Where Were You? – January 17th 1991

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the beginning of the first gulf war also know as Operation Desert Storm. On January 17th 1991 the US commenced the air campaign against Iraqi forces that had invaded Kuwait the year before. The “war” officially lasted only another 42 days but the effects are still being felt today.

20 years and 1 day ago I made my one and only carrier trap aboard the USS Midway which was in a full war footing in preparation for launching what would be the first of 20 years of almost continuous air operations that continue to this day.

Who would have thought back then that 20 years later we would still be fighting in the region with no end in sight?

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Death, Taxes, And…

As the old saying goes, there are few certainties in life besides death and taxes. One of those few though happens shortly after a mass conflagration like the happenings in Arizona over the weekend.

People either call for stricter gun laws or they respond by putting more guns into circulation.

Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers after a Glock-wielding gunman killed six people at a Tucson shopping center on Jan. 8.

Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols — popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters — flying out the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix.

American capitalism at work and as predictable as death and taxes.

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Noem Double Speak

Kristi Noem is quoted in yesterday’s RCJ pledging to steer a collision course with the president and to “investigate, challenge and thwart” the Obama administration. Then no more than a few paragraphs later she says she will work to find common ground with the Senate and the administration. Say what?

It is going to be an interesting next couple of years.

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Headline Says It All

I know, nothing really new in another story on Fox News framing an argument to fit the GOP agenda. The latest example has Fox editors telling reporters to always preface any story on global warming by “pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question“.

What struck a chord with me this time though was the headline ars technica used for the story, Fox News on climate: skip the science, report the “controversy.

I think in that one headline they summed up my feelings on the state of the “media” today.

Fox and MSNBC are the most well known “news” companies riling up the troops often using questionable sources and news reporting but with the proliferation of blogs and other online sites preaching such questionable ideas, it is getting harder and harder to pick out the wheat from the chaff. No where is that more evident than when reading the posts and comment sections of most blogs where it’s pretty easy to figure which channel the authors tune in to most often strictly by the talking points they cite.

Unfortunately for most of them, that channel is rarely the “Science Channel“…

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Wikipedia As A Prediction Tool?

It appears that if you want to find out who will be chosen as VP candidates in the future, all you need to do is monitor Wikipedia.

Just hours before McCain declared his veep choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, her Wiki page saw a flurry of activity, with editors adding details about her approval rating and husband’s employment. Perhaps more tellingly, some of the same users editing her page were almost simultaneously updating McCain’s Wiki entry, adding information dealing with accuracy, sources and footnotes to each.

While Wikipedia seems to be an excellent VP prediction tool, it remains a terrible place to dig up dirt on your political opponent, ain’t that right Lee

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Quick Hits Friday

My paying gig has me jumping through hoops in Rapid City today so posting will be light but here are a few items that caught my eye from the RSS reader this afternoon.

#dontgo (there) – I have written a few times on the GOP House “Drill here, drill now” stunt going on during the August recess and it seems at least one of the participants (Idaho Republican Bill Sali) has his own ideas on how to solve our oil shortages, extract those forty barrels of oil hiding in each and every tree. Are our national forests next on his drilling list?

More McCain halfsheimers? – John McCain sees the current Georgia – Russia conflict as the first serious crisis since the end of the cold war. Of course that would not be counting the comments he made about the Iraq war being the first major conflict since 9/11 or maybe that little saber rattling that happened in Iraq in 1990/91…

In the “Say What?” category – ABC is looking for “Cornhole Fanatics” to participate in their popular reality show “Wife Swap”. For some reason, something about cornhole and wife swap just didn’t seem to fit very well in the same sentence .

George Bush Hypocrisy? – Does the man that is in the middle of his own invasion of a sovereign nation have any credibility when calling out Russia for doing the same thing? Sorry George, I think that boat has long since sailed.

McCain and the RIAA – While the RIAA is spending their legal budget prosecuting soccer mom’s for music sharing, the artists are going on the offensive themselves. Jackson Browne has just filed suit against the McCain campaign for using his “Running on Empty” in an Obama hit ad without his permission. It seems that Browne, whom is an Obama donor, wasn’t too amused by his song being used to attack Obama and he joins ABBA and John Cougar on the list recording artists that have told the McCain camp to cease using their music without permission.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

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Quick Hits Lucky Day Edition

Today is 08-08-08 which is considered about as lucky as it can get if you are a believer in Chinese numerology so if today is your wedding day, congratulations and good luck. With that said, here is some linkage for items that I have come across the past couple of days.

