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Mark My Words: Somalia, Good News Ahead, Health Care for Californians, and More

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With a tip-o-the-hat and deepest gratitude to D'oh…although everyone knows his real name, although it's not his name. And special thanks to Clovis for his contribution to this… whatever the hell it is.

DATELINE: Washington, D.C., January something 2006: 'Tis a grand day to be an intrepid reporter in this great city where clocks have been set to see what the Democrats can really do in 100 hours. The plate is full, nay, overflowing with ideas that range from the brilliant to the 5-watt variety. Some want to make all pork public. What silly people. As if the Dems don't have a fondness for fetal pigs. Others want to fix health care. Not that it doesn't need fixing, but none of you have had a clue or the cojones for, oh, twenty years — what's different?

But those aren't the top stories — the ones that grab you by the throat and choke you until you're unconscious or even dead. Now that's what this intrepid reporter calls news.

Bush Did What? When? Why?: U.S. helicopter gunships launched new attacks Tuesday against suspected al-Qaeda members, a day after American forces launched airstrikes in the first offensive in the African country since 18 U.S. troops were killed there in 1993. Where? Somalia. The latest attacks killed at least 27 civilians in the town of Afmadow in southern Somalia, lawmaker Abdiqadir Daqane told The Associated Press. The White House would not confirm the attacks, nor would the Pentagon.

Somalia?  Isn't that where we got egg on our face and they made that movie and people wound up head first in concrete slabs? And they're after al-Qaeda, maybe even Osama (Dancing Feet) bin Laden. Boys, boys… you're on the wrong continent. Afghanistan, not Africa. Lord o' Mercy, no wonder we keep losing wars. You can't win 'em if you can't find 'em. And if we're so quick to go after whoever it is we're going after, how about a little aid to Darfur… you know, a bundle of hay or something? Somebody tell us the plan! Please.

Through The Looking Glass: Edge is one of those on-line mags that finds very deep people to offer very deep thoughts. Their latest offering is entitled: THE WORLD'S LEADING THINKERS SEE GOOD NEWS AHEAD. I don't know why they have to yell; maybe a lot of their members are old and don't hear so well. But I digress.

Even though most of us think there's a good chance that we're on a ride to hell in a handbasket, whatever that means, "scientists and the science-minded among us see good news in the coming years." That was the outpouring of response from "world-class scientists and thinkers."   

As an untrained journalist, your intrepid reporter knows better than to take sides in this debate, especially because he hasn't gotten around to reading why these scientist are doing the Snoopy Happy Dance. But there is a certain suspicion that seeps up through the floor like a dead mongoose when the publication has to sell itself so hard. I mean, I may call myself "intrepid," but I readily admit I have no idea what that means. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt. If good things start happening, like John Wayne running for the presidency, then I'll start thinking differently.

Bless the Constitution: No one would draw any linkages between Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent skiing accident and his call this week to turn California into Massachusetts. Well, not quite, but he does want to require all Californians to have health insurance and to extend coverage to an estimated 6.5 million state residents without insurance. Who knows, maybe he hit his head on a rock — nah, rocks aren't hard enough — maybe on a steep pipe sticking out of the ground. It's not that heath care isn't a national disgrace, it's that most of pols are even worse. 

Tax and heal, tax and heal, there's those Republicans for you. The more you read about what's necessary to make this work, the more inclined one is to escape to Canada where they have free health service. "Got a tumor, oh we can see you in eight months. Please take a number." And why do we bless the Constitution? People not born in the U.S. cannot run for president. Phew! 

News You Can Use: Beginning in February, the lucky students at that august milestone of academic excellence, The University of Sioux Falls, will have a chance to take a one-credit course: "Finding Dates Worth Keeping."

This course is very important, although many will miss the significance. Have you ever bitten into a date and gone, "Oh raspberries, I wish I'd known in advance that this date had worms." Well, all it takes is a one-credit course to help students tell the difference. Now if they'd just do something about the sexual misconduct going on at that school. I'd tell you, but there be parents reading this.

The Bureau for Bureau of Bureaus: Poor Miami. Two days in a row, their port was shut down by a terrorism scare. This last package, loaded aboard a cruise boat (oh those dastardly terrorists) tested positive six times positive for a military-grade and well-used TV explosive known as C-4. Turns out they were sprinkler parts, and a Coast Guard spokesperson tried to explain how they could be easily mistaken for C-4.

