Anthony Swofford the author of Jarhead chimes in with his view of embedded reporters.
Its nice to see some folks still remember our erstwhile friends at Suck.com
How well did the Pentagon anticipate the tactics of the Iraqi's? Slate offers one take and the New Yorker reports that Rummy ignored the Pentagon's advice.

As we have heard a thousand times this week, we can't win The War and lose The Peace. The Pentagon is responsible for the war. Rumsfeld is responsible for both.
Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for point us towards the 7 Habits of the Effective Blogger.
Almost everybody wants to get high, and almost everybody does. It’s just a matter of degree. Words to live by. The Phoenix reviews recent books that deal with our desire to get high. It’s interesting to note that the level of government irrationality towards drugs seems to have little to do with the actual threat they present.
Charles Schwab Corp. said co-chief executives Charles Schwab and David Pottruck gave up 2.6 million stock options in 2002 worth up to $55.6 million and canceled others from 2000 and 2001. They also refused bonuses for last year.

That is responsible corporate leadership. My favorite is the subhead in the Chron. to this article says that some people complain because the gesture is "symbolic" and more so since the valuations on the stock is so low. First off, it’s clearly symbolic, that’s its intention. The idea is that management and the rank and file are in the same boat. While Schwab and Pottruck will always have their mansions to go home to, they at least are acknowledging the harsh economic realities affecting their employees. And secondly, how much heat would the Chronicle be giving them if they didn’t forgo their options? My guess, about as much as they gave to the CEO of PG&E for accepting his bonus. Hats off to Chuck and David, they get it.
The horrific mess that is the DMCA still hasn't deterred some lawmakers. Now the states want to get in on the act.


Aspargirl with some nice notes about gays in the military.
Will Femia at msnbc.com assesses how blogs are doing re: War Coverage. His summary:
It’s clear that Weblogs can contribute to the fog of war as easily as they can help clear it (Unless you read Ted the Dog, we only clear it)

And a wonderful rebutt from the Truth Laid Bear.

The crucial aspect of weblogs is that they are independent. They represent one individual (or a self-selected collection of individuals) viewpoint. Their thoughts, their ideas, hopes, fears, experiences, whatever. Uncut, uncensored, and unfiltered.

Embedded reporters, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. In the first place, they are Professional Journalists, which doesn't mean they are evil (or even necessarily incompetent) --- but it does mean that they are edited, filtered, distilled, and otherwise limited by their own organizations. Yes, that on-the-battlefield report might be streamed live. But the choice to stream that reporter's account at that particular moment wasn't made by the reporter --- it was made by some editor sitting in Atlanta. "Embeds" are tactically uncut --- but strategically neutered.
OK, how about some nice, noodle-nose, news for a change? Apparently the new dating craze in New York is "Dinner in the Dark" A bunch of singles do a meet, greet, and eat in total darkness. Only the waiters wear night google glasses. The other diners are free to grope each other and throw bread. The first event was described thusly: As soon as the diners were seated with the lights out, unable to see anyone or anything, the supposedly sophisticated New Yorkers somehow became anything but.

The dinner erupted into a melee of shouting patrons, crashing glassware and flying slices of bread. As plates shattered, diners burst into rounds of adolescent cheering.

A loud splash was followed by a woman's shriek. "Ow. You spilled that all over me. I am so wet," she said somewhere in the dark, obviously the victim of a misplaced, or misfired, drink


In local news, an Oakland woman just won the Rock Paper Scissor title.

OK, that's all the fun news for the week, back to your regularly scheduled doom and gloom.
The war in Iraq is just a week old, but it is clear that Saddam Hussein has learned a lot since his forces were routed in the Persian Gulf war in 1991.

Like other leaders facing larger, technologically superior forces, he has found ways to improvise and to take advantage of the fact that the fighting is taking place on his home ground. He is waging a campaign of harassment and delay. It is not likely to change the outcome of the war, but it will prolong the fighting, make it more costly for his adversaries and profoundly affect the way it is seen in other Arab countries and around the world.
R. W. APPLE Jr. in the NY Times today. Its ironic but the tactics Saddam appears to be using aren't so much from the Vietcong playbook, but rather our own revolutionary war.
The difference between this nation, its values and those of our enemies can be summed up by this image of former prisoners being released from Guantanamo Bay. No bullets to the back of the head. We don't make our mistakes "disappear" in order to avoid the embarassment. A liberal, secular, democracy isn't always pretty, but it is head and shoulders above the alternatives.
Paul Krugman writes about the failed promise (and promises) of the energy task force led by Cheney.

