s skippy the bush kangaroo: March 2003

skippy the bush kangaroo



Monday, March 31, 2003

say hello

to benniferus' friends.
posted by skippy at 5:34 PM | 1 comments

freep the beard

as always, left hand sidebar. go vote.
posted by skippy at 12:44 PM | 1 comments

secret arrests, uncharged detainees...no, it's nothing like nazi's!

from talkleft, we find another example of our civil rights going out the window: mike hawash, an intel worker in oregon, was "detained" without charges by awol's terrorism task force.

he's an american citizen not charged with a crime, but he's in prison. the warrants are secret, so nobody has any idea why he's there.

this brings to mind something skippy has been musing on lately. many of the self-righteous wing get all upset when those on the left compare awol to nazi's.

however, when most people liken what's happening in our country today to what happened in germany in the last century, they aren't, we believe, referring to the horrors of the 40's. no, what most people are talking about is the insidiousness of the 30's. just ask yourself, does any of this sound familiar?

hitler and the nazi's role as a socially recognized 'power group' played a large part in the establishment of germany as a fascist state during the 1920-30's. a very prominent factor that influenced their support during this term was the fact that the german volk wished to be dominated.

organization was also a factor in the support the nazis gained during this period. excellent coordination brought to the nazi group obedience, collaboration and teamwork. they had skilled leaders at almost every level who were well trained and motivated, combining to create a strict and dominant party. the factor of strong organisation was popular among many german people, compared to the weak and insufficient muddlings of the weimar government.

propaganda played a large part in the popularity of the nazi party. every trick in the book was employed to express their anti-communist fascist stance. their use of powerful propaganda messages further influenced hatred of the communist party, and any other potential leader, hence increasing the support of the nazis. a department of public propaganda and enlightenment, led by a prominent figure of the nazi party, doctor joseph goebbels, controlled all forms of media.

goebbels brilliantly organized thousands of meetings and torchlit parades, plastered posters everywhere and printed millions of copies of special editions of nazi newspapers. non-nazi newspapers were taken over by a nazi publishing company. over two thirds of the press were under nazi control, hence social support for the nazis transpired.

campaigns and rallies were also staged to increase the nazi party's visibility and loyalty, hence lessening the allegiance towards other groups. mass rallies held at nuremberg annually brought together thousands of people for parades and displays in the name of nazi ideology. between rallies, local sa or hitler youth groups campaigned for the support of hitler and the nazi party in addition.

radio stations were also brought under the control of the nazis. by 1939 'the peoples receiver' was sold so inexpensively that seven of every ten households owned one. this was another nazi scheme used to communicate with the people, consequently expressing their nazi views and compelling germany towards becoming a fascist nation.


please don't tell us there aren't parallels. sure, there are no concentration camps in america.

yet.

posted by skippy at 12:37 PM | 0 comments

who's fingerprints on the war plan? can't be mine

liberal oasis has a good run down on rumsfeld's disavowing all knowledge of the current war plan on yesterday's talk shows. apparently all of a sudden it was gen. tommy franks idea (with a little help from his cousin gen. tommy beans).

of course, robert novak may disagree:

while rumsfeld spoke the literal truth, his response was still disingenuous. rumsfeld had been asked about the cakewalk description several times, rejecting it but still defending the premises for such a judgment. while its source was not technically a pentagon official, it was a longtime rumsfeld friend and lieutenant: kenneth adelman, appointed by the secretary to the defense policy board (an outside advisory panel). in demanding military action against saddam hussein, adelman has promised repeatedly there would be no military difficulty.

u.s. general officers i have questioned over the last year were angry that anybody--particularly an official adviser--should spread the impression this would not be a real war, with killing and dying. nevertheless, the cakewalk image took hold among some of the strongest hawks in congress and in the public mind. that has led to widespread surprise and dismay in beholding what rumsfeld accurately told russert: ''a war is a war. it's a brutal thing.''


and, thanks to the war in context, we find that seymour hersh would also disagree:

on at least six occasions, the planner told me, when rumsfeld and his deputies were presented with operational plans -- the iraqi assault was designated plan 1003 -- he insisted that the number of ground troops be sharply reduced. rumsfeld's faith in precision bombing and his insistence on streamlined military operations has had profound consequences for the ability of the armed forces to fight effectively overseas. "they've got no resources," a former high-level intelligence official said. "he was so focussed on proving his point -- that the iraqis were going to fall apart."

posted by skippy at 12:16 PM | 1 comments

at least flipper has more balls than bush

here's an update on a story we ran yesterday: apparently tacoma, the mine-snipping dolphin who went awol in the persian gulf, has returned to finish his tour of duty, which is more than we can say for a certain dry drunk we know.
posted by skippy at 12:10 PM | 0 comments

we'll thank tomorrow today

we need to thank tom tomorrow, not only for his great cartoons and fantastic blog but for sending all those hits our way today.
posted by skippy at 11:56 AM | 0 comments

ever hear the phrase, what goes around comes around?

it occured to one of skippy's interns, that it's highly ironic that the very people who fought dirty to grab the presidency in 2000 are now complaining because the iraqi's aren't following the "rules of war."
posted by skippy at 11:51 AM | 0 comments

let's open up the old skippy mailbag!

ian king, a blogger up in canada sends us a kind note about our writing, and suggests we all go check out his blog the vancouver scrum. good job, ian!

and those wacky songmeisters over at compassionate conservatives have posted another song you can download for free! this one is called "another war" and it's to the tune of "drive my car" by some old rock group. thanks for the heads up, guys!


posted by skippy at 11:37 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, March 30, 2003

freep the seattle times!

here's a poll asking, if the election were held next tuesday, would you re-elect awol? so far, it's skewed waaaay to the right, so go vote.
posted by skippy at 10:00 AM | 0 comments

if going awol is good enough for bush, it's good enough for flipper

as a beloved animal icon with his own family tv show from the 60's, skippy was quite concerned to learn that a fellow tv star, flipper, had been coerced into joining the war in iraq.

well, maybe not flipper him/herself. but several bottle nosed dolphins have been recruited and trained to seek out and mark mines in the persian gulf port of umm qasr.

tuesday's deployment marks the first time dolphins have been called to war to conduct mine clearance operations, said tom lapuzza, spokesman at space and naval warfare systems center in san diego. "we do this all the time for training in different parts of the world, but we have never taken mine-hunting dolphins to a war zone," lapuzza said. dolphins were used during operation desert storm and the vietnam war for "swimmer defense." they were trained to search for scuba divers who might have been trying to plant explosives on navy vessels.

the navy also works with sea lions, which have learned to attach leg restraints to human interlopers they detect.
[ed. note: try to work out that "navy seals" joke before press time]

oh, woe is skippy, the thought of lovable dolphins corralled to engage in warfare. what's next? lassie shooting patriot missles? gentle ben driving a tank?

but, just when we thought the animal world had gone as mad as the human world, amazing news reached our desks.

just like our glorious commander in chief, the dolphin has gone awol, reports cbs news:

according to the london times, tacoma, a 22-year-old dolphin trained to search for mines underwater, has not been seen since leaving on his first mission…calling the dolphin's name and offering the lure of his favorite fish reportedly has yet to cause tacoma to swim back to base.

strange. that usually works when cheney wants bush to come back to the oval office.



[note to ed.: alternate punchline? "if he's going to emulate bush, we wonder how much coke a bottle-nosed dolphin can snort".]

[ed. note: too complicated. "coke bottle nosed" diverts the logic. just get me that navy seals joke stat!]

posted by skippy at 12:05 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, March 29, 2003

more fog of dogs of blogs of war

readers of this space will remember our rant (the fog of dogs of blogs of war) about how badly the national media is screwing up such little things as facts and truth in their reporting of this war.

we are glad to see we aren't the only ones who think so. thanks to roger ailes (the good one) we came across 15 stories they've already bungled in editor and publisher.com, starting with "saddam was killed on the first night of bombing" and going up through the story that set us off, "1000 iraqi tanks headed south from baghdad to confront our troops."

