Saturday, March 29, 2003


Check out the Iraq-O-Meter!
Don't Believe This Because It's True, Believe It For Some Other Reason

Here's an interesting piece in the Village Voice by Nat Hentoff who gets to the bottom of it by point us to this:

The letters section of The New York Times is sometimes more penetrating than the editorials. A March 23 letter from Lawrence Borok: "As someone who was very active in the [anti-Vietnam War] protests, I think that the antiwar activists are totally wrong on this one. Granted, President Bush's insensitive policies in many areas dear to liberals (I am one) naturally make me suspicious of his motives. But even if he's doing it for all the wrong reasons, have they all forgotten about the Iraqi people?"

Friday, March 28, 2003

Lebanese Freedom

Here's the website of Lebanese Forces, an organization fighting against Syria's ongoing occupation of their country. Syria will go down soon enough, friends.
Good Kuwaiti Blog

Check out Qhate.

Noted via Ken Layne.
Write a Marine? Write this Marine!

I love every one of our men and women in the field, but I got an email from a friend from law school about his cousin:

"Peter Regan is truly a special case. His Dad died as a firefighter in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. (Read more here: Peter is an extremely tough and dedicated young man with a special purpose in fighting this fight. He's also very young--21--and likely in the toughest of the fighting. Like everyone out there, I'm sure he's tired, a bit scared, dirty, and missing news and other things from the US. A letter, a candy bar, a magazine, newspaper, funny joke, chewing gum, baby wipes (the only shower they get)--any of these things would be greatly appreciated. I hope you can take some time today or tomorrow to write or send something to this great young man."

As many of you know, "Any Soldier" doesn't work because of security issues, but that doesn't mean that you can't get stuff to a paticular serviceman if you know to whom to write. I'm going to go grab a couple of powerbars, a couple of issues of Maxim and Road & Track, and burn a CD or two (Memo to Jack Valenti: You made us pay for Vietnam with your LBJ apologist bullshit, you can eat the royalties on this one) and trust that Peter Regan will share the wealth with his fellow Marines.

I'm not going to post his address directly, because I don't want any spambots looking for addresses or whatnot, but if you are looking for a Marine to take care of (this is the only guy I know actually in the fighting) - drop me a note and I'll forward you his address.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

France's Contribution to the War Effort

Check out this Press Briefing with the French Foreign Ministry Spokesman from March 26. Ignoring the tacit acknowledgment that France has breached its mutual security agreement with Kuwait, we should note with interest France's contribution to the war effort:

Let me remind you that for a week, we have very strongly advised French nationals, in view of the circumstances and the risks, to leave Iraq without delay.

In the meantime, the United States, Great Britain, Australia and Poland have very strongly advised American, British, Australian and Polish nationals, in view of the circumstances and risks, to enter Iraq without delay.
France won't even say which side it wants to win this war...

Just when I think France could do no worse, their Foreign Minister refused to answer a question about who he wanted to win the war.

I've noted before, but it's worth pointing out yet again, the magnum opus from the Meatmen, "French People Suck"

"French people suck,
I've just got to say,
They make our fighter pilots go out of their way,
They've been hating us yankees
Way too much
Let's stick the Eiffel Tower straight up their butts

Last time I took Air France
Played a tune on my Uzi
And made those sissies dance
Kill a hundred or more
Really had a ball
Those freaking frog suckers be the death of us all....

French People Suck
French People Suck
French People Suck!"

N.B.: Dig around for a while on Kazaa or Morpheus, you can find the mp3. I have it (I also own the record), but I won't get into the universe of file swapping, sorry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Pointless Datum, Mk II

Did you know that a prominent Supreme Court justice was the inspiration of a 1973 Heavy Metal Tune? It's true. Associate Justice Abe Fortas was the inspiration for the much-ignored tune by Blue Oyster Cult, "Harvester of Eyes."

I'm a bit of a fan of the 1970s heavy metal band Blue Oyster Cult and have been since I was nine years old. The first LP I owned was BOC's Agents of Fortune. I'm also, when I can't think of something better to do, an attorney.

So a few years ago, I came across this FAQ and noticed that Buck Dharma, BOC's lead guitarist claims that their song "Harvester of Eyes" is about former US Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas. (a) Fortas is more famous for his failure to be elevated to Chief Justice after LBJ nominated him for the job than for his impact on the Court itself and (b) "Harvester of Eyes" may be from Secret Treaties, one of their better albums, but even a casual BOC fan who knows more than Godzilla, Don't Fear the Reaper and Burning for You is probably not likely to be overly familiar with this tune.

