Yesterday, in the San Juan airport, there was only one line open for coach passengers (out of two available) at the Continental gate at 7:30 a.m., even though a full flight was leaving at 8:00 a.m. Meanwhile, six--count 'em, six--TSA employees were huddled around a desk, chatting and otherwise doing absolutely nothing.
Poor guy. He shows up at 7:30 for an 8 o'clock flight, and then is pissed when the TSA people don't jump to make sure he makes it to his plane. Oh, poor baby!
To increase my annoyance, it occurred to me that the TSA employees, though living in relatively poor Puerto Rico, probably (due to stupid federal employment rules) get paid the same as their counterparts in New York and DC, yet don't pay federal income taxes.
Oh, the nerve of them. Those Puerto Ricans, so lazy and undertaxed to boot! Can't you just feel the ethnic slurs bubbling in his mind?
Lt. Col David Hackworth (U.S. Army, Ret.) says that so far in Iraq, we have lost the equivalent of a division to casualties, both combat and non-combat. This is one-fifth of our fighting strength in Iraq, and ten percent of the total deployment.
Of the 3,255 battle injuries, 473 died.
About 18,717 (maybe a couple thousand less, the Pentagon can't keep its numbers straight) received "non-battle injuries" and had to be evacuated.
So at the end of this turbulent year, we must ask ourselves: Was the price our warriors paid in blood worth the outcome? Are we any safer than before our pre-emptive invasion?
Even though Saddam is in the slammer and the fourth-largest army in the world is junkyard scrap, Christmas 2003 was resolutely Orange, and 2004 looks like more of the same. Or worse.
He then goes on to call for an investigation into why we haven't found any WMD, including hauling Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Franks in front of Congress (ha!).
I thought you might need a laugh, is all. Happy New Year!
Interesting article on the Green River killer's victims:
One reporter writes: "To Ridgway, they were faceless, nameless females who wouldn't be missed. And in some ways, he was right." Actually, in most ways, he was wrong. Prostitutes are missed and their deaths noted, sometimes with acute sorrow, by their families, friends, colleagues, lovers, spouses and customers. ...
[I]n two cases, a victim's boyfriend led the police to Ridgway, yet they dismissed what was plainly apparent to these men and allowed Ridgway to continue with his killing. Were these men ignored because they were labeled as "pimps"? What is really going on here?
It's not that prostitutes lack for personal contacts who will miss them. It's something else entirely: The people in our lives are "tainted" by association, and they are often powerless in relation to the criminal justice system.
A man who is the romantic or domestic partner of a sex worker always runs the risk of being demonized or ridiculed. The closer that relationship is to the street, the more acute is the demonization. If you are the educated, white boyfriend of a middle-class girl who is stripping her way through grad school you might be viewed in a more kindly light, especially if you lace your acceptance with feminist cliches. But men who live with street prostitutes are labeled as pimps, and viewed as losers or villains.
We have reason to believe that when such a man tries to stop a dangerous criminal, his efforts are not respected by the police. The word "pimp," invoked carelessly, seems to cancel out every decent, normal or humane thing a man might have done and invite crude assumptions.
This is an important reminder that we are liable to let our prejudices get in the way of actually viewing people as people. It's especially interesting to me to see how the power relationship of "normal" society to sex workers gets played out.
"It's in the interest of -- uhh -- uhh, long-term peace in the world that we -- uhh -- work for a free and secure and peaceful Iraq. A peeance, freeance secure Iraq in the midst of the Middle East will have enormous historical impact."
-- That's really how he said it, and we have the audio to prove it, Oct. 27, 2003
If a lonely businessman decides he wants to kill a kitten in honor of Tawny Roberts’ milky-white ass, he’s going to charge that $10 to his credit card regardless of what his wife may think of the medium. If social stigma could be used as a gauge for how much to charge someone for certain forms of entertainment, Carrot Top would be a billionaire by now. (For those of you that don't get the correlation, allow me to break it down for you: Carrot Top has a regular Vegas show at the MGM Grand, routinely gets on Leno, and makes movies here and there for which he gets paid more than he should... but have you ever met someone who considers themselves a Carrot Top fan? I rest my case.)
