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January 15, 2007


When will people realize that government just doesn't work and cannot provide essential services like the private sector?

By private sector, I mean the Jeffersonian method of collecting rainwater in a barrel on the roof. Self-sufficiency is cheaper and builds character and strengthens the bacteria in the gut. Families are drawn closer together by frequent visitations at the morgue.

The bonus is that you can then get rid of all those public employee pensions if you can just time the explosions before vesting.

You missed the crucial policy recommendation, John: a tax cut, with the flat tax, will surely lead to a thriving Iraqi society.

And we mustn't neglect the right of all to bear arms! (It's the key!)

Geez: you people have gone off the ironist's deep end. Having said that, I sympathize. This kind of black humor is one way to avoid getting very, very angry.

I'm disconcerted that news of a breakdown of Baghdad's sewage system is buried beneath (if not entirely neglected) Bush's empty words that the next 8 months will be different.

Ara: one of the things that made me post this was the utter lack of coverage, not just on blogs but in the news. (Reuters has is, and IRIN is from the UN, so I didn't think that was because the sources weren't credible.)

I went looking in the hopes of seeing just how extensive this collapse was -- all of Baghdad? Part? If so, which part(s)? Just overflowing, or actual physical damage? Etc. -- but nothing beyond what I posted.

Well, that is different, isn't it?

The IRIN website also carries an article about violence in Anbar Province--the estimate they give is over 30,000 dead (civilian and insurgent) in the past 3 years, out of 1.2 million. Coincidentally the same death rate as Lancet 2's 1 out of 40. However, they also say Anbar is the most violent province.

"..an act of God?"

It's high time bureaucrats like God and his job were put out for competitive bid to the private sector, where you pay for a hanging and you get a hanging with low overhead. Someone's going to get hurt one of these days.

Of course, if its decapitation you want, you can hire Defarge's Chopping and Consulting, Inc., though I can inderstand why some might balk at outsourcing hard-earned tax dollars to a French firm.

God can't do anything right. Cut his salary and send him home.

I just don't understand why those Iraqis can't show the proper level of gratitude.

I just don't understand why those Iraqis can't show the proper level of gratitude.

No shit.

Jes: "No sh*t."

Except running through the streets of Baghdad...

Sounds like the waste treatment has collapsed, not the sewer system. Even in the U.S. the treatment system has to be bypassed if a storm overloads it. This is actually worse than if the sewers overflow; the sewage is going into the river system untreated, and probably all of the potable water comes from the river. The entire city is at risk.

“We can’t do our job because of the insurgents’ attacks against our employees. The insurgents are targeting the municipal workers and their cars in the streets,” Mowafaq Kittan, a media officer at Baghdad Municipality, said.

John Robb, if he was inclined to do so, could say "Told ya so."

This points out the weakness of Cheney's 80% solution. Even if the Shiites gain control of Baghdad, their power is precarious.

The strain on the sewage system puts a strain on the health system, which puts a strain on the political system.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/04/17/BUGAI66IF61.DTL>old media
http://scoop.agonist.org/story/2004/9/4/141448/6949>new media
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/03/myths_of_iraq.html>good news about kool-aid media

Those are in chronological order, so it's possible that Mr. Peters is about to be vindicated. I doubt I'll have time to watch. My pony should be here by then.

Burying the lede, twice, http://www.northeastengineers.com/news04_Baghdad_sewer.html>this might be more relevant. I have to take a minute to reminisce over blurbs like this, though:

SGE provides professional engineering and construction services while in the world’s most hazardous environments.
SGE is headquartered in Middletown RI with offices in Fairfax, VA and Baghdad Iraq.

It's all so toxic. A man who has unleashed misery beyond comprehension complains that his victims haven't shown him proper gratitude. We're supposed to take in stride this gut-wrenching sadism (on a truly Hitlerian scale) as befitting the Office of the President.

Twice, now, executions have made it blindingly obvious that the gov't of Iraq is a sick and twisted farce, but we're expected by the blinkered ideologues at the top to invest our hope in it.

These neo-con dead-enders at the top are true ideologues, never letting reality obstruct their vision.

Hanging is one of the uglier forms of capital punishment - and decapitation is actually the more merciful of the ways a hanging can go wrong - slow strangulation resulting from too short a drop is much worse. For the more morbid details of the British history of hangings and the "long drop" method, check out:The "Long drop" method of hanging

It looks like we may have to elect Obama. Who else will the rest of the world believe for a fresh start.

Execution by hanging looks barbaric, but it's really no worse than other methods routinely employed in the US, such as the gas chamber.

The absurdity of being squeamish about executions reflects a nasty streak in the American psyche. If you support the death penalty, why get upset if there's some blood involved?

