a left leaning political blog -- it's not really about pie
a political blog, mostly, with a few cat pictures

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Demonstrate against the war on october 6 & 7.

Friday, September 27, 2002

If you've turned on a tv at all in the past month, you've probably seen Scott Ritter being interviewed. On TV, he den't really seem very convincing -- he can't go into any sort of detail in his remarks on tv news programs. But few are more than qualified to speak to the question of whether or not Iraq maintains chemical and biological stockpiles, and if they are on their way to building a nuclear bomb.

Here's a print interview in which Scott does go into some of the details. Apparently, the case against Iraq has been vastly overstated by the Bush administration. Scott say that "since 1998 Iraq has been fundamentally disarmed: 90-95% of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability has been verifiable eliminated. This includes all of the factories used to produce chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and long-range ballistic missiles; the associated equipment of these factories; and the vast majority of the products coming out of these factories." He says that stored Sarin and tabun have a shelf life of five years, and would be useless now. As for VX, he say's "you see a destroyed research and development plant, destroyed precursors, destroyed agent, destroyed weapons and a destroyed factory. . .is there a VX nerve agent factory in Iraq today? Not on your life."

When discussing Iraq's capacity for making nuclear weapons, Scott says that as of '98, the infrastructure and facilities had been 100% eliminated. Further more, to rebuild them, "they would have to build enrichment and weaponisation capabilities that would cost tens of billions of dollars. Nuclear weapons cannot be created in a basement or cave. They require modern industrial infrastructures that in turn require massive amounts of electricity and highly controlled technologies not readily available on the open market." Furthermore, the centrifuge facilities needed to make a nuclear weapon would emit gamma radiation, which would be detectable.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

I finally did a real design. I have some work that I'm trying to avoid, and, well, you know how it is.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Xymphora has some interesting speculation regarding the 9/11 events at Booker Elementary School.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Why the White House Said Yes to a 9-11 Inquiry

It's pretty much what you would expect -- he didn't have a choice.

Iraq -- A third option

Profile: Carnegie Endowment Proposal to Back Weapons Inspectors in Iraq With a U.N. Military Troop of 50,000

"If you listen to some of the hawks in Washington, the choice seems stark. Either the Bush administration goes it alone, mounting an all-out war to topple Saddam Hussein's regime, or it sits by as Iraq continues to develop weapons of mass destruction. Retired General Charles Boyd argues there is a way to force Saddam Hussein to make the choice, by sending in troops to back up weapons inspections."

The Bush administration has no position on this. If they were actually concerned about WMD in Iraq, this would be the way to go. Maybe it is all about the oil.

(Hey, how about using the oil money to pay for the war -- it's going to cost at least $100 billion, if not several hundred billion. And why not pay the families of the soldiers that die as well? That's only fair. I guess the whole idea becomes less appealing to the Bush administration at that point. And then we need to occupy and rebuild Iraq, and while were at it, Afghanistan, since we seem to have forgotten all about them. Hey, then we use the rest of the money to develop fuel cell technology! Whoa, now I've lost my mind!)

Friday, September 20, 2002

One of the funniest things I've seen in a while

The Daily Show's take on the aforementioned presidential speech in TN.
high speed -- low speed

Thanks again, This Modern World

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

I was just sort of half listening to Jr's speech in TN this morning, and he implied that part of the reason we attacked Afganistan was that we found out that young girls were not allowed to go get an education there.

Wow. I guess I knew about that long before he did. Maybe if I had just let him know -- then we could have gotten that whole Afganistan thing out of the way a lot sooner, and we might have been able to avoid 9/11.

Sorry, everyone!

Josh Marshall is talking about the inconsistencies in the treatment of people we pick up as "terrorists." Should Ramzi Binalshibh face a military tribunal? Maybe, but that should be clearly spelled out in a law somewhere. It's not. The decision is Jr's. That's wrong. It's been annoying me for some time that decisions like this go straight to the White House, where they make up the rules as they go along.

I've been trying to finish up a long post on Iraq, but I'm having trouble finding the time. It's looks like things are changing faster than I can write about them. Iraq is appearantly saying "bring it on" to the inspectors, so I don't see how we can go forward with an attack.

Oh, wait, of course we can -- and that's what my long post is all about -- if I ever get to it.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

A spiffy new blog

I was going to link to a post on William Burton's new blog, which, so far, is mostly about Iraq and I said to myself, "hey, they should just read the whole thing."

It's that good.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

That silly Norah Vincent

Skippy has the best take so far.

And now for something completely different

Humphrey Bogart in The Lord of the Rings.

(via bifurcated rivets)

Monday, September 09, 2002

Urban Warfare Excercises come to your neighborhood

If you live in Dayton, Ohio, get ready for TRUEX XLIII (for Training in an Urban Environment Exercise.) That's right, according to this, on undisclosed dates this month, "several hundred soldiers from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will fire machine-gun blanks and maneuver helicopters in several Dayton neighborhoods during a two-week period."

As you can imagine, citizens of Dayton would prefer that they do their exercises elsewhere. One person said that they "have lived through several years of real gunfire and helicopter searches overhead and those sights and sounds are frightening," The Marines have made it clear that Dayton has no choice in the matter. I wonder what would happen if they wanted to do their training in some of the communities in my area, where we are not so accustomed to hearing helicopters and gunfire.

One also has to wonder -- exactly what are they training for, Iraq, or some place closer to home? I'll just leave that to your imagination.

Greg Palast says that "The president of the United States is using the U.S. taxpayers as a piggy bank to basically purchase the governorship, the reelection, for his brother in Florida."

This month Jr announced that he's giving $115 million to ExxonMobil, to buy back oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico, in order to curtail drilling off the coast of Florida. This will help his brother with that pesky election he's facing, as Floridians don't really like the idea of seeing drilling platforms off their coast.

Now, ExxonMobil (Jr's #2 donor) is not doing too badly here, either. US taxpayers are buying back leases for $115 million that they paid $13 million for. That's a pretty good deal for them.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

New wildfire plan watchdog has unorthodox views

Like a crazy nightmare that the country can't wake up from, Bush Jr continues to establish himself as the "anti-environment President." Allan Fitzsimmons, the man chosen to head the Bush administration's wildfire prevention program "doubts the existence of ecosystems" and says "it would not be a crisis if the nation's threatened and endangered species became extinct."

Pardon me?

Okay, we already knew that the "healthy forests initiative" was actually going to be "operation no trees/no fires." No surprise there. But where did Jr find this guy?

Actually, this guy has written a book: Defending Illusions: Federal Protection of Ecosystems. (pdf) Get this:

Fitzsimmons believes that environmentalists who appeal to the notion of the ecosystem . . .misrepresent their own preferences as those of Mother Nature. Because science must speak in secular terms, it refers to ecosystems instead of to Mother Nature or to Creation and ascribes design to ecosystems without any mention of the Designer. This conception of nature as orderly, however, derives not from any empirical evidence but from assumptions and beliefs that are essentially romantic or theological.

I don't even know how to respond to silliness like that. And it gets worse. He says that "at least 4,500 non-indigenous species have established free-living populations in the United States over the past few hundred years, so that on balance, this part of the world has seen an increase in biological diversity." This is a shockingly stupid statement. My husband, who thinks that there is nothing that can't be illuminated or explained by examining a Simpsons episode, reminds me of the Bart vs Australia episode, in which Bart destroys the Australian ecosystem by bringing in a frog from Springfield.

I am also reminded of a Groucho Marx joke. Groucho is examining some document, and says "any 12 year old can understand this. Get me a 12 year old." Mr Fitzsimmons needs a 12 year old to explain a few things to him.