15 big screw ups in a week, that's more than two a day. pretty good record. it beats the 2000 election reporting.

addendum: yet even more commentary over at waxy.org from bloggers on both sides of blogtopia (y!wctp!) about bad and erroneous reporting.



posted by skippy at 11:46 PM | 0 comments

wrong story, bucko

we accidentally thought this was a profile on george w. bush.
posted by skippy at 6:51 PM | 0 comments

someday, my boy...all this sand will be yours

gen. richard meyers, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, says that about 40% of iraq is under allied control. and that's true.

all the sand around basra...all the sand around nasiriyah...all the sand in the western part of the country...all the sand leading from kuwait to baghdad...and a couple of hills in the north. yep, about 40%!

too bad we don't have any cities, yet.
posted by skippy at 6:50 PM | 0 comments

and now, a shameless plug

skippy's friend, who, as he says in his emails, finds himself in his late 40's becoming a political activist all of a sudden, wants us to remind everyone that tomorrow will be another rally in down town los angeles (pershing square at 12 noon!)

also, skippy's friend is the one who made and wielded the "bush/cheney 1984 sign at the oscar protests.
posted by skippy at 6:28 PM | 0 comments

big sale on burnt burkas at the gap in the kuwait mall

whoops! it looks like maybe the explosion at the kuwait mall yesterday might have been caused by forces, says the nytimes:

it was an american cruise missile, we know from the markings and writing on it," said a kuwaiti police colonel who did not give his name. "it doesn't go up, it comes in low from the sea, and that's why there was no alert."

another uniformed kuwaiti official said that he, too, believed the missile to have been american and said that it "came from the sea." he then added that "it was a mistake" that it had struck kuwait.

in washington, the chief pentagon spokeswoman, victoria clarke, asked about reports that kuwaiti officials were blaming an american missile for the damage, said it was too early to tell what had happened or whose missile it was.


(a tip of the bush kangaroo hat to atrios for providing us this link!)

posted by skippy at 6:11 PM | 0 comments

watching paint dry

here in los angeles, specifically, west los angeles just south of ucla, skippy and his staff are amused to see the letters "b u s h" stenciled in white paint under the word "stop" on many stop signs around the neighborhood of the skippy international office complex. and lately, we have noticed somebody has taken a splosh of red paint to the white word "bush" in an attempt to eradicate it on several of these signs. we assume it's grass roots protest.

we bring up this whole boring little story as way of introduction to this post from gail davis on line. apparently there are plenty of sign painters in tucson with time on their hands as well, but in this instance it concerns the "a" in "a mountain" signs. many are painting them red, white and blue, and then many others are painting them black.

and now the city council has gotten involved.
posted by skippy at 6:05 PM | 0 comments

Friday, March 28, 2003

more iraqi war links

thanks to bc over at thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse we were able to find some new blogs that are covering the war, which we put up under our "iraqi war links" category on top of our blogroll on the right side of this page. they are cyberjournalist iraq blog, the war in context, and antiwar.com. (thanks, bc!)

and, thanks to antiwar.com, we found this article from yahoo, talking about an outspoken u.s. general in iraq who is pissing off the white house (our kind of guy!):

but the war in iraq is about to get even tougher for lt. gen. william s. wallace. he ignited the ire of the white house by observing publicly that pentagon war strategists had misunderstood the combativeness of iraqi fighters. the miscalculation, he said, had stalled the coalition's drive toward baghdad. "the enemy we're fighting against is different from the one we'd war-gamed against," wallace, commander of v corps, told the new york times and the washington post on thursday. wallace's comments fueled the bush administration's frustration with media coverage that focuses on why the conflict isn't over. the war, the white house says daily, is going well and on-time.

oh yeah. real well.


posted by skippy at 9:03 PM | 0 comments

everybody wants to get into the act

thanks to talkleft, we found gary hart's blog!

we can't wait for john ashcroft to start co-blogging with jane galt!
posted by skippy at 1:23 PM | 0 comments

we were wondering

thanks to sasha undercover, we found this blog that clears up a lot of questions: why your wife won't have sex with you.
posted by skippy at 1:18 PM | 0 comments

brown nosing

busy busy busy has the entire transcript of aaron brown's arguments getting righteously pummeled by the logic of daniel ellsberg, the granddaddy of anti-war dissenters (thanks to atrios for directing us there!)
posted by skippy at 1:16 PM | 0 comments

freep the beard during wartime

left hand side bar. go now! vote!
posted by skippy at 1:12 PM | 0 comments

how can any fire be 'friendly'?

as many as 30 marines were hit by "friendly" fire from another marine unit near nassiriya yesterday. and this report from international on line says the number of wounded was 36.

an even more alarming statistic shows that 10 of the 26 american deaths in the war so far are from accidents, says the sf chronicle.

it's getting frustrating for the command at home answering questions. kinston.com reports: "we're not going to confirm numbers anymore," said [camp lejeune] spokeswoman maj. michele flynn. gun battles between marines with task force tarawa from camp lejeune and iraqi troops in an nasiriyah have been intense since an ambush of u.s. forces saturday night and sunday when nine lejeune marines were killed and an as-yet-unreleased number were wounded.

just to put the numbers in perspective, here's a report from tech central station on the body count:

at present there are 300,000 u.s. service personnel in the iraq region and perhaps 40,000 in combat in and over iraq. in the past six days about 40 american and british troops have been killed, an unknown number wounded, another 15 or so reported missing and less than ten confirmed as prisoners. an estimated 500 iraqi soldiers have been killed, more than 3500 taken prisoner and several thousand more disarmed and set free.
posted by skippy at 1:05 PM | 0 comments

we get letters

our reader tom, sends us this great page: wacky dissent, part of spaz out new york.

see you at the protest, tom!
posted by skippy at 12:44 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, March 27, 2003

the prince of darkness resigns (we hope he doesn't sue us for libel!)

the war must be going really badly...richard perle has resigned his post as the chairman of the defense policy board, a civilian group of people who never served a day in uniform telling rumsfeld how to run the war.

perle had come under fire in recent days for his apparent conflict of interest between his post on the board, and his acceptance as a lobbyist for global crossing, the enron of the telecommunications industry, which stands to profit hugely from defense department concessions to let the bankrupt company be sold to some chinese firms. (yeah, let's let the commies buy the americans out...who needs americans controlling the world wide fiber optics network anyway?)

in a magnanimous public relations move, perle committed his pay from his lobbying efforts to the injured soldiers and military widows of the american invansion into iraq. (would that dick cheney take a page from perle's playbook, and at least donate his war profiteering gains, if not out and out resign).

perle is also involved with trimere partners, which has been accused of shady business practices, and autonomy corp., which has recently landed a huge homeland security contract. both of these connections create yet more conflicts of interest.

and, the salt in the wound comes from reporter seymour hersh, who investigated perle's connections to saudi princes and adnan khashoggi (for those who are doomed to repeat history, adnan was the arms dealer smack in the center of the iran-contra scandal back when an actor, someone with actual compassion, was president).

perle was so upset at hersh's article, he called hersh a "terrorist" on cnn, and has threatened to sue him for libel.

so, anyway you look at it, richard perle has a lot of connections, none of which the chairman of the defense policy board should have, without raising questions of hugely unfair profits for insiders. and thus, mr. perle resigned.

as chairman.

don't break out the bubbly yet, kids. rumsfeld has requested that perle stay on as a member of the board. apparently, unsavory insider connections with arms dealers, saudi princes and lobbyists for communist chinese firms is just jim-dandy for a member. just not the chairman.

why, we do have standards, you know.
posted by skippy at 6:46 PM | 0 comments

a protest to die for

in new york, hundreds of anti-war demonstrators staged a "die-in" by laying down in the middle of 5th avenue and 49th st (near rockafeller center...good choice, kids! nice symbolism!) in the middle of the day, snarling traffic and making pests of themselves.

