Jun. 4th, 2003

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Franklin and Linda Holloway say they are churchgoing, law-abiding folks who normally do not condone violence. But when it comes to serial bombing suspect Eric Robert Rudolph, the retired couple is quick to make an exception.

"To tell you the truth, I wish they hadn't caught him," Franklin Holloway said, pausing before voting this morning in a town referendum to allow restaurants to serve beer and hard liquor. "Look at those abortion doctors. They kill innocent babies."

"If he did that Olympic bombing he should be punished," Linda Holloway added. "But as far as those abortion clinics and the gay club is concerned, he shouldn't be punished for that. You see, those things are not right in the sight of God."

See, there's more to it than a vigilante bloodlust for people they figure their god doesn't like. That would be all terrorist and stuff.

No, these folks have a better reason.

Many residents here chafe at any suggestion that these hills are bastions of conservative radicalism. But they also acknowledge that they harbor a deep distrust of the federal government, contributing to the sympathy many feel for Rudolph.

"They were mad and upset that they couldn't find him, so they built that folk tale that he was larger than life," said Karen Golden, 44, a mother of three who lives in Ranger, about a dozen miles from where Rudolph was captured.

Although Golden said she condemned the bombings, she stopped short of denouncing Rudolph. "I don't trust the government. It seems like they have the ability and power to put out there what they want about a person," she said.

Debra Black, 36, a waitress who works with Golden in Murphy, said, "I think the government just got mud in its face because they couldn't find him for so long. He supposedly bombed the abortion clinics because he is antiabortion. He bombed the gay club because he's anti-gay. So why then did he bomb the Olympics?"

Through the years, this remote area has attracted militia groups that set up training compounds. The region is also home to many retired military and law enforcement personnel. In addition, an increasing number of people from places such as Florida and Georgia are buying mountain chalets or vacation homes in the area.

So you fine Red State folks gifted us with Bush, who gave us Ashcroft and Patriots One and Maybe and the end of your first, fourth and fifth amendment rights, to express your distrust of the government?

"I think some people believe we are a bunch of in-bred heathens," Golden said. "It's ridiculous."

No, honey.

It never crossed my mind that you were an inbred heathen.

My guess would be that you're a self-righteous idiot and that the God you worship is a travesty of the teachings of a gentle jewish rabbi who wouldn't let them stone a woman taken in adultery and who chose to die himself for other peoples' sins.

But heck, what'd he know about Christianity?
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Never mind the blockbuster autobiography by that other former first lady. We hear Barbara Bush's latest is so hot that her publisher's in-house libel lawyers are asking her to tone it down. Which makes us wonder which of the famously frank author's least favorite people should be assuming a defensive crouch or purchasing a Kevlar vest.


Former president Bush's chief of staff Jean Becker, one of the few who have seen the book, declined to comment except to predict: "It's going to be a very interesting book -- very chatty and very conversational, with Barbara Bush's typically refreshing and candid opinions about life."

I guess Millie isn't the only literary - er - progenitor in that family.
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'bout damn time, dude.

For those of you who haven't read Terry, he's ex-military and has a whole 'nother way of looking at this stuff. Take a look.
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The Defense Department appears on track to win congressional approval to set up a pay-for-performance system for its civil service employees, one of the Pentagon's primary goals.


Under the Pentagon proposal, annual pay raises that are automatically provided every January would be linked to job performance scores. The best workers would be paid more than they can be paid now. Without a good performance score, a Defense employee might not get an annual raise. The pay of employees judged to be poor performers could even be lowered.

Yesterday, during a National Press Club appearance, Rumsfeld told reporters the Pentagon's plan was "not something that someone just sat down and dreamed up."

The Defense proposal is in line with the pay and personnel flexibilities granted the Department of Homeland Security and is based on test projects that have involved more than 30,000 Defense employees, Rumsfeld said.

"I'm told that the employee satisfaction tests, surveys, that have been done on these pilot programs . . . have demonstrated that they have been very fully received, favorably received by the employees that have participated in them," Rumsfeld said.


Abner Merriweather, an assistant vice president of Local 1858, who has worked at the Redstone lab for 20 years as an electrical engineer, said the issue is more complicated than the study might suggest.

At the Redstone lab, he said, all employees get the regular January raise as determined by Congress. They also are eligible for a performance-based raise, based on their job scores. The best workers also can receive an additional raise, called "extraordinary pay."

The size of the pay raises vary, but the typical GS-13 engineer can receive about $3,300 in a performance-based raise and anywhere from $3,500 to more than $10,000 in extraordinary pay, Merriweather said.

But employees have not shown much enthusiasm for Defense proposals that do not provide an automatic raise every January, Merriweather said.

Redstone employees working in acquisition and procurement recently turned down a chance to enter a pay-for-performance test project because it did not guarantee an annual raise, he said...

I'm told that employees were particularly enthusiastic about the whole not being systemically protected from political bullshit thing.

That's really been chafing them.
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Leave it to a Marine to be blunt. When Lt. Gen. James Conway, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, was asked Friday why his Marines failed to encounter or uncover any of the weapons of mass destruction that U.S. intelligence had warned them about, his honesty put the White House to shame.