The lovely young woman above is Melissa Panarello. She's 18, and just published "One Hundred Strokes of the Hairbrush Before Going to Sleep", a thinly-disguised autobiography about her life in sleepy little Catania, Sicily. An autobiography at 18, you ask? Yes, and it's a best-seller, moving half a million copies. Why? Sex, of course:
[H]er subject matter: the erotic adventures of a sexually ravenous girl who caroms between younger and older men, homosexuality and sadomasochism.
... Miss Panarello and her publisher are marketing her book as thinly veiled autobiography. She claims that everything in it mirrors her experiences as a 15- and 16-year-old....
"It's a very realistic picture," said Miss Panarello, who turned 18 earlier this month, in an interview here on Saturday.
She conceded one significant alteration, beyond the protection of her sexual partners' identities.
"The experiences in reality happened in less than a year, even though the book talks of them happening in two years," she said with a seemingly studied matter-of-factness that left no room for embarrassment or boastfulness.
She met her dates on the internet, of course. The Times is very disapproving (those decadent Europeans!) and you can read the skepticism between the lines. I haven't read it (not having Italian) but I believe it is true, or at least, a version of the truth. The internet has changed sex for those who are on-line. A precocious 15-year-old who wants to fuck a lot without her parents knowing it can now do so, with relative ease. And that 15-year-old probably started looking at porn about a week after she surfed the web for the first time, so she is not shockable and may be beyond sexual guilt (which is a very good thing in my book).
My dad is recovering from radiation treatment for his metastatic brain tumors. We thought he was doing fine, but then he had to go back into the hospital on the 23rd because his breathing was very labored. They treated him for viral pneumonia, and it looked like he was getting better so he could come home yesterday. Then the docs told him his blood/oxygen saturation wasn't high enough, even with an O2 tube, so they kept him in, much against his will. Some stupid fucking nurse told him that his difficulty breathing might cause cardiac arrest, so there were lots of phone calls around the country telling people to think about flying in. Turns out, he's fine. I think.
On the left, the Best Gift Ever, a talking Homer Simpson beer opener. (Quoth Homer: "Mmmmmm, beer. *gurgling sound* Heh heh heh heh. *gulping* Yes! Oh, yes! Woo hoo!") On the right, an inspirational little plaque. It says: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. - M.L.K. Jr." It is sold, the label says, by the Dollar Tree Distributing Co., Chesapeake, MD. While not officially Worst Gift Ever, it definitely goes into the pile for charity.
I think - I hope - Howard Dean will be the next President of the United States. But whether the man wins or not, his campaign is the most imaginative, resourceful thing I have ever seen. No, I am not talking policy or substance. I am talking about the Dean for Iowa game. They created a video game about winning the Iowa caucus. That's so breathtakingly intelligent that I wish I could vote for the guy twice. Wait, this is Philadelphia, so I can!
(Link via John Molz, that no-good, mac-using, liberal drunk.)
The government is increasingly focused on the vulnerability of cargo planes as it responds to intelligence indicating al-Qaida might use aircraft to strike targets far from major cities, including power plants, dams and oil facilities.
This is something definitely to be concerned about. In addition, there are many chartered aircraft that could be used as weapons. In addition to thinking about infrastructure, we also have to be aware of major, televised events. Remember the movie Black Sunday? Why not? Popular fiction seemed to be the inspiration for the manner of the 9/11 attacks.
When I was in my first year of law school, one of my acquaintances was a conservative Republican guy. Let's call him Stephen. He was very bright, but he had lots of problems, including an addiction (for which he was receiving treatment) and depression. I can't say I liked him at all. Apart from his loathesome political views, Stephen was whiny and spoiled, and had a tendency to screw over our classmates in some ways, large and small. He even smelled bad, I kid you not. But he was very smart, and he was in my first-year study group, where he did good work.
