Sunday, May 28, 2006

Still more questions, and more importantly answers, have arissen in the death of Pat Tillman.

I want to be clear- despite the circumstances of his death, Mr. Tillman died in the service of his country, for which he is to be praised. How he died does not diminish his life, accomplishments, morals, or character.

But the "how" aspect of his death, combined with the incredibly botched incidents that followed, disgust me to no end. I believe it is indicative of the arrogance of the current administration. Often, the White House has pleaded ignorance when things in Irag go wrong- Abu Grhaib, etc. Well, it's time for the shit to start flowing uphill.

In the early days of the war in Afghanistan, Tillman was the President's wet dream. All-American boy, choosing what he sensed as duty over money, special forces stand out, and so on. You all know the story. When he died, as a result of "friendly" fire, he was given a memorial worthy of a general, with speeches by Senators and celebrities, and even the President. I believe that the administration was unabashed in trying to exploit Tillman's death in exchange for support of the war.

Friendly fire is a fact of war. But it's never the facts that get you in the end: it's the cover up.

The Army knew it was friendly fire the minute it happened. Yet this fact was not released until months after the funeral. As stated earlier, the circumstances of Tillman's death do not diminish his life. But friendly fire does not sound quite as good as someone who died facing an enemy ambush. Sen. John McCain called the former football star's combat death a blow to Americans' morale. I guess if the facts were released right a way, it would have been even more of a death blow. Imagine the army killing its own golden boy, albeit by mistake.

CNN reports the initial investigation into the death-- conducted by an Army captain that CNN has identified as Richard Scott -- contains much harsher judgments than those reached in a later probe by a one-star general.

In a sworn deposition given five months after Tillman's death, Scott said that some stories "have changed. They have changed to, I think, help some individuals."

Does the Army have a whistleblower policy? I hope so, for Captain Scott's sake!

Scott said that in retelling, some distances have grown longer, some lighting conditions worse and even the position of the allied Afghan soldier was changed...It was -- in Scott's opinion -- a lack of discipline that should have brought serious punishment.

From CNN- Tillman's uniform was burned by soldiers after his death. The Army's most recent investigation concludes Tillman's uniform and body armor should have been preserved, but the latest report disputes that it was burned in an attempt to cover anything up.

It's always the cover up!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Warning: Rant ahead!

I am boycotting "Mission: Impossible III" for several reasons. First, Tom Cruise is in my opinion, nuts. I am a strong believer in the science of psychiatry, and if Tom wants to crap all over it, that's his choice. But it also means I will choose not to put money in his pocket. Second, it looks like below average Hollywood schlock.

Third, and most important, reason: There is a disturbing trend in Hollywood of taking the name of an old TV series, cartoon, comic book, or other medium, slapping the name of it on a movie in production, even though that movie BEARS NO RESEMBLANCE TO THE ORIGINAL ART FORM! Cruise's MI franchise is the classic example. The original "Mission: IMPOSSIBLE!" TV series was about a covert operations team who had to rely on strategy, execution, and wit in order to accomplish their mission. The key word here is covert. That means no car chases, no massive explosions, no back-stabbing betrayals, and, most importantly, minimal violence. The only explosions in the TV series were used to access vaults or locked rooms. The show was part planning, part execution of the plan- not running around destroying property at incredible speed while trying to avenge a personal vendetta or settle a score. The scripts of the 3 MI movies featuring Cruise could have easily been used by Segal, Van Damme, Snipes, etc. They bear absolutely no resemblance to the original Mission: Impossible.

The same holds true for every James Bond movie since GoldenEye, and the horrific films "Catwoman," "Elektra," "Doom," "The Avengers,"

I could go on, but that's enough for now.

Monday, May 22, 2006

From AP News

CHICAGO - More than three years after the Iraq invasion, President Bush acknowledged to war-weary Americans Monday that the situation is improving only gradually and urged patience with "more days of challenge and loss." "Our progress is incremental," Bush said during a freewheeling question-and-answer session with restaurant industry representatives after a speech on Iraq and the war on terror.

What happened to MISSION ACCOMPLISHED???

Monday, May 15, 2006

Continuing a trend of eye-popping news...

CNN reports The United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Libya and remove the North African country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the State Department announced today. "We are taking these actions in recognition of Libya's continued commitment to its renunciation of terrorism," said a statement from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Just to be clear:

Cuba? U.S. refuses to establish diplomatic relations. Communist nation run by a dictator, but not directly responsible for a single American death in decades (to my knowledge)

Libya- directly responsible for the death of Americans not twenty years ago.
Vietnam- U.S. engaged in 14 year military action there.
China- One of the largest abusers of human rights on the planet.
Pakistan- ruled by a man who took power in a coup.