demonstrators taking part in the ``die-in'' broke through police barricades along the famous avenue, lay on their backs in the street and waited for officers to remove them. some were holding large photographs of civilian war victims. police officials at the scene said they arrested all of them, more than 140 people. about six demonstrators carrying sticks and using them to hit a small rubber ball on the sidewalk, were pushed up against the window of the saks fifth avenue department store by police officers and arrested, observers said. a smaller group held a funeral march on the sidewalk they said was for the death of u.s. soldiers, those killed in the sept. 11, 2001, attacks and iraqi civilians and troops.

posted by skippy at 12:00 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to waxy.org, who did an analysis of how blogs in blogtopia (yes! we coined that phrase!) for the most part, ignored the retraction the major news media put out about the so-called chemical weapons factory found in iraq last sunday night.

we were one of the few that waxy mentions who actually did link to the retraction (thank you, thank you, we are so proud to receive this award, where's halle berry, we need to kiss a hot chick right now...)

go take a look, and notice that a handful of blogs linked to the original story, then the retraction...fewer blogs (ours included) linked to the retraction only; but a huge majority of blogs linked to the original and incorrect and false story, without mentioning the retraction or inaccuracy of it.

no, there's no bias in blogtopia (y!wctp! halle, pucker up!)
posted by skippy at 11:54 AM | 0 comments

more from officer x

billmon, over at the daily kos, passes on another missive from the anonymous-because-he-doesn't-want-to-be-courtmartialed-for-insubordination "officer x," a military analyst and commander, who seems to know whereof he speaks:

centcom and the political authority are arrogant. that is what occurs when you do not want to understand why the united states has become the only superpower -- based on unheard of economic wealth, located between of the largest moats -- the atlantic and pacific oceans -- with no threat of being overun, crops burned or women raped...

the plan was based on the false assumptions that the iraqis would not fight, the people would welcome us, and that airpower would dominate and force -- through the immature "shock and awe" or "effects based targeting" -- the iraqis to submit. the army was only there to march and occupy baghdad as an occupation force...

a combination of sand storms, with stretched out supply lines, and finally, iraqi resistance, have caused both a tactical and operational pause. it appears that iraqis are going to try to conduct a operational counterattack against the marines. if they are, and are judging this on an assessment of weaknesses, then they have a firm control of their side. the marines have the least armor, and they have been in five days of heavy fighting...

time is against us.

posted by skippy at 11:35 AM | 0 comments

place your bets, ladies and gentlemen!

who do you think awol will get first...osama bin laden or saddam hussein?

thomas ricks in the washpost reports:

despite the rapid advance of army and marine forces across iraq over the past week, some senior u.s. military officers are now convinced that the war is likely to last months and will require considerably more combat power than is now on hand there and in kuwait, senior defense officials said yesterday.
the combination of wretched weather, long and insecure supply lines, and an enemy that has refused to be supine in the face of american military might has led to a broad reassessment by some top generals of u.s. military expectations and timelines. some of them see even the potential threat of a drawn-out fight that sucks in more and more u.s. forces. both on the battlefield in iraq and in pentagon conference rooms, military commanders were talking yesterday about a longer, harder war than had been expected just a week ago, the officials said.


and remember, summer in iraq is no picnic in the park.

god help our men and women over there.
posted by skippy at 11:23 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

say hello

to she sells santuary
posted by skippy at 9:02 PM | 0 comments

blogging around during wartime

les dabney of testify! wonders about another rumor from the arab media concerning mary cheney.

julia at sisyphus shrugged memorializes patrick moyanahan.

patrick nielson hayden of electrolite quotes mark kleinman, who points out that if you thought saddam was like stalin, then the slow progress of the war should really be no surprise (assuming you know your history of cities and sieges).

interesting mix of war analysis and pictures of horses at moveable beast.

atrios links to a story that has senior pentagon officials musing that "the war is likely to last months."

the kos (whom we previously did not put up under "iraqi war links" because he doesn't write a specfically war blog, but whom we have decided to include there because every other blog says he's one of the best to go to for war news) reminds us all the cheney said it would be easy (found via warblogs:cc, a blog we did put up there originally, so, cut us some slack already!)
posted by skippy at 9:01 PM | 0 comments

the fog of dogs of blog of war

news sources report that a column of 1000 iraqi tanks are heading south from baghdad to intercept the coalition forces, and should engage them sometime in the next 24 hours.

oh. never mind.

apparently the biggest news from the war today was...well...wrong. again.

cnn.com says, "in central iraq, there were conflicting reports about whether large numbers of iraqi republican guard troops were moving out of baghdad toward the lead elements of the u.s. 3rd infantry division. top u.s. military officials in washington and at central command headquarters in qatar said field reports seemed to be based on inaccurate intelligence and that officials could find no evidence of such an operation."

sunday: chemical weapons factory found. oh wait, officials say it's an old site, and no weapons were found.

tuesday: uprising in basra. no, hold on, maybe that was just mass confusion, we're not sure.

well, at least last week we killed saddam with the first bomb. didn't we?

what can we learn from this? how about, "the national media sure is stupid"? ok, but can we be a bit more sophisticated about our findings?

sure. josh getlin and elizabeth jensen, writing in >the latimes, say:

if there is a thread linking these stories, it is that the media have reported them enthusiastically and uncritically, with no independent verification. they are speculative, based on pentagon sources, and while their news value is obvious, they also help the bush administration reinforce the message of an iraqi regime in disarray. on one level, news coverage of the iraq war has produced a flood of vivid, firsthand stories from more than 500 reporters who are traveling with u.s. forces. yet these dispatches, however compelling, provide only fragmentary glimpses of a vast military effort. to convey the bigger picture, journalists depend on military and government officials, and the two sides don't always have the same priorities.

we agree with bill kovach, chairman of the committee of concerned journalists, who says, "i'm astonished at the lack of skepticism in the media so far, especially on television, because we've heard a lot of things reported that may not be true. by now, you'd think reporters would have learned their lesson, based on what happened in the 1991 gulf war."

yeah, plus, the national media sure is stupid.
posted by skippy at 8:37 PM | 0 comments

and now, a message from annatopia (no! we didn't coin that phrase!)

our good friend, anna of annatopia, who has been volunteering her time and energy with dean for texas, sends us this message:

"here is what i'm asking. if you like what you've heard, please go give the dean campaign $10.01 to $25.01. why the penny? because we are trying to demonstrate the power of the internet. the way i look at it is this: $25.00 is about how much money i'll spend on a night at the movies (tickets, snacks, and gasoline). i am willing to give that much if it means getting dean elected. and whatever you give will be matched! if you give $10.01 then the campaign gets $20.02! if you give $25.01 they get $50.02! you can actually donate up to $250.00 and it will be matched, but i'm not asking for that unless you really can afford it (and i know a lot of us cannot). all i am asking is that you give this guy a shot to prove his worth. give us a chance to take our country back. give us a chance to be americans again. with your help, we can do it! you must include your occupation and employer for the donation to be matched by the fec.

while skippy and his staff have not yet decided who will receive their votes, we do like what we've heard about howard dean so far. he's from vermont, so he is in favor of syrup.

all kidding aside, dean occupies the same position that we do: support the troops but oppose the war.

so we can think of worse things to donate to than dean for president (and mrs. butterworth for veep!)

big sloppy hugs addendum: while visiting anna's blog to research this post, we found out she was mentioned and linked in an article in usatoday earlier this week! the article only linked a few blogs (including warblogs:cc and where is raed), so it's a very exclusive club! big congrats, anna!
posted by skippy at 8:08 PM | 0 comments

blogging around

eric alterman discusses how people's perceptions of america's good fortune in having awol as president during 9/11 may be changing now.

independent online has a good update of important events in the iraqi war today.

the daily kos comments on world-wide reaction to the war.

silflay hraka finds a reason to blog...a woman whose husband is in the war takes comfort in bigwig's writings.

the debate over lgf's breaking a story by linking to it rages on over at the daily rant.

