I've held my tongue, more or less, concerning the Iraq War during the post Dubya re-election honeymoon period and sat back to see where the new emperor planned on spending his political capital. Other than the obvious timing of Operation Phantom Force occurring after the election, Dubya has stayed the course, pausing only to rearrange some deck chairs in his new administration's cabinet. Maybe mandatory military service for all U.S. college students, which is the norm in many countries for most of their overseas counterparts, would finally wake these future princes and princesses of the new world the fuck up. Maybe not. Half-Life 2 is to be released this week, afterall.
About 100 blog entries ago, in BBSes 2 Blogs, I asked some of you to check out the Jarrar family blogs. I thought perhaps some first-person accounts of the members of a real family in Iraq might make you think twice before dancing around like a drunken cheerleader on exstacy for our snickering Fratboy-in-chief. While it may be true that the American mainstream media is trying to rile up both left-and-right-wing explody types at the same time with their post re-election news stories, their coverage of the facts on the ground in Iraq is oftentimes equivalent to trying to prepare a heart-smart menu for Dick Cheney by only watching McDonald's televison commercials.
Rather than -- no, not Dan Rather -- assume everything is all mission accomplished in Fallujah because the news isn't telling me much, I decided to check back on some the websites and blogs related to Iraq. Afterall, Thunderstorms in the Imajica is nothing more than my own personal verbose bookmark file. I just let you read it also, occasionally.
Without fail, Raed Jarrar has some current photos and astute commentary. It's not just that Raed can give you some of his own Iraqi perspective concerning Iraq, he can give you something that all but a very few paid news journalists can give you in Iraq -- the news.
Even if you are an 1102 Slacker who forgot to vote, I know deep-down you really want to be an informed consumer of the infotainment you consume. Many Iraqi people didn't think it would make much difference for Fallujah who was in charge here, anyway. It wouldn't have changed the commute for our military personnel serving, either. Sometimes, I wonder. Evil Stevie wonders.
BaD DoG Karaoke v1.0 CD My MP3 files posted on Thunderstorms' blog entries via the [headphones].
You can get any of my BDKv1.0 MP3 files absolutely free for some time after the date of the blog entry in which they may appear in the [headphones] link. If the MP3 file is still available for download, you can simply click on its name. Due to file server bandwidth limitations, bandwidth theft, or hot-linking, my MP3 files are eventually rotated off the server and the [headphone] links in the blog entry itself will be broken. However, this list is always updated and current.
You can download, copy, host, distribute or complain about the following files as long you follow the guidelines in Creative Commons license available to you via the icon in the lower left corner of every page of Thunderstorms in the Imajica.
If you want a custom meatspace playable CD with all the BaD DoG Karaoke V1.0 songs on it with which to play very loudly and annoy your neighbors or fellow commuters in your car, contact me. Currently downloadable MP3 files are highlighted links. Alternatively, you may also find these MP3s on various P2P nets.
I decided to list some of my favorites. I live in the middle of nowhere where many important or simply amusing sources of information and entertainment aren't commercially viable or available. I personally enjoy freedom of expression, unconventional thought, and hearing from voices not always approved by the BushWorld FCC. Most links are dialup friendly.
People have often asked me, "Where the hell did you get that audio clip?" So to help answer that question, I thought some list may be helpful to organize my often schizophrenic surfing and research techniques.
Here are some utilitarian links to software that you can download. You need these programs to listen, manipulate, convert, or create Ear Candy online -- or just locally on the happy magic box at which you are staring, right now, in front of you.
Ear Candy related posts on Thunderstorms and other sites. If I am foolish enough to attempt to explain something audio related, or post Ear Candy related things that might be worth a second look, I will list it here.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
It should be noted that Flanders, in the north of France, was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the World War I. One of the few things said to have survived the bloodshed was the poppy. John McCrea, a Canadian doctor serving on the battlefield, wrote this poem after treating the battle wounded and burying the dead. This poem is the reason that the red poppy flower is the symbol of Veteran's Day and given out by veteran's organizations, like the VFW.
Veterans' Day (formerly Armistice Day)
November 11, is the anniversary of the Armistice which was signed in the Forest of Compiegne by the Allies and the Germans in 1918, ending World War I, after four years of conflict.
At 5 A.M. on Monday, November 11, 1918 the Germans signed the Armistice, an order was issued for all firing to cease; so the hostilities of the First World War ended. This day began with the laying down of arms, blowing of whistles, impromptu parades, closing of places of business. All over the globe there were many demonstrations; no doubt the world has never before witnessed such rejoicing.
In November of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued his Armistice Day proclamation. The last paragraph set the tone for future observances:
To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation.
In 1927 Congress issued a resolution requesting President Calvin Coolidge to issue a proclamation calling upon officials to display the Flag of the United States on all government buildings on November 11, and inviting the people to observe the day in schools and churches ... But it was not until 1938 that Congress passed a bill that each November 11 "shall be dedicated to the cause of world peace and ... hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day."
That same year President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill making the day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. For sixteen years the United States formally observed Armistice Day, with impressive ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the Chief Executive or his representative placed a wreath. In many other communities, the American Legion was in charge of the observance, which included parades and religious services. At 11 A.M. all traffic stopped, in tribute to the dead, then volleys were fired and taps sounded.
