Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

pinions of buddy don: grate new translayshun of Švejk

befor thay wuz a catch 22 (or even books that aint near as much pure fun such as the naked and the dead or the things they carried or a farewell to arms), thay wuz a grate war novel name of The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War.

ye kin always tell when english speakin folks thanks a book is grate on a counta they make speshul edishuns, such as the modern library edition, witch twuz translated by a feller name of cecil parrott.

i red thatn n rote a lil revue of it a lil over a year ago, witch that wuz lucky on a counta purty soon i herd frum a feller name of zenny k. sadlon, witch he had dun writ a translayshun of Švejk his ownself. we writ a few emails back n forth till i jes had to read me his vershun.

am i ever glad i dunnit. taint that cecil parrotts vershun dint strike me as a goodn. i enjoyed it a lot, but once i red the new translayshun, i wuz spoilt. heres a cuple lil eggzamples why i lack zenny k. sadlons vershun better. take, fer instunts, the verr furst three paragrafs. heres how cecil parrott translated em:
'And so they've killed our Ferdinand,' said the charwoman to Mr Švejk, who had left military service years before after having been finally certified by an army medical board as an imbecile, and now lived by selling dogs -- ugly, mongrel monstrosities whose pedigrees he forged.

Apart from this occupation he suffered from rheumatism and was at this very moment rubbing his knees with Elliman's embrocation.

'Which Ferdinand, Mrs. Müller?' he asked, going on with the massaging. 'I know two Ferdinands. One is a messenger at Prusa's, the chemist's, and once by mistake he drank a bottle of hair oil there. And the other is Ferdinand Kokoska, who collects dog manure. Neither of them is any loss.'
heres how zenny k. sadlon translates em:
"So they've done it to us," said the cleaning woman to Mr. Švejk. "They've killed our Ferdinand."

Švejk had been discharged from the military service years ago when a military medical commission had pronounced him to be officially an imbecile. Now, he was making his living by selling dogs, ugly mongrel mutants that he sold as purebreds by forging their pedigrees. In addition to this demeaning vocation, Švejk also suffered from rheumatism and was just now rubbing his aching knees with camphor ice.

"Which Ferdinand, Mrs. Müller?" he asked. "I know two Ferdinands. One is the pharmacist Prusa's delivery boy, who drank up a whole bottle of hair potion once by mistake. And then, I know one Ferdinand Kokoska, who collects dog turds. Neither one of them would be much of a loss."
one of em reads lack the translator wuz lookin backwurds at the 19th centry style of ritin, tuther lookin fords at the langwage n style of the modurn novel, witch Švejk is one of the furst of them modurn ones (ifn taint the verr furst). i couldnt hardly stop readin the new one, witch i wonted to saver it a bit, but nex thang i knew, i wuz dun n hopin fer zenny k. sadlon to cum out with the nex book in the series.

heres a cuple more eggzamples of whut makes thisn bettern tuther. in cecil parrotts translayshun, Švejk has a thang he often sez that parrott translates as 'humbly report, sir!' Švejk uses this to start tellin mos innythang he has been ast or orderd to tell.

i kindly lack that 'humbly report' n humbly report my ownself how at furst i dint take too well to zenny k. sadlon translatin it as 'dutifully report, sir!' it dint seem to flow as well or fit on yer tung as easy n twuznt as commonly used in other contexts in english, but tiz a verr importunt differnts that i cum to prefer as i red on.

why? the meanin of that fraze gut to resonatin fer me: dutifully means that the feller did or is reportin whutever, not on a counta how he wonts to, but on a counta how hes been orderd to. that lil differnts turns out to be huge on a counta tiz more in keepin with Švejks passiv agressiv manner of doin thangs, more lack the way czechs often kin be accordin to whut i been tole by the czechs i know.

tuther differnts wurks well fer me on a counta how i used to live in germany, witch as ye mite magin, the influents of germans n the german langwage is verr pronounced in a novel bout the german side of worl war one. in cecil parrotts translayshun, he refers to Švejks role in his servus to a field chaplun as Švejk bein a 'batman.' mayhap twuz a common term fer a persunal assistunt at one time, but it dont wurk now on a counta how ye gut the cartoon batman n almos nobidy knows whut a batman ever wuz sides a twisted vigilante crime fiter.

zenny k. sadlon made a differnt choice in his translayshun, witch he uses the german putzfleck. tiz a much better choice on a counta how tiz typisch deutsch (typicull german). it means litterly 'spot clean' or sumthing to that effeck. tiz more demeanin n shows how tiz a wurd deescribin a persun deevoted to verr small tasks, lack cleanin the lil spots that sumbidy else dun missed.

tiz a hole slew of choices lack these that makes zenny k. sadlons translayshun so eggcitin, easy to read n hard to putt down. i know im jes waitin fer the nex volum to be reddy.

ifn ye wonta git a copy fer yer ownself, foller this lank. ye wont be disappointed!

Monday, August 29, 2005

pinions of buddy don: that nobull cause

in this mornins los angelees times they gut em a articull name of Draft Clearly Shows Points of Contention with a list of sum of the thangs in that iraqi constitushun, witch that must be the nobull cause our soljers has been dyin fer. in case ye aint had a chants to read it, heres sum of them thangs our soljers has been over thar dyin fer:
  • The Role of Islam
    Article 2 establishes Islam as the official religion of the state and a basic source of legislation, guarantees the "Islamic identity" of the majority of the Iraqi people and requires that no law contradict the "undisputed" rules of Islam. At the same time, it requires that laws do not contradict democratic principles and basic freedoms. It also safeguards religious freedom for Iraq's Christians and other minority faiths. However, it does not explain how those sometimes-contradictory goals will be resolved. The language represents a compromise between pious Shiite Muslims who had demanded that Islam be the main source of legislation and Kurds and urban liberals who had sought a secular system.

  • Dual Citizenship
    Article 18 grants every Iraqi the right to dual citizenship. Sunni Arabs and others opposed this provision, but were overruled by Iraq's new political class. Many Iraqi elites spent decades abroad during Hussein's reign and want the option of returning to the country that sheltered them if the Iraqi experiment fails.

  • Welfare State
    Articles 28 to 34 define Iraq as a welfare state in the tradition of Western Europe. The constitution exempts the poor from taxes while guaranteeing universal healthcare and free education at all levels for all Iraqis, without defining how to fund such ambitious plans. It guarantees the right of Iraqis to a clean environment and commits the state to preserving the "biological diversity" of wildlife.

  • The Courts
    Article 90 allows experts in Islamic as well as civil law to serve on the supreme federal court. Iraqi Shiites had originally wanted a separate court to vet laws according to Islamic criteria, but secular Iraqis and Sunnis were outraged, fearing an Iranian-style Guardian Council, which approves all laws in Tehran.

  • Women in Government
    Article 137 reserves 25% of the seats in the future parliament for women, who scored a victory by pushing out a previous clause that put an eight-year time limit on the provision.
so lemme see ifn i am gittin this strate.

we are:
  • spendin over $200 billyuns of our dollars
  • ackceptin the deaths of nigh onto 2,000 soljers
  • injuries to moren 10,000 of em
  • collaterull deaths of sumwhar twixt 25,000 n 100,000 folks who wuz unlucky a nuff to be in the way
to make iraq safe to be:
  • a welfare state
  • with affirmative ackshun fer women politishuns
  • no separayshun twixt the state n the church [islamick, either sunni or shia, witch shorely they kin git along, rite?] to whar it looks lack lil more than a iraqi vershun of the iranian islamick republick
  • with dual citizenship eggscape clawzes writ in sos them that fled saddam kin git home safe ifn thangs dont wurk out fer em now that hes gone.
hey cindy! i thank we dun found yer nobull cause! cindy? cindy! we gut yer nobull cause, rite here.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

pitchers tuck by buddy don: nuther risin sun

amungst all them blesins thay is n thays a more ye could shake a stick at -- or as mountain girl sez, blessings abound -- cheef amungst em is thisn:
a nuther risin sun.
as ye kin planely see tiz sundy ...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

observayshuns of buddy don: three dialogs

first dialog:

day befor yesterdy miz bd give her daughter loretta a thai yoga massage, witch shes a'studyin up on lots of thangs havin to do with healin. loretta cum over in the afternoon along with her beau, feller name of paddy frum county offaly over in ireland. miz bd calls paddy her son-out-law.

innybidy as purty n smart as loretta is probly a'gone have a boyfrien of sum kind n since i been a'knowin her thays been a cuple of em. furstn wuz a feller frum australia name of andrew.

i met im n loretta bof in prague back when i wuz cortin miz bd. i dint hardly git to know the feller, but seemed almost lack the nex thang i knew, him n loretta broke up, but not befor loretta got down to australia n brung us back one of them boomarangs they sell down thar.

so happend that not long after she give it to us, twuz a'lyin on the bed n i dint see it whenever i sat down on it n broke it rite in half. miz bd tuck it n patched it up as good as she could n hung it up on the wall.

so whenever miz bd had jes finished a'givin loretta that thai yoga massage, she n paddy happend to notice the broke boomarang. miz bd splaind whut had happend n sed she kindly figgerd twuz a sine that the relayshunship with andrew wuznt a'gone last. i reckon that hit a bit close to the bone on a counta how loretta gut all quite fer a spell n then sed, 'Let me know if your Guinness goes bad."

everbidy laffed at that n then paddy sed, 'It's all right. Guinness isn't Irish.'

secunt dialog:

i writ yesterdy bout how i had that horrbull tingull on my scalp thats a shore sine a migraine is a'cummin on but i made it past the hardest part of the day n then cum home a lil early. i had dun putt in 47 hours innyway, so twuz ok to leave around 1 pm.

once i gut home, i wuz a'feelin awful till i thought i wuz a'gone cummence to vomittin when miz bd sed we should try a ole trick she knew bout whar ye run ye sum hot water in the bathtub n the person with the hedache sits with his bare feet down in that hot water sos all the bloodll drain frum the hed n go down to the feet.

