bookbanner
CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Thursday, May 31, 2007

HERE YOU GO, Mr PRESIDENT

President Bush had this to say about people who oppose the immigration bill presently being discussed in congress, courtesy the New York Times (who calls him mister Bush rather than by his title):
“If you want to scare the American people, what you say is the bill’s an amnesty bill. That’s empty political rhetoric, trying to frighten our citizens.”
Michelle Malkin kindly referred the president to the US Constitution, where it explains what his job is. All I have to offer is this:

Bush PesoSeriously, though, where was this attitude and rhetoric when he was defending the liberation of Iraq, fighting terrorism, or saving Social Security?

BLAXPLOITATION

"They only care about ONE thing: reelection."

Unemployed Blacks
9.7%. That's the unemployment rate for black men in the United States. That's almost 10%, we're getting into Carter numbers here. In a nation where the overall unemployment rate has dropped so low economists previously thought it was not possible, blacks are in a category of their own. According to the 2003 U.S. Census report, the median White income was $45,572, while the median for Blacks was $29,689. And although 10.5% of Whites in America were statistically in poverty, the percentage of Blacks in poverty was 24.4%. What's going on?

LaShawn Barber has some thoughts on this matter, based on an op-ed by Professor Carol Swain (Vanderbilt University). Swain wrote about the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), pointing out that this group ought to be, based on its formation and membership, primarily concerned about blacks in America. Unfortunately, when it comes to this unemployment rate, they seem not to be:
Swain accused the race-centric, taxpayer-supported caucus of turning a blind eye on a mounting pile of data that reveals illegal immigration is harming low-income, low-skilled black Americans. In a new book of essays, Debating Immigration, Swain contends that lax enforcement of immigration law helps businesses hire wage-suppressing illegal aliens at the expense of citizens.

But the CBC couldn’t care less. The group hasn’t listed immigration reform as a legislative priority, according to Swain, and it mentioned illegal immigration in only one press release out of close to 100 on the web site. Instead of focusing on the well-being of constituents, the CBC is forming a black-brown coalition with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to “create a task force to study immigration issues and provide information about the impact of immigration reform on the black and Hispanic communities,” according to The Hill.
Both Professor Swain and LaShawn Barber tie the lower employment rates of blacks at least partially to illegal immigration in America, with Hispanic immigrants ignoring immigration laws to take low-paying jobs. But the CBC, along with the Democrat leadership in congress, seem more concerned about potential new voters for their party than the one constituency group that most reliably votes for them.
The battle between blacks and Hispanics for preferred minority group status is only beginning. But blacks don’t need to look to pencil-pushing politicians to “lead” them on this issue. All that is required is common sense and the will to demand that elected officials support immigration law enforcement and oppose any bill that grants the blessing of American citizenship on people who have no regard for this country’s laws.
Commenters discussed this and the meaning of the high unemployment rates for black men:
Sixteen years ago I had a remodeling job done and 95% of the men who worked on the job were Polish immigrants. One or two spoke English but most did not; they were very recent arrivals. They were employed by the contractor I hired, not directly by me. Their work was very competent. At some point one of them who spoke English asked me why American blacks were out of work. "We come here not knowing English," he said, "this is not our country, much is new, but we succeed. Why do they not succeed?" Obviously he was speaking not of all African-Americans but of the underclass.

I personally know that six of the men who worked on my job as carpenters and plumbers EACH started his own business. I know that at least three of them bought a home in the suburbs. This was within about five years of their arrival in the United States.

If African-Americans are angry that immigrants are taking the jobs, the fact is that the African-Americans were here first and have the advantage of language. So, why didn't they take the jobs first?
-by lilly


Even though the effects of large-scale immigration hurts almost all Americans, it does tend to hurt African Americans more. Most members of the Congressional Black Caucus are members of the black elite so they feel little of the negative effects of immigration. They believe that more minorities will help to promote the Democratic agenda. This is probably true. However, the black underclass has really taken it on the chin over immigration.

The black employment rate fell from 89.6 in 1960 to 76.1 in 2000. It was even more pronounced among black high school dropouts, where during the same period it fell from 88.6 to 55.7. Since the majority of illegal immigrants don't have a high school diploma this greatly increased the competition for low-level jobs. This has caused many blacks to be driven out of the labor force. The two large factors that led to the decline in black employment was the moral collapse of the 1960's and the illegal immigrant imvasion, coming to fruition in the 1980's and 1990's.
-by tanabear


Lashawn I like how you juxtapose the immigration issue with professor Swain's subcultural tidings.
The sad part is she's right and the reasons for the Congressional Black Caucus silence, well, take your pick, they are the new and improved race baiters, like Jesse, Al and Farakhan before them-we just love us some reverend ministers don't we- they, the CBC have taken and applied their shakedown cues very well. We're looking at the new democratic voting block 12 to 20 million illegals all granted scamnesty, voting the way the majority of blacks have voted since reconstruction, talk about internalising societal messages of inferiority created by subcultural factors (Piimp/Ho and Hip-Hop culture) which impede all progress by choosing the easier path of not exerting themselves too vigorously.
Professor Swain is awesome, her findings are succinct and to the point, simply genius.
-by BIGBelly


The rise of the Korean Grocers Association -- the most effective militia in America -- and quitely forming Laotian and Cambodian militias according -- was accelerated by the belief circulating throughout Atlanta "Victims of Exclusion" that the reason the Cambodians, Laotians, Koreans and other Asians were successful HAD to be that TheGubment was slipping them huge wads of cash under the table -- cash that "Rightfully" belonged to You Guess Who.

My gentleman boss at the Education Board, who had worked his way through a Ph.D. at Columbia in the fifties and who had no time for this kind of nonsense, had a younger wife who was the head of the school library at one of the bigger public schools. She told many stories of Asian kids who came to school in Grade 8 not knowing enough English to find their way to the boys' bathroom and graduated as Valedictorians of their class while working in their parents' grocery business in all the spare time they didn't need for studying. Meanwhile of course the Black kids slouched, slunk and stood around, whining that 350 years ago some ancestor of their might have been a slave, and therefore "Whitey OWES us" and severely punished anybody who broke ranks and tried to climb the ladder on his own. (Girls were more successful in avoiding this mythology as most of them had illegitimate babies to support.)

Incidentally, my boss took his own teenaged daughter out of the public school and put her in Catholic school when he found that the teachers were not expecting the Black kids to do any work -- they're "victims" you know...he said that his daughter came from an upper class family and had never lacked for anything and that she was taking base advantage of the low expectations of the teachers to do no work. The private school soon changed her attitude and she has now graduated with honours from Hampton University and gone on to a successful career.

As long as the focus is on fighting for scraps at the bottom of the barrel, and as long as the mythology continues that he who screams Victim loudest is the winner, this situation will never change.

The only question God cannot answer is When will Black Folks Get Their Act Toggether.
-by AudiR10


Your elitism never amazes me. We are not comparing ASIANS with blacks, we cannot hardly even compare ASIANS with whites. Asians have the advantage in intellectual skills (don't worry, those skills bring them dreadful hazards).

We are comparing LOW SKILL, LOW EDUCATION blacks with LOW SKILL, LOW EDUCATION hispanics. The importation of these hispanics is a cruel fate for our black people, who just HAPPEN to be Americans, if you care at all.

Hispanics as a group "pathologically" are in the middle between whites and blacks. They have higher crime than whites but lower than blacks and so forth. Same goes for illigetimacy, illiteracy (could be higher than blacks) and so forth. Their propensity for gang memberships is astronomical.

But we have imported SO many of them that the criminal impact on this country will outdo in REAL numbers anything the blacks ever did.

You support this?

You brought in a silly comparison to this discussion. No one is complaining about ASIAN immigrants who learn our language and fit in with out society and benefit it.

We are comparing low skill/education AMERICANS with low skill/education FOREIGNERS who will outstripe the blacks in numbers very soon.

The amazing thing is how democrats are promoting this treachory against black Americans.

You appear to be straining at gnats and swallowing camels.
-by Gabby


Rep. Lewis (D-GA) Hurts African Americans

John Lewis has neglected his district through his vigorous support of continuing, unchecked immigration. Americans for Better Immigration gives him a string of F-minuses for his relentless refusal to enforce the law. But his constituents pay the price.