Six times??? I hope they were giving the passengers free drinks while this was going on. And why six tests? What was wrong with five? Didn't they think the passengers valuable enough to try a seventh test? There are answers here that need questions, I say. 

Sprinkler Parts? Maybe Terrorist. Weird Odor? Definitely Not:  Think of many decaying dead creatures, including a goodly number of skunks, all deciding New York City is their ancient burial ground. Boys and girls, that what's it come to. Authorities in New York are attempting to identify a persistent gas smell across a large part of lower Manhattan.

Morning commuters reported everything they could think of but were assured by Mayor Michael Bloomberg who said he was confident the odor was "not dangerous". A stretch of the commuter train service between New York and New Jersey was temporarily halted, and some Manhattan office buildings were evacuated. The US Department of Homeland Security ruled out any link to terrorism.

Test a box until the hinges fall off because it might be terrorism, but blithely dismiss an odor that had strong men weeping and weak men throwing up?  Sure, it may be nothing more than Godzilla farting — but it might be worse.  Pretty gutsy that Mayor fellow.

And so goes another episode. Be prepared in the coming (include some time period) when we will be offering you a secret decoder ring so you can read the messages hidden in this column. Despite what the good folks at Edge said, I think we sliding down a long, lazy slope into the LaBrea Tar Pits. Last one is the last one alive. So remember,

In Jameson Veritas

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About Mark Schannon

Retired crisis & risk manager/communications expert; extensive public relations experience in most areas over 30 years. Still available for extraordinary opportunities of mind-numbing complexity. Life-long liberal agnostic...or is that agnostic liberal.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    From the Weird Affairs Desk;

    Well, turns out we might have found life on Mars, and killed it.

    All I’ve got this evening, but expect live play by play for tomorrow’s POTUS speech, if I can keep my lunch down, of course.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    Oh yeah…Mark, it’s Clavos, I dunno who this “Clovis” person is.

    See what happens when you drink that swill, and not a decent single malt?

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Oh you poor deluded puppy. Clavos is his nom de plume. Clovis is his nom de computer. easy mistake.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    And you say I’m deluded.

    philistine

  • Joe

    D’ohwe might have found life on Mars and killed it

    They just killed the sample. We’ll still get a shot at analysis – now that we know what to look for.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    Joe – thanks for reading, thinking and responding.

    My entire point,(besides reporting the obscure story) was about the sheer cosmic Irony that Man, being who he is, finally found that something out there…and killed it, in typical human fashion.

    Let’s hope the coming days bring wisdom as well as more data.

  • Clavos

    Waitaminnit guys! I DON’T wear plumes. That’s a vicious story that got its start after a round of binge drinking in Tierra Del Fuego–and I wasn’t even there!

    Sheesh!

  • Clavos

    Here’s one for the geeks…

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    Well, the POTUS spoke, and said a lot of not much at all. There was an admission of mistakes, and actual taking responsibility. That’s a first.

    Here is a full transcript and video of the speech.

    Mark it on the calendar, there are no “superpowers” in the world, Illusions end when examined.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “Somalia? Isn’t that where we got egg on our face and they made that movie and people wound up head first in concrete slabs? And they’re after al-Qaeda, maybe even Osama (Dancing Feet) bin Laden. Boys, boys… you’re on the wrong continent. Afghanistan, not Africa. Lord o’ Mercy, no wonder we keep losing wars. You can’t win ‘em if you can’t find ‘em. And if we’re so quick to go after whoever it is we’re going after, how about a little aid to Darfur… you know, a bundle of hay or something? Somebody tell us the plan! Please.”

    No offense, but that is an incredibly stupid comment.

    First of all, whatever your opinion of the invasion of Iraq, al-Qaeda is actually in Somalia! So, we are in a battle (along with allies like Ethiopia) to kill members of al-Qaeda in order to help a UN-backed secular government. We’ve apparently even managed to kill the terrorist SOB who masterminded the bombing of our embassies back in 1998. And you think this is a bad idea???

    Secondly, as for Darfur:

    America is the leading provider of humanitarian aid, and this year alone we account for more than 85 percent of the food distributed by the World Food Program in Sudan. The situation, however, remains dire.

