Saturday, July 08, 2006

For Vicki

AFP Jason Gutierrez

Something beautiful for Vicki. May she be inspired everyday to pursue her dreams.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Late nite plusharama

A boy and his minion.

More tigers

Reuters/Jason Lee

Baby plushies of all species of kitty are teh cute.


AP/Jessie Cohne

Look at his little expression, teh cute.

Friday plush

Lion kitty Maxx wasn't cooperating this morning. "Quit flashy thinging me and give me some breakfast!!"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Afternoon plushy delight

A new theorem is expected shortly.

Ill Advised

Froomkin points us to James Fallows who is blogging the Aspen Ideas Festival for the Atlantic, specifically about a panel that included Sir Richard Dearlove, the former director of MI6 and the author of the notorious Downing Street Memo. Saving this one for Tommorrow.
The speaker in question was Sir Richard Dearlove. He is famous as a former director of MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service, and he was favored on this panel by being addressed as “Sir Richard” when the other people were “Jim” or “Danny.” Without ramming home the point, at four or five instances he suggested that just about everything in the American approach to the war on Islamic terrorism had been ill-conceived.

The minor instances came when the other participants, all American, talked about this or that reorganization of the intelligence agencies or the Department of Homeland Security, and Sir Richard (I can’t really call him “Dearlove,” can I? Maybe “C,” his James Bondish organizational name?) confined himself to a one-liner about such organizational details usually being the least important aspects of creating an effective intelligence system. The Americans talked about the expansion of executive power after 9/11, and worried about the larger tension between civil liberties and military security. “C” wrapped up that discussion in two sentences, saying (a) that whenever civil liberties were being infringed, it was crucial that the change be made through legislation rather than sheer executive action, since it built in at least the chance of political debate; and (b) that what had been done via executive action in the United States “would be illegal in Great Britain, as a matter of common law.”

But the main tension involved the larger U.S. emphasis on a “Global War on Terror.” “Terrorism is an extreme form of political communication,” he said. “You want to be sure that, in your response, you don’t end up amplifying the messages that terrorists are trying to convey.” This understanding, he said, explained why his country approach counter-terrorism in so different a way from America’s.

That’s what I wanted to hear more about – in what ways, exactly, he thinks the United States might have “amplified” the Al Qaeda message, and what a different approach would look like.

Like Froomkin, I'd like to hear more about that too, but I'd really like to hear why Tony Blair was so hell bent in following Bush into the Iraqi quagmire and why Blair ignored the advice of his intelligence service.

Space News - supernova mystery!!

From our friends at, comes this tale of a Mystery Object Found in Supernova's Heart:
Embedded in the heart of a supernova remnant 10,000 light-years away is a stellar object the likes of which astronomers have never seen before in our galaxy.

At first glance, the object looks like a densely packed stellar corpse known as a neutron star surrounded by a bubble of ejected stellar material, exactly what would be expected in the wake of a supernova explosion.

However, a closer 24.5-hour examination with the European Space Agency's XMM Newton X-ray satellite reveals that the energetic X-ray emissions of the blue, point-like object cycles every 6.7 hours—tens of thousands of times longer than expected for a freshly created neutron star.

It is behavior that's more commonly seen in neutron stars that have been around for several million years, researchers say.

"The behavior we see is especially puzzling in view of its young age, less than 2,000 years," said study leader Andrea De Luca of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) in Milan. "For years we have had a sense that the object is different, but we never knew how different until now," De Luca said.

The finding is detailed in the July 7 issue of the journal Science.

Hmmm? what could it be? How very interesting. Maybe it's an alien beacon.

A flesh eating alien beacon! Eeeeeeek!!

The Bugman is Fucketh

Ha! A federal judge has ruled that the Texas republican party cannot replace Tom Delay on the ballot this November. Judge's ruling keeps DeLay on ballot:
AUSTIN - A federal judge ruled today that Republicans cannot replace former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on the ballot for the 22nd Congressional District race.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, a Republican appointee, ruled that DeLay must appear on the Nov. 7 ballot as the GOP nominee for the congressional seat that he abandoned last month.

Sparks said DeLay could "withdraw'' from the race under Texas election law, but that still would not allow the Republicans to replace him on the ballot.

DeLay had sought to have state Republican Chair Tina Benkiser declare him ineligible by moving from Sugar Land to his condominium in Virginia. But Sparks said that would not make him ineligible because the requirement under the Constitution is whether DeLay is an inhabitant of Texas on election day.

Sparks said contradicting evidence raised questions about whether DeLay planned to remain a resident of Virginia, but he said that did not matter because DeLay could not say where he would be on election day.

"The court holds that allowing Benkiser to declare DeLay ineligible at this time would amount to a de facto residency requirement in violation of the United States Constitution,'' Sparks said in his opinion.

Sparks' ruling halts the process of replacing DeLay on the ballot, but the GOP is expected to appeal the decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
If the Republicans lose on appeal, DeLay will have to decide whether to campaign for an office from which he already has resigned.

Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth over "judicial activism." I count this as a pick up of one.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Some REAL lion kitty blogging

Mr. Plushy has sworn off attacking the Eiffel Tower until after the World Cup final.

Vive la France!!

A lion kitty

Reuters/Ali Jarekji

Not THE lion kitty, but a lion kitty nontheless. He looks like he just saw a picture of joementum.