African American Leaders Push Back on Illegal Immigration

From the Austin American-Statesman: Frank Morris, former director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, says immigrants compete directly for jobs with African Americans, driving down wages and working conditions… Morris has been outraged as he has watched leaders in the African American community stand arm-in-arm with Latino groups in support of immigrant rights. “As long as there is an available labor supply, (immigrants) will be preferred to African Americans…because they can be exploited without any recourse.”

Robert Brown, an Emory University professor who studies African American politics, said many blacks are “less than sympathetic” to the plight of immigrants. Although many aren’t willing to speak publicly on the issue for fear of angering Latinos, a peek inside the editorial pages of African American newspapers, glimpses into town hall meetings and a look at national polls all indicate that many black Americans are uneasy about supporting immigrant rights.
-by John Konop


K-12 education for every citizen at no cost to the student and a myriad of scholarship and loan programs for further education. Low-skilled American workers CANNOT blame immigrants for their plight in life.

It's been estimated that immigration adversely affects wages of high school drop outs by less than 10%. Merely graduating from high school can increase one's earnings potential by as much as 40%. To graduate high school one has to do little more than get out of bed and sit in a chair and breathe. People who can't accomplish this often have poor work skills and are not desirable employees.

LOW-SKILLED AMERICAN WORKERS CANNOT BLAME IMMIGRANTS FOR THEIR LOW WAGES.
-by Dave


Bravo, La Shawn. I mean, good for you. This is proof that the Black Caucus, like the NAACP, is nothing more than an arm of the Democrat Party. Party first, constituents be damned. Sounds like the Republicans on the amnesty bill.

The reason the BC is teaming with the HC is the same reason the labor unions are aggressively courting the illegal aliens and supporting open borders, POWER. Both the BC and the unions have been losing influence in Washington for years and are looking for greater membership, even if it means sacrificing the very people whom they purport to represent.

Everything that La Shawn is saying is most likely preaching to the choir if you are a black TH posters. Her message needs to be repeated to the black community at large. The black community needs to stop voting by blind party loyalty and start electing leaders who have their best interest in mind and not the party’s. The astronomical number of “guess workers” proposed in the amnesty bill, combined with the continual flow of illegal aliens, will suck up what’s left of entry-level jobs. No one will be hurt more than the lower-income blacks who are trying desperately to get a leg up. Bush says he is a compassionate conservative. Yeah, right. The Democrats say they feel your pain. Do they really?
“If African-Americans are angry that immigrants are taking the jobs, the fact is that the African-Americans were here first and have the advantage of language. So, why didn't they take the jobs first?"
Lilly, did you not read La Shawn’s article? She said “lack of parental involvement in schools, the “acting white” phenomenon, and lowered standards and expectations”, everything that Bill Cosby has been saying and got hammered by black leaders for it. All the kids know who Lebron James is. Ask them to name one famous black scientist, and you will get no answer. Blacks from other countries, with different values, come here and succeed quite nicely.
-by Hound Dog


I will not limit this comment to just low income blacks but low income any American. If the employers who claim they cannot get good low paid workers to do their job that they need illegals, here is my solution:

Have the government give those unable to earn a living at $7-10 an hour the same "benefits' they plan to give illeals under the Kennedy SCAMNESTY plan: free medical care, free schooling for their children, no income tax or social security or medicare deductions from their pay checks, no police stops for not having auto insurance, no police stops for traffic violations, etc etc.

Then they might be willing to work for a 7-10/hour job and we won't need these illigals to do this low paid work. Give them a special ID card that entitles them to the same benefits.
-by Curly
Some day, I hope that black voters will wake up and realize that the party they keep supporting and voting in cares nothing for them, takes them for granted, and has done nothing to help them in almost 30 years, but plenty to hurt. Eventually I'd like to see blacks stop voting in such a monumental block for the Democratic Party and just vote based on the individual running.

Is illegal immigration taking low-paying entry level jobs away from poor and uneducated people in America? Probably to some degree at least. Why hire a citizen who you have to pay taxes for when you can hire a Hispanic who you do not? But it's more than just that, Hispanics will work for cash, and work hard - need your weedpatch out back cleaned out? Guillermo will do it cheap, and get it done today, even if its hot or the game is on. Need someone to look after the kids? Maria will do it cheap and the kids will love her. It's not the taxes that are the main problem, its the work ethic and the willingness to work for lower pay to get a start.

It is a sad fact that far too many Americans - black and white - are filled with trash by their teachers, parents, and culture. They see success as owed, not earned, they see effort and study as weak and stupid, and they blame everyone else around them for their failures. As Dr Williams has pointed out: graduate from High School, don't have kids outside of marriage, get a job, and obey the law; you'll be amazed at how much better your life is with these simple steps. This isn't anyone "keeping you down" it isn't "being white" and it isn't being forced into anything. It's like how if you eat you won't be hungry. It's a direct cause and effect, live a smarter life and you'll tend to benefit from it.

Live for tomorrow, work today for what you gain later. That's not a white thing. That's an adult thing.
[technorati icon]

UN-FINISHED

"The killing of Hariri was just to start Israel’s destructive, pre-emptive and vicious war against Arab World. First was Palestine, now Lebanon, next will be Syria and others."

Prime Minister Hariri
In 2005, a truck bomb blew up a church in Lebanon, and with it Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others. It was believed to have been the work of the Syrian government who for decades have been trying to control and use Lebanon for their political ends. After the stunning success of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Syria became nervous and felt their freedom to abuse others and export terrorism might be at an end. So they pulled largely out of Lebanon, although they are still active in the country.

After four straight years of successful enemy propaganda and terrorist morale-boosting western media, Syria is likely having second thoughts along with most of the middle east, but the UN has decided to step in and take a look. The UN Security Council has voted 10-0 with five abstentions (Russia, China, South Africa, Indonesia and Qatar declined to vote) to form a Chapter seven tribunal to try the suspects of the Hariri killing (at least, the ones that weren't driving the truck).
Critics on the council say that invoking Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter to enforce the court's establishment, as the resolution does, is going too far.

Jones Parry rejected that view. "Legally we can, politically we ought" to set up the court, he said. But he described Lebanon as "a unique case", brought about by the inability of the Lebanese parliament to endorse the tribunal.

Western envoys amended the resolution last week to allow until June 10 before it goes into force to offer Lebanese factions a last chance to bury their differences over it.
The middle east response was varied: a "sound bomb" (likely a flash-bang grenade) was thrown into a church, while dozens of Hariri supporters celebrated. Michael Totten thinks this is what Syrian dictator Bashar Assad fears most, but many commenters weren't so optimistic:
Great news indeed.

What is interesting is the abstainers: they could see no way to block the invoking of Chapter 7, i.e. the evidence is overwhelming.

The five abstainers - Russia, China, Qatar, Indonesia and South Africe - complain about the Security Council oversteppping its authority and that "it is not appropriate" for the Security Council to "impose" such a tribunal.

In the case of Russia and China, these are countries with a very, very long tradition of hiding behind national sovereignty claims to hide their own human rights abuses: as far as they are concerned, whatever happens behind their borders cannot possibly be of concern to non-citizens.

This is where the Westphalian system of nation-states is weak: abusers can literally get away with murder.

Like I said, great news. Of course, this makes things "worse", worse in the sense that Syria can no longer hide.
-by John F Opie


The U.N. investigation has been extended to June of 2008.

The judges, when they are hired, will be hired for an initial term of three years.

And the appeals judges outnumber the regular tribunal judges.

Look for an official ruling on this matter somewhere around 2020.

It's the U.N. way.
-by alphie

Look for an official ruling on this matter somewhere around 2020.
Lebanon was able finally push for Chapter 7. Who knows they might even be able to achieve some expediency as well. 2018 may be.

What if tribunal will conclude that Assad has nothing to do with it?
What if it will turn out to be internal Lebanese powers?
Will then UN try to sweep it under the rug in fear of another Civil War in Lebanon?
-by leo

Why would South Africa abstain?
South Africa is a weird country. They think that racism is a "white" thing and that they must thus look for friends among Arab nationalists (who are, despite their constant attempts to eradicate Jews and Kurds and other minorities not racist because they are not American, Jewish, or European).

South Africa will always vote as anti-Israel or anti-democratic as possible. I expect they would also vote against an independent Kurdistan, if the question ever comes up.
-by Andrew Brehm


Good news yes, but given his resilience over the years it's very, very difficult to be optimistic that Assad's reign in Syria will be over anytime soon.

