The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, November 30, 2002

Some restaurants and pubs in the South Korean capital are refusing to serve Americans amid anger over the acquittal of two US soldiers for the road deaths of two teenage girls.

"Americans are not welcome here," read a sign on the door and a window of Zeno, a restaurant in Seoul.

On Wednesday US President George Bush sent a message of regret for the deaths of the girls, who were crushed by a US military vehicle in June.

But critics said the apology was not enough to stem the anger in South Korea, which hosts 37,000 US soldiers. (full story)
This is what happens when you slap your boys on the wrist. Actually, wait they weren't even slapped! No soup for you! Certainly, the two fellows who were acquitted wont be served; they've already left South Korea.

On the other hand, if those two shmucks were still around, perhaps they could get kicked north of the border and put in here:
Via Bartcop, an interesting job opportunity, that is, if you can handle the idea of being a scab. Earplugs may also be necessary.
REYKJAVIK (Reuters) - Iceland's government has refused to let a town import crocodiles to snap up fish factory waste and lure tourists to the North Atlantic island.

Iceland's chief veterinary officer said on Friday he had advised the farm ministry against granting a request to import the reptiles by the small northern town of Husavik because crocodiles can carry salmonella.

The Ministry of Agriculture has in recent months been swamped with requests to import and farm exotic animals, such as ostriches, llamas and camels. (link)
What a brilliant idea. Yeah, Iceland, exactly where a cold-blooded reptile wants to be. Though I'm sure this got a hearty thumbs-up from the ISJBVH (International Society of James Bond Villains and their Henchmen)
Jeezum Jim issues a warning to his former GOP bretheren, and some more thoughts on his courageous and principled decision from last spring:
If the new, razor-thin Republican majority abuses its power and moves forward with an extreme agenda that overlooks the concerns of the many and benefits only the privileged few, there will be repercussions.

Since the election, my decision to leave the Republican Party last year has been subject to new scrutiny. The attention on my personal decision, while understandable, is misplaced. If the Republicans read the recent election results as a rejection of moderation and a mandate to steamroll opposition from within the party, they will be making a grave mistake.
Basically, these are Al Gore's recent words coming out of someone else's mouth.

But more than that, this is all part of the big table-setting for what will be one of the big dramas of the next two years. Bush has two choices, the middle and the right. If he knows what's good for him (in terms of 2004 and more), he will move to the center. But the Falwell's Lott's etc of the world are making a lot of noise. It will be tough to resist those who got him "elected" in the first place.

Certified TFM housemate "Ben White" sums up the greatest story ever told... about a rat, that is:
We had a rat running loose in our kitchen for a month. Finally, we trapped it in a cupboard for two days. In the cupboard, we tried poisoning it with Pledge and killing it with a trip, neither of which worked. So we tried to capture it in a bucket to take it away, but when we tried to do this, it got away. Fortunately, while it was running around on the kitchen floor, we accidentally dropped the bucket on it and killed it.
Don't forget the part about taking it out to the middle of the street and endearingly stroking its lifeless body with an elongated coathanger!

UPDATE: "Ben" adds
We then took its limp body into the street and prodded it with an unfolded coat hanger before setting it atop the dumpster for the next people who threw stuff away to view. (Thanks, Brendan!)

Friday, November 29, 2002


I caught a few minutes of "Moulin Rouge" on HBO with my dad earlier tonight, and I must say I was horrified by how the movie (my favorite of 2001) was converted from widescreen. Just thought you'd like to know! I just needed an excuse to get at least one entry in today. Bye!

Thursday, November 28, 2002

We usually have a big family get-together on Thanksgiving, and this year was no exception.

The highlight for me is often when my brother shows me strange stuff on the internet. This year, two items about North Korea. (he has had a thing for Mao and Eastern Bloc lore since he was a teenager)

First, check out this building in Pyongyang:

This is the never-quite-finished Ryugyong Hotel. It is 105 stories tall, and has seven revolving restaurants. Construction began in 1987, but stopped a couple of years later, due to "bad concrete" and "money", and perhaps "most hotels in Pyongyang are empty anyway". Besides, who wants to get a room in the Ministry of Truth, anyway?

The second item is this:

When Nicaragua was still under sandinista control (that is, before Reagan started selling arms to Iran), they gave this to Kim Il Sung, late leader of North Korea: A stuffed alligator, holding a cocktail tray. This now sits in a whole museum in Pyongyang, full of gifts given to the late dictator.

Well, back to the family for me!