Part of the first year is the write-on competition for law journals. In the competition, you are presented with an actual case which has been accepted for consideration by the Supreme Court, along with copies of relevant precedent. Your task is to pick a side and argue it in a brief. The competition came at the end of the school year, and people had to really bear down to do a good job. But Stephen was in even worse shape. His depression and other issues were keeping him from even starting. I suffer from depression myself, and I felt for the guy. The week of the competition, I would call him every hour: "Stephen, have you started the brief yet? Have you read the cases? Why don't you just start writing and see what happens?" It felt like I physically lifted him into the chair in front of the computer and put his fingers on the keys. In the end, he did it, and we both were accepted to the main journal. He thanked me for pushing him to write the brief.
Happy ending, right? Here's the thing. Stephen the right-wing law student went on to become Stephen the right-wing lawyer. As a result in part of being on journal, he got a desireable clerkship, which then led to a very good job. From there, he has worked on several cases for conservative organizations, advancing their agenda. And now he's becoming something in conservative Republican politics, much to my horror.
Back in law school, I believed that helping another person, no matter how despicable his beliefs, was a good thing. You never know how an act of kindness might change someone. Now, I am not so sure. I think the world would have been better off if I had left Stephen to dwell on his depression, or even affirmatively hindered him from getting on journal. Contemptible people might deserve kindness, but they definitely don't deserve anything that aids them in furthering their ideas.
If you purchased a cell phone in the past 18 months, it likely comes with E911 capability - that is, they can tell where you are when you call 911 - which was not the case, tragically in some cases, with older cell phones. But the locator feature - actually, a GPS chip in the phone - is not just for emergencies. Some people are using it to track their family members. It's only a matter of time before companies start using the information collected about your movements for marketing purposes. (Spam text messages, anyone?) And, of course, the cell phone companies will have huge repositories of data on the movements of everyone in the country with a phone - a source that John Ashcroft and his ilk would love to get their hands on. ("Where were you on the night of the crime? Nevermind, we know where you were, and who you were with.") This article in Legal Affairs magazine explores some of the privacy issues involved. (Via Howard Bashman at How Appealing.)
From the NYTimes, a story about a prototype interactive computer screen which is projected into the air, call Heliodisplay. In my former life of extensive business travel, it was obvious that the key limitation on reducing the size and weight of portable computers is the display. The Heliodisplay is nowhere near ready for that application - hell, it's not even clear if it's ready at all - but I find display improvements like this and digital ink to be exciting parts of technological development. At least, it was exciting when I was lugging a laptop with me everywhere. (Link via Amygdala.)
In a rare show of cooperation between members of the same political party, candidates Wesley Clark and Howard Dean declared Ralph Nader to be an "enemy combatant" today. Forces said to under the control of retired General Wesley Clark moved swiftly to make a "citizen's arrest" and spirited Nader away to an undisclosed location.
I think this is an appalling development that must be rectified as soon as possible, but no sooner than November 5, 2004.
The Gender Genie is a program which analyzes text and determines whether it was written by a man or a woman, based on the occurence of certain key words. I had tried it before, but the accuracy was pretty low. It has been improved since then, and it seems like it works two-thirds of the time. (Via Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing.)
Fred Clark at slacktivist explains Lemony Snicketism, one of the common ways people argue in bad faith:
This ... tactic is also a common practice for blogosphere trolls. Such trolls would require one to stop every time you employ a basic concept or refer to an established fact and explain to them all over again just what the concept means and doesn't mean and why the fact is accepted as established.
I call this tactic "Lemony Snicketism" because these folks won't be satisfied unless, like the children's author, you put on hold whatever it is you were trying to say and explain to them at great length what all the big words mean. ...
If the person simply says, "I don't understand what you mean by ..." then the odds are they are innocently asking a question. ... If however, their question begins with an accusatory "Gotcha!" then in all likelihood their obtuseness is disingenuous and you're dealing with a troll practicing the uncivil art of Lemony Snickettism.
Along the way, he analogizes to Modern Bride magazine. Really. He's that good.
The Lemon Snicket tactic is one that I find particularly galling.