An article in today's Salon explains how Assad is gaining, not losing, strength. Not entirely convinced, but well worth reading. Here's the lin
-by Matt Schiavenza


This is the U.N. we are talking about. The biggest toothless tiger in history. If Assad doesn't die of old age first, what does he truly have to fear? The U.N.? What is the U.N. going to do? Threaten sanctions? And if Syria still doesn't comply, well the U.N. might just get serious and threaten more sanctions.
-by Eric


This is welcome news on it's own merits -- the establishment of a tribunal will hopefully serve as a deterent, at least for the next few years. And even if the tribunal drags on for years it can still cause serious discomfort in Damascus.

I should add that the tribunal alone isn't enough, but at least it's progress in the right direction. And for the UN, which has huge and obvious failings, for take even this step is pretty significant.
-by MikeB
Like the commenters I'm not especially confident this will make the slightest difference. The UN has no teeth, it cannot enforce a single resolution or decision it makes. Let's say the tribunal finds these men guilty and it points directly to Bashar Assad, who certainly has been doing everything he could to prevent it from taking place. What happens next?

I'm pretty hard on the United Nations because it is riddled with corruption, incompetence and suffers from fatal, internal flaws that make it virtually incapable of doing what it was formed to do. That said, this is at least a good step, despite the inability to enforce its decisions. This is more along the lines of what the UN ought to be doing. I can tell why Russia is not interested in voting for such a step, though. Putin doesn't want a tribunal of this sort to look into the deaths of his enemies.

The odd thing is, predictably, the story out of the middle east from Arabs, especially Syrians, is that the Jews did it. Why on earth would they kill someone fairly friendly to Israel? Because it's part of a vast plot for Israel, a tiny portion of the Middle East, to declare war on the entire Arab nations in their endless thirst for infant blood to use in their dark rituals. Or something.

Basically the argument is always that Jews did everything that goes bad or wrong. Arabs are never responsible for anything bad, ever, anywhere, for any reason, no matter what. Jews did it, even if it's completely irrational to consider it. It's the irrationality of the act that makes it so certain, joooooos are just that crafty!
[technorati icon]

WHO WAS THAT?

"Acting is invigorating. But I don't analyse it too much. It's like a dog smelling where it's going to do its toilet in the morning."
-Liam Neeson

Character actors and B-list stars are the guts of Hollywood. Sure, the big names get all the attention, but without the rest of the people in the movie, they wouldn't have a career, the film would be intolerable. Some of these names get their break once in a while, like Ron Pearlman, but they never really make that final step to true stardom.

Cracked, the old Mad magazine rip off, has a website, and on it they list their choices of top ten B-list actors, guys who you know, but don't know. The faces are familiar, the roles are often riveting, and the talent is undeniable - most of these guys are far better than the A-List stars they work beside.

David MorseFor example, there's David Morse. Who you ask? Well he was a star in the excellent TV series St Elsewhere in the early 1980s, he was the killer in 12 Monkeys, He's been in The Rock and Green Mile. Soft spoken, easy to underestimate, but always with a clear vibe of intelligence and something hard underneath his gentle seeming exterior. A superior actor you've seen in many parts but likely never really knew the name of. He's also a big guy, 6'4 according to his bio information, which makes him tower over the stunty actors most big stars are.

Joaquim de AlmeidaThen there's this guy. He was the main bad guy in Clear and Present Danger - and a fine job he did. The first time I saw him was in Miami Vice, but he's been in scores of movies, such as Desperado, La Femme Nikita, and Behind Enemy Lines. His accent is strong but intelligible, and he has a strong screen presence with dark latin good looks. Joaquim de Almeida is is his name, a Portuguese actor who is kept from major stardom only by his heavy accent and the fact that he's even shorter than Tom Cruise.

They have more, such as Phillip Baker Hall, Dylan Baker, Tom Wilkinson, and David Paymer, all household names. Well, in their households. The thing is, many times these unknowns are the most interesting thing on the screen, which while likely frustrating for them is nice for all of us - we'll see them in many films because they're cheaper than the big stars.

Quote of the Day

“I think that celebrities did not expect that free speech is a two-way street...that putting out ideas that marginalize them from their core audience, that shows a sense of elitism, is probably not in their best interest.”
-Andrew Breitbart
[technorati icon]

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

GOOGLE ANSWERS

Anzac Day Logo
A few days ago I noted that Google had no memorial day logo, unlike many other special days when they change their logo to match the occasion. They answered an email on this, according to Little Green Footballs, and their answer makes sense - at first:
Thank you for your note. We appreciate your interest in seeing a Memorial Day Google logo. If we were to commemorate this holiday, we’d want to express reverence; however, as Google’s special logos tend to be lighthearted in nature, this would be a particularly challenging design. We wouldn’t want to create a graphic that could be interpreted as disrespectful in any way.

We have a long list of holidays that we’d like to celebrate in the future. We have to balance this rotating calendar with the need to maintain the consistency of the Google homepage. We really value your feedback regarding the Google logo, and please be assured that we’re actively pursuing ways in which we can acknowledge Memorial Day and other such occasions in the future.

Regards,
The Google Team
So far so good. The problem is, as Charles Johnson points out, that they've honored many serious and weighty occasions in the past, such as Canada's Remembrance day and Anzac Day. So why not the US? Possibly because they don't want to be too America-centric and wish to look at other countries. Possibly because they are concerned it might upset their gigantic new China contract. Possibly because they are cycling through various countries and do one a year instead of the same ones every year. Maybe they couldn't come up with a logo that was neutral enough, that wasn't jingoistic by their perceptions.

It's hard to know, exactly, but their explanation doesn't really hold water in light of their past logos. So there you have it.

MARKETING BABIES

"Nuff said"

What were they thinking?
One of the most regrettable marketing surges in the 90s was the infant version of major characters. Muppet babies. Tiny Toons. Lil' Archie. For some reason there was this flood that coincided with the Beanie Baby craze. It was like the inexplicable monkey craze in the late 60s and early 70s, every comic and show had a monkey in it. I am shuddering now thinking of BJ and the Bear.

Over at the Secret Fun Blog which, while not being secret is consistently fun, Kirk Demaris dug up an obscure proto marketing of the baby trend: Marvel Mites. In the 1970s, Marvel Comics had little plush baby versions of their heroes, available for just $4.95, plus 50 cents postage and handling - "a small price to pay for cuteness!" according to the ad.
These tiny tots are completely useless in the ongoing struggle against evil. Not only are Spiderman and Captain America helpless babies, they're revealing their secret baby identities. One wonders if toilet use is among their super powers. To make matters worse the toddler Peter Parker has a dreadful bowl cut.
I'd never heard of these things, and I thought I knew comics and comic memorabilia pretty well. Presumably it was part of the ongoing struggle to get more girls to read comic books. Commenters had their say:
These are pretty freakish. I think it would be really interesting to see a Hulk version of these Mites. Would the little babies head be poking through Hulk's mouth?

As for revealing the secret identies, maybe the designers were just pioneering the practic of humanizing the characters like Sam Raimi does in the 2nd two Spiderman flicks. I've never seen Peter and Venom unmasked so much ever.
-by Smurfwreck


Too bad they didn't get their own Saturday Morning Cartoon like the Muppet Babies. On second thought, it's a good thing they didn't!
-by Todd Franklin


I wish I had a copy of one in front of me to reference but as I recall there were whole catalogs circa the late 70s made up of pages like the ad you show here. They were full of Marvel and DC related toys, gee-gaws, medallions and such. I believe the art was provided by the Kubert School.
-Scott Saavedra


Mr.S is correct...they were published by Heroes' World (the same company that would be a mainstay among comics direct market distributors until Marvel bought them as a means of self-distribution, and set in motion the chain of events that nearly destroyed the comics market. There were at least 8 or 9 of them, variously titled THE SUPERHERO CATALOG or HEROES' WORLD CATALOG. and they were printed at World Color Press and distributed to the newsstand market with regular comics (which in retrospect seems kind of strange).
-by Devlin Thompson
These days comic books are targeted primarily at adults and are not doing particularly well. Kids are more interested in video games and TV or the Internet than comic books. This is sad to me because comics were a great escape for kids that required imagination (although less than an actual book - which reading comics could easily lead to) because the pictures were static and there was no sound. Part of the fun was the whacky ads, but these days the ads are all slick and you have to mortgage your house just to buy a few comics.