Reaction is pouring in from the blogosphere and elsewhere on the Kissinger appointment. And all of those reactions seem to have something in common:

"Too absurd for words" -Instapundit

"What? Was Robert McNamara Busy? Henry Kissinger? The head of the 9/11 inquiry needs to be trustworthy and credible, so his or her report isn't suspected of being a whitewash. Kissinger may be many things, but trustworthy and credible aren't the virtues that leap immediately to mind." -Mickey Kaus

"Hello. The man is famous, for, more than anything, being a near-pathological liar." -Eric Alterman

"...a proven coverup artist, a discredited historian, a busted liar, and a man who is wanted in many jurisdictions for the vilest of offenses" -Christopher Hitchens

"I just realized this - the man in charge of figuring out the errors in national security during September 11th can't actually travel to any of the places where the attacks were planned because he'd be arrested for war crimes." -Jesse (Pandagon)

"This is a sick, black-is-white, war-is-peace joke--a cruel insult to the memory of those killed on 9/11 and a screw-you affront to any American who believes the public deserves a full accounting of government actions or lack thereof. It's as if Bush instructed his advisers to come up with the name of the person who literally would be the absolute worst choice for the post and, once they had, said, 'sign him up.'" -David Corn

Yes, it finally happened, Bush pissed off everybody.

As you read, Kaus joked "Was Robert McNamara busy?" Ha ha. However, given Bush's attempts to bar any sort of whistleblower protection in the new Homeland Security Department, perhaps Ellsburg would have been a more compelling choice. (:

The Homeland Security bill was passed and signed last week. Its final form was 475 pages long! But it comes with even more controversy than just the Kissinger commission. There has been a pork discovery within the bill, notably protections for Eli Lilly from being sued by users of some of their vaccines, which have in some cases caused autism in children.

Now, they're trying to figure out who stuck those paragraphs in there during the House debate. Waxman points a finger at Bush budget doctor Mitch Daniels, who denies it.

I'm not terribly concerned with who did this if it's someone from the House. I'd expect them to do this sort of thing. If it turns out to be the administration's doing, then that's just wrong. Remember a few weeks before the midterms, how Bush made a number of speeches saying that congressional Democrats were more interested in special interests than national security? Well what do the Eli Lilly paragraphs say about the GOP's interest in national security?

Again, Lott says they'll deal with the offending passages when congress reconvenes. I'll believe it when I see it.
This is, uh, not productive.
JERUSALEM (AP) - In an election-day attack, two Palestinian gunmen opened fire Thursday at a Likud Party office and at passengers in a nearby bus terminal in the northern Israeli town of Beit Shean. Five Israelis were killed and dozens wounded in the attack.

The gunmen were killed in an ensuing firefight with police, security guards and armed bystanders. Initial witness reports said a third gunmen fled to a nearby building but searchers did not find anyone else.

The shootings occurred the same day three suicide bombers attacked an Israeli-owned resort hotel in Kenya, killing 12 other people, and at least two missiles were fired at, but missed, an Israeli airliner taking off from an airport in nearby Mombasa, Kenya.
Hmm, turmoil persists in the Arab-Israeli situation. Bin Laden is alive and well. The Taliban is finding its way back into Afghanistan. But nevermind that! Let's attack Iraq! Okay, yes the inspectors are in, but the wingnuts are just waiting for the slightest opening to undermine the inspections. They're in "gimme one reason" mode.

...But they look good!

According to AP, Senator Mary Landrieu has a "commanding lead" over opponent Suzanne Terrell heading into their December 7 runoff:
Landrieu: 50.4%
Terrell: 33.9%
Generally, when an incumbent polls over 50%, that's usually an indication that their seat is safe. Now let's get on the phone with Chafee and McCain...
Bush announces that yes, there will be an independent commission to investigate what happened with 9/11.

There must be a catch, right?

Well... yes.

The head of the investigation, as chosen by Dubya, is none other than Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. My word, what are the implications of this?

1) We get to hear that voice again.
2) Hold the phone. Kissinger is the godfather of the type of foreign policy that created Osama Bin Laden in the first place. (not to mention our sale of arms to Iran) From his ascent on, tens of thousands of innocent people have been killed in our lovely regime replacements all over the world, in Chile, El Salvador, southwest Africa, Nicaragua, etc. Need we mention the bombings of Cambodia and Laos? (Kudos to Hitchens for putting his Bush-suckup tendencies on hold to criticize the Kissinger. After all, he wrote a whole book on the guy.)
3) We are not likely to get any real answers out of this. What else could we expect with the fascists in complete power?

Will we find out that Dubya stayed up late drinking the night before he got that August 6 memo? We'll probably neer know...