we didn't know that congress had a toll-free switchboard! but wampum blog did.
posted by skippy at 12:32 PM | 0 comments

civilian or no - dead is dead

thanks to warblogging:cc, we went over to talkleft's wonderful site (something we don't do often enough) to find a link to a page listing the iraqi civilian body count. luckily, right now, it's thankfully low. but we found ourselves engaged by a spirited debate about the difference between civilians and non-combantants, and how governments on both sides spin numbers. we recommend you go read it and join in (and be nice, now).
posted by skippy at 11:31 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to eriposte, a fine blog that discusses the entire gamut of issues: politics, media, environment, civil rights, law, activism, and good links (including to our blog!)

also, to a fine new australian blog, let's try that again.
posted by skippy at 11:22 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

and zonker could have ashcroft's job...

sasha undercover is reporting that newt gringrich is actively campaigning for job of "high commissioner-equivalent" in iraq (after the fighting, presumably). sasha points out that this puts the former adulterer in competition with uncle duke for the job.
posted by skippy at 6:45 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to the angry monk.
posted by skippy at 3:41 PM | 0 comments

happy first days of spring from the bush economic team

war not going well? that's ok, just relax and enjoy the news from the economic front:

retail sales plunge in february

u.s. retail sales staged an unexpectedly deep slide in february, their largest drop since november 2001, as spending sank across a wide range of sectors, the government said on thursday in a report indicating war fears and snowstorms kept consumers away from the shops. the commerce department said retail sales fell 1.6 percent in february, the first drop since september of last year when the economy was showing signs of flagging. the decline was far worse than the 0.4 percent dip analysts had expected.

but retail sales aren't the only thing dropping: consumer confidence falls

the confidence of u.s. consumers, whose spending fuels more than two-thirds of the nation's economy, dipped slightly in the days before a u.s.-led war with iraq, a research group said tuesday...the conference board, a business research group based in new york, said its closely watched index of consumer confidence sank to 62.5 from a revised 64.8 in february. it was the lowest reading for consumer confidence since a 60.5 reading in october 1993. economists, on average, had expected a reading of 62.4, according to a reuters poll.

but thank heaven for small favors, at least for those of us not in the sky-box class: senate slashes bush's tax cuts

the senate reversed itself tuesday and voted to cut president bush's proposed $726 billion tax cut in half, dealing a blow to the keystone of his economic recovery plan… the vote was a major victory for democrats and a handful of moderate republicans. they say a tax cut of the magnitude bush wants makes no sense at a time when federal deficits are expected to surge to record highs and when u.s. troops are in a war with iraq.

too bad for awol...3 moderates from the republic party voted against him: snow (maine), chafee (rhode island) and voinovich (ohio).
posted by skippy at 1:21 PM | 0 comments

don't read our blog

read the blogs under our new heading on the top of our blogroll (right-hand side of this page): iraqi war links.

then come back and read our blog.
posted by skippy at 1:11 PM | 0 comments

rumors, like vice-presidents' daughters, are flying

thanks to the agonist, we find this bit of gossip from al bawaba, a middle eastern publication (kind of like access basra): cheney daughter - human shield in baghdad?

the london based arabic daily al quds al arabi reported on tuesday, march 25 that the american vice president, dick cheney, would soon head to the jordanian capital, amman. the newspaper claimed that the visit would be an attempt by cheney to convince his daughter, who was in the jordanian capital, to back down her decision to go to baghdad within a group of volunteers who want to form human shields against the us led attacks on iraq.

we think this could be true...but then, we thought tom cruise did have sex with that gay porno star, too!
posted by skippy at 1:06 PM | 0 comments

rummy knows best?

kevin over at lean left brings us news (it's not really news, though, is it?) that sec. of defense rumsfeld doesn't listen to anybody in the pentagon for military advice:

intelligence officials say rumsfeld, his deputy paul wolfowitz and other pentagon civilians ignored much of the advice of the central intelligence agency and the defense intelligence agency in favor of reports from the iraqi opposition and from israeli sources that predicted an immediate uprising against saddam once the americans attacked.

that is right, they ignored military planners and the cia and counted - depended upon - the iraqis to simply quit. rumsfeld apparently never considered that they may fight, that the shi'ites in the south would remember the last time a bush made promises to them, that iraqis, having grown up under the tutelage of saddam's party may believe that it is the appropriate expression of iraqi nationalism, or that iraqis may just not want to be conquered, whoever their leader is.


and, thanks to richard p. posting at the daily kos comments board, we find this article from the washpost: questions raised about invasion force

with the pentagon now rushing thousands of troops from texas to the persian gulf, a number of seasoned gulf war ground commanders said yesterday that the u.s. invasion force moving rapidly to baghdad is too small and should have included at least one additional heavy army division.
oh, that's comforting.
posted by skippy at 12:48 PM | 0 comments

don't take our word for it

we caught holy hell from the righties for using the words "the war is not going as swimmingly as awol would have hoped" which somehow, when sent through the lefty-to-righty babble fish translator, came out "muwah ha ha ha! we hope all those brave american men and women serving in the armed forces die horrible deaths and joseph stalin rises from the grave to take over the world and let negros screw white women! then our insidious plan will be complete! muwah ha ha ha!"

well, that's not really what we meant. what we meant was, "the war is not going as swimmingly (well) as awol (bush) would have hoped." but don't take our word for it.

billmon, over at the daily kos, has a secret memo from a well-known military analyst and commentator, who must remain nameless because, like all us cassandras, he tells the truth and is therefor subject to harrassment.

part of what he says:

the "shock and awe" campaign failed completely. the traditional term of "mass" has not been used by ground forces. air power has supplied the mass, while the ground forces have suffered from "economy of force" being redefined. the march of 3rd id (infantry division), while amazing, has left huge supply lines from kuwait. these supply lines do not seem to be well guarded. the apache attack on the medina division was largely ineffective...

we have not seen the widespread defection or surrender of the iraqi army. we have not seen the widespread throngs of iraqi citizens cheering our boys when they head north, or when they seize one of the towns...

as we all saw yesterday, the war has gone from a liberation (or so projected) and road march, to a forecast of very hard work ahead.


good stuff go read it. then stalin and the negros can force christians to worship cats, and the left will eat babies! muwah ha ha ha ha!
posted by skippy at 12:44 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to robert hildebrand's exposing the right page.
posted by skippy at 12:17 PM | 0 comments

Monday, March 24, 2003

more lott news, less war news

we're taking a page from dr. tom's thinking it through notebook, and foregoing war blogging to concentrate on something else for a change. that is, john lott's decent into irrelevancy.

of course, tim lambert is the ultimate authority on lott's adventures with the truth. and tim directs us to two new sources outlining the entire lott fiasco, including his co-star, mary rosh, or is that victor/victoria?

steven robert allen in alibi: liars on the right, liars on the left

john lott has a new book coming out this month with the laughable title the bias against guns: why almost everything you've heard about gun control is wrong (regnery [sic] publishing, hardcover, $27.95), words that could be applied perfectly to his own work. unfortunately, this is not satire. let's hope lott's publisher is responsible enough to pull the plug on this shameless liar. the deception has to stop somewhere.

laura billings in the twin cities pioneer press: why let facts influence sex ed or gun control?

since lott has been largely discredited as a reliable source of information on gun policy, what do other studies say? well, the fbi says the violent crime rate fell 25 percent between 1992 and 1998, but it dropped even more significantly — by 30 percent — in states with strict gun control laws. according to the center to prevent handgun violence, the violent crime rate fell by only 15 percent in states that relaxed gun control laws before 1992.

tim lambert also catches lott in yet another lie (dude, get a clue! stop lying if it's so frickin' easy to get caught at it!)

tim documents that lott claims he invented his alter ego mary rosh because, "i originally used my own name but switched after receiving threatening and obnoxious telephone calls from other internet posters."

tim responds: unfortunately for lott, google groups has saved his john lott postings. i checked, and every followup to his postings was polite. it is not in the slightest bit credible that someone who violently disagreed with one of his postings would phone instead of posting themselves or emailing. note further that lott also posted under his own name while operating the mary rosh pseudonym. nor does it make sense that lott would only mention this now, months after mary rosh was first unmasked.