i wuz feelin to bad to putt up much resistunts to the idee, so quick as she gut the bath water drawn, i went in n putt my feet in it. twuz on the hot side, a nuff to whar i had to be keerful not to git burnt, but it felt rite nice. i brung the book im a'readin on at the moment -- isaac asimovs Prelude to Foundation -- n read fer a spell till the water cooled down.

quick as that, i wuz feelin better, even tho i still gut that simptum. but thang is, i real eyesed after i had dun washed my feet in hot water that befor that, thar had been a lil dialog a'goin on twixt me n my bidy.

hed wood say 'horrbull tingull' n i wood anser back how i did not *half* to git sick. but my hed kep ansern back with a nuther round of 'horrbull tingull, horrbull tingull.'

thang is, i couldnt git my hed to say whuther that tingull wuz a'gone make me sick, but i couldnt stop astin n till i couldnt tell if i wuz gittin sick frum my hed sayin 'horrbull tingull' or frum the wurry over whuther the horrbull tingull meant whut i feard it meant.

once i putt my feet in that hot bath, twuz lack changin the topick of the conversayshun. feet wuz sayin 'ouch, be keerful now' till i kindly fergut all bout that conversayshun with the hed. miz bd kep on a'comin in with more boilin water to pore in sos them feet keep up thar chatter.

i finely gut dun n cum out n miz bd sed, 'yer back,' witch she sez that whenever i dun been in a migraine to whar she feels lack i aint ritely thar, witch i feel the same way durin em. dont know whuther the change in conversayshun gut me past that bad spell or not. still have the horrbull tingull, but i aint as botherd by it now. caint splain it, but i shore hope it means alls well now.

third dialog:

whenever miz bd woke up this mornin, she tuck a look out the winder n remarked bout how beeyootiful the sky wuz n did i wonta go out to take sum pitchers. i sed i wood got out but twuz her turn to use the camera, so she screwed it onto this monopod thang we gut n out we went.

whilst she wuz a'takin pitchers, a feller cum up n cummenced a conversayshun bout the immense sky n how it made even the skyline of man hattan look small. he wuz a lil tallern me, wearin a black uniform on a counta how hes wurkin securty fer one of the local apartment bildens, n twuz near time fer im to git off.

then he gut to talkin bout a slew of thangs, witch heres sum of em.

'When people axe me whar I live, I tell em I live at home and in church. Because, brother, wherever I am, I am home and I am in church.

'I see them clouds up there all turnin colors frum black to blue to red to white and it reminds me that there is no race, no black or white or yellow race. There is only one race, the human race.

'And when people axe me whether I'm a cathlick or baptist or whatever they got, I tell em yes, I am a cathlick ... and a baptist and a buddhist and a muslim and a hindu and you name it. And thats cause there aint but one god for all them religions.

'You know, you can get all the truth you need from the playground just by watchin little chilren play. They dont worry about black or white or religion. They dont even have to speak the same language since they just play and figure it out. We should be learnin from them. Instead, we educate them when it should be the other way around.'

wuznt much i could say back besides amen.

purt soon his shift ended n he offerd to shake so i give im my hand n we shuck only he dint let go while he tole me his name, witch twuz a irish name. he tole me n sed, 'im a black irishman.' he laffd fer a bit before he turnt a'loose of my hand n walked off.

heres a pitcher miz bd tuck of the sunrise that gut us to talkin ...

Friday, August 26, 2005

weauxphs of buddy don: that horrbull tingull

i writ yesterdy with pride bout how i hadnt had no migraines in over two munths. then around lunch time thar cum that tingull on my scalp that means ones a'cummin on, tho i hope i kin beat it. i still gut that tingull, witch its dun turnt into a slow burn, as if i had a lil hot iron borin down into a strip of my hed on the lef side. miz bd kin feel the differnts in the temp of that spot n the res of my hed with her cheek. but lack i say, i hope i kin beat it, witch i dun tuck my erbs this mornin.

but the fack is, tiz a reeminder bout how ye orta not weauxph (pronounced 'woof'), witch thats a term frum referrin to whenever sumbidy brags befor the game bout how thar team is a'gone whup tuthern. bleef on that newsgroup is how such weauxphin leads to yer losin the verr thang ye weauxph bout. tiz akin to the greek wurd hubris.

then thars that famus one bout pride goin befor a fall.

but i kin make it to wurk n hope i kin last the day.

pallgies fer the selfish blog entry.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

eggscuses of buddy don: no time fer bloggin

the eggscuse this time: i gut to git sos i kin make a mornin meetin. i dun overslept jes a nuff to leave me no time fer bloggin, but i wonted to make a note sos them that knows me n reads this here blog to make shore i aint havin a migraine all kin be shore i aint gut no migraine. blessed fack is, i aint had one fer over two munths now, witch tiz the furst time i been healthy so long since last september.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

pomes of buddy don: It's Always Seemed to Me a Little Odd

It's Always Seemed to Me a Little Odd

It's always seemed to me a little odd
That in his time on earth as Jesus, God
Would fail to make a parable or mention
How being gay defies nature's convention.

Or why in all the truths He did convey
No word against abortion did He say?
Why didn't He explain where life begins
Instead of pard'ning evil-doers' sins?

Or how could He ignore the bankers' need
To charge percents of interest that exceed
The fed's prime rate by multiples of eight?
How else can rich folks' wealth accumulate?

Instead He advised all to be so meek
That, if attacked, we turn the other cheek
Did He not know the interests of our nation
Might demand covert assassination?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

ramblins of buddy don: a lil this n that fer tuesdy

dun spent the mornin trine to git a nuther chaptur writ fer that novel, life n pinions of buddy don, hillbilly (furst part, secunt part) so i dint git much chants to blog, but heres sum articulls ye mite coulda missed.

furst, ye dun herd bout the weppons of mass deestruckshun we had to invade iraq to git, witch they dint find nun.

then twuz splaind how we had to invade on a counta how iraq had ties to al qaeda, witch that turnt out not to be true neethur.

nex, we wuz tole that ifn we gut rid of saddam, we wood be safer n the insurgentsy wood die out, witch twuz a nuther noshun that dint wurk out.

then twuz to fite em over thar sos we woodnt half to fite em over here, witch seems lack them london bombins putt the lie to thatn.

finely twuz to liberate them iraqis n make it safe fer democksrussy. sos ye mite could wunder ifn thatns a'gone turn out false too, lease ifn ye kin bleeve that thar articull name of US relents on Islamic law to reach Iraq deal, witch that wuznt cuverd in the amurkin press they way twuz in other cuntries lack england. heres a lil of whut kinda deal we dun made with em:
Conservative Shias, dominant in the Iraqi government, had clashed with Kurds and other minorities who wanted Islam to be "a" rather than "the" main source of law.

According to Kurdish and Sunni negotiators, the US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, proposed that Islam be named "a primary source" and supported a wording which would give clerics authority in civil matters such as divorce, marriage and inheritance.

If approved, critics say that the proposals would erode women's rights and other freedoms enshrined under existing laws. "We understand the Americans have sided with the Shias. It's shocking. It doesn't fit with American values," an unnamed Kurdish negotiator told Reuters. "They have spent so much blood and money here, only to back the creation of an Islamist state."

Dozens of women gathered in central Baghdad yesterday to protest against what the organiser, Yanar Mohammad, feared would be a "fascist, nationalist and Islamist" constitution. "We are fighting to avoid becoming second class citizens," she said.
corse, not everbidy is happy bout the amurkin role, witch this articull name of Kurds Fault U.S. on Iraqi Charter; Ambassador, in Rush, Pushed Big Role for Islam, They Say splains bout that:
BAGHDAD, Aug. 20 -- Kurdish politicians negotiating a draft constitution criticized the U.S. ambassador to Iraq on Saturday for allegedly pushing them to accept too great a role for Islamic law in his drive to complete the charter on time.

Although a Sunni delegate made similar charges, U.S. officials declined to comment publicly while they worked with politicians as a Monday deadline loomed.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad spent Saturday shuttling among Iraqi political leaders, members of Iraq's constitutional committee said. Distribution of oil revenue dominated the talks, but no agreement was reached, delegates said. Shiite Arab, Kurdish and Sunni Muslim factions differ on how much revenue should be controlled by the government and how it should be divided.

The question of Islamic law drew strong public protests from Kurds.
The working draft of the constitution stipulates that no law can contradict Islamic principles. In talks with Shiite religious parties, Kurdish negotiators said they have pressed unsuccessfully to limit the definition of Islamic law to principles agreed upon by all groups. The Kurds said current language in the draft would subject Iraqis to extreme interpretations of Islamic law.

Kurds also contend that provisions in the draft would allow Islamic clerics to serve on the high court, which would interpret the constitution. That would potentially subject marriage, divorce, inheritance and other civil matters to religious law and could harm women's rights, according to the Kurdish negotiators and some women's groups.

Khalilzad supported those provisions and urged other groups to accept them, according to Kurds involved in the talks.
seems lack iran is winnin the iraqi war!

then thars this articull name of Under US noses, brutal insurgents rule Sunni citadel:
The executions are carried out at dawn on Haqlania bridge, the entrance to Haditha. A small crowd usually turns up to watch even though the killings are filmed and made available on DVD in the market the same afternoon.

One of last week's victims was a young man in a black tracksuit. Like the others he was left on his belly by the blue iron railings at the bridge's southern end. His severed head rested on his back, facing Baghdad. Children cheered when they heard that the next day's spectacle would be a double bill: two decapitations. A man named Watban and his brother had been found guilty of spying.

With so many alleged American agents dying here Haqlania bridge was renamed Agents' bridge. Then a local wag dubbed it Agents' fridge, evoking a mortuary, and that name has stuck.