    The United States Has Met Its Commitment – But Other Major Donors Have Not Come Through. The World Food Program has issued an appeal for funds necessary to feed 6 million people over the next several months. The United States has met our commitment – but other major donors have not come through. As a result, this month the World Food Program was forced to cut rations by half. The President has proposed, in the emergency supplemental before Congress, to increase food aid to Sudan by another $225 million. The President hopes Congress will act swiftly on this true emergency.

    So, like, get a clue, man…

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    The most important stuff first. Clavos, I’m sorry I spilled the beans about your plumage, but you have to admit, it’s loverly.

    and RJ Elliot, we’ve crossed paths before my right-wing bohemian friend. And I take no offense at your saying my comment is incredible stupid. Well put, no personal attack, all that.

    However, you lame brained, son of a dropped duckling, raw meat-eating sloth, get your own facts straight. Oh my, was I out of step there? Oh well, it’s not personal. I have Tourettes & the comments editor can’t touch me for fear of be kind to the handicapped legislation.

    Where was I? Oh yeah, sorry, Charlie but saying there are al Qiadisu in Somalia is like saying there are Egyptians in Cairo. al Questa is half myth anyway created by Osama Oh Osama, where have all the flowers gone. Many of the world loonie terrorists have suddenly donned the dark garb of a Quaida terrorist. Hell we could drop a bomb in Jersey City and accurately claim we knocked out 20 of those however you spell ‘em. So there, neener, neener, neener.

    Plus, you goes where the fruit is lowest and easiest to pick. How many more people do we want to alienate?

    As for American aid, man, I’m surprised you’d even go near that. By any measure you’d want, the only people cheaper than us is Lithuania. And I was being a mite sarcastic about the food — if we had an ounce of the honor and pride we claimed, that’s where we’d send troops. There’s a fucking holocaust going on & the world is doing nothing…as usual.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Nancy

    Oh Mark, please warn us before you drop comments like #11; I almost died laughing. Loved the Tourette’s excuse – I’ll have to use that next time myself!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    Mark you forgot “mouth beathing troglodyte”.

    But RJ makes the valid point that at least, after 6 years, something is being attempted.

    It’s a start.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Nancy, you suck-up you. My face turns many shades of Pale. Ruff.

    And D’oh, since when you stick up for the mouth-breathing troglodytes? Great, we’re shipping food. Yahoo. Picture, mother sitting under bunion tree, holding cute little dead child in her lap. But she can’t see because the mother fuckers have gouged her eyes out. Can you see it? Then up walks some UN moron with a bowl of meat, which she can’t eat because the bastards knocked out all her teeth. So the UN guy moves on. Oh yeah, after six years, we should be very proud.

    (Whew. What a tirade. I need a Jameson.)

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Hmmm…

    So the left opposes multilateral action against terrorists in Somalia in an effort to help the UN-backed government there, but they would support an immediate unilateral US invasion of Sudan (the 10th largest country in the world, with a population of almost 40 million).

    Sounds about as reasonable as anything else the moonbats have suggested.

    No offense.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Come on, RJ, don’t be such a stickler for little details. That’s the problem with the right…too much faith in facts. And no, I’m not for any more stupid unilateral serving up of young American bodies for somebody’s lunch.

    The great crime of George (I did inhale, ha ha) Bush is that he has so destroyed our prestige abroad that i wouldn’t trust him taking a walk with my 28 year old dead and stuffed German Shepard.

    Only the US has the chance to establish a moral, values-based foundation for action — but we can’t do it by making fun of every other country in the world.

    We have to stop thinking left & right because they’re meaningless phrases…and start thinking, how should America be perceived around the world? How can we best use our wealth and power to reduce suffering, not intensify it.

    Man, I drank the fucking Kool-Aid — we’re supposed to be better than “them.” But with BushCheneyRumsfeld (his ghost lingers) we’re not better, we’re worse.

    And that’s the truth,

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    As for Somalia, it seems like they missed the targets.

  • Clavos

    we’re supposed to be better than “them.”

    But we’re not.

    And we weren’t long before Bush.

    We haven’t been since I was kid in uniform, more than 40 years ago…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    It’s nice to be “better” than them. And we are.