I oppose the death penalty, but if we're going to have it, at least lets be quick and efficient about it. A bullet to the back of the head is painless, foolproof and cheap. It's messy, but so what?

Am I the only one that thinks losing our freedoms at home is a bigger issue than Iraq?

I don't intend a thread jack here, but it seems that starting a new thread on the topic below (Freedom of Speech) is important to everyone.

"Over the weekend, the National Conference for Media Reform was held in Memphis, TN, with a number of notable speakers on hand for the event. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made an surprise appearance at the convention to announce that he would be heading up a new House subcommittee which will focus on issues surrounding the Federal Communications Commission.

The Presidential candidate said that the committee would be holding "hearings to push media reform right at the center of Washington.? The Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee was to be officially announced this week in Washington, D.C., but Kucinich opted to make the news public early.

In addition to media ownership, the committee is expected to focus its attention on issues such as net neutrality and major telecommunications mergers. Also in consideration is the "Fairness Doctrine," which required broadcasters to present controversial topics in a fair and honest manner. It was enforced until it was eliminated in 1987.

Kucinich said in his speech that "We know the media has become the servant of a very narrow corporate agenda" and added "we are now in a position to move a progressive agenda to where it is visible."

I know most here agree that Bush is an evil fascist overlord taking our country right into the toilet, but atleast he is pretending that his programs are targeting terrorists. Kucinich isn't even faking it. He's targeting what people choose to hear.

Does anyone here really believe it is the government's job to decide that a radio station should play both Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken?

Mabye if I posed the question differently it would help. Pretend that 12 years from now the Republicans take Congress back over and are running the FCC. Do you want to have to listen to Rush Limbaugh on your Air America station?

I know issues such as corruption and such have gone by the wayside since the Democrats have won control of Congress, but I think this is one that everyone could get behind.

"Am I the only one that thinks losing our freedoms at home is a bigger issue than Iraq?"

No, that's why we think Bush is a fascist overlord (tongue only partially in cheek). After all, he is intentionally taking away our freedoms, from habeas corpus to listening in on telephone calls without a search warrant to torturing persons.

The part about taking our country right into the toilet just shows he's not an effective fascist overlord.

Bril - would it kill you to include a link?

Does anyone here really believe it is the government's job to decide that a radio station should play both Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken?
Kinda depends on whether the government owns the radio station, doesn't it? The controversy over Limbaugh is due to his position on AFN (American Forces Network) radio, with no countervailing liberal voice. I don't know what the situation is like these days, but back when I was a Navy brat in the 70s and 80s, if you were stationed overseas, AFN was the only thing going. So you've got a rabid, mendacious partisan with a captive audience and the appearance of official sanction of his views. Can you not see a problem there?

As for the rest of the post, I find it tremendously funny (in a sick, sad way) that an apparent Bush supporter is ready to man the ramparts over the threat to our freedoms posed by Dennis Kucinich. It is to laugh. And then to cry.

Larv- I don't think you need the fairness doctrine to fix the Limbaugh problem on AFN.

As for the doctrine, if it passes it will be vetoed, if the veto is overidden I think it highly likely that the Supreme Court would overturn it as unconstitional, reversing their own precedent.

Ugh, I realize that, but I took the line I quoted as a reference to the AFN controversy over Limbaugh. Maybe I misinterpreted, but that's a particular hot-button with me. Apologies if that's the case.

The part about taking our country right into the toilet just shows he's not an effective fascist overlord.

He's working on it. They're currently practicing the purge part, according to TPM.

Baghdad: Where "Knee-Deep in Sh*t" Is No Longer Just a Metaphor.

"Does anyone here really believe it is the government's job to decide that a radio station should play both Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken?"

In fact, radio and tv licenses are granted by the government because of physics, and the fact that the electromagnetic spectrum historically limited how many broadcasts could be allowed in a given area without interfering each other. Necessarily, government had to step in to regulate this, to make radio and tv workable. And since radio, and later television, are such tremendously powerful media in terms of reaching such a wide range and large number of people, regulating an attempt at "fairness" was necessary to prevent domination of any given media market by a local monopolist who could distort according to his or her own politics as much as he or she wanted to.

So, yeah, there was perfectly good reason for governmental regulation. This is, of course, why the FCC was created, and why the same reasoning has never applied to print. (Or cable television.)

Nowadays, it's been technologically possible to make available a lot more choices on the broadcast spectrum, but it's still ultimately limited; however, with the rise of popular access to the internet, people now have access, at least, to as many opinions as they wish. This makes the case for considering media access, including radio and tv broadcasts, and in combination with cable tv, as a whole, much more compelling, and renders the contemporary case for the Fairness Doctrine much weaker.

