $36.13 billion on revenue of $371 billion. Exxon Mobil said its overall profit climbed more than 40 percent last year, while its tax bill rose only 14 percent.”

How will they top that?

forgot to mention

Filed under: Doodling — TCA @ 1:23 am

Did I forget to mention that Bush wants three quarters of a trillion dollars (more or less) for defense next year? That’s an obscene amount of money.

Meanwhile, seventeen U.S. Senators sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week that said “some troops still do not have body armor, up-armored vehicles and other equipment, despite more than a year of promises to fix the shortages.”

A Defense Department spokesperson stated there’s no shortage of adequately armored Humvees and other combat vehicles. The Washington Post differs with that assessment.

A private charity organization raised fifty million dollars and built a state-of-the-art military physical rehabilitation center in Texas. Fisher Houses for families of patients are located near the facility. Operation Helmet is another charity. It sends better-designed helmets to troops free of charge.

Charities are getting it done for chump change. The pork-bloated Department of Defense can’t seem to get it done at all.

February 19, 2007

don’t leave the children on their own

Filed under: Doodling — TCA @ 8:30 pm

“Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?”

Singer Vera Lynn was the sweetheart of British and American troops in the Second World War. She’s 89 years old. The title of the song “Vera” by Pink Floyd refers to her. The song “We’ll Meet Again” at the end of Stanley Kubrick’s film Doctor Strangelove is sung by her. The London Observer reported in late January that “Dame Vera Lynn, the wartime Forces Sweetheart, has launched a withering attack on the government over its ‘appalling’ treatment of Gulf war veterans.”

Then the other shoe dropped. The Washington Post revealed last week that wounded soldiers face neglect at the U.S. Army’s top medical facility. Grandparents raising children of slain soldiers are being denied a $100,000 death benefit.

The U.S. Congress recently asked what happened to $12 billion in cash that was airshipped to Iraq.

The U.N. predicts that a million Iraqis will flee their homes this year. They’ll join countless hundreds of thousands who have fled already. The Wall Street Journal published an article about near-future Iraqi refugees titled Iraq’s Other Surge.

Roger Morris has written a postmortem on Donald Rumsfeld’s tenure as Defense Secretary titled The Undertaker’s Tally, Part 1 and Part 2.

An editor for The Economist is keeping a war diary. From Canada to Kandahar is a recent entry. It ends with these words: “Forget the special relationship. For America, Britain is just the poor relation.” The neoimps (neoimperialists) of Team USA have worn out their welcome–even with their closest friends.

February 16, 2007

high weirdness on the high seas

Filed under: Doodling — TCA @ 10:04 pm

Who let the Shepherd out?

This ongoing story has sea legs. It just gets weirder and weirder.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has described the Nisshin Maru as “the death star of whale kind.” I couldn’t do a better job of describing the Japanese whaling vessel. I tried. The fire breathing dragon of whaledom? The dog catcher of whaleville? See what I mean?

So our heroes had to do something about these villainous atrocities, right? An article by Australian reporter Andrew Darby is the best coverage of the clash at sea that I’ve been able to find so far. The Robert Hunter–named after the founder of Greenpeace and not the lyricist for the Grateful Dead–versus the Death Star.

The Robert Hunter–low on fuel and with a three inch gash in her hull–withdrew after the incident, bound for Melbourne, Australia. She has been stripped of registry and will possibly be declared a pirate vessel. However, authorities have so far declined to press criminal charges.

Meanwhile, the Nisshin Maru caught fire belowdecks in Antarctic waters. The cause of the fire has not been attributed to ramming by the Robert Hunter. A Japanese crewman is missing and the ship is partially evacuated.

But this story isn’t over yet. The New Zealand conservation minister warned that a castrophe could occur if the Nisshin Maru sank and spilled fuel oil into the water near penguin breeding grounds.

Enter Greenpeace. Their ship–the Esperanza–is ready to tow the stricken whaling ship. So far the Nisshin Maru has only requested that the Esperanza stand by and stay close to lend assistance if necessary.

Pertinent links:

Young Japanese lose interest in whaling
[Associated Press]
Greenpeace try eating whale to stop whaling
[Agence France-Presse]
Japan hosts pro-whaling meeting as clashes continue at sea
[Guardian Unlimited]
Japanese whaling ship and protest boat collide at sea
[Guardian Unlimited]
Activists rescued after clash with whalers
[Guardian Unlimited]

February 15, 2007

Senator Al Franken

Filed under: Doodling — TCA @ 6:18 pm

I’m hoping that Robert Redford will send a documentary film crew from his Sundance Institute to follow Al Franken around the campaign trail next year. That would be a movie I’d enjoy watching.

If you have Quicktime Pro, you can watch a full-screen web video of Al Franken throwing his hat into the ring.

If you can’t afford Quicktime Pro, you can read a transcript of his speech or watch it in YouTube, Real or Windows Player format.

Al Franken needs a blog on his new campaign website and he needs to hire someone to moderate the blog. I won’t volunteer for that job because I’m too opinionated and weird. I’d only end up embarrassing Al and getting fired or forced to resign. There are plenty of blog moderators with work experience out there who can get the job done.

Another small criticism. The picture of him on his webpage gives me the creeps. It looks photoshopped.

Despite these few minor quibbles, I feel comfortable giving his candidacy my full blessings. I don’t think that he’ll be an obstacle like Ralph Nader was in 2000. Al Franken has a good chance of beating incumbent Republican Norm Coleman.

February 12, 2007

get Plame

Filed under: Doodling — TCA @ 10:26 pm

According to recent testimony in the Scooter Libby trial…

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer was the first person to tell Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus that Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA agent.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the first to tell Bob Woodward.

Robert Novak also found out from Armitage–and confirmed the leak with Karl Rove.

Was there a concerted effort on the part of Executive branch officials to out Ambassador Wilson’s CIA agent wife? Or what?

February 10, 2007

achtung Deutschland

Filed under: Doodling — TCA @ 9:31 pm

Is this the precise German to English translation of Du Faust Mich?

Dude, I don’t think I’ve had the [pleasure?] of your acquaintance.

Is this the type of translation software used by the U.S. military in Iraq? No wonder they’re being met with hostility over there!

February 8, 2007

the right to remain silent

Filed under: Doodling — TCA @ 8:59 pm

Anything you say to Don Imus can and will be held against you in a court of law.

The Scooter Libby trial is being watched closely by everyone inside the Beltway. A news article in today’s Washington Post says “The defense played in court snippets of radio personality Don Imus’s interview of Russert that morning. Russert, the moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, spoke in giddy tones that contrasted markedly with his sober, careful style in court.”

Guests often speak in giddy tones on the Imus in the Morning show, which airs weekdays from 9 AM to 1 PM Eastern. It could be caffeine intoxication.

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