They considered themselves tough-minded realists, and regarded doubters as fuzzy-minded whiners. They silenced those who questioned their premises, even though the skeptics included many of the government's own analysts. They were supremely confident — and yet with shocking speed everything they had said was proved awesomely wrong.
SFgate with an article about the FBI questioning Iraqi immigrants. The Feds were on top of things with questios like "Do you know Osama Bin Laden?". Gonna get those bad guys that way.
Thanks to TalkingPointsMemo for point us to this WaPo article about our missteps in Turkey. Obviously the foreign policy failings in Turkey are having real world and real war consequences. Its discomforting to say the least that negotiations with our allies are fumbled this badly and yet we are suppossed to have faith in their ability to manage the entire Middle East domino process.
Gary Hart has a blog. Its light now but it will be interesting to see how it grows.


A sober and insightful piece on Moynihan from Mickey Kaus.

Moynihan was right -- OK, prophetic -- about the decline of the black family, and its importance, but wrong about the solution. (He persistently refused to see no-strings welfare payments as a cause of family breakup, and never was comfortable with requiring single welfare mothers to go to work.) That's my main beef with him -- Washingtonians treated Moynihan as a god on the welfare issue, but it was only when Washington finally ignored him and passed the 1996 welfare reform that we began to make real progress on that front.

And I love the political epigram of Moynihan's he relates:
The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.

"You have the jewel of Africa in your hands," said President Samora Machel of Mozambique and President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania to Robert Mugabe, at the moment of independence, in 1980. "Now look after it."

Twenty-three years later, the "jewel" is ruined, dishonored, disgraced.

so begins Doris Lessing's amazing piece on Mugabe.

What worries me about what Lessing describes is that somehow the newest way to get U.S. attention, dollars, and all that brings with it, is to cause enough trouble to be "worth it" (i.e. terrorism) We have long ignored Africa and I am sure there is some resentment on that matter. If I was an enterprising young upstart tyrant, it might make sense to loosely and distantly support terrorist factions within my struggling nation. After the US comes to clean up the mess, they'll build infrastructure, put in a form of democracy, and pay my nation the money and attention I feel it deserves. It just seems like the countries that fuck with us (Afghanistan, Iraq) are the ones we have dedicated billions for restoring. Simplistic I know, but aren't we in a weird way rewarding very, very bad behaviors?
Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo has some sobering words for those of us who believe regime change is the start.

Once America begins the process of remaking the Middle East in the way the hawks have in mind it will be extremely difficult for any president to pull back. Vietnam analogies have long been overused, and used inappropriately, but this may be one case where the comparison is apt.
Richard Perle quits. hmm....
Now we are literally walking out on the UN.
Nice write up from CNN about soldiers blogging from the Gulf.
I've been getting lots of emails about the Tejada piece below. Many of them with fixes for baseball almost all of them centered around one "problem". Speed the game up.

This is the number one complaint of "fans" today. And its totally wrong. (OK, get out your seersucker suits and Jim Crowe Laws, I'm going all nostalgic) Baseball is a game without a clock. It has a different flow. It is meant to be played and enjoyed without the hurried pace of Playstation 2 games, Jerry Bruckheimer movies, and CNN war coverage. That is why people are losing interest in it, because its so out of tune with modern sensibilities. But that's why it's so great and even more important these days, its an antidote to today's hectic pace. (OK, I will stop channeling George Will now)

It reminds me of the great Ghandhi quote: "There is more to life than increasing its speed"

Have another beer and a dog, laugh with your neighbor, smile at the pretty girl in the bleachers, and leave your cell phone at home. (God I am fired up for opening Day!)


As always, Dahlia Lithwick with the first good reporting from the Supreme Court. Her latest dispatch from the sodomy trial is classic. She talks about what lead to the men being arrestted for engaging in "deviant" acts and then reminds us:

Pause here to consider that bestiality is not considered "deviate" under Texas law. Read it for the absurd laughs and mind boggling "logic".
Monkeys from Morocco Meet Mines
This is a few days old, but in light of the Supreme Court's handling of the Texas law its informative to revisit Andrew Sullivan's essay titled "We Are All Sodomites Now"
In honor of Women's History Month, Cato gives us Three Women who launched a movement.
Nothing like the eloquent slams of cat-fighting conservatives for a good chuckle.
A proud, storied baseball team with a dynasty in its past, a roster full of young stars, and last year’s MVP, should be the envy of the league. One problem, they are a “small market team”. The Oakland Athletics recently announced that they couldn’t afford to keep Miguel Tejada the reigning AL MVP. The A’s owners announced this at the beginning of the season claiming they didn’t want to “offend” him with a lowball offer.