After World War II, there were many new veterans who had little or no association with World War I. The word, "armistice," means simply a truce; therefore as years passed, the significance of the name of this holiday changed. Leaders of Veterans' groups decided to try to correct this and make November 11 the time to honor all who had fought in various American wars, not just in World War I.
In Emporia, Kansas, on November 11, 1953, instead of an Armistice Day program, there was a Veterans' Day observance. Ed Rees, of Emporia, was so impressed that he introduced a bill into the House to change the name to Veterans' Day. After this passed, Mr. Rees wrote to all state governors and asked for their approval and cooperation in observing the changed holiday. The name was changed to Veterans' Day by Act of Congress on May 24, 1954. In October of that year, President Eisenhower called on all citizens to observe the day by remembering the sacrifices of all those who fought so gallantly, and through rededication to the task of promoting an enduring peace. The President referred to the change of name to Veterans' Day in honor of the servicemen of all America's wars.
(Excerpts from All About American Holidays by Mayme R. Krythe)
Unlike Memorial Day in the U.S., Veteran's Day is for remembering the living veterans, not just the ones that have already died in the service of our country. That includes the people serving right now, this minute, for the United States. It's better that you show your appreciation for their sacrifice and service to our country in a repectful, sincere manner now -- no matter what your political beliefs are -- rather than missing the opportunity and only having Memorial Day to honor our veterans.
I remember what is like to spend years away from home, too. I know most servicemen ultimately think of only one thing -- getting home to their loved ones. So, for you guys, I give you Jessica to remind you that someone is waiting for you at home.
As we discovered yesterday, in v1.0 on this topic, it is a convenient assumption made in the media that the hispanic vote, and perhaps specifically cubans living in South Florida, had at least some impact in the election of Mel Martinez to the U.S. Senate. Indeed, it is common, or even appropriate, for people to vote for candidates that share some of their ethnicity in a representative form of government. However, looking at the results of the Senate race in Florida may reveal some interesting things not covered by busy news reporters.
In the table below is the first set of unofficial results of the Florida U.S. Senator election as posted on the Florida Department of State, Division of Elections website.
You can click on a candidate's name to go to their web site, if any. All seven of these people were listed on Project Vote Smart. It should be noted that these numbers were transcribed directly from the Florida DoE site today. The numbers I initially had for this blog entry were slightly different which indicates to me that the DoE is updating the numbers without creating a new table or annotating when their numbers have been changed. Hence, their use of the word unofficial describing their election results covers that asspect of it, I guess.
So, you ask, "What is so friggin' interesting here?"
The first thing that's interesting to me is the unreported election day spoiler candidate for Democrat Betty Castor -- in Dennis F. Bradley. Both Democrats and Republicans brought lawsuits to inhibit Ralph Nader being on the presidential ballot. However, flying under the radar was Senate candidate, Dennis F. Bradley, whose 165,945 votes would have put Betty Castor in the Senate instead of Mel Martinez, who won the election by only 83,593 votes (unofficially).
I know you expect more out of me than something that went unreported in the press. So, I'll give you my sarcastic observations about this Senate race as it applies to crazy part of counting. Go to the web site of the 'Veteran's Party' candidate for Senate. No, seriously. Move your fat, Cheetos-stained hand, grab your sticky mouse, and click on Dennis F. Bradley in the table.
For all the many millions of dollars dumped into the combined campaign funds of both Democrat and Republican candidates to snatch up the available Senate seat of retiring Senator Bob Graham (D) in Florida -- to pay for those nasty, negative campaign TV commercials that I had to endure for months -- the true spoiler of the Florida senatorial race, Dennis F. Bradley, may have simply appealed to the patriotic redneck vote (people who would apparently rather do anything than vote for a rich, cuban Republican lawyer or an over-educated, female, liberal Democrat) with a website that has a cheesy midi audio file of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." on it.
You don't know how insanely happy that makes me, in a typically 'Go fuck yourself' way, of course. Next time, it may be the Darma and Greg vote that gets the 165 thousand votes and screws up the two-party political domination. Whatever. Blame the cubans or the rednecks this time, if you like.
Me, I just blame the college kids who didn't vote. It is their high school friends, not mine, who are most likely to fight and die overseas. They were supposed to represent the liberal wing of the Democratic party, but turned out to be what I call 1102 Slackers. I'm impressed with those people that did vote, and even more so with people that were politically active this election season.
In all seriousness, I was impressed and made proud by some of the voices from both sides of the dominant two-party system, decisive independents, and both ends of the cultural spectrum of the country who got off their ass. Like the 1102 Slackers, the rest are immature, self-centered sociopaths who better take a foreign language class or small arms weapons course, if they expect to work for a living after graduating from school.
Not to end on a grouchy note, click on some of the other (WRI) candidates for Senate. My personal favorite is Nancy Travis. Republicans may have had Karl Rove as their architect, but 18 people in the family of Nancy Travis voted for her. Besides the obvious appeal of having photos of her pets on her campaign website, explore the website of her campaign architect and her son, Brian, at National Citizen. I'll know if you checked it out. That's what the comment function is all about on a blog.