The blog incarnation of the Desperado mailing list, the voice of the apocryphalypse since 1978.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Merrie Tunes and Looney Melodies 

Scott McClellan on the spot.

Ed's note
: a cartoon.
posted by Tom  # 7/29/2005 12:39:00 AM

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


My brilliant neologism, the GWOT archipelago, didn't even last a week. The Secretary of the Indefensible, Donald Rumsfeld, has pronounced that the phrase "the global war on terror" no longer warms his shriveled cojones and must be replaced by "a global struggle against violent extremism". So now our program of torture and general Bill of Rights destruction must be re-dubbed the GSAVE archipelago.

As Americablog points out, this has the unfortunate side effect of proving John Kerry was right. However, since we have always been at war with Eastasia, no one is likely to notice.

Ed's note: Headline for oldtimers, EDT syntax for global substitution.
posted by Tom  # 7/27/2005 04:17:00 PM

War on Terror for Geeks and Dummies 

The War on Terror as viewed from the Bourne shell.
$ cd /middle_east
$ ls
Afghanistan Iraq Libya Saudi_Arabia UAE
Algeria Israel Morrocco Sudan Yemen
Bahrain Jordan Oman Syria
Egypt Kuwait Palestine Tunisia
Iran Lebanon Qatar Turkey

$ cd Afghanistan
$ ls
bin Taliban
$ rm Taliban
rm: Taliban is a directory
$ cd Taliban
$ ls
$ rm soldiers
$ cd ..
$ rmdir Taliban
rmdir: directory "Taliban": Directory not empty
$ cd Taliban
$ ls -a
. .. .insurgents
$ chown -R USA .*
chown: .insurgents: Not owner
The War on Terror for Dummies:
As viewed through the thingy you type commands into on a non-microsoft operating system. (Kind of like a DOS prompt, but different)

$ cd /middle_east [Change Directory , i.e. go there]
$ ls [Show files/directories]
Afghanistan Iraq Libya Saudi_Arabia UAE
Algeria Israel Morrocco Sudan Yemen
Bahrain Jordan Oman Syria [Countries in the Middle East]
Egypt Kuwait Palestine Tunisia
Iran Lebanon Qatar Turkey

$ cd Afghanistan [Go into Afghanistan]
$ ls [Look around Afghanistan]
bin Taliban [We see bin (bin usually contains binary or executable programs) and the Taliban]
$ rm Taliban [Remove the file Taliban ]
rm: Taliban is a directory [Whoops not that easy]
$ cd Taliban [Go into Taliban Structure]
$ ls [Look around]
soldiers [OK, we find soldiers]
$ rm soldiers [Smoke 'em out!]
$ cd .. [Job done, let's get out of there]
$ rmdir Taliban [Let's try to remove the Taliban again, this time we're smarter]
rmdir: directory "Taliban": Directory not empty [Damn! I thought we got everybody]
$ cd Taliban [Goin' back in!]
$ ls -a [Let's look in hidden places i.e. caves!]
. .. .insurgents [Crap who are these guys?]
$ chown -R USA .* [ Let's make them ours. Off to Gitmo!]
chown: .insurgents: Not owner [They're not talking. We can't make them. Damn Amnesty International!]

posted by Tom  # 7/27/2005 11:11:00 AM

Monday, July 25, 2005

Search string of the week 

A Yahoo search on "Scantily clad gals street fight" turned up this from the Desperado archives.
posted by Tom  # 7/25/2005 12:16:00 PM

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ashcroft v. Bush 

Here are the opening paragraphs of a history book of the future:
It is a measure of the depths to which the administration of George W. "W" Bush had sunk that it was the integrity of John Ashcroft that ultimately led to Bush's trial for war crimes.

Ashcroft's integrity had previously gone undetected. He was a reviled figure, a Republican hack who famously had failed to beat a dead man in a Missouri election, and who, as Bush's Attorney General, was enthusiastic about some of the most dour and dubious legal propositions ever advanced by the nation's chief law enforcement officer. Mocked for his prudishness and his pious, unmusical singing of mawkish gospel and patriotic songs he wrote himself, Ashcroft was an unlikely figure to start the process that sent Bush reeling into disgrace and condign punishment.