Planning to fly this Christmas? – Internal airline memos reveal that the busiest travel season of the year will be a bit more hectic as airlines plan on offering 60 million fewer seats for the upcoming Oct-Dec holiday season worldwide with 20 million of those seats being cut from US routes.

More Hess funny business? – I mentioned a few days ago the interesting fundraising cash infusion the McCain campaign received from various members of the Hess family and their oil company soon after his change of heart in regards to offshore drilling. The Hess Oil company and McCain campaign apparently have another connection as word is coming out that 2 high ranking McCain officials are fresh off 3 year stints as lobbyists for, you guessed it, a firm that Hess paid $800,000 to for lobbying services.

Ron Suskind has a new book coming out called The Way of the World and to say that it isn’t flattering to the Bush Adminstration would be an understatement.  – So Nancy, it appears we have more non-proof of criminal activity perpetrated by the current administration that you can use for reasons not to hold impeachment hearings.

Oh and while much of the Suskind book adds more fuel to the incidents we mostly knew about, one new tidbit is being reported. It seems the current administration’s love for torture interrogation has migrated into the White House building itself. They have their own interrogation room in the White House basement that they have already put to good use.

Speaking of Nancy as in Nancy Pelosi – Why is it she is being so tough with the GOP over offshore drilling but had little problem bending over backwards to allow the capituation vote on FISA? Heck it only involved giving away our Constitutional rights.

Finally, local blogger Jennifer from “In The Shelter Of Your Heart” wanted me to pass along a note about the Rally to Resue event being held at the Sioux Falls Pet Smart tomorrow from 10am to 5pm. The event seeks to inform folks about animal rescues and shelters in eastern South Dakota so if you are interested please consider attending and if you want more information head over to Jennifer’s blog.

Anything else caught your eye lately?

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Sunday Linkage

Here are some of the more interesting tidbits I came across during the past few days.

It seems that our horrible economy has some benefits – According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the illegal immigration population has declined by as much as 11% and is partly driven at least by the poor economy. Apparently the recession that doesn’t meet the so-called definition of a recession is making it hard even for illegals to find employment.

Barack Obama isn’t the only one cleaning web sites – A few days after John McCain satirized Barack Obama’s “celebrity” persona by running an ad that included images of “D-Listers” Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, he was busted for scrubbing his own website of references to his celebrity from an earlier appearance on Letterman.

Woman scorned – Missouri state Sen. Chris Koster must have really pissed off his ex-wife. His run for Attorney General is about to get slammed with $187,500 worth of television ads opposed to his candidacy that are being run by a local group called Missourians for Honest Leadership. What is his ex-wife’s involvement? She just so happened to donate $200,000 to that same group.

Airline irony? – Many people were actually gullible enough to believe that because most airlines were now charging extra for checking baggage that their bags would arrive at their destinations at the same time they did. Of course they were wrong.

Clueless on Faux news – Fox talking head Newt Gingrich recently ripped Barack Obama’s comment on how we could save energy by properly inflating our tires.

GINGRICH: He has a position that’s frankly ludicrous. We saw him yesterday. He suggested if we all inflated our tires, that we would solve the problem. Think about it. You ought to take that clip. I think that clip is far more devastating than today because it’s loony toons.

Well guess what Newt, many estimates state that if we all kept our tires inflated to their recommended pressure, we would save 800,000 barrels per day in oil consumption immediately. That just happens to be 4 x’s the 200,000 barrels a day we would see 10 years from now with John McCain’s offshore drilling plan. Doh!

And finally for some local flavor – Argus Leader editor Randell Beck tells us this morning of some lessons he learned during his 7 years as editor with one sticking out prominently. Don’t get too fancy. Gee I wonder what taught him that lesson?

Enjoy your Sunday.

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Weekend Update

In between my Blognicing and being disappointed by a long awaited movie, a few items caught my eye in the past few days so in the best tradition of Saturday Night Live (ok not really but..), here they are.

