Archive for November, 2006

Another “Black Friday” to note.

Local | Posted by admin
Nov 24 2006

Today is the American retailers’ day where they hope their financial dreams come true. Millions, for some strange reason I still haven’t comprehended, rush out to crowd malls and shops to buy, buy, buy. Tonight’s news programs — local, national, and cable — will have reporters camped out all over the place to “report” on this phenomenon of consumer craziness following a nice, quiet, day of dinner with friends and family.

Many call today “Black Friday.”

For once, I agree with the labeling of this day, but not for the reasons that have just been outlined. No, today’s Black Friday should not be about wild and unhinged American consumerism. Rather, it should note the increasingly wild and unhinged problems that have been developing in Iraq since March of 2003 and have steadily grown worse.

Iraq Toll Rises; Shiite Militia Retaliates (New York Times):

Defying a government-imposed curfew, Shiite militiamen stormed Sunni mosques in central Iraq today, shot guards and burned down several buildings in apparent retaliation for a series of devastating car bombs that killed hundreds of people the previous day in a Shiite slum.

As the death toll from those bombings rose above 200, gunmen drove through neighborhoods in Baghdad and the nearby provincial capital of Baquba, shooting at mosques with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades on the Muslim holy day, when many Iraqis attend a weekly sermon.

From morning until afternoon, at least seven mosques were attacked in a single mixed neighborhood in the capital. Three were destroyed completely, and at least three guards were killed, an Interior Ministry official said. Iraqi security forces were either absent or unable to stop the gunmen. Residents blamed the attacks on the Mahdi Army, a powerful Shiite militia based in Sadr City, the area ravaged by the explosions on Thursday.

“I live near Akbar al-Mustafa Mosque, which came under attack by gunmen around 7 this morning,” said a man who gave his name as Abu Ruqaiya and lives in Hurriya, the neighborhood where violence raged all day. “Around 3 in the afternoon, those gunmen bombed this mosque and destroyed part of it. They left only after American and Iraqi soldiers arrived.”

The wave of revenge attacks came despite a traffic ban the Iraqi government had imposed across the capital starting Thursday evening, underscoring the ineffectiveness of the Iraqi security forces in tamping down on violence that is widening the Sunni-Shiite sectarian divide and pushing the country toward full-scale civil war. The assaults against Sunnis on Friday evoked the rampages by Shiite gunmen that took place in the hours after a revered Shiite shrine was bombed by insurgents last February in Samarra.

American troops stepped up patrols across Baghdad, setting up checkpoints and rolling down mostly deserted avenues in armored Humvees. In the far north, a suicide car bomber and a suicide belt bomber detonated their explosives in crowded areas in the insurgent-rife city of Tal Afar, killing at least 20 people and injuring at least 42.

The bloodletting over the 24-hour period amounted to one of the worst spasms of violence since the Americans toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. It comes before a meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki scheduled for Wednesday in Jordan. Both men face increasing pressure from their respective publics to come up with a successful strategy for stemming the growing carnage in Iraq, and both are navigating rising tensions between their two governments as they try to agree on a viable path forward.

Lights. Camera. Captions!

Just Thoughts | Posted by admin
Nov 12 2006

Have away, friends:

Allow me to get things rolling:

  • The bolts that were here when the doctor brought me to life have been removed for some time now, but I still get phantom pains.
  • And now, I shall use my incredible psychotelekinetic powers to make everyone write exactly what I want you to write… … … Damn. Must concentrate harder…
  • Hey everyone. Watch me make my head explode.
  • And then, the president had a suggestion about what I should say about that, and I thought, “My god. He really is that stupid.” I then told him not to try to do my job for me. It’s hard enough making up stuff on my own.

The rest is up to you. Have fun.

Iraq: A very bad day.

Events | Posted by admin
Nov 12 2006

This is horrible. I can’t say more than that.

