Nothing infuriates the selfish and venal like true virtue

I encourage you to read Bob Herbert’s memorial to Marla Ruzicka in the NY Times today.

In a horrifying incident that occurred in the spring of 2003, an Iraqi woman threw two of her children, an infant and a toddler, out the window of a car that had been hit accidentally in an American rocket attack. The woman and the rest of her family perished in the black smoke and flames of the wreckage. The toddler, whose name was Zahraa, was severely burned. She died two weeks later.

The infant, named Harah, was not badly hurt. She was photographed recently on the lap of Marla Ruzicka, a young humanitarian-aid worker from California who was herself killed a little over a week ago in the flaming wreckage of a car that was destroyed in a suicide bomb attack in Baghdad.

This wonderful article is balm to my fevered brow in the wake of the vilification of Ruzicka’s memory by The Usual Suspects on the Blunt Trauma Right. I suspect that the vision of their own grotesqueness and flaccid failings in life propel much of their venom. It’s important for me to remember this when I get exercised enough to start thinking about taking my watch off, rolling up my sleeves and dispensing a little “Mind your manners when you’re speaking about a woman, boy” gospel to the pajama brigade.

Perhaps it’s sexual envy- one hardly ever sees this kind of venom sprayed hither and yon when a male relief worker dies. But let a principled and nubile young woman die in pursuit of justice, and it’s digital scarlet letter time. It reminds me of the fat geeks who, during our freshman year of college, deemed every woman who would not sleep with speak to them to be of one of four types of undesirables: Whore, Dyke, Frigid or Psycho. Add to that list “Traitorous Lefty Bitch,” and I think that our toes may have just found the bottom of this cesspool of rage and venom.

Herbert leads his article with a brilliant quote from Simone Weil:

Nothing is so beautiful and wonderful, nothing is so continually fresh and surprising, so full of sweet and perpetual ecstasy, as the good.



We Meet Again…

Got to talk face to face with Mike Mantione on Saturday. That’s the first time that he and I have been in the same town at the same time since I moved back to Athens.

Mike’s got a baby coming any day now. (His fourth.) We talked about how dispiriting it was that the Human Rights Festival, while moderately well attended, wasn’t wall to wall. This was especially disconcerting considering it was the day before Blut und Ehre Sunday and one would think that the Left would turn out in droves. Perhaps there is no Left left in Fat’n’Happy College Town, USA. Perhaps they were frightened off by Music Hates You. (I am told that the campus NAACP rep heard part of our show and split. I have no idea what that’s about…)

Other topics of discussion- Mike enduring abuse for being an independent contractor with a Kerry sticker on the back of his van. “You morons are voting against your best interests,” he tells the other contractors. We both lamented the nation’s precipitous slide into theocracy.

Someone walked up while we were yapping and did a little doubletake. “Are you… uh… playing with these guys again?” he asked.

Nope. But we’re still friends.

I’m just saying…pt. 5

Jeff Gannon comes and goes at the White House at odd hours, stays long hours, sometimes doesn’t check out with the Secret Service… leaves by different entrances than the one he came in…

Guckert made more than 200 appearances at the White House during his two-year tenure with the fledging conservative websites GOPUSA and Talon News, attending 155 of 196 White House press briefings. He had little to no previous journalism experience, previously worked as a male escort, and was refused a congressional press pass.

Perhaps more notable than the frequency of his attendance, however, is several distinct anomalies about his visits.

Guckert made more than two dozen excursions to the White House when there were no scheduled briefings. On many of these days, the Press Office held press gaggles aboard Air Force One—which raises questions about what Guckert was doing at the White House. On other days, the president held photo opportunities.

On at least fourteen occasions, Secret Service records show either the entry or exit time missing. Generally, the existing entry or exit times correlate with press conferences; on most of these days, the records show that Guckert checked in but was never processed out.

Now, I don’t want to get into any kind of vicious innuendo flinging… ok, yes I do.

Oops. Looks like Shakespeare’s Sister beat me to it.

Geez, as did Atrios.

That’ll teach me to sleep in.

Dear Mr. Rumsfeld

Fuck you.

In returning home, the leaders and Marine infantrymen have chosen to break an institutional code of silence and tell their story, one they say was punctuated not only by a lack of armor, but also by a shortage of men and planning that further hampered their efforts in battle, destroyed morale and ruined the careers of some of their fiercest warriors.

It seems that these brave Marines are stepping forward with the attitude “You’ve killed my friends, taken our limbs, ruined our careers and destroyed someone else’s country. Don’t ask me to cover for you.”

They are, of course, being punished in every way possible-

Capt. Kelly D. Royer took photos of Humvees in which his men died. He was removed from command, accused of being “dictatorial.”

So these Marines have gone public, hoping to try the inept and venal Iraq War Planners in the court of public opinion. The American public is, of course, even more inept and venal than its leaders, so I don’t have much hope of seeing Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Bremer, Richard Perle, et al, get the Nuremberg treatment that they so richly deserve.