    But the important thing in a war is to win, not to be voted Ms. Congeniality.

    Occupying armies are rarely viewed with much sympathy by the occupied populace. So, if we can’t make ‘em love us, at least they should be able to fear/respect us.

    And they will, if we use overwhelming force. But we can’t, because we don’t have enough troops. So we need more troops, which is what Bush is doing. But will 20,000 extra troops be enough?

    If not, would 200,000 more troops make the difference?

    If so, we have to make a choice: Defeat, or Draft. I would support a Draft.

    Losing Iraq would not “end” the war; it would merely change the primary battlefield from the sands of the Middle East to the cities of the West.

    This whole thing is pretty much FUBAR. Bush deserves much criticism. But those who eagerly await America’s retreat and defeat in Iraq are sowing the seeds for another 9/11…

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Oh, I’m going to hell, I just know it. I agree with RJ — I still agree we’re better than “them” although BushCheneyRummy tried to blur that distinction, but more importantly, we can’t afford to lose this war.

    I’m not sure losing Iraq would make the West the battlegrounds…frankly, I’m surprised they haven’t hit us again…but losing Iraq after Bin Laden predicted it…after Somalia 1 and Vietnam just makes it all that more difficult to establish any role for the U.S. internationally in a one-superpower world.

    I tell you, it’s enough to make you puke.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    Get ready to vomit, Mark.

    There are no superpowers anymore, that era ended when the moment Tora Bora was outsourced in Afghanistan and the following decision to invade Iraq put the concept in the ground permanently.

    Pardon me, more morose than usual this evening, awaiting the next shitstorm in W picking yet another fight with the Persians while losing Afghanistan and Iraq.

    If it wouldn’t break the wife’s heart, my mood is black enough to follow Hunter.

  • MCH

    “But the important thing in a war is to win, not to be voted Ms. Congeniality.
    Occupying armies are rarely viewed with much sympathy by the occupied populace. So, if we can’t make ‘em love us, at least they should be able to fear/respect us.”
    – RJ Elliott

    But…but…wouldn’t the “most important thing” to win a war be…to, um…SERVE…?

    Uh

  • MCH

    “If so, we have to make a choice: Defeat, or Draft. I would support a Draft.”
    – RJ Elliott

    Well, if you “support” a draft the same you’ve “supported” the war, you’ve already proven that means sending someone else over there to fight your battles for you.

  • MCH

    “This whole thing is pretty much FUBAR. Bush deserves much criticism. But those who eagerly await America’s retreat and defeat in Iraq are sowing the seeds for another 9/11…”
    – RJ Elliott

    Here’s an opposing point of view by someone who’s actually served in the military:

    “Instead of a plan or a strategy, we get shallow slogans like ‘mission accomplished’ and ‘stay the course,'” said former U.S. Army Captain Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs in combat in Iraq. “Those slogans are calculated to win an election. But they won’t help us accomplish our mission in Iraq.”

    Duckworth, who co-piloted a Black Hawk helicopter that crashed while under a rocket grenade attack almost two years ago, also criticized Bush and others in his administration for accusing anyone who challenges the president’s policies of “cutting and running.”

    “Well, I didn’t cut and run, Mr. President. Like so many others, I proudly fought and sacrificed,” Duckworth said. “My helicopter was shot down long after you proclaimed ‘mission accomplished.'”

    In her address, Duckworth, now a major in the Illinois National Guard, also lashed out at the GOP-led Congress for refusing to do its job of holding the Bush administration accountable for its flawed Iraq policy.

    (By AP writer Dennis Conrad)

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Dennis, good stuff but, given the mess that the Bushman has dumped us, what do we do now??? As much as I admire the troops over there, it’s a weird sort of honor to send more simply because we don’t want what they’ve done to have been in vain.

    It’s clear we’re losing in Iraq, it’s also clear that Afghanistan’s next. Despite despairing D’oh’s desperation, we still are a superpower — just one that’s stretched a mite thin these days. We have no identifiable foreign policy, no realistic military policy, no decision’s been made to allow real French cheese to be imported….

    My instincts (based on nothing but wetting my finger and holding it up in a closed room) say leaving would be a disaster. But what’s a win now? Is it possible? Oh well, point made and hammered into the ground.

    In Jameson Veritas