substitute: (claymore)
In order to get unemployment insurance checks from the State of California I am required to use CalJobs, their web-based job search system. It isn't bad. I've already found one suitable opening. However, I also found this job...


also called...
The Deputy Project Manager Warrior Machine Interface.
substitute: (dubbya)

Maybe it could be a series of billboards and skywriters, or sound trucks blaring, or a daily TV spot, but it's necessary. People in my country are arguing about the most ridiculous things right now — particularly in an election year, but just generally — and while we all have this big food fight there's a ghost at the party.

It's the war. Nothing comes before stopping it. Please remember that.
substitute: (network)
If you're a U.S. citizen capable of any political action, your first duty is to end this war.

We are the only people who can do this. We can vote, we can spend on candidates and organizations who change votes, we can demonstrate. No one else can.

The subject line of this post kept popping up in my head today. Just today I saw long articles, discussions, and arguments in blogs and publications about Mr. Obama's pastor and his big mouth, about Tibet and the Chinese Olympics, about the sexualization of a 15-year-old girl as a television star, about the introduction of video into the Flickr photo site, about the virtues and vices of demonstrations in which large numbers of people ride around on bicycles... it goes on.

When the torch for the god-damned Olympics came through San Francisco, the local supporters of the Dalai Lama organized a dramatic, well-organized, and clearly expensive attack on the event and made international headlines. The arguments I mention above were not little squibs like this post, either; they stretched into yards-deep webspace over days, burrowing into tiny whorls of forum thread.

Imagine if you will, an alternate version of the last month, in which the creative energy, free time, technology, expertise, and most of all the money, money, money, money, money implied by all that crap above had been thrown at one big anti-war punch. A demonstration, a television ad, a get out the vote for an important legislator, a front page ad on every newspaper. And imagine if that happened every day. Because it could. We're a wealthy nation with a crapload of free time. Those who can, do. Those who can't, write. Those who can't write, write checks. (Personally I write and write checks. I'm not very good at throwing bricks.)

If you think the war should continue, I'm not talking to you. If you agree that the war must be stopped, could we all maybe spend less effort, time, thought, and ESPECIALLY MONEY on other issues?

Don't ya know there's a war on?
substitute: (Default)
But sometimes you need to drag it out. This time it's  the BBC news trying to choke down the latest buffet of insanity from our military in Iraq:


There are a few gems, but this one stands out for me:

"US commanders are reluctant to allow the backward momentum of the reverse-surge process to merge seamlessly into a wholesale withdrawal of American forces"

What the hell does that mean? Mostly, it means that they don't really want to pull the troops out yet. Or maybe ever. So the pull-out of troops is now a "reverse surge" and since the "surge" was a "good thing" this means we should be really careful and probably not do it! And we don't want it to "merge seamlessly" into an actual withdrawal. In other words, because we're not "surging" we should not leave for an undetermined time, because that would be, well, bad. Got  it?

This is that rare and beautiful news story in which every single item is a lie. An easy way to fix it up would be to replace each paragraph with this: "There is blood everywhere and no plan."

I'll  sell t-shirts! Meanwhile, as Orwell put it, "The fascist octopus has sung its swan song, and the jackboot  is in the melting pot."

GO READ HIM NOW and every week from now on, so you can understand the weird stuff in the news. It's a short little essay and people forget how important it  is.
substitute: (me myspace bathroom)

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month...
substitute: (heart sad)
Waverider Circle, non-emergency. A man reported that he "doesn't have an emergency, however he may have one soon." The caller was a soldier who said he had just returned from Iraq to find that his wife was at another man's residence. A dispatcher advised the man "to stop if he felt he was going to commit a crime." The man said he would drive somewhere and "cool off," 2:16 p.m.

Neely Circle, 4800 block, burglary in progress. A woman reported someone was trying to break into her apartment. While several police units prepared to respond, including the department's helicopter, the woman said the man could be her husband. The woman turned out to be the wife of the soldier from the earlier call. The soldier had followed his wife to her new boyfriend's apartment after he learned she didn't want to be married to him anymore. The soldier had "scaled the balcony railing to see what his estranged wife was doing" and "was shaking the sliding door violently," 2:57 p.m.
substitute: (me by hils)
I went to a restaurant the other day to celebrate the birthday of a friend. The place was a cheerful surf-themed tacos 'n' booze joint of the kind you see a lot around here. It was the early end of Saturday night and a covers band was playing.

We had a good time. The food was mediocre, the band was awful, and we were all good friends who don't see each other enough.

While waiting for my car outside, I heard the band go into CCR's "Bad Moon Rising." There was a happy yell from the crowd and the all-white, mostly middle-aged people on the dance floor capered inexpertly.

I am too young to remember that song as new, but I know its story. John Fogerty wrote "Bad Moon Rising" on the occasion of Richard Nixon's election as President in 1968. Nineteen sixty-eight was one hell of a year. Nixon's election came after the disastrous Chicago Democratic Convention where the liberal dream died, after the Tet Offensive, after another thousand things gone wrong, many of them permanently. Fogerty's song is an accurate assessment of a grim situation.

