Sunday, September 30, 2007

Captain Courageous, Into the Sunset

Most of you remember Ted Turner as the founder of CNN. Some of you know he created the “Superstation,” TBS.

Before that, TBS was an Atlanta UHF broadcast station, Channel 17. Tomorrow, it returns to its roots, though now digitally.

Turner took over his father’s billboard company in the Sixties. In 1970 he bought Channel 17 in Atlanta. He bought the Atlanta Braves and Hawks in 1976 and aired them on the station.

“The Braves were flying back to Atlanta during the 1976 season when Turner, the team's rookie owner and cable TV pioneer, began diagramming.

'Ted was trying to show us how it could work —- how the signal could be sent from Atlanta to a satellite and then be beamed to cable systems all over the country,' longtime Braves broadcaster Pete Van Wieren recalled. ‘We went, That's interesting,' but it was such a remote concept.'"

At the time, there was no ESPN, no Fox, no regional sports networks, no weeknight baseball on TV in most of the country, even in markets near major league teams. No local station had dared to go national, let alone one as obscure as Turner's WTCG (later renamed TBS).” From today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Then there was CNN, TNT, TCM and a few others. Then the inglorious years of Time Warner, then AOL/Time Warner, then again, Time Warner.

Ted invented, if not technically, practically, cable and satellite TV.

The last game of this years Braves season was this afternoon. It was broadcast on TBS to a national audience. The Braves lost.

Starting tomorrow Channel 17 is just a local station for the first time in over thirty years. What was WTCG, then TBS, is now WPCH, "Peachtree TV." If you live around here, you can get it as a broadcast channel or on cable or satellite. TBS lives on, but now it’s just another cable and satellite channel. It will carry the MLB playoffs. Next year Peachtree TV will carry half of the Braves games with others carried by FSN, both locally. TBS will air “Sunday Afternoon” baseball games which may or may not include a Braves game.

No more will I be able to get up in a hotel room on a Sunday morning in California, get the LA Times, coffee and a bagel in the lobby and go back into the room to read the paper and tune into the Braves game at 10:05 a.m. (PST). (For better or worse, Ted invented TV not starting shows on the hour or half-hour too.)

Thanks for thirty years of the Braves Ted, and that other stuff.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Know It When I See It

Subtitle, a riff on my last post, Is There a Nickel's Worth of Difference?

I just looked at the picture that Elton John is in trouble over.

Regular readers know that I skew socially liberal and libertarian.

Here’s my problem. I’ve always said that “pornography,” whatever that means, is a moving target and that we should be reluctant to condemn it. First Amendment. Artistic intent. Basic libido.

The picture is of two girls. Clothed. Sort of. The younger bent over backward from the knees, on the floor, not quite just below the spread legs of the older girl standing just behind her, both with their faces obscured by their hair.

The picture screams wrong. Here’s my problem. If both of the subjects were twenty years older, I wouldn’t have a problem with the picture.

Is there a meaningful, nickel's worth of, difference?

A Nickel's Worth of Difference

I’ve had a busy couple of days and haven’t spent enough “rather than working” time. I caught a headline early this morning about last night’s debate of candidates for the Democratic Party nomination about their plans for the Iraq war should they become President.

The big first question in the debate was seven variations of, given that all indications are that Bush is going to leave office with at least 100,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq, will you promise to have all of them out of Iraq by the end of your first term in office (January 2013)?

In order of answer:

Clinton: No. It is her goal but she does not know what conditions will be when she
takes office and those that will develop while she is in office. She will
immediately begin to draw troops down, providing for leaving “security”
and counter terrorism forces, whatever those translate to be.

Obama: No. Similar to Clinton, with a “timetable” of 1 to 2 brigades a month.

Edwards: No. 40 to 50 thousand quickly and then quickly removing most, leaving a
brigade for security.

Richardson: No specific answer. He would withdraw all troops within a year; but,
that is tied to solution to Israel/Syria issues.

Dodd: Yes. 1 to 2 brigades a month.

Kucinich: Yes. Within three months.

Gravel: As best as I can tell he didn’t give an answer to the question. He said the
Senate should vote to cut off funding every day until the American people
raised such a holy hell that Bush did something about the reaction.
Stupid, but I kind of like it.

Biden: No specific answer. Tied withdrawal to a political solution of “federalism"
in Iraq, whatever that is, my suspicion is that it is creation of a three
region weak alliance. If that happens he would keep troops to aid it.
If that doesn’t happen, he would bail.

(I apologize for the weird line breaks; but, Word and Google don't like each other. If you want to see how nice it looked in Word, let me know and I'll send you an Email.)

So, if you are a one issue, get out of Iraq now voter, Kucinich and Dodd are your guys. Even given the answers above, the rest left themselves plenty of wiggle room to appeal to non-crazy Republicans in the general election.

So, Kucinich and Dodd don’t have a chance, nor does Gravel. The “mainstream” candidates all say they will take at least a year to get out and more. Read this and then I’ll be back:

Washington Post Article says war cost $280 to $720 million a day

OK, you probably didn’t read the article. The low number is direct on the ground costs. The high number is “macro” costs including things like disabled soldiers, economic repercussions, interest, etc.

Let’s take the low number and assume it’s the high number. Given Bush’s decision to leave the problem to his successor, we are going to spend about 1.0344 trillion dollars starting tomorrow, until he’s out of office, on the war. Then one of the Democrat jokers will become President and wallow around for a while. Taking them at their words, and giving them some slack, let’s say the bulk of the troops are out by Summer ’09. That’s another 500 billion bucks. Say residual costs for a presence there over some period of time are another half trillion. You are at two trillion, starting tomorrow.

Oh yeah dead people. As of Wednesday the Pentagon had announced an even 3800 U.S. military deaths in Iraq (one was pending, whatever that means), about 30 a month. There have been about 28,000 wounded as of August 31, 2007. Iraqi deaths calculated by news reports for September 2006 to September 2007 are about 1500 a month.

So, on Bush’s watch: we should have something less than another 480 killed U.S. military personnel, 9,600 wounded and 24,000 dead Iraqis.

The next president over another six or so months: 180, 4,800 and 12,000. You can probably trend those numbers down given the assumed “redeployments.”

I was going to figure out how much each one of these probable deaths and wounded people are going to cost given the two trillion dollar price tag; but, I’m suddenly tired and depressed.