David Kay, the head of the U.S. effort to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has told administration officials he plans to leave before the Iraq Survey Group's work is completed and could depart before February, U.S. military and intelligence officials said.
The move comes as more of Kay's staff has been diverted from the weapons hunt to help search for Iraqi insurgents, and at a time when expectations remain low that any actual weaponry will be discovered.
Kay requested the change for personal and family reasons, officials said.
Ah, yes, spend more time with the family and stop making an ass of yourself. Both powerful reasons to quit.
This is really good news. It presents two opportunities. First, since the Iraqis will try him themselves, it gives the new government a chance to demonstrate how the rule of law can work, even as applied to a tyrant. (Of course, this begs the question whether Hussein broke any domestic Iraqi law. It may be that he simply can be charged with murder. If not, it complicates things.) Second, this might demoralize some of the guerillas - although it may only be a small percentage of them, those who were actually hoping to bring him back.
Certainly, this is good news for Bush and the Republicans. The right-wing bloggers will be insufferable for a few days.
Roundup to follow.
Update: I just listened to the audio of the announcement. The crowd broke out in cheers. Assuming they were journalists, I expect to hear from the right how those traitorous bastards didn't cheer loud enough.
Atrios thinks it's good, but also not a big deal. Now Hussein is out of it, who will be "the enemy"?
Jim at The Rittenhouse Review wonders whether the Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz cabal will have to gag Hussein to keep him from talkling about WMDs.
Tacitus looks forward to the information we can glean from Hussein over months of interrogation (months?) and holds up the capture of a living prisoner as a shining example of How Good We Are.
Jerry Bowles at Best of the Blogs welcomes the news, but thinks the benefit to Shrub is short-lived and that the real question is who gets to try him. Try Hussein, not Bush.
Mac at Go Fish endorses an idea to have a no-holds-barred Texas Steel Cage Death Match between Bush and Saddam, and is convulsed with laughter at the name Operation Red Dawn.
Oliver Willis expresses happiness that Hussein is caught and is promptly crucified by the rightwingers for insufficient enthusiasm.
Andrew Olmsted thinks it presents an opportunity to move the rebuilding of both infrastructure and democracy forward, if we capitalize on it and not just gloat.
Jesse Ogden at LewRockwell worries that this will be used to justify an unjust war and provoke more invasions.
Lane at Eat Your Vegetables hopes this brings on the end of the occupation sooner and says, "I'm especially glad that all the terrorism in the world will now come to an end."
Rick Heller at Centerfield says that this puts Bush one step closer to an inevitable victory.
Hesiod tries to ignore the domestic political implications (too depressing, I agree) and posits the disturbing possibility that a guerilla war after Saddam's capture might be worse. The News Butcher and Matt Yglesias quote Juan Cole for a similar proposition: "[M]any Shiites ... may have been timid about opposing the US presence, because they feared the return of Saddam."
Demosthenes at Shadow of the Hegemon thinks it means 15-20% poll points for Bush, and a bump for Lieberman, who was clearly prepared for this eventuality. He asks, is Dean prepared? And he says the trial is a wild card.
Pollack at xoverboard thinks we should make Saddam watch the South Park movie, if he hasn't seen it already. Now, that's funny. He also stomps all over the right-wingers' gloating.
N.Z. Bear asks whether all us anti-Iraq-war types really love Saddam and want him back in power. Kynn at Shock and Awe thinks Bear is asking the question in good faith, and in good faith responds. Poor Kynn.
Pejman embarasses himself. Again. (Hey, Pej - they're not that smart, and you look up to them. Get what I'm saying?)
Harry at Slyblog makes the obvious point: right-wing concern for human rights strangely coincides with their economic agenda. Balasubramania's Mania: "Jus' don't nobody be jumpin' on that human rights bandwagon any time soon though."
Lies.com has the best post headline: "Saddam Captured; Iraq War Still Stupid".
Josh Marshall thinks Saddam is old news, although his capture may be evidence of better US/Iraqi cooperation.
