Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Jab Is The Spice

They worked diligently on cleaning their new weapons. Three AK-47s and an RPD with a broken bipod. Slumped in the shade, taking their time. Their words were carefully chosen, and delivered with a surly seriousness. They chanted and sang songs of revolution. Of revenge. Of chaos.

The sun had set and they had assembled their arsenal. They stood, and faced eachother. Chins up, shoulders straight. In unison, they raised their right arm and closed a fist. With a firm extension, their fists collided. It fueled them. It empowered them. Their time was up.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

War Is Real

You turn your TV on.
The heads announce,

"3 US soldiers killed in roadside bomb attack outside Ramadi yesterday,"

They smile, and continue,

"Heath Ledger, a real American hero and champion, overdoses on drugs,"

Crocodile Tears. Sad Music. Video Montage. And they continue,

"Lindsay Lohan arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence. May her poor soul find some real help, Tom."

Flawless. Perfect. Surreal. Remorseless. They spew slop to the public.

"Does your child have ADD? Chances are your little one does. Doctors urge you to cram amphetamines down their throat. More about this scary story next!"

We have become blind to the verities that matter. The oil men dismantling our country. The young men and women dying so they can justify it. The public turning a blind eye. The families left with nothing but pain, and regret. The families which no longer have anything to give. The families we have left to rot.

I've compiled a small collection of stories and photos surrounding the lives affected forever by this pointless conflict. War is about death, killing, destruction. War is not about glory. What you read and see is in no way meant to be romantic.


Carlos Arredondo - Father

"Next thing I know, I see soldiers rolling into Baghdad, people at the side of the road saying hello, welcome, and I was very happy. And I say, "Thank God." The statue go down, they catch Saddam, and I see the President of the US landing on the air carrier with big signs saying, "Mission Accomplished." And I say, "Oh my God, it's over. The war is over.

The 25th of August in 2004 was the day of my birthday, and I was expecting a phone call from Alex, which he never miss, to say, "Happy Birthday, Dad." My mother start baking a cake, and I was working outside with my cell phone in my pocket when I saw the Marines get off the van. Thought it was a surprise, and my happiness was overwhelming. Next thing, the Marines ask me if I was Carlos Arredondo. I don't understand why they asking me that, and I don't see my son anywhere. I even ask them, "Are you guys here to recruit some kids?" because I have a second son, a 16-year-old, Brian. And he said, "I'm sorry, I'm coming to notify you that Alexander Arredondo got killed in combat." At that moment, not expecting those words, my world tumbled and I felt my heart go down to the ground and rush up through my throat. I run from my house to the backyard, looking for my mother to tell her what these men were saying. And she run to try to talk to them, while I was trying to call Maine to reach Alex's mother. Brian answer the phone and because I was in tears, all I could say was, "Sorry, I'm sorry. They're telling me your brother got killed." And Brian said, "I know that, I know." "How do you know that?" "'Cause the Marines, they're here right now, and when I saw them coming, I know.

I got so angry I go to my garage and get a five-gallon can of gasoline that I keep for my lawn mower, also a torch like they use for welding. And with one in each hand, I once again ask the Marines to leave my house. And they... I don't really remember what was the answer, but they didn't move. So I approach the van, pick up the hammer, bang at that window so hard I cut my arms. When my mother pull the gasoline can away I chase her, got it back, open the van door, begin banging everything inside the van--the computer, the dashboard, the seats, the roof. I couldn't find my son. I was screaming for my son when I threw everything, everything from the van. When I have nothing else to throw, I found the five gallons of gasoline and began pouring it everywhere, everywhere. I was splashing my body, my legs, my clothing. And there was my mother, screaming, the Marines outside the van, talking the whole time on the phone, the fumes that were so strong I couldn't breathe, though the windows were broken.

I am with one leg out of the van, holding the acetylene torch, with my mother pulling at me, when I lose my balance. But what happens was I press the button, which ignite the torch. Next thing was an explosion that threw me out with a lot of fire, and I was falling head down on the ground in flames. And not knowing yet what happen to my mom, I run across the street, until one of the Marines jump on top of me, on my back. And I was screaming, "Momma, Momma, Momma," because my socks, my feet, my shirt were burning. As they dragged me away from the van something blew up. A big bang. And I continue screaming, yelling for my son Alex. "Are you sure that was Alex? Are you sure?"