The title? We’ve spent enough nickels over there. Bush and the Democratic candidates don’t seem to care. If the Dems care, they have no clue how to stop the money and blood hemorrhage.

P.S. If you disagree with me, please tell me so, but don’t attack the quick numbers set out above. Cut all of them by whatever amount you want to and then announce a total. Then tell me the good that will come from the financial and blood toll you propose to pay.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

O'Reilly Part Two

Since my post last night, I got a comment, read more of what O’Reilly said, wrote a comment and now I’ve listened to the whole segment.

I think I was too hard on him. I think he, over the course of the segment, made a good point, rap, gangsta, thug culture makes money and is blown out of proportion by Media. That obscures mainstream black culture which isn’t seen by “white America,” that part of it left that gets its cultural cues from the CBS, FOX, CNN and the rest of big media. By the way, he didn’t slam FOX, I included it for the fun of it.

But, I still think O’Reilly comes at the issue from his own insulated viewpoint. He makes much of his Grandmother and her racism of which he tried to disabuse her. “Grandma, I play football, those black guys protect me. Without them, I’d have broken bones. We like them.”

I guess it’s the verbal clues. Blacks running and patronizing a restaurant that is civilized. A concert where black people were dressed up and the band wore tuxedos. The big black guys blocked for me. He’s viewing these people, not interacting with them. They are phenomena to him, a good sign to him, but something that it seems has come late to him in life.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bill and Bubba: Times, They Are A Changin'

I read a post on Just a Girl in Short Shorts, see sidebar, and thought it was a joke. Becky linked to a YouTube piece that had a montage of photos and what seemed like Bill O’Reilly’s voice. I listened twice to what he said. I then Googled “O’Reilly Harlem.” It seems he did a bit on his show about going to Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem with Al Sharpton. He said:

“And I couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks, primarily black patronship [sic]. It was the same, and that’s really what this society’s all about now here in the U.S.A. There’s no difference. There’s no difference. There may be a cultural entertainment — people may gravitate toward different cultural entertainment, but you go down to Little Italy, and you’re gonna have that. It has nothing to do with the color of anybody’s skin.”

Bill is so clueless in so many ways. It makes me think of the song Time Warp and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but in a bad way.

“Bubba, Bubba, pay attention now. We may have to rethink this whole prejudice thing.”

“Bill, stop that shit. You and I both know that the Guvm'nt can’t make us sit down with them people, ‘cept at lunch counters 'n bus stations.”

“Bubba, listen to me. They acted just like you and me at the Golden Corral, except they had a bit more class. I’m tellin’ ya, it was amazin’, colored folk runnin’ the place, eatin’ at the tables with not a problem, I liked ta never to saw it.”

“Still don’ mean I gotta.”

“Bub, I’m tellin’ ya, I got me a funny feelin’, some them colored folks could be like us.”

“Bill, just stop it right now. You keep with this thinkin’ and FOX ain’t gon’ renew that contract and I got 10% of that renewal comin’ to me, I’m the one that got ya where ya are ya know.”

“Bubba, we’re forever, ya know that, but, damn, first that Obama fella being articulate an’ all, now just plain folks with dark skin actin’ jus’ like me, I don’ know, times may be a changin’. Damn Bubba, what you stick me with that needle for?”

“Bill, it seems we have to adjust your medication, the buddy therapy isn’t working with your present dosage. Nurse, would you help Mr. O’Reilly to the lockdown unit; oh, and call FOX and tell Rupert that he seems to have a case of the 72 hour flu.”

My apologies for the dialect spellin’ and the southern slam.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I’ve never had a big circle of friends. Regular readers will recall my references to Big Rick, Big Tony, my policeman buddy, friends that called me when I was stranded in New Jersey after September 11.

I don’t change out friends very often. Over my lifetime, friends fall by the wayside really only due to distance, I really don’t think absence makes the heart grow fonder, other than that cute girl in high school that moves away, and then only for a few months.

I’ve been in a “break up” with a friend, of more than a decade, for the past year or so. The only things that have kept it from a clean break are mutual friends and business.

I don’t know if I’ve said it in a past post, but friends have two qualities. Don’t argue with me here, I know there are more qualities. But these are important.

One, if I found myself in Seattle (pick your own place, I just wanted one that was far away) with no money to my name, thrown out of the hotel and they wouldn’t give me my shirt, my friends, if they could, would wire money and send me a shirt by FedEx, 8:30 a.m. delivery. They wouldn’t worry about being paid back. They would know they’d be paid back. The same thing works the opposite way and they know it. Luckily, we’ve had less extreme examples of the bond. The word for this is, I’m not sure what the word is. Trust? Loyalty?

The other quality of a friend is tolerance. I’ve jokingly told people that I can’t afford to lose a friend because I’ve only got a few, no one else will have me. My friends are tolerant of me and my quirks. I return the tolerance.

Those qualities didn’t stand up to the problems, which maybe means that I need to expand the list of qualities.

My friend and I have mutual friends who are pained by the split. I’m sad because the hold over business is about to end; and, that will leave only the mutual friends who will be, and to a great extent already are, in the position of being friends of a divorcing couple. They don’t want to choose, but in practicality, they probably will.

Life would be a whole lot easier without relationships. Less rich, yes. But, easier.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Year Two, Post One: Buying Cheap?

Regular readers will remember I bought a small fan for the living room to circulate the air a few months ago. It lasted a few days and died. I did get a free replacement that I didn't mention in the post. It is working well as I type this.

More recently, I bought a toaster oven with a convection fan. I did a post about it. Pos told me the ratio for heat and time. Said ratio worked well. It worked fine until today when I put in a pork roast (marinated in mojo, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, marjoram, sage). It is smelling good as I type.

My problem? The convection fan has died. My big thing was the convection feature. I now have an OK toaster oven (that is a bitch to clean).

I know, I can take it back to Target and get another. It just doesn't seem quite worth it. It works, just not quite as fast. The new one wouldn't clean any easier.

And, as said above, it does smell good here now.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Annus Unus

Tomorrow marks a year here.

My first post was at 2:39 p.m.:

“Should anyone happen upon this blog, you may safely move on. I created it about five minutes ago and I am playing with it to learn how to do this. Come back in a month or so. It will either be gone due to lack of interest or ability on my part; or, there might be something here to interest you.”

