Archive for September 12th, 2007

How Is Fallon Still Employed???

I mean, talk about saying all the wrong things:

In sharp contrast to the lionisation of Gen. David Petraeus by members of the U.S. Congress during his testimony this week, Petraeus’s superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad last March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting.

Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be “an ass-kissing little chickenshit” and added, “I hate people like that”, the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior.

That extraordinarily contentious start of Fallon’s mission to Baghdad led to more meetings marked by acute tension between the two commanders. Fallon went on develop his own alternative to Petraeus’s recommendation for continued high levels of U.S. troops in Iraq during the summer.

(…)

Fallon’s derision toward Petraeus reflected both the CENTCOM commander’s personal distaste for Petraeus’s style of operating and their fundamental policy differences over Iraq, according to the sources.

The policy context of Fallon’s extraordinarily abrasive treatment of his subordinate was Petraeus’s agreement in February to serve as front man for the George W. Bush administration’s effort to sell its policy of increasing U.S. troop strength in Iraq to Congress.

In a highly unusual political role for an officer who had not yet taken command of a war, Petraeus was installed in the office of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, in early February just before the Senate debated Bush’s troop increase. According to a report in The Washington Post Feb. 7, senators were then approached on the floor and invited to go McConnell’s office to hear Petraeus make the case for the surge policy.

Fallon was strongly opposed to Petraeus’s role as pitch man for the surge policy in Iraq adopted by Bush in December as putting his own interests ahead of a sound military posture in the Middle East and Southwest Asia — the area for which Fallon’s CENTCOM is responsible.

The CENTCOM commander believed the United States should be withdrawing troops from Iraq urgently, largely because he saw greater dangers elsewhere in the region. “He is very focused on Pakistan,” said a source familiar with Fallon’s thinking, “and trying to maintain a difficult status quo with Iran.”

(…)

Fallon also expressed great scepticism about the basic assumption underlying the surge strategy, which was that it could pave the way for political reconciliation in Iraq. In the lead story Sep. 9, The Washington Post quoted a “senior administration official” as saying that Fallon had been “saying from Day One, ‘This isn’t working.’ ”

(…)

During the summer, according to the Post Sep. 9 report, Fallon began to develop his own plans for redefine the U.S. mission in Iraq, including a plan for withdrawal of three-quarters of the U.S. troop strength by the end of 2009.

The conflict between Fallon and Petraeus over Iraq came to a head in early September. According to the Post story, Fallon expressed views on Iraq that were sharply at odds with those of Petraeus in a three-way conversation with Bush on Iraq the previous weekend. Petraeus argued for keeping as many troops in Iraq for as long as possible to cement any security progress, but Fallon argued that a strategic withdrawal from Iraq was necessary to have sufficient forces to deal with other potential threats in the region.

(…)

Fallon had a “visceral distaste” for what he regarded as Petraeus’s sycophantic behaviour in general, which had deeper institutional roots, according to a military source familiar with his thinking.

Fallon is a veteran of 35 years in the Navy, operating in an institutional culture in which an officer is expected to make enemies in the process of advancement. “If you are Navy captain and don’t have two or three enemies, you’re not doing your job,” says the source.

Fallon acquired a reputation for a willingness to stand up to powerful figures during his tenure as commander in chief of the Pacific Command from February 2005 to March 2007. He pushed hard for a conciliatory line toward and China, which put him in conflict with senior military and civilian officials with a vested interest in pointing to China as a future rival and threat.

He demonstrated his independence from the White House when he refused in February to go along with a proposal to send a third naval carrier task force to the Persian Gulf, as reported by IPS in May. Fallon questioned the military necessity for the move, which would have signaled to Iran a readiness to go to war. Fallon also privately vowed that there would be no war against Iran on his watch, implying that he would quit rather than accept such a policy.

Fallon sounds like a pretty non-delusional, standup guy. I’m glad he’s there, but mystified as to how it happened. I guess they slip through the cracks every once in a while, like Pat Fitzgerald.

(h/t Think Progress)

September 12th, 2007 at 07:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Iraq

Eli’s Obsession With The Google

My blog is the first two search results for ooo laam if they come to sex.

I have absolutely no idea what this means.

1 comment September 12th, 2007 at 06:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

Quote Of The Day

NY Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, by way of the NYT’s Fifth Down blog:

All things considered, we’ll take all things into consideration.

Suddenly I have new respect for the man. Yogi Berra would be envious.

September 12th, 2007 at 01:40pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Quotes,Sports

Random Air & Space Photoblogging

Absolutely no theme whatsoever:

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Jet engine innards, I believe.

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Landing gear/undercarriage of, um, a plane of some sort.

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Mmm… Rockets.

Next up: Balls!

1 comment September 12th, 2007 at 11:47am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Washington DC

No, Seriously.

There’s a feature-length documentary about the Helvetica font.

And it doesn’t suck.

1 comment September 12th, 2007 at 11:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Movies,Weirdness

This Would Explain Quite A Lot, Actually…

chickweed2002715970912.jpg
Aside from Mary Ann, God has really questionable taste. Maybe He really did choose Dubya to be president…

September 12th, 2007 at 11:12am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics,Religion

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Headlines From Tomorrow!

