John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Friday, December 10, 2004
Conspiracy Theory: Rumsfeld's Armor-Gate?

Conspiracy Theory in the Imajica

Conspiracy Theory in the Imajica Menu
[ Intro ]   [ Contents ]   [ Submit Your Theory ]   [ Resource List ]

 How much armor is enough?

"You go to war with the Army you have... not the Army you might... wish to have at a later time."
-- U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

Normally very adept at deflecting the questions offered up by the usual corporate media suspects attending his pentagon briefings, BushCo spokesman Donald Rumsfeld seems to have pulled a typical Dubya mush-mouth maneuver during the recent troop meet-and-greet in Kuwait.  When asked by a service member about to convoy north toward Baghdad why they had to dig through landfills for scrap metal to armor* their vehicles -- Rumsfeld's answer to the troops readying themselves for deployment into the Iraq warzone that our own CIA has once again categorized as bleak and on the verge of being unmanageable -- was nothing short of snarky and lame.  I'm calling this Conspiracy Theory in the Imajica, Rumsfeld's Armor-Gate.

Whether or not the question sparking this controversy was given to the service member by an embedded reporter is not important to me.  What is important and makes Rumsfeld's uncharacteristic lameness so poignant is that we all know Operation Iraqi Freedom was a war of choice for the Bush Administration from the get-go.  I would have to wipe the screaming spit off my monitor if I started on that often ranted-on subject.  You can follow the links and read what various pundits have said.

Almost immediately while Rumsfeld was still overseas, the Bush Administration attempted to put a media band-aid on the situation and staged another pentagon press briefing via satellite with the new Centcom commander in charge of armored vehicles in Kuwait, 3-star General Stephen Whitcomb.  It aired several times on C-SPAN and the pentagon already published a transcipt.

Wheeled Vehicle
Armor Levels

Level 1: Up-armored
Level 2: Add-on Kits
Level 3: Plate Steel*

General Whitcomb
sounded like an affable guy and a professional soldier during his press briefing -- in what was likely his first press briefing in this particular command -- and he is one of many commanders deserving the highest respect attempting to do his job and honor his responsibilities.  Unfortunately, the combination of the brain-dead reporters mostly looking for infotainment and story angles and the military concerns of operational security turned General Whitcomb's briefing into a Crayola Crayon sales pitch to an audience of bored kindergartners.

General Whitcomb did his best to explain the different levels and types of armor being utilized on wheeled vehicles in Iraq.  That pretty much covers Humvee's and trucks -- the vast majority of the vehicles that our service personnel use for convoys, patrols, and other missions -- and has nothing to do with the armor typically found on track vehicles.  A track vehicle could just be a bulldozer or it could be a combat tank.

In General Whitcomb's statements, a civilian can be educated to what is obvious to military personnel and even couch-potato video gamers.  Level 1 armor will keep you alive and in the game longer than level 2, or level 3, or running around a warzone with no armor at all.

So what was the army we have of which Rumsfeld speaks?  There are two major thoughts here. Firstly, General Whitcomb, other commanders, and everyone in the Bush Administration will point out that they are doing the best they can to face the changing tactics of the enemy.  To me, this simply points out that the BushCo insanely and ridiculously held notion that the coalition forces would be showered with flower garlands instead of bullets, RPGs, and IEDs when they pulled into Baghdad was based on woefully inadequate and faulty human intelligence.  And yet, I guarantee you that Ahmed Chalabi doesn't ride around Iraq in a convertible.

Secondly, Rumsfeld's Armor-Gate simply shows the unbearable cost for a politically-motivated rush to get into a war of choice.  If Iraq was truly such a growing danger to the United States, we could have gone to war and met this threat to national security after adequately equipping our military vehicles and training our miltary personnel for Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Why did we go to Iraq in 2003 and not 2004?  Pure politics.