Tomas Young - US Army

"Struggling to sit upright, Tomas began forcing his thin, angular body as far forward and backward as he could. "Here I am wanting a conversation," he said, "and it's not working for me. I'm feeling kind of dizzy and thinking it must be the meds." Tomas recalled that the night before he'd taken a prescribed dose of Valium, along with his regimen of pain pills, antianxiety pills, antispasmodic pills and laxatives, only to awaken earlier than usual. At that time he took his morning dosages of morphine and Wellbutrin, and a half-dozen other drugs, before falling back to sleep. When Brie woke to remind him to take his morning pills, he forgot, in the confusion from a troubled sleep, that he already had. He'd "doubled up." Then again, maybe he hadn't.

It was on April 4, 2004, his fourth day in Iraq, that his Army unit was ambushed. The place was the insurgent stronghold of Sadr City. The truck he was riding in, Tomas recalled ruefully, was unarmored and so crammed full of soldiers--twenty-five men in a space meant for eighteen--that he couldn't even point his weapon outside. Bullets began flying everywhere, splintering metal, striking almost everyone, when all of a sudden his whole body went numb and he saw himself dropping his M-16 and being unable to pick it up. There was no pain. It took only a few seconds more for him to realize that the thing that had just happened to him was something he would have to deal with for the rest of his life. He tried screaming for someone to kill him, but all that came out was this tiny whisper. "

José Pequeño, US Army

"José was the youngest police chief in the state of New Hampshire, forever. But then he was in the National Guard, and they asked for volunteers. It was on March 1, 2006. They were guarding an Iraqi police station and got a tip it was going to be hit. One of the bombers' cars hit the police station, blew it up, and my son was calling in to base when they threw a grenade through the open part of the Humvee. The driver died instantly. When they found José, the lower part of his body was still inside the Humvee but the explosion had gone under his helmet and the left part of his brain was out in the sand.

"I used to work nights. I got home at 7 am, couldn't sleep, when there was a phone call. "We need to notify you that your son had an accident and is in surgery." But they couldn't give me any news how bad he was. I hung up, called my daughter and his dad, then kept calling Casualty Affairs every fifteen minutes. "As soon as we know, ma'am." Then, "They're flying him into Germany." Finally, when he got to Germany, they told me it was an injury on the head. "How bad is it?" "He's getting cleaned up, but we don't know the extent of the injury." I finally got to a nurse. "You tell me." "I'll have a neurosurgeon call." Two o'clock in the morning, I got a call from the neurosurgeon. "I'm still evaluating your son. I'll call you when I'm done." "How long?" "I've got like twenty minutes to go." And I said, "You've got twenty-two minutes. I'm his mom, for God's sake."

Twenty-five minutes later I got a call. A voice said, "Is this your son?" "Yes." "Such a beautiful son," he said. "What a terrible waste, a young man with such a life ahead of him, and he's going to die." Right there, a piece of me just left. "You're such a liar!" I yelled. "Of course my son is going to make it." After that, I asked, "Are you finished with your evaluation? Tell me exactly what's wrong with my son. Please." And he said, "He has a severe brain injury, severe bleeding; he's lost the bottom two lobes of his brain." And at that time, my daughter's boyfriend heard me scream and fall off the bed. I started throwing things. My next-door neighbor came running, and I sat down and cried and said, "I can't do this."

Katherine Cathey, Spouse

"Katherine Cathey, 23, embraces the coffin of her husband James C. Cathey, 24, a Marine Second Lieutenant, after it was placed in a hearse at Reno Airport. He was killed by a booby-trap explosion in Al Karmah, Iraq. Before getting out of the car at the airport, she said "I wish it was daytime for the rest of my life. The night is just too hard."

At first, these pictures seem almost an affront, almost too personal, then become stunningly direct. At many newspapers, the mantra of "too sad, too strong" keeps images like this out of the running. Editors bemoan the loss of readers without realizing perhaps that pictures like this are precisely what connects viewers to all the disparate forms of life around us. We and everyone we know and love, and hate, are all going to die someday, and we ought to be used to that by now.

And finally, the night before her husband's funeral, Katherine Cathey lies on an air mattress in front of the flag-draped coffin. Before he went to Iraq, they were married in a civil ceremony, and planned a church wedding when he returned. They hadn't planned on a return like this, and now she listens to music they had picked for the wedding. She insisted on spending that final night next to his body. "

Ty Ziegel, US Marines

"During his second tour in Iraq in 2004, his group was attacked by a suicide bomber. Ziegel had been trapped in a burning truck, the heat melted the flesh from his face. He sustained massive injuries, but survived.

His injuries led to the loss of his left forearm and of three fingers of his right hand, and he was rendered blind in his right eye. He also sustained widespread severe burns that led to the loss of his ears and much of the tissue on his face. His shattered skull was replaced by a plastic dome, and a face was constructed more or less from scratch with salvaged tissue, holes left where his ears and nose had been. Despite the range and severity of his injuries, and after over 50 operations, Ziegel had recovered enough to leave the hospital.