I wanted to draw comics when I was younger, like a host of other fans. I have the talent and skill, but having drawn and written (and edited, colored, layed out, and published) a short comic for someone, I found out how incredibly tough it is to get 22+ pages in a three week deadline. If you have the Daredevil DVD, check the special features, there are several former Daredevil artists interviewed. You'll get a feel for what it takes to get the work done. And the pay isn't all that spectacular, either.
[technorati icon]

REGRETTABLE URLS

Celebrity Jeopardy
Saturday Night Live used to have skits where they mocked celebrity Jeopardy, making all the celebrities look like exaggerated dunces, and Sean Connery in particular an incredibly insulting curmudgeon. One of the skits had the category S Words, which Sean Connery turned into "swords" when he chose the category. This was not the first time they used this gag. Sometimes when words are put next to each other, they form a combined word that is not intentional but can be rather funny.

Along those lines Independent Sources had a great top 10 list December of last year I didn't see until recently. He found the top ten most unfortunate Internet web site addresses, usually the result of not thinking through what the words spell when put together. This list is something that really ought to be given a wider viewing, so here's a teaser:

6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:
www.molestationnursery.com

7. If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always
www.ipanywhere.com

9. Then, of course, there’s these brainless art designers, and their whacky website:

www.speedofart.com

10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at
www.gotahoe.com

What are the rest? Go take a look!

SHOPPING

"I can make it a week without trash bags. You just cram the stuff in more."

Men and women, on average, shop differently. For most men, when we go shopping, we have a goal, a list of things to get and get out. For most women, when they go shopping, it is an experience; they browse and consider and look at various things they have no intention of buying just to consider for later. Mind you, put a man in a place they have as a hobby (bait and tackle or a boat show for some, a hobby shop for others, etc) and they'll browse, or put a woman in a store she doesn't care for and is in a hurry and she'll run straight to the target and grab it. But in general, the pattern holds true: men are more goal-oriented, women are more relationship-oriented.

According to a recent study done by WSL Strategic Retail men are "overwhelmed" in grocery stores. It's not that men aren't getting what they want so much as they are not getting what the stores wish they would.
U.S. men are doing more and more grocery shopping, both for themselves and their families, but retailers are still not doing much to make the trip any more enticing, retail consultants and industry experts said.

"Men do represent a large part of grocery shopping dollars and they aren't being very well accommodated ... sales are being lost," Mandy Putnam, vice president at consulting firm TNS Retail Forward said.
Their problem is that displays and marketing techniques that work well on women are not effective on men, and men are shopping more and more for a variety of reasons (such as we are single later in our lives or just have given up on marriage entirely). Over at This Just In... Pupster took a break from his own blog to look at this article and analyze it:
It appears to me that this particular study demonizes men as overwhelmed, but defines “whelmed” as buying a bunch of crap off the shelves that he doesn’t need/want. I say the damn STORE is inefficient if it doesn’t have what I’m looking for where I expect to find it, clearly marked with flashing lights and Hooter’s girls on the package.

Unlike women, male shoppers typically focus more on convenience than price, and retailers will need to cater to that need in order to attract them to their stores, consultants said.

Bingo. Fix the store so it’s easier for my dumb ass to find what I want, and I will buy it. Hell, I’ll even pay more. I’m not a comparison shopper, I’m a hunter/gatherer.

Men shop like they are on a commando raid. Hit ‘em hard, hit ‘em fast, and get the hell out of there. If you hide the trash bags in the cookware/baking needs aisle, I’m not going back a few aisles to look for them…I’ll use grocery bags in the trash cans, and the store misses out on a sale. Plus I get to say ‘paper’ at the checkout line and listen to the enviro-weenies gasp. Good times.

Various people commented on this article and men shopping:
When I shop? I don’t “shop” I “buy.”

Went to a mall with a friend of mine, I knew what I wanted, a whole crapload of candy (I always keep sweets near me at those times when I decide to have a job) and a pair of sturdy boots.

I knew EXACTLY what I wanted, he friggen damn near made us late for work (we worked midnights at the time.)

I have gone shopping with my brother, and my brother “shops like a woman” so much so even his wife calls him on it.

When I go to the grocery store, I know what I want, cuz I know what I’m gonna cook, so I’m on a mission, I don’t “shop.”

Oh, I might stop off and look at stuff, but I never buy, I’m scouting out the environment.

Takes me less than 20 minutes to fill an empty fridge and freezer, I’m prepared, cuz I know about the brawl at the lines, and in the aisles.

Best method is to adopt skirmisher tactics while shopping. Get in, take what you need, withdraw, and then retreat.

Thats how I see shopping in all it’s forms.
-by Wickedpinto


I shop like a man. I drive Daughter Michael nuts. She wants to do major analysis on every item she looks at and make it a social event with me. I want to “bag a deer” and get home.

I almost have to take drugs when I’m with her, and remind myself it is probably her “love language.” If her brother shops with us, he and I BOTH go nuts.

BTW. Grocery stores are not the only culprits, Pupster.

Lowes did a major move — about 10 aisles — on their floor diffusers. I went nuts trying to find them today!
-by Mrs Michael


They need to completely reorganize supermarkets for men. We need categories like:

Foods your wife wants you to buy
Foods you buy when she’s away
Foods that look healthy but are really great
Stuff to drink (all water, milk, OJ, soda, and beer in one spot)
Special party food
Super Bowl food

And what’s with that produce section? How are you supposed to make food out of that? If I wanted to take rotting vegetables home I’d open a halfway house for Kos Kids.
-by Geoff


This study is BS. I went shopping with my gf and it took an hour at least. The gf isn’t too good with math but insists on doing the $/oz. calculations on everything in her pretty little head.

I did the shopping the other day and it took me 15 minutes, most of that waiting in line. I had a list and bought the cheapest product I could find (since that was what we usually wound up buying ayway).

Same thing with the mall. With the gf it takes hours. I bought a tie, 2 handheld games, and a pair of sunglasses. 30 minutes. I had a list of things to buy, I hate the mall, I found my s**t and got the hell out.

But I’m a bad shopper? Maybe they have a point about being overwhelmed but it’s not at the choices, it’s an overhwhelming desire to not be in a store shopping for an hour.
-by Cozmark

Hubby prefers a small corner store to the megagrocery store.

It’s tiny and limited, they have only one brand of each item, and they sell good meats and some really excellent store-cooked/ prepped foods at the deli. Naturally the prices are a bit more.

I’m just happy he found a place he likes so I don’t always have to go.
-by LauraW


In department stores this is why the men’s clothing department is on the first floor near the entrance. If a man is going to buy clothes for himself, that’s all he wants. He will go in, buy, and go out. This is me for any store. I know what I want, go in to get it, and leave. Once in a while I will be in a splurging mood and willing to look around, but that’s only when I have lots of money in my pocket and determined to spend it. As for grocery shopping, I will double back if I miss something, but I don’t look too hard. If it’s not “right there”, I won’t buy it. Hint to grocery stores: Put products men would buy at eye level.

When a woman wants to buy clothes, she will buy for herself and her family. She will look around to see what else the store has. The women’s department is deep in the store, on another floor if multi-story. The female shopper will get there eventually, but she’s in no rush. She probably won’t even leave the department the same way she entered, thus seeing more of the store.

Of course, men also purposely don’t do grocery shopping well so that their wives would have to do it instead.
-by Hadsil
From the standpoint of the retail store, this study is useful and interesting: men are avoiding the money traps they put up. From the point of view of men, it's sort of condescending, our tendency to get what we need and get out seems to be considered the result of confusion and a weak mind.

As a retailer, I think having a section of the store for express shopping or smaller neighborhood express shopping stores would be a smart move. You could cater to people who need to get in and get out - and could charge more for it there - and avoid the ugliness of the uberstore tucked away somewhere distant.

Walmart and other mega stores would do well to consider opening small neighborhood stores with only the basics, stuff people go get once a week or every few days like milk and bread. Convenience stores have proved that you can stay open while charging a lot by keeping what people want to get in a hurry in stock. That concept would work for smaller neighborhood stores too - and the mega marts can afford the cost of employees and can stock the place for cheaper because of the amount of goods they already have on hand.

If I was in charge of stores like Winco or Costco, that's what I'd be looking at. Not only would it make you more money, it would target the growing male shopper market, and would make you seem less soulless and more neighborhood-friendly. Especially if the stores were made in the style of the neighborhood and played up the "local market" aspect.