A three-day visit by a reporter working for the Guardian last week established what neither the Iraqi government nor the US military has admitted: Haditha, a farming town of 90,000 people by the Euphrates river, is an insurgent citadel.
ifn ye lack to thank thangs is so much bettern in iraq now, ye orta not read that articull. but ifn ye kin stumach thatn, ye kin probly git thru the one name of Killers in the Neighborhood:
There was a time when Mohammad al-Obaidi didn't worry much about safety. As a barber in Baghdad's gritty working-class Washash neighborhood, al-Obaidi would spend his days styling hair--for Sunnis, Shi'ites, Christians, whoever showed up at his World of Haircuts barbershop. Evenings, he would slip off to play soccer with friends. These days, however, as Iraq plunges deeper into civil unrest, al-Obaidi, 27, a stout, personable man who sports a buzz cut, spends much of his time calculating how to stay alive, wondering whether the anonymous killers who now stalk the streets of Washash will come after him, perhaps at his shop or on the long road home.

Al-Obaidi was snipping away at a customer's hair last month when a text message beeped on his cell phone. CHANGE YOUR PROFESSION, it read, OR ELSE YOU'LL LOSE YOUR HEAD. At first, he thought it was a joke. He immediately called back the number, expecting that he would reach a friend. After all, al-Obaidi is a barber, not a cop or a U.S. hireling, and he wasn't aware that he had any enemies. But in the climate of fanaticism that now prevails in Baghdad, barbers are being singled out by Sunni extremists who say that cutting a man's beard violates Islam. "Do what we say," a stranger on the line told him, "or we'll kill you."

A murder spree has erupted in Washash, as in countless neighborhoods across Baghdad. Death squads, which tend to move in Opel sedans, are entering what once were tight-knit communities and killing ordinary citizens, apparently to stir up sectarian hatred. The goal: to incite a civil war that each side hopes will give its sect dominance over the other. In Baghdad, a city of more than 5 million, there were at least 880 violent deaths last month, according to Faiq Amin Bakr, director of the Baghdad central morgue. (In New York City, with a population of more than 8 million, the total number of homicides for all of 2004 was 571.) And the figure for Baghdad excludes those killed by car bombings and suicide attacks, which, if included, would add nearly 100 to the total. Most of the victims were felled by gunshots. Some were beheaded. Few of the murderers have been captured. "Nobody knows who is doing this killing," says Bakr. "It seems they're trying to destroy our society."
ye mite could wunder how to git more folk to join the army to go over n hep out, witch bob herbert deescribes how tiz dun in a articull name of Truth in Recruiting:
Most Americans will tell you that they believe in honest, truthful, straightforward, ethical behavior.

So here's a question: Should people who are being recruited into the armed forces be told the truth about the risks they are likely to face if they agree to sign up and put on a uniform?

Right now, that is not happening. Recruiters desperate for warm bodies to be shipped to Iraq are prowling selected high schools and neighborhoods across the country with sales pitches that touch on everything but the possibility of being maimed or killed in combat.

The recruiters themselves are under enormous pressure from higher-ups who are watching crucial components of the all-volunteer military buckle under the strain of a war that was supposed to have been won in a jiffy, but instead just goes on and on.

So the teenagers who are the prime targets for recruitment are being told just about anything to ward off whatever misgivings they may have. Need money for college? No problem. You want to go to a nice place? Certainly. Maybe even Hawaii.

A young man who recently registered, as required, with the Selective Service System received an upbeat brochure in the mail touting the military's 30 days of annual "paid vacation," its free medical and dental care, its "competitive retirement" benefits and its "home loan program."
sounds so good, ye mite could thank sum of them that supports the war wood be joinin up!

Monday, August 22, 2005

pinions of buddy don: tiz a method, not a bidy of facks

one thang i member frum my skoolin is bein tawt bout the scientifick method. twuz in mr oberts class in seventh grade, witch that wuz called jr hi skool whar i went. they had em a ackcellerated class n i gut in on a counta havin been tawt in oak ridge befor movin n turnt out we wuz way ahead of the place we moved to. innywho, one of the thangs we gut frum that wuz speshul classes in science n math.

the science class wuz one of my faverts. mr obert had im a good way of gittin ye innerested, manely on a counta how he taught that science aint a book of ansers but a way of trine to observ the worl n cum up with valid theories bout how it really wurks. i wuz specktin to larn the thangs science had dun prooved, but furst than i larnt wuz that ye caint git 100% proof of innythang much, witch i dint git the full story on that till i gut into collidge n majurd in flossofy.

innywho, furst thang mr obert dun wuz make us memorize the scientifick method, witch here tiz:
  1. observe sum part of the universe
  2. invent ye a hypothesis to splain whut yer observin or how it wurks
  3. use yer hypothesis to make perdickshuns bout the part of the universe yer observin
  4. test yer perdickshuns by creatin sum kinda eggsperment sos ye kin see ifn ye kin perdick innythang a'usin yer hypothesis
  5. repete steps three n fore till ye gut as close a match twixt yer hypothesis n whut it perdicks
fer eggzample, i dun a spearment on how lite affecks the growth of strang bean plants. i perdickted that ye git yer best strang bean growth ifn ye give yer bean plants bout the same amount of lite they wood git ifn they wuz a'growin out in a field.

to test it, i had one strang bean plant a'growin in a field, one in cumplete darkness n one in a closet with the lite a'burnin all the time. my hypothesis perdickted that the one a'growin in the field wood do best. turnt out that the one a'growin in full lite in the closet looked lack twuz a'gone win, but after a while, it had shot up so fast to whar it couldnt hold its ownself up, much less bear strang beans. the one in the dark dint do moren sprout n then die. the one in the field bore strang beans.

corse, i dint larn nuthin nobidy dint alreddy know, but i did larn how yer scientifick method wurks. i bet ifn i studied them same beans long a nuff, i wood larn to perdick whut wood be jes the rite amount of lite to git the most strang beans. taint lack tiz sumthin new.

so the thang i wonta unnerstand from mr frist n mr bush n all them other folks that thanks thar addin sumthin to science by makin kids study intelligent deesign, as ifn thay wuz sumthin beesides science that kin give ye results.

but heres whut i wonta ast them that supports teachin this stuff. ye wood half to add mitt that by addin it to the science curricula all over the cuntry, yer reducin a matter of faith to a hypothesis. ye dun yer observin of life n cum up with a hypothesis that it gut its cumplexity frum a intelligent deesigner. but now yer to the part whar ye gut to cum up with a eggspearment whar ye kin test yer hypothesis. now eethur god is everwhar all the time a'doin his intelligent deesignin, or god aint, witch i dont speck nobidy bleevin in intelligent deesign to bleeve god has inny part of the universe off limts to god or that god wood be takin brakes. so taint possibull to set up two thangs, one with a intelligent deesigner n tuther without it. so how kin ye test yer hypothesis?

fack is, whut ye dun with this line of argument is reduce yer bleef to a hypothesis that caint be prooved.

whut intelligent deesign really is aint nuthin new. tiz the age-old argument from deesign, witch flossofers calls it the teleologicull argument:
Teleological arguments are arguments from the order in the universe to the existence of God. They are also known as arguments from design (or, to be precise, arguments to design).

The name “the teleological argument” is derived from the Greek word telos, meaning end or purpose. When such arguments speak of the universe being ordered, they mean that it is ordered towards some end or purpose. The suggestion is that it is more plausible to suppose that the universe is so because it was created by an intelligent being in order to accomplish that purpose than it is to suppose that it is this way by chance.
problem is, nobidy has cum up with a way of disproovin this competin hypothesis: in a infinite universe (witch is whut we are in, far as we kin tell) over a infinite amount of time (witch we aint gut no way to disproov this neethur) a'wurkin accordin to the rules of the universe that folks kin discover n deescribe in thar hypotheses, inny result could occur eventually, even human life on earth. in other wurds, ye caint proov that human life on earth is innythang more than dumb luck in a gigantick infinite universe. aint no way to set up no eggspearment to proov otherwise.

ifn ye really wonta go into it, ye mite wunder why the intelligent deesigner that spozedly made humans supernatcherly in jes the form theys in, why dint that intelligent deesigner cum up with a model that dint git sick? that dint die? that dint lie? that dint deny the evidents of the senses as a form of faith that ye had to show ifn ye wonted to be wurthy to live in a eternull paradise (or even jes avoid eternal torment)?

why wood that intelligent deesigner give humans reason that kin figger out the scientifick method n cumpletely change the worl in a few centuries a'usin it ... n then tell them same humans that the evidents of thar senses n reason aint valid, but in sted, the human creashuns of the intelligent deesigner has gut to bleeve anshunt relijus texts that defy whut is observed?

my real questchun is how kin teachin intelligent deesign add innythang to science? oh, n kin we test to see whuther sweat n tears spreads AIDS? mr dr n intelligent design advocate frist mite wonta know the anser.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

songs of buddy don: Baby Sister

furst thangs furst: a big thankee to red molly fer them verr kind wurds she writ bout meetin me n miz bd up here in man hattan, witch ifn ye click that lank ye mite could wunder is that feller in the gray beard with his arm round that beeyootifull woman really buddy don? i dun splaind how i am the lucky one n ye kin see the reason purt clear in that thar pitcher tuck by red molly her ownself.

turns out miz bd is takin sum classes this weekend, witch that leaves me here on my lonesum. in my lonesumness i gut to puttern round till i found sumthin i dun fergut i had, a bootleg of a song i dun a lil while back. i made a em pee three out of it. tiz me pickin on the gittar n sanging a song by them bohemian hillbilles name of baby sister.

by in by in life n pinions of buddy don, hillbilly (pt 1, pt 2), twill be eggsplaind how thisn cum to be writ, who thar about n all. i bet sum of yuns thats dun red life n pinions of buddy don, hillbilly kin figger it out alreddy.

heres the wurds sos ye kin foller along.