"We were simply wrong," Conway said. "It was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered [nuclear, chemical or biological] weapons" in Iraq. And, he added, "believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwait border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there."

Now that the "imminent threat" posed by Iraqi chemical or biological weapons has turned out not to be so imminent, the question is: Did our gazillion-dollar spy operations blow the call, or was the dope they developed distorted or exaggerated by our political leaders?

Either way, heads should roll...
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[livejournal.com profile] carpeicthus also has this, btw.

Oil was the main reason for military action against Iraq, a leading White House hawk has claimed, confirming the worst fears of those opposed to the US-led war.

The US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz - who has already undermined Tony Blair's position over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by describing them as a "bureaucratic" excuse for war - has now gone further by claiming the real motive was that Iraq is "swimming" in oil.

The latest comments were made by Mr Wolfowitz in an address to delegates at an Asian security summit in Singapore at the weekend, and reported today by German newspapers Der Tagesspiegel and Die Welt.

Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: "Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."

Mr Wolfowitz went on to tell journalists at the conference that the US was set on a path of negotiation to help defuse tensions between North Korea and its neighbours - in contrast to the more belligerent attitude the Bush administration displayed in its dealings with Iraq.

His latest comments follow his widely reported statement from an interview in Vanity Fair last month, in which he said that "for reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on: weapons of mass destruction."

Prior to that, his boss, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, had already undermined the British government's position by saying Saddam Hussein may have destroyed his banned weapons before the war.

Mr Wolfowitz's frank assessment of the importance of oil could not come at a worse time for the US and UK governments, which are both facing fierce criticism at home and abroad over allegations that they exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein in order to justify the war.

Amid growing calls from all parties for a public inquiry, the foreign affairs select committee announced last night it would investigate claims that the UK government misled the country over its evidence of Iraq's WMD.

The move is a major setback for Tony Blair, who had hoped to contain any inquiry within the intelligence and security committee, which meets in secret and reports to the prime minister...

Also we just sent Australia a bill for the bombs we lent them.

And the hits just keep on coming...


Jun. 4th, 2003 03:04 pm
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Roger Ebert on the fuss over Vincent Gallo's legendary Cannes flop Brown Bunny, which apparently contains an extended scene of Mr. Gallo receiving oral sex from his co-star:

Vincent Gallo has put a curse on my colon and a hex on my prostate. He called me a "fat pig" in the New York Post and told the New York Observer I have "the physique of a slave-trader." He is angry at me because I said his "The Brown Bunny" was the worst movie in the history of the Cannes Film Festival.

I was not alone in my judgment. Screen International, the British trade paper, convenes a panel of critics to score the official entries. "The Brown Bunny" scored 0.6 out of a possible five--the lowest score in its history, the paper said.

This came as a blow to the French. Their national pride could not abide the notion that an American film was worse than any of their own, and so a few days later they countered with Bertrand Blier's "Les Cotelettes."


During a scene where Gallo shares a bicycle with a young woman, I became so nostalgic for "Butch Cassidy" that I softly sang "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head." I stopped after six words when my wife jabbed me in the ribs. I was overheard by a writer for Hollywood Reporter, who included it in his coverage about how badly the film was received, and that is another reason Gallo has put the heebie-jeebie on my colon and prostate. I am not too worried. I had a colonoscopy once, and they let me watch it on TV. It was more entertaining than "The Brown Bunny."

A day after the fiasco of the movie's premiere, Screen International ran a remarkable interview in which Gallo apologized for his film...

On Monday Gallo told the New York Post's Page Six that Screen International "made up" his quotes. He added, "I'm sorry I'm not gay or Jewish, so I don't have a special interest group of journalists who support me." Such comments might seem politically incorrect, but not to Gallo, who says he is a conservative Republican, although since his film ends with a hard-core oral sex scene, he is not likely to be fielding many group bookings from the Moral Majority.


Gallo all but wept in a Cannes interview as he described the pain of "growing up ugly," but empathy has its limits, and he had no tears for a fat pig and slave-trader such as myself. It is true that I am fat, but one day I will be thin, and he will still be the director of "The Brown Bunny."
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Three states sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to force the federal government to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide permitted in the air.

The lawsuit seeks to add carbon dioxide to the list of pollutants that are regulated under the Clean Air Act. The current list includes carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, ozone, particulates and sulfur oxides.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who brought the case along with his counterparts from Massachusetts and Maine, said the EPA had failed to use its authority to protect the public.

"Now, the courts must compel it," he said.

An EPA spokesman in Washington did not immediately return a call.

The lawsuit says research shows that industrial emissions of carbon dioxide contribute to global warming, and therefore are subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act...

Mr. Bush says he's making plans for a five year research study of climate change.

He's making plans. To study the matter. For five years.

oh dear.

Jun. 4th, 2003 05:39 pm
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It seems as if apostropher is cornering the market in me.

Also I split, just 'cause I could.
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on the way home from the bus stop while I was being rained on, because it wasn't raining enough for me to take out my umbrella and get it wet, that I wished I were a Real Writer so I would have a place to put the image of the elderly asian woman who was walking half a block ahead of me carrying an enormous black umbrella covered with outlines of Africa colored in rasta stripes.

And then I thought, hey, I do anyway.
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