I got no comments. I went through the first month of posts. Nine comments, mostly people, family and friends that I’d told about the blog. Interestingly, one of my most “popular” posts ever, in terms of Google searches was my fourth:

The Federal Judge Song

The link below is a must listen for those of you in the law biz. Just plain funny for everyone else.

Last time I checked, I was still the number one Google result for the song. I still get hits for it.

I’m up to a bit over 9,000 visitors. Granted, there are days that I play at this rather than working; but, some of you are slacking off too, a lot of you.

The best thing about writing this is that it has introduced me to you. Over the past year, I’ve read your comments about what I’ve written, I’ve read what you’ve posted. You’ve made me happy, mad, laugh, tear-up (grown men don’t cry). Most importantly, you’ve made me think and feel what you feel. I’ve become a part of a community. Almost all of the members of the community aren’t neighbors in a temporal sense; but, we are neighbors none-the-less.

I’m looking forward to another year in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Go Read This, For a Lot of Reasons

Debo Blue at just did a post that you should read. There isn't anything to add, just read it.

Why Do They Have to Hide the Hoodlatch?

Remember when you get a new car and for whatever reason you have to look at the engine, and the little metal latch isn't where your last car put it? I think each manufacturer has an engineer in charge of moving it.

So do the designers of Microsoft Office 2007. I assume they are the same people that designed IE 7 that moved stuff at the top for no good reason. Why do I have to go to "Page" in the upper right corner rather than "File" in the upper left corner to send a page to someone by Email?

We'll, today I upgraded from Office 2000 to 2007.

First, I can read letters that are combined into words. F-I-L-E spells the word. Maybe that's a bad example because they don't even have an icon for that one. Guess what File is now? After hovering over all of the other icons at the top, so as to save the document I was working on, I had a circle that looked a lot like the "Start" circle, that is at the lower left corner of the desktop, only stuck at the upper left corner of the screen. Hover over it, and it's for the most part File. It has your prints and your saves and sends. Trouble is it just doesn't print any more though, there are three prints available. One is print, it doesn't work. Two is quick print, it doesn't work. Three is print preview. I didn't try it after I realized that Office, specifically Word, wasn't talking to the printer that it had been on good terms with an hour before.

Want to double space something? I'm not sure what the icon button in the center of the upper tool bar is supposed to represent, but if you hover over it, it will tell you it is lines, rather than paragraph which was in a drop down under format earlier today.

I left the office, my office, not Bill's Office, well I guess I kinda did, when it wouldn't print, so I get to play with that in the morning.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Whither Paying For Content

I happened to read a piece, not prominently displayed today, on that announces that its “Times Select” plan will be discontinued as of midnight tonight. Times Select was the paper’s “premium” content offering for the last year or so. Most of its columnists and its archives weren’t available unless you paid. If you were a print subscriber, it was free. Otherwise the cost was something along the lines of fifty bucks a year.

No more, you can read the op-ed pieces to your liberal hearts’ content. Better, you can do a search in the archives back to 1987, I think it is. Before that, they are still going to charge you.

The article noted that the only paper that still charges for content, and apparently makes money doing it, is the Wall Street Journal. It notes that Salon tried it, as did the Los Angeles Times and others.

I started out watching broadcast TV and listening to local radio. ABC, CBS, NBC, the local PBS after awhile. and the random independent station or two on the high channels, what were they called? UHF. We had a bonus in Detroit back then because CKLW, the Windsor, Ontario station, Channel Nine, made its way to our antenna. Antenna!

Back then people actually watched commercials! I’m not kidding you children. The show started, at a point, it stopped and commercials came on. We watched them! Same thing with newspapers and magazines. People flipped through the pages, stopping, I swear this is true, at the ads; or, at least enough people did to pay the bills so that the TV, radio and newspapers kept coming.

Has the internet and the new media changed this? Well, maybe but but not quite yet in a fundamental way. Advertisers have just figured out how to stick their stuff in your face in the new mediums. So far, they seem to think it works as they are paying for it. They did popovers, unders and arounds.

Content inclusive advertising is increasing. You already have seen it over the past decades. M&M’s messed up, to the delight of Reese’s Pieces in ET. Back to the Future, parts however many, with their ad placements. TV does it with the reality shows and the home improvement shows. When you make the mistake of hovering your cursor over an ad hyperlink, you get a pop up ad. MTV I’m told has a web program that lets you click on one of the actor’s pieces of clothing and go to a site to buy it.

Does it work? I gather it does, as people are paying the content providers to include it. Me? I get annoyed when I first see it and then consciously and subconsciously develop strategies to avoid it reaching my consciousness.

To end on an ad friendly note, I saw an ESPN ad recently on a TV at the neighborhood bar. There, there is no sound on the TVs, just pictures. The ad was for SportsCenter. It does a lot of weird, sometimes funny, advertising for itself. The spot showed a SC guy in a suit and a NASCAR guy in his racing suit, whomever drives the 2 car. They were talking and pointing at the car, it turns out, about the decals that covered the body. I know that because at the end, the NASCAR guy stuck a two inch by one inch decal on the right front, very low, fender that said “SC.” The ESPN guy did not seem happy with either/or both the product placement or the price.

Won’t make me watch NASCAR or ESPN any more than I do, but, I thought it was funny.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Algorithm Version of Garbage In, Garbage Out

Rather Than Working
Authority: 48
Favorite it
Rank: 124,330
My thoughts about law, politics and the often absurd life we lead.

That's me on Technorati today. I check it once a week or so. So you know, my rank has more than doubled since the last time I checked, as has the "authority."

Technorati ranks and authoritizes based on how many blogs have links to your blog. Not favorite lists. Is your URL in someones blog? If it is, you have authority and you have increased rank.

So, is my new found fame, of sorts, an indication of the compelling nature of my posts, my scintillating wit, my profundity, my innate sexiness? Nope.

I got "tagged" by a lady that has a lot of readers. I accommodated her request to pass on the tag. From what I can see, all the blogs that have my URL embedded in them never clicked over to me. The rest is Google, Techorati, etc. algorithms.

Does this mean anything in terms of who reads what I write? Nope. I just went and checked Sitemeter for the first time in a couple of weeks. I'm "clicking" along at under and over forty visits a day. "Page views" average a bit higher. I just noticed in checking though that a high day for both was September 11. Right around then, Curmudgeon and Dr. Sardonicus, as usual see Recommended Sidebar, sent people to my place to read about my experiences.