Baby Sister
This here's the story bout our baby sister
Smiled so sweetly cause the angels kissed her
Smooth baby skin, huge gray eyes
But everone agreed her silky curls took the prize
When they cut em off down at the beauty salon
Almost seemd as if Baby Sister was gone
Whee Hooey
When baby sister was four years old
We got up one day and found her bed, empty and cold
We searched the house and year a'callin out her name
Baby Sister, come out, quit playin this game
Found her in the woods a'sleepin all alone
It was an awful fear when Baby Sister was gone
Whee Hooey
She got in trouble in her high school years
We wondered whose it was but that just brought on tears
So we borrowed fifty dollars and to Knoxville we went
Had the operation before she could repent
Nobody ever knew why we wuz gone so long
Cause we couldn't tell where Baby Sister was gone
Whee Hooey
She met a sailor when she was twenty-four
They got married in that church down by the dry goods store
He worked with his hands, drove a beat up Lincoln
Got kindly wild whenever he'd been drinkin
Beat her black and blue and never knew he was wrong
Till it finally come a day when Baby Sister was gone
Whee Hooey
This here's the story of our baby sister
She got up one night and took
Her old man's pistol
Went donw into the woods in her nightgown and boots
Fixed a place among the leaves and the roots
Nice cigarettes in that dark before dawn
But when the sun come up Baby Sister was gone
Whee Hooey
Oh how her old man carried on the next day
Ambulance come and took him away
Mama bathed her face in tears of shame
A'tellin everbody how she was to blame
And Daddy kept recitin that twenty-first Psalm
As if it could tell us why Baby Sister was gone
Whee Hooey
Preacher give a sermon all about God's love
Said we'd see Baby Sister by and by up above
So we drove out to the graveyard in our suits in the heat
Brother spoke a prayer that made all the women weep
When they started singin that old circle song
We all joined in cause Baby Sister was gone
Whee Hooey

Friday, August 19, 2005

pinions of buddy don: war grief gits closer

yesterdy as i wuz a'wurkin at the tipicull frantick pace, trine to make shore our bankers tools wuz a'wurkin sos they kin generate revenoo n such when my fone rung. i git calls the livelong day on a counta how i run whut they calls the frunt line group, witch thems the folks that cums to fix yer cumputer when it dont wurk rite.

generly folks calls to cumplane bout sumthin or to ast fer speshul treetment.

but this call wuz differnt. fer one thang, i couldnt tell frum the number who twuz. that ment twuz a call frum outside the firm, witch i dont git personull calls much -- miz bd emails me ifn she needs to git my tenchun -- so i figgerd twuz lackly a recrooter. but i lack to take the calls sos i dont have the voicemail lamp a'shinin.

'bud duncan,' i sed, witch thats how i anser my fone at wurk.

'hola bud duncan,' the womans voice sed. it tuck me a mint fer me to real eyes who twuz.

'momento, por favor,' i sed, witch i wuz playin with the caller by then on a counta she knew i knew who she wuz, but i played on, 'creo qué reconozco esta voz, pero ¿quién es? ¡no mé diga! ah, yes, mé recuerdo. es la voz de carmen garcía moreno, ¿no?'

'si, señor.'

ifn ye git that spanish lango, ye know twuz sumbidy name of carmen garcía moreno, witch i knew her purty good back whenever i wuz a'livin up in washington heights.

i joshed her a bit fer not keepin in touch, witch her number had changed n i couldnt call her. then i ast her whut wuz up.

'recuerdes esta niñita qué vivía al lado de nosostros?'

i ast her witch girl livin nex door did she mean on a counta how that nayborhood wuz crawlin with yungns.

'la bonita. yo se qué sabes quién es ella. se llama mercedes como el automovíl.'

i add mitted how i did member witch purty yung gurl she ment. mercedes wuz one of them beeyooties that jes shines, kindly lack natalie wood, a beeyooty that ye know could grow up to be a model ifn she wonted to.

'bueno,' carmen continued, 'yo la encontré el otro día. estaba llorando como una locíta. le dije, 'dígame, muchacha, ¿qué pasó?' pero no podría hablar por llorando tanto.'

whut i memberd most wuz how carmen lacks to drag out a tale n not cum to the point. she could tell i wuz a lil impashunt fer her to tell me whut the yung gurl wuz crine so hard about that she couldnt speak.

'bueno, señor, te voy a decir.'

twuz a long runnin joke twixt us how she wood call me 'señor', witch i wood tell her, '¡no quiero qué me estas ustedando, por favor!', witch that wuz tuther half of the joke, how i dint wont her usin the polite form of address with me.

she laffed at that n gut on with her story.

'bueno, cuando ella podría hablar, me contó una historia tan trágica. despues qué usted se movió, ella se casó con un muchacho, el qué vivía en la calle 181.'

'sí, me recuerdo.'
i couldnt help but wonder what tragic story she had to tell about mercedes gittin hitched to that yung feller frum 181st street. whenever i had known em, they wuznt outta junyer hi skool yet. twuz hard to magin em hitchin up n startin a fambly (ifn twernt the reeverse), witch thats whut she went on to tell bout.

'bueno. como dictado la naturalese, ella estaba cón la bariga y él no tenía trabajo. entonces, el se ensambló en el ejército porque encontró nada mas por ganar su dinerito.'

'sí, entiendo.'
witch taint no news how hard tiz fer yung folks to git jobs n pay fer havin a fambly, speshly ifn they aint hardly gut no english. joinin the army kin be thonly way fer em to pay thar bills, witch thats why this yung feller dun it.

ye kin probly guess the res. he wuznt over in iraq moren three munths till mercedes gut the wurst news of her yung life.

'ella estaba llorando, bud, llorando y gritando, 'my husbin, my husbin, ¿yo qué voy hacer? ¿por qué me perdió me esposo? ¿por cual razón? digame, señora, ¿por cual razon?' ella estaba inconsolable.'

'y tú qué le has dicho?'

'¡hay, chico, please! si él presidente no sabe qué decir, ¿como yo voy a saber?'

i wonted to ast her why did she half to call me to give me such news, but she wuz crine her ownself by then. i dint know why the yung feller had to die. twuz a tradishun twixt me n carmen how she wood ast me to splain 'tú país' [yer cuntry] to her. ifn ye know yer spanish, ye know that las statement she made wuz a doozy: if the president dont know whut to say, how wood she?

tiz one of them queschuns that gits biggern bigger evertime the anser gits disprooved, speshly now that mos everbidy manely wunders bout a cuple new questchuns: how do we git out of this mess? how minny more yungns has to die fer befor we do?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

nite life of buddy don: fun slated at slate

i dun menchuned a time or two how i wurk at a wall street firm i lack to call goodbank on a counta how tiz the best place i ever wurked n how tiz so much bettern tuther banks on wall street whar i eethur wurked or cunsulted, witch thats near all of em but one.

innywho, last nite wuz a nuther eggzample of how good the place kin be. we had us sum visters frum the uk, so twuz deecided we all needed to have us a lil fun. i am here to tell ye, thats jes whut we dun.

heres whar we dun it:

name of the place is slate, witch ye kin foller the lank to read all bout it. i hadnt never been thar befor, dint even know thay wuz such a place, but as ye mite know, ye could eat at a differnt restrunt in man hattan four times a day n never git to all the restrunts they gut up in here. that goes duble fer the bars n evenin establishments.

the turnout wuz grate, the place had only three sangle malts on thar menu, but they dun grate with thar picks -- macallan 12, talisker 10 n lagavulin 16. that turnt out rite nice on a counta how they ackshly invited spouses n significunt otherns, so miz bd joind in n met sum of them that wurks with me. me n miz bd each had us a sum bubbly water n lagavulin. ah, lagavulin: liquid smoke, the verr best taste of peat, the imbibin of witch makes fer a fine moment after a hard day!

the rest of the evenin wuz devoted to contests of skill. heres the table whar the skills wuz displayed:

i partnerd with my good buddy name of jeeves. we won our furst two games befor i memberd how i wuznt no good a shootin pool n set about proovin it.

twuz a nice moment of fun with sum of the hardest wurkin folk i ever seen or herd tell about. me n miz bd lef early on a counta how we sleeps with them chickens. i even slept late this mornin -- dint wake up till 4:34! furst time i slept that late in munths.

i kin truly say i luv my job, witch thats a blessin that needs countin a lot on a counta thays plenty of truble in this worl n lack everbidy, me n miz bd gits our share.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

pinions of buddy don: a pox on both thar houses

i half to add mitt to bein disgusted with bof them dimcrats n publicans. whut gut me a'goin wuz lookin into the latest attempt by the rite to deefleck criticisum of thar pallcies n ackshuns by trine to pin the tail on the clinton donkey, even tho them publicans has been controllin all three branches of gummint fer nigh onto five strate years. they dont anser cindy sheehans questchun; the questchun her past n her associayshuns, they publish everthang they kin find bout her deevorce, yew name it.

now the rite is on its hi horse bout able danger n whuther clinton shoulda stopped osama way back when. tiz cunvenyunt fer them that folks caint hardly member the recent past, witch ifn ye thank bout it, whenever clinton tride to do innythang agin osama, the rite wuz playin wag the dog.

so i dun a google of these terms:
"wag the dog" clinton
ifn ye do the same n read sum of them articulls frum bof sides, yer lackly to spoil yer brakefuss. tiz a shock to find out that bout thonly publican that spoke up fer clinton bombin osamas base in afghanistan n bombin saddam with the hep of the brits wuz newt gingrich. aint we cum to a weerd fork in the rode when newt starts to seem lack a moderutt?

but whut i cum away with the most bout my lil trip thru that google result is how neethur side seems to keer bout innythang but cunvintsin folks thar rite. period. dont matter whut is true, long as they kin cunvints folks thar rite.

artistotles critcisum of deemockrussy cums to mind on a counta he knew that usin sofisticull arguments ye kin cunvints folks that druther not half to thank to bleeve mos innythang.