This makes this bit of knowledge the most singularly useless thing I know.

From the FAQ:

According to Buck Dharma, "Harvester Of Eyes" is about former U.S.
Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas. The following is from Compuserve's
American Academic Encyclopedia:

Abe Fortas, b. Memphis, Tenn., June 19, 1910, d. Apr. 5, 1982, was a
prominent Washington, D. C., attorney and presidential advisor when
President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court in
1965. Johnson's subsequent nomination of Fortas as chief justice was
blocked by Senate foes of his activist stand on civil liberties, and the
nomination was caught up in a clash between the executive and
legislative branches. In 1969, following charges of questionable ethics
and conflict of interest, Fortas resigned from the Court. His arguments
in GIDEON V. WAINWRIGHT (1962) established the right of the poor to
legal counsel.

What's all that got to do with "Harvester Of Eyes"? Not much. However, it was Fortas' senate nomination hearings which inspired Richard Meltzer to write the song's lyrics. When Fortas' avoidance of service in World War II was questioned, he responded that he had ocular tuberculosis -- which inspired the lyric, "I'm the eye-man of TV, with my occular TB".

N.B.: I notice that I'm in the acknowledgements of this FAQ, but I cannot, for the life of me, think of anything I ever told these guys.
Pointless Datum

Sir Arthur C. Clarke lives right next door to the Iraqi Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Wait a minute, there's a New Mexico?

I love a good successionist movement, and certainly one of my favorites was the aborted attempt by a number of Northern California and Southern Oregon counties to succeed from Sacramento and Salem and form the new State of Jefferson. Fed up with being left out of road development, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors appropriated $100 to research the issue of forming a new state and, on November 17, 1941, a group met in Yreka to issue a declaration of succession.

On December 4, 1941, Judge John C. Childs of Cresent City was elected governor and was accompanied on parade by two bears - Itchy and Scratchy. Unfortunately, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, just three days later, put the plan on ice.

Duke Nukem Goes to War

A solid story about our courageous men and women in the 7th Cav at Najab. I particularly like this line:

So intense was the fighting that at one stage the 3rd Squadron commander's driver, Private First Class Randall Duke Newcomb, was forced to steer his Humvee with one hand while firing out of the window with the other.

Duke Newcomb is fighting for our country and the video gamification of warfare is complete.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Liz Cheney, Human Shield

Noted over at NRO, I see we have to debunk reports that one of the Cheney daughters is trying to become a human shield.

That said, I went to Law School with Liz Cheney and one time she and I had to do that awkward shuffle to decide who was going to go left - or right - to get past one another in the library. Entirely her fault, too. So I'm not totally convinced she's not doing this.
Good News from Europe

Europe's going to send a rover to Mars in 2009. Good on 'em.


On March 23, an Australian F-18 was vectored away from its patrol mission to attack some target of opportunity. The RAAF pilot, who operates under tighter rules of engagement than do American pilots, went after the target - but couldn't identify it - and aborted the mission. End of story.

Here's the chief item of the initial briefing and (presumably) the only information on the matter.

Our RAAF F/A-18 Hornets continue to conduct round the clock combat operations in support of ongoing operations in Iraq. The Hornets’ primary tasks continue to be Defensive Counter Air [("DCA")] missions – providing protection to vital air assets including airborne early warning aircraft and air-to-air refuellers. Throughout these missions, the Hornets remain armed and prepared to attack targets with air-to-ground weapons if required – although no aircraft have been required to do this since the mission conducted - and briefed to you – yesterday. Whilst conducting DCA, the aircraft were rerolled for a strike mission and they were allocated a target. However, the crew chose not to complete the mission because they could not positively identify the target. The crew’s decision reflect the ADF’s strong commitment to the laws of armed conflict and support to the Governments targeting policy right down to the lowest level.

But Greg Ansley, Australia correspondent for the New Zealand Herald, has another interpretation:

CANBERRA - An Australian F/A-18 Hornet pilot has refused an American command to bomb a target in Iraq in the first conflict between the different rules governing the way the two allies make war. Although Prime Minister John Howard said the incident during the coalition's drive towards Baghdad was not evidence of tension between the two commands, the prospect of a clash of rules was clear from the start.

