There's not a chance in hell right now that Rangel will actually get a bill reinstating the draft through Congress. This is just demagoguery, incoherent and stupid demagoguery at that. He wants a draft because then Congress would be more reluctant to go to war, but also because we need more troops to take on Iran and North Korea. In his mind, we would have to have a draft to build up the military for those efforts, but the draftees could opt for some non-military national service instead. Well, which is it Charlie? Are you drafting to build up the military or resurrecting the CCC? You want to take on Iran and North Korea but you don't have the will to confront a Saddam and see that through? That's the face of the new Democratic leadership in the House. Swell.
das toot: The US Coast Guard has seized a home-made submarine off Costa Rica that was carrying 3.5 tons of cocaine bound for the US. The article didn't say how the sub was discovered, but since it could only submerge about six feet, I suppose it could have been detected visually or by sonar. Regardless, I would take a dim view of helping crew any home-made sub. Unless it was cool, like the Seaview:
Back to Reality: Ouch, I won this weekend to take first place in my division, but my FFL roster got beaten on like it was the GOP. I lost McNabb and Lamont Jordan for the year and Colston for I don't know how long with an ankle injury. Jordan had the least FFL value and I hadn't started him in a while. Colston and McNabb hurt though. I don't really trust Roethlisberger to get me through the rest of the year and now that applies to the rest of my roster too. Hmmm, things to ponder.
It's a little nicer today on the North Shore after lows in the 20s last night. Didn't see anything for shooting stars even though the clouds had cleared away completely. Oh well. A couple photos for this morning:
The leaves are all down up here and just about all of the plants are dormant for the winter now. It's cold enough at night for the little pools up in the rocks along shore to freeze up:
While policing up Sammy the Wonder Dog's...er, contributions this morning, I did stumble across one plucky little flower up in the woods, a little worse for wear and tear but still, surprisingly, hanging on. It's the only flower left around here that I could find:
Cloudy, damp, and cool on the North Shore of Lake Superior this weekend. There are just a few traces of snow in the woods now, but that will change soon. I'm hoping the sky will keep clearing enough to see a bit of the Leonid meteor showers tonite. It's supposed to be better for the East Coast, but who knows. Oh, and they have dsl now here at the cabin by Lake Superior. And DirecTV, I'm watching Scarface as I type away. Wonders.
On the FFL front, I go into this weekend at 6-4 and need one more win over the next three weeks to pretty much assure an upper division playoff spot. Two would be better, of course. My lineup this week is almost set, however I'm wondering if I should bench McNabb for Roethlisberger. McNabb's been the much cooler hand the last few weeks, though he has a good matchup this week. Hmmm. I will say I'm pretty happy with my receiving corps right now; Steve Smith, Reggie Wayne, Marques Colston with Reggie Brown in reserve. As long as McAllister keeps plugging away also I have a good shot every week. (knock on wood)
We dodged another bullet last night when a small snowstorm went north of the Twin Cities instead of dumping the forecasted 1-2" of slushy snow on us. Last week another went south and dumped up to a foot of snow in parts of southern Minnesota. I get the feeling Mother Nature is just getting her sights ready. There's a nice big pool of sub-zero air building in northern Canada and Alaska right now but it looks like the jet stream is keeping that at bay for now. Good jet stream.
In sports news, the Vikes lost to the Packers yesterday, 23-17. It was a moral victory of sorts though. You see, this was the first time in three weeks that the Vikings offense wasn't outscored for the weekend by the U of M men's hockey team. Seriously, you can look it up. Hmmm, come to think of it...yep, the women's hockey team too. Sigh.
In the "I guess I'm missing something here" department, Target Corporation is apparently asking Hennepin County for tax abatements to help it subsidize it's new $1.75 billion corporate mega-campus just northwest of Minneapolis. For some reason the amount they want is a mystery, one those ace reporters at the Strib can't seem to crack. Target got $20 million from the city government and will probably ask for even more from the county or else...drum roll please...the project is "at risk". Five will get you ten that the County Board caves in to them now that they are safely past the election. For the record, Target reported net earnings for the first half of the year of $1,162,000,000. Yeah, that's billion.
She's baaaack! If you liked her in The Karpinski, where her remorseless incompetence in 2003 did major damage to the Coalition effort in Iraq before she was ultimately vanquished, you'll love her in the sequel: Karpinski II: Judgment Day.
Yes folks, via The Mudville Gazette, comes word that Janis Karpinski is back as a star witness for some totalitarian worms who are planning to sue Don Rumsfeld in a German court for mistreatment of prisoners. Rumor has it that she will have an amazing ability to morph between Strong and Heroic Female General and Victim of Mean and Simply Impossible Superiors(with tear clusters).
When she commanded the 800th MP Brigade in Iraq, she was a Brigadier General. Now she is apparently a Colonel, (Retired). Which is kind of an insult to all retired Colonels, such as my Dad. You see, he actually did his job and retired with honor after 30 years of active and reserve service in the U.S. Air Force. I guess for some reason that's how big-wigs in all branches deal with their crap. Let's get back to the would be Rumsfeldinator.
I first heard of Janis Karpinski after the Abu Ghraib scandals in 2004. I was trying to figure out just how that cluster-fuck and PR disaster could have happened and read the Taguba Report. I wrote about it in one of my earliest posts and nothing has changed my mind since. Taguba easily proved that Karpinski was a classic example of someone who had risen to her level of incompetence and the Army has certainly had their fair share of those. If you have a few minutes, read one or both of those links, they may come in handy in the near future.