Progress, Ramadi Style

Joao Silva for the NY Times

The traitorous NYTimes gives us a snapshot today of the hell that is Ramadi. In Ramadi, Fetid Quarters and Unrelenting Battles The marines there must not have gotten the memo about the progress in Iraq and the insurgency's last throes the administration keeps telling us about. Says Captain Andrew Del Gaudio, 30, of the Bronx, (commander of the US unit there), ""We go out and kill these people. I define success as continuing to kill the enemy to allow the government to work and for the Iraqi Army to take over." The outlook is grim:
That day seems a long way off. The Iraqi government exists here in little more than name. Last week about $7 million disappeared from the Rafidain Bank — most of the bank's deposits — right under the nose of an American observation post next door. An Iraqi police officer was shot in the face and dumped in the road, his American ID card stuck between his fingers.

The governor of the province, Mamoun Sami Rashid al-Alwani, still goes to work here under an American military escort. But many of the province's senior officials deserted him after the kidnapping and beheading of his secretary in May.

The previous governor was assassinated, as was the chairman of the provincial council, Khidir Abdel Jabar Abbas, in April. At a meeting of the provincial cabinet last week, only six of 36 senior officials showed up.

"The terrorists want to keep Anbar people out of the government," said Taha Hameed Mokhlef, the director general for highways, who went into hiding last month when his face appeared on an American-backed television station here showing him in his job. He has since re-emerged. "My friends told me that the terrorists were planning to kill me, so I went to Jordan for a while," he said.


One of the "habits of mind" drilled into the marines from posters hung up inside: "Be polite, be professional and have a plan to kill everyone you meet."

The humor runs dark, too. On a sheet of paper hung up in the Government Center, marines wrote down suggestions for their company's T-shirt once they go home. Most are unprintable, but here is one that got a lot of laughs: "Kilo Company: Killed more people than cancer."

The marines at the Government Center have held on, but the fighting has transformed the area into an ocean of ruin. The sentries posted on the rooftops have blasted the larger buildings nearby so many times that they have given them nicknames: Battleship Gray, Swiss Cheese. The buildings are among those that will be bulldozed under the Green Zone plan.

Long story short, after 3 years, the US forces are no closer than ever to pacifying Anbar province.

And yet the republican leadership continues to bleat, "stay the course! stay the course!" like a bunch of brain-dead sheep. Feh.

Stuff on my frog

Reuters/Pawan Kumar

What will we tell the children?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July plushy

Maxx wishes you a happy holiday.

Osama who?

The CIA has closed the division that was focused on hunting down Osama Bin Laden and his top lieutenants. C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden
WASHINGTON, July 3 — The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.


Michael Scheuer, a former senior C.I.A. official who was the first head of the unit, said the move reflected a view within the agency that Mr. bin Laden was no longer the threat he once was.

Mr. Scheuer said that view was mistaken.

"This will clearly denigrate our operations against Al Qaeda," he said. "These days at the agency, bin Laden and Al Qaeda appear to be treated merely as first among equals."

Allow me to make a lucky guess- all those assets are now required in the hunt to find a reason to bomb Iran.

What do I win?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Bonus sleepy plushy

Lion kitty is very sleepy after a day of being a huge cuddlemonster.

Mr. Plushy is a cuddlemonster

Here he is, all you whiners.

A Freebie for Lamont

So Lieberman is petitioning to be on the ballot
in November, even if he loses the democratic primary.

A few hours ago, CNN aired joementum's interview with John King, during which Lieberman said (I'm paraphrasing) that he thinks he knows that he's the best person to represent Connecticutt, and that his opinions on the issues are more important than those of the democratic voters' in his constituency. And anyway, you never know what riff-raff might show up on primary day.

In other words, Daddy Lieberman knows best. That's outrageous.

So here's a freebie for Mr. Lamont. Here's your new campaign slogan:
ALL politicians serve at the pleasure of the voters.

What part of that concept does Mr. Lieberman not understand?

Take that to the voters. Say it every single day. Say it over and over and over. And the expansion of that is this, "If Mr. Lieberman thinks he knows better than the voters, than how the heck can you expect him to represent your interests if you send him back to Washington? It's the voters' decision, not Joe Lieberman's. The fact that he doesn't get that disqualifies him for office."

Get out there and smack him, Mr. Lamont. We're counting on you.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Billmon has a question

Billmon notes today's WAPO story about the hurdle to closing GITMO, what about those pesky inmates? Retired general Barry McCafferty has his own solution:
If detainees are released in their own countries and appear back on the battlefield fighting the United States -- as the administration has contended will happen -- "it may be cheaper and cleaner to kill them in combat than sit on them for the next 15 years," McCaffrey wrote.

Billmon asks:
So what exactly is Gen. McCaffrey proposing? That we stop taking prisoners? Should we slit their throats -- and pull ourselves down to the same level as the jihadis in Iraq who cut the throats of two U.S. soldiers last month? Is that really where this is heading?

Isn't that where we already are? We might not be slitting peoples throats, but we sure as hell are shooting them full of bullets and bombing them.

The day Cheney intoned his pronouncement that this war would be fought in the shadows, that we'd have to go to the darkside, we were on our way down to that level.

The only question left is, just how far will we sink?