How do I get this job? – The Bush administration released the salaries of White House staffers recently and one in particular stuck out. They actually pay $60,000 a year for a “director of fact checking”. Insert your own joke here.

Citizens arrest, citizens arrest! – While that line brings back memories of Gomer Pyle yelling at Barney Fife in one of the classic “Andy Griffith Show” episodes, it was something that four peace activists in Iowa attempted to perform on Karl “contempt of Congress” Rove while he was in Des Moines for a private fundraiser. Maybe we should put these folks in Congress as they seem to be the only ones with the backbone to pursue the Bush Puppeteer.

Liberal bias, bias? – If you read most right leaning blogs you might get the impression that Barack Obama is getting a pass from the media while just the opposite is true with John McCain. The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University has another view, and it is that at least post primary, ABC, NBC and CBS were actually tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain.

Finally from the department of once was too much – Those like me that are children of the late 60’s and early 70’s probably remember the hokey television series’ from Sid and Marty Kroft that included the classics H.R. Pufnstuf,” “Lidsville,” “Land of the Lost” and “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.” Who could forget the rubber costumes, magic flute’s etc. that were popular Saturday morning kids fare?

It took me years but finally I was able to force those images from my head but for some reason Universal Pictures thinks that present day kids are ready for a return and who better to star in the remake of “Land of the Lost” than Will Ferrell…

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Quick Hits 7-25-2008

I do not foresee this becoming a trend but again I have other issues that will be taking up my time today so here are a few things that caught my eye during the morning RSS feed read.

Dr Doolittle? – House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) believes that the drilling in ANWR and the subsequent pipelines needed to transport the oil will not affect wildlife. He believes that like the caribou herds near Prudhoe Bay, they will just decide that the oil fields “aren’t the place to be” and will just go somewhere else. (Looks like Eddie Murphy has some competion for the next Dr Doolittle movie)

They are both wrong – Yesterday I mentioned a new debate site that had advisers from both Obama and McCain camps debating their bosses economic plans. Today comes word that both plans would put us further into debt with McCain’s plan adding $5 trillion and Obama’s adding almost $3 trillion. (As I said before, another election is upon us where voting for the lessor of 2 evils will prevail)

What kind of Hall Of Fame is this? – Conservative wingnut James Dobson was voted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Putting aside my astonishment over the fact that he was even nominated, the people that he beat out has to call into question the integrity of the HOF itself. You see, Dobson beat out Bob Costas and Howard Stern for the “honor”.

I Want to Believe – I am not much of a movie goer as I usually wait till the DVD arrives on Netflix, but I will be hitting the theaters this weekend as a movie opens that I have been waiting for since the series ended in 2002. I am sure “The X-Files – I Want to Believe” will not rise to the level of the new Batman movie but is a guilty pleasure for me just the same.

Spamming is bad for your mental health? – Prolific “spam king” who made millions filling our inbox with viagra and porn offers escapes from jail in Colorado and then kills his wife and daughter before turning gun on himself.

Obama Flip FlipsAnd a local one – I must admit I agree with Mr Blanchard’s conclusion as to why Barack Obama isn’t crushing John McCain given all the political realities. I would suggest though that he get out of the utopia that is South Dakota before making statements concerning the perceived economic situation.

The economy is a problem. OK, it’s not really all that bad, by historical standards. Unemployment isn’t that high, the mortgage crisis hasn’t really hurt that many voters. Gas prices look high, but in constant dollars they have been worse before.

While historically our woes might not be bad, just ask the 1 in 171 folks nationwide whom have been foreclosed or that are currently in danger of being foreclosed that the mortgage crisis isn’t affecting voters. Or maybe ask those that didn’t go through the gas shortages of the 70’s if $4/gal gas isn’t devastating to their budgets (I’d bet those that did might agree as well). That said though if it isn’t his flip-flops, why is Obama only up 6 points in many recent polls considering all of McCain’s issues?

UPDATE: Just came across this – Dennis Kucinich finally gets his day in court so to speak as the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations” (re:impeachment) that will allow Kuchinich to vent on his various impeachment resolutions. This will of course lead to nowhere considering the lack of backbone disease that afflicts most Democrats in Congress.

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