tim provides links. apparently his hard drive didn't crash.
posted by skippy at 6:47 PM | 0 comments

blogging around in war time

the daily kos reports there are 39 confirmed us and uk deaths. (and by the way, kos consistently has the best, least vitrolic and most intelligent debate on his comments section)

the agonist reports that turkey is going to send forces into northern iraq, presumably to fight against the kurds, who are on our side, we think.

jeanne d'arc of body and soul reports on the trouble the humanitarian aid is having getting into iraq.

atrios links us to a slate article "a live report from baghdad" which shows how much the iraqi people hate americans for invading their country.

and tom tomorrow links us to an abc news report showing much the same thing. [ed. note: haven't the reporters put 2 and 2 together by now?]

this post at free pie is worth 1000 words
posted by skippy at 5:34 PM | 0 comments

stand down stands out

the marvelous anti-war blog stand down (to which skippy is a proud contributor) got a mention in the washpost yesterday. of course, it was nested among effusive column inches describing the pro-war blogs in blogtopia (y!wctp!). but as oscar wilde said, no publicity is bad publicity, and take off your watch before you do that to me again. well, maybe he didn't say that exactly, but you know what we mean.
posted by skippy at 12:17 PM | 0 comments

what a surprise!

from the dallas business journal (and they should know!): texas oil industry set to profit from iraq war:

"texas is probably in the best position of any area, probably in the world, that can benefit from this," said mark baxter, director of the maguire energy institute of the cox school of business at southern methodist university in dallas.

j.r. ewing has got nothing on dick cheney!

posted by skippy at 12:05 PM | 0 comments

whoops!

those smart bombs are turning out to not be that smart in this war. over the weekend, some allied forces missiles had gone astray, and the results aren't that pretty.

luckily the ones that landed in iran and turkey didn't actually hurt anybody.

but a british raf plane was "likely" hit by a us patriot missile yesterday:

"it appears the raf aircraft was engaged by a patriot missile near the kuwaiti border. the crew are missing. i can't confirm the type of aircraft or the number of crew," said a spokesman for britain's defence ministry.

and, even worse, today a bus load of innocent syrian civilians were the victims of an errant missile.

damascus, syria - a us missile hit a syrian passenger bus near the iraqi border, killing five and injuring 10, syria's official news agency reported monday. no us military comment was immediately available. the agency reported that the air-to-surface missile hit the bus on sunday morning on the iraqi side of the border.

boy, we'd sure hate to see the dumb bombs!
posted by skippy at 11:35 AM | 0 comments

clarification: we take no pleasure in dead soldiers

a few from the self-righteous wing popped over to skippy's blog this weekend to leave accusatory messages (most of them anonymously, which shows you the amount of courage the right actually has, even in blogtopia (y!wctp! (ed. note: tell the copy writer to stop nesting parantheticals!) !) ).

some brave nameless soul said skippy was delighting in the death of american soldiers. timmy the wonder dog asked us some weird question about our support for stalin in the 1930's. and in general, the conservascists pretty much said we were happy when americans died.

nothing could be further from the truth. we take so delight in pointed out the war is not going as well as promised, or the terrible but very real fact that people are dying.

it has always been our position that this war is a war of choice, bush's choice, and not a war of necessity. we are no fans of saddam hussein, he is a cruel man, to be sure. but iraq poses no immediate threat, no clear and present danger, to necessitate the deployment of hundreds of thousands of american men and women into harm's way. there is no national security reason to justify the fact that people are dying.

and thus, though we view it, as journalists, or at least Cassandra's, as our duty, it gives us no pleasure to point out that people are dying.

we can certainly understand the right's need to take out their frustration on somebody, and who else better than a leftist bush kangaroo? after all, the american public was pretty much lead to believe this war would be a cake walk. "shock and awe" and "iraqis secretly hate hussein" and "they'll be surrendering" and etc. etc. etc. were pretty much the drumbeat of the news media and white house for the last couple of weeks.

so, it must have come as a huge shock to the freepers out there, that in a real war, with real bullets, and a real enemy, people are dying. it's not an x-box. it's not a role playing game. the iraqi's aren't following the script. they are shooting back. they are fighting dirty. they are, heavens to betsy, defending their homeland from invaders.

so, we here at skippy can understand the need of the right to lash out. and so we forgive those who say we are happy to see our fellow americans fall in battle, even though that is the farthest thing from the truth one could say.

coming from a military family, skippy is saddened to see americans in uniform die, and especially, to die needlessly for a political agenda, rather than to defend our country. you can bet that richard perle and dick cheney, whose companies will be raking in the dough once the rebuilding starts (and who never served in uniform, don't forget that), don't hurt as much as skippy does when our servicemen die.

because a little bit of skippy is dying, whenever, and where ever people are dying.
posted by skippy at 11:25 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, March 23, 2003

we make it up...you decide

irrespective of what faux news tells you, reports of a chemical factory found near baghdad may be premature, according to the canadian broadcasting corporation:

stories by some media outlets that u.s. forces have uncovered a suspected chemical weapons factory in iraq may be wrong, the pentagon cautioned late sunday. various news agencies carried reports that a factory had been found near the city of najaf, about 160 kilometres from baghdad. troops are examining "sites of interests," u.s. central command confirmed in a statement. but it offered no details, and warned that claims the factory produced chemical weapons are "premature."

fair and balanced...yeah, right.
posted by skippy at 10:45 PM | 0 comments

good source for iraq war news

thanks to jb armstrong over at mydd, we were directed to warblogs:cc, a blog culling the best of content from other blogs about the iraqi invasion. we'd recommend a daily reading of this fine blog, as well as where is raed? a blog from baghdad.

we have put both blogs up on the blogroll, under a new category called "iraqi war links." if anyone has any other fine and pertinent links or blogs that can help establish an alternative overview for blogtopia (y!wctp!), please email us with a link.

and, jesus gil of ibidem (from spain) has a detailed report of the pow's appearance on al-jazeera tv.

and, if you want to take a look at the five pow's being held by iraq (which you won't see on cnn or faux news) here's a pic posted by usmarcorp70, and here's a french video of them posted by sam, both over at daily kos. also, from the kos, here's some reuters slideshows of the devastation in iraq posted by moeman.
posted by skippy at 3:25 PM | 0 comments

not a good day for the war

things are not going quite as swimmingly as awol would have hoped at this point in iraq:

us-british suffer "toughest" day in war to date, confirm casualties

12 americans missing after heavy fighting

iraqi forces block americans, show pows on tv

bodies litter desert as battle rages

american soldier a suspect in attack on 101st

first friendly fire of war downs british plane

itn says its reporter killed by friendly fire

uk helicopters collide, seven killed


and, the most unkindest cut of all: bush team sets war cost at $80 billion

posted by skippy at 3:17 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, March 22, 2003

the baghdad bounce

awol has gotten a "baghdad bounce" in the polls, thanks to his illegal invasion of iraq. according to a new cbs/nytimes poll, support for the war has risen since the war began. last week, 67% of people with telephones who took time to answer pollsters' questions approved of the war; this week, 76% do.

bush has got to be feeling good (we know he is; he was pumping his fist and saying so a few days ago). but don't get too cocky, awol! this is not your daddy's baghdad bounce!

george h.w. bush senior the first, back in desert storm, saw his approval ratings leap from 66% to a starting 84%.

and awol's approval has sky rocketed from 64% last week to a breath-taking 67%!

that's right. even with corporate media cheerleading, even with his buddy running clear channel, even with talk radio trumpeting his accomplishments, with all this, awol can only squeeze 3 lousy percentage points from the deaths of americans, britains, and iraqis.

when it comes to brilliant political strategy, he makes gerald ford look like winston chruchill.
posted by skippy at 9:33 PM | 0 comments

hooray for hollywood and vine

a large number of people came to hollywood today to protest awol's illegal war. we would estimate at least 10,000, but remember how bad we are at estimating things (for instance, we estimated we would be millionaires by the time we got this old. we were wrong).

