Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book of the Month

Time for a new Book of the Week. But it appears I was a little ambitious in thinking I could actually get a new review out every week. I guess it's more of a Book of the Month now.

So, that said, I noted over my holiday that there is a new Pentagon Papers exposé in the wind.

By an interesting coincidence, when this news broke, had I just finished reading Daniel Ellsberg's Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.

Daniel Ellsberg, for those of you too young to recall, is one of the most important patriots of the 20th Century, who went from conservative Cold Warrior to anti-war activist while working with super-secret documents both at the State Department and the Defense Department and also with the think-tank Rand Corporation.

This eminently readable and totally gripping account shows the steps in that process, and illustrates why a member of the Nixon White House called him "the most dangerous man in America". Had Ellsberg not released those thousands of documents that were the "smoking gun" proving that an ignoble succession of five presidents had consistently lied to the American people about their goals in Vietnam, then the infamous White House "Plumbers" would not have been formed and there would have been no Watergate burglary and consequently no resignation of Richard Nixon.

And while it's easy to look back and play "What If?", I'm not crazy enough to want to find out what an unfettered by domestic problems Richard Nixon would have done to SE Asia -- after all, there was a lot of loose talk about so-called "tactical nuclear weapons" with battlefield control in the early Nixon Administration.

So we have Daniel Ellsberg to thank for changing the course of history. The least we can do in return is to buy his book, an insider's account of historical events and decisions that we were involved in as unwilling participants -- victims, even -- that ought to be required reading in every high school civics* history class.
Highly recommended!

[* Sorry, nobody learns "civics" any more...]

Afghanistan America's Longest War?

It's Afghanistan, if you believe the media. I guess it all depends on when you start counting and when you stop.

Officially it's still the Vietnam War, which began with Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964 and ended with the fall of Saigon in 1975. That's the period of time the Veterans Administration considers when determining "Vietnam Era Service".

But by rights that war really started with the fall of the French colonial empire in Indochina in 1954, immediately after which we stepped in to take up the slack because we could not stand it if Vietnamese people were given a vote in their own government.

Because, surprise, they would have voted overwhelmingly for Ho Chi Minh.

But I digress, sort of. It appears that the media is counting Vietnam as ending in 1973 when the last combat troops left. But, as this article points out, the first casualty of the Vietnam War (if you don't count the WWII Flying Tiger John Donovan, shot down in 1942) was Richard Fitzgibbon in 1956, and the last were twoMarine embassy guards, Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge, who both died on April 29, 1975.

And that makes the Vietnam War very nearly 40 years long. But it doesn't make for good headlines and news-crawl alerts, nor does it make for snappy End the War in Vietnamistan signs that proclaim Afghanistan as the new "longest war".

What do I care, anyway. I'm just one of those pushy sticklers for historical accuracy, which appear to be a dying breed...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Going Dark

I have grandchildren coming to visit for a week, so they'll undoubtedly be absorbing pretty much all of my spare time.

See you in a week or so, and thanks for reading.

--The F Man

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Homo Devil Machine

The Neo-Luddites are really hard at it these days:

I mean really, does it really not matter that Alan Turing's work essentially won WWII in Europe, and that his work with the earliest computers saved untold thousands -- maybe millions -- of lives? Really?

What is wrong with these people? Would anyone want to try to live without the contributions of Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, or Robert Hooke? (All probably gay; you could look it up.)

It is truly astounding -- no, appalling -- that this mindset exists.

I'm surprised that Fred Phelps hasn't picked up the banner for this one.

Actually, no, I am not really surprised, since old Feeble Freddy relies too much on his computer to get out the word and especially to get to the stupid homophobic members of the Moron-American Voting Bloc so they can contribute their loose dollars, which would otherwise be squandered on Satan's Media (cable television) and the Devil's Brew (Coors Lite), to his whole "god hates fags" campaign. Wouldn't want to go all 19th Century and strangle that cash cow, would we?

Fucking hypocrites.

President Palin???!!!

After making my "Farnsworth is going to hell" church sign, I started wondering about other roll-your-own sign pages. Turns out there are a lot of them. Check out Sign Generator, a compendium of a bunch of digital sign-making websites.

That's where I came across this gem, which is based on one of my absolute favorite paintings, Edvard Munch's great 1893 Expressionist painting The Scream.

As troubled as I was by vandalizing, even temporarily and digitally, Munch's painting, I just couldn't help myself...

Slaves of Satan

I can remember back in the day, when only a certain gang of so-called "one percenters" -- i.e., outlaw motorcyclists -- were Satan's Slaves.

Now it appears that I'm going to have get my own set of gang colors since I am, according to the Fundo Baptists, officially a slave of Satan:

I'm not certain that these are legitimate, but they appear to be. They don't look like they came from the Church Sign Maker site:

Free to Be ... You and Me? Uh, Not So Much

Jeez, I just love the Teabaggers. They are a never-ending source of humor and amazement to me.

Take this recent example:

One thing I like to say is: America is great, not because of our genetics. We're great because we created a place and space where people can be free. And they can choose Christ, they can choose to be faithful. They can worship, and they find their way to the Lord. And -- or some of them don't. We sure want them all to, but some of them don't.
Part of that freedom -- when you take a government and you impose, and take away all your choices. One of the choices you take away is to find the Lord. And to find your savior.
And that's one of the things that's most destructive about the growth of government. It's this taking away of that freedom. The freedom -- the ultimate freedom, to find your salvation, to get your salvation. And to find Christ, for me and you.
And I think that's one of the things that we have to be very, very aware of. That the Obama Administration and Congressman Carnahan are doing to us.
The speaker? A dickwad graduate of Glenn Beck U. named Ed Martin, who is running, as a Republican (never saw that coming, did you?), for the US House in Missouri's Third District.

