Bob's Links and Rants

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fed Up?

That's the subject of an e-mail I got from Carl Levin, Michigan's senior senator and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He wants me to contribute to his 2008 re-election campaign to scare off any potential challengers:
We can force potential challengers to think twice before entering my race, by taking action today. A contribution before Sunday's critical end-of-quarter deadline will show any opponent that we're ready.

Click here to make an immediate, secure contribution of $50, $75, or more. Your support before September 30 will force Republicans to think twice before trying to silence one of their toughest critics.
There is no military solution to the political problems in Iraq. That's why I keep introducing my plan to begin to reduce our forces. It's the only way to force the Iraq political leaders to take control of their own destiny.

Time after time, Republicans have blocked my plan to get our troops out of Iraq. The one time we succeeded in getting it passed by Congress, the President vetoed it and there weren't enough votes to override his veto.

If you are as fed up with the Bush Administration's policies as I am, please make an urgent investment in our campaign today. Together, we can send a clear signal to the White House that their plans to defeat me--and silence one of their toughest critics --will not work.
That's right! It's your chance to prove once again that money trumps democracy in America! Our worthless senator wants to run unopposed so he can keep introducing his plan until the cows (but not the troops) come home. That his plan isn't working, of course, is irrelevant in his mind to his status as one of the "toughest critics," and even if it were, its failure is all the fault of a scandal-ridden Repug minority, a pResident with record low popularity, and a practically non-existent Iraqi puppet government. How can one man in an extremely powerful position possibly overcome such formidable opposition?

Stopping the funding of the war can't be vetoed--which is probably why Levin won't support it. He'd much rather complain about the Repugs and the Iraqis foiling his "plan" than actually come up with a plan that would work.

Fed up? You bet I am.

Still here

To any loyal readers I may have left: I'm still here! I've been teaching a computer programming course at the U. of Michigan, which has taken up most of my spare time. I still check in and read some of my favorite blogs, like A Tiny Revolution, Empire Burlesque, You Will Anyway and Whatever It Is I'm Against It, wondering if the fact that those blogs have much cooler names than mine is what keeps them going. Anyway, most blog posts I might come up with these days would be just regurgitating what I read on those blogs--so just click on over and read there what you might have read here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Oil prices went above $80a barrel for the first time today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


A new crude record.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

If I had time to blog these days, I would probably write something like this, but it probably wouldn't be as good.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bush defines "functioning government"

W down under:
They [Iraq] got a budgeting process that's funding their military. In other words, there is a functioning government.
-- via WIIIAI.

Just before that, W said:
Do they need an oil law? You bet they need an oil law. Why? Because it will be part of saying to Sunnis, Shia, and Kurd alike, the oil belongs to the people. It's a way to unify the country. On the other hand, they are distributing revenues from the central government. In Anbar province they have distributed $107 million this year, about $96 million last year. There's only one place they could have gotten the revenue from, the oil resources.
Only one place. RIGHT. The US officially has provided billions of dollars earmarked for the Iraqi military. It could be some of that. They could have gotten it by selling misplaced US weapons or leftover stockpiles of munitions on the black market. They could be smuggling Afghan heroin to Turkey, or selling Iraqi orphans to the highest Saudi bidder.

Aargh! WHY am I trying to apply logical arguments to W's totally insane nonsense?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Of course they did

Britain's MI5, aka Big Brother, spied on George Orwell.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Take note, Canada

Yesterday, I went to the Canadian National Exhibition here in Toronto. The featured act of the CNE yesterday (and today and tomorrow) was an air show. The weather was picture-perfect, and it was impressive watching the planes do their tricks over Lake Ontario. One or two Canadian stunt pilots were featured, as well as a new Canadian-built short-haul airliner and the Snowbirds aerial demonstration team (Canada's answer to the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels). Nevertheless, the show was dominated by the US military.

The show began with an F-18A Super Hornet, which flew numerous low and loud passes, as well as doing some tricks. Then, after three impressive but typical aerobatic acts, the PA microphone was handed over to some staff sergeant PR types from the Air Force. They mentioned repeatedly that this is the 60th anniversary of the US Air Force, and they "celebrated" this by showing a World War II-era P-51 Mustang, an F-16 Falcon (aka Viper), and the new F-22 Raptor. As if the phenomenal demostrations of power and maneuverability were not enough, each plane was introduced by the staff sergeant announcers as being or having been "the most lethal aircraft" ever. (All the staff sergeants had a jingoistic southern twang to their speech, even the guy from Michigan.) And I doubt if anyone in the crowd disagreed with that description of the Raptor. Ugly and big (about twice the size of the F-16), the Raptor did the same types of high- and low-speed passes that the F-16 did, as well as the vertical climbs. Amazingly, it also did most of the same tricks that the little aerobatic planes had done earlier, including some tumbles and appearing to just float in the air. The staff sergeant said "the Raptor is prepared to defend freedom around the globe" or some such BS.

The Canadian announcers weren't much better, always thanking their "friends from the south" for being willing to come perform here in Canada. When planes like the F-16 and the C-17A that the Pentagon has condescended to allow Canada to purchase were shown, the announcers gushed over this fact. The announcer did mention that the multi-billion dollar purchase of C-17A's by the Canadian Air Force had been controversial in Parliament, but stated that the fact that the first one had just delivered war material to Canadian troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan was "proof" that the decision to purchase the plane from Boeing was the right one. He bragged that with planes like the C-17A, Canada's Air Force was prepared to "defend human rights and freedom both here and abroad."

I imagine that there were many Canadians in the audience who realized that the people of Afghanistan and Iraq get a US "air show" every day, and that the main reason the USAF is willing to put on such a show in Canada is to remind the Canadians of their secondary status. "Hah--you waste all your money on health care, while we spend ours on the 'most lethal aircraft ever'!"

On a superficial level, an enjoyable experience in a beautiful setting. On a deeper level, the whole thing was quite disturbing.