Retailers: you need to understand, men are basically lazy and goal oriented, we don't like searching for stuff, and we're often willing to pay more just to avoid that hassle.
[technorati icon]

Quote of the Day

Wilberforce’s 1st Law of Guilt
Guilt (as measured by public prostration) is inversely proportional to Responsibility (as measured by personal involvement) multiplied by Time (since event occured)
-Pommygranate's Self Haters' Laws
[technorati icon]

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Songs I Like: One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer (John Lee Hooker)

I said "I know, everybody funny
now you funny too"

John Lee Hooker is a legendary bluesman with a unique style that I had the privilege of seeing live, although in his very late years. He seemed a thousand years old, but his voice was strong and he still could play. He wrote many significant and popular blues songs, including this one that George Thorogood and the Destroyers did a cover of on their 1977 eponymous premier album.

I've heard both (my brother has both) and I like them both, but I have to give George Thorogood the nod for the way he delivers the song. It's a simple song about a loser who doesn't want to work, gets mad at how he's treated for this failure, and how he tries to drink away his troubles. Thorogood's version starts with an extended narrative with a basic guitar beat, broken up with Thorogood's skilled blues guitar work, and then launches into the main song from which the title comes - still broken up by a bit of narrative.

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer is in my opinion Thorogood's finest work, although he's had many other hits I enjoy. It also has the distinction of being one of the best sing-along songs in the last 30 years, and holds up very well for being three decades old.

Wanna tell you a story,
about the house-man blues
I come home one Friday,
had to tell the landlady I'd-a lost my job
She said that don't confront me,
long as I get my money next Friday
Now next Friday come I didn't get the rent,

and out the door I went

So I goes to the landlady,
I said, "You let me slide?"
I'll have the rent for you in a month.
next I don't know
So said let me slide it on you know people,
I notice when I come home in the evening
She ain't got nothing nice to say to me,
but for five year she was so nice
Lord she was lovey-dovy,
I come home one particular evening
The landlady said, "You got the rent money yet?",
I said, "No, can't find no job"
Therefore I ain't got no money to pay the rent
She said "I don't believe you're tryin' to find no job"
Said "I seen you today you was standin' on a corner,
leaning up against a post"
I said "But I'm tired, I've been walkin' all day"
She said "That don't confront me,
long as I get my money next Friday"
Now next Friday come I didn't have the rent,

and out the door I went

So I go down the streets,
down to my good friend's house
I said "Look man I'm outdoors you know,
can I stay with you maybe a couple days?"
He said "Let me go and ask my wife"
He come out of the house,
I could see it in his face

I knowed it was no
He said "I don't know man, ah she kinda funny, you know"
I said "I know, everybody funny,
now you funny too"
So I go back home
I tell the landlady I got a job, I'm gonna pay the rent
She said "Yeah?" I said "Oh yeah"
And then she was so nice,
lord she was lovey-dovy

So I go in my room, pack up my things and I go,
I slip on out the back door and down the streets I go
She a-howlin' about the front rent, she'll be lucky to get any back rent,

she ain't gonna get none of it

So I stop in the local bar you know people,
I go to the bar, I ring my coat, I call the bartender
Said "Look man, come down here", he got down there
So what you want?

One bourbon, one scotch, one beer
Well I ain't seen my baby since I don't know when,
I've been drinking bourbon, whiskey, scotch and gin
Gonna get high man I'm gonna get loose,
need me a triple shot of that juice
Gonna get drunk don't you have no fear
I want one bourbon, one scotch and one beer
One bourbon, one scotch, one beer

But I'm sitting now at the bar,
I'm getting drunk, I'm feelin' mellow
I'm drinkin' bourbon, I'm drinkin' scotch, I'm drinkin' beer
Looked down the bar, here come the bartender
I said "Look man, come down here"
So what you want?

One bourbon, one scotch, one beer
No I ain't seen my baby since the night before last,
gotta get a drink man I'm gonna get gassed
Gonna get high man I ain't had enough,
need me a triple shot of that stuff
Gonna get drunk won't you listen right here,
I want one bourbon, one shot and one beer
One bourbon, one scotch, one beer

Now by this time I'm plenty high,
you know when your mouth a-getting dry you're plenty high
Looked down the bar I say to my bartender
I said "Look man, come down here", he got down there
So what you want this time?
I said "Look man, a-what time is it?"
He said "The clock on the wall say three o'clock
Last call for alcohol, so what you need?"

One bourbon, one scotch, one beer
No I ain't seen my baby since a nigh' and a week,
gotta get drunk man till I can't even speak
Gonna get high man listen to me,
one drink ain't enough Jack you better make it three
I wanna get drunk I'm gonna make it real clear,
I want one bourbon, one scotch and one beer
One bourbon, one scotch, one beer
[technorati icon]

COMMENTER TO DIRECTOR

"Some folk thing the world is in a struggle of competing ideas or ideologies. What’s really going on is a clash between peoples coming from differing realities."

You may or may not heard of the Loose Change internet movie that is moving around in the process that marketers call "viral" - that is, it seems to have a life of its own, propagating by word of mouth and spreading interest like an old Fabergé Organics commercial. This little video pulls together news and stock footage with ominous music and a voiceover "asking the questions that need to be asked" implying strongly that 9/11 was at least partially faked or at least was a US government conspiracy to get us into a war.

There's even a big screen movie version coming out, but while it was originally going to have Charlie "9/11 was a conspiracy" Sheen do the narration, he seems to be backing out at this point. Still, the humble efforts of Dylan Avery are netting him major publicity and possibly even a big movie deal. Where did he come from?

Well, he was a commenter. On Right-Wing blog Little Green Footballs. He left comments like this on the site before finally cobbling together his little movie:
OK.... Before we go calling 9-11 a synonym for Pearl Harbor, I want all you Never Forget pathetic whiners, to go ask A Professional Demolition Expert if the Planes caused the towers to fall. I guarentee you ANY Expert on Controlled Demolition will tell you that dynamite charges were placed in the Twin Towers, he could tell you that the first time he watched them fall. Sloppy job American Government, but then again they didnt think the vivtims families would start asking questions either:)
(Why did 19 terrorists get “lucky” 19 seperate times on their immigration papers when they presented some of the most flawed documents ever seen, a little too much “luck” if you ask me.) Just remember Osama bin Laden got real lucky when air force interceptors were told four times to sand down long enough for the planes to reach their targets, yet payne stewart had an interecepor to his private plane in the standard ten minutes.. ????????????????????????
9-11 We Will Never Forget the Corruption
-peace fools
Now, he brings up frustrating parts of the whole affair with this post, such as why on earth the terrorists with their shoddy documents and overstayed visas were able to stay in the US so easily, but that's hardly evidence of a conspiracy. It's yet more proof not only of federal government incompetence, but sadly the apparently deliberate and willful lack of enforcement of immigration laws by the department responsible for it.

I and many others have utterly demolished the goofy and infantile rantings of 9/11 "truthers" in the past, so I won't go into the specifics here. It's just amazing to me that anyone believes they can have unearthed a hideous government conspiracy sitting at home browsing the internet, one so awful the US government was willing to kill thousands to commit - and they can run free posting all over and going on television to talk about it.

He started as a commenter, granted a sad autorant bot with poor spelling, but a commenter nonetheless. That's what caught my attention.
[technorati icon]

FAMINE IN IRAQ!

"Was it a war crime to give less than great tasting ice cream and chicken wings to all our soldiers in all the wars in our history?"

Lennox Figurine
Over the weekend, a memo was published by Larry Johnson, former CIA worker who has since made a career of criticizing the Bush administration. He claimed to have gotten a memo from Iraq that demonstrated what he considered evidence that "The Surge is Failing and We're Hurting the Troops":
Some brave soul in the U.S. military sent Pat Lang a memo issued Monday that shows the U.S. ability to support its troops is collapsing and very vulnerable to disruption.

Download iraq_food_deliveries.pdf

The memo states:
Due to a theater-wide delay in food delivery, menu selections will be limited for the near future. While every effort will be made to provide balanced meals, it may not be possible to offer the dishes you are used to seeing at each meal. Fresh fruits and salad bar items will also be severely limited or unavailable.
The bottomline is that our troops depend on a ground supply line that runs from Kuwait to the various bases in Iraq. When I was in Iraq last year at the U.S. base in Balad I had the chance to eat four meals a day--breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight rations (midrats). If you like late nights the midrats were great--steak, eggs, pancakes. Pretty good food. Well, based on this memo, it looks like those were the good old days. We don't have enough convoys to give our troops three hot meals a day. We want them to step up the patrolling. We want them to search 24-7 for missing soldiers. But, by God, they don't deserve three hot meals a day.

