Goose the Blog 2.0

"Oh, ha! Sarcasm: The last refuge of sons of bitches!"

11/30/2005

excuse me, Mr. Secretary...

by John at 11/30/2005 04:45:00 PM

...is that egg on your face? From the same article as below:

When UPI's Pam Hess asked about torture by Iraqi authorities, Rumsfeld replied that "obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility" other than to voice disapproval.

But Pace had a different view. "It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it," the general said.

Rumsfeld interjected: "I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it."

But Pace meant what he said. "If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it," he said, firmly.


It looks like General Pace, the newish Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wants to get fired spend more time with his family.

how to end the insurgency in Iraq

by John at 11/30/2005 04:40:00 PM

Step 1. Decide that your enemies are no longer "insurgents."

Step 2. Declare victory.

"Over the weekend, I thought to myself, 'You know, that gives them a greater legitimacy than they seem to merit,' " Rumsfeld, at a Pentagon briefing yesterday, said of his ban on the I-word. "It was an epiphany," he added, throwing his hands in the air.

Encouraging reporters to consult their dictionaries1, the defense secretary said: "These people aren't trying to promote something other than disorder, and to take over that country and turn it into a caliphate and then spread it around the world. This is a group of people who don't merit the word 'insurgency,' I think."

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, standing at Rumsfeld's side, evidently didn't get the memo about the wording change. Describing combat in Iraq, he paused and said, "I have to use the word 'insurgent' because I can't think of a better word right now."

" 'Enemies of the legitimate Iraqi government' -- how's that?" Rumsfeld proposed.

"What the secretary said," Pace continued, to laughter. But Rumsfeld's new description -- ELIG, if you prefer an acronym -- didn't stick with the general. Smiling, he uttered the forbidden word again while discussing explosive devices.

The secretary recoiled in mock horror. "Sorry, sir," Pace explained. "I'm not trainable today."


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1. insurgent -n. 1. One who revolts against civil authority. [my footnote]

did you notice I was not blogging?

by John at 11/30/2005 11:13:00 AM

Lot's happening in the world, huh? I'm trying not to care.

On the other hand, there's this. Remember Frente!'s cover of the New Order classic "Bizarre Love Triangle"? It was surprisingly popular back in the mid nineties, most likely due to the singer's cutie-pie vocals. I remember enjoying it often on KJEE in Santa Barbara, which was at the time a really unusual commercial-free, talk-free radio station that only played a variety of alternative rock peppered with station identification announcements. But also under the category of New Order Joy Division (argh! there goes the whole premise of the post!) covers, we find this version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Albert Kuvezin and Yat Kha. It kicks ass, but I don't think it is as radio friendly as Frente! was.

Check it out. (via Salon.com's Audiofile)

11/23/2005

my new favorite web thing

by John at 11/23/2005 10:19:00 AM

Let them sing it for you. (via Boing Boing)

that German word1

by John at 11/23/2005 09:30:00 AM

I've got to admit I'm feeling pretty good about how badly things are going for the Republicans, and especially for President Bush.2

This was the kind of thing I consoled myself with after Kerry lost last year. If he had won, he'd be getting blamed for the dismal failure of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, for the still-lagging economy, for high fuel prices, and for a half-assed response to natural disaster by a crippled and incompetently managed FEMA.3 In that very limited sense, the Democratic party got lucky. All that stuff is being held, as is just and proper, as evidence against the Republicans who have controlled all three branches of the federal government for almost five years, instead of some unlucky sucker who got stuck holding the bag.

Anyway, here's to Blue America.



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1. Schadenfreude.

2. Can't say I'm happy about the end results of how badly Republicans have done, though. Real people are really hurting because of their screw-ups. It will take a long time to put America and the world back together after the Republicans get knocked out of power, if it can be done at all. And meanwhile, the Republicans get to screw up more stuff and dig an even deeper hole out of which we will have to climb.

3. The Republicans would still get to keep Delay, Frist, Abramoff and the other corruption scandals for themselves.

11/22/2005

Something to be thankful for....

by Amy, Bill, Guillermo and Alma at 11/22/2005 06:21:00 PM

Be thankful that you're not this dog!!

11/21/2005

a question

by John at 11/21/2005 07:08:00 PM

Did I use the current blog description ("hipster doofus!") before? I can't remember, but it was sitting on my desk so I thought I'd give it a try.

Update: Got any good blog descriptions for GtB2? Click the "email admin" button over on the right and send them to me. I've already got a few in the queue, but good ones jump right to the front of the line.

11/18/2005

seismic

by John at 11/18/2005 07:17:00 AM

Is the ground shifting out from under the Republicans? Juan Cole has a potent wrap up of the last week.

Also, be sure to check out Knight Ridder's analysis of the President's and Vice-President's revisionist history, in which Democrats are the problem because they were stupid enough to trust the White House.

Get 'em out in 2006!*

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* Soldiers out of Iraq and Republicans out of Congress

new for Christmas the holidays

by John at 11/18/2005 07:09:00 AM


The Official Goose the Blog 2.0 Store is now open at CafePress.com!