how? tiz simple. ye use these fallacies (see ifn ye kin member em bein used):
  • ad hominum attack -- in sted of deefeatin yer opponents argument, ye attack yer opponent as if the truth couldnt cum out of a mouth that ye have slimed, whuther the slime cuntained inny truth or not
  • ad hominem tu quoque, also known as the you too fallacy -- in sted of defeatin yer opponents argument, ye point out that yer opponent has been inconsistent in the past or even sed thangs that disagree with the argument yer opponent is now a'puttin forth
  • appeal to bleef -- whar in sted of deefeatin yer opponents argument, ye claim that sum people thanks sumthin else, witch fer sum reason folks is satisfide to thank that sumhow that disprooves yer opponents argument when all it really prooves is how folks bleeves differnt thangs, even thangs that aint true
  • appeal to common ackshun -- in sted of deefeatin yer opponents argument, ye point out that folks has always practissed thangs a sartin way, witch sumhow ifn they always dun it, tiz spozed to be true, but agin, that aint proof of innythang since histry is loded with folks doin thangs that dont make sense, whuther tiz the greeks cunsultin the oraculls revealed by the innards of ded burds or nancy raygun n near everbidy else in amurka cunsultin thar horoscopes
  • appeal to emoshun -- in sted of deefeatin yer opponents argument, ye appeal to folkses emoshuns by usin thar patriotisum or thar reljus bleefs or thar luv of fambly to keep em frum eggzaminin yer opponents argument
  • appeal to fear -- in sted of deefeatin yer opponents argument, ye appeal to whut thar afraid of, witch ye been seein thisn used overn over agin ever since 9/11, speshly with this speshus line of argument: we wuz attacked by scary islamick terrsts so we gut to attack a scary cuntry that has islamicks, even ifn thay aint no cunneckshun atall twixt the terrst that attacked n the cuntry we invaded
  • appeal to ridicule -- in sted of deefeatin yer opponents argument, ye make fun of his hair or claim he looks french or that he has a stupid way with the english langwage
  • appeal to tradishun -- in sted of deefeatin yer opponents argument, ye claim that folks has always bleeved a sartin way, so that way must be true, witch that wood proov reincarnayshun in india n hell fire in alabam ... these days thays usin it to claim ye caint give gay folks the same rites of union that strates git since they aint never had em n folks has always bleeved twuz ok that they dint
i aint gut time to go thru all them fallacies, but ye kin bet thays all bein used, by bof sides, tho i half to add mitt, them publicans is much better at it on a counta they dont seem to know thar even a'doon it. (ifn ye wonta study up on em, ye kin read a verr good account of how they wurks here.)

heres a simple truth bout osama bin laden. bush wuz tole bout im by the clinton addministrayshun. whuther or not clinton had dun everthang possibull to stop osama, bush dint do everthang possibull to stop osama, witch thats been prooved time n agin by folks in his own addministrayshun that left it (n gut slimed fer makin thar claims, witch thang is, they never disprooved whut them folks -- clarke, oneil, wilson, etc -- wuz sayin but they did do thar bes to attack em -- ad hominem seems to be the mos poplar fallacy by far, lease fer the rite.)

bush sed he wood git osama, ded or alive. osama wuznt never in iraq n dint have innythang good to say bout saddam, witch it has been well-documented how osama figgerd saddam wuz the enemy of islam on a counta havin a secular gummint. osama has sed all along how he wonts a islamick theeocrussy. but bush deecided to turn away frum gittin osama sos he could invade iraq, witch tiz clear that wuz on his mind befor he wuz putt in offus by the supreme cort.

i aint sayin them dimcrats is inny better. ifn ye read them lanks off that google search, yer a'gone see that them clintons also bleeved in attackin saddam. the big differnts fer me is how thay wuznt no way clinton wood be allowed to attack innybidy without folks screamin wag the dog. tuther thang is that clinton never had a invashun of afghanistan dun with osama cornerd. bush did.

but thats purty much splittin hairs. neethur side has dun a nuff. bof sides has used ever event they could cum up with to justify whut they alreddy wonted to do. aint hardly nobidy innerested in findin the truth. in sted, thar rootin fer thar teams uniform, no matter whos a'wearin it n no matter whut they do.

i wonta jes say, 'a pox on both thar houses.'

problem is, tiz our house.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

pomes of buddy don: a king not a pawn

i aint gut time, to meet with no mother
of a brave son killed in iraq,
i aint gut time, i caint be botherd
and i caint take anything back

aint no way to explain why he died
the reasons keep slippin away
i really didnt lie, whenever i lied
cause i believed what i had to say

im gonna ride my bike
or clear a little brush
im gonna ride my bike
so tell cindy to hush
im gonna ride my bike
cause ive gotta move on
im gonna ride my bike
im a king not a pawn

Monday, August 15, 2005

pinions of buddy don: whars yer story?

ye mite could thank yer story fer the day wood be how them cunservative publicans have dun been growin the fedrul gummint at a record rate. even the washington post has noticed, witch they writ a editoryall this mornin on the topick name of Big-Government Conservatives:
The nation is at war. It faces large expenses for homeland security. It is about to go through a demographic transition that will strain important entitlement programs. How can this president -- an allegedly conservative president -- believe that the federal government should spend money on the Red River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Louisiana? Or on the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan? The bill Mr. Bush has signed devotes more than $24 billion to such earmarked projects, continuing a trend in which the use of earmarks has spread steadily each year. Remember, Republicans control the Senate and the House as well as the White House. So somebody remind us: Which is the party of big government?
but that aint quite yer story.

mayhap tiz how them unions won a lil victry, tho i wood bet tiz only temporairy till them publicans figger a way to git around it. but so far, them unions has won, as ye kin read in a story frum the washington post name of New Homeland Security Work Rules Blocked; Employee, Union Rights Not Protected, Judge Says. now the furst thang that mite coulda been yer story is how this judge Rosemary M. Collyer wuz appointed in 2003 by george w bush, but even tho that is purty innerestin, taint yer story. heres a lil bit of whut judge collyer found rong with the new bush administrayshun rules
:"The regulations fail in their obligation to ensure collective bargaining rights to DHS employees," the judge said.

She said federal unions would be bargaining "on quicksand, as the department would retain the right to change the underlying bases for the bargaining relationship and absolve itself of contract obligations while the unions would be bound."


Collyer said a system that allows "the unilateral repudiation of agreements by one party" is not collective bargaining. "A contract that is not mutually binding is not a contract," she wrote.

In most federal agencies, including Homeland Security, current law prohibits unions from bargaining over pay and work stoppages. The law permits agencies to ignore contract obligations during emergencies.

The judge also faulted the department for seeking to diminish rights by federal employees to appeal firings and demotions to an independent agency, the Merit Systems Protection Board.

The department, Collyer said, has sought to "effectively insulate" itself from MSPB's review of adverse personnel actions. "Rather than afford a right of appeal that is impartial or disinterested, the regulations put the thumbs of the agencies down hard on the scales of justice in their favor," she wrote.
but that aint yer story, so mayhap ye thank tiz how lives is bein ruint over thar in iraq, witch bob herbert writ bout that this mornin in a articull name of Lives Blown Apart:
Ms. Olson, during an interview in Washington, D.C., where Corporal Rosendahl is being treated at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, quietly cataloged her son's wounds:

"Both of his heels and ankles were crushed. He had a compound fracture of his femur in two places. Three-quarters of his kneecap was missing. His thigh was blown away. He had many, many open wounds, which all have closed except four right now."

She paused, sighed, then went on: "His left leg was amputated three weeks after he arrived here. He's not willing to give up his right leg. He's hoping to save it. All he wants to do is golf again. But we don't know. He's had 36 surgeries so far."

When you talk to close relatives of men and women who have been wounded in the war, it's impossible not to notice the strain that is always evident in their faces. Their immediate concern is with the wounded soldier or marine. But just behind that immediate concern, in most cases, is the frightening awareness that they have to try and rebuild a way of life that was also blown apart when their loved one was wounded.

Ms. Olson, who is 45 and divorced, gave up everything - her work, her rented townhouse, her car - and moved from Tacoma to a hotel on the grounds of Walter Reed to be with her son and assist in his recovery.
tiz innerestin to read such stuff since ye mosly dont find it nowhar, but still, that aint yer story.

whut about how the rite wing echo chamber has dun been slimin that cindy sheehan woman, startin with drudge slicin n dicin a articull frum the vacaville reporter to make it seem lack she had changed her pinion (witch, aint yer citizins allowed to change thar minds? whut duz it mean ifn they duz?). but ifn ye still read yer sorces, then ye go back to that same noosepaper n read thar editoryall (sined by the editor) name of Anti-war position not new By Diane Barney n ye see twuz jes a nuther case of swift boatin sumbidy the rite dont lack:
Reporter readers have followed the evolution this past year of Vacaville resident Cindy Sheehan from grieving mother to outspoken anti-war protester who today is camped out near the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, demanding his resignation.

It is not the same Sheehan family we met in April, still stunned after learning that 24-year-old Army Spc. Casey Sheehan had died in an ambush.

The Sheehans - with 16 other families - met President Bush at Fort Lewis, Wash., where he extended condolences and appreciation for their sacrifice.

At the time, the Sheehans debated whether to be brutally honest with the president. They had serious concerns about the war. But in the end, they told our reporter, they decided to be respectful. President Bush even kissed Cindy Sheehan on the cheek.


"We had decided not to criticize the president then because during that meeting he assured us 'this is not political.' And I believed him," Sheehan wrote. "Then, during the Republican National Convention, he exploited those meetings to justify what he was doing."

In ensuing months, she has grown more focused, more determined, more aggressive. She co-founded Gold Star Families For Peace in December 2004, a group which has written numerous letters, articles and posted online reports. She has participated in protests around the country. She and her daughter, Carly, have appeared in anti-war TV messages. And now she's camping out near the president's ranch.