Excuse my rudeness, but that is f*cked up. Way to go General Petraeus.
My first reaction to this was "well, maybe true, maybe not, but I'm actually surprised that our guys are getting a salad bar and fresh fruit at any point during this campaign, given past military endeavors. And if there's delays getting stuff to soldiers, shouldn't congress take at least part of the blame for playing political games with funding for them?"

Ace of Spades was more skeptical. He looked at this and asked some questions about the validity of the document. Why, for example, was it a PDF file? Why did they put a picture of a Lennox figurine at the top of the memo? Some of the wording and military jargon didn't seem right. Ace pointed out four possibilities here (trimmed, go to Ace of Spades HQ for the full post):
1) The PDF is completely genuine. This strikes me as so unlikely as to be hardly worth mentioning, but I'll toss ito out there as a possibility.

2) The PDF is fake, but it is an accurate recaptiluation of the information found in the real memo, minus, presumably, the usage of a Lenox China "Defender of Freedom" hummel figurine as an official US military logo.

3) The PDF is fake, but the WaPo story is based on a real memo. The left is now circulating a crude forgery created by one of their goofier members in an effort to show they've got "sources."

4) The PDF is fake, and the WaPo relied on the exact same shoddy forgery for its story. This is a lot worse, of course -- if the WaPo is taken in by ridiculous shams like this, what precisely is the value of all this "painstaking confirmation and multiple-layers of rigourous editorial oversight" we've heard so very much about?

Which is it? Unless it's Possibility 1 -- what I'd like to call the "Retard Scenario" -- then either the left and/or the liberal MSM have a fairly major embarassment on their hands.
Commenters then discussed the memo and its contents, and in the process the truth came out. This is a great example of how commenting is so important to blogs:
Chris, and to others... let us look at the memo line by line... I am going off the Army standard, since that is the one I am most familiar with. If any other veteran of another branch can claim that their branch has memos done this way, please step forward.

1. Can someone please tell me what the hell U.S. Mission Iraq is? Its OIF- and a numeral. I believe we are on 4 now.

2. The military doesn't date items like this. Instead of 5-21-2007, it would be 21 May 2007.

3. The To: line always precedes the Subject: line. And there is always a From: line right after the To: line.

4. No one in the military is referred to as an Employee. They are referred to as SMs (Service Members).

5. The memos points are not numbered, but hey, at least the got the block paragraph thing right.

Then we have the signature block on the wrong side and a few other issues that point that this is definately not a memo from the Army. It is also not a DoD memo. While the DoD standard and Army standard do differ some, the also have many similarities, such as the date format for one example.

Lastly, I have no f'n clue what the hell kind of rank a MGT/S or MGT/E is. It certainly isn't a military rank, and all the DoD civilians are GS- and a number.

I need to correct my previous post, we are on OIF-5, not 4.
-by Former Republican


as for formating, yeah the formatting is obvious, but I couldn't say other than "it looks wrong" cuz I was never a fan of my navmc 1070 to begin with.
-by Wickedpinto


Also, the document properties in Adobe give the author as "kahnp" and the creation date as 5/23/07 at 7:15 am--two days after the ostensible date it bears.

And don't you think they'd avoid cutting off the tail of the "q" in U.S. Mission Iraq if this is some sort of letterhead?

I hereby pronounce this the worst forgery since John Adam.
-by See-Dubya

I have no f'n clue what the hell kind of rank a MGT/S or MGT/E is.
Those aren't ranks. I would assume that 'MGT' is short for 'management.' However it's obvious that 'S' and 'E' are the first initials of S. Muensch and E. Butler.

What is obvious, however, is that this is definitely not a military correspondence--not that I think that anyone was trying to copy military format. (Recall the Bush-AWOL documents--patently bogus not only due to the fact that someone had composed them using Microsoft Word, but because of the author's laughably poor attempt to imitate the strict format of military letters.)
-by Baldilocks


OK, for anyone who cares, I just dug up the following...

Timeline for May 23rd:

Johnson posted the PDF on his blog at 10:22am EST.

DeYoung posted the article on WaPo at 5:23pm EST.

Iraqslogger’s Christina Davidson posted a pic of the PDF and a short article at 5:24pm EST.

Additional nugget: Davidson used Lang earlier in May for a letter he posted from an Iraq veteran.

Conclusion: Lang leaked the PDF to both Johnson and Davidson, possibly also to DeYoung.
-by Seixon


I hate to be a party pooper but thats a memorandum form so normal rules go out the window as far as formatting. Memos are informal communication.

That said even if it was true so what, it's normal. And I don't mean that in a so what screw the Soldier or Marine type of way but in the even in peace time this happens way. If you go to a CAX at 29 Palms you eat MREs one meal a day at least and when you do get a hot meal you used to have to eat standing up. Overseas it is very common to have shortages of all sorts of stuff. In Iceland we went a week with out bread one time and the exchange was out of everything including Beer. In Antarctica we almost had a riot because empty cardboard boxes were taking shipping priority over fresh food and Christmas presents. Limited shipping space affects everyone all the time.
-by Chad


Confirming the post by "former republican" about Memorandum Format in the Army. All rules hold true in the Air Force. If anyone wants the Gee-Whiz knowledge of how to write an official memorandum for the Air Force, look here and start on page 181. The other services are very similar.

Obviously not an official memo.
-by Toughluck


I'm here in Baghdad, and that text under (I think) a different masthead is up in our DFAC here on FOB Union III. The PDF may or may not be fake, but I read that text today on a piece of paper taped to the paper towel dispensers at the hand washing station. Give me an email address and I'll shoot you a picture of it tomorrow, when I get in from patrol.

Hey Dale, just so you know, the U.S. Government doesn't run the chow halls here. KBR does. All our offical memorandums are typed up just as you say, but KBR isn't military.
-by PFC Carp

A foreign service officer with the rank of Management Counselor signed off on a memo last Monday notifying Embassy personnel that they would not be getting four hots a day and would have to eat MREs.
Actually, the memo pretty clearly says that they might not be getting four hots a day and might have to eat MREs.

Further, a similar memo has been posted no less than half a dozen times over the last year and a half -- last summer it was up for so long that I had a vague sense of change when it came down and didn't realize it was down for a week -- and they haven't had to uncrate those MREs yet.
-by Etrigan
The source for this memo was Patrick Lang, who claims this on his website bio:
Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years. He is a highly decorated veteran of several of America’s overseas conflicts including the war in Vietnam. He was trained and educated as a specialist in the Middle East by the U.S. Army and served in that region for many years. He was the first Professor of the Arabic Language at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. In the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) he was the “Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia and Terrorism,” and later the first Director of the Defense Humint Service.” For his service in DIA, he was awarded the “Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive.” This is the equivalent of a British knighthood. He is an analyst consultant for many television and radio broadcaststs.
The thing is... there's no such thing as an equivalent to knighthood in the US, and further According to the Office of Personell Management this is not some kind of title and permanent honor, it's more like a bonus:
Distinguished rank recipients receive a lump-sum payment of 35 percent of their basic pay; Meritorious rank recipients receive 20 percent of basic pay. All recipients receive a framed certificate signed by the President.
Ace continued his theme of being a likely fake, In this post, commenters brought a lot more to light:
Guys, the memo isn't fake. I am assigned to MNF-I headquarters with duty at the Embassy in Baghdad. I received an email with the memo attached on the 21st of May. The convoys from Kuwait had been delayed by bad weather, but things are back to nromal now. Tony
-by AnthonyB


Anthony B - What bad weather are you referring to? I am in Iraq right now, between Kuwait and Baghdad and it has been nothing but sunshine and heat for weeks now. The rainy season this year was longer then normal, but for the last 2 months there has been NO bad weather, so please enlighten me.

Gentlemen - I can assure you that in the 2 1/2 yrs I have been here, from Nas to Mosul, there has never been a time where anyone had to eat MREs due to a lack of food. 100% utter and total BS.
-by h


I can't confirm the bad weather story; that is what GEN Petraeus was told when he asked about the convoy status a few days ago during the morning BUA. We never ran out of food and never had to eat MREs, but did run short of fresh fruit, lettuce, and other vegetables. The convoys are apparently running again and we are almost back to a normal chow schedule - still no Diet Coke on the shelves and strawberry Fanta was the only soft drink I saw this morning at breakfast. No one ever went hungry.