Sunday: 3 GIs, 4 UK Troops, 212 Iraqis Killed; 3 UK Troops, 146 Iraqis Wounded (

Sunday’s casualty tally quickly rose to 212 Iraqis either killed or found dead and another 146 Iraqis injured after a suicide bomb attack in Baghdad and the discovery of 75 corpses in Baqouba. Foreign servicemembers were also subject to violence. Today, four British servicemen were killed, three injured, in an attack on their boat in Basra, and the U.S. military also reported that three American soldiers were killed in Anbar Province on Saturday. In other news, an official at the Baghdad morgue reported that approximately 1600 bodies were delivered to the morgue during the holy month of Ramadan. That averages out to over 50 a day.

In the volatile Anbar Province, three U.S. soldiers died from wounds sustained during enemy action on Saturday. Four British servicemembers were killed and another three were seriously injured when their boat came under attack today in Basra; it was hit by an “improvised explosive device” while they were on routine patrol in the Shatt al-Arab waterway. Coalition forces also came under attack in Hit yesterday. Although no casualties were reported among Coalition and Iraqi forces, three militiamen were killed and residents reported that U.S. forces also killed eight civilians.

In west-central Baghdad, two suicide bombers walked up to a police recruitment center in al-Nusur Square before detonating their cargo; at least 35 people were killed and another 65 injured. Gunmen killed a senior official and his driver, and 25 unidentified bodies were discovered on Sunday morning.

Also in the capital, a roadside and car bomb combination killed six people and wounded ten near the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s offices. Five more Iraqis were killed and 11 wounded in the al Fanahra neighborhood. In the Karadah district, a car bomb killed two and wounded seven. A roadside bomb in the southwestern Radhwaniyah area killed three and wounded 13. In the nearby Um al-Maalif neighborhood, another roadside bomb killed five people. Yet another roadside bomb, this one in Amariyah, killed three and wounded three others. Two more roadside bombs were left on a highway in central Baghdad, killing four and wounding ten. One civilian was killed and four people, including two policemen, were injured by an explosion in the Mustansiria neighborhood.

In Baquoba, Iraqi troops discovered 75 bodies behind a regional electric company. It was feared that the bodies might be rigged with explosives.

More perspective.

Local | Posted by admin
Nov 01 2006

This is what the right-wingers would have you believe:

* A Democrat, even one who has honorably served this country, should not say anything critical about our Dear Leader and his underlings — most of whom have not served or ducked out of service. Anyone who does should be shouted down, made to lick the president’s jackboots, and beg for a forgiveness that will never be granted.

* It is okay, however, if you are a Republican, to beat down people who have served this country.

Case in point:

Letter from Mike Stark (posted with a video clip over at AlterNet):
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Oct 31, 2006

The following is a letter to NBC29 from Mike Stark, the man who was tackled for a comment he made at Senator Allen’s campaign stop in Charlottesville on Tuesday.

My name is Mike Stark. I am a law student at the University of Virginia, a marine, and a citizen journalist. Earlier today at a public event, I was attempting to ask Senator Allen a question about his sealed divorce record and his arrest in the 1970s, both of which are in the public domain. His people assaulted me, put me in a headlock, and wrestled me to the ground. Video footage is available here, from an NBC affiliate.

I demand that Senator Allen fire the staffers who beat up a constituent attempting to use his constitutional right to petition his government. I also want to know why Senator Allen would want his staffers to assault someone asking questions about matters of public record in the heat of a political campaign. Why are his divorce records sealed? Why was he arrested in the 1970s? And why did his campaign batter me when I asked him about these questions.

George Allen defends his support of the Iraq war by saying that our troops are defending the ideals America stands for. Indeed, he says our troops are defending our very freedom. What kind of country is it when a Senator’s constituent is assaulted for asking difficult and uncomfortable questions? What freedoms do we have left? Maybe we need to bring the troops home so that they can fight for freedom at George Allen’s campaign events. Demanding accountability should not be an offense worthy of assault.

I will be pressing charges against George Allen and his surrogates later today. George Allen, at any time, could have stopped the fray. All he had to do was say, “This is not how my campaign is run. Take your hands off that man.” He could have ignored my questions. Instead he and his thugs chose violence. I spent four years in the Marine Corps. I’ll be damned if I’ll let my country be taken from me by thugs that are afraid of taking responsibility for themselves.

It just isn’t the America I know and love. Somebody needs to take a stand against those that would bully and intimidate their fellow citizens. That stand begins right here, right now.

W. Michael Stark

Again, you do the math.