No one "refused" an order, the pilot, as Brigadier Hannan said, following up on this story:

I would like to recap yesterday’s story about the aborted F/A-18 strike mission. Some reporting of the incident would lead you to believe that this was an exceptional event likely to cause friction between coalition partners.This is not the case. Any coalition pilot would make the same decision in any case where there is insufficient information or support available to positively identify and hit a target. The event was unexceptional and has not caused any friction between coalition partners.

A simple operational event, with no significance. Nothing to suggest the US or UK forces questioned this pilot's judgment, punished the pilot for "refusing" an order, nothing to suggest we went on to bomb the target despite the Australian's decision not to do so. Yet if this is all you heard about it you might be lead to believe this heroic young pilot was acting as nobly as Arnold Schwartzenegger, as Ben ("The Butcher of Bakersfield") Richards, heroically refusing an unlawful order.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Dziekuje Polska!

Polish special forces stand in the port of Umm-Qasr in southern Iraq after turning captured Iraqis to U.S. control on March 23, 2003. Poland admitted on March 24 that its elite GROM commando unit had taken part in the U.S.-led attack on Iraq after the soldiers posed for a Reuters news photographer.

Thank you, Poland!

UPDATE: Here's more. And more still.

Apparently the Defence Minister hadn't been completely open about the presence of GROM - and the unit was noticed after they were found posing with a Navy SEAL time and an American flag. Now that the issue is out in the open, he notes:

"These photos shouldn't have happened," said [Defence Minister] Szmajdzinski. "The next time it will definitely be with the Polish flag."

Fly it proudly, friend.


I'd forgotten that high school friend of mine, who served in the first Gulf War, had given me this handy card. I don't have a scanner and I can't get a good picture, but here's what the United States Marine Corps had to say about the subject.

The Commandments of Survivial In the Desert When Lost or Stranded

1. STAY WHERE YOU ARE, STAY CALM. If you are driving a vehicle, remain with it.
2. CONSERVE YOUR SWEAT, NOT YOUR WATER. Rest by day, or on shelter and signals during cool evening/morning.
3. PROTECTOR YOUR BODY. When in the sun and heat remember to:
a. Keep your clothes on, but loosen them.
b. Keep your boots/shoes and headgear on.
c. Get in the shade closeby and protect your eyes from glare.
d. If in the open and no shade nearby, use what you have to make shade.
a. Signal by an means at hand. Use a shaving mirror to reflect the sun, wave a light colored item.
b. Make marks in the sand or rocks large enough to be seen from the air: SOS or HELP.
c. Start fire - use smoke in the daytime and flame at night
d. Get involved in your rescue, but save your body wate.r
5. DO NOT EAT, TAKE SALT OR TRY TO FIND FOOD. It takes water from your body to process it.
6. WHEN YOU URINATE - rub it on your body to conserve sweat.
7. KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED - and breath through your nose.
8. KNOW SEARCHERS TECHNIQUES - and what they expect of you.
9. GET TO SAFETY AND WATER. If you are able to move, do so only at night and only if you know you can get there safely by doing the following.
a. Leave a clear trail with notes and direction signs.
b. On the note, give your name, day time, direction and reason you are going.
c. Go in one direction, and go carefully[,] avoid injury
Hunt and Peck HTML

Fiddling with new banners and such: here's my current favorite.

Can any of my loyal readers point me to a good website with HTML tips?
Kurd Sell-out Watch

I'd missed this terrific feature over at Slate, noting the difference between our rhetoric -- and our actions -- with respect to the Kurds, the Turks and the future of Northern Iraq.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Oscar Predictions

Adam, over at Throwing Things, has Oscar-predictions (and anti-predictions) galore, most notably, his position that Michael Moore can't win.

Still, since Mrs Earthling wants to watch the Oscars, I'll be mostly watching 'em too.
Denny's and the Coalition of the Willing

It used to be that you could go to a Denny's and get the International Slam, a version of their famous Grand Slam breakfast. Now, I'd long since noticed - and explained, to the bane of my dining companions, that the International Slam consists, along with the two eggs and bacon (or sausage), both a Belgian Waffle and two pieces of French Toast. Therefore it constitutes a "Eurocentric" rathter than a meaningfully "International" Slam. Events of the last six months, however, require me to retract my previous, and long held position, as such events illustrate that something is "International" if it involves France and Belgium.

This is not only sufficient, but necessary.

Management regrets the error.