Ziegel married his girlfriend Renee Kline in 2006. They lived together in Illinois up until their separation."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Of Virulent Men

In a recent interview with the Las Vegas Sun, John McCain was questioned about why he didn't ask Gov. Jim Gibbons to chair his Nevada campaign. McCain has no problem sharing his mind:

"McCain: I appreciate his support. As you know, the lieutenant governor is our chairman.

Q: Why snub the governor?

McCain: I didn't mean to snub him. I've known the lieutenant governor for 15 years and we've been good friends....I didn't intend to snub him. There are other states where the governor is not the chairman.

Q: Maybe it's the governor's approval rating and you are running from him like you are from the president?

McCain: (Chuckling) And I stopped beating my wife just a couple of weeks ago . . . "

There it is! See it? He's fucking clutch with that side-step. We've seen it a hundred times after serious questions are presented at his town hall meetings. This one, unfortunately, is different.

In October 2006, a woman accused Jim Gibbons of attempted sexual assault in a parking garage. Gibbons claimed he was helping her to her car. They both admitted to drinking alcohol at McCormick and Schmick's restaurant in Las Vegas.

McCain's attempts at humor seem to be as violently misogynistic as his outbursts of rage. I wouldn't be surprised if this asshole was quietly working a turn-around on our 19th Amendment.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Great Infinite

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander Collects Scientific Treasure.

"We are awash in chemistry data," said Michael Hecht of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lead scientist for the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer, or MECA, instrument on Phoenix. "We're trying to understand what is the chemistry of wet soil on Mars, what's dissolved in it, how acidic or alkaline it is. With the results we received from Phoenix yesterday, we could begin to tell what aspects of the soil might support life."

We should have been here twenty years ago. It's a shame the human species is currently devoted to spending all of it's time and resources killing itself.

NASA's budget allowance since 2003 has been 93.5 billion.

The War in Iraq is rapidly reaching the overwhelming toll of 550 billion.

So stick another fucking magnet on your gas-guzzling SUV and enjoy your sad frozen TV dinners in the faint glow of American Idol auditions.

To sum it up with the gentle yet assuring words of Captain Picard:

Oh no! It's all up to YOU again!

A recent e-mail dispatch from Hillary Clinton reads:

"Dear X,

I made a promise to you, and I intend to keep it.

I told you that if you stood up for me, I would always stand up for you. You did more for me than I could have ever imagined, and I'm going to keep my end of the bargain and keep fighting for what we believe in -- in the Senate and on the campaign trail, helping to elect a new Democratic president and a bigger Democratic majority in Congress.

That relationship will endure thanks to the remarkable journey you and I have shared. But there's something else -- less endearing and I hope less enduring -- that our campaign has left behind: our substantial campaign debt.

I'm so grateful for all you've done for me -- all the ways you have given your time, energy, and financial resources. But today I am asking once again for your help ridding our campaign of debt so we can keep fighting together.

Contribute today to help us reduce our campaign debt.

As you know, I had to loan money to my campaign at critical moments. I'm not asking for anyone's help to pay that back. That was my investment and my commitment because I believe so deeply in our cause.

But I do need your help paying the debts we accrued to others over the course of this campaign. We put everything we had into winning this race, and we came just about as close as you can.

I will never regret the energy, effort, and passion we put into one of the closest and most expensive primary contests in history. But I need your help to move on to the next phase of our journey together.

Your contribution today will help us pay down our campaign debt.

You've done so much for me over the past 17 months, and I can never thank you enough. But I hope you know how much I appreciate everything you put into our campaign.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

P.S. Everywhere I go, people tell me what a big difference our campaign has made in their lives. Let's keep working together throughout 2008 and beyond to advance the causes we believe in and to advocate alongside people whose voices need to be heard."


I might have been a bit less cynical if she had mentioned Obama ONCE in this pompous "I Love Me" sermon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The American Dream

A recent article at The Huffington Post made everything ok:

"NEW YORK -- An Italian architect said he is poised to start construction on a new skyscraper in Dubai that will be "the world's first building in motion," an 80-story tower with revolving floors that give it an ever-shifting shape.
The spinning floors, hung like rings around an immobile cement core, would offer residents a constantly changing view of the Persian Gulf and the city's futuristic skyline."

Oh look at how it sparkles. Every time I fill my gas tank I'll close my eyes and try to imagine this stupid fucking building. Isn't it amazing what four bucks a gallon buys you?

Dubai. The American Dream.

Aren't you proud?

On a Lighter Note


Don't forget to vote for McCain!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Politics Triumph Science

Raiding California with commentary by Drew Carey:

The DEA seems to be hard at work fighting our "War on Drugs".

