That Was Frank

Pretty harsh Op-Ed on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in the New York Times today. It's written by Paul D. Eaton, a retired Army major general who was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004. Eaton calls for Rumsfeld to step down.

Key grafs:

Mr. Rumsfeld has put the Pentagon at the mercy of his ego, his cold warrior's view of the world and his unrealistic confidence in technology to replace manpower. As a result, the Army finds itself severely undermanned — cut to 10 active divisions but asked by the administration to support a foreign policy that requires at least 12 or 14.


Donald Rumsfeld demands more than loyalty. He wants fealty. And he has hired men who give it. Consider the new secretary of the Army, Francis Harvey, who when faced with the compelling need to increase the service's size has refused to do so. He is instead relying on the shell game of hiring civilians to do jobs that had previously been done by soldiers, and thus keeping the force strength static on paper. This tactic may help for a bit, but it will likely fall apart in the next budget cycle, with those positions swiftly eliminated.


More vital in the longer term, Congress must assert itself. Too much power has shifted to the executive branch, not just in terms of waging war but also in planning the military of the future. Congress should remember it still has the power of the purse; it should call our generals, colonels, captains and sergeants to testify frequently, so that their opinions and needs are known to the men they lead. Then when they are asked if they have enough troops — and no soldier has ever had enough of anything, more is always better — the reply is public.

Our most important, and sometimes most severe, judges are our subordinates. That is a fact I discovered early in my military career. It is, unfortunately, a lesson Donald Rumsfeld seems incapable of learning.

Ouch. Quite the stinging critique, though I don't really agree with the suggestion of Lieberman as a replacement.

(Via TalkingPointsMemo.)

- Glitter

3 Year Anniversary of Iraq War

So we've now been in Iraq for three years. I don't have any grand words to impart at the moment. With much confusion I was against this war when it began. Now I find myself still confused, but unable to decide what I think is the correct course of action. The only thing I do know is that it is important for Americans to remain intellectually connected to the fact that there is a very real war all the way across the world that is being waged in our name with the blood on our tax dollars. We should not forget that while we sleep safely at night, others hear explosions.

This timeline provided by the Center for American Progress is an easy way to remind yourself of what has occureed in these past 36 months.

Here's a link to the New York Times special section on "The Reach of War."

Juan Cole is must read in general if you want to pushed to expand what you consider when thinking about Iraq. Whether you agree with him or not, the amount of pure information put forth and linked to is staggering and worth checking back on.

Video of Chuck Hagel (R-NE) discussing what he describes as civil war in Iraq.

The Brookings Institution's Iraq Index.

The Pentagon's Quarterly Reports reports on Iraq.

The former Prime Minister of Iraq, Iyad Allawi, describes Iraq as in a civil war

Keep the war in mind this week.

- Glitter


Quick News Round-Up

* Colleges are buckling under pressure, much of it from the Bush-run Education and Justice Departments, to open up affirmative action programs to everyone, including upperclass white males. The article states that many of the current moves by colleges and universities might be a pre-emptive attempt to protect themselves legally due to the changing nature of the Supreme Court (I.E. the Roberts and Alito appointments and the liklihood of a new case testing current affirmative action policies.)

* Yesterday was an incredibly bloody day in Iraq. 87 people have been found dead in Baghdad. Seems to be reprisal for attacks on Shiites that happened on Sunday. Key graf in terms of what the violence means:

While the shrine bombing and the reprisals that followed pushed the country to the brink of civil war, the new round of reprisal killings has led many people to worry about an extended tit-for-tat sectarian conflict.

* I have no idea what this means in terms of Israeli-Palestinian relations and their continuing conflict, but Israel just raided a Palestinian prison.

* Mad Cow Disease confirmed in Alabama. This is the third confirmed case in the U.S.

* Talks in France over a proposed youth job law seem to be intense. The proposed law, which both President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin support, would make it easier for firms to release, or "fire," young workers. Worker's rights groups and unions are strongly against the law.

This is just from the New York Times, I'll be back later with more.

- Glitter


Just a link

There is an interesting roundtable discussion with John Darnielle, Rick Moody, and Jonathan Lethem in the LA Weekly about the interaction of music and literature.

- Glitter

Bill Frist: For the rules when they help him, against them when they don't

Firedoglake's got their eye on a little bit of cynical hypocrisy coming out of the Senate Majority leader's mouth.

It's also worth going directly to Glenn Greenwald's post in order to remember that this little bit of, dare I say it, flip-flopping, just may be crafted to disrupt and avoid hearings about the NSA domestic eavesdropping program. This is not the first time that Frist has threatened to change the rules and procedures of the Senate in order to protect his party's political machinations. Remember the Nuclear Option.

Glenn points out:

While Frist’s threat here is, in one sense, of a piece with those tactics, it is actually quite extraordinary and motivated by a particularly corrupt objective. The whole purpose of the Senate Intelligence Committee – the only reason why it exists – is to exercise oversight over controversial intelligence activities. Whatever else one might want to say about the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program, it is controversial on every front. There is no conceivable rationale for the Intelligence Committee not to hold hearings.

It would be an extraordinary abdication of the responsibility owed to Americans by the Intelligence Committee for it not to investigate the Administration’s warrantless eavesdropping program – a program which scores of prominent politicians and scholars from across the political spectrum have condemned as being legally dubious at best, and which polls show a majority of Americans oppose and believe is illegal.