General manager Billy Beane said that even though offers were never exchanged, he has a fair idea what an MVP shortstop would bring on the market, and the A's would not be in the ballpark.

Baseball fans notice the similarity to Jason Giambi, another farm-raised Athletic turned MVP, and eventual New York Yankee. Frankly, many people consider this a Yankee “problem” with a severe competitive imbalance created by the outsized revenues the NY teams receive due mostly to their TV contracts. The big market teams argue that money isn’t the only key to success. Smart decisions , good management, and money are factors.

Last year baseball, against the stern objections of Yankee’s owner George Steinbrenner and the player’s union, implemented a salary cap similar to the one used in the other major sports. There is a penalty tax in the agreement that is a forced revenue sharing trigger once a team exceeds the cap. So far the only two teams projected to be over the cap this year are the New York Yankees and the New York Mets.
Interesting twist in the Dear Raed blog. Even Reason is chiming in on his veracity.


FBI releases wiretapping records and The Founding Fathers turn over in their graves. All from WaPo.
The Supremes will be looking at the sodomy law again. It will be interesting to say the least.
No more Iraq TV.
Speaking of the Freedoms We Take For Granted (FWTFG), Privacy International has just announced their 2003 Big Brother Awards.
The bombs have begun to fall on Baghdad. Iraqi soldiers have shot their officers and are giving themselves up to the Americans and the British in droves. Others, as in Nasiriyah and Umm Qasr, are fighting back, and civilians have already come under fire. Yet I find myself dismissing contemptuously all the e-mails and phone calls I get from antiwar friends who think they are commiserating with me because "their" country is bombing "mine." To be sure, I am worried. Like every other Iraqi I know, I have friends and relatives in Baghdad. I am nauseous with anxiety for their safety. But still those bombs are music to my ears. They are like bells tolling for liberation in a country that has been turned into a gigantic concentration camp. One is not supposed to say such things in the kind of liberal, pacifist, and deeply anti-American circles of academia, in which I normally live and work. The truth is jarring even to my own ears. Kanan Mikiya writes in The New Republic. War is a horrible response to the worst failings of man but it isn't always the worst possible condition. As voices speak up from and within Iraq you understand how utterly naive much of the anti-war left is. You begin to grasp the notion that those ideas we take for granted, those small liberties we swim in without so much a second thought, the abscence of terror, isn't enjoyed by many on this planet. Hopefully war will always remain the option of last resort, but these things are worth fighting for.
No one is safe under his rule. Sports Illustrated with a story about an Iraqi Olympian and the torture and terror used by the first family to "motivate" athletes.
An ex-human shield comes back sharing tales of the Iraqi people. He was "schocked" to find that people in Iraq were pro-war. (golly, I wonder why anyone would support a change of the tyrannical regime that rules your land with terror and injustice)
The Supremes have ruled that the Patriot Act stands up to one of its first tests.
We all have fun beating on Clear Channel, and rightfully so. But their efforts at creating an astro-turf campaign of pro-war rallies strikes me as dangerous as well as dumb. Its one thing to use your monolithic influence to jam horrific pop music down our gullets, its another to surreptitiously use it to drive public opinion on such an important issue. Take a stand and have the balls to show your face in public.
Lawrence Lessig advocates that the wireless spectrum should be opened up as a commons. Interestingly enough he belives Chairman Powell may be leaning in that direction as well. He says that Powell may be remembered (if he does open the spectrum) as telecom's Gorbachev, the "father of the most importan revolution that technology could begin."

Lessig waxes that if Powell is the "counter-revolutionary" he hopes, "then count on a networked future that is wildly better than our past. Imagine then a world of innovation and growth when anywhere and everywhere you could always be on—connected via wireless. With a few simple rules, and the space to play, wireless innovators would give us the second great Internet revolution. And our children would speak not of how only Nixon could have gone to China, but of how only Powell could have given us the spectrum commons."
OK, I am officially back! I'll be working through the emails this week and posting regularly again from here on out. Let's get a bloggin'