When the 800th MP Brigade didn't get returned home as many of them had anticipated, they had to face a mission that they were not fully up to speed on. Karpinski and most of her Brigade staff failed, dismally, to rise to the challenge. It's noteworthy though, that many of the 800th's subordinate units did meet the challenge and performed honorably. They made mistakes, but they learned from them and they worked hard to perform the mission they had been given, despite the lack of support from 800th MP command. They should be lauded for rising to the occasion and going above and beyond. Karpinsky and most of her staff? No.
It still kind of po's me that Karpinski is entitled to be called "retired". You know, it implies she did something useful. Ah well, bring it on Rumsfeldinator, let's get some clarity here. And when that's done, let's make no pretense about "retired". She should resign or be stripped of her commission.
There's no shortage of analysis out there on the election this week. I think it's fair to say that Iraq, GOP corruption, and a general frustration that the GOP controlled Congress couldn't get things done on immigration and other important issues all contributed to their defeat. Of all of those factors, I think Iraq is one where the GOP was judged unfairly.
Iraq is not a failure or a disaster. It is instead a work in progress and despite the picture we have gotten from the traditional media, progress is being made. Iraq is not a game of course, but if the recent New England-Indianapolis NFL game had been written the same way that we get most of our news from Iraq, I think it would go something like this:
The New England Patriots took on the Indianapolis Colts today and the Colts struggled in a game that displayed their weaknesses and created grave doubts that they could actually achieve their goal of making it to the Super Bowl this year.
The Patriots pounded out 148 yards on the ground and Corey Dillon scored not once, but twice, dramatically showing the Colts inability to keep New England out of the end-zone. Despite their best efforts, the Colts also couldn't stop kicker Stephen Gostkowski from piling on two field goals and two extra points to complete New England's scoring.
As their defense struggled, the Colts fell flat on offense. Peyton Manning threw one interception and managed only 301 yards passing after throwing for 345 yards the week before, a worrisome 13% drop in production. If that trend continues, and there's no evidence it won't, Manning could soon find himself benched. The same could be said for Colts kicker Adam Vinitieri, who missed two field goals, including a critical 37 yarder near the end of the game that should have been a gimme.
Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy was despondent after the game saying "We still aren't playing our best" and he shocked Colts fans by admitting "I was hoping they'd (new England) win...". It doesn't get any better on the schedule for the Colts. This week Indianapolis faces the surging Buffalo Bills, fresh off a drubbing of the Green Bay Packers.
Indianapolis actually won that game 27-20 and I took the Dungy quotes completely out of context. Everything I wrote however, was "true".
The above may be a bit silly, but I think it is analogous to how Iraq is being covered. The terrorists and insurgents in Iraq have basically only two operations in their play-book; kill Americans and kill civilians as loudly and as spectacularly as possible. Every time they succeed, it's guaranteed to be covered in the press. When they fail, not so much to say the least. The American and Iraqi forces have a play-book that is much duller and success is less spectacular. It's the weapons cache that is discovered or the raid where the terrorists are captured. It's the IED that's discovered and disarmed before it explodes. It's the Iraqi courts starting to function and convicting insurgents and terrorists. For whatever reason, those don't seem to make it into the news as often. The result is, to the average American it looks like there is only one side on offense in Iraq and they are the only ones scoring. That's far from accurate.
That's my perspective at least and it comes from the fact that most people I know get all of their news from the morning paper or the evening TV broadcast. They simply don't see most of the successes in Iraq. To do my little part to help fix that, I've moved a few things around here and on the right added a couple of RSS feeds from the Multi-National Force-Iraq website. I encourage you to hit the DoD websites and read the feeds for a more complete perspective on Iraq. I also encourage you to help spread the word if you have your own site.
There's bad news out of Iraq for sure, but there's also a lot of good news that is not reaching Americans. Iraqi Security Forces are standing up and the bad guys are getting their asses handed to them on a daily basis. There's no guarantee that Iraq won't fail at some point and there are serious problems, both political and military there. It's not given that they are insurmountable though, unless we quit. Before you decide that we should, get the whole story.
My first ever quiz link, I think. I got it from Brian at A Boy Named Sous and it's on American accents. I do these quizzes occasionally, however I'm not often impressed with the results. This one nailed me pretty good though, so what the hell:
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North
You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."
Yeah, as I noted at Brian's site, you can't get much more inland and north than Minnesota. And yes, a carbonated drink is a pop, not a soda. Soda pop is kind of ok, but I won't entirely trust you. At least at first. :)
Oh, and don't ever imply that, or ask me if, I'm a cheesehead. Ever.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed about the election this year, but it's not the end of the world. In fact, there are a few upsides. Democrats have to help govern now, instead of standing on the sidelines being the critical spouse from hell all of the time. Also, more liberals are happy this week which, you gotta admit, gives the rest of us a breather. And we can look forward to two full years of quotes like this from Nancy Pelosi:
"The gavel of the speaker of the House is in the hands of special interests, and now it will be in the hands of America's children." (Via Emily at It Comes In Pints?)
Geez, talk about full employment for bloggers, and right off the bat too!
More disappointing to me is the removal of Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary. My take on that is pretty much the same as Victor Davis Hanson's. He wasn't perfect, but who could be in such a role? History will be much kinder to Mr. Rumsfeld I think, than the current squeaky wheels who frankly aren't qualified to carry his briefcase. I wish each of those who have spewed their snark and vitriol at him could spend 5 minutes in his chair. I'd bet that the politics, the bureaucratic infighting and inertia, and the heavy responsibility for national defense would snap them all like a chicken bone. I'm sure he was a son of a bitch to work for, but I'd work for the SOB in a heartbeat. I bet I'd learn more from him in a week than I've learned from every boss I've ever had combined.