So, what do I take from this boomlet in fame? It isn't fame. It's 0's and 1's in a couple of programs that track who links to whom. If I were an internet advertiser, I'd be very, very leary of statistics used to get me to buy ads on blogs. Don't worry, those of you that make weekend money with AdSense and the like, not that many people read what I write, and those that do, don't appear to count in the big picture, though I love you guys anyway.

Oh, Jeni, do another meme. If you do so soon, I could get into the top 100,000 on Alexia and get ranked, rather than going to and seeing the "not ranked in the top 100,000" every time I visit.

How Little Difference the Decades Make

Here we have a currently accused potential felon. He's learned something over the years, he has a bit of smile for his booking photo.

He didn't run off in a Bronco. He didn't put a gun to his head as police moved in on him. He told the media that he was conducting a private "sting operation" to get stuff he owned from a couple of memoribilia dealers.

Then someone leaked an audio tape. He uses some bad words and more importantly directs the other guys that went in to the room with him to do illegal things.

Here we have him in his first encounter with a booking photo, hadn't gotten the smile down at that point.
As most of you know, I'm a lawyer, and for the most part, not a conservative lawyer. I watched some of the trial back in the early Nineties and thought he did it.
Having listened to the new tape someone made of him....
l don't want to rush to judgment. But, I think he did it again.
Postnote: As you know my skills with format are poor. The Preview of this looks just fine for the text for the first and second pictures. I made a little attempt to fix the second bit of text to no avail. Mea Culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa. Maybe OJ should learn that cliche.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Reality of our Sojourn in Iraq.

No matter what any Democrat thinks or any Republican, except the President, we aren’t leaving Iraq any time soon. In his speech this week following the testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, the President said troops would remain in Iraq “beyond my presidency.” Since he has no intention of even thinking about further withdrawals until March, under a best case scenario, the troops remaining after he goes back to Texas will exceed 100,000, the number Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says might be possible.

From an editorial, “Someone Else’s Mess,” by Thomas Friedman in the Sunday New York Times:

“In one fell swoop George Bush abdicated to Petraeus, Maliki and the Democrats….Petraeus to handle the war, Maliki to handle our timetable and therefore our checkbook, and the Democrats ultimately how to figure out how to end this.”

Let’s assume that a Democrat wins in ’08. Obama is the most “aggressive” (leaving out Kucsinich who has no realistic chance) of the candidates wanting to withdraw a brigade or so a month. That would have troops gone by early 2010, more than two years from now. The other Democrats have varying views of withdrawal, which would presumably extend our presence down the road some.

Republicans. McCain is running around the Country on something called the “No Surrender” bus, which sounds more ominous than than even Bush. Giuliani, Romney and Thompson don’t use the “Bush” word, they’ve replaced it with the newly cool word “Petraeus.” They all think he’s a cool guy with a great plan that needs time to work. Were they to become President, my guess, we’ll be there in a significant time past 2010.

On the Iraqi political front, a Sunni political party with 11 of the 275 members of the Parliament ended its boycott started in June because the government agreed to help some displaced families and agreed not to talk about oil revenue sharing until after Ramadan ends(?). 17 out of 49 ministers in the Maliki administration have quit or are on some kind of strike. The Sadr guy’s Shiite party, 30 members, walked out of Parliament yesterday. Finally, “[t]he head of an al Qaeda-led group in Iraq, in an audiotape posted on Saturday, announced a new phase of attacks to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. ‘I am honoured to declare at the start of Ramadan, an invasion named after the martyr Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ...,’ Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the self-styled Islamic State in Iraq, said in the 31-minute tape posted on an Islamist Web site."

Isn’t all this progress great? Some Sunnis come back, three times as many Shiites leave. A third of the cabinet isn’t working. And al Qaeda is celebrating a religious holiday by announcing an “invasion.”

Worth every penny and life we’ll spend over there over the next few years, isn’t it?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Here's What I Think The President Said, As He Said It

This may be a live blog of sorts. It’s two till nine and I’m going to watch the speech on Fox News. I opened a Word document to take a note or two, something I’ve never done. Whether this becomes a post, may be more a consequence of my typing skills than what I say as I type.

Here goes, serious music.

Iraq is a surrogate for mid-east and us as to terror.

Troop surge is working.

It provides security so the Iraqi sectarian groups don’t kill each other.

We are surging diplomats behind our troops to do what?

Sunni’s are our friends now. That doesn’t make headlines, but it makes a difference.

Same thing is happening in other parts of the country. Baghdad for example. Sectarian killings are down.

Shiia extremists are being driven out by the Iraqi government??

Government is not doing what it should. I’ve told them they must. That’ll work.

Iraqi police suck. That’ll change.

General Petreas says by July we can cut from 20 to 15 brigades. Then we’ll partner with Iraqi forces, then just monitor, then just train and equip Iraqi forces.

I listened to everyone and bought what Petreas says. It’s his fault. He’s going to report again in March.

The way forward that I’ve described tonight allows us to come together. Iraq wants an enduring relationship with us. Free Iraq is vital to our security.

The military and diplomats think we can succeed.

Got to stop Iran. Danger like that can result in 9/11.

Stuff about other terror.

Iraqis, we won’t abandon you.

Other countries, help us out of this mess. UN, get with it.

Personal story about a killed soldier who sent the President an Email. We have to finish the dead soldier’s work. It isn’t too late.

Good night and God bless America.

I was going to go back and put my riffs into parens. I figure you can tell what he said and what I think.

Through the Years, Bush on Iraq

The following is a small sampling of the lowlights of our President's words on Iraq:

President Bush on October 7, 2002:

“Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.” (per

May 1, 2003 (aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln):

“Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.