as usual, there were people of every age and class and color in the crowd, as well as plenty of dogs and drummers. even kids and babies, plenty of young people, middle aged people and down-right gray-haired folks too. a puppet/float of a pirate ship with an oil rig for a mast spurting blood rode the top of the rally.

the march started at the corner of hollywood and vine, a traditional hot spot in history for this town (not to get too esoteric, but the brown derby restaurant, hang out of the stars, used to be on this corner). the march, with banners, signs, and dozens of police escorts, then went down vine street to sunset blvd, turned west and marched up to cahuenga blvd, where the los angeles affiliate offices for cnn are located.

the crowd stood in front of the cnn building and chanted, danced and yelled. some chants: "impeach bush" and "give peace a chance." (we were quite impressed with cnn's coverage later in the day, as they actually showed the crowd chanting "impeach bush.")

at one point, and this was our favorite moment, a man with a bullhorn lead the crowd in a chant, "aaron brown, you must step down." we doubt if aaron was listening.

many good banners and signs: "drop bush, not bombs," "cnn:people are dying," "take the democracy bck from the oligarchy," "bush: dumb & dangerous," "cnn: war is not entertainment," "george = genocide," "saddam didn't steal the white house," and "cnn: children die, you profit."

our favorite: "got rights?"

across the street at the la film school, some people stood on the second story balcony with a huge banner stating "no war." and on the side of amoeba music, one of the larger record & cd stores in the area, was a sign sayin "give peace a chance."

while standing in front of the cinerama dome, a historic movie theatre (if you count history in terms of decades and not centuries), skippy was witness to rough fracas involving several police, at least 12, who took offense at a young woman's handling of a sign attached to a large, thick wooden stick. (we are assuming the police didn't allow anything thicker than flat boards in signs, on the pretence of weaponry potential).

the police grabbed the woman and her sign and pulled her to the side of the street, by the movie theater. the crowd became incensed that the woman was singled out, and quickly surrounded the police, who in turn, surrounded the woman. the crowd chanted "let her go! let her go! let her go!" and then "the whole world is watching! the whole world is watching!"

eventually the police removed the sign from the woman's possession, and (we're not sure how or why) secreted it into the movie theater. they apparently let the woman go, but one bystander argued vehemently with the police. he was eventually persuaded to move on.

there was even bi-lingual protests: a huge banner extolled univision, the spanish speaking television network: "univision correct yourself, it's not la guerra de todos!"

knbc 4 says there were 78 people arrested at today's demonstration.

united press international says

in los angeles, scores of anti-war protesters marched through hollywood, chanting and disrupting traffic saturday. los angeles police department spokeswoman renee montoya said the protests began around noon at the corner of hollywood and vine. the marchers then headed toward the cnn building several blocks away at the corner of sunset and wilcox, she said. the lapd remains on a modified tactical alert, and county, state and private security forces increased patrols around the city at critical locations including airports, harbors and the kodak theatre, home of sunday's academy awards.

that same article, when speaking about the rallies in chicago, says:

meanwhile, after several days of anti-war demonstrations, chicago saturday saw its first rally in support of bush and coalition troops. the free republic network, a collection of internet and conservative radio hosts, organized the midday rally in federal plaza. authorities estimated about 2,500 turned out -- fewer than half as many people as the 5,000 who turned out friday for an anti-war rally in the plaza. other rallies in support of the troops were planned around the nation. [ed. note: emphasis, in lieu of sarcasm, ours].

for another view of today's protest, please go read lonewacko's account on his blog.



posted by skippy at 8:59 PM | 0 comments

cue james earl jones: "this...is a march on cnn"

paula "don't call me steve" zahn just announced on cnn tv that the manhattan anti-war march currently underway could have well over 100,000 participants, far more than the expected 2,000.

meanwhile, here's an interesting pop-up with emails to cnn...one side pro- and the other side anti- the war in iraq.

skippy has given his staff the afternoon off to go attend the hollywood anti-war march to cnn building...watch your tv, you might see us!
posted by skippy at 11:25 AM | 0 comments

first annual hollywood to cnn building 1k marathon

if you're in the socal area, it's not too late to get to hollywood and vine for an anti-war march to the cnn building, commencing at 12 noon.
posted by skippy at 10:18 AM | 0 comments

whichever god you so believe in help us all

lisa of ruminate this! points out a great cartoon by ampersand.
posted by skippy at 10:15 AM | 0 comments

google me this, batman

here's an interesting google search: "dead" and "iraq."

here's another one: "anti-war" and "protest."
posted by skippy at 10:10 AM | 0 comments

Friday, March 21, 2003

the protests up close and personal

our good bud jim capazzola of the rittenhouse review has a ground-zero view of the philly protests, in which he participated (but jim, aren't you afraid associating with pinko commies will come back to bite you on the ass once you're sen. capazzola?)

meanwhile, talkleft informs us that the lawyers' committee on nuclear policy (lcnp) and the western states legal foundation (wslf) have declared awol's invasion of iraq an illegal act.
posted by skippy at 10:06 PM | 0 comments

in case the show still goes on...

personally, our heart isn't into the oscars this year, what with surrounding events and other catastrophes. but for those of you who are, the johnny bacardi show has his picks (and a hot picture of rene zellwiger with a tommy gun!)
posted by skippy at 10:03 PM | 0 comments

thanks, everyone, now, get lost

we hope the men and women in uniform serving over in iraq all come back healthy and rich, because the republic party has plans to cut their benefits, according to atrios and the democratic veteran.

the republican majority of the house budget committee is reducing president bush's proposed budget by about $844 million in health care and an additional $463 million in benefit programs including disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, education survivor's benefits, and pension programs from next year's budget. in addition to these cuts, the gop is planning to cut $15 billion from the veteran programs over the next 10 years. the soldiers and sailors that are currently in harms way in the the middle east, are about to have their future veterans' benefits and health care slashed. if, that is, the republicans get their way.

gotta love that self-righteous wing!
posted by skippy at 10:00 PM | 0 comments

what a co-inky-dink!

if you believe in serendipity, consider this: both jeff cooper's cooped up and our blog hit 90,000 visitors on the exact same day! go figure!

keep up the good work, coop!
posted by skippy at 9:49 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to sasha undercover.
posted by skippy at 9:45 PM | 0 comments

the war at home continues

the ap reports another day of anti-war protests

the chicago tribune says more than 550 arrested last night in chicago rally

the contra costa times says anti-war protests rattle the nation.

the oc register says protests draw hundreds in orange county (california).

the boulder daily camera says anti-war protests surge around the country.

a sad day internationally: four killed in anti-war protests in yemen.

and, if someone calls you unpatriotic for protesting, just direct them to this hamilton college patriotism poll (with help from zogby international): 63% of high school students questioned said that "protesting is patriotic."

''the average high school senior shows greater tolerance and respect for democracy than house majority whip representative tom delay,'' says dennis gilbert, professor of sociology at hamilton college. ''delay suggests senate leader tom daschle is unpatriotic because he criticizes the president in wartime. by a wide margin, the high school seniors we just polled say that anti-war demonstrators are 'patriotic because they are using their rights to protest policies they think are wrong'."

so bite us, tom.

posted by skippy at 2:15 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, March 20, 2003

war happens

sorry to say, we knew this would happen: the first american casualties of the war.

also, we were afraid this would happen: oil wells on fire.

and, we are dumbstruck this has happened: thousands arrested in anti-war protests.

but most of all, we are amazed, and yes, a bit amused, that this happened: sf protesters stage a 'vomit-in.'
posted by skippy at 10:48 PM | 0 comments

congratulations!

you are the 90,000th visitor to skippy!

and, while you're at it, say hello to kilroy was here and let there be peace.
posted by skippy at 11:17 AM | 0 comments

indonesia calls bush a criminal

well, not quite, but the headline got your attention, didn't it?

nathan newman reports that indonesia is demanding an emergency u.n. general assembly meeting to discuss a resolution to achieve peace.

