The Most Expensive (and Fatal?) Engineering Mistake in US History

Thank the Corps of Engineers.

But hey, New Orleans is just a America's whore, right? Fuck her, tell her she's pretty, then short change her and kick her out of the car.


The Sebastian Mallaby Contest

In a “column” defending All Things Wal Mart yesterday, enlightened turd-shiner Sebastian Mallaby called decorated war veteran John Kerry “John ‘Benedict Arnold’ Kerry.” I not so promptly informed said turd shiner of his offense and added that
...I propose we sane folk (i.e., not you) start referring to you in a few truthful and creative ways:

Sebastian "Bush Toady" Mallaby
Sebastian "Benedict Arnold" Mallaby
Sebastian "Bought-And-Paid-For" Mallaby
Sebastian "Smug And Stupid" Mallaby
Sebastian "Wal Mart Ass Puppet" Mallaby
Sebastian "Waste of Water" Mallaby

On second thought, maybe we should use your name in some creative and obscene way, just as Dan Savage used Senator Rick Santorum's surname to signify a side-effect of anal sex.

A few inspiring possibilities:

1. I was straining on the toilet when I felt a mallaby pop out. Fortunately, my insurance plan (non-Wal-Mart!) covers rectal surgery.

2. The fetid Wal-Mart pork that Rishi ate soon turned a mallaby and he vomited all over his new satin sheets.

3. After the hooker finished, he wiped a drop of mallaby off the tip of his member.

4. Sorry, babe, I really can't. If I go upstairs with you, you might catch a mallaby and need a shot of penicillin.

5. Frank would've been fine, if the virus hadn't resulted in a mallaby. The lobotomy, he reports, was a success.

6. The neurosurgeon had no choice but to perform a mallaby on Rick. Now Rick stares out the window at the pretty birds and scratches at the floor for nonexistent seed.
I don't know what Sebastian "Shoe Shit" Mallaby thinks of this, if he thinks at all, but if you're game, I propose a contest. Give me your best shot at what "mallaby" should henceforth mean and (cross my stony, godless heart) I'll give you a prize (feel free to suggest low-cost prizes). The only rules I can think of right now: "Mallaby" has to be useable as a verb, meaning something gross, if not disgusting. On second thought, other meanings, such as those indicating lying, manipulation and corruption would work (use your imagination). The word can also be used as other parts of speech but those must be defined.

Official contest slogan: "Mallaby": Just two letters short of disease.

(Felt-hat tip to Atrios for the original offending article.)


Iraqi Civilians, or Contractor Targets

Unbelievable. (Hunting-cap tip to Crooks & Liars and Atrios.)

Dear Washington Post

Next time you write a slightly snide editorial about my city (not yours), please bother getting your facts straight. But then your paper and "facts" have a rocky relationship.

Contrary to your assertion, New Orleans doesn't have 1.5 million residents. Perhaps you were thinking of the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area, which according to the 2000 census has (had) 1,337,726 residents (closer to 1.3 or 1.4 million). New Orleans proper has (had) only 484,674 residents. It was New Orleans proper that got flooded; most of the surrounding area did not.

This is an important distinction. Most of the hundreds of thousands of residents outside New Orleans proper have returned. If you don't believe me, try one of the traffic cams on nola.com. The heavy traffic in Metairie and Kenner isn't from contractors, and it's not contractors I stand behind in line at Bed, Bath & Beyond, nor is it contractors I overhear discussing damage to their houses.

Now it's true that most of New Orleans' former 484,674 residents (note: not 1.5 or even 1.4 million) haven't returned, because most of the city is without power and most of the houses are uninhabitable. But in the habitable parts of town, there's plenty of traffic, and not from contractors. Unless all the cars lining my residential street are those of contractors who've taken up residence in my former neighbors' houses. And most of the people at restaurants and in grocery stores (long lines of people) appear to be residents--perhaps by subterfuge. There are even lots of tourists in the French Quarter, and this weekend, when the zoo reopened, you couldn't find a parking place for acres (lots of contractors, I guess, pushing all those strollers). Would you like me to take some pictures for you? The fact is, the livable parts of New Orleans are full, and more lights come on every day. People are coming back and cleaning up. But then you wouldn't know that, because you didn't bother to look. You didn't even bother to read the census.

There's a reason why getting your facts straight is important, even when it doesn't involve misleading your country into war. When you don't get your facts straight, you mislead your readers, some of which are in positions of power. When they read that most residents of "New Orleans" haven't returned, they might think that New Orleans is a dead city, when it is not. And they might hesitate to rebuild it. And if they don't rebuild it, they can find some other port to ship all their precious cargo through and some other swamp to run their oil pipelines through, because this strategic port will be gone, and many of the refineries and pipelines that feed the greedy American beast will be gone with it.

And, in part, that will be your fault.


He'll Send More Troops

Bush, Fort Bragg, 6/28/2005:
Some Americans ask me, if completing the mission is so important, why don't you send more troops? If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job. Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are, in fact, working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave. As we determine the right force level, our troops can know that I will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders.
(Emphasis mine.)

TIME, 11/21/2005
If the Repulblican Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee wants to get a second opinion on how the war in Iraq is going, where does he turn? To the Pentagon, but not to the top brass this time. In an unusual closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill last week, Virginia's John Warner, joined by Democratic Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and Mark Dayton of Minnesota, sat across the table from 10 military officers chosen for their experience on the battlefield rather than in the political arena. Warner rounded up the battalion commanders to get at what the military calls "ground truth"--the unvarnished story of what's going on in Iraq.