Whether a revival has some limited place or not as regards the broadcast medium only (again: broadcast and cable are entirely different, even if many people don't particularly grasp the crucial differences), is debatable. (I'm skeptical, but not close-minded; I tend to prefer stronger steps to prevent major media monopolies in ownership in local markets, and the nation overall, though; it gets more to the root of the problem.)

Hope this helps answer your query, which doesn't have as completely obvious an answer as you seem to think it does.

Article on the refugee crisis in Iraq.

1.7 million displaced so far, between 80,000 and 100,000 per month currently. Don't call it a civil war though.


"He's targeting what people choose to hear."

I'm at a loss about what to say to that until you tell me what you choose to hear.

I could just move my lips and you could overdub what you choose to hear.

Charlie McCarthy used to say things that Edgar Bergen didn't choose to hear even though Bergen put the words he didn't choose to hear in Charlie's wooden mouth.

My grandmother, who lost her sight because of glaucoma, began losing her hearing late in life. You could ask her a question across the table and she wouldn't hear you. But, she could be in an upstairs bedroom changing the linen and you could be downstairs at the other end of the house and say quietly to someone else "Grandma seems to be losing her hearing." and she would yell "I heard that!"

And then you would say, in a whisper "Choosy, isn't she?" and she would yell "I heard that too!"

If Rush Limbaugh chooses not to hear me say "Shut up!", how are we ever going to get him to shut up? Maybe I could say, "Rush, I respectfully disagree with that last statement," and instead he could choose to hear it as "Shut up!". Would he shut up then?

I don't know about the Fairness Doctrine as applied to broadcasters, but I think George Bush needs a guy to lean over his desk in the oval office and shout really loudly right into his face, with a hearing impaired signer on hand for backup, the words he chooses not to hear, da, da, dum.

Actually, I don't believe Kucinich is targeting what people choose to hear at all. He's targeting what they choose not to hear.
People could still choose to hear or not hear. There would merely be more choice, all on one show.

Harry Carey, the Cubbies broadcaster chose not to hear anything late in his career, especially his off-key "Take Me Out To The Ballgame". But the fans who chose not to hear it were forced to hear it anyway.

That's not fair.

O.K., you talk now. I have my hearing aid turned down to zip. I'll smile brightly as you talk.

Don't call it a civil war though.

Don't call it a civil war
But it's been one for years
Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear
Makin the tears rain down like a MON-soon
Listen to the bombs go BOOM
Explosion, overpowerin


Don't call it a civil war
But it's been one for years
Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear
Makin the tears rain down like a MON-soon
Listen to the bombs go BOOM
Explosion, overpowerin

Hah! Good one Mr. Lunar Pages.


Saudi Arabia believes the Iraqi government is not up to the challenge and has told the United States that it is prepared to move its own forces into Iraq should the violence there degenerate into chaos, a senior U.S. official told NBC News on Tuesday.

Call me cynical, but I'm rather skeptical of the willingness to face death for Iraqi Sunnies of the average Saudi battalion, based on all the accounts of Gulf War I, and subsequently. They did a lousy job being interested, at the ground level, in fighting for their own country. (And if anyone wants to note the existence of Saudi jihadis, I'll point out that the Saudis try to discourage extremists, to at least some extent, in the armed forces, which actively fights the armed jihadis when they're acting out on Saudi soil.)

This isn't to say that there aren't brave Saudi soldiers and officers -- there are -- nor that it isn't possible that a few elite units might be up to doing a credible job -- it seems possible.

But I'd go in skeptical.

That's without going into the implications, of course, of what they might actually do were they actually competent and enthused, given that the problem they'd be confronting are the Shi'ite militias, which is to say, the forces largely controlling the Iraqi government, loosely speaking.

I assume no one needs the run-through on how, of course, regardless of effectiveness, the Saudis actually started sending units in (against the wishes of the Iraqi government?; via Jordan, or Jordan and Syria?), their move would almost surely bring the Turks in to Kurdistan to protect Turkomen and push back the Kurds, as well as possible moves by everyone else: Jordan, Syria, Iran, etc.

I just wanted to note that the Saudi armed forces aren't terribly frightening, based on their record.

Rusdh Limbaugh was added to AFN in about 1993 due to a write in campaign by soldiers who requested him. The same would work for a less conservative show if there was soldier support.

Before anyone misreads this, in which I was unclear: "via Jordan, or Jordan and Syria?"

I was speculating as to whether things would widen to that extent; naturally, the less alarming (sort of) version would be simply sending troops over their own huge border with Iraq.

I know there's a lot of competition for this award, but I'd like to nominate, as an early entry for Most Unbelievable Statement Of The Week, the following:

I don't intend a thread jack here,

by "bril"

Hah! Good one Mr. Lunar Pages.

the ladies love them some lunarpages.

LLLP, out!

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