“indonesia regrets that the multilateral process through the united nations has been abandoned. indonesia is of the opinion that the use of military action against iraq is an act of aggression which is against international law," megawati asserted in a radio address after a cabinet meeting…the president urged the united nations security council to hold an emergency meeting to try to halt the war. if it failed, "then indonesia urges the general assembly of the united nations to hold an emergency assembly in the framework of the resolution of united action for peace," she said.
posted by skippy at 11:12 AM | 0 comments

stop the presses...print media ignores left side of cyberspace...again

tim rutten, in yesterday's latimes, writes an extensive article about how blogs are covering the war.

extensive, that is, if you think everyone on the left is dead (don't say anything, mr. helpful!)

rutten give effusive column inches (including specific url addresses of the blogs) to sully, prof. reynolds and m-i-c-k-e-y k-a-u-s-e, but the only left-leaning blog he comes up with is josh marshall's talking points memo, and then, very little coverage compared to the other guys.

we fired off this angry email to the times:

i was disappointed, but not surprised, that tim rutten's article about online weblogs highlighted only right-wing (and rabid right-wing, at that) blogs commenting on the war.

to be precise, rutten did give josh marshall's talking points a mention, but very little column space in relation to the effusive coverage heaped upon the other, more right-leaning blogs.

rutten, while giving url addresses for and commentary about the biggest right-leaning cheerleaders in cyberspace, stayed so far away from the left's considerable presence on the web as to make it seem like there was none at all.

he could have mentioned the marvelous atrios (www.atrios.blogspot.com) who has gotten coverage by the ny times and washington post; the acerbic media horse online (www.mediahorseonline.com) who has been mentioned more than once on cnn's crossfire, the strictly-headline-culling buzzflash (www.buzzflash.com) or even the over-the-top bartcop (www.bartcop.com), to name but a teeny tiny number of thousands of left-leaning websites.

modesty prevents me from saying that my own weblog, skippy the bush kangaroo, at www.xnerg.blogspot.com , is one of the more popular left blogs, linked and referred to by all of the above, and many of the other progressive blogs online.

i am not surprised that rutten ignores the left in cyberspace. the left is pretty much getting ignored by most media.


[ed. note: the times is a family paper, so we used the family version of the horse's blog]

posted by skippy at 11:06 AM | 0 comments

if you're going to san francisco...get ready for a traffic jam

yikes! sf.indymedia.org is reporting a huge protest in downtown sf today, literally shutting the city down. gee, you don't see this on the news, do you?
posted by skippy at 10:45 AM | 0 comments

blog from baghdad

our pal, rosie mullins, sends us a link to where is raed? a blog being written in baghdad, even as the bombs fall.
posted by skippy at 10:20 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

corrected dixie link

several people noticed that our link to the petition to support the dixie chicks was like skippy's brother-in-law: not working. here it is, corrected and viable. go sign the online petition supporting natalie maines' right to be ashamed of george w. bush.

yesterday, our signature was in the 60's. as of now, there's over 2000. go add some more!!!
posted by skippy at 5:23 PM | 0 comments

civil disobedience arrests in los angeles: a (dilated) eyewitness account

skippy was driving home after a visit to the eye doctor this afternoon, and he noticed that there was more traffic than usual backed up on the 405 freeway. (it's rather difficult driving with dialated eyes, but don't worry; to be truthful, skippy, in his youth, has driven under the influence of much stronger agents).

it turned out that the freeway exits to wilshire blvds were closed in both north and south directions. after getting off the freeway at the next exit, and driving to the skippy worldwide headquarters office complex through even more backed up traffic (plus noticing several helicopters hovering in the sky over his neighborhood), skippy assumed there was some kind of action at the federal building on veterans blvd, traditional site for protests.

"oh that's right! today's the deadline for awol to play gary cooper!" skippy thought, and once parked, he, along with several of his interns, marched up to the west los angeles federal building to see what was going on.

once there, we witnessed a mob of people, not at the federal building, but a half a block away, sitting in the middle of wilshire blvd. several dozen police were surrounding the demonstrators, and both veterans and wilshire blvds (in both directions) were officially blocked off and shut down.

we estimate that 30-50 people were sitting in the middle of the east-bound lane of wilshire between veterans and midvale. a larger group of an estimated 200-300 people were standing around them, both in the street and on the sidewalk. approximately 75-100 police officers were then standing around the crowd in the street. at the time skippy and his press crew arrived, no police were on the sidewalk. but that would change.

the crowd, of course, held many signs, many drummers, many people of all ages: kids to the elderly, all races and colors. and they were chanting various anti-war chants. the usual: "arrest george bush," "no blood for oil," "whadda we want? peace! when do we want it? now!" and etc. as there were more than a few press contingents there, complete with tv cameras, sticking their noses into the middle of the police's confrontation with the demonstrators, the crowd began to chant "arrest fox news! arrest fox news!" which we thought was clever.

there was an lapd transport bus in the west-bound lane, a few hundred feet from the sitting crowd. this did not look good; the lapd doesn't bring a transport bus down for nothin'. and, as it turned out, they didn't.

one officer made an announcement on a bullhorn: sitting in the street was an unlawful assembly, the protestors had had their demonstration, now, please, get out of the street, otherwise, there would be arrests. the officer stressed that the police did not want to arrest anyone, but would be forced to if people did not comply.

well, people did not comply.

as the crowd chanted, "the whole world is watching," and "shame on you," the police officers pulled out their batons (very big), at which point skippy and his interns glanced around and made sure no police were cutting the crowd off from behind. [ed. note to everyone: never let a police line form behind you; always leave an escape route]. then a couple of officers actually showed up with huge rifles, which, we think, were bean bag rifles (remember, skippy's eyes were dialated, so he can't be sure). at this point the crowd shouted "put your guns away! put your guns away." strangely enough, the police did not.

the tension was palpable. or, as aaron brown would put it, "exquisite tension." some of the squatters decided they didn't have the courage of their convictions, and got up and moved to the sidewalk. (we do not blame them. we explain this feeling later).

a silver-haired man in a suit seemed to be conferring with the command officers. we're not sure if it was the chief of police, but the crowd began to shout, "f*ck you, bratton! f*ck you, bratton!" so we guess it could have been.

several times the line of officers would approach those of us on the sidewalks, stopping just short of stepping up onto the curb and entering the crowd, which had thought (incorrectly, as it turned out) that by staying on the sidewalk, they were within their legal and constitutional rights.

finally, a cheer went up from the crowd. some police were pulling signs away from the people sitting in the street. and then, it happened. two officers pulled one of the squatters up to his feet, and escorted him over to the waiting blue lapd transport bus, amid wild cheers and applause from the onlookers. the first arrest in los angeles for civil disobedience against awol's war.

one by one, more people were pulled to their feet and taken over to the van. approximately 20 people by skippy's count: old, young, black, white, man, woman, various types, all with one goal. to get arrested in protest.

now, as to our feelings about those who chose not to get arrested (ourselves, included). we do not hold that view against anyone, for two reasons. first of all, it's not fun to go to jail (don't ask how we know, we just know). and secondly, getting arrest in george w. bush's america is much more dangerous than getting arrested in richard nixon's america.

in nixon's america, you had rights if you were arrested. rights to counsel, rights to know the charges levied against you, rights to a speedy trial. those rights are no longer guaranteed today (see various posts on talkleft for confirmation of that).

while the arrests were going on, more police officers were steathily mingling into the crowd on the sidewalk; a police line was put up, keeping the crowd from moving away towards the east; skippy and his interns did not try going west, as there was a large walk way behind them going through the office complex on that block, leading to parking lot and freedom on ashton avenue. (remember, kids, never let a police line form behind you!)

once the squatters in the street were all arrested and put on the bus, an officer strolled through the crowd announcing that the sidewalk was an unlawful assembly; we had to move or face arrest ourselves.

