From Pine View Farm

August, 2006 archive

Republican Congressional Campaign Slogan? 0

From today’s Washington Post politics chat with reporter Shailagh Murray (emphasis added): Stay and Run.

Lansdale, Pa: In response to Oklahoma City, I’ve seen several Republican congressmen in Southeast PA adapt what I consider a position midway between Stay the Course and Cut and Run. I call it Stay and Run: the troops stay in Iraq but the congressman runs away from previous support for Bush’s foreign policy.

Shailagh Murray: Right, this also is the Lieberman approach more or less. You may be noticing that Republicans (and Lieberman) are calling a lot for Rumsfeld’s resignation these days — it’s a page out of the stay and run playbook. Nice slogan, btw.

Lansdale can turn a phrase.


Auth and Inky 0


And editorial comment from the Local Rag (emphasis added):

Over and over, the administration’s far-fetched legal rationales are getting shot down by federal courts. Perhaps that’s why the White House presses its claim – worthy of a banana republic – that the courts have no right to review its antiterror actions. In Taylor’s stinging words, “There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution.”

Her ruling will be appealed, but the judge has pointed the White House to the best way out of the mess it’s made: Proceed constitutionally. Use the tools already in hand to spy on America’s enemies legally. Or make the case to Congress for new tools. On the latter point, it’s clear that a misguided NSA compromise negotiated by Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) won’t pass muster.

In handling foreign detainees, the United States should accord them the treatment we would demand for American captives.

The nation can be safeguarded without forsaking its core values.


Waist Deep in the Big Muddy 0

It might sound like a chocoholic’s dream, but stepping into a vat of viscous chocolate became a two-hour nightmare for a 21-year-old man Friday morning. Darmin Garcia, an employee of a company that supplies chocolate ingredients, said he was pushing the chocolate down into the vat at Debelis Corp. because it was stuck. But it became loose and he slid into the hopper.

“It was in my hair, in my ears, my mouth, everywhere,” said Garcia, who has worked at the company for two years. “I felt like I weighed 900 pounds. I couldn’t move.”

(and you thought this post would be about politics . . . )


Fulfill Your Obligation, Then Fulfill Your Obligation, Then Fulfill Your Obligation 0

Signed up for life–well, at least for longer than you thought:

Spc. Chris Carlson had been out of the U.S. Army for two years and was working at Costco in California when he received notice that he was being called back into service.

The 24-year-old is one of thousands of soldiers and Marines who have been deployed to Iraq under a policy that allows military leaders to recall troops who have left the service but still have time left on their contract.

“I thought it was crazy,” said Carlson, who has found himself protecting convoys on Iraq’s dangerous roads as part of a New Jersey National Guard unit. “Never in a million years did I think they would call me back.”

Although troops are allowed to leave active duty after a few years of service, they generally still have time left on their contract with the military that is known as “inactive ready reserve” status, or IRR. During that time, they have to let their service know their current address, but they don’t train, draw a paycheck or associate in any other way with the military.


According to the U.S. Army Reserve, approximately 14,000 soldiers on IRR status have been called to active duty since March 2003 and about 7,300 have been deployed to Iraq. The Marine Corps has mobilized 4,717 Marines who were classified as inactive ready reserve since Sept. 11, and 1,094 have been deployed to Iraq, according to the Marine Forces Reserve.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch . . .


Sleep Easy Tonight 0

The country’s in good hands. Not.

The federal research agency in charge of countering emerging terrorist threats such as liquid explosives is so hobbled by poor leadership, weak financial management and inadequate technology that Congress is on the verge of cutting its budget in half.

The Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate has struggled with turnover, reorganizations and raids on its budget since it was established in 2003, according to independent scientists, department officials and senior members of Congress.

At the same time, the Bush administration’s overriding focus on nuclear and biological threats has delayed research on weapons aimed at aviation, a controversial choice that was questioned anew after a plot to blow up U.S.-bound airliners from London was made public Aug. 10.

It’s absolute amazing. The current Federal Administration breaks everything it touches.

Jeez, I’d hate to be a keyboard in the White Palace House. I’d probably have ten gallons of coffee in me by now.


Twister 0

No, not the co-ed naked kind:

Five archaeologists were ripped from terra firma by a freak tornado that whipped its way through Lincolnshire yesterday.

The archaeologists and archaeology students, working at a sand and gravel pit at Baston, were sheltering from the thunderstorm in a temporary canteen when the building was picked up and tossed 70 feet by the wind.


The New Republic on the Recent War in Lebanon 0

The war is still unnamed, but the New Republic opines that Israel did not gain its objectives (emphasis added):

For the fact is that the wrath of Israel is precisely what was not visited upon Hezbollah. In a whole month of fighting, Israel made no significant change in the battlefield. The crowing about the capture of Bint Jbail is embarrassing–the severity of the combat there notwithstanding. In this war, Israel’s political and military leadership projected only ambivalence and indecision. It fought Hezbollah in the bankrupt style of Donald Rumsfeld, venerating air power and scanting ground troops.


Another Day Bringing Democracy to the Middle East 0


God, I’m glad my son is state-side.

I hope sanity and realism return to our governance before he graduates his current school.


What’s Next in Iraq 0

Monica Duffy Toft explores the possibilities:

Civil wars end in one of three ways: (1) negotiated settlement; (2) partition; or (3) military victory. U.S. support for any of these options comes with considerable costs and only a slim possibility of an outcome that advances U.S. interests beyond what they were at the close of Saddam Hussein’s rule in April of 2003.

None of them seem to be leading the flowering of democracy, now, do they?


