Corn stalks

Today, we are better off, you are better off, the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. Your decision to go into Iraq was not an easy one, but it was the right one.--Iraqi interim prime minister Ayad Allawi speaking before Congress yesterday.

I think the prime minister is obviously contradicting his own statement of a few days ago, where he said the terrorists are pouring into the country. The prime minister and the president are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that the CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story.--John Kerry, less than thirty minutes after Allawi's speech.

So...Allawi is a liar too. Right? Anyone not a John Kerry supporter or a registered democrat lies every time they utter a single sentence. Right?

Kevin Lynn went so far on WILK this morning as to suggest that Allawi's speech was written by a Bushie.

The question begs: How freakin' low are you deranged people prepared to sink? How's those knuckles, Kev? Any skin remaining?

This is an interesting take on things as they currently stand. From Townhall.com:

The reckoning

September 24, 2004

Though some have dubbed the Dan Rather docugate story a distraction from the real issues of campaign 2004, I would argue that, in some ways, the episode illuminates those issues.

  For more than 30 years, John Kerry has been vaulting back and forth over the Vietnam fence -- believing that the war was his trump. As his coattails flapped with each jump, he radiated confidence. He had the thing nailed. He opposed the war, but he served. He was wounded and he protested. How perfect. Through the years, he sometimes ran on his credentials as a war protestor and sometimes as a war hero. He threw his ribbons away. He kept his medals. His undistinguished career in the Senate would not damage him, Kerry reasoned, because he had that gold-plated, two-sided, Vietnam credential. Others suggested that the Democratic Convention focus on the economy. But Kerry was determined to make it a Vietnam-fest.

  In 2004, the jig is up. Vietnam veterans who have seethed for decades about Kerry's treachery are getting their licks in. Kerry's lies (such as the shameful declaration that the memory of being in Cambodia in 1968 "is seared in me") have been exposed. Kerry's grotesque and deceitful 1971 testimony before the United States Senate about the war -- calling American soldiers "monsters" -- has been remembered.

How does this connect to Dan Rather? Aside from Kerry, there is no man more responsible for libeling Vietnam veterans and derivatively, America, than Dan Rather. As B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley document in "Stolen Valor" (must reading), Rather produced a program for CBS in 1988 called "The Wall Within" (see "The First Rathergate" by Anne Morse in National Review Online).

Along with recycled falsehoods such as the claim that more Vietnam veterans have died of suicide since the war than were killed in combat, the program (which CBS supposedly researched for 18 months), featured interviews with "veterans" who told lurid tales. Rather asked a former 16-year-old Navy SEAL "You're telling me that you went into the village, killed people, burned part of the village, then made it appear that the other side had done this?" Steve said "Yeah." "For propaganda purposes at home?" Rather probed. "That's correct," said Steve.

The program was lauded by critics and helped revive CBS's documentary tradition. But nearly everything in the report was a lie. There were no 16-year-old Navy SEALS. In any case, Steve Southards was never a Navy SEAL at all and spent a good deal of time in a Navy brig for going AWOL. Burkett used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the service records of each of the veterans CBS profiled and discovered that some had not served in Vietnam at all, and others had never been where they said they were, never held the rank they claimed, and never received the medals of which they boasted. Burkett shared this information with Rather and CBS. But the response in 1988 was a total stonewall. The CBS president proclaimed that "this was a broadcast of which we at CBS News and I personally am proud. There are no apologies to make."

 The falsehoods and libels about American servicemen in Vietnam did not originate with Rather or CBS, but both played huge roles in legitimizing those lies. Just as in the case of the forged National Guard documents, Dan Rather did not just commit an error or get duped, he led with his chin. It was a matter of a simple FOIA request to discover the service records of those bogus vets. But Dan Rather and CBS liked the story of savage Americans sent abroad to commit atrocities by their venal government. It was too delicious to check.