When Ashcroft, after making a few minor fixes, took a horrified look at the Administration's defense in the spy-leaking affair, recused himself from investigating anyone or anything. In retrospect it is clear that he did so because he was not prepared to exonerate anyone or everyone. His recusal forced the appointment of the special prosecutor whose indictments had such far-reaching consequences. Soon after, Ashcroft resigned as Attorney General and was replaced by Alberto Gonzalez, who recused himself even more rapidly. Still Gonzlez's own legal problems were themselves a colorful sideshow in the proceedings that brought down the Bush administration.

Ashcroft turned out to be the smartest and most honorable member of that administration. "I wasn't going to carry the can for Karl Rove," Ashcroft wrote in his gossipy and vindictive memoir, When the Eagle Lands, He Eats Garbage. The rueful title makes reference to Ashcroft's optimistic patriotic song "Let the Eagle Soar".

Ed's note
: Third time through the editing mill for this one. First version would have had the Secret Service on me for careless phrasing, second failed to note Ashcroft's initial feeble attempts to fix for Bush before discretion pointed him toward cutting and running.
posted by Tom  # 7/24/2005 12:22:00 PM

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Not only man is vile 

Today's cookie:
Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.
Ed's note: That would be a 70's cookie, not a 90's cookie.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Rubber, glue, finger, fist, smoke, mushroom 

Speaking of schoolyard taunting, here's one from grammar school:
I'm rubber, you're glue,
Things bounce off me and stick on you
and one from our college sophomore days:
When you point at me, there are four fingers pointing back at you
and then, from grad school:
Projection: Projection is one of the defense mechanisms identified by Freud and still acknowledged today. According to Freud, projection is when someone is threatened by or afraid of their own impulses so they attribute these impulses to someone else.
That leads us to Condoleeza Rice:
"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"
That is to say, the smoking gun of revealing Valerie Plame's CIA secret is turning into a mushroom cloud of disaster for the administration of George W. "W" Bush.
posted by Tom  # 7/22/2005 02:26:00 PM

Top Secret anecdotes 

There's a good rant on hullabaloo, Depends On What The Definition Of "Secret" Is.

I was inspired to add the following to the comments, then steal it, somewhat improved, for myself:
Three things:

First, a small, odd technical point from my days working on publishing software used by the government, among others. The government doctype included four markings: Top Secret, Secret, Classified, and Unclassified. As it turns out, Unclassified, is also a classification, that is "the lowest government secrecy rating for information". Strictly speaking, you can't even reveal that something is unclassified.

Second, I sent one of our federal customers some samples of how we marked up various categories, just pieces of paper with the marking "Top Secret" and the text "sample of top secret". A couple of days later, I got a frantic, whispered phone call: "Don't ever do that again." The customers, although pleased with the result, had burned my samples within five minutes of receiving them for fear of being caught with secret documents. These people take this stuff very seriously.

Three, a friend who had a top security clearance for years said he never saw any top secret document that he couldn't have duplicated from various public sources, but that it was not the information itself that was secret, it was that the information was known to the classifier as secret.

In other words, it won't be easy for them to talk their way out of this.

posted by Tom  # 7/22/2005 01:40:00 PM

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together 

Thanks to Brother Dave for this goofy but fun automatic musical mashup machine from Swedish Radio.

Ed's note: It's audio, but it doesn't start until you click.
posted by Tom  # 7/22/2005 01:01:00 PM

Tintin Lizzies 

Thanks to Number Two Son for breaking through the pre-impeachment fog with this cheerful offering:
Tintin's Cars

A collection

As drawn by Hergé, with a photo of the corresponding "real" car.
The page has drawings and photographs of more than five dozen cars, tow trucks, buses, phaetons, and jeeps, from Amilcar to Zil, from Black Gold to Blue Lotus, Golden Claws to Castafiori Emeralds, from Picaros to Cigarros.
posted by Tom  # 7/22/2005 12:34:00 PM

GWOT Archipelago threat 

Even though there's a statue of him, erected by tourist demand, there never was a little Dutch boy stopping a leak with his finger. Not even a big Dutch boy could stop a leaking dike with his finger. The administration of President George W. "W" Bush must be feeling a bit Dutch-boyish these days.