And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country…. The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done and then we will leave and we will leave behind a free Iraq.” (CNN)

May 24, 2004:

“There are five steps in our plan to help Iraq achieve democracy and freedom: We will hand over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government; help establish security; continue rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure; encourage more international support; and move toward a national election that will bring forward new leaders empowered by the Iraqi people.” (Washington Post)

November 30, 2005:

"Our strategy in Iraq has three elements. On the political side, we know that free societies are peaceful societies, so we're helping the Iraqis build a free society with inclusive democratic institutions that will protect the interests of all Iraqis. We're working with the Iraqis to help them engage those who can be persuaded to join the new Iraq -- and to marginalize those who never will. On the security side, coalition and Iraqi security forces are on the offensive against the enemy, cleaning out areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, leaving Iraqi forces to hold territory taken from the enemy, and following up with targeted reconstruction to help Iraqis rebuild their lives.” (

March 29, 2006:

“I know some in our country disagree with my decision to liberate Iraq. Whatever one thought about the decision to remove Saddam from power, I hope we should all agree that pulling our troops out prematurely would be a disaster. If we were to let the terrorists drive us out of Iraq, we would signal to the world that America cannot be trusted to keep its word. We would undermine the morale of our troops by betraying the cause for which they have sacrificed. We would cause the tyrants in the Middle East to laugh at our failed resolve and tighten their repressive grip. The global terrorist movement would be emboldened and more dangerous than ever. For the security of our citizens and the peace of the world, we will not turn the future of Iraq over to the followers of a failed dictator, or to evil men like bin Laden and Zarqawi.
America will leave Iraq, but we will not retreat from Iraq. We will leave because Iraqi forces have gained in strength, not because America's will has weakened. We will complete the mission in Iraq because the security of the American people is linked to the success in Iraq.

We're pursuing a clear strategy for victory. Victory requires an integrated strategy: political, economic and security. These three elements depend on and reinforce one another. By working with Iraqi leaders to build the foundations of a strong democracy, we will ensure they have the popular support they need to defeat the terrorists. By going after the terrorists, coalition and Iraqi forces are creating the conditions that allow the Iraqi people to begin rebuilding their lives and their country. By helping Iraqis with economic reconstruction, we're giving every citizen a real stake in the success of a free Iraq. And as all this happens, the terrorists, those who offer nothing but death and destruction, are becoming isolated from the population.” (

January 11, 2007, on announcing an extra 20,000 troops that turned into 30,000:

“Linking the fight in Iraq with the greater war on terror, President Bush told the nation there is "no magic formula for success in Iraq" but that failure there "would be a disaster for the United States."

Speaking from the White House Wednesday night as about 50 protesters gathered outside, Bush said he will increase American forces by more than 20,000, the vast majority of them coming from "five brigades [that] will be deployed to Baghdad."

Bush recognized that the progress of the war is "unacceptable to the American people -- and it is unacceptable to me," adding, "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me."

The additional troops will work alongside Iraqi units.

"Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs." (CNN)

September 13, 2007, 9:00 p.m.:

You will hear some version of “be patient,” coupled with a glowing report of “conditions on the ground” not reported by the national media and a “plan” with three or four “strategic” parts designed to achieve our most recent vaguely stated goals and to keep us from fighting terrorists “over here.” (RTW News Service – predicting the news for going on a year now, so you don’t have to.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lemon Extract

I used some cooking tonight. Good thing I'm not temperance. I happened to read what's in it. "Ingredients: Alcohol, lemon extract, water. 83% alcohol by volume." The volume in the little vial-like bottle was one ounce, which as I recall, I paid something just less than three bucks for. Given the order of ingredients, under some labelling law, don't you have to call the product "Alcohol with lemon extract and some water?"

I didn't have to show ID to buy it. But for the price, this would seem to be the wino's new choice in beverages.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just What Does One Say About This?

"'I think there is a movement around looking at all the products that are available — this global stream of stuff — and realizing you can tinker with them and rebuild them,' said Michael F. Zbyszynski, 36, the assistant director of music composition and pedagogy at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at the University of California, Berkeley, whose own hack is a speaker array made from red plastic Ikea salad bowls, and who has made other musical objects from PVC plastic and coffee cans that 'live in the zone of the hack,' he said."

From a article about people that make stuff, artish stuff, from Ikea stuff.

"Pedagogy (IPA: [ˈpɛdəˌgoʊdʒi]) , the art or science of being a teacher, generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction."

From Wikipedia.

Hack: "An inelegant and usually temporary solution to a problem."

A Google definition.

Old Mike, "the" assistant director of blah, has a pretty good gig going. In the old days he'd have to teach music and education and they'd probably want him to try to be elegant and long lasting in what he taught. Ikea, the perfect hack?

One more thing, the print edition of the New York Times, in the upper left hand corner always says "All the news that's fit to print." I'm going to have to look up the definition of the the word fit.

With Thanks to Curmudgeon

In the event you haven't read him, Curmudgeon is a lawyer in greater Chicago.

He did me the honor of sending his readers to my posts on September 11. He went so far as to insert links to each part in his post. So, I stole the links, here they are:

Part 1
Part 2 -- The Sheraton Prison
Part 3 -- Other Orphans
Part 4 -- Joe's Odyssey
Part 5 -- Coming Home.

You might want to visit him on a regular basis, if you aren't doing so now. You might especially want to read what he has to say about what he thinks on this sixth anniversary of the the day, here

What Do Liberia, Myanmar and The United States Have In Common?

None of them have adopted the metric system.

Is Blogger Optimistic, or In Need of Some Elementary Education?

Some people substitute words or phrases for "comments" in their Blogger template. One I saw said " crickets chirping." Memphis Steve uses " people talking out of their asses." You getting a sense of the depth and breadth of the blogging universe?

The default template uses " comments," note the plural. So, that works if you have "0 comments" and "2 comments." But "1 comments" doesn't work too well. Haloscan by Wordpress, I think, solves this singular v. plural problem by having a template that says " comment(s)."

I know, I could customize my template to have it do as Haloscan does. But, what fun would that be? Yeah, I really don't feel like working. Besides, almost a year into this blogging thing, I just learned how to do a hyperlink within the Blogger composition box. That's enough high tech for me for the near future.

Monday, September 10, 2007

September 11, 2001, Part 5, Coming Home

This final installment has three parts, finishing the story of the couple I met in the café, describing the efforts to get home, and the going home, and finally what I took away from my unwilling stay in New Jersey six years ago tomorrow.

The couple first. They were both architects from New England. They had flown into Newark the night before for a flight that Tuesday morning out west for a vacation, as I recall to Arizona.

They had taken off almost simultaneously with the strike on the first tower. The pilot came on the intercom and told them they would be landing again at Newark. “Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with the plane, there’s been a plane crash into a building in Manhattan and we’ve been ordered to return.

As they circled, they saw the smoke rising from the tower in the middle distance.

As we got to know each other over the next couple of days over meals and just wandering around the lobby (people did that, there wasn’t much else to do, your fellow prisoners became your nodding neighbors, not necessarily talk, but an acknowledgement that you knew each other) I learned that they were, I don’t quite like this word, delightful, people.