Featuring a variety of quality activewear in eye-catching designs, the Official Goose the Blog 2.0 Store is your only source for Official Goose the Blog 2.0 merchandise. Just in time for holiday shopping, or buy one as an extra treat for yourself!

New stuff is fun - get some today!

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Seriously, you can buy this stuff right now. Setting up the store is free - CafePress justs takes a profit on every item they sell. Man, the internet, coupled with on demand production, is a truly great way to spend time and money. Anyway, if you have ideas for other products you might want (check out "Make Your Own Stuff" at the top of the page to see the variety of things you can print images on - like buttons and stickers, housewares, and thongs) let me know and I'll put together a design. Look for some new products soon - next up is a baby onesie that will say "easily inflamed by demagoguery & breast milk." I expect that one to be a hot seller.

11/10/2005

changing the subject

by John at 11/10/2005 12:40:00 PM

I was going to title this post "Lighten up, Francis" but I decided against self-mockery this one time.

Anyway, on to the cutest baby in the world and I challenge you to prove otherwise:

dscn2150

Scientifically aged sixteen years: "Hey Dad, can I have the keys to the car?"

11/09/2005

if you wanna make an omelet...

by John at 11/09/2005 10:18:00 PM

...you have to break a few eggs, where "make an omelet" = "democratize Iraq" and "break a few eggs" = "melt the skin off children."

Sickening. I'm sorry. This has been a trying few weeks (and a trying few years) for all people of conscience.

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There is no plan for us, there is no divine retribution, no karma, no second chance to put things right. The people who have called for and committed these atrocities will not be brought to account by God or any other mystical power.

It is up to us to make them accountable. But we are also at fault who have little power, who hide behind our TVs and newspapers and keyboards, too lazy to even hit the streets or write a letter. Too scared or embarrassed to stand up and try to make any kind of difference at all.

I am ashamed of myself and my country. We are the bastards.

We let them melt the skin off children.

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57 people killed in triple suicide bombing in Amman, Jordan. So, yeah, "not as bad as the terrorists." Congratufuckinglations. Maybe.

legalese

by John at 11/09/2005 08:27:00 AM

"We do not torture."*
- George W. Bush, Panama City, Panama, November 7, 2005

"We conclude that for an act to constitute torture as defined in Section 2340, it must inflict pain that is difficult to endure. Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. For purely mental pain or suffering to amount to torture under Section 2340, it must result in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g. lasting for a few months or even years. We conclude that the mental harm also must result from one of the predicate acts listed in the statute, namely: threats of imminent death; threats of infliction of the kind of pain that would amount to physical torture; infliction of such physical pain as a means of psychological torture; use of drugs or other procedures designed to deeply disrupt the senses, or fundamentally alter an individual's personality; or threatening to do any of these things to a third party."
- "Bybee Memo", page 1, August 1, 2002

"For the forgoing reasons, we conclude that torture as defined in and proscribed by Sections 2340-2340A, covers only extreme acts. Severe pain is generally of the kind difficult for the victim to endure. Where the pain is physical, it must be on an intensity akin to that which accompanies severe physical injury such as death or organ failure. Severe mental pain requires suffering not just at the moment of infliction but it also requires lasting psychological harm, such as seen in mental disorders like posttraumatic stress disorder. Additionally, such severe mental pain can arise only from predicate acts listed in Section 2340. Because the acts inflicting torture are extreme, there is significant range of acts that though they might constitute cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment fail to rise to the level of torture". [my emphasis]
- "Bybee Memo", page 46, August 1, 2002

Update: Classified Report Warned on C.I.A.'s Tactics in Interrogation (NYT)

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* Transcript of statement
Q Mr. President, there has been a bit of an international outcry over reports of secret U.S. prisons in Europe for terrorism suspects. Will you let the Red Cross have access to them? And do you agree with Vice President Cheney that the CIA should be exempt from legislation to ban torture?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Our country is at war, and our government has the obligation to protect the American people. The executive branch has the obligation to protect the American people; the legislative branch has the obligation to protect the American people. And we are aggressively doing that. We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture.

And, therefore, we're working with Congress to make sure that as we go forward, we make it possible -- more possible to do our job. There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans, and wants to hurt America again. And so, you bet, we'll aggressively pursue them. But we will do so under the law. And that's why you're seeing members of my administration go and brief the Congress. We want to work together in this matter. We -- all of us have an obligation, and it's a solemn obligation and a solemn responsibility. And I'm confident that when people see the facts, that they'll recognize that we've -- they've got more work to do, and that we must protect ourselves in a way that is lawful. [my emphasis]

woohoo!

by John at 11/09/2005 07:27:00 AM

Remember how the school board in Dover, PA voted to teach "Intelligent Design" in science class? And then they had a big lawsuit over it that just ended?

Those guys just got voted out of office yesterday. All eight of them*.

This almost restores my faith in Americans. I also think it goes to show that Americans like Christian fundamentalists theoretically, but like them a lot less once they actually start fundamentalizing things.

Hurrah! (via The Panda's Thumb)

Update: Okay, here's what I think really happened in Dover.

