Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Fübar Watch

my jaw clenches...
Baghdad: The besieged press | News
Upon arriving in Amman, Jordan, the main civilian gateway to Baghdad, one already has had the feeling of drawing ever nearer to an atomic reactor in meltdown. Even in Jordan, there is a palpable sense of being in the last concentric circle away from a radioactive ground zero emitting uncontrollable waves of contamination.
As America approached the third anniversary of its involvement in Iraq, I had gone to Baghdad to observe not the war itself, but how it is being covered by the press. But, of course, the war is inescapable. It has no battle lines, no fronts, not even the rural-urban divide that has usually characterized guerrilla wars. Instead, the conflict is everywhere and nowhere.
As the quest for greater private security increases, a new and unexpected kind of public insecurity has grown alongside it. With vehicles rerouted through an ever-diminishing number of open streets, traffic jams have become more frequent, exposing foreigners, rich Baghdadis, and anyone else out of favor with one or another group of insurgents to a greater danger of being kidnapped, shot, or blown up. It is unnerving (to say the least) to be stuck in such traffic, wedged into a welter of dilapidated sedans, vans, and pickup trucks with heavily armed Iraqis staring sullenly through the window of your expensively reinforced car, as security guards sitting next to you cradle their automatic weapons. With no possibility of escape, you can't help wondering when your unlucky moment will come. And when traffic completely stops and frustrated drivers begin to break out of line, gun their vehicles up sidewalks, veer across center dividers, or just charge up the opposite lane against the flow of oncoming traffic, it is difficult to remain calm.
"Squeezing off a few rounds of automatic weapons fire here in Baghdad is the equivalent of honking your horn in America."
Driving through the streets of Baghdad, one now sees members of the newly created, blue-uniformed Iraqi Police Service, extolled by the Bush administration as another hopeful sign of "Iraqization." But because police recruitment stations, training schools, and district precincts are favorite targets of the insurgents, many of these new police are afraid of being identified as collaborators with the Americans or the new Iraqi government. Their remedy is to wear black stocking caps with eye, nose, and mouth holes pulled down over their faces so they look like so many bank robbers. One sees these sinister-looking protectors of the peace at traffic circles and intersections, or brandishing automatic weapons in the back of American-bought pickup trucks, which makes them seem far more menacing than reassuring.
Wherever in the city the news bureaus are, they have become fortified installations with their own mini-armies of private guards on duty 24 hours a day at the gates, in watch towers, and around perimeters. To reach these bureaus, one has to run through a maze of checkpoints, armed guards, blast-wall fortifications, and concertina-wired no man's lands where all visitors and their cars are repeatedly searched. The bitter truth is that doing any kind of work outside these American fortified zones has become so dangerous for foreigners as to be virtually suicidal.

Nearly every foreign group working in Iraq has felt it necessary to hire a PSD, or "personal security detail," from more than 60 "private military firms" (PMFs) -- Triple Canopy, Erinys International Ltd., and Blackwater USA -- now doing a brisk business in Iraq. In fact, there are now reported to be at least 25,000 armed men from such private firms on duty in the country today.
...these subterranean paramilitary PSDs form a parallel universe to America's occupation force.
It has not escaped the attention of U.S. National Guardsmen, reservists, regular Army soldiers, and Marines that their mercenary counterparts get paid four or five times more than they do, sometimes as much as $1,000 a day. Understandably, there is a good deal of resentment about this inequity, and not a few American soldiers now aspire to nothing more than getting out of their low-paying jobs working for the military so that they can sign on with one of these companies.


Friday, March 17, 2006



Ananova - Kilt-lifting Scotsman kicked off train: "Kilt-lifting Scotsman kicked off train

A drunk Scotsman was kicked off a train in Germany after lifting his kilt and flashing passengers in a packed dining car.

The unnamed 46-year-old, from Edinburgh, was on a train from Basel in Switzerland to Dusseldorf in Germany.

He had several drinks in the dining car but allegedly refused to pay and started arguing with the waiters.

He then reportedly lifted his kilt on both sides and clearly demonstrated to all present passengers, who included women and children, that he was not wearing any underwear.

Restaurant personnel then called the railway police and the Scotsman was forcibly removed from the train at Dusseldorf central station, where he promptly passed out.

Police took him to the nearest hospital where he spent the night sobering up.

Dusseldorf railway police spokesman Norbert Junge said: 'This is definitely not the usual sort of call we get about troublemakers on trains.

'I have to say we were all a bit amused by it. The man did not assault or grossly offend anyone, apart from showing everyone what Scotsmen wear under their kilts - namely nothing at all.

'There will be no charges against him, unless the train company decides to take legal action for his unpaid drinks.'"

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Time Artist Song Album Label
9:26 Macha & Bedhead Believe Macha Loved Bedhead Jetset

DJ Comments: yes, a Cher cover played on a touch-tone phone
9:23 Cat Power The Greatest The Greatest Matador
----- air break -----
9:17 Tom Waits Gun St. Girl Rain Dogs Island
9:11 Jim White A Perfect Day To Chase Tornados Wrong-Eyed Jesus! Luaka Bop
9:08 Sodastream Southside of the World (v/a) I Am a Cold Rock. I Am Dull Grass. A Tribute to Will Oldham. Tract
9:04 Luna Great Jones Street Bewitched Electra
9:00 Belle & Sebastian Another Sunny Day The Life Pursuit Matador