"We wanted the view from men who had been on the tip of the spear, and we got it," said John Ullyot, a Warner spokesman who declined to comment on what was said at the meeting but confirmed that some Capitol Hill staff members were also present. According to two sources with knowledge of the meeting, the Army and Marine officers were blunt. In contrast to the Pentagon's stock answer that there are enough troops on the ground in Iraq, the commanders said that they not only needed more manpower but also had repeatedly asked for it. Indeed, military sources told TIME that as recently as August 2005, a senior military official requested more troops but got turned down flat.

There are about 160,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq, a number U.S. commanders in the region plan to maintain at least through the Iraqi national assembly elections on Dec. 15. But the battalion commanders, according to sources close to last week's meeting, said that because there are not enough troops, they have to "leapfrog" around Iraq to keep insurgents from returning to towns that have been cleared out. The officers also stressed that the lack of manpower--rather than of protective armor or signal jammers--posed one of the biggest obstacles in dealing with roadside bombs, which have caused the majority of U.S. casualties in Iraq. The commanders, according to the meeting sources, said there are simply "never enough" explosives experts on the ground.
(Article via Andrew Sullivan.)


Al Jazeera's Future?

An interesting side note about Al Jazeera, from Steve Clemons:
To add one other interesting dimension to this debate about Al-Jazeera, one of my friends asked novelist Tom Clancy what he thought about the mid-term future of the arab network at the major September terrorism conference where Clancy spoke. Tom Clancy replied that he thought that in five years, Al-Jazeera would be just another mouthpiece of American interests.

Fascinating, counter-intuitive statement -- in TWN's view -- that I hope is wrong, but which many inside the Al-Jazeera network feel strikes close to home and the realm of likelihood.


Our Man in Mosul

A cousin of mine who's in the National Guard has been in Iraq for the past few months. He got to guard polling stations during the last vote and (I'm guessing) will do so again on Dec. 15. Here are highlights from his latest mass email:
We don't have any special plans here. I believe the mess hall manager is preparing us a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, though we may have to go to Mosul to pick up some of the things they don't have here (which is alot, since its an Iraqi mess hall). They will close it off to the Iraqis, so we will be able to socialize and fellowship for a little while. Other than that, its business as usual.

I'm sorry I haven't been keeping in touch with everyone (sending the mass e-mails). There's not a whole lot to update you on. I work what I call the daily grind with the Iraqi G-2 (intelligence), and run up and down the road to Mosul. Mosul is getting pretty crazy, it makes for a nerve-wracking trip. I've also had to go over to Tal Afar a couple of times, but that was uneventful.

As I'm sure everyone can understand, we're gearing up for the December elections. I can't wait for it to happen. Hopefully some of the crazy stuff that's going on around here will ease off. We're doing a lot of planning/preparations, so I hope it will go smoothly, at least in our Area of Operations.

I guess winter is starting to set in here. It gets down into the 40's and 50's at night, but is still comfortable during the day. We've had two straight days of rain. Nothing heavy, but its turned this whole place into a mud hole. Several of our guys have gone out 4-wheeling in it, driving Russian-made jeeps. I will get out there eventually, and have a little fun, also. I've been told that we will get more rain for about a month, then "true" winter will set in. It will snow in late December, January and February. Who would have thought about snow in the desert? We've got some large mountain ranges visible from the FOB [Forward Operating Base -Ed.]. Once the snow starts, I'll get some pictures of it e-mailed.


Scott Pelley Is Sinking

Gee, Scott, maybe next time you could give the other 9 sides of the story, like a real journalist would, instead of the controversial one you adore.



Impeach the Bastard

Sure, you say, nearly every president deserves impeachment. But who deserves it as much as this guy?

CAVEAT EMPTOR: Then again, you might have to drill down to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson to find a decent replacement, and I don't know if he's trustworthy either.

Putting the Ann in Annti-American

"Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."
- Ann Coulter at the University of Florida
(Via Brad Blog.)


Can Bush Beat Nixon?

He's a contender.

Michael Brown's Image-Makers

Why work hard when you can look like you've been working hard? The Baton Rouge Advocate reports on an email that former FEMA-director Michael Brown received several days after Katrina struck:
Several days later, Brown received yet another e-mail about his attire. This time, Worthy instructed Brown: "Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt...all shirts. Even the President rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow. In this cris[is] and on TV you just need to look more hard-working...ROLL UP THE SLEEVES."


Dear Max Boot

I read with interest your list of half-truths and lies in the LA Times today. Then on NPR I heard you mislead the American public.

In the LA Times, you called Joseph Wilson "Plamegate's real liar." But anyone who read the Joseph Wilson's NYT op-ed or interviews with him knows he didn't lie. Anyone who read the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report knows it was skewed and that the Bush toady Pat Roberts and Orrin Hatch lied in their comments.

On NPR's All Things Considered, you claimed that Democrats voted for the Iraq war. But anyone who paid attention knows that the Democrats didn't "vote for war" but authorized the use of force as a last resort. And anyone not suffering from Down's Syndrome knows that the invasion of Iraq was far from the last resort. Or did you miss the weapons inspectors report before the invasion?

I don't think you're stupid enough to sincerely believe any of what you've said or written on Joseph Wilson or those pesky Democrats. Instead, I think you're the worst sort of liar, the kind who, conscienceless, uses whatever means necessary to achieve underhanded policy ends. Do you get paid to lie or do you do it on principle? You belong in a dark cell, with a guard who turns a blind eye and several large, libidinous cellmates who can't wait to get into your jumpsuit.