Saturday afternoon ...

Although I have been fighting an obnoxious chest cold-sinus infection since Wednesday, the weather was outstanding in sunny Southern California today, and I was unable to resist the lure of the ocean breezes and the "Friends of the Library" bookstore at my favorite public library in Newport Beach. I have become accustomed to purusing the shelves at NBLP's FOTL store, and today I came away with a couple of gems-in waiting. In fact, over the last month or so, I have developed quite a habit, thanks to bargains like these:

"Dictionary of Classical Mythology" by J.E. Zimmerman

"The Iraq Study Group Report" by Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., Edwin Meese III, Sandra Day O'Connor, Leon E. Panetta, William J. Perry, Charles S. Robb, Alan K. Simpson, James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton

"Half a Life" by V.S. Naipaul

"Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith" by Jon Krakauer

"We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: stories from Rwanda" by Philip Gourevitch

"The Story of Civilization VII: The Age of Reason Begins", by Will and Ariel Durant

"The Story of Civilization II: The Life of Greece", by Will Durant

"Fiasco: The American Military Adventure In Iraq" by Thomas E. Ricks

"New Recipes From Moosewood Restaurant"

"Simple Italian Food: Recipes from My Two Villages" by Mario Batali

Another goodie waiting for me, as soon as I finish a couple others which have been on deck for a while longer, is "de Kooning: An American Master" by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, for which I confess I paid something closer to retail, so anxious am I to get into it.

Another I'm watching the bargain bins for is "The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century" by Alex Ross. It SOUNDS like something concerning the kind of music my youngest listens to these days (with vocals a cross between screaming and vomiting), but it's about twentieth-century and contemporary classical music (and hopefully some 21st century things as well). I'm holding out for a bargain, but may be unable to resist the temptation to pay Amazon-type retail prices if I have to wait much longer.

Mario has several ideas I can't wait to try. If I can only get the family (other than number 1 son, who's away at college and who'll try anything his old dad will try) to try fresh anchovies, we'll be having some fun.


Fitna the Movie: Geert Wilders' film about the Quran (English)

Video: Fitna the Movie: Geert Wilders' film about the Quran (English)

Fitna is a film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Dutch parliament. The movie offers his views on Islam and the Qur'an. The film's title comes from the Arabic word fitna which is used to describe "disagreement and division among people", or a "test of faith in times of trial". The movie was released to the Internet on 27 March 2008.

Wilders released the film on March 27, 2008 at 7PM local (Dutch) time on the video website Liveleak. The Dutch version of the movie reportedly received 1.6 million pageviews in 2 hours.The English version reportedly garnered over 1.2 million in 5 hours.

Wilders originally negotiated a possible broadcast of the film on Dutch television. The contents of the film were not known at the time. None of the Dutch broadcasting companies would agree to show the film in its entirety, without editing. Wilders then said that he would "Rather have [the film] entirely on the Internet, than half on television"[citation needed].

Later the Dutch press centre Nieuwspoort was reported to be willing to show the film, as long as Wilders would pay for the increased security during the press conference and the weeks after it, which he declined to do.

On March 22, the Dutch Muslim Broadcasting Association (NMO) offered to air the film if they could preview the film for any possible illegal material and Wilders would take part in a debate after the airing with proponents and opponents. Wilders declined, saying "No way, NMO."


Quote of the Day

Raddatz: Two-thirds of Americans say it’s not worth fighting, and they’re looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives.

Cheney: So?

Raddatz: So — you don’t care what the American people think?

Cheney: No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.


Faces of the (American) Dead

... courtesy of the New York Times:

Each United States service member who has died in Iraq and been identified by the Defense Department is represented by a small square in this portrait of Christopher C. Simon, an Army soldier from Hampton, Virginia who was killed on March 17, 2008. The squares are arranged by the date of death, with the most recent deaths appearing in the upper left-hand corner. Learn about the individuals by following the links above and below to the NYT site, and clicking on any square to see information about the person. You can search by last name, home state or hometown.

Faces of the (American) Dead

Quote of the Day

In other words, I -- once a nation hasn't told the truth, it requires a lot of work to convince people that they'll be telling the truth in the future.

George W. Bush, March 19, 2008

Bush is oblivious to the fact that his remark describes what he has done to America during the 7.5 years of his presidency.


America Rewards Those Who Help It

Stalwart Service for U.S. in Iraq Is Not Enough to Gain Green Card

During his nearly four years as a translator for U.S. forces in Iraq, Saman Kareem Ahmad was known for his bravery and hard work. "Sam put his life on the line with, and for, Coalition Forces on a daily basis," wrote Marine Capt. Trent A. Gibson.

Gibson's letter was part of a thick file of support -- including commendations from the secretary of the Navy and from then-Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus -- that helped Ahmad migrate to the United States in 2006, among an initial group of 50 Iraqi and Afghan translators admitted under a special visa program.

Last month, however, the U.S. government turned down Ahmad's application for permanent residence, known as a green card. His offense: Ahmad had once been part of the Kurdish Democratic Party, which U.S. immigration officials deemed an "undesignated terrorist organization" for having sought to overthrow former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Ahmad, a Kurd, once served in the KDP's military force, which is part of the new Iraqi army. A U.S. ally, the KDP is now part of the elected government of the Kurdish region and holds seats in the Iraqi parliament. After consulting public Web sites, however, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services determined that KDP forces "conducted full-scale armed attacks and helped incite rebellions against Hussein's regime, most notably during the Iran-Iraq war, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom."