Watching the boomers and fortysomethings shake it happily to CCR's doom song wasn't easy. Some of them were old enough to know better: old enough to have fought in Vietnam or lost friends there, old enough to have seen badgeless cops beating people in the streets of Chicago. What the hell were they doing here? It's a great song but it's not boogie. It's a warning. These people had chosen isolation: not just from poverty, not just from the poison gift of privilege, but isolation from meaning itself. War and terror and the loss of innocence? Maybe partying will help.

Later that night I went to the drugstore. I entered amidst a wave of high school boys. The high schoolers were laughing and punching each other and jumping up and down for nothing. One of the drugstore employees, a large affable black woman I'd talked to before, was restocking nearby.

The kids recognized her and ran over to say hi. They knew her son from school, although he was older and had graduated. She asked how they were doing and they gave bouncy teenager answers, "just hanging out!" and "oh I'm all around!" She smiled indulgently. "So how's Greg?" one of them asked. "What's up with him?"

She kept her smile. "He's serving. Abroad."

The kids didn't know what to do. They kept hopping about, looking blank. She kept her pleasant smile. After about ten seconds of this some more kids came roaring up and greeted her and things were easy again.

Hope you got your things together
Hope you are quite prepared to die
Looks like we're in for nasty weather
One eye is taken for an eye
substitute: (claymore)
It is customary for followers of a cult not to know the real life story of their hero, the historical truth. (Many Rastafarians would renounce Haile Selassie if they had any notion of who he really was.) It is not surprising that Guevara’s contemporary followers, his new post-communist admirers, also delude themselves by clinging to a myth—except the young Argentines who have come up with an expression that rhymes perfectly in Spanish: “Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué,” or “I have a Che T-shirt and I don’t know why.”
substitute: (conrad)
This is a fascinating al-Jazeera news story about the new "U.S.-Friendly" Sunni alliance in Anbar, the now-dead sheikh supposed to have been in charge of the alliance, and the inevitable money and power game behind that show.

Part I riffs on Apocalypse Now in a very heavy-handed way, appropriately so.

Friday, and we're still in Amman...

substitute: (blog about broccoli)
The Afghan mujahedin CIA operative-owned IHOP on 17th Street in Costa Mesa has big news. They are leaving the IHOP family to be free! With luck, they will not need any Stinger missiles to do so.

However, they do need to rename the place, and they're having a contest to do so.

Ready... set... GO!
substitute: (prisoner)
The radio monitoring world is nerdy rather than political, and when ideology shows up it's almost always right-wing: crew-cutted middle-aged white guy thinking. But in general, it's off the table.

This week, however, Monitoring Times' "Utility World" blog asks the interesting question: What happened on June 26?

The short version, for those who TL;DR or aren't interested in radio geekery: the transmissions being heard indicate either an unusually large exercise, or preparations for war.
substitute: (lamers)
Subject: Camels, Toilets and Other Funusual Gifts from Oxfam!


I immediately hear Tom Jones singing "It's not funusual to be starving in a waaaar..."
substitute: (bob)

Ad banner seen on Myspace today.

o/~ do they know it's smoke break anywaaaaaaay o/~
substitute: (bob)
The Counterterrorism blog has a chilling update on Pakistan. If this and similar reports are largely true, the American people are in for a big surprise. My guess is that most of it is accurate, because similar reports keep popping up.

They're one coup away from a nuclear-armed and unapologetically pro al Qaeda regime that could trash Afghanistan, re-start the Kashmir war with India, and provoke China into God knows what. Invading and subjugating such a nation is probably impossible and would require the cooperation of nearly the whole world.

The news from Pakistan is a Le Carré mess of garbled signals and spooky tidbits. It's pretty clear from everything you can see that bin Laden and Omar live there and are protected, that their "tribal areas" are not in any way governed, and that Musharraf is the classic doomed dictator trying to play both sides of a losing game.

And nukes. If Seymour Hersh is to be believed, Bush Sr. just barely kept Pakistan from attacking India with nuclear weapons during a particularly bad time in those two countries' relations. Personally I'd much rather worry about a nuclear Iran than about a place that's barely a nation and dominated by mobs and "tribes" owning nukes and F-16s.

I wonder how much bourbon they go through in the Pentagon when they play out these scenarios.
substitute: (bob)
Things just haven't been the same since Keyzer Soze flew his book depository into the Reichstag Towers.[ profile] torgo_x

I have more to say but it'll take a bit of writing and I'm not sure how well it will come out.
substitute: (me myspace bathroom)
My greatsomething grandfather Jacob arrived in the American colonies from Darmstadt-Hesse, Germany in about 1750 as an indentured servant. His brother Sebastian apparently bugged out and headed home at the end of his service, but Jacob liked it enough to stay in "Pennsylvanian Dutch" country with the other Germans. My family has had a presence in Lancaster County since, and in Ohio.

Family legend was that Jacob served in the Revolutionary War. My brother confirmed this a few years ago doing genealogy. I decided to take it a step further and contacted the National Archives' Military Records Department. If you're the relative of a U.S. veteran you can get anything they have, as far back as they have it, at a reasonable price. So, for $17 I requested and got Jacob's records: the index card in his file and two pay stubs indicating his service and what he got for it. It looks like the pay was a bit late, but he got interest on it. There may have been a land donation, too. And of course, citizenship, since that's not an issue when you're on the startup team. Scans are below the cut, or in this flickr set.

cut for size )


substitute: (Default)

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