The Craigslist Car Scammer and Me

I put an ad on the internet to sell the Benz. I got an inquiry from this guy in London. There have been a ton of scams originating out of London, and there are warnings all over the message boards “DON’T SELL TO INTERNATIONAL BUYERS OFFERING MONEY ORDERS. THE MONEY ORDER IS LIKELY COUNTERFEIT. CASHIERS CHECKS HAVE ALSO BEEN COUNTERFEIT. AVOID INTERNATIONAL BUYERS, etc, etc, etc.” So, in an effort to circumvent this, I specified “CASH ONLY.”

Well, this guy appears to think I’m stupid and is probably trying to set me up anyway.

SO. I answered his email. I thought I would have some fun with him. Translations from what little London slang I know are (in parentheses).

His email to me:

On Apr 21, 2005, at 8:33 PM, Danny Darluss wrote:

I’m Danny Darlus, (
Danny Darlus..
219 Pickers field
lane south woodfird
London UK..


I wrote him back:

From: Patrick Yelladog
Date: April 21, 2005 10:54:23 PM EDT
To: Danny Darluss

Oh, that’s really BRILLIANT. I have a good friend in London that would be able to come and pick up the cash if you’re interested, and he can send it to me. (My ad specified CASH ONLY, as you may recall, so I am sure it won’t be a problem, will it?)

I am the 2nd owner. My father had it before me and looked after it while I was incarcerated.
Present condition is good, not brilliant, which is why I am asking such a fair price for it.
Final asking price is going to be $1700.00. I will not pay shipping, and would prefer you come and get it. However, Dan, in your case, you’ll have to pay my mate Vincent cash immediately for me to hold it. Vincent lives is a West Indian neighborhood (which means ‘bad’) way out in the East End (which means ‘really, really bad’). REALLY dodgy (did I mention that it’s a really, really bad neighborhood?) area, but he’s a fucking HUGE geezer, so he has no trouble down there. Knows a few of the heavier yardies (Jamaican gangsters- calling them spectacularly cutthroat is an understatement) around town, too, right? He doesn’t seem to have any problems out there, but it’s probably better for him to come to you than for you to go to him.

Lots of pictures are here.

What’s your address and flat # so I can let him know what Tube (subway) station he needs to get off at to find your place? If he has to drive, he has to ride in his cousin’s motor, and his cousin has to drive. Vincent’s cousin is a complete lunatic. He’s really known for making trouble, punch ups (fistfights) and breaking stuff, so we’d probably all rather Vincent took the Tube, right?

If I want to get you on the dog, what’s your digits? (what’s your phone number?)

I might just bring you the motor myself and deliver it to you personally. Haven’t been back to the Smoke (London) since I got out of the Scrubs (worst shithole prison in the UK- Wormwood Scrubs). I don’t know if I can come into the country any more. There’s some registration thing for “violent offenders,” which is a total load of crap. But I am probably on a list somewhere, and I might not get out again, or in.

But Vincent’s a GREAT guy, and he’d do ANYTHING for me, so when he comes ’round, you’ll know he’s someone I can count on. He’s a lovely chap, despite his reputation.


There’s another email that I sent him this morning below the fold:
[Read more…]

This is so simple

It made me smack my forehead…

The Solar Tower is hollow in the middle like a chimney. At its base is a solar collector — a 25,000-acre, transparent circular skirt. The air under the collector is heated by the sun and funneled up the chimney by convection — hot air rises. As it rises, the air accelerates to 35 mph, driving 32 wind turbines inside the tower, which generate electricity much like conventional wind farms.

But the Solar Tower has a major advantage over wind farms and solar generators: It can operate with no wind, and 24 hours a day. Thanks to banks of solar cells, the tower stores heat during the day, allowing it to produce electricity continuously.

But wait, there’s a punchline!

Despite the advantages of solar power towers, especially over the long term, it’s unlikely one will be built in the United States. The federal government is pinning hopes on hydrogen as a new energy source, while continuing to overexploit fossil fuels…


The water-proof towel plan

Let me get this straight…

House Republicans are offering the head of Tom DeLay if they can be allowed to leave in place the rule changes that say “We can kill any investigation any time we want,” in the Ethics Committee. Have I got that right?

So, essentially, what they’re saying is “We’d like you to sign this contract for us to spray your house for cockroaches as long as it says we don’t have to spray your house if we don’t want to.”

Someone please tell me I have this all wrong.

These pancakes have liberal bias. That taxi has liberal bias. And, and…

Revisiting Steven Colbert’s assertion that “The Facts apparently have an anti-Bush agenda.”

From Media Matters:

Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter falsely accused an Arizona county attorney of anti-conservative bias for dismissing charges against two men who allegedly threw pies at her during an October 2004 speech. In fact, the blame lies with Coulter herself; the charges were dropped becuase neither she nor the arresting officer appeared for the scheduled trial.

I think we are getting an early peek at the Limbaugh Defense, in what should be (any day now) his upcoming trial for money laundering, illegal drug use, doctor shopping, etc:

“The district attorney has an anti-criminal bias!”