Wherever they turn, another leak, and not just metaphorical leaks about their coming prosecution for the boiler-room operation on Air Force One leaking Valerie Plame's name, but real leaks in their power to lock up anybody they damn well please for reasons that are no one's business.

The latest threat to the Republican quest for totalitarianism comes from an attempt by Congress to regulate the Pentagon's treatment of detainees or to set up a commission to investigate torture and other violations of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and other garden spots in the GWOT Archipelago*, a chain of illicit incarceration islands that stretches from Cuba to Uzbekistan to Iraq to Afghanistan (and back, for all I know). (Funny, they don't seem to set up these torture gardens in countries like Norway, Japan, or India.)

At any rate, President Bush is wagging the veto finger again, even though he has not once vetoed anything in his horribly long, horribly inglorious reign, but, golly, this time he's serious.

*Ed's note: Didn't call 'em Nazis, didn't say Gulag, classic restraint.

posted by Tom  # 7/22/2005 11:46:00 AM

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Nigerians invade Iraq 

No messy South African car crashes or confusing central African coups, just good old honest American graft lost in the deserts of Iraq. If you've mislaid $10 billion officially and wasted another $300 billion more on feckless imperialist adventures, $7.2 million lying around a dusty abandoned palace is hardly worth worrying about:
I am Mr Fred Jons attched with an international employment agency in Iraq. I work as a coordinator in-charge of the Middle East regional areas. Our company works in conjuctions with local NGO'S and other governmental agencies. In fact sometime ago as we were working we found a huge amount of cash in an abandoned Palace.We reached a decision and agreed to share the money among members of my team. Presently we have arranged to move the money out of Iraq to Europe in form of a consignment to be taken care of by UN official. This is because with their immunity as UN officials the consignment will arrive Europe safely.
Ed's note: Rec'd today via my spam account. I get 35 per cent of the $7.2 million, more generous than most of my prospective money-laundering partners.
posted by Tom  # 7/20/2005 02:45:00 PM

Small, sick, caustic, bizarre-looking: the characteristics of a modern icon 

The Times of London on Frida Kahlo, probably less reverent than you're used to, as evidenced by this excerpt:
On the bookshelf of her old home, which has been preserved like a shrine, lay a much-thumbed copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray. What resonance this story must have had for Kahlo. Ageing and increasingly drug-addicted, she slowly decayed like the effigy in the attic. But the mask of her paintings became her reality. She merged with her image. She transformed herself, quite literally, into an icon. Which drama queen wouldn't envy such adroit stage management? Which Heat celebrity wouldn't die for her publicity control? No wonder Madonna owns two of the Kahlo paintings that go on show at Tate Modern. But there's no point looking for the truth of the artist who painted them. Her life dissolved into legend long, long ago.

posted by Tom  # 7/20/2005 02:10:00 PM

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Keep on Roving 

Why is everybody so keen for Karl Rove to resign? They're all piling on, Democrats, Independents, Republicans. The last poll I heard said 88 per cent wanted him out. Not me.

All he did was disclose the name of a secret agent for spite and temporary, nay, undetectable, political advantage.

If he quits, or is fired, he'll just disappear from the public view while otherwise keeping at what he is best at, which is being the worst.

That's too bad, but if we keep Karl Rove in Bush's skull while he uses his formidable skills to cover up their collective crimes, we could end up finding out everything we want to know (which, as patriotic Americans, we really wish we didn't want to know) and, in the end, we'll get the grand prize, another long national nightmare ending with a helicopter flight out of the capital.

Come to think of it, Richard Nixon actually delivered two helicopter flights out of two capitals to end two long national nightmares. Can President George W. "W" Bush top that? Sure, he could. Nixon never wore the orange jumpsuit.