After opening a popular Chinese restaurant in Manhattan, Chuck Lee discovered that eating large amounts of hot mustard enabled him to foretell the future. Chuck has consented to share his remarkable predictions in a weekly column.

2008 CLEVELAND, Ohio – Doctors realize that using tongue depressors causes peoples’ tongues to become sullen and flaccid, impeding speech. To pep them up, caregivers coat the depressors with Prozac.

2009 PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Because of improved health care and nutritional understanding, maladies like cancer and heart disease become more treatable, allowing people to live into their early hundreds.

2010 PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Long-lived people begin experiencing strange physical changes as they reach one hundred and twelve years. They lose their teeth and grow a third set, proving that there is such a thing as a second childhood.

2010 PROVIDENCE, R.I. – As senior citizens continue to age, their voices drop even lower and they break out in acne. Doctors are stunned to discover that “second childhood” is followed by “second teenagerhood.”

2011 BOSTON, Mass. – Doctors discover that, just as the thyroid absorbs iodine, a different part of the body actually absorbs the sun’s radiation, which is a major contributor to the majority of cancers. Despite the discomfort, people demand the removal of their UVulas.

2012 KINGSTON, Jamaica –
As archaeologists uncover the last known pirate treasures, they find that the booty is covered with thousands of long, protein-based follicles. They realize that all those centuries covered in rich soil has caused them to grow chest hair.

2013 LANSING, Mich. – Zoologist Gene Mitchell discovers that bats are actually blind from hanging upside down while they sleep, causing blood to rush into and flood their ocular nerves. Researchers spend years trying to coax bats to sleep right-side up to cure them of their handicap.

2014 LANSING, Mich. – Able to see now – just not in the dark – bats quickly become extinct as they can’t find bugs to eat, and collide with walls, cars, trees and people.

(…)

2018 SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Genetic engineers create an incredible new kind of nut that, when eaten, gives test subjects higher IQs. Thousands of average students suddenly excel at their studies, thanks to these ‘academia nuts.’

(…)

2020 HOUSTON, Texas – As egg sales drop due to concerns about cholesterol, desperate farmers breed chickens to lay chocolate eggs. Not only do they have less cholesterol, but they’re yummier.

(…)

2023 PORTLAND, Maine – Canine trainers are ecstatic when they finally succeed in teaching old dogs new tricks. The process is grueling, but the dog owners are thrilled by their pets’ new abilities.

2024 PORTLAND, Maine – Unfortunately, due to the stress, the old dogs die soon after learning the new tricks.

Can you prove it didn’t happen?

September 12th, 2007 at 07:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

What Is This Thing Of The Devil?

Yet another blogger who kicks my ass:

MUXÍA, Spain – Her readers call her “the little granny,” and for eight months she has engrossed them with her ruminations on the present and her recollections of the past. Since her debut in cyberspace in December, María Amelia López, 95, has drawn thousands of readers from across the globe with an incisive blog.

The Internet journal (amis95.blogspot.com) is a meandering chronicle of old age sprinkled with vivid reminiscence and her take on contemporary life, from fashion and workers’ rights to Basque terrorism and Iran’s nuclear pretensions. Since her grandson Daniel, 35, set it up as a birthday present in December, López’s blog has received 350,000 hits and drawn responses and, increasingly, media attention from as far away as Chile, Venezuela, Russia, and Japan.

“It’s a whole new universe,” said López, an elegant woman with high, arched brows and a keen stare. She dictates her entries to Daniel. “It’s like having a conversation, and those who read what I say become my friends.”

López, who now calls herself the “world’s oldest blogger,” discovered the Internet late last year, when she heard a voice coming from a computer – her grandson speaking over the Web to a friend in Mexico.

“I thought, ‘What is this thing of the devil?’ ” she recalled, speaking in the computer room at the town hall of this quiet town on Spain’s northwestern coast.

When her grandson explained, López seized on the Internet as a way of keeping up with the world.

“I told him, ‘Between the life that I have led and the life into which you were born, there is an enormous difference. I want to understand your culture. I want to be on top of things,’ ” she said.

(…)

By turns insightful, amusing, and mundane, López’s blog reports on the world she sees during the summer from her seaside balcony in Muxía, where she was born, and from the Galician farmhouse where she lives with her grandson the rest of the year.

She blogs sporadically, sometimes once a week, sometimes every day, chronicling her swollen joints, her bouts of dizziness, and her trips to the doctor. She charts the progress of the construction work on the apartment building next door in Muxía, lamenting the apparent lack of safety measures and the rudimentary apparatus; she complains about poor broadband penetration in Galicia.

López turns her eye from modern fashion to Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. In January, she wondered how the girls in church could stay warm with “their little knickers showing and their hips all bare.”

Not that she is against all new fashions, she added. “A miniskirt with a pretty pair of legs – that, I love,” she wrote. “But you really need to have good legs.”

(…)

As the summer draws to a close, López said, her next project is to learn to navigate the Web more extensively and, maybe, learn a language.

“Elderly people like me – and there are a lot of old people who are younger than I am – should all have someone who shows them how to use the Internet,” she said. “You have to stay informed.”

Awesome. Hopefully my blog will get that much traffic by the time I’m 95.

(h/t Neil Best at Newsday.com)

2 comments September 12th, 2007 at 12:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Coolness


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