07/21/2005: A quick blogaround....
Because, alas, Real Life™ is seriously interfering with my blogging this week.
- In keeping with this week's 36th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, here's the website you want to visit if you're at all curious about how astronauts take a dump (or a leak) in space. Note that this is an official NASA site; your tax dollars at work. :-)
- From Dave Studeman at The Hardball Times, we learn a couple things. First, the Great Dumb Trade that we Cardinals fans like to rub Cub fan noses in regularly ("Brock for Brogio"; if that leaves you going "Hunh?", you're obviously not a Cards or Cubs fan) isn't the worst trade the Cubs ever made. That honor goes to the Rafael Palmiero for Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams trade. Then again, the 1989 baseball season would never have been what it was for Cubs fans without Mitch Williams in the Wrigley bullpen (my then in-laws were all Cub fans, so I saw that up-close and personal), so it may have been a bad trade, but it was an entertaining bad trade.
- Also from Studeman, we get this gem of a quote from Billy Bob "life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan" Thornton:
[The Cardinals] invited me to throw out the first pitch one day and [Cardinals hall-of-fame pitcher Bob] Gibson was there, and he was catching me. It made me nervous after having (bragged) about having been a pitcher, so I couldn't be like a politician and roll it up on the grass. So I threw a slider to him. He came out to the mound, put the ball back in my hand and said, "Man, that was a damn good slider, where did you get that?" and I said, "Out of your book!"Thornton, as a native of Malvern, Arkansas was, of course, born and raised in the heart of what was then Cardinal Nation.
- Bryan, at Why Now? gives his eyewitness account of the dog and pony show surrounding the eventual selection of George Bush as the President in 2000:
I get a queasy feeling when I hear Southern law enforcement officers talk about "outside agitators", but that's what we had in Florida during the 2000 vote. A hoard of lawyers who abused the court system with suits that they didn't actually have the standing to bring. These weren't Florida lawyers, they were "outside agitators" brought in with promises of jobs which they have received from the Bush administration.The reason he mentions this now is because Supreme Court nominee John Roberts was one of those "outside agitators".
- Meanwhile, in a very perceptive post, The Pesky Fly says that what's really objectionable about Judge Roberts isn't his position on overruling Roe v. Wade, but rather his concurring opinion in the D.C. Circuit case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Go take a look at that one; Hamdan, if adopted by the Supreme Court, constitutes a broad ratification of the Bush bAdministration's belief that it is above the law--the law being, in this case, the Geneva conventions. However, how long will it be, given such encouragement, before Bush begins to believe his delusions that he is above the Constitution?
- Over at Pretty War, Tom links to a review of a recent Willie Nelson/Bob Dylan concert held at the GMC Stadium in Sauget, IL. As a St. Louis native, I'm familiar with Sauget, which is why I loved this descriptive passage:
Sauget, Illinois (pop. 249) is a toxic sump of chemical plants and strip clubs just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis, an ugly smear of scrubland with the unofficial motto "when you can taste the air, you know you're there." But the Sauget family's misbegotten fiefdom owns a few small pieces of musical notoriety. Uncle Tupelo immortalized it in "Sauget Wind" with lines like "Industrial wind/ It blows from the west/ It'll burn out your eyes/ And suck out your breath," Mötörhead pays an annual visit to the 24-hour metal dive Pop's, and earlier this month a couple of American treasures-- Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson-- passed through town.
- Well, there's good news and bad news... the bad news is that morale for troops in Iraq still sucks. The good news? It's better than it was a year ago. Expect the GOoPers to start spinning that one soon. Credit: Corked Bats.
- And last but most certainly not least, Juan Cole prints an email from a former Australian Army traning officer, which casts grave doubts on the continuing pollyanna spin of the Bushies that we're close to seeing the end of the Mess in Mesopotamia:
I am an Australian. A former Australian army officer, indeed. And I say that Australia could not send more than two battalions (it has only six, most understrength) to Iraq or anywhere else for more than a year without suffering terminal damage to its structure. And two battalions would not make the slightest contribution to the internal security of the country.But then again, what bAdministration official, from the President on down, has ever been in touch with reality? For Rummy, it's just business as usual.
Further, I was a trainer of soldiers at one time. (For two years after I returned from Vietnam, in fact.) And I state without fear of contradiction by any professional that the Iraqi army will not be in any shape to operate effectively for many, many years, given the present training program, such as it is.
There was no pre-war planning for establishment of a new Iraqi army, and Rumsfeld has been fooled by pathetic yes-men generals to believe that an Iraqi army can be trained from scratch to be a useful force in a couple of years. This is nonsense. (Just as it is nonsense to say that the Afghan National Army is anywhere near being effective.)
And my picture is that all this instruction of recruits takes place in peacetime, in a non-threatening environment, with instructors who are not only highly-skilled but speak their own language (training in Afghanistan is a linguistic nightmare for Afghan instructors, never mind the foreigners).
I could go on and on. But I think you might get the message : the training system for Iraqi soldiers is a very sad joke. Rumsfeld's pronouncements about the number of "trained" soldiers are ridiculous and wicked lies. The man is not in touch with reality. [emphasis supplied --LRC]
Len on 07.21.05 @ 02:41 PM CST