We invite readers to revisit the story - in context - on our Web site and decide for themselves. Stay tuned as it continues to evolve.
but that still aint it. catchin wingnuts in lies aint no big trick.

so could it be how they finely found a chemicull plant in iraq a'makin weppons that could cawz mass deestruckshun? woodnt that be yer big story? ye kin read bout it in a articull name of Iraqi Chemical Stash Uncovered;Post-Invasion Cache Could Have Been For Use in Weapons. only problem with that lil story is how twuznt built till we had dun invaded:
Boylan said the suspected lab was new, dating from some time after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Bush administration cited evidence that Saddam Hussein's government was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction as the main justification for the invasion. No such weapons or factories were found.
well, if that aint it, how bout this articull in the washington post frum sundy name of U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq; Administration Is Shedding 'Unreality' That Dominated Invasion, Official Says. that miss leadin hedline mite make ye thank sumbidy in the addministrayshun had dun add mitted makin a miss take, but that aint it:
The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

Administration officials still emphasize how much they have achieved despite the chaos that followed the invasion and the escalating insurgency. "Iraqis are taking control of their country, building a free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself. And we're helping Iraqis succeed," President Bush said yesterday in his radio address.

Iraqi officials yesterday struggled to agree on a draft constitution by a deadline of tomorrow so the document can be submitted to a vote in October. The political transition would be completed in December by elections for a permanent government.

But the realities of daily life are a constant reminder of how the initial U.S. ambitions have not been fulfilled in ways that Americans and Iraqis once anticipated. Many of Baghdad's 6 million people go without electricity for days in 120-degree heat. Parents fearful of kidnapping are keeping children indoors.

Barbers post signs saying they do not shave men, after months of barbers being killed by religious extremists. Ethnic or religious-based militias police the northern and southern portions of Iraq. Analysts estimate that in the whole of Iraq, unemployment is 50 percent to 65 percent.

U.S. officials say no turning point forced a reassessment. "It happened rather gradually," said the senior official, triggered by everything from the insurgency to shifting budgets to U.S. personnel changes in Baghdad.
as ye jes red, mr bush kindly eggsplained how thangs is still on track.

so whut kin yer story be? i bleeve tiz how the bush add ministrasyshun has dun disprooved the laws of supply n deemand. nobidy doubts that more folks than ever is a'usin our nashnull parks, so that means deemand is up. everbidy that uses one gits sumthin out of it, mayhap a bit of peace or quite or fun or enjoyment of beeyootifull sites or sumthin. ye gut more folks enjoyin them parks, witch that means the value of them parks fer enjoyment is under increased deemand. as ye know frum that thar war on sum drugs, tiz deemand that makes prices rise.

but not in them nashnull parks. mayhap ye missed it, but them bush folks has dun figgerd how even with more folks a'usin em, the recreayshunull benefit of folks enjoymint of them nashnull parks has plummeted! ye kin read all bout it in a articull name of Forests' Recreational Value Is Scaled Back; U.S. Lowers Estimate of GDP Contribution:
Forest Service officials have scaled back their assessment of how much recreation on national forest land contributes to the American economy, concluding that these activities generate just a tenth of what the Clinton administration estimated.

Under President Clinton, the Forest Service projected that by 2000, recreation in U.S. forests would contribute nearly $111 billion to the nation's annual gross domestic product, or GDP. Bush administration officials, by contrast, have determined that in 2002 these activities generated about $11 billion.

Joel Holtrop, deputy chief of the National Forest System, said the revised numbers may spur the administration to shift some of its recreation dollars within the system but will not prompt it to downgrade activities such as hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching.
"It's just as valuable to us today as it was 10 years ago; we just have a better way of calculating it," Holtrop said in an interview. "We recognize recreation activity is an important program to the American people."

But critics of the administration said they fear that the new numbers, which were obtained from the nonprofit Natural Resources News Service, will be used to justify more logging and mining on national forests. Under the old estimates, recreation accounted for 85 percent of the system's contribution to the GDP, compared with extraction's 11 percent; under the new formula, recreation represents 59 percent.
deemand goes up, supply goes down, valu drops by 90%: thars yer story, josephine!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

nite life of buddy don: dinner with them red mollys at st andrews

yesterdy after a nuther verr long day of wurk, i made my way over to st andrews, whar i had dun gut a resurvayshun fer dinner fer four at st andrews. twuz near 6:30, so i tuck a few pitchers of the place n went on in. turnt out i wuz the furstn thar, so i went back out n watched folks a'walkin by till i seen bonny red molly a'walkin with her husbin. caint tell how twuz that i reckanized her, but she seemd to know me jes as quick.

we went on in n jes found our seats when miz bd cum in, so we gut down to bizness: lookin over that sangle malt scotch menu. them red mollys warnt scotch drankers but that wuz brave bout tastin sum of the more challenin: lagavulin n talisker wuz the furstns they tasted, witch they lacked the talisker bes. me n miz bd orderd us sum -- dram of port ellen 1979 signatory fer me n dram of ardbeg uigedail fer miz bd, witch she wonted inverleven 1989 but turnt out they only had it on the menu. corse we shard a taste of each of em with red molly n her mister, but seem lack they preferd that talisker the mos. me n miz bd later gut us a cuple more drams -- a speshul bottlin of bowmore (1974?) n a speshul bottlin of caol ila (1991?) -- as ye kin see, the conversayshun wuz so good i gut a lil cunfused bout the scotch.

the evenin wuz verr speshul. as ye kin magine, we ate us sum good food n shared lots of conversayshun bout blogs n pallticks n ireland, witch thays eggspurts in ireland even ifn they aint irish, n wurk n ritin n kids n cumputers, witch turnt out mr red mollys one of them cumputer genius types that kin make mos innythang frum gigantick databases to red mollys verr cumputer. they bof luvs good musick n thay dun seen mos everbidy i wisht i had seen, even bela fleck.

twuz amazin that i could even git outta the door once we wuz dun on a counta how my head had swole up sumthin terrbull frum red molly sayin nice thangs bout life n pinions of buddy don, hillbilly. miz bd tole red she wuz thonly native english speaker outside of fambly that we wuz shore had dun red the hole thang. 'not only that,' miz bd sed, 'but you even asked him if he was going to write any more, and that got him going again.' quick as she sed that, red molly ast me when i wuz a'gone rite even more. lack i sed, my hed wuz swole up!

bof me n miz bd hopes them red mollys has em a good time up in here. they gut lots of plans on whut to do, speshly mr red molly on a counta hes a'gone be takin a class in oracle, witch i dun tole ye he wuz one of them cumputer genius types.

them red mollys wuz sum of the nicest folks ye could ever meet. thar a'cummin up on thar 28th anniversry, witch bof me n miz bd is in awe of that. but as they wuz a'walkin away along 44th street, ye could see they wuz made fer each uther.

fack is, same is true of me n miz bd, witch ifn i rite a nuff of them chapturs, ye will fine out why.

Friday, August 12, 2005

evenin plans of buddy don: meetin the red mollys

this evenin me n miz bd has resurvayshuns at st andrews fer dinner with the red mollys, witch red mollys the one who rites that thar blue page special. twill be the furst time i will git the chants to meet sumbidy in the meat worl that i gut to know in the virtchewall worl. (miz bd has dun alreddy had fans of her blog cum up to her n ast ifn she wuz really who she wuz as we wuz shoppin fer erbs up in here!)

i caint hep but be eggcited bout meetin red molly on a counta shes the furst person i know of besides miz bd who has red all of the furst draft of life n pinions of buddy don, hillbilly (furst part, secunt part). twuz nice the thank sumbidy who wuznt fambly wood fine it innerestin a nuff to read n i half to add mitt, it gut me to wurkin on it agin.

this meetin cums at the end of a verr hard week. i dun putt in near 48 hours n thays at lease one day (thisn) lef to wurk, witch im prayin i wont be tempted to wurk tomorry. corse, twill be a treat not only caws of meetin the red mollys, but also on a counta how st andrews has a huge sangle malt scotch menu n better prices than keens chophouse.

me n miz bd is hopin to meet sum other of our favert bloggers in the meat worl cum september, ifn my health kin hold up till then. plans include meetin bof tennessee jed n mountain gurl, witch twill be a two fer one meetin on a counta he has the blog name of Tennessee Jed n she has the one name of Life Is A Comedy For Those Who Think ... whenever we git down thar, we also hope to lift a glass of sangle malt with the feller that gut us our start in the pursuit of sangle malt perfeckshun, eric over at Straight White Guy. thays all in spittin distunts of knoxvull, so twont be hard to meet em.

twood also be nice to meet deb, witch i bleeve she calls middle tennesse home n i aint shore we will git that far frum knoxvull, n mayhap a nuther tennessee blogger or two (smijer or buck? skbubba, may his blog rest in peace? minny a nuthern that i am too fergetfull to member?). so please lemme know in a comment ifn ye mite lack to meet up with us sumwhar in east tennessee sumtime in september whenever we git to make the two mothers' birthdy tour! twill be sumtime twixt my mamas birthdy on 9/12 n miz bds mamas birthdy on 9/21.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

pinions of buddy don: contrack? whut contrack?

mayhap ye member that contrack on amurka newt gingrich n his bunch tuck out on us all to hep em win a majorty in the house of reps fer the furst time in 40 odd years. mayhap ye dont, witch that putts ye in good cumpny: tiz a shame how the ones that seems to have dun fergut it the most are them that wuz eleckted by a'usin it.

in case ye dun fergut sum of it, heres a lil reminder of whut it spozedly stood fer, witch they had em set up to pass on thar furst day in majorty:
FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;

SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;

THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;

FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;

FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;

SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;

SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;

EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.
as ye probly noticed, numbers first, secunt, third, fourth, sixth n eighth dont seem to have lasted all that long. but mayhap they wuz easier to advocate ifn ye dint have the power to make em wurk. as we know, ye kin find eggcepshuns to ever one i listed, speshly numbers sixth n eighth.

but that aint all thay wuz in that contrack. thay wuz also this:
A balanced budget/tax limitation amendment and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out-of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses.
now as everbidy knows, them publicans won the house n then the senate n then even the presdincy. so wuz they able to brang about inny fiscull responsibilty?

not hardly.

ye kin tell by lookin at that bill the presdint went up to dennis hasters home state of illannoy to sine, witch ye kin read about it in the washinton post articull name of Road Bill Reflects The Power Of Pork; White House Drops Effort to Rein In Hill. ye mite wooda thunk the presdint wood veto it. he tole them congressmen back in 2002 how they better not send im a bill that wood cost over $256 billyuns n ifn thay did, he wood veto it.

later on, he give em a brake n tole em they could grow it up to $284 billyuns n no more. so they sent im one fer $286 billyuns. whut did he do? passed on the chants to use his furst veto:
Bush brushed aside pleas from taxpayer groups to veto the bill, which exceeded the $284 billion limit that he had vowed not to cross.
by doin that, he avoided innybidy accusin im of havin the courage of a feller lack raygun, witch as ye mite know, he vetoed a hiway bill that cum in with 152 earmarks (pork):
But hundreds of millions of dollars will be channeled to programs that critics say have nothing to do with improving congestion or efficiency: $2.3 million for the beautification of the Ronald Reagan Freeway in California; $6 million for graffiti elimination in New York; nearly $4 million on the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio, and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.; $2.4 million on a Red River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Louisiana; and $1.2 million to install lighting and steps and to equip an interpretative facility at the Blue Ridge Music Center, to name a few.