 This time, on the National Guard story, there is a reckoning. The Internet, talk radio, Fox News and conservative print journalists have risen up like ghosts to haunt Dan Rather. CBS cannot get away with the stonewall this time. The same forces that have humbled the Kerry campaign -- the formerly silenced Vietnam Veterans, conservatives and bloggers -- have taken a huge bite out of CBS. And one has a gratifying sense of justice about the whole thing.

So basically, it may have taken thirty years or so, but the grunts have finally managed to frag the young lieutenant when he expected it the least. And Rather? Well, he's what you'd refer to as collateral damage.

And us bloggers? We're just sitting here in our pajamas reading, typing away and awaiting the next skirmish.

Grunt #1: "He's hurt real bad, Joe Bob."

Grunt #2: "F**k 'im."

Grunts #3 through 1,000,000: "Roger that."

Write this down. Ready?

Bush: 55%

Kerry: 41%

Nader: 4%

I heard the sirens...

...very early yesterday morning. And no, I don't have a scanner mounted in the shower.

I knew the hose dudes had rolled in force, (at least, what's left of it) but I was more concerned with getting off to work nice and early. And as I rolled down Penn Avenue on the Stomper, it quickly became obvious that a structure on North Main was blazing away, as evidenced by the impressive wall of smoke rising into the morning sky. You know I had to take a peek.

At 6:30 I took my peek, and then rolled south towards the Square. It was apparent to me that the double block in question was probably finished as a form of shelter for anyone from this day forward. There were flames popping out all over the place. No biggie, right? Spit happens. The poodle probably tried to hump a burning candle, or some such gibberish.

Later on I came to learn that the front porch of said home was decorated for our fast-approaching ghoulish holiday. The decorations included some corn stalks, which wifey always decorates our front porch with this time of year. As a matter of fact, it was only days ago that she was pestering me to get up to that produce stand on Route 309 and grab some. You know that stand. That goofy guy with the road kill passing as a wig runs it. No? Whatever.

Anyblooey, it turns out that some low-life set the corn stalks on the front porch ablaze. Yup. A couple dozen people are now homeless because some evil incarnate, some fire bug has seemingly progressed past stripping naked, burning his naked and headless Barbies, and making love to his dead Mom's fluffy slipper. 10-4. Forget the property loss. The resident's, as well as the fire fighter's lives were put in jeopardy by someone who gets a stiffy at the mere thought of a fully loaded Zippo. Sad.

And to make matters even worse, I know and used to work with one of the owner's of half of that double block, and she is good people. And she lost practically everything she owns, only so some mentally-challenged loser could watch from afar and then reach into his bottomless pants pocket.

Arson: The official sport of Nord End.

It's even more popular than refried beans in these troubled parts.

Needless to say, wifey is no longer pestering me about the corn stalks. Sad.

From the WebTv e-mail inbox:


  In case no one has given it to you yet, if you type ogrish.com into your web browser, it will take you to a site where you can see all of the f**ked up beheadings that have happened recently along with all sorts of other nasty stuff.  The sounds you hear are enough to make your flesh crawl.  After seeing this and seeing the nightly news pieces of people in Iraq selling the DVD's of this in the market place along side of pirated American movie DVD's, I now really wish they would just drop the bombs on these animals.  Just block the boarders, search the innocents, and let them leave.  Then just wipe it all out.  If we have to pay to re-build everything over there anyway, we may as well start from scratch.

  Just my opinion


I've been directed to Ogrish many, many times in the past. That site would be gross without the beheading pics. And I read about the disturbing DVD sales.

In all honesty, I would like to see this Iraq thing played out all the way. I would like to see Bush win a second term and continue to remain steadfast in his belief that all people would treasure freedom if they could just get a taste of it.

I hope he's correct in that noble belief, I really, really do. But I suspect that he may be incorrect. I suspect that he may be giving the Middle Eastern folks way too much credit. I hate stating that, but that's where I'm leaning. I sincerely hope that I am mistaken, but I'd be surprised to eventually learn so.