The memo wasn't an official State Department document; it was more of an inter-office communication explaining the situation and isn’t on official letterhead. I could dig several others with the same format from my archives if anyone is really interested. Yep, it has the embedded eagle in the top right corner and is obviously a format put together by the originating office. I can't tell where the memo originated; it was sent out as an "All Hands" message and doesn't list the original e-mail address.

I’m ten months into a one-year tour and this is the first disruption of the first class chow service we have experienced. There was no shortage of food; we just didn’t have the four or five choices KBR normally offers and the short order side of the DFAC was closed down for a few days.

I’d never posted here before and only did so because I didn’t want the site to take a credibility hit. The “shortage” was taken way out of proportion in the story, but the memo is a real document.
-by AnthonyB


Tony, for a moment let's assume it was genuinely created by someone who really works for the State Department at the actual embassy in Baghdad. Let's also take it for granted that, for a time, threats of cafeteria-food shortages for non-military employees were a possibility.

That still means someone at the State Department is spreading rumors on lame-ass looking stationary to people who are trying to manipulate information back to the States about "the (military) command in Iraq (being) in some difficulty with regard to hot meals" (and it gets worse from there).

I don't care if the genuine Ambassador himself is writing the damn thing, it's not the way to do business. I fully intend to "attack the origin of the memo", and with no apologies.

We've gone from "fake, but accurate" to "real, but unauthorized, unsourced, and exaggerated". Is that supposed to be progress?
-by Black Republican


Here is the email. I pulled my identifying info but that's all. Like I said Ace has a forwarded copy so he can verify it via headers or whatever.

From: Chad
Sent: Sunday, May 27, 2007 9:36 AM
To: Baghdad, Press Office
Subject: Question regarding a Washington Post story

Dear Sir or Ma’am:

I am a blogger who is following up on a story appearing in the Washington Post regarding a shortage of fresh foods reaching the embassy. There are some bones of contention regarding this story:

1. Is the title US Mission – Iraq in use? It is my understanding that a US Mission includes all American activities in a particular country where the embassy is merely the physical building. Is this correct?
2. Did a memo attached appear outside the dining facility, or is it a fake used to dupe the Washington Post into writing yet another negative story about the conditions in Iraq as alleged by some.

Thanks for your time
----------------------------------
From: Baghdad, Press Office [mailto:BaghdadPressOffice@state.gov]
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 11:09 PM
To: Chad
Subject: RE: Question regarding a Washington Post story

Hi Chad,

These are great questions.

In short, the term “US Mission-Iraq” is how the military here generally refers to us; however, we at the Embassy simply call ourselves “the US Embassy” or, for the actual real estate on which we sit, “the Embassy compound.” As for the food-shortage notice, yes, it was a legitimate notice; however, food convoys have since begun to come in and we’re gradually getting back to normal.

Thanks for asking!

BAGHDAD PRESS OFFICE
U.S. Embassy, Baghdad
Email: BaghdadfPressOffice@state.gov
Web: http://iraq.usembassy.gov

-by Chad


OK guys, last post on this subject for me and I'll get back to work.

1. I am an active duty LTC assigned to the portion of MNF-I headquarters housed at the Embassy compund.

2. The document is completely real and was distributed on 21 May in the form of an "All Hands Alert" message. I have the original e-mail, along with several others that use the same heading and eagle for decoration.

3. No one was spreading rumors of food shortages in the message. We had noticed the DFAC selection deteriorating a few days before the message went out; it was probably intended to let the people who work here know why the selections were changing and what the DFAC was planning to do. Rumor control is very important.

4. I'm not saying anything about the quality of the story, or the fact that the message was "leaked" (how does one leak an unclassified document?), or that the story was blown completely out of proportion and was used to make the situation here look bad. All I'm saying is that criticizing the origin of the message will come back to bite you in the tail because there are several hundred others on the distribution list and it will be proven accurate. Don't focus on the eagle or the format; focus on the way a simple convoy delay was turned into a military disaster with starving State Department personnel the result. That is the real story here.
-by AnthonyB


It seems that the point of this "contoversy" is being missed. After reading Anthony's post, I tend to believe this is a real document. I'm not sure it matters one way or the other. The real story hear is the attempt by the ususal suspects to spin this into something dire and caused by the Bush McHiterhaliburton crime organization.
Juan Cole - Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Starving the Americans Out

The informant adds his own comment:

The bottom line is that our troops depend on a ground supply line that runs from Kuwait to the various bases in Iraq. When I was in Iraq last year at the U.S. base in Balad I had the chance to eat four meals a day--breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight rations (midrats). If you like late nights the midrats were great--steak, eggs, pancakes. Pretty good food. Well, based on this memo, it looks like those were the good old days. We don't have enough convoys to give our troops three hot meals a day. '

Really? Where does anything in this memo state that our troops aren't getting 3 hots a day? That would be a big deal but is not having certain menu offerings for a limited amount of time a crisis? If so, then I want to bring my university administration up on war crimes charges. There were whole weeks that passed when I didn't get my Sloppy Joes.

Larry Johnson - The Surge is Failing and We're Hurting the Troops
by
Larry C Johnson

Some brave soul in the U.S. military sent Pat Lang a memo issued Monday that shows the U.S. ability to support its troops is collapsing and very vulnerable to disruption.
The US ability to support its troops is collapsing because some short term weather issues delayed some food shipments? I hadn't heard that the BushCo. weather machine, so effective in the mass killings in New Orleans of scary brown people, had been deployed to Iraq.

Nobody is starving. Nobody is going hungry. This had nothing to do with not being able to support our troops. It was a short term weather delay. This is a total non-story that a hard left WaPo reporter, the scary stupid intelligence giant Larry Johnson and pro-terrorist supporter Juan Cole attempted to use in their never ending attempt to paint Iraq as a failure.

Ho hum.
-by JackStraw

Use of an eagle figurine is confusing. Why bother with it when your unit already has its own letterhead? Why even both making a .pdf when a simple e-mail message would do the trick?
Thank you, Dave - you've solved the mystery of the differing dates and differing file formats.

Col. Lang posted the document as a Word .DOC on 23 May, but the .DOC itself was created the same day as the date of the memo - 21 May. Whoever created the PDF took the same file Lang has (from the same or a similar source, or from his site) and used Word to convert it to PDF.

Why? Because the MS Word .DOC is an insecure file format commonly used to transmit worms. Only an idiot sends a Word .DOC over the Internet as an attachment. (And only an idiot opens a Word .DOC he finds on the Internet, but I decided to take one for the team on this.) The person who created the PDF was either unwilling or unable to transmit the .DOC (some networks are properly configured to prevent their transmission).

Now.... who would be sending that email with the PDF attached, and to whom?

Any bets that the WaPo server is configured not to accept .DOC files?
-by Black Republican


The original Word document for the email is over at Pat Lang's blog. Looking at the properties for it, it says that "khanp" created the document, and "martinkm" was the last to save it. Yet in the email, it says that MGT/E. Butler drafted it, and MGT/S. Muench approved it. So Mr. Butler and Mrs. Muench can't even write their own emails, or....?

Why did they make it into a PDF for Johnson to peddle it?

DeYoung might not be back at work until Monday, so maybe we'll hear from her then...

If the memo is real, that means:

1. The US Embassy refers to itself by a name (US Mission Iraq) in letterhead that it claims only the military uses for it.

2. The US Embassy uses a picture of a commercial figurine in their official letterhead, although official logos should be readily available.

3. A whole four people were involved in sending a simple email: "khanp", "martinkm", Mr. Butler, and Mrs. Muench.

4. A simple email was written in Microsoft Word, not exactly the best way to broadcast a message since it requires that the recipient has Word to view it.

Not to mention the simple fact that there never was any problem with the food supply, as the WaPo story even admitted at the end of their article, and the supposed response from the embassy shows.

In other words, there is no "there" there, while Larry Johnson calls for Petraeus to apologize to the troops and tries to cause a big stink about it.

Not to mention that the US military Public Affairs Officer in Baghdad said that the memo was phony! The embassy guy in Chad's email did not confirm the authenticity of the actual memo being passed around, he confirmed the authenticity of the fact that a notice was given.

