Monday, August 22, 2005

Wonkabout gone walkabout

A friend over at NewsHounds asked about the lack of catblogging last week, so I should fill you in as to what is up.

I'm going walkabout for the next month or so. I am about a month from defending my dissertaion, and need to spend as much time as I can writing on it instead of the blog.

I'll be back some time around the start of October.

by Robster @ 8/22/2005 08:04:00 PM PERMALink

Friday, August 12, 2005

Catblog 8/12/05 edition

Another Friday, another catblog...

Does anyone know why June's eyes reflect different colors? Just wondering...

All three girls, behaving.

An Otter from the Newport Aquarium. Just because otters are cool.

Cleo holding still... They say manx act like kittens until they are about five years old. And Cleo is only two. My advice, invest in plush catnip frogs...

My partner in crime, Bobbie.

See you next week!

by Robster @ 8/12/2005 08:30:00 AM PERMALink

Monday, August 08, 2005

What is wrong with people here?

A truly disgusting episode happened recently in Floyd County, Kentucky.

A man shot another man in a dispute over the war in Iraq. Original story here.
It happened at Floyd County flea market on Thursday, when two friends, who were firearms vendors there, drew guns after quarreling about the war. Douglas Moore, 65, of Martin, who backs the war, shot and killed Harold Wayne Smith, 56, of Manchester, who opposed it, according to investigators.

Moore was released without being charged after he convinced police he had acted in self-defense. A grand jury may yet hear evidence in the case.

Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner said the episode might mark the first death in the U.S. due to a dispute over the war.

One witness, Sam Hamman of Prestonsburg, told the Lexington Herald-Leader, "Harold was talking about the 14 people that were killed in Iraq the other day and Doug said that just as many people were killed on the highways here.”

This quickly escalated into an argument, then to a scuffle, and finally both men drew pistols outside a snack shed. The dead man was apparently just a little slower in firing. Witnesses said he stood for about five seconds before toppling on the walkway.

In a telephone interview with the Lexington paper yesterday, Moore said police had told him not to discuss his feelings about the Iraq war.
I had two thoughts on the matter. One, This is no reason for someone to lose their life. People disagree on the war, but that doesn't mean we need to be at war with ourselves. Two, this is the reason that my bumper stickers are put on with magnetic backing... (that and to protect resale value)

Far right wing idiots, however, see this differently. A troll in the OT forum at NewsHounds titled a thread "One less democrat."

And I won't give this gun-nut the privelage of a link (I am myself a hunter, but consider carrying guns for protection to be something that makes you and others less safe). calls this event a triumph for self protection, and calls the flea market salesman an "anti war activist." So arguing over politics at a flea market makes you an activist? Right. Whatever.

by Robster @ 8/08/2005 08:24:00 AM PERMALink

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Torture rooms. Under new management. Old staff retained.

Props to Newshound OT threader mick Euro.

Disturbing article about the Iraqi government hiring Saddam's torturers to continue their work. From the London Times Online,
IRAQI security forces, set up by American and British troops, torture detainees by pulling out their fingernails, burning them with hot irons or giving them electric shocks, Iraqi officials say. Cases have also been recorded of bound prisoners being beaten to death by police.

In their haste to put police on the streets to counter the brutal insurgency, Iraqi and US authorities have enlisted men trained under Saddam Hussein’s regime and versed in torture and abuse, the officials told The Times. They said that recruits were also being drawn from the ranks of outlawed Shia militias.

Counter-insurgencies are rarely clean fights, but Iraq’s dirty war is being waged under the noses of US and British troops whose mission is to end the abuses of the former dictatorship. Instead, they appear to have turned a blind eye to the constant reports of torture from Iraq’s prisons.

Among the worst offenders cited are the Interior Ministry police commandos, a force made up largely of former army officers and special forces soldiers drawn from the ranks of Saddam’s dissolved army. They are seen as the most effective tool the coalition has in fighting the insurgency.
Nothing like freeing people from oppression to oppress them anew.

by Robster @ 8/07/2005 09:13:00 PM PERMALink

Agent Provacateur

Saw this quiz on Funcentral, and had to take it. Apparently, I am a Provacateur. I happen to agree... But do not consider myself worthy of the great assholiness of Such men as George Carlin or Chris Rock.

the Provacateur
(65% dark, 26% spontaneous, 44% vulgar)
your humor style:

You'll crack on anything, and you're often witty, even caustic, about it.

your sense of humor is polarizing. You're transgressive, and you've got
a seriously sharp 'edge'--maybe too much for some folks. If they get
you, people think you're one of the funniest (and smartest) people in
the world. If they don't, they think you're an ass. Whatever, right?
While some might question your judgement, your comic intellect is
unquestionably respected.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Chris Rock - Lenny Bruce - George Carlin

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 75% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 30% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 75% on vulgar

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid Free Online Dating

by Robster @ 8/07/2005 11:40:00 AM PERMALink

LATimes Op Ed on Hiroshima

Sixty years ago yesterday, the Enola Gay dropped the first of two atomic bombs on the city of Hiroshima. I didn't quite know how to blog about the bombing, especially considerring the rancor from some on the extreme right, suggesting that we use nuclear weapons for retaliation in the Struggle on terror.