Let the finger pointing begin.  Again, besides the typical and annoying soothe-saying from the usual BushCo lackeys and pundits, we're also likely to hear the 'commanders on the ground' deflection to tough questions.  General Whitcomb even did it:
Of that 30,000 vehicles, around a little less than 8,000 of them do not have some type of armor protection on them -- level one, two or three. Of those vehicles that don't, some number of them are things like tool trucks, communication vans or vehicles that don't leave the base camp. In other words, they're trucked up into Iraq -- or in cases before what we're doing now, were driven up into Iraq -- and they go onto a base camp, and that's where they spend most of their time.

Now who makes the decision what goes off at base camp? That becomes a commander -- the tactical commander's call.
Another excuse immediately given is production. AM General makes these vehicles.  Armor Holdings and its subsidiaries, Ogara-Hess and Simula, make the level 1 up-armor and level 2 add-on kits.  Of course, AM General is saying the Defense Department contract for Humvee's only included the initial production capacity for level 1 up-armored models, used primarily at the time for MP patrol, was limited.  General Whitcomb pointed out that since the beginning of OIF, it has been ramped up from about 30 a month to about 400 now.

But the wheels of the military-industrial complex move slowly.  Even with level 1 and level 2 armor, there have been known problems -- cracks in the armor.

Since the Armor-Gate story broke, AM General has since removed the latest armor-related Maintenance Advisory Message from their website.

Unfortunately for the typical soldier riding around in a truck convoy in Iraq, there is only level 3 or no armor available for them.  Around 8000 trucks driven by military truck drivers and the untold number of civilian contractors are left to use speed and luck, instead of armor, to keep themselves alive and in the game.

What is the cost for rushing into a war of choice unprepared?  For the BushCo insiders, not much.  While Bush's Veteran Affairs outgoing cabinet Secretary Anthony Principi gets to "move on to fresh opportunities and different challenges," our brave men and women serving in Iraq continue to run the risk of moving on to a medical facility, like Landstuhl, Walter Reed, or dozens of other facilities if speed and luck fail them as the leaders seem to have failed them.

[Headphones] :: Dancing with the Dubya - JfZ

Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Sexy Blogdrivers

Friday, December 03, 2004
Flower Power Flashbacks

 flower power
Hey, man ... don't be harshing on my buzz.  Don't bogart the tagboard, dude.  Other than the occasional pimpin' of one's blog, most people chat on the main tag board to pass some time with fellow blogdrivers.  In the wee hours of Friday night, the blogdrive shaman, CBG, decided to cheer everyone up by turning on the Jackbonics word filter, complete with a flower power background.  He is the Lizard King and everyone nodded.

Dust off that lava lamp in your closet and pin up your favorite fuzzy black light posters.  Turn on some Jimi or Janis.  If you're bored enough to try to follow the conversation, scroll to the bottom and read up.

Jackbonics Mode:   ON   OFF(disabled)