Martin goes out of his way to try to erect a "wall of separation" between himself and the GOP, though. "I'm not running to be a Republican in Congress, I'm running to be in Congress," he said. His campaign website featured teabaggers carrying signs calling Obama the usual litany of names, including Marxist and Dictator.

TPM has the whole story.

[HT to Teaparty Jesus for the story.]

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Should the American Flag be Banned in Schools?

I get a lot of bullshit from the few far-righty wingnuts who are still willing to say that they know me, so it didn't really surprise me today when I got an email from my old Army acquaintance, Billy-Bob:

Fox is running a poll about whether the flag should be banned in schools in order not to inflame Hispanic students. The poll is being sandbagged by SEIU (California union of service workers) and we should mount a counter action if you agree with me that the flag should be taken down for no one., Organizing for America, and SEIU have been twittering today to go to this Fox Poll and vote to ban the Flag ....
SHOW THEM WHAT TRUE PATRIOTS BELIEVE!!! Let's flip those numbers and show that we love our flag and it should be proudly flown in schools and everywhere! ....flip the numbers now-FLIP THE HOUSE in November!
Leave it to Clusterfox News. Since this is the first I've heard of it, I don't know the background on this but I am willing to bet good money that it is NOT what the Foxfuckers are claiming it is.

Here's the text of their poll:
Should the American Flag be Banned -- in America?
o No. This is a lame decision. Teach the kids what the flag means, instead of banning it.
o Yes. The safety of students comes first.
o Not sure, but of all things to ban, the American flag would seem the least 'incendiary.'
o Other (post a comment)
Down at the bottom they feel the need to tell us that this "not a scientific poll"... Jeez, ya think?

Feel free to drop by and skew the results yourself. All of us over here in Commie-Nazi-Fascist-Socialist-Obamacare land where we are in lockstep koolaid-sucking mode with, Organizing for America and the Service Employees Union will appreciate it.

Friday, July 09, 2010

They Never Give Up

This is why the fight to maintain the separation of church and state in the public schools is a never-ending battle. Now evangelical groups are just getting sneakier.

Rob Boston over Americans United for Separation of Church and State has compiled a short list of what are likely the most egregious offenders, groups that have secular-sounding names and description which offer "services" to school districts.

A couple of examples:

Team Impact, Headquarters: Coppell, Texas
Budget: $1,865,141
Description: Similar to the Power Team and the Strength Team, Team Impact uses muscle-bound performers to get the attention of young people. According to the group’s Web site, “[Y]our church has the ability to impact your schools with this powerful message. Very rarely do we not couple these effective school outreaches with our local church events.” The ministry claims to address 700,000 students every year.
Mission: “To spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The organization promotes and sponsors programs directed to the youth of America to encourage them to live and grow in life styles which are based on Biblical principles.”

Todd Becker Foundation
, Headquarters: Kearney, Neb.
Budget: No information available
Description: This group was founded by the older brother of a Nebraska high school student who died in a drunk-driving accident in 2005. It purports to offer lectures on the dangers of drunk driving to schools, but critics say its real purpose is to evangelize public school students.
Mission: “The Foundation’s purpose is to motivate young individuals to discover their potentials and ultimately discover themselves through first discovering God’s plan for their life by placing their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”
Check that nearly 2 million dollar budget for Team Impact, and then please consider making your own tax-deductible donation to Americans United.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

You Can Run But You Can't Hide

We're a nation that just loves blowing stuff up. So, unless you want to drive out in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, you just can't get away from fireworks.

Next year I'm not going to try. I'm just going to take some Xanax (the palindromic pill) and zone out for three days.

But the good news is that it's finally summer!!! Temp was in the high 80s yesterday, supposed to go to 93 this afternoon. Yay! Last year we had an early spring and a long dry summer. It was great. I took the top off the Jeep in early April and didn't put it back on until late September. This year was different. It was cold and drizzly right up to the 4th, but now summer has arrived in all its sweltering glory.

She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed hates it. She's good only for daytimes stretched out on the couch with the portable A/C blowing on her. But she's a Northwest Girl, and never got used to the heat. I grew up in Oklahoma where it was common to have long runs of temperatures hovering near the 100 degree mark.

To each his own, I say.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Okay, It's July 4th Weekend

You know, when I was a kid, Independence Day used to be my favorite holiday.

And then a little Southeast Asia vacation got in the way and all of a sudden shit blowing up in the sky and making big scary noises wasn't so fun any more...

Anyway, we're skipping town to find someplace where the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air aren't as Kandahar-y as they are here. Although I don't know where that could be. Maybe the desert in Eastern Washington...

Everybody, have a safe and sane Fourth, and I'll catch you next week....

I Want a Recount

According to a recent poll by the Siena Research Institute, Baby Doc Bush came in as the worst president of the modern era, and in the bottom five of all time.

If that little fucker wasn't a clear winner of the Worst of All Time, then there must be something wrong with the polling data.

I'm just sayin'....

Welcome to the Newest Farnsworth

Presenting my new great-grandson, Emmitt Andrew Morrow, born on June 27, 2010, in Portland, Oregon, who is now the newest member of the Farnsworth clan:

This is why I've been kind of quiet the last few days. A new baby takes precedence over everything. BTW, he's 9 lbs and some ounces and stands 22" tall. If you hold him up of course -- we tend to be precocious in the Farnsworth family, but that's stretching it.

Speaking of which, I'll probably be calling him "Stretch" if he maintains that height. I wanted them to name him "Tom" (as in Tom Morrow), but the parents wouldn't go for it. Go figure...