The LA Times has an interesting OpEd piece that I suggest you read. I'm not certain how I feel about the arguements made in the piece, as they are disturbing, but it will certainly make you think.

Thanks to NewsHounds threader TB for the find.

by Robster @ 8/07/2005 10:49:00 AM PERMALink

Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday catblog Aug 5 edition

A really cool nurse shark from the Newport Aquarium.

June the small.

My name is Bobbie. I am a model.

Cleo posing with her new figure 8 collar (She requested a bribe of fish flakes).

And a penguin for Keg.

by Robster @ 8/05/2005 01:30:00 PM PERMALink

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sabbatical again

I have to do some work on my lit cited section for my next paper, so I am on Blog Sabbatical the next few days. Thanks for understanding.

by Robster @ 8/02/2005 04:11:00 PM PERMALink

Monday, August 01, 2005

King Fahd of Saudis dead

Info and links here. And now we will see some really scary upheaval in Saudi Arabia. If it gets too bad, the royal family will destroy their own oil production infrastructure to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands... Expect oil to hit $70/barrel by October, if not $100 if the uprisings are severe enough.

by Robster @ 8/01/2005 09:14:00 AM PERMALink

Raw Story kicks butt today

Raw Story has several great stories this morning. OK, not great in the sense of good, but rather in the sense that they are very much worth reading.

From the NYTimes, a CIA officer has come forward with info that the Bush admin overlooked his reports that Iraq had stopped working on it's nuclear progrom years before 2001, and some of the enrichment equipment was available for sale...
The Central Intelligence Agency was told by an informant in the spring of 2001 that Iraq had abandoned a major element of its nuclear weapons program, but the agency did not share the information with other agencies or with senior policy makers, a former C.I.A. officer has charged.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court here in December, the former C.I.A. officer, whose name remains secret, said that the informant told him that Iraq's uranium enrichment program had ended years earlier and that centrifuge components from the scuttled program were available for examination and even purchase.

The officer, an employee at the agency for more than 20 years, including several years in a clandestine unit assigned to gather intelligence related to illicit weapons, was fired in 2004.

In his lawsuit, he says his dismissal was punishment for his reports questioning the agency's assumptions on a series of weapons-related matters. Among other things, he charged that he had been the target of retaliation for his refusal to go along with the agency's intelligence conclusions.

Michelle Neff, a C.I.A. spokeswoman, said the agency would not comment on the lawsuit.

There is more, so check out the rest of the article. I'd just like to point out that this backs up the idea that the administration had decided what intel was correct and what wasn't, based on preconcieved notions.

One of the memes that has been circulating since OBL escaped at Tora Bora is that he isn't leading al Qaeda anymore. The concept that Qaeda may no longer be a centralized organization (if it's minor ops ever were) has been an excuse for not focusing on Afghanastan (or other suggested OBL locations). An article from a Switzerland news group suggests that OBL is still steering Qaeda,

Osama bin Laden is still giving direct orders for al Qaeda attacks, Saudi Arabia's next ambassador to the United States said on Sunday.

Outgoing Saudi ambassador to Britain Prince Turki al-Faisal said some of the most recent attacks attributed to al Qaeda in the oil-rich kingdom had been directly ordered by the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

"Some of the events (attacks) that occurred in the kingdom over the past 2-1/2 years were under the immediate directions of the leadership of al Qaeda, particularly bin Laden," Turki said in comments broadcast by Reuters Television on Sunday.
Considering how easily the Taliban had a recording of their sowning of a helicopter out and to the press, I would be inclined to believe this.

A disturbing article on the military tribunals at Gitmo.

Leaked emails from two former prosecutors claim the military commissions set up to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay are rigged, fraudulent, and thin on evidence against the accused.

Two emails, which have been obtained by the ABC, were sent to supervisors in the Office of Military Commissions in March of last year - three months before Australian detainee David Hicks was charged and five months before his trial began.

The first email is from prosecutor Major Robert Preston to his supervisor.

Maj Preston writes that the process is perpetrating a fraud on the American people, and that the cases being pursued are marginal.

"I consider the insistence on pressing ahead with cases that would be marginal even if properly prepared to be a severe threat to the reputation of the military justice system and even a fraud on the American people," Maj Preston wrote.

"Surely they don't expect that this fairly half-arsed effort is all that we have been able to put together after all this time."

I hope that this isn't true. Regardless, it is a good reason for civilian oversight (not Gonzalez's pro torture types) of the trials to ensure that they are fair. Our reputation relies on this.

And on a happy note, the Guardian reports that it is likely that the Murdoch empire will break up after his death. Now, before you jump to conclusions, I'm not wishing anything on him, just pointing out that the dissolution of a massive and corrosively hypocritical media conglomerate will be a good thing. I don't expect Fox News to become a legitimate news source, or to become fair or balanced (they make their money by being anything but). But maybe...

by Robster @ 8/01/2005 08:42:00 AM PERMALink