The Agitator says that catching Saddam is a necessary but not sufficient condition to success in Iraq, and it tells us nothing about whether it was worth it to invade in the first place. Color him skeptical.
Just eight days ago, I had had 20,000 visits to this site. It topped 30,000 in the past few hours. Why? Because I was the 7th google result for "miserable failure" for about two weeks. That's over now. Whew. We now return you to your regularly scheduled obscurity.
Ooh, ooh, I think I am the first one to say that this story is utter bullshit (and not only because Glenn Reynolds, The Hack of Record, links to it favorably):
Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist.
Details of Atta's visit to the Iraqi capital in the summer of 2001, just weeks before he launched the most devastating terrorist attack in US history, are contained in a top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
The handwritten memo, a copy of which has been obtained exclusively by the Telegraph, is dated July 1, 2001 and provides a short resume of a three-day "work programme" Atta had undertaken at Abu Nidal's base in Baghdad.
Abu Nidal trained Atta. Right. Pull the other one. Could it be that this is meant to counter the effect of this story? And do intelligence officers really provide their ultimate bosses with handwritten memos?
But wait! There's more:
The second part of the memo, which is headed "Niger Shipment", contains a report about an unspecified shipment - believed to be uranium - that it says has been transported to Iraq via Libya and Syria.
So there, Joseph Wilson! Quite literally, this is incredible. I sure can't wait for the right-wingers to fall all over themselves endorsing it.
Ralph Nader's presidential exploratory website has a survey link where you can share your thoughts with him. Please, if you love this country, go there and tell him to stay the hell out of the 2004 presidential race.
As a discussion of US politics grows longer, the probability of a liberal or progressive being called a 'Bush-Hater' approaches one. Once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever called someone a Bush Hater has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.
The criminal proceedings against Capt. James J. Yee, the former Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, fell into confusion on Tuesday and stalled as the military prosecutors asked for extra time to determine whether documents that were found in Captain Yee's luggage when he was leaving the base were, in fact, classified.
The hearing was postponed until Jan. 19 to give the prosecutors time to review the documents that set off a major investigation into whether Captain Yee was a spy, a contention from which the government has since emphatically distanced itself.
Oh, man. Those JAG prosecutors are so lucky they are not in front of a real court. They'd had walked out of that courtroom 3 feet shorter, that is if their heads weren't rolling out the door before them.
May I now please hear a retraction from all of the right-wingers who originally called for Yee to be shot immediately? Can we also have a moment to recognize the concept of "innocent until proven guilty"? Yeah, I am looking at you, you, you, and you assholes (oh, fuck it), and you, and you.
One step the Pentagon took was to seek active and secret help in the war against the Iraqi insurgency from Israel, America's closest ally in the Middle East. According to American and Israeli military and intelligence officials, Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq. Israeli commandos are expected to serve as ad-hoc advisers - again, in secret - when full-field operations begin. (Neither the Pentagon nor Israeli diplomats would comment. 'No one wants to talk about this,' an Israeli official told me. 'It's incendiary. Both governments have decided at the highest level that it is in their interests to keep a low profile on U.S.-Israeli coöperation - on Iraq.)
Wonderful. Now that this news is out, can we please scrap it? Idiots. (Via Alan at Southerly Buster.)
The truth is that Gore owes Lieberman nothing. His selection of Holy Joe for the 2000 ticket was an act of pure political expediency, on both ends. Lieberman's brand as the rabbi of Senate was medicine that Gore badly needed to fight off the Monica virus. The VP nomination was Lieberman's shot at the brass ring -- and judging by his dismal performance on the campaign trail this year, the only real shot he's ever likely to get. Holy Joe should consider himself lucky he made it as far as he did.
But if putting up with the holier-than-thou act for a little while longer is the price for watching the death of Lieberman's presidential hopes, I'm willing to pay it. The Gore giveth, and the Gore taketh away. Blessed is the name of the Gore.
Exactly right. Lieberman never was going to be president - VP was as high as he ever was going to go, and he lost his shot at that job.
