Thursday, July 08, 2004

Is there not a way to do without the euphonium player?

Daily Cal headline: “Bay Area Chews on Kerry’s Choice for Running Mate.” Nibble him, chew on him, eat him up with a spoon, all right we get it already, he’s purddy.

The US admits that the Iraqi insurgency may be larger than the 5,000 previously estimated. They figured this out in part by the fact that they’ve killed more than that many of them. Vietnam, body counts, any of this ringing a bell?

Nearly 3 years after 9/11, we’re still waiting for the pendulum in favor of civil liberties to swing back. The House fails, 210-210, to remove the Patriot Act provision allowing the Thought Police to subpoena libraries, bookstores etc to find out people’s reading habits. The Justice Dept, lobbying against the move, said that just a few months ago, a terrorist used the Internet at a public library. That would be funnier if I hadn’t read it after a day at the library, where I twice used the computers and in a brilliant self-advertising ploy left them showing this site.

The number of American soldiers killed in Iraq plus Afghanistan has reached 1,000 (on Bush’s birthday yet; most people use candles), the number of “coalition” soldiers killed in Iraq will reach or has reached the same number this week (a pretty fair number have died since the underhand, but largely unreported). However, on the bright side, that one Marine was not actually beheaded. He seems to have been tricked into defecting by the Lebanese Tourist Board as part of a diabolical plot to induce newspapers to use a phrase that hasn’t been used in decades when they reported that the Marine turned up “safe in Lebanon.”

The European Court of Human Rights rules 14-3 that fetuses are not full human beings with a right to life. That leaves it with the individual nations. Tony Blair indicated yesterday that he was open to reducing the time in which an abortion is legal, currently 24 weeks.

Some American got caught in Afghanistan playing Abu Ghraib: The Home Game, having kidnapped 8 Afghans and hanging them by their feet. It seems not to be a rogue CIA operation but rather that the huge bounties on bin Laden, Mullah Omar etc have, shock horror, inspired some people to use dastardly methods to try to collect. The Guardian points out the irony: “Now Mr Idema remains in the custody of Afghanistan's intelligence officials. In a country where the legal framework barely exists, his stay could be even longer than that of his detainees.”

Yes, I have used the words diabolical and dastardly today. I think it’s the tar fumes from the work being done on the roof next door going to my head.

The LA Times reports (excerpted):

Does the global war on terrorism really need an electric bass player? The question was posed to senior Pentagon officials Wednesday by Rep.

Vic Snyder, an Arkansas Democrat, who had spent part of his morning looking through the list of retired soldiers the Pentagon announced last week that it was pressing into service to support military operations in Iraq. The call-up of the 5,674 troops from a pool of 118,000 who left the service and did not join the reserves has provoked outrage among members of Congress and others. ...

Snyder, a former Marine, noted that the Army's list included two trumpeters, one trombonist, four clarinetists, three saxophone players, an electric bass player and a euphonium player.

"Is there not a way to do without the euphonium player?" Snyder asked Gen. Richard A. Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff. "Do we need to really draft an electric bass player, to pull them back in? Is there not a way that we can't let that kind of thing slide?"

After a laugh in the hearing room, Cody answered with a straight face that the bands have been busy, tending to services and funerals. These days, Cody said, "our bands are being stressed quite a bit."

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