CBG *rrriiipppp* Juan to hook up?
OGFan <-- updated!
Katriana everyjuan should be so lucky to have a pair of breakway pants.
J f Z CBG has got yer don't nut. It must be hot in here cause I'm a sizzlean.
Katriana Ruh roh, Raggy.
OGFan I still juant a doughnut!
CBG Kat or Ang if I hear another dirty word come from your mouth then these break away pants are coming off.
J f Z it's holiday cheer ... or somethang.
Katriana Man I love this thang. We should hang out some time.
Pirwzwhomper i hope this coloration isn't permanent We should hang out some time.
J f Z /clicks on the black lights and lava lamps Where's the love?
CBG *takes off shirt and puts on black bow tie*
OGFan oh my... yes... I think Jack(rocks!) will be interesting...
Angelena it's getting hot in here.
Katriana bow chicka bow wow
CBG *busts out my portible stripper pole*
Angelena *jumps up on the table and grooves to the 70's porno music*
Katriana rockin'
Angelena Jack(rocks!)bonics!
CBG here you go!
Angelena true, kat. very true.
Katriana I need soemone to make me laugh. So yeah actually, that would be nice.
CBG well since he's not here I'll give you the next best thing.....
Katriana I think I should finish knitting my scarf. That's something to fill the time while this little ditty updates itself at the speed of a super sonic snail
CBG man, oh, man, do you need some jack comfort.
Katriana my santa abuse is just. . .too. . . personal. .. *sobs*
Katriana not here. the last thing you guys need to read is details to my personal baggage. vague works. details do not.
OGFan I gotta go... I will be back in a little while... I have to finish up my entry...
CBG is there an experience you want to talk about kat?
Katriana hahahaha.
Katriana Better jack than a jolly fat guy calling himself santa and telling you to sit on his lap, eh Ang?
J f Z morning wood, why-have-I-been-dreaming-about-sex-all-night, hot.
Katriana I usedto think so but now I am not so sure
Angelena uh oh...jack's coming to town
CBG told him that kat and ang were begging for him. I didn't lie did I?
CBG I just left a message for him.
Angelena kat, trust me on this. you're hot.
Katriana He's good times.
J f Z Jack sounds like Leisure Suit Larry ... but maybe not.
Angelena jack is a very unique individual.
OGFan I hear people talk about him all the time but have never seen him around...
OGFan Jack sounds... interesting...
Katriana You are a hot tamale.
Katriana Liar.
Angelena i'm not sure i can handle the gratness of jack right now.
Katriana Not really. He goes for anything in a cyber skirt.
CBG want me to give jack a call? If there's one thing he can do, that's restore confidence.
Angelena i have no sex appeal.
Katriana Hello. How's it goin?
Katriana Because man that sucks. I miss my unshakeable confidence. Where it went, I don't know.
Adawehi Hi folks
Katriana At least you aren't doubting your sex appeal.
Katriana Two nights in a row no less
Angelena no, but my entire account with yahoo got deactivated. i just lost a metric ton of billing information.
J f Z I'm going to have to look in my archives and find that handy lil weather pixie code.
Katriana Did you get passed up for a stupid movie?
J f Z It's cold here tonight. I'm not going outside.
Angelena debatable, kat.
Katriana Probably.
Katriana I hope you're all having a better night than I am.
J f Z I still wanna see the D 'tuck me in' video ... *sighs*
Debauched Anyway, I'm gonna go.
Angelena i want to kick those admin jerks at yahoo.
OGFan I don't want a burrito, though... I am eating a brownie... but it just doesnt cut it when all i was in a doughnut!
Debauched Make it thirty.
J f Z Hi Ang [insert happy emoticon here]
Pirwzwhomper poppyseed bread!
Pirwzwhomper i'll call in twenty minutes then
J f Z Burritos are better for you, OG.
Angelena greeings, og fa, deanna, jfg, cbg,everyone else.
Debauched I'll be home soon.
OGFan I still want a doughnut!
CBG ola ang
Pirwzwhomper well i don't know when you'll be home
Debauched But I called last night.
Angelena maow?!
Pirwzwhomper you should call when you get home
CBG you 2?
Debauched You can call me later. Boy am I horny!
OGFan hello everyone!
J f Z Of course, if you're rich, german, and extremely obese ... just wear a red speedo two sizes too small. That way, you can show off some odd male camel-toe.
Debauched Yeah. I'm at a friends.
Debauched No, CBG just said the S-word.
Pirwzwhomper no wonder you didn't answer your phone
CBG he's with the fishes now.
Debauched Oh oh and shoulder hair, muy machismo.
Angelena cbg got rid of phases?
CBG man am I turned on right now!
J f Z Not quite the detective hat, but strawish, yeah. Same shape. And don't forget to wear an opened hawaii tourist shirt.
CBG nothing says sexy like farmer's tans, back hair, and toe cheese.
J f Z Something like a Nightstalker or French Connection 1970s hat.
CBG I drove phases off?
Debauched And some sexy nose sun screen. Yeah, baby.
>slave< knee socks - sex - harry-high pants - sex of course how could i not know that...
CBG now, that's hot. Are we talking straw?
Debauched Oh, way to drive off Phases, CBG.
J f Z You need to buy a proper hat, tho if you're going to prowl the beach in your depends.
CBG sex, I believe.
>slave< anyway what are we talking about here???