They beyond telling of their quick “go around” at the airport, didn’t want to talk about what was happening. They’d ask me things about my life and tell stories about themselves, each filling in the other’s paragraphs, yes they talked in paragraphs. I passed a lot of hours with them, that I’d liken to going next door and sitting on their porch.

We exchanged cards; but, I never called, and neither did they.

Segment two.

Throughout the week, I looked into ways to get home. As I said early on in this series, I’d messed up by not immediately renting a car or getting a reservation on Amtrak.

I was left with calling Delta three or four times a day. The agents were kind and quite non-committal. “We have you in the system to go back to Atlanta, when we are allowed to send a plane to Atlanta; but, we have no idea when that is going to happen.” There was no problem, of course with canceling my flight Thursday to Kentucky. “No problem Dave. Just let us know when you want to reschedule, there’s no change fee. Give us a call later on today if you want an update.”

Sometime on Thursday, I think, I got a voicemail from Big Rick (if you haven’t been reading me for a while, do a search for the name on the blog, he appears, for better or worse, a lot in my life) “Dave, Jim (another friend) and I’ve been talking, you start walking south, we’ll get in the car and head north, we’ll meet you, we figure just south of New Jersey. We’re serious. Call and we’ll set it up.”

I’m not much of a walker so I later thanked him for his kind offer (the voicemail had loud music in the background, it turned out he’d called from my neighborhood bar, mentioned in the first part of this story.).

Friday, my calls to Delta increased in frequency, especially in the afternoon. Newark airport was starting flights that evening; and, a couple of my fellow inmates told of scheduled flights they had that night.

Mid-evening, I called Delta for the seventh or eighth time that day. “Dave, we have been slotted for a flight tomorrow mid-morning and you’re on it. We have no idea if it will really go, best we can tell you is go to the airport, first thing and take it from there. Good luck.” I walked down to the desk and told them I’d be leaving in the morning and asked if I could make a reservation for Saturday night, in the event the plane didn’t fly. Yes I could.

I got up on Saturday morning, the 15th, and had breakfast. There wasn’t much to pack. I had my choice of my suit pants and the I Love New York tee-shirt or the suit with the now dingy white shirt (in case you are wondering, they sent dry-cleaning out at the Sheraton, and where ever they sent it was shut down). I chose the suit, white shirt and the tie. Rumpled, but proper.

I got a cab over the highway to the airport. Almost no traffic. The whole way, every couple of hundred feet there were alternating National Guard troops and New Jersey State Troopers standing next to their vehicles. The troops had machine guns. The Troopers had shotguns.

I got off at the Delta departure door and walked inside. An airport security guy asked for my driver’s license and ticket. The license wasn’t a problem, the ticket of course was for the previous Tuesday evening. “No problem, go over to the ticket counter and they’ll take care of you. Oh, can I look in your bag?” He did and I did.

I got a new ticket and a BOARDING PASS from the agent, but not before another guard looked in my bag and wanded my body. “That way sir. Have a good flight.”

I got to security and there was a line of a couple of hundred people waiting. I inched forward. Every ten or so yards there was a Trooper or a troop, with the same respective weapons.

When I got to the conveyor and the magnetometer, I’d figured out the drill. Everything came out of your pockets, your belt came off as did your shoes. A security person looked into your bag before it went on the conveyor, another while it passed through, and a third as it came off.

I fumbled with change, wallet and papers to put in the bowl. “Take your time sir, we aren’t in a hurry,” he said and smiled.

We sat and sat. The flight was called and a small happy murmur went up. Boarding happened pretty quickly. The doors shut. The crew was beaming. The passengers were a bit tense. The Captain said “ I want to welcome you to Delta flight XYZ from Newark to Atlanta. There’s very little traffic so we should be in ahead of schedule. For me, the crew, and Delta, we are very happy that we are flying again and that you are with us. Enjoy the flight, and thank you for flying Delta..”

There was a smattering of applause. We took off, as the wheels left the ground, a bit more applause, which grew and grew. The flight attendants smiled. Passengers laughed.

As we approached Atlanta, the Captain came on again. “As you can imagine, we have very little traffic. We will be at the gate well ahead of schedule. I want to thank you again for flying with us. It’s been a rough week for all of us and there are some rough times ahead. But we are flying and we’ll keep flying. Thank you for choosing Delta.”

We landed to more applause, smiles and laughter.

So what have I taken from that week? In reverse order, the Captain’s words, the crews’ and passengers’ smiles, the security guard’s reassurance that I was ok, my architect friends’ refusal to be bowed by events, Joe’s perseverance, pluck and less than sober friendship, my cabbie’s tears, Rick’s, Jim’s, the Federal Judge’s, my bartender’s, my office manager’s and Charlie’s concern and humanity. Notice a theme here? People. They aren’t all that bad. Should we need a crisis to be good to each other? No, of course not. But day in and day out we don’t show each other that we care. It takes crisis and tragedy for us to reach out to each other. Six years ago this week, I found out that friends, family and strangers cared about me. That’s a good thing.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

September 11, 2001, Part 4, Joe's Odyssey

Wednesday night, September 12, 2001, I met “Joe” in the bar. He was, and I assume still is a mid-level executive with IBM. He was out of Texas.

He was in similar shape to me. Stuck. Oddly, but not that week, wearing suit pants and a somewhat wrinkled white button-down shirt. I’m not sure how the conversations started; but, here’s where it led to:

"I came in Sunday night to do a seminar for a client on Monday through Thursday at the clients’ office, just north of the Trade Center, so I stayed at the Marriott at the World Trade Center.

Monday morning we started at the typical New York meeting time, 10:00 a.m. I told them that if we started at 9:30 a.m. for the rest of the week, we could quit an hour early, and to sweeten the deal, I’d host a happy hour each day after the sessions (it was already figured into the budget).

I didn’t follow through on my promise.

I got up yesterday to walk to the clients’ office. About half way there, the first plane hit.

Everyone stopped and looked around when the sound happened. Then, back to normal, as normal as New York is. But, there was something wrong. People were talking and looking. After awhile the word of the strike was making its way around

I got to the building where the clients’ office was. Police weren’t letting anyone in. I stood around and tried to call the office on my cell phone. No luck.