And I understand your frustration with all of this. It is frustrating. We rolled in there and offered these people the complete freedom to do as they wished with their country, and now some of them huddle behind walls and snipe at our troops, while still others stand idly by and do nothing to help us, or themselves.

But I still want to see this Iraq thing played out to whatever conclusion. Are the Iraqi people worth defending from tyrrany? How about the Iranians? Or the Afghans? Are the people in the Middle East brave enough to rise up and embrace freedom, or are we giving them too much credit? Do they want to fast-forward to this century, or are they perfectly fine with being stuck in the 12th century?

If nothing else, for future reference alone, I think that question needs to be answered once and for all.

And if they actually prefer the status quo to self determination, then maybe the time has arrived for the creation of some rather sizable parking lots in the Middle East.

A lot of American blood has been spilled and hopefully it'll all be kinda worth it in the end. Maybe Iraq will one day become our biggest trading partner. Maybe it'll become one of our largest military allies. Maybe Iraq could one day become the jewel of the Middle East after the fighting subsides and foreign investment rules the streets. Maybe it'll become the beacon of freedom that beckons others in that region to topple the oligarths. Maybe. Maybe not. But we'll never know if we don't see this thing through. And with the Middle East being what it is and what little it has been, I think we need to know. Once and for all.

Another e-mail:

*******Dear friends:

  Barring the unforeseen, I'll be paddling the Susquehanna tomorrow from Tunkhannock to Berwick on the third stage of the 190+ mile Brule' Challenge. Quite a few paddlers have fallen off the aggressive pace of these trips, and I may be going solo on this stage.

  With a ~0630 put-in, I should be passing Falls between 0800 & 0830, West Pittston between 0930 and 1000 hours, and the beautiful skyline of Wilkes-Barre before noon. I'll be in my red tandem kayak with white & blue paddles. As much as I'd like to be paddling a faster 'yak...I view this trip as a workout with scenery. 

  Hope you'll be around to give me ( or us ) a wave. I'll give a blast on the horn if I don't see anyone.


Don (aka Kayak Dude)*******

If you're in close proximity to the chocolate water, keep an eye out for the dude and give him a hollar if you spot him gliding by.

Another brick in the wall

I was thrilled on my birthday to open a smallish package and find a $25 Gallery of Sound gift certificate staring back at me. Way cool!

Years ago, after I had officially given my three-week notice to the cutthroats at Friendly's regional office in Horsham, PA., a God-like regional manager immediately traveled to Wilkes-Barre to talk me out of leaving that laughable company. Before locking horns with me, he stopped at another of our local restaurants and told the manager of that store, a longtime friend of mine, why he had made the trip north. My buddy advised him that in my state of mind at that time, it might not be advisable to approach me with any of Friendly's useless bullspit. The "suit" seemed somewhat bewildered and asked John to further explain just what it was that he was alluding to. John told him that if he walked into my store and tried to sell me any more of Friendly's useless gibberish, he might just get himself popped. "Popped?" the bigwig asked looking totally confused. Yup. Popped. Punched. Even worse perhaps.

But John went on to describe me better than anyone ever had. He told the expensive dork that I was not your run of the mill manager after I left for the day. This is what he told Dick. I'm paraphrasing here, but it's real accurate:

"You don't understand him at all. He's really easy to get along with, but don't even think of pissing him off. Give him a case of beer and a new CD and he's fine for a week. Give him a bunch of sh*t, and he'll go nuts."

That's me allright.

Give me a case of beer and a new CD, and I'll be fine for a week. And my daughter did just that on my birthday.

Funny though, Pink Floyd's The Wall has been sitting at Joe Nardone's calling to me for some ten years now. Priced at $31.95, I steadfastly refused to purchase it. Pink Floyd is good and all, but I'm not plopping down thirty bucks for any double CD, other than a Frank Zappa CD, of course. But...Nardone's currently has The Wall on sale for $21.99 and I wasted no time in pouncing on it.

So I'm good for a week. And the headphones are about to be unmercifully battered beyond their specs. And I've got a cold one standing by.

Another brick in the wall.

I'm gone