we wonder how a sidewalk became an unlawful assembly; foot traffic was able to get by if they wanted to; skippy's interns saw many people walking through. however, now, nobody could get past the police line on the east. and, as there were too many people on the west for a safe getaway, skippy and the interns thanked the officer making the announcement, turned, and walked through the court yard to ashton avenue, and back to the skippy international office complex.

if and when we find official details of the arrests, we will publish them.

addendum: thanks to janet over at beyond corporate, we found this bit of news from the bay area: an anti-war protester fell to his death from the golden gate bridge today, and several thousand demonstraters shut down market street today to protest the war.

double addendum another story in the sfchron says that danny glover lead the march in san fran, which was 6 blocks long at one point. that same sfchron article reports that 35 people "including an elderly woman in a wheelchair" were arrested at the la rally. and, we were correct, we did see police chief bratton there:

one police officer's aggressive tactics prompted chief bratton to visit the scene after he saw the confrontation on television, said lt. horace frank, a police spokesman. "what we've seen in the video is very disturbing," frank said. "if the investigation concludes any misconduct on the part of the officer, we will take appropriate action."

skippy thought he saw one officer shoving a kid pretty darn hard. good to know skippy's eyes weren't that dilated.

meanwhile, abc7.com says the number of la protesters grew to about 500 at its peak (plus, there's a great aerial shot of the rally).

here's the washpost weighing in on other anti-war arrests around the country tonight, including 45 in new york and 36 in boston.

posted by skippy at 4:36 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

freep the beard

go vote now.
posted by skippy at 11:44 AM | 0 comments

good interview

here's a great buzzflash interview with janeane garafalo (found courtesy of atrios):

you have a lot of people out there who are just straight-up bullies and thugs, no matter what. but if they can hide behind the flag and pretend to have the moral high ground, they are in hog heaven. they are absolutely thrilled that they can take their misguided anger, and their xenophobia, and their aggressiveness, and their belligerence, and hide behind the flag and jesus, that is fantastic. you have a lot of right-wingers out there, and just a lot of nuts out there anyway, regardless of party affiliation or right or left affiliation, who are always eager to swing their fists and wave the flag at the same time. so that's always going to be there. that's not going to shift.

posted by skippy at 11:38 AM | 0 comments

ready to run (away from bush)

spade hammer of hammerdown sends us this link to an online petition to support the dixie chicks.

you may remember, natalie maines, lead singer of the chicks, said in a london concert that, as a texan, she is ashamed that awol is from texas.

unfortunately, there is now a wide backlash against the chicks from their former fan base. that is to say, the ignorant ones.

here's the petition you can sign to support the dixie chicks, and their right to say whatever the hell they want to.

and you may want to pick up a chicks cd or two.
posted by skippy at 11:26 AM | 0 comments

Monday, March 17, 2003

dean is da man in blogtopia! (y!wctp!)

looks like the favorite of progressive blogs seems to be howard "this war sucks!" dean. at least, he got great reviews from kos and mydd, who were covering the california democratic party convention.

and dear anna, of annatopia, is putting her elbow grease where her mouth is, and has actually volunteered for dean for texas.

we applaud anna's efforts. we highly recommend that everybody volunteer for the candidate of their choice. even if it's awol. that's what makes america great.

that, and law and order reruns on usa network.
posted by skippy at 5:39 PM | 0 comments

we double-blog dare ya!

to avoid a major war in blogtopia (we are still smarting from our terrible daily rant fiasco of last week) we are proud to add the delightful suckful.com to our permanent blog roll.

suckful has been referenced by us before, and it was a mere oversight on our part that we hadn't done this sooner. suckful is insightful, and humorful as well.
posted by skippy at 5:29 PM | 0 comments

the majority of americans oppose this war

thanks to dr. tom of thinking it through (actually, a couple of his readers), we find a cnn/gallup poll which shows that americans dissapprove of going to war without a u.n. resolution, 50% to 46%.

the gallup page is tricky. they chose not to reduce the results of this poll to an easy-to-comprehend pie chart, but rather obfucate it in the dense paragraphs in the right hand side bar:

the only contingency that draws less than majority support for military action (47%) is a situation in which the united states and its allies were to offer no new resolution at all to the united nations.

uh, isn't that exactly the situation we're in now?

(thanks and a tip of the bush kangaroo hat to atrios for pointing us in this direction)
posted by skippy at 5:19 PM | 0 comments

we shadowed saddam all day long. what day? shadow day! 'atsa good one, boss!

as rufus t. firefly would say, so it's war!
posted by skippy at 5:08 PM | 0 comments

what liberal new york times?

thanks to atrios, we find a good review of eric alterman's what liberal media in the nytimes.
posted by skippy at 12:31 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to gut rumbles and anger management course
posted by skippy at 12:19 AM | 0 comments

we get letters...

a couple of interesting web sites have mailed us to alert us to their work....

shiny blue grasshopper, a site with which we were previously familiar, has started an on line demonstration. we are so short-staffed at skippy that we are unable to take the time to affix one of their "no war" banners to our site, but are otherwise 100% behind kelly's work at shiny blue grasshopper.

and the compassionate conservatives have plenty of free downloadable songs, including "in the garden of eden" (an obvious mispronunciation of "inna godda da vida). we recommend these tunes to everyone.
posted by skippy at 12:17 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, March 15, 2003

we're with the band...er, we mean the blog...uh, the press!

congrats to mydd and daily kos, who are the first blogs in history to get media credentials to the california democratic party convention, and indeed, as kos says, perhaps "any major party event." good going guys! how were the snacks? (we tried to say hor d'oerves, but as you can see, we don't know how to spell it, and blogger has yet to include a spell check in its software. besides, isn't that a french word, anyway?)
posted by skippy at 8:25 PM | 0 comments

last chance to protest update

not that it did any good, but there were millions of people taking to the streets today all around the world to protest awol's upcoming war for oil and oedipal issues.

some cities that saw demonstrations: dc, stockholm, san francisco, bucharest, los angeles, moscow, tucson, des moines, albuquerque, rochester, frankfurt, london, lexington, bangkok, lansing, cairo, milan, copenhagen, hiroshima, paris, brussels, columbus, montreal, athens, beirut, hong kong, and of course, iskenderun.

millions of europeans stopped work in protest.

reuters says thousands of americans surround white house in anti-war protest

thousands of americans from more than 100 cities surrounded the white house in a peaceful anti-war protest on saturday, in perhaps their last chance to dissuade the bush administration from invading iraq. carrying signs with such messages as "stop mad cowboy disease" above a picture of president bush, the demonstrators beat drums, sang songs and chanted as they marched from the washington monument to the white house and finally to the justice department.

florida today.com agrees with americans' basic right to protest. we wish awol did.

posted by skippy at 8:17 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to late night thoughts and bo cowgill and jenn manley lee.
posted by skippy at 7:43 PM | 0 comments

Friday, March 14, 2003

and the oscar goes to...joe mccarthy!

according to the scotsman.com (our primary source for hollywood news) several outspoken stars are being purposely left out of the oscar telecast for fear that they might actually want to exercise their first amendment rights.

the backlash against prominent stars opposing any attack on iraq has impacted on this year’s oscars, with organisers drawing up a blacklist of people who will not be allowed a platform to air anti-war views. meryl streep, sean penn, vanessa redgrave, george clooney, dustin hoffman and spike lee are among those who will not be speaking, amid fears they could turn the ceremony into an anti-war rally.

we hesitate to use the word black list since spike lee's name is there, but you get the general idea. (thanks to cursor.org for the link!)

posted by skippy at 5:02 PM | 0 comments

thanks for the plug

always happy and proud when our bud eric alterman gives us a nod. we noticed earlier this week that he printed our letter about rock band names, wherein we decided that any blog name would make a great rock band name, and visa versa (although we just noticed we failed to include his own blog, altercation, as a great band name. our apologies, eric!)

go visit his blog today, as the redoubtable charles pierce is subbing! good stuff.
posted by skippy at 1:14 PM | 0 comments