The Federal Trial for Charles C. Lynch is set for July 22, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA.

U.S. District Court
Courtroom 10
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

They Say It's Worth It

Watch. Puke. Revolt.

The War in Iraq costs $720 Million a day.
That's $500,000 a minute.
That's $8333 a second.
Find out more here:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cannabis, Cancer, and Why You Aren't Adult Enough to Know

Paul Armento over at NORML posted an article up at The Huffington Post regarding something I've been personally researching for a while: What Your Government Knows About Cannabis And Cancer -- And Isn't Telling You.

Sadly, this information is not hypothetical:

"In fact, the first experiment documenting pot's potent anti-cancer effects took place in 1974 at the Medical College of Virginia at the behest federal bureaucrats. The results of that study, reported in an Aug. 18, 1974, Washington Post newspaper feature, were that marijuana's primary psychoactive component, THC, "slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent."

WHAT?!?! This can't be. So what did they do?

"However, rather than publicize their findings, the U.S. government shelved the results, which only became public after a draft copy of its findings were leaked to the medical journal AIDS Treatment News, which in turn forwarded the story to the national media."

Nice. Shelve that shit. Not important I guess. Well, others didn't think so. I suggest you skeptics follow the links if you'd like to read the certified medical documentation:

"Fortunately, in the past 10 years scientists overseas have generously picked up where U.S. researchers so abruptly left off, reporting that cannabinoids can halt the spread of numerous cancer cells -- including prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and brain cancer. (An excellent paper summarizing much of this research, "Cannabinoids for Cancer Treatment: Progress and Promise," appears in the January 2008 edition of the journal Cancer Research.) A 2006 patient trial published in the British Journal of Cancer even reported that the intracranial administration of THC was associated with reduced tumor cell proliferation in humans with advanced glioblastoma."

Sadly, our nation's Pharmaceutical Companies cannot have us producing our own medicine in our backyard with light, air, and water. No matter how effective it's medicinal properties are.

Paul goes a bit more in depth in this video about the ridiculously safe therapeutic process that marijuana provides to cancer hosts:

Inhumane. Fucking INHUMANE.

Call of Duty 5 Preview

When Treyarch released a lackluster Call of Duty 3, Infinity Ward pulled it's weight and saved the franchise with the ground-breaking Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare last November. I have to admit, I spent a good few months on the couch. I bought a brand new 47" LCD HMDI TV because of Call of Duty 4. The game just fucking brought it.

Well, seeing as the two game devs rotate every other CoD so they can release one per year, Treyarch is up.

I have to admit, I was pretty disappointed when I saw it was another WWII game. However, it looks like they managed to secure the eye candy part. Lets just hope they can produce the intensely fun and balanced multiplayer that Infinity Ward managed to DEFINE.

Check it out,

There is a MASSIVE widescreen HD version here.

The rambo plunge-stab looked a bit too dramatic. Hopefully that was purely a cut-scene animation.

House Dems Are A Cheap Fucking Date

Steve Soto over at The Left Coaster brings insight to an issue I've been trying to remain cool with. Unfortunately, it seems a good amount of House Democrats have been bought out on approving immunity in last weeks FISA bill.

Steve writes of a press release,

"On March 14 of this year the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity for phone carriers who helped the National Security Agency carry out the illegal wiretapping program without proper warrants. Ninety-four House Democrats voted in favor of this measure--rejecting immunity--on March 14, then ‘changed’ to vote in favor of the June 20 House bill--approving immunity.

“Why did these ninety-four House members have a change of heart?” asked Daniel Newman, executive director of, “Their constituents deserve answers.”'s research department compiled PAC campaign contributions from Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint and correlated them with the voting records of all House members who voted on last week’s FISA bill. (The analysis used data from CRP; contributions were from January 2005 through March 2008). Here are the findings:

Comparing Democrats' Votes (March 14th and June 20th votes):

Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint gave PAC contributions averaging: $8,359 to each Democrat who changed their position to support immunity for Telcos (94 Dems)

$4,987 to each Democrat who remained opposed to immunity for Telcos (116 Dems)

88 percent of the Dems who changed to supporting immunity (83 Dems of the 94) received PAC contributions from Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint during the last three years (Jan. 2005-Mar. 2008). See below for list of these 94 Dems."

All I can think about this situation is:

Expect some quick cover-ups and textbook apologies.

Placebo Patriotism

Well, someone did it. Criticizing the POW experience of an American servicemember can be a touchy subject, especially when that person is Johnny McBombBomb.

I've also found this charming video which was put together by the inmates who were left to ROT by their fearless leader:

Looks like our buddy John cracked under pressure, and has been working diligently to keep it under wraps. Nice work John.