ReddHedd over at firedoglake implores readers to get the word out about this potentially shitfuck of a move. She suggests that people "take some time to write, fax and call your Senators, radio talk shows and media folks -- both via e-mail and on any media blog comments threads where this would be approriate to discuss." Think about doing it.

- Glitter


Creeping Theocracy Watch

State bill in Missouri proposes Christianity as "Official Religion":

Missouri legislators in Jefferson City considered a bill that would name Christianity the state's official "majority" religion.

House Concurrent Resolution 13 has is pending in the state legislature.

Many Missouri residents had not heard about the bill until Thursday.

Karen Aroesty of the Anti-defamation league, along with other watch-groups, began a letter writing and email campaign to stop the resolution.

The resolution would recognize "a Christian god," and it would not protect minority religions, but "protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs.

The resolution also recognizes that, "a greater power exists," and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls, "justified recognition."

State representative David Sater of Cassville in southwestern Missouri, sponsored the resolution, but he has refused to talk about it on camera or over the phone.

KMOV also contacted Gov. Matt Blunt's office to see where he stands on the resolution, but he has yet to respond.

(Via Atrios.)

- Glitter

My Glorious Bounty of Wasting Time on You Tube

As is the case when I should be doing legitimate work, I have been finding various items on the web to occupy my time. My latest temptress has been the devil You Tube. There is something strangely democratic about how this site and others like it creates free access to video information.

The following have been some of my favorite clips that I have found:

* Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler on Letterman.

* Captain Beefheart on Letterman.

* Captain Beefheart live in Belgium.

* Bill Hicks on Letterman.

* Tom Waits Interview on Letterman in 2002.

* Tom Waits performing "Chocolate Jesus" on Letterman.

* Tom Waits performing "Make It Rain" on Letterman.

* Tom Waits performing "All The World Is Green" on Letterman.

* Music video for "What's He Building?" by Tom Waits.

* Tom Waits performing "Goin' Out West" on the Arsenio Hall Show.

* Tom Waits performing "Small Change" on the Old Gre Whistle Test.

* Tom Waits performing "Elephant Beer Blues" on Danish TV.

* Tom Waits performing "The Piano Has Been Drinking" on a comedy show with Martin Mull and Fred Willard.

* Harmony Korine on Letterman.

* Devo on Letterman in 1982.

* X performing on Letterman.

* John Lennon performing "Instant Karma" on Top Of The Pops.

* Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash recording "One Too Many Mornings".

* Bob Dylan performing "Lovesick" at the Grammys (look for Soybomb!).

* Bob Dylan performing "Like A Rolling Stone" in Newcastle, England on May 21st, 1966.

* Bob Dylan performing "The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carrol" on the Steve Allen Show>

* Alternate video for "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by Bob Dylan.

* Hank Williams perfroming "Hey Good Lookin'".

* Hank Williams III performing "Howlin' At The Moon" live at Stubbs in Austin, Texas.

* Hank Williams III performing "Nighttime Ramblin' Man" on Craig Kilbourn.

* Hank Williams III performing "Straight To Hell" live in New Orleans.

* Music video for "You're The Reason" by Hank Williams III.

* Buddy Holly playing "Peggy Sue" on Ed Sullivan".

* Music video for "Oliver's Army" by Elvis Costello and the Attractions.

* Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl, and Little Steven Van Zandt performing "London's Calling" in tribute to the late Joe Strummer at the Grammys.

* Music video for "London Calling" by the Clash.

* Anti-video music video for "Bastards of Young" by the Replacements.

* Husker Du performing "You Could Be The One" on the Joan Rivers Show.

* Biggie freestyling at 17 years old in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn.

* Pavement performing "For Sale: The Preston School of Industry" on a Danish TV show.

* Music video for "Cut Your Hair" by Pavement.

* Music video for "Dark Wave" by Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks.

* Music video for "Jo Jo's Jacket" by Stephen Malkmus.

* The Beach Boys performing "Good Vibrations" on TV.

* Bugs Bunny and the Monkees Kool-Aid commercial.

* Beat Happening performing "Black Candy" on public access television.

* Sid Vicious breaks his leg coming off the top rope.

* Television performing "Foxhole" live on TV.

* Patti Smith performing "Because The Night" on the Old Grey Whistle Test.

* Patti Smith performing "Hey Joe" on the Old Grey Whistle Test.

* Patti Smith performing "Gloria/Land of 10,000 Dances/Le Mer" on the Old Grey Whistle Test.

* Talking Heads performing "Psycho Killer" on the Old Grey Whistle Test.

* David Bowie performing "Oh You Pretty Things" on the Old Grey Whistle Test.

* The Go-Go's performing "We Got The Beat" on the Old Grey Whistle Test (I've always had a school boy crush on Jane Wiedlin).

* Bill Withers performing "Ain't No Sunshine" on the Old Grey Whistle Test.

* The Specials performing "A Message To You, Rudy" on the Old Grey Whistle Test.

* Frank Zappa performing "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing" on SNL.

* Frank Zappa on the Arsenio Hall Show.

* Terry Funk vs. Eddie Guerrero in the NWA in 1989.

* Kurt Angle wins the Olympic Gold Medal in 1996.

- Glitter