"There are nearly 6,500 member-requested projects worth more than $24 billion, nearly nine percent of the total spending," executives from six taxpayer and conservative groups complained in a letter to Bush urging that he use his veto pen for the first time. They noted that Reagan vetoed a transportation bill in 1987 because there were 152 such special requests, known in the parlance of congressional budgeting as "earmarks."
corse, ye gut to cunsidder everthang. as ye mite know by now, bush is in a race with lyndon baines johnson to be the presdint that grew the gummint the fastest in histry. ifn ye kin take such a read, i recommend ye dip into The Grand Old Spending Party; How Republicans Became Big Spenders by Stephen Slivinski. ifn ye do, yer a'gone larn this kinda thang: when that librul tax n spend dimcrat name of bill clinton tuck offus in 1993, spendin by the fedrul gummint wuz 21.4% of the gdp. by the time he wuz dun wreckin the gummin spendin machine, that had dun shrunk to jes 18.5%. shameful performunts, i know, but he dun whut he could.

lucky fer them that wonts a bigger gummint, george w bush gut in the white house in 2000 on a victry that give im half a millyun fewer votes than his opponent but a 5-4 majorty of supremes. jes to proov his strangth n the grater power of borry n spend over tax n spend, bush gut busy n after jes four years, he gut gummint spendin up to 20.3% of gdp.

hes dun cum close to beatin lbj, cummin purty close in jes four years to doin whut lbj dun in five!:
Ranking the Presidents

When discussing how fast the federal government has grown during the presidency of George W. Bush, it’s important to put things in historical context. Figure 3 ranks the presidents over the past 40 years in terms of annualized growth in inflation-adjusted total federal outlays. By that standard, George W. Bush is the biggest-spending president since Lyndon B. Johnson.5
That ranking is interesting for at least two reasons. First, the calculation includes spending on Medicare, one of the most expensive entitlement programs in American history.

Figure 3 charts budget growth only during each year of Bush’s first term in office (i.e., through fiscal year 2005), so it does not include the full impact of increased spending that will start in fiscal 2006 as a result of the president’s prescription drug benefit, the largest expansion of Medicare since its inception.

The drug benefit is expected to cost more than $720 billion over 10 years and far more in subsequent years.6 In fact, spending on Medicare jumps by 17 percent for fiscal 2006 in Bush’s new budget, one of the largest spending increases in the program since 1982.7 The Congressional Budget Office estimates that net spending on the drug benefit will rise from $2 billion in 2005 to $32.8 billion in 2006.8.

Second, Bush has signed into law only four budgets so far, whereas Lyndon Johnson signed five into law during his presidency. In other words, Bush and a Republican Congress have expanded the federal government almost as fast as did Johnson and a Democratic Congress—and in less time.
i caint figger out how to git that figger three in here, sos ye mite half to foller that lank to git toot, but heres whut it sez bout the 'Real Annual Growth Rate of Total Government Outlays by President' [p. 4]:
  • johnson: 5.7%
  • gw bush: 5.0%
  • carter: 4.1%
  • nixon: 3.0%
  • raygun: 2.6%
  • ghw bush: 1.9%
  • clinton: 1.5%
corse, the 5.0% bush gits credit fer is on a bigger gummint than innybidy befor im, so ye mite could say he is the champeen. even ifn he aint, by showin his retraint in never usin the veto, in wurkin with a congress that dont thank ye kin spend a nuff, he has a verr good chants of cummin in furst place all time!

lemme see ifn i gut that contrack strate. now that them publicans has cuntrol over ever branch of gummint, they kin putt this into practiss:

A balanced budget/tax limitation amendment and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out-of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses.
this heres one of them situwayshuns whar this ignernt hillbilly caint understand how thar a'doin it, but they must be on a counta they tole us they wood n thar the ones with values that bleeves in practissin whut ye preach n not lyin or killin or violatin inny of them ten commandments.

i fergit now: wuz them re-attitudes in that thar contrack?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

pinions of buddy don: sad news frum tennessee

as ye know, i been ritin in that novel name of life n pinions of buddy don, hillbilly (furst part here, secunt part here) bout a place name of knoxvull collidge, witch thats tuck frum a real collidge name of knoxville college. via tennessee jed cums more sad news bout that tiny skool. wbir has a articull name of Knoxville College board fires president, witch heres sum of the sad news in that tiny articull:
Knoxville College will start the fall semester with a new president. Barbara Hatton was fired after being in charge for eight years.

Campus security officers say she didn't want to leave Monday when she was terminated. She sped off campus quickly after a police officer had to ask her to leave her office. Officers said she had locked herself in.

Trustees made the announcement of her dismissal shortly after Hatton drove off. Under her leadership, enrollment dropped, the school is still unaccredited, and it is being sued by professors and a student worker. They say they haven't been paid in months.
i shore hope they kin make it. tiz a awfull shame how historickly black collidges n universties is bein wore down to nuthin. lessn ye been part of one, ye caint have no idee whut speshul places they is. tiz a shame how innergrayshun in this cuntry only means black folks kin move into white nayborhoods. i bleeve the cuntry wood larn a lot bout itself ifn more white folks could move into black nayborhoods n have the eggsperients of the 'black communty.' (note: i know tiz poplar to use the term 'african amurkins' in sted of 'black,' but i cum of age in a place everbidy called 'the black communty.')

i wood luv to rite more, but i gut to git to wurk early. ifn ye wont a grate read, click over to mountain gurls site n read a verr funny letter she gut frum red molly. fair warnin: it mite make ye thank!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

friends of buddy don: tennessee jed starts a blog fer his birthdy!

whenever im countin my blessins, i always include the good friends i dun made frum bloggin, friends with folks i dont ritely know as well as i wood lack to, folks lack eric at Straight White Guy, deb at Sugarfused, red molly at Blue Page Special, kamil at a blog i caint ritely read name of Kamilův deník, witch that means kamils diary or journal (now n then its gut pitchers n such that even i kin understand n miz bd kin read that thar czech langwage purty good, so she heps me out), geekman at Geekman, mountain gurl at Life Is A Comedy For Those Who Think..., a feller name of Zenny K. Sadlon, witch he dont have a blog eggzackly, but he did a verr fine translayshun of one of the gratest novels writ since 1900 n ye kin read all bout it here n even order ye a copy here (tiz my plan to rite more on the topick of svejk later on, after i finish a'readin book one of zenny's translayshun).

tennessee jed is a nuther of my blog friends, witch hes the artist that created the banner at the top of my page. yesterdy it wuz his birtdy n day befor that, he cummenced to bloggin. i dun been a fan of his ritin n art fer a while. i caint tell ye how glad i am that he has tuck up the keybird n started his own blog. name of his blog is Tennessee Jed with a side note that sez 'Trying hard not to make matter worse.' i putt a lil lank to his new blog in my sidebar.

jed is a real artist, witch that means he dont make a nuff money frum his art to pay his morgidge n has to resort to other means of earnin his daily bread, lack wurkin verr long hours fer lil pay (overwurked n underpaid, lack mos folks). ye kin see sum of the thangs he has dun created here.

me n miz bd hopes to meet jed n moutain gurl n the rest of his fambly whenever we git down to tennessee agin.

n thays only four days lef till be git to meet red molly n mr red molly at st andrews on 44th street over in man hattan.

thays jes a cuple wurds ye could ritely putt to such a passel of blessins, witch i larnt em frum mountain gurl: blessins abound!

Monday, August 08, 2005

ramblins of buddy don: a lil this n that fer mundy

i gutta git to wurk a lil early today, so i dont have much time fer commentairy, witch i reckun ye jes gut lucky today! but thangs is happenin!
  • The Republican pork barrel:
    AT $286.4 BILLION, the highway bill just passed by Congress is the most expensive public works legislation in US history. In addition to funding the interstate highway system and other federal transportation programs, it sets a new record for pork-barrel spending, earmarking $24 billion for a staggering 6,376 pet projects, spread among virtually every congressional district in the land. The enormous bill -- 1,752 pages long -- wasn't made public until just before it was brought to a vote, and so, as The New York Times noted, ''it is safe to bet that none of the lawmakers, not even the main authors, had read the entire package."

    That didn't stop them from voting for it. It passed 412 to 8 in the House, 91 to 4 in the Senate.

    Huge as the bill was, it wasn't quite huge enough for Representative Don Young of Alaska, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. ''It's not as big as what he'd like," a committee spokesman said, ''but is still a very good bill and will play a major role in addressing transportation and highway needs."