[Headphones] :: Jessica: Pleasure Club Mix - JfZ

Thursday, December 02, 2004
Evil Thumbnails v1.02

Click for more Evil Thumbnails
Welcome to my Evil Thumbnails page.

Millions of people store billions of images on the internet.  You can never tell what the image really is from its filename.

I thought I'd take it a step further. I'll even let you see a part of the image.

See if you can guess what the image really is.

Click on the Evil Thumbnail to view the entire image.
006 s m o k e
007 s u r f
008 s n o w
009 s t o n e
010 s o r r o w

[Headphones] :: Evil Stevie: Wonders - JfZ

Wednesday, December 01, 2004
YCMTSU: Popularity and Promotion

Get Some Effin' Gear

I am only a tiny mite scurrying about my frantic business on a speck of dust floating around within the vast blogosphere.  I know this.  Like you, my interests and events in my life are trivial in comparison with the big people acting within the big picture.

We are not Matt Drudge, Andrew Sullivan, Ana Marie Cox, or my personal blog superhero, Warren Ellis.

If you were to compare the blogosphere to the planet Earth, bloggers with their own domain names would be the industrialized nations.  People like you and I, using the free and paid services of blog providers are in the third world developing nations.

Whether you use any number of blog services which I am will not name, link, or promote because I have become a loyal user of blogdrive, you are still blogging about your life within the confines of your own self-contructed straw-and-spit hut on the undiscovered savannah.  Look outside your little hut and you'll see a landscape full of blog creatures worthy of a Jurassic Park sequel stomping around.

I have some interesting YCMTSU news: The #1 most looked-up word on the Miriam-Webster online dictionary in 2004 was the word BLOG.  While it may seem obvious that I never seem to use a spell-checker before publishing my blog entries, I do sometimes check a dictionary or a thesaurus since writing wasn't included at the International Masonry Institute or in the U.S Army.

Even so, since blogs are now making their existance known in the American Mind and elsewhere, there is some small hope that your thoughts, your words or your blog entries will touch someone else.  Blogdrive gives you a little stone arrowhead and some flint -- it's up to you to start a bonfire.

I do know how fun it is to be noticed.  I've often told you that Thunderstorms in the Imajica is simply my online and verbose bookmarks/favorites file that I let you read.  Besides being a psychopathic ranter at times, I'm a list maker, too.  I was honored to be listed during the election season as a Political Blog of Note.  And now, I see how tickled some people have become when blogdrive listed some of these blogs on the recent "Who's yer Daddy" home poll page.

While it wasn't my intention to get any personal credit or blame for the recent home poll page at all -- I was just being my silly, helpful self -- it is fun to be noticed, even as a small fish in the ever-developing blogdrive pond.  I researched twice as many blogdrive blogs that I ultimately listed and I visually scanned so many blogs and their entries that it did make me seriously dizzy towards the end of it.  Nonetheless, I am honestly more personally gratified that these other tireless blogdrivers got listed and promoted.

Are you brave enough or proud enough to allow your neighbors or co-workers to know about your blogging and your silly little blog?

If you are, I've just designed some nifty gear (pronounced clothing) for you today.  As part of the YCMTSU line of gear you can show your Blogger College school pride, even if you are self-taught blogger like I am.  You can customize the apparel design with your blogdrive address or blog name, if you are really brave or proud of your own blog.

Go aheadGet some effin' gear.

[Headphones] :: BaD DoG Karaoke v1.0 - JfZ

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