UPDATE... David Corn over at The Nation gives us a refresher on all the lovely things on Kissinger's resume. Summed up,
Asking Henry Kissinger to investigate government malfeasance or nonfeasance is akin to asking Slobodan Milosevic to investigate war crimes.
Well, the Bushies just got rid of Harvey Pitt, it had to even out didn't it? Oy vey.

As Norm McDonald said, "Happy Thanksgiving, or as turkeys call it, 'Murder Day'"

(or, perhaps, "Smallpox Day #2")

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Scoobie vs Limbaugh, this is an interesting coda to Daschle and Gore's comments about the right wing-controlled media. (via Rittenhouse)
Now THIS is an idea I can get behind.

This time, the free state secedes!
Hmm, maybe Bush himself is gonna serve after all!

And hmmm...
"Col. Gene [Diering] says that if we take out the communications tower in Al Basrah, we can have a pizza party," Pvt. Josh Paretsky of Midland, TX, said. "Pizza party! Pizza party! Pizza party!" (emphasis mine)
Who was that guy who grew up in Midland, Texas?

(of course, Midland is also where Laura perfected her Keith Moon impersonation)
Al Gore stands up for Tom Daschle:
"The media is kind of weird these days on politics, and there are some major institutional voices that are, truthfully speaking, part and parcel of the Republican Party," said Mr. Gore in an interview with The Observer. "Fox News Network, The Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh—there’s a bunch of them, and some of them are financed by wealthy ultra-conservative billionaires who make political deals with Republican administrations and the rest of the media …. Most of the media [has] been slow to recognize the pervasive impact of this fifth column in their ranks—that is, day after day, injecting the daily Republican talking points into the definition of what’s objective as stated by the news media as a whole."
He's right, you know.
Elton John disses Madonna's horrible Bond theme song.

I agree with Reginald on this one, that song just... there is no there there!

By the way, does the quality of the Bond theme song have any bearing on the quality of the movie? Let's take the last two:

movie: Die Another Day (not great)
song by: Madonna (god-awful)

movie: The Wolrd Is Not Enough (wretched)
song by: Garbage (excellent)

hmm no pattern so far... (btw anybody want to challenge the fact that Sir Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die" is the most high-quality Bond theme song of all time?)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Because media broadcasts may spread news too slowly in emergencies, a group of U.S. security experts recommended on Monday that Americans carry government-issued beepers for alerts of pending nuclear attack, biological threat or tornado.(full story)
Sometimes I get the feeling that someday in America, nearly 60% of the clothing material we wear will be composed of alert bracelets and beepers.
Krugman hits hard as usual, this time going after the Bushies on clean air. He makes some predictions about the administration, I hope he's wrong but I'm afraid that he might have seen the future.
About 50 Petaluma High School students who walked out of classes Wednesday to protest U.S. policy on Iraq have received one-day suspensions.

Some students and their parents said Monday the suspensions were unfair because students at other Sonoma County high schools who also staged protest walkouts were not suspended.

Petaluma school officials did not make the decision "lightly or capriciously," said Tom Joynt, director of alternative education and child welfare and attendance.

"It's the obligation of the principal to ensure compliance with attendance rules," he said.

"I am heartened that young people are learning the responsibility of being a citizen, which often means dissent from popular opinion," Joynt said.

But he said the protesters also learned another lesson: "Civil disobedience can have a consequence, such as in this case suspension."

Allowing students to walk out without consequences would set a bad precedent, he said. (full story)
Seems a little harsh to me, dont you think? Regardless of whether or not the administrators took their decision lightly.

Imagine if walking out of class for any reason was grounds for suspension in college, even community college.

The students did try to negotiate before their walk-out, but the top brass wouldn't have any of it. Still, if Mr Joynt says that's their policy, then fair enough. The students mad their point, and a one-day suspension is a very small price to pay. Good work, guys.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002


I'm now back at the original TFM headquarters in San Mateo. I will probably be quite busy this week, so blogging may be light. I'm happy to report that I had a lovely cup of coffee with my best friend, who had just returned from South Africa the previous week.

More to come soon (I have one more post-South-Africa reunion, hehehe)

Monday, November 25, 2002


My DSL is down here at TFM Headquarters.

Expect my next post to be late tuesday night, after I have temporarily relocated my HQ to San Mateo CA. (home of the Trailer Park Bearcats!)

Sunday, November 24, 2002

(A fall-down drunk, holding two future fall-down drunks)

The Bush twins turn 21 tomorrow. I get the feeling this will not affect their lifestyles that much.

The remaining question is: Will cousin Noelle's card be signed by everyone in her cell block?