"What this says is that all these Washington insiders who have been gnashing their teeth, wringing their hands and clinging to their cocktail cups can relax now. Dean's been knighted by the ultimate insider," said Democratic consultant Dean Strother of Washington. "It's game, set and match. It's over."
Non-genius Matt Singer is surprised but pleased. V at Value Judgment says, "Hell, yeah." My sentiments exactly.
Atrios thinks it's funny Democrats are polarized on whether the endorsement is a good thing, and thinks it's a big fuck-you from Gore to Lieberman. Josh Marshall is stunned and thinks it's a slam against Lieberman, too. TalkLeft thinks it's not an insult to Lieberman. I agree with TalkLeft, in that I don't think it's personal. Gore is simply recognizing that Lieberman and the DLC are in disarray. Besides, Dean is running the kind of campaign Gore tried to run.
Josh Marshall also says that this will speed up a final duel between Dean and whomever it is from the rest of the field who is strong enough to try to stand up to him.
Billmon analogizes Gore to Nixon - really - and says this is Gore's way of keeping himself viable for a future campaign. Chris at Interesting Times thinks it's the second-most-important endorsement Dean could get, behind Bill & Hill's - and they better act fast, before Dean really becomes inevitable without them. Lane at Eat Your Vegetables also questions whether Clinton's endorsement is next, and where this leaves Clark and Lieberman. (Hint: Paddleless.) Xian at Edgewise also hopes The Big Dog comes on board.
Kevin Drum at CalPundit says that it shows that Dean has been working hard. Hey, you think that might be why people like his chances to win?
John Moltz says that it shows the moderate/liberal divide in the party is not as great as feared.
Kos is stunned and thinks Lieberman should drop out. (From your mouth, to God's ear, k.) One of his commenters thinks Tom Harkin will appear at the Iowa endorsement, too.
Nick Confessore at TAPPED also thinks Dean is the improved version of Gore, and that this is Gore's way of keeping himself in the running for '08 or '12.
Guy Andrew Hall thinks it's Clark for VP, after B. Clinton endorses. Kevin Drum says Clark (obvious), Edwards, or Bill Richardson.
Plain ol' update update: Jeff Jarvis at Buzzmachine thinks Hillary might enter the race to stop Dean. I think that if Jeff Jarvis were any battier, he'd go into convulsions and swallow his tongue.
Andrew Northrup at The Poor Man thinks it's probably over, that B. Clinton will likely endorse Dean, and that Gore's motive is simply to kick Bush's ass. See, that's why Andrew is a genius - he doesn't let his considerable intellect get in the way of seeing the obvious. Mark Kleiman is still holding out hope for Clark.
NTodd says he has a source that says B. Clinton will, indeed, endorse Dean.
Atrios says that it's ridiculous to think that Gore is positioning himself for anything. I tend to think he's right - he just wants Dean to win. Backing winners is the best way to "position" yourself, anyway.
Hesiod at Counterspin thinks Gephardt would make a good VP. Matt Y. thinks Gore would be a good VP again. Matt Y.'s analytical skills are so vast they crowd out his common sense. William Swann at Centerfield has a list of unusual suggestions.
This Washington Post story says Gore had planned to call Lieberman last night, but the story leaked first. That makes sense. It could be spin, but I doubt it: Dean's people seemed pretty perturbed that the news leaked out. Unless Gore did it himself, to diss Holy Joe with plausible deniability. Whatever.
The Carpetbagger seems disappointed and strives to show that Gore's endorsement doesn't mean much. Harry at Slyblog is floored, thinks it's not over yet and that B. Clinton will hold off on endorsing until the Iowa picture changes. He also stomps all over right-wing talk that this is the harbringer of a Gore/Clinton split.
Tom Burka at Opinions You Should Have has a roundup of the other candidates' responses: "'If Al Gore wants to say he invented Dean, I have to respect his sorry, lying ass,' said Sen. Joseph Lieberman. ... John Kerry, through a spokesman, said, 'Al Gore can go fuck himself.'"
