Conceived above a saloon, delivered into this world by a masked man identified by his heavily sedated mother as Captain Video, raised by a kindly West Virginian woman, a mild-mannered former reporter with modest delusions of grandeur and no tolerance of idiots and the intellectually dishonest.


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Saturday, March 29, 2003

Goddamn Pinko Cetaceans...

From sf.indymedia.org.

The US Marines have suffered an embarrassment with reports last night that one of their most prized investigators may have defected.

Takoma, the Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphin, had been in Iraq for 48 hours when he went missing on his first operation to snoop out mines.

His handler, Petty Officer Taylor Whitaker, had proudly showed off Takoma's skills and told how the 22-year-old dolphin was among the most pampered creatures in the American military.

Takoma and his fellow mine hunters have a special diet, regular medical checks and their own sleeping quarters, which is more than can be said for the vast majority of the military whose domestic arrangements are basic, to say the least.

The wayward Takoma set out on the first mission with his comrade, Makai, watched by the cameras as the pair of dolphins somersaulted over the inflatable dinghy carrying their handlers.

Takoma's role was to sweep the way clear for the arrival of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Sir Galahad. US officials had said that dolphins, first used in Vietnam, were a far better bet than all the technology on board the flotilla of ships.

Petty Officer Whitaker had tempted fate by saying: "Why would they go missing when they have the best food and daily spruce-ups and health checks?" Two hours later Takoma had gone Awol. "Twenty-four hours is not unusual," a nervous Petty Officer Whitaker said. "After all, he may meet some local company."

Takoma has now been missing for 48 hours and the solitary figure of Petty Officer Whitaker could be seen yesterday patting the water, calling his name and offering his favourite fish, but there was no response.

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Preflight Check

 1. Cabal of oldsters who won't listen to outside advice? Check.
 2. No understanding of ethnicities of the many locals? Check.
 3. National boundaries drawn in Europe, not by the locals? Check.
 4. Unshakable faith in our superior technology? Check.
 5. France secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
 6. Russia secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
 7. China secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
 8. SecDef pushing a conflict the JCS never wanted? Check.
 9. Fear we'll look bad if we back down now? Check.
10. Corrupt Texan in the WH? Check.
11. Land war in Asia? Check.
12. Rightists unhappy with outcome of previous war? Check.
13. Enemy easily moves in/out of neighboring countries? Check.
14. Soldiers about to be dosed with our own chemicals? Check.
15. Friendly fire problem ignored instead of solved? Check.
16. Anti-Americanism up sharply in Europe? Check.
17. B-52 bombers? Check.
18. Helicopters that clog up on the local dust? Check.
19. Infighting among the branches of the military? Check.
20. Locals that cheer us by day, hate us by night? Check.
21. Local experts ignored? Check.
22. Local politicians ignored? Check.
23. Local conflicts since before the USA has been a country? Check.
24. Against advice, Prez won't raise taxes to pay for war? Check.
25. Blue water navy ships operating in brown water? Check.
26. Use of nukes hinted at if things don't go our way? Check.
27. Unpopular war? Check.
Vietnam II, you are cleared to taxi.

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Friday, March 28, 2003

Eloquence

When in England at a fairly large conference recently, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.

He answered by saying that, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."

It became very quiet in the room.

(from Leo D. Bores, MD, posted on Dave Farber's Interesting People mailing list.)

snopes.com documents that it's not apocryphal, but out of context and slightly misquoted. The full text of Powell's message is here.

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Thursday, March 27, 2003

You know the world is going crazy...

...when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the United States of arrogance, and Germany doesn't want to go to war.

(Thanks to Katie LaPalme and Dave McNeill.)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Operation Piss Off the Planet

As usual, The Onion has the best perspective on current world events.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2003

That Church Thing

A footnote to Saturday's diatribe about religion and personal belief:

Sunday morning I dressed and headed out to visit the nearest Unitarian Church, which is about five miles from my apartment.

There were no cabs. Anywhere. I waited for fifteen minutes, then headed back upstairs.

You may interpret it as poor taxi service. I believe it was a message.

If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss bank.-Woody Allen

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Modern problems

We are taxed in our bread and our wine, in our incomes and our investments, on our land and on our property, not only for base creatures who do not deserve the name of man, but for foreign nations, for complacent nations who will bow to us and accept our largesse and promise us to assist in the keeping of the peace - these mendicant nations who will destroy us when we show a moment of weakness or our treasury is bare. We are taxed to maintain legions on their soil, in the name of law and order and the Pax Romana, a document which will fall into dust when it pleases our allies and our vassals. We keep them in precarious balance only with our gold. Is the heart-blood of our nation worth these? Were they bound to us with ties of love, they would not ask our gold. They would ask only our laws. They take our very flesh, and they hate and despise us. And who shall say we are worthy of more? ... When a government becomes powerful it is destructive, extravagant and violent; it is a usurer which takes bread from innocent mouths and deprives honorable men of their substance, for votes with which to perpetuate itself.
--Cicero, 54 B.C.

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Monday, March 24, 2003

It's not real, but what the hey...

Phony Google

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Reality

Al-Jazeera, the Arab news agency, has posted the photos of the dead and captured American solidiers. Most American media outlets have decided not to display these photos.

It's an understandable position; these are our sons, our brothers, our husbands, and it's extremely unpleasant to view.

But war is more than well-coiffed, "embedded" newspeople and ex-generals blabbing about "shock and awe." This is shock and awe.

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Sunday, March 23, 2003

This pretty much sums it up

America's having technical difficulties.

(Requires flash animation. But it's worth it.)

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Violators will be prosecuted.
So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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