At a point, people started yelling and pointing. I looked south and saw it fall. We were frozen. The smoke started coming and people started running, so did I. I don’t know how many blocks I ran. But, we out ran the smoke.

There was a lot of confusion. That’s maybe too mild a term. There was a lot of panic. I sat down against a building. People were milling and police cars and fire truck were rushing south.

After awhile I started walking north, you couldn’t go south. My cell phone wouldn’t work. Word on the street was worthless. We just kept walking. (Remember the soot covered people on the news clips?)

There was nowhere to stay in Manhattan. After awhile word got out that you could get over to New Jersey on the George Washington Bridge. (The GW Bridge leaves Manhattan at 178th Street.) We walked most of the day. I’m saying we because there were a lot of us after awhile.

Coming off the bridge, you are not in a great neighborhood; but, it was a pretty good neighborhood for me. People were on the curb handing out jugs of water and sandwiches. They wouldn’t take any money.

I finally got a cell phone signal and started making calls to find a room for the night."

“I ended up here.” The Marriott had collapsed late in the day. To my knowledge Joe never go his luggage. During the week I knew him, he never could reach the client.

By this point in the evening, neither Joe nor I were sober. I’d told my story and he’d told his. The bartender announced to us, the only customers, that he had to close. We walked from the bar to the elevators using every bit of the ten-foot wide hallway.

Jeni, at Down River Drivel, has passed along a list of bloggers that "Warm the World Through Friendship." I read some of them regularly, I'm going to try the rest. For your friendly edification, Jeni gives you:

Debo Blue at "A Blue State of Mind" Sasha at "A Day in the Life of Sasha Stinerova" Maddie at "Whitterer on Autism" Singing Owl at "Pastorette Ponderings" Barb at "Skittles Place" Mau at "It's About Time" Jen at "Creatif" The Meloncutter at "Meloncutter's Musings" Sognatrice in Calabria, Italy at "Bleeding Espresso" Keith at "10 Years Running Blind"Dave, yeah me, at "Rather Than Working" Linda at "Are We There Yet?" Dorothy at "Overthehill Boomer Chick" Patois at "Whee! All The Way Home" Stine at "Mother's Home" Smalltown RN at "A Place I Call Home" Shelby at "Time With Shelby" If you want some others, read the people in my sidebar and my comments.

P.S. This was mostly cut and paste. If the links don't work, go to Jeni's place and link from there, as always, I am never accused of internet competence.

America is Lost

The Sunday New York Times has a special magazine section today on real estate.

There's an article on condos for cars. Yep. You don't build a garage. You buy a unit in a car condominium for your car(s).

At Dream Cars USA in Dallas the units go from $140 - 440K. They are "climate controlled," and customizable to add wet bars, WiFi, bathrooms and a loft to overlook your cars.

There are other developments going up in Florida, Minnesota (!) and Phoenix. In the last city, there are only 15 units that go for $680K to $1.4 million.

That's the post; I have nothing to add.

Friday, September 07, 2007

"Exceedingly Complex"

The title is a quote from our General in charge of the Iraq war. He says too that we might be able to withdraw a brigade in January. "A Brigade is a significantly large unit, consisting of between 1,500 and 3,200 soldiers." A quote from Given our presence, I wouldn't call it significant; it's, what, one,two percent?

In the article I read, the Democrats had little negative to say. Harry Reid blasted President Bush for letting the report be leaked so as to put the blame, whatever that is, on the General. It seems the loyal opposition is more interested in setting the GOP up for defeat next year than offering any reasoned plan for getting us the hell out of the mess the President started and Congress enabled.

Yes, Iraq is exceedingly complex; but, it is deceptively simple. There will never be a good result there, from anyone's point of view. By staying there longer than is necessary to have a safe withdrawal will only have the necessary result that more American military losses, oh, the translation of "loss" is injury and death, so as to save face. Not your face or my face. "America's face." That shimmering ideal that our leaders insist is important to us.

When we leave, we will leave a country and a region in flux, that's a nice benign word. It means that the people that are stuck there will either sit down and work out their problems, or will continue to kill each other. Leaving now or down the road will not change that result.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

New Computer Update

My intitial thought after today, is the same as the last time I moved: never do it again.

But I imagine, the horror will fade as time passes.

The much vaunted Windows Transfer something or other should not be as vaunted as the Web says. It sent over my Favorites. My Address Book was sent but went to a wayward part of the new computer, that I could find and then transfer to the the actual address book. "My Documents?" They may well be in the new computer. But, I had to do another very specific transfer, twice, and they appeared in the new box, where they were supposed to be.

The scanner software insisted it wasn't going to install. No, I won't go, I won't, you can't make me. Firmness and persistance overcame.

Then on to where I was told that printer drivers for Vista would be on their way soon! The page had a publish date in January. A hint to those of you that believe what you read on the Web: don't. I couldn't find the CD for the printer. I downloaded a driver from for an XP operating system. It works just fine with Vista.

Today's failure was trying to send the many thousands of Emails resident in the old box to the new box. Towards the end of the day, I think I happened upon a solution. Tomorrow morning will tell.

The the big test. Sending over the billing program files. That one has to go right first time. No room for error.

Please execute a collective fingers crossed for me. And a nineteen inch screen is still kick-ass!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bad Statistics

I don't look at Sitemeter all that much. Once a week or so.

I've been on an upward trend in visits and page views every month this year. In August I went over 1400 visits and avereaged, well you do the math. September has brought the doldrums to my clicks. I didn't think I cared. Well, I didn't, I guess as long as they were there.

For the last seven days, which of course includes part of August, the banner month, I'm averaging 29 visits a day. Depression has set in.

I overwrote in August? I lost my muse? The Secret Service is diverting traffic as the result of my unkind, but harmless (I swear) thoughts about our Leader?

Or, like me you've been doing other things? Yep, that's it. Ebb and flow. Come on flow.

Computer Change Update

First, a nineteen inch screen is amazing. Now I want one that's bigger.

Second, Office 2000 works just fine.

Third, as I type, I hope that 30 gigs of data is still wending its way from the old machine to the new one over the crossover cable. I'd reached about five percent in twenty minutes when I left the office.

Fourth, the software for the scanner doesn't like Vista, or Vista doesn't like it. We will deal with the meet and greet again tomorrow.

Fifth, the printer, I haven't yet tried. We'll see.

Finally, the damn billing software has to be upgraded, to the tune of $200.