Usually, there is very little voter turnout for school board elections - most people just don't pay attention to them, even when they really should (e.g. they have children in public school). Therefore, it is very easy for Christian fundamentalists to organize relatively big voting blocks for candidates they want, which stealthily allows them to take over school boards. In Dover, however, the school board went and did something dumb and drew a lot of attention to itself. This caused enough non-fundamentalists to come out and counter the fundamentalist vote, resulting in the election of eight Democrats who do not favor teaching ID as science (but, appropriately, take the sensible position of advocating teaching ID in an elective comparative religions course instead**).

This is what can happen when regular people just start paying attention.

Update 2: The bad news, you may have heard, is that the Kansas school board is backing the teaching of ID in science class.*** I think the mechanism I described above is still at work. If you recall, back in 1999, the Kansas school board adopted science standards that eliminated most references to evolution. There was a lot of controversy, and the next year Kansas voters choose a pro-evolution majority for the school board and evolution was replaced in the science standards. The controversy died down, and five more years later, the Kansas school board, once again stocked with a majority of anti-science Christians, votes to teach ID in science class. My prediction for next year is a reversal of this decision, as Kansans start paying attention again.

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* There are nine school board members, but one seat wasn't up for election this year.

** Funny, I've been told that liberals want to banish all religious thought from the public sphere.

*** They also rewrote the definition of science so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena. This is in keeping with ID booster Michael Behe's statement in the Dover trial that, under his definition of scientific theory, ID, as well as astrology, would be a scientific theory.

11/06/2005

Faces to names 3

by Amy, Bill, Guillermo and Alma at 11/06/2005 08:06:00 PM


Here is a pic of Bill and I just a week or so ago in Oaxaca.

faces to names 2

by John at 11/06/2005 07:38:00 PM

I'm in a lot of the baby photos already, but what the heck. This one was taken about fifteen minutes ago.

Faces to Names

by MarkJumblie at 11/06/2005 01:50:00 AM


OK, everyone post a recent pic.
Costumes optional.

-Mark Jumblie Heng

11/04/2005

Wilkerson still at it

by John at 11/04/2005 02:50:00 PM

Yes, Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to former Sec. of State Colin Powell, is trying to sell a book. But when you make direct claims like this, you should be able to back them up.

Vice President Dick Cheney's office was responsible for directives that led to U.S. soldiers' abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, a former top State Department official said Thursday.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, then the secretary of state, told National Public Radio he had traced a trail of memos and directives authorizing questionable detention practices up through Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's office directly to Cheney's staff.

"The secretary of defense under cover of the vice president's office," Wilkerson said, "regardless of the president having put out this memo" - "they began to authorize procedures within the armed forces that led to what we've seen."

He said the directives contradicted a 2002 order by President George W. Bush for the U.S. military to abide by the Geneva conventions against torture.

"There was a visible audit trail from the vice president's office through the secretary of defense, down to the commanders in the field," authorizing practices that led to the abuse of detainees, Wilkerson said.

The directives were "in carefully couched terms," Wilkerson conceded, but said they had the effect of loosening the reins on U.S. troops, leading to many cases of prisoner abuse, including at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, that were contrary to the Geneva Conventions.


Let's see the documents, the whole audit trail. Pretty please.

(Frontline did an excellent report on US torture practices as part of the "War on Terror" as few weeks ago. You can watch it online. There really is no question that the responsibility goes right to Rumsfeld, at least, but I'm fairly sure legally damning documents do not exist.)

Update: More here (including partial transcript).

not as bad as

by John at 11/04/2005 02:13:00 PM

Republicans and other conservatives have been playing a game for the last few years, where they take something bad about the Bush administration and compare it to the worst thing ever1,2:

30,000 dead Iraqis? Not as bad as Saddam!
Abu Ghraib? Not as bad as Saddam!
Gitmo? Not as bad as a gulag!
2000 dead American soldiers? Not as bad as Vietnam!
Lying about outing a CIA agent? Not as bad as lying about a blowjob!

Anyway, they have a new one they can play with today:

George Bush's approval ratings? Not as bad as Richard Nixon's!

I say run with it. I even have a suggestion for a slogan to help improve GWB's image: "George Bush - Not the Worst President Ever".

Update: In case you're interested, Cheney's approval rating is 19%. He *is* worse than Nixon.

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1. That is, if they cannot ignore it entirely.
2. Do not read the following if you have delicate sensibilities.

This reminds me of a game we used to play as evil-minded elementary school kids. It goes something like this:

Little Boy 1: "What's worse than falling off a building?"
Little Boy 2: "Falling of a building and catching your eyelid on a nail on the way down."

-or-

LB1: "What's worse than one dead baby?"
LB2: "Two dead babies."
LB1: "What's worse than two dead babies?"
LB2: "Three dead babies."
.
.
.
LB1: "What's worse than a whole garbage can full of dead babies?"
LB2: "One live baby on the bottom eating his way out."

Followed by much laughter. Sick. Children are sick.

11/03/2005

newy goodness

by John at 11/03/2005 08:04:00 PM

Sweet new header image, huh? Too bad there's nothing else new on the blog lately.

Taken in my backyard to celebrate the late fall we are having. This same time last year, almost all the leaves were already on the ground.