Speaking of Presidential Parallels, President George Bush fired Karl Rove for leaking to Robert Novak.


The revelation of the role of Ms. Plame was schoolyard stuff -- "Mommy made him wear his rubbers!" -- so it is completely appropriate that the defense of Rove is in the same tradition -- "I had my fingers crossed!", "King's X! Kings X!", "I didn't say I had five dollars, I said I wished I had five dollars!"

The defense is so stupid, even the Washington press thinks so, flat out laughing at him in yesterday's presidential press conference. Speaking of the consequences of outing secret agents, the President could sure use White House call boy Jeff Gannon about now to give a little Republican tone to these painful appearances.


Is there any more beautiful phrase in the American language than "subpoena of phone records on Air Force 1"?
posted by Tom  # 7/19/2005 01:30:00 PM

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Stepping in it 

Back when I was a boy Methodist and miniature word fanatic, I was puzzled and troubled by a church jingle we used to sing:
The B-I-B-L-E
That's the Book for me
I stand alone on the word of God
The B-I-B-L-E
Why would you want to stand on the word of God?

The question doesn't seem to have troubled these folks as much as it did me.


posted by Tom  # 7/16/2005 02:44:00 PM

It's Rovian plots all the way down 

This Karl Rove blunder is going to bring the whole administration of President George W. "W" Bush tumbling down.

The current squid defense – pull in tentacles, spray ink, change appearance, scoot – works in willfully ignorant Washington, but will prove to be as gossamer on the witness stand.
  1. Rove revealed the identity of a covert operative of the CIA for spite and temporary political advantage.
  2. They do this kind of thing all the time. It is beginning to emerge that arresting and outing a British mole in Al-qaeda – again for spite and temporary political advantage – may have contributed directly to the success of the London subway attacks.
  3. It all goes back to the spurious reasons advanced for the imperialist invasion on Iraq, now so woefully on the ropes.
Metafilter provides a coherent link-heavy report on all all this, but one of the comments there pretty well sums it all:
It's all a Rovian plot to draw attention away from another Rovian plot (Plame outing) which was also a Rovian plot to deflect the human eye from the Iraq war (itself composed of more Rovian plots than you could reasonably shake a stick at.)

posted by Tom  # 7/16/2005 01:18:00 PM

Friday, July 15, 2005

Keep your pecker up 

A Letter To The Terrorists, From London

July 07, 2005

What the fuck do you think you're doing?

This is London. We've dealt with your sort before. You don't try and pull this on us.

Do you have any idea how many times our city has been attacked? Whatever you're trying to do, it's not going to work.
More at the link, equally vulgar and angry, but short.
posted by Tom  # 7/15/2005 03:12:00 PM

Monday, July 04, 2005

Near perfect Fourth of July movie 

From the erudites of Pseudopodium:
Land of the Dead (2005)

I'm sorry that "Mr. Tamborine Man" wasn't played over the closing credits. Even Dylan's harmonica would have been justified by context!

Otherwise a near perfect Fourth of July movie, complete with fireworks and everyone wanting to move to Canada.
Ed's note: It certainly ought be spelled tamborine, shouldn't it? Spell checker also thought erudites should have been Herodotus.
posted by Tom  # 7/04/2005 05:19:00 PM

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Year-old article brings you up-to-date 

The title of the article is "Coup d'etat". It isn't about how George W. "W" Bush got into office. It's about how he might leave it.

The article was published more than a year ago, by From the Wilderness, but it has a lot to say about just how hot was the thoughtless and vindictive outing of Valerie Plame to harm a political enemy.

It's all in there, Kenny Lay and Enron, ARAMCO, the CIA, the lies about Iraq's weapons, fecklessness, foolishness, and the seeds of destruction. Let's hope it's theirs, not ours.
posted by Tom  # 7/03/2005 05:48:00 PM

Any soldier wants something from you 

I just sent off a package of feminine products to a female soldier overseas. I used a service called treatanysoldier.com, which sends prepared packages, either food or personal hygiene, to service members in harm's way. The site is a companion to anysoldier.com.

