Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Morning readings

The NYT's Krugman is great today on The Wastrel Son:

He was a stock character in 19th-century fiction: the wastrel son who runs up gambling debts in the belief that his wealthy family, concerned for its prestige, will have no choice but to pay off his creditors. In the novels such characters always come to a bad end. Either they bring ruin to their families, or they eventually find themselves disowned.

George Bush reminds me of those characters - and not just because of his early career, in which friends of the family repeatedly bailed out his failing business ventures. Now that he sits in the White House, he's still counting on other people to settle his debts - not to protect the reputation of his family, but to protect the reputation of the country.

This pretty much sums what I dislike about the current WH resident in a nutshell - spoiled spawn of privilege who never learns from his mistakes because he's shielded from the consequences. Some tough love in his early career might have prevented him from dishonoring our country. (Or, to be completely fair, it might not have.)

Half the age, twice the smart

If you're not reading Pandagon, you should be. Here's Jesse on Zell Miller:

Oh, Just Kiss My Ass

Zell Miller compares the torture at Abu Ghraib to having to shower in gym class .

Yes, I remember the first time I had to shower in a locker room. It was my first time naked (or with a towel on) in front of other men. I was embarassed a little bit. However, since nobody locked the door, put a bag over my head, beat me, sodomized me with broomsticks and light sticks, forced men into sexual acts with other people, threatened my life, and took pictures of the whole thing for their amusement, I never thought to compare it to what happened in Iraq, because it wasn't even in the same galaxy of occurences.


IRS may help DoD find reservists

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

FORT WORTH, Texas - The Defense Department, strapped for troops for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, has proposed to Congress that it tap the Internal Revenue Service to locate out-of-touch reservists.

The unusual measure, which the Pentagon said has been examined by lawyers, would allow the IRS to pass on addresses for tens of thousands of former military members who still face recall into the active duty.

The proposal has largely escaped attention amid all the other crises of government, and it is likely to face opposition from privacy rights activists who see information held by the IRS as inviolate.


Part or all of nine of the Army's 10 active-duty divisions are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and 167,000 members of the reserves or National Guard are on active duty, with thousands more on alert for mobilization.

Unknown to most Americans, though, is the existence of the Individual Ready Reserve, which has more than 280,000 members.

The IRR is a distinctly different animal than the drilling reserves or National Guard.

Those in the IRR are people who have completed their active-duty tours but are subject to involuntary recall for a certain number of years. For example, a soldier who serves four years on active duty remains in the IRR for another four years.

During that time, however, they receive no pay, do not drill with a unit and are otherwise completely civilian.

The problem for the Pentagon is that the whereabouts of 50,200 of those veterans are unknown to the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. The largest number - 40,700 - are former Army GIs.

Isn't it nice to know that when we're running out of cannon fodder, we can always find more?


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