Matt Singer at Not Geniuses thinks Dean has it locked, and it's time to MoveOn. A guest poster at Tacitus thinks it means nothing, except that it demonstrates a Clinton/Gore civil war within the Democratic Party. Kelley at Suburban Blight thinks it's absolutely horrendous that Gore would be so mean to poor Joe, which just proves what a good move it was.
George W. Bush's re-election campaign hit a snag when a White House aide's remarks angered pagans:
H. James Towey, director of the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, has stirred up a pot of trouble by suggesting that pagans don't care about the poor.
Wiccans, Druids and other pagans across the country, along with the Washington-based advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, are demanding an apology from Towey for his remarks in a White House-sponsored online chat Nov. 26.
According to the official transcript, Towey was asked by someone in Centralia, Mo., whether pagan groups "should be given the same considerations as any other group" that applies for government funds.
"I haven't run into a pagan faith-based group yet, much less a pagan group that cares for the poor!" Towey wrote.
Bush plans to counter the furor by prominently displaying his personal collection of athames.
The client was in law enforcement, and the first time out he'd taken me to a semiformal work event. From the ratio of nubile cuties to paunchy detectives, I may not have been the only paid girl there. Or perhaps the Met's PR efforts are paying off in unexpected ways.
This time he asked a lot of questions, probably because we were alone. This can be dicey: are they just curious or potential stalkers? As they say, the truth is like the sun, its benefit is entirely dependent on our distance from it.
So I have a manufactured history that is mostly - but not completely - true. Minor but plausible differences in hometown, university, degree, current home. Other questions are simpler to answer.
"Have you ever dominated?"
"Honey, that was how I started in this business."
"Really?" He nodded and pursed his lips. "Really." The client was tall, well over six feet. Thick framed and strong. Probably mid-forties. Bald. And single, which is as likely in clients as not. "I find that... fascinating."
What is it about men who know seven ways to kill you with their bare hands who just want to be pussycats in the bedroom?
"Have you ever let someone take control?" I asked. He was sat in a stuffy chair, and I was curled up at his feet drinking Shiraz and stroking the back of his legs.
"I always wanted to, but..."
"Sweetie," I said, and reached up to stroke his chin. "Don't be shy. That's what I'm here for."
A first-time submissive is usually easy to handle and eager to please. It takes months before they start becoming devious, manipulative bottoms. This one was no different and I came out with the cleanest shoes outside a Russell & Bromley. His belt was also put to good use. Working for a safer London, that's me.
In Abu Hishma, encased in a razor-wire fence after repeated attacks on American troops, Iraqi civilians line up to go in and out, filing through an American-guarded checkpoint, each carrying an identification card printed in English only.
"If you have one of these cards, you can come and go," coaxed Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman, the battalion commander whose men oversee the village, about 50 miles north of Baghdad. "If you don't have one of these cards, you can't."
The Iraqis nodded and edged their cars through the line. Over to one side, an Iraqi man named Tariq muttered in anger.
"I see no difference between us and the Palestinians," he said. "We didn't expect anything like this after Saddam fell."
well, Jesus. Of course the Iraqis are angry at us. We're the ones in charge now. It's a delicate situation, and we had better treat people with respect. We're treating them with respect, right?
"You have to understand the Arab mind," Capt. Todd Brown, a company commander with the Fourth Infantry Division, said as he stood outside the gates of Abu Hishma. "The only thing they understand is force — force, pride and saving face."
Oh, my. Capt. Brown makes it sound like he thinks - but he couldn't possibly think - that the Iraqis are all savages. It would take a complete idiot, not a commissioned United States Army Officer, to believe that.
Oh, well, captains. Nobody higher up thinks that way, right?
"With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them," [battalion commander Lt.] Colonel Sassaman said."
I don't suppose that thought process goes further up the chain, do you?
First they came for the pill poppers
and I did not speak out
because I was not a pill popper.
Then they came for the money launderers
and I did not speak out
because I was not a money launderer.
Then they came for the doctor shoppers
and I did not speak out
because I was not a doctor shopper.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.