I think that the memo was faked based on a real notice, for reasons 1-4 stated above, and what I just stated.
-by Seixon
Now, by the time Ace got back from taking a day or two off on the weekends - something every blogger ought to do - the smoke had cleared and it appears that the memo is accurate, but was retyped and sent as a PDF file. Ace was a man about it and not only admitted he was wrong, but pointed out that he wanted the report to be fake and make people look stupid:
While Gleen Grenwald is crying vindication, it seems to me he's jumping the gun a bit. For one thing, among the possibilities I mentioned was that there was in fact a real memo, but the "memo" being circulated was not the actual memo itself, but a Microsoft Word created facsimile. I didn't want that to be the case -- I was hoping for full snookerage of the WaPo just for the embarrassment -- but it's a a little childish of Gleen to pretend that I denied that could be the case.

If it the memo is entirely real, well, I guess the US Embassy in Iraq apparently has difficulty finding its official logo, used hundreds of times per day, and must sometimes resort to doing searches for "American Eagle flag" and finding clip-art on amateur websites. That didn't seem to be a likely possibility to me, but who knows, maybe it's true.

Thanks to Chad for actually contacting the US Embassy.
MREsThere were other comments, however, that I want to highlight here. My contention was initially that it seemed odd to complain about soldiers not getting really good food in Iraq to the point of profanity and calling "the Surge" a failure. I've eaten some MREs and aside from being really heavy and dry, they were pretty good eating. Obviously some are better than others, but they certainly are better than the old C-Rations. If you want to try some, make friends with a soldier or buy some for yourself. Experienced commenters at Ace discussed the MREs and the concept of doing without fresh vegetables and fruit, revealing some military humor:
Doesn't matter, fake but with a kernel of accuratish information, is more fake than it is accurate. And delays happen all the time. Quick story, there are a lot of bivouacs that are all over the place near "camp wilson" and there have been times when we had to offer up support vehicles to supply them. That isn't a breakdown of logistics, it's a diverse use of equipment. and Wilson is only about 20 miles from the mainbase.
-by Wickedpinto


You know, there's a lot of guys who fought in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam that are either: 1) getting a good laugh at this "memo" or 2) rolling over in their graves at the softness of our tropps espoused by this "memo"

"it may not be possible to offer the dishes you are used to seeing at each meal. Fresh fruits and salad bar items will also be severely limited or unavailable."

K-rations, MREs, and mud managed to win WWII, and keep the Chi-coms at bay in Korea and Viet Nam (the politicians caused the "redeployment" of troops in the latter). My Dad and father-in-law would have loved some fresh fruit and veggies as they went from North Africa, to Sicily and up Italy.

Even as a fake, this is a joke.
-by joated


Note that WaPo is quoting an embassy official. If you think for one second that the troops are getting the same quality food as an embassy official...I have some real estate I can sell you.

Hell, the troops don't get the same quality food away from the main base. The quality of food and variety of food was much greater at Victory Base than it was at DFACs at bases just 20 miles down the road.

But it is unlikey that you will hear troops bitch about it. Whiney-ass State Department officials, sure...troops, not so much. Unless they are Air Force .
-Former Republican


You mean combat troops might have to eat combat rations? Torture indeed!

Joks aside, all the MRE's I ever had were actually pretty good compared to the usual fare off a roach coach.
-by Purple Avenger


Amen PA, I remember when they started introducing the vegetarian MRE's, and at that time, the vegetarian grubs was AWESOME! and I saw some of the new lists a few years back, and other than odd sensation of launching post MRE torpedoes, I would kill for most of the current menus.
-by Wickedpinto


What's an MRE? Never heard of 'em.

/Air Force

//kidding
-Beth


Did your MRE's really come with little midgets to take away the china?
And what was your wine ration?
-by Wickedpinto


Oh, you are killing me Wickedpinto... But seriously, the Air Force, just like any other branch wouldn't have midgets. The would have "person, small".
-by former Republican


person, small, 1 each, that is.

Go Air Force! Proudly not having no dang MREs since 1947!

(USAF 1981-1994, USAFR 1995-2003)
-by baldilocks


If you go to a survival course, they abandon you (pick the particular survival course) for x number of days (I think cold weather is the minimum) with 1 MRE, and leave you alone until you accomplish your task.

I think a couple days without chicken ketchup and cheese, also called "chicken parmesian" won't hurt the morale or the stomachs of people who GET SHOT AT FOR A F***ING LIVING!!!!

It isn't the individuals bitching, it's the citizens of the world who hate bush who are.
-by Wickedpinto


I thank God everyday that Hitler's secret plan to destroy Eisenhower's salad bar was unsuccessful. The destruction of Zhukov's waffle maker needlessly prolonged the war on the Eastern Front by 6 months.
-by Mike


As a former grunt, I laugh at the idea of missing meals. We would have called it par for the course. We get half-cooked rice and hot water while the pogues live high on the hog. What the f**k is ice cream? Nothing wrong with MREs, just be happy if the pogues haven't rat-f***ed the cases and left us with ham slice and the fucking sh***y beef.
-by Carl Hungus


I'm a military contractor working in the IZ, and yes, a similar notice did in fact go up last week at the Embassy (well, the Embassy annex, but it's what everyone calls "the Embassy"). But here's the thing -- that notice goes up all the time. I go to the Embassy DFAC a few times a week, and I'd say that it's been up probably a third of the last year and a half. The main difference? No eggs, no fresh fruit. Big whoop. I like Froot Loops anyway.

Is this the actual memo? Dunno -- I'll check tomorrow, maybe. But it does bear a striking resemblance to the thing, and the information is accurate. It's also not a huge deal, and it affects far more State Department personnel than military anyway, so the estimable Mr. Johnson is still wildly overblowing the case.
-by Etrigan
And finally there's this, pointing out Larry Johnson's credibility in regards to the War on Terror from 2001:
Larry Johnson is an idiot of the first order...

Not Exactly Whopper of the Week

"Judging from news reports and the portrayal of villains in our popular entertainment, Americans are bedeviled by fantasies about terrorism. They seem to believe that terrorism is the greatest threat to the United States and that it is becoming more widespread and lethal. They are likely to think that the United States is the most popular target of terrorists. And they almost certainly have the impression that extremist Islamic groups cause most terrorism.

"None of these beliefs are based in fact. ... While terrorism is not vanquished, in a world where thousands of nuclear warheads are still aimed across the continents, terrorism is not the biggest security challenge confronting the United States, and it should not be portrayed that way."

--Larry C. Johnson, "The Declining Terrorist Threat," New York Times, July 10, 2001. Johnson, a former CIA officer, was deputy director of the U.S. State Department's Office of Counterterrorism from 1989 to 1993.
-by Dirk Diggler
This from the man who claims to have been in charge of the "Get Osama Bin Laden" department of the CIA.

McCoy Alert, Level 3So to summarize: the email's contents appear to be accurate, although it is not a real memo from Iraq. The changes in selection were caused by minor weather problems, but did not and have not in the past resulted in any missing food. For example here's an example of an American medic in Iraq and how he eats (at the end of the post). There's no problems with supply lines, there's no shortages, "the Surge" is not failing, and the troops aren't being hurt - except by our enemy who we ought to avoid encouraging.

So we have a rehash of the contents of an actual email gussied up to look military and sent to enemies of the Bush administration, which is then reacted to as if something ghastly is occurring in Iraq. As if we're losing because soldiers have to eat MREs and don't get their Créme Bulet and frappuccinos.

This is being sold as some sort of bad news, which makes soldiers - especially those in Iraq - laugh out loud. Old soldiers boggle at the idea of lacking fresh fruit, ice cream, and salad as some sort of crisis. But that's the angle this is being sold as - similar to how the AP had all sorts of Iraq death counts and reports over Memorial day and nothing from Afghanistan.

I'll close with this bit from Etrigan, who sums up Larry Johnson's post in a few lines of satire:
"The roof is about to cave in! Ahhhh! Look! A roof tile has collapsed right here into the living room!"

"This doesn't really look like a roof tile."

"It is too a roof tile! The roof is about to cave in!"

"Why does it have a price sticker saying 'On sale only on May 28th' on it?"

"Well, because I just bought it. Because I have to prove to you that the roof is about to cave in!"

"You know, I live here, and I look at the roof pretty much every day. It's not about to cave in. Especially based on the evidence of a roof tile you bought today at Home Depot. Speaking of which, didn't you do this about two years ago, when you bought a piece of glass, broke it in the driveway and presented the shards as proof that the kid down the street threw a rock through your window?"

"Aha! You admit that it's a roof tile! The roof is about to cave in! I WIN!"

"Oh, whatever."
[technorati icon]