    One wonders what more Young could have wanted. The bill funnels upward of $941 million to 119 earmarked projects in Alaska, including $223 million for a mile-long bridge linking an island with 50 residents to the town of Ketchikan on the mainland. Another $231 million is earmarked for a new bridge in Anchorage, to be named -- this is specified in the legislation -- Don Young's Way. There is $3 million for a film ''about infrastructure that demonstrates advancements in Alaska, the last frontier." The bill even doffs its cap to Young's wife, Lu: The House formally called it ''The Transportation Equity Act -- a Legacy for Users," or TEA-LU.
  • Afghanistan's Forgotten War:
    Afghanistan is out of the headlines, but its war against the Taliban goes on. These days, it is not going well. One of the most important reasons for that is the ambivalence of Pakistan, the nation that originally helped create, nurture and train the Taliban. Even now, Pakistan's military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, seems to invest far more energy in explaining his government's tolerance of Taliban activities than he does in trying to shut them down.

    General Musharraf has provided logistical help to Pentagon operations and cooperation to American law enforcement agencies trying to track down Al Qaeda leaders. But his aid has been frustratingly selective. He has been an intermittent collaborator in the fight against international terrorism rather than a fully committed ally. Washington has been understandably reluctant to push him for more consistency, not wanting to risk losing the help he does offer.

    Pakistan's passive enabling of the Taliban, however, is too important and dangerous for Washington to overlook. The current Taliban offensive is killing American soldiers - at least 38 have died in action so far this year, as well as hundreds of Afghans. It also endangers next month's parliamentary elections.

    Successful elections are crucial to extending the geographical reach of Afghanistan's new national institutions. And they can provide needed political accountability for President Hamid Karzai, who now rules without an elected Parliament. Afghanistan will be a functioning democracy only when citizens can take their grievances against the central government to elected local representatives instead of to armed local warlords. Those grievances are real. Some governors and police chiefs Mr. Karzai has appointed are thuggish and corrupt. Antidrug efforts go after poor farmers while traffickers thrive. Alternative development lags. A lack of judges stymies the rule of law.
  • Some Bombs Used in Iraq Are Made in Iran, U.S. Says:
    Many of the new, more sophisticated roadside bombs used to attack American and government forces in Iraq have been designed in Iran and shipped in from there, United States military and intelligence officials said Friday, raising the prospect of increased foreign help for Iraqi insurgents.

    American commanders say the deadlier bombs could become more common as insurgent bomb makers learn the techniques to make the weapons themselves in Iraq.

    But just as troubling is that the spread of the new weapons seems to suggest a new and unusual area of cooperation between Iranian Shiites and Iraqi Sunnis to drive American forces out - a possibility that the commanders said they could make little sense of given the increasing violence between the sects in Iraq.

    Unlike the improvised explosive devices devised from Iraq's vast stockpiles of missiles, artillery shells and other arms, the new weapons are specially designed to destroy armored vehicles, military bomb experts say. The bombs feature shaped charges, which penetrate armor by focusing explosive power in a single direction and by firing a metal projectile embedded in the device into the target at high speed. The design is crude but effective if the vehicle's armor plating is struck at the correct angle, the experts said.
  • Why America Is More Dependent Than Ever on Saudi Arabia:
    President Bush might not have turned up personally in Riyadh yesterday but he certainly sent a high-powered delegation to pay his respects to the new leader of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah.

    The American turnout, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, former President George H. W. Bush, and former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, was the latest signal that relations between the two countries have thawed since the strains of 9/11. But it was also an acknowledgment of a simple fact: like it or not, the United States is more dependent than ever on Saudi Arabia.

    "The Saudis are in a great position today," said Jean-François Seznec, a professor at Columbia University's Middle East Institute. "We cannot be enemies with everybody. We need their oil desperately."

    Indeed, the alternatives to Saudi Arabia are fewer today than seemed to be the case just three years ago. Predictions of a boom in Iraqi oil have been proved wrong; Iran, OPEC's second-largest oil producer, is locked on a collision course with the West; Venezuela is following an erratic path; and Russia's commitment to market reforms and foreign investments seems increasingly unreliable.

    All this has added to Saudi Arabia's already impressive clout. What is more, other powers - mainly from Asia - seek greater access to its resources and have been increasingly courting the Saudis. "They can play the United States against other buyers, like China," Mr. Seznec said. "And why wouldn't they?"
  • Military Says Troops Demanded 'Rent' From Iraqi Vendors:
    California Army National Guard troops charged unauthorized, off-the-books "rent" to Iraqi-owned businesses inside Baghdad's Green Zone in Iraq to raise money for a "soldier's fund," military officials and sources within the troops' battalion said Friday.

    The disclosure is the latest to emerge from a wide-ranging investigation into the conduct of the 1st Battalion of the 184th Infantry Regiment of the Guard, which is headquartered in Modesto, Calif.

    Military officials had confirmed previously that the battalion's commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Frey, had been suspended and that one of the battalion's companies, based in Fullerton, Calif., had been removed from patrol duties and restricted to an Army base south of Baghdad, the capital.

    According to military officials and members of the battalion, soldiers from the battalion's Bravo Company, which is based in Dublin, an East Bay suburb of San Francisco, approached several businesses earlier this year that were owned and operated by Iraqi nationals.

    The businesses -- a dry cleaner, a convenience store and the like -- catered to U.S. soldiers and were located on the fringe of the U.S. military's operating base inside the Green Zone, the fortified hub of the Iraqi government, U.S. occupation officials, embassies and contractor headquarters. The businesses were asked to pay the soldiers "rent."

    Lt. Col. Cliff Kent, spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq, confirmed Friday that two vendors agreed to pay.
  • Of the Many Deaths in Iraq, One Mother's Loss Becomes a Problem for the President:
    CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 7 - President Bush draws antiwar protesters just about wherever he goes, but few generate the kind of attention that Cindy Sheehan has since she drove down the winding road toward his ranch here this weekend and sought to tell him face to face that he must pull all Americans troops out of Iraq now.

    Ms. Sheehan's son, Casey, was killed last year in Iraq, after which she became an antiwar activist. She says she and her family met with the president two months later at Fort Lewis in Washington State.

    But when she was blocked by the police a few miles from Mr. Bush's 1,600-acre spread on Saturday, the 48-year-old Ms. Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., was transformed into a news media phenomenon, the new face of opposition to the Iraq conflict at a moment when public opinion is in flux and the politics of the war have grown more complicated for the president and the Republican Party.

    Ms. Sheehan has vowed to camp out on the spot until Mr. Bush agrees to meet with her, even if it means spending all of August under a broiling sun by the dusty road. Early on Sunday afternoon, 25 hours after she was turned back as she approached Mr. Bush's ranch, Prairie Chapel, Ms. Sheehan stood red-faced from the heat at the makeshift campsite that she says will be her home until the president relents or leaves to go back to Washington. A reporter from The Associated Press had just finished interviewing her. CBS was taping a segment on her. She had already appeared on CNN, and was scheduled to appear live on ABC on Monday morning. Reporters from across the country were calling her cellphone.

    "It's just snowballed," Ms. Sheehan said beside a small stand of trees and a patch of shade that contained a sleeping bag, some candles, a jar of nuts and a few other supplies. "We have opened up a debate in the country."

    Seeking to head off exactly the situation that now seems to be unfolding, the administration sent two senior officials out from the ranch on Saturday afternoon to meet with her. But Ms. Sheehan said after talking to the officials - Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and Joe Hagin, a deputy White House chief of staff - that she would not back down in her demand to see the president.
  • Abuse Cases Open Command Issues at Army Prison:
    FORT BLISS, Tex., Aug. 4 - In a small courtroom at this vast Army training base, military prosecutors have been moving briskly to dispense with the cases they have filed in the brutal deaths in 2002 of two Afghan prisoners at the American military detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan.

    On Thursday, a 24-year-old military intelligence sergeant pleaded guilty to assault and dereliction of duty for abusing one of the prisoners during an interrogation. Another interrogator, accused of tormenting the same detainee, agreed to plead guilty two days before. Military lawyers said that a plea deal was being negotiated with a third interrogator and that two reservist military policemen who received lesser punishments were cooperating with the inquiry.

    Military officials said they hoped the prosecutions would send a message that such abuses will not be tolerated, even in the country's fight against terrorism.
    But whatever their long-term implications, the cases have so far tended to illustrate how unprepared many soldiers were for their duties at Bagram, how loosely some were supervised and how vaguely the rules under which they operated were often defined.

    Along with other information that has emerged, trial testimony has underscored a question long at the core of this case: what is the responsibility of more senior military personnel for the abuses that took place?

    Many former Bagram officers have denied knowing about any serious mistreatment of detainees before the two deaths. But others said some of the methods that prosecutors have cited as a basis for criminal charges, including chaining prisoners to the ceilings of isolation cells for long periods, were either standard practice at the prison or well-known to those who oversaw it.

    None of the nine soldiers prosecuted thus far are officers.
    The Pain Deep Inside:
    Specialist Craig Peter Olander Jr. has the look of a mischievous kid, except that his eyes sometimes telegraph that they've seen too much. And there's a weariness that tends to slip into his voice that seems unusual for someone just 21 years old. Killing can do that to a person.

    Specialist Olander was a teenager from Waynesburg, Ohio, population 1,000, when he joined the Army in 2003. "It was very appealing," he said. "The benefits. College. And it was something I'd always wanted to do since I was a small boy - be in the Army."

    He had mixed feelings about going to Iraq, but he wasn't particularly upset. He didn't dwell on the possibility of getting killed or wounded. And he gave no thought at all to the spiritual or psychological toll that combat can take. "I was very confident in my training and I was very religious," he said. "I'd always read Bible stories as a child and I believed the Lord would look over me and his will would be done."

    He went to Iraq in early 2004 and quickly learned that nothing - not his military training, not the Bible, nothing - had adequately prepared him for the experience. By the time he returned several months later, he said, the trauma he had encountered in Iraq had reached deep inside him. There was both fear and the hint of a plea in his voice as he told me, with surprising candor, that he believed the things he'd had to do in Iraq might jeopardize the salvation of his soul.
nuff sed.