The U.S. now has full diplomatic relations with all four.

I'm no supporter of Castro, but the refusal to establish diplomatic relations or trade is laughable, considering which countries we do choose to work with.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

From today's AP newswire:

WASHINGTON - Some election-year advice to Republicans from a high-ranking source who has the president's ear: Don't use a proposed constitutional amendment against gay marriage as a campaign tool.

The first lady told "Fox News Sunday" that she thinks the American people want a debate on the issue. But, she said, "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously."

"It requires a lot of sensitivity to just talk about the issue — a lot of sensitivity," she said.

This one will raise a few eyebrows.

Friday, May 12, 2006

A disturbing turn of events...

Anyone who reads blogs knows that part of the fun is linking to other blogs through the sites one reads.

One such site I have begun reading is run by Little Miss Chatterbox ( I found her site through Cajun Tiger. To call LMC a conservative is, in my opinion, an understatement. I would put her slightly right of Jesse Helms on the political spectrum.

Twice in the past week I have made comments on her site, and twice they have been removed. As the administrator and operator of a blog, she is, of course, free to do as she pleases. I find this more sad than disturbing, for a few reasons.

First, I have NEVER had comments removed from a site before- that includes some comments on sites that have been intentionally inflamatory and, to a degree, insulting. Many people view blogs as a public bulletin board, to engage in debate and discussion. I am preplexed by the removal of alternative viewpoints from a blog, since having a blog where everyone agrees with the posts would seem quite boring. To an even greater degree, it would appear to be a mechanism that exists almost exclusively so one could have their ego stroked.

Second, I find it sad because this signals to me that the author of the blog cannot defend their positions. It's easier to delete than respond, I guess.

Third, if one claims to love America and the values it endorses, they would not be so quick to censor (in my opinion.)

Hey, LMC- let's talk about this. Your blog or mine. Surprise me- post on a blog where people may not agree with you all the time. Be engaging. Try to reason through your thoughts. See how the other half lives.

What would Jesus do?

Luke chapter 24:

"10": It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

"11": And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

"12": Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

"13": And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

"14": And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

"15": And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

UPDATE 5/16- It appears that Little Miss Chatterbox has permanently banned me from posting on her site. The action will not be returned in kind, as she is welcome to continue posting on Southpaw Spot.

While they communed together and reasoned, Jesus drew himself near.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The bennefits of blogging

Most of you who read my page are also familiar with Cajun Tiger, who I consider my polar opposite. Me, the liberal Jewish man from New York, him the conservative Christian man from Louisiana. We have little in common except for blogs, our love of free speech, and a love for our country.

Recently, on CT's blog, he and I and others engaged in a long debate about Rep. Patrick Kennedy, his recent misfortunes, his family history, and his addiction. After exchanging posts, CT had the class to admit he was not aware of certain facts, which somewhat altered his perspective on the matter at hand.

This illustrates to me that, despite our differences- not just me and CT, but everyone- if we continue to converse and debate, and remain open to new ideas and a respect for the truth, we can reach agreements on our thoughts and how we view events. If agreements between people like CT and myself are possible, the future may have a chance after all.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Some things to think about:

Over two-thirds of America's high school students could not find Iraq on a map.

Iran has announced their intention to wipe Israel "off the face of the Earth." Will someone please give their leaders a copy of "The wars of Israel, 1948-present"?

The number of soldiers returning from Iraq age 20-24 are unemployed at three times the national average. One theory (and it is only a theory) is that employers will not hire guardsmen because they can be shipped out again within six months.

Matt Leinart, now of the Arizona Cardinals, is dating Paris Hilton. Does anyone believe that Ms. Hilton will be spending much time in Phoenix? I've been to Phoenix. Nice enough town, just doesn't seem to strike me as a place where Paris Hilton would like to spend much time. But, on the upside for the Cardinals, her presence at games will almost certainly double attendance. My prediction? it lasts until about training camp opens. Her next victim? Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal.

The World Cup is fast approaching. Although I will cheer hard for the U.S., I must admit that my favorite team to watch is the Dutch, and their brand of soccer known as "total football." I remember watching them in the 1994 and 1998 world cups, losing both times to Brazil, by one goal. Their style of creating space, speed, swarming defense, and constant attacking is downright artful.