The only explanation for this, is that America was for Saddam Hussein before it was against him.

If you can stand to read the rest of this revolting story, click on "Stalwart Service" above. Write your Congressman to let him or her know that this is no way to treat a friend of America.


Are You A Member Of The Taliban?

It's not nice to plagiarize, but some things are just too good to pass up, like this bit of hilarity from "Sigmund, Carl and Alfred":

In response to Osama bin Laden’s latest message to the civilized world, we are offering a top 10 list of ways to identify the Taliban and their supporters.

10. You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to beer.

9. You own an $800 machine gun and a $5,000 rocket launcher, but you cannot afford new shoes for your children.

8. Some of you have more wives than teeth.

7. You think vests come in two styles- bullet proof and suicide.

6. You can’t think of anyone you haven’t declared jihad against.

5. You consider television dangerous yet you routinely carry ammunition and explosives under your robe.

4. You’ve never been asked, “Does this burqa make my ass look fat?”

3. You were amazed to learn that cell phones are used for reasons other than detonating explosive devices.

2. For you, proper etiquette demands that you always compliment your host/hostess by saying, “I love what you’ve done with this cave!“

Finally, the number one reason you might be identified as a member of the Taliban:

1. You wipe your ass with your hand but consider bacon ‘unclean.’

Pentagon: No Connection Between Saddam Hussein And al Qaeda

(NORFOLK, Va. - March 20, 2008) -- United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) has released online an unclassified redacted version of the Joint Center for Operational Analysis (JCOA)-sponsored study entitled “The Iraqi Perspectives Project -- Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents.” The five volumes of the document, linked below, document the history of the Saddam regime. The study’s authors completed the report after screening more than 600,000 captured documents including several hundred hours of audio and video files archived by U.S. Department of Defense. Volume 1 contains the executive summary of the report; Volumes 2-5 provide supporting documentation.

Vol 1 - Vol 2 - Vol 3 - Vol 4 - Vol 5

Although 4,000 Americans and many more Iraqis have died as a result of the misrepresentations Bush, Rumsfeld, Powell and Rice made to Congress to trick it into approving GBW's "pre-emptive war", we are not holding our breath for Bush, the neo-cons, or the Project for the New American Century to come clean about their false "justifications" for the 5-year-old Operation Iraqi Liberation.


News Flash! Nice Guys Finish First!

Despite what Vince Lombardi wanted us to believe (and, I suppose, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of the neo-con gang), nice guys actually do finish first, and the not-nice guys wind up losers. Turns out Jesus was right: the meek SHALL inherit the earth, not the war-mongers. Who's going to tell Dubya that he's really been serving the Devil!?

False Premises In The Iraq War Resolution

On the anniversary of Operation Iraqi Liberation, we think it is a good idea to remind our readers of the false premises which the White House used to persuade Congress to adopt the Iraq War Resolution, which the Senate passed 77 to 23 and the House passed 296 to 133:

Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;

Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend itself;

Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 authorizes the use of all necessary means to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 660 and subsequent relevant resolutions and to compel Iraq to cease certain activities that threaten international peace and security, including the development of weapons of mass destruction and refusal or obstruction of United Nations weapons inspections in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, repression of its civilian population in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688, and threatening its neighbors or United Nations operations in Iraq in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 949;

Whereas on September 12, 2002, President Bush committed the United States to "work with the United Nations Security Council to meet our common challenge" posed by Iraq and to "work for the necessary resolutions," while also making clear that "the Security Council resolutions will be enforced, and the just demands of peace and security will be met, or action will be unavoidable";

Whereas the United States is determined to prosecute the war on terrorism and Iraq's ongoing support for international terrorist groups combined with its development of weapons of mass destruction in direct violation of its obligations under the 1991 cease-fire and other United Nations Security Council resolutions make clear that it is in the national security interests of the United States and in furtherance of the war on terrorism that all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions be enforced, including through the use of force if necessary.

Click the link in the title for the complete Resolution, courtesy of the White House.

Stupor Does It Again

Stupor is one of America's home-grown idiot Talibani-wannabe terrorists. On the anniversary of "Operation Iraqi Liberation", Stupor makes the following comments to show that he would like a totalitarian despot running this country:

"... does his best to cite [sic] to riot ..."

"Perhaps they should merely drop dead or move to some other country where they would feel more at ease?"

" ...Perhaps they should all be disappeared"

"If it was legal and if it were possible by Executive Order or other such legal means, I would be honored to place the noose around the necks of every anti-Americanist Enemy Within ..."

Stupor isn't happy unless he's "citing" other idiots to take to the streets and exert mob-rule vigilantism on those who disagree with him. And he has the nerve to call others communists. He needs to take off his rose-colored glasses and look in his mirror.


Quote of the Day

"La guerre ne l'oublions pas, la guerre est faite par des gens qui ne se connaissent pas et qui s'entre-tuent , pour le compte de gens qui se connaissent mais qui ne s'entre-tuent pas.

"S'il est vrai que l'humour est la politesse du désespoir, s'il est vrai que le rire peu parfois désacraliser la bêtise, exorciser les chagrins véritables, alors, oui, on peut rire de tout, on doit rire de tout".

On peut rire de tout mais pas avec n'importe qui.