Dick Polman on the March of Freedom 0

Bringing democracy to Iraq:

Which means that, yes, an admission that the Maliki government might fail, that the democracy project itself might fail, would indeed compound Bush’s political problems at home. And worse yet, such an admission might not be necessary. The new violence statistics, the news reports of spreading civil war tensions, and the impending release this autumn of a military study that will pinpoint U.S. failures in Iraq (“the results won’t be pretty,” one author says) — all of these will enable ’06 voters ( particularly the much-wooed “security moms”) to draw their own conclusions, regardless of what the White House chooses to say.



El Reg looks at the liquid explosives thing:

We’re told that the suspects were planning to use TATP, or triacetone triperoxide, a high explosive that supposedly can be made from common household chemicals unlikely to be caught by airport screeners. A little hair dye, drain cleaner, and paint thinner – all easily concealed in drinks bottles – and the forces of evil have effectively smuggled a deadly bomb onboard your plane.

Or at least that’s what we’re hearing, and loudly, through the mainstream media and its legions of so-called “terrorism experts.” But what do these experts know about chemistry? Less than they know about lobbying for Homeland Security pork, which is what most of them do for a living. But they’ve seen the same movies that you and I have seen, and so the myth of binary liquid explosives dies hard.


Darn, I Went to High School in the Wrong Decade 0

Actually, had this been my art teacher, it would have been scary.

A high school art teacher who faced termination after students saw her nude photos online has agreed to resign.

Tamara Hoover had been on paid leave since May, when students saw the photos on and showed them to another art teacher at Austin High School. That teacher, who was feuding with Hoover over ceramics equipment, notified administrators, according to sworn affidavits.


He Shopped at the Wrong Hardee’s 0

Boy, I love the AP wire:

A man’s robbery attempt was thwarted by employees of a fast food restaurant after he climbed through the drive-up window demanding money, police said.

Jacob Mason Choi Koelling, 24, of Waterloo, was arrested early Thursday morning after he was restrained by employees at a Hardee’s restaurant, police said.


Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Dead of Night . . . 0

From the AP, via Newsday:

A postcard that a mother mailed to her son in 1948 was finally delivered to the recipient — but only after the town’s postmaster bought it on eBay.

Spiceland Postmaster Judy Dishman, away from her office on leave, bought the postcard because it featured a country view of the Spiceland area, about 40 miles east of Indianapolis. Dishman noticed the postcard was addressed to 82-year-old Charles “Rocky” Rose of Spiceland, so she delivered it.


Hound of the Bangorvilles (Updated) 0

From AOL News:

Residents are wondering if an animal found dead over the weekend may be the mysterious creature that has mauled dogs, frightened residents and been the subject of local legend for half a generation.


Addendum, 9/7/2006:

It was a dog.


Breaking News 3

It should start to get interesting from here on out:

A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government’s warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency’s program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy as well as the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.

Read the decision here.


Thursday Surfing 0

Phones slow and working on a 35 meg database that takes five minutes to do anything. Surfing during the sorts.

Phillybits on torture.

Suburban Guerrilla on real estate.

B. S. Detector on Senator George Allen (Embarrassment of Virginia).

Josh Marshall on Iraq.

Gilbert Cranberg on the Iowa State Republican Platform.


Dell Batteries 0

Checked the Dell website last night. As I predicted here, my Dell battery is not on the list.

Note that the batteries in question were made by Sony. I’m glad I do not have a Sony of My Owny.

But El Reg’s headline today was to die for:

‘Zippo’ battery recall could cost Sony $430m and a truck


ATM Theft 2

In the course of my employment, I meet a lot of technicians who work on ATMs. Almost all of them have stories of abortive attempts to steal ATMs.

  • The fellow down in Carolinas who chained an island ATM to his bumper and tried to drive off with it. He left his bumper behind, along with his license plate.
  • The fellow in New Jersey who attempted to knock one over with his truck. My old boss actually got called to remove the tapes and review them with police. This was in New Jersey. New Jersey has front license plates.
  • The fellow who managed to get away with one, then discovered that the top, the vulnerable part, is a computer, but the bottom is a concrete-lined steel safe, so he buried it in his back yard–still intact.

These fellows tried an excavator (apparently an excator is sort of a front-end loader with a college education):

Thieves toiled for almost an hour with a stolen excavator to dig two cash machines out of a bank branch in the northeastern town of Kuala Terengganu Tuesday.

But they were forced to flee empty-handed when the excavator’s digging arm got stuck in the ceiling of the bank, Malaysian newspapers reported Wednesday.


Thar’s Gold in Them Thar Spam 0

AOL says a convicted spammer may have hidden half a million dollars in gold and platinum on his parents’ property, and the company is going after it.

The online division of Time Warner Inc. said on Wednesday it aims to recover assets awarded to it in a judgment against Davis Hawke, who sent at least 130,000 unsolicited junk e-mails to AOL subscribers over three months in 2004.


It said it had evidence and reason to believe that $500,000 in gold and platinum bars are located at Hawke’s parents’ home in Medfield, Massachusetts.


In recent years, AOL has recovered Hummers, Porsche sports cars, gold coins and other property worth millions of dollars from convicted spammers, and reinvested it in a spam-fighting campaign, the company said.

All joking aside, AOL’s aggressive anti-spam tactics were one of the two things that kept me using AOL long after I had cable internet (the other was the chore of moving my website off–for all I know it’s still there).

(By the way, Opie gets credit for finally getting me off my duff when he explained to me how he made Not Always Mayberry work.)

I hope AOL finds their gold bars. They gave me good value for my money for almost a decade, pretty much up until the merger with Time-Warner.

Then all bets were off.