Anysoldier.com provides a list of service members in war zones so that you can send what you like to anyone on the list, which gives names, addresses, and individual needs.

If you don't know what to send, Treatanysoldier.com has the prepared shipments that can be sent either to an individual on the list or someone you know not on the list, or, you can do as I did and send the package to "any soldier". You can include a personal message. I wrote:
Dear young lady, best of luck to you and your fellow soldiers. May you be home safe and soon.
The sites are operated by military members and their families. There is absolutely no politics involved, so far as I can see.
posted by Tom  # 7/03/2005 05:08:00 PM

Happy Fourth of July: When in the course of human events . . . 

We've got a human event headed our way this 229th Fourth of July.

The question that we have all had is going to be answered:
If the things the George W. "W" Bush administration does in public are so hideously stupid and anti-democratic, what is hidden?
It is is all about to come out.

All the tangled business of Valerie Plame, Yellowcake uranium, lies about weapons of mass destruction, going to war on false pretenses for no discernible reason against a country, however despicable, without the capacity to harm us in any way, and, most delicious of all, the connections (carefully chosen word) between Karl Rove, Scott McClellan, and the cheerleader who participated so enthusiastically in all those jolly, jolly things the Skull and Bones like to do, the "connections", I say, between them and ace White House shill reporter Jeff Gannon ("For a fee I will urinate on you while wearing Marine Corps boots"), that all this, and, much much more is going to roll right out there where we can all see it.

Ah, the good old days of the Three-I League are coming back: Impeachement, Indictment, Imprisonment.
posted by Tom  # 7/03/2005 03:50:00 PM

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Power to the pop 

Completely coincidentally, while writing the item immediately below, what should show up on the Desperado jukebox but these two songs by the Poster Children?

We don't agree
That's fine with me
But you seem to think it means
That I'm the enemy

I've got some news
It's my flag too
It belongs to me as much as
It belongs to you

You made a mint
You helped yourself
Don't you think it's time
You helped someone else

It's not a crime
To be dirt poor
I'd like to see you survive
On five bucks an hour

Get off the fence
Get off your ass
It's time to make a stand
Before there's nothing left

We are the truth
We are the rest
We are the future fighting
To destroy the past

I've got some news
It's our flag too
It belongs to us as much
As it belongs to you

The Leader

The Leader speaks from the heart not the mind
The Leader tells us what we want to here
The Leader knows what's best for the rest of us
Citizens, you must trust the leader

He lies
We know he lies
We love the lies
We need the lies
He lies!

The Leader is watching, you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide
The Leader does not ask for your respect, he demands it!
The Leader represents the one percent who pays his rent
The Leader is the law. Follow the Leader!

Just some rock'n'roll kids from Champaign, Illinois, poster children for freedom of speech.
posted by Tom  # 7/02/2005 12:20:00 PM

Not original with me, probably not original with Dr. Johnson either 

Samuel Johnson was wrong when he said "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

It's their first refuge.


President George W. "W" Bush, scoundrel, is attempting to wrap himself in my flag. Everybody who flies the American flag on the Fourth of July is a war supporter, he says. I may have to resort to my own patriotic refuge, flying the flag in my back yard, honoring the country without advertising the current administration.


I see nothing patriotic in glorifying pre-emptive war, torture, "rendition", imperialism, or any of this Bush crap. It's freedom of speech and "You have the right to remain silent" that turn my patriotic lights on.


I'm getting a "Don't Tread on Me" flag. I have a feeling the heat-sensitive viper pits of the patriotic rattlesnake are telling him it's time to shake his tail and bare his fangs.
posted by Tom  # 7/02/2005 12:00:00 PM

Friday, July 01, 2005

Of course, we may be off course 

President George W. "W" Bush wants us to stay the course in Iraq.

If I remember my navigation lessons from the Air Scouts, a course consists of a destination and a line showing how to get there.
posted by Tom  # 7/01/2005 12:05:00 PM


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