Nice screen though.


Today's the day the new computer comes. As I type, Fedex says it and its screen in a separate box, are wandering their way on a truck from Norcross As with all construction projects, and it is that, time and money have gone over budget. What started as a $400 price tag is now $760 given the need to get a data transfer cable and pay for an upgrade on my billing program so it works with Vista. My fingers are crossed that Office 2000 works with Vista, otherwise, the price tag will go up another $200. Oh, and the Maxtor (now Seagate) external hard drive is supposed to work with Vista, but the software that automatically backs up data won't. Seagate says Vista has a component that will do the same thing. We'll see.

Did you know that Dell's business division will let you buy a computer still loaded with XP? I'm thinking now I should have done that rather than succumb to the initial cheap price of the Vista computer.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Viral Blogging

Down River is the easiest way to travel. Fighting against the stream is a sysuphisian task, like throwing a pebble at Niagara Falls and expecting to hear it hit the water. Taking on such a task will put you in the sanitarium.

If you are wondering what that is all about, click on the first link for an explanation. If you wish to carry on the virus, I deem thee tagged.

September 11, 2001, Part 3, Other Orphans

Since Part Two of this four part series of posts was published back in July, here, and the first installment was published the day before, scroll down from the link, you might want to go back and refresh.

This part starts on Wednesday morning, September 12, 2001. I woke up and looked around the room. As I said it faced inward in the Sheraton toward a two story courtyard. I’d left the blinds open and walked over to the floor to ceiling window. The courtyard with the lobby area, lounge and restaurant was for the most part deserted.

I turned on the TV. CNN was running what I’d seen the night before, interspersed with newer reports. Then Mayor Giuliani was a major presence. The President was, I think back in Washington, DC. It was that day or the next that he gave the best speech of his life. Thinking back, I wish he had done a poorer job as his vows to avenge us led us to where we are today in Iraq.

I brewed a baby pot of generic coffee and watched television. About eight or so, I put on my one white shirt and my suit pants and wandered downstairs. Opening the door, there was no newspaper, I guess I shouldn’t have expected one.

I went to the sundries shop off the lobby, there I found a September 12, 2001 New York Times and New York Post. I bought them and a “I Love New York” gray tee-shirt. Still have the tee-shirt. I gave the papers to a friend who is into collectibles.

I went into the café and got a table, in the smoking section (yes I do and back then for those of you that don’t remember, they had sections of restaurants where they allowed you to spew fumes). There was no TV. I ordered some food and drank coffee, read the papers and smoked.

I’m not used to leisurely breakfasts, indeed, I don’t eat breakfast unless I’m traveling or on an occasional weekend morning. That Wednesday, I had plenty of time.

So did all of the other people that were milking the time in the café.

Across the aisle there was a couple doing the same thing I was. I’d glanced at them a couple of times as I ate. There are certain people that strike you as, I’m not sure I’m using the right word, but as special. They looked to be in their mid to late fifties. They were perfectly dressed. Nothing “special” but, their clothes and manner shouted sophistication. Both of them had something that I call “alive eyes.” Their eyes were piercing, not in an invasive way. They took the world in. I know that this description does not explain what I saw and felt.

We happened to give up on sitting and sipping coffee at the same time and walked to the host station/cashier at the same time. The man or woman, I’m not remembering, said “I saw you reading the paper, we didn’t have one outside the room?”

I said, “neither did I, they had them in the sundries shop, it’s down that way, I’d give you these, but I thought I’d save them.” They understood.

We paid, and I, or one of them said, “stuck here, how about you?” as we walked toward the shop. I or they said, yeah, can’t get any information on when travel is possible. I left them at the entrance to the shop.

Days didn’t have much meaning that week. This next little story, may have been that day or on Thursday. I mentioned that I was supposed to be in Kentucky on Friday for a hearing in U.S. District Court. I finally reached the opposing lawyer and explained where I was and the strong probability that I wouldn’t be with him on Friday. He asked me to hang on for a moment so he could have his secretary try to call the Judge’s Chambers and get us a telephone conference with the Judge. He came back on and we talked about what had been happening to us that week.

Abruptly, he said “my secretary has the Chambers on the other line, hold on.” A few clicks and he said “Your Honor this is Joe and Dave, thank you for taking our call.”

The Judge was a Southerner and talked liked one. “Dave, I understand you have a problem appearing on Friday morning?”

“Yes Your Honor, as best as I can tell right now, it doesn’t look good for getting there.”

“Well, Joe, seeing as to the circumstances, do you have any objection to continuing the hearing until a further date?”

“No Your Honor, I don’t have any problem with that at all.”

Well then, the hearing will be continued until a date to be set, Dave, you let us know when you are back home, OK?”

“Yes Your Honor, I will, thank you.”

“Oh, Dave?”

“Yes Your Honor?”

“You take care, OK?”

“Yes Your Honor, thank you again.”

This has gone on a bit, so we are expanding the series. Next, Part Four, the Couple and Maybe the Guy.”

Monday, September 03, 2007

Our President Sneaks Into Iraq, What Does That Say About How Well We're Doing?

I haven't done all the research I should; but, I skimmed a little while ago the story of President Bush sneaking out of the White House and taking a side trip to Iraq, on his way to Australia for something.

He landed at an air base in Anbar Province, the area we have "surged" in and where we are wooing Suni tribal leaders.

"By summoning Mr. Maliki and other top officials to the Sunni heartland of Iraq, a region the Shiite prime minister has rarely visited, Mr. Bush is seeking to demonstrate that reconciliation among Iraq’s warring sectarian factions is at least conceivable, if not yet a reality.

Meeting with Iraqi leaders in a buff-colored one-story building near the runway, Mr. Bush effusively greeted Iraq’s president Jalal Talabani, the last of the five Iraqi officials to enter the small conference room. 'Mr. President, Mr. President, the president of the whole Iraq,' Mr. Bush said, kissing Mr. Talabani three times on the cheek."

He was there for seven hours. I assume there was a surge on the surge before and during his sneak visit.

How well are we doing over there when the President has to sneak, to the safest Province in Iraq, where we have been paying off Sunni tribal leaders, "summon" the Shiite Prime Minister and effusively kiss the President of Iraq, who, in case you didn't know, is a Kurd? All the bases covered and the off to the bottom of the world. That isn't a slam on Australia, it just sounded good as I typed it.