Sister Novena's PortaPulpit
freedom, liberalism, movies, and truth

Saturday, November 20, 2004
Can We Call 'Em Charlie?

Boy, thank god the insurgency's back is broken, or this could have gotten really ugly...
Rebels Keep Up Attacks in Central and North Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 20 - Violence surged through central and northern Iraq on Saturday as a tenacious insurgency led by Sunni Arabs kept up relentless assaults in several major cities, including Baghdad, Ramadi and Falluja, the city that was the focus of an intense weeklong offensive aimed at routing the insurgency.

In Baghdad, insurgents armed with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenades tried storming a police station at dawn in the northwestern neighborhood of Amariya, where American and Iraqi soldiers had engaged in a mosque shootout on Friday. The attack on the police station left three Iraqi policemen dead and two others wounded, said Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman, an Interior Ministry spokesman.

Hours later, a car bomb exploded in downtown Baghdad, at the eastern end of the bridge over the Tigris River leading to the Green Zone, the fortified compound housing the American Embassy and the headquarters of the interim Iraqi government. The bomb was aimed at a convoy of vehicles from a Western security contractor. At least one Iraqi was killed and another wounded, witnesses said.

Four employees of the Public Works Ministry were gunned down from a passing car, and three Iraqi national guardsmen died in explosions in western Baghdad during gun battles with insurgents, Iraqi officials said.

An ambush on an American military convoy in central Baghdad ended with the death of one soldier, the military said. Nine others were wounded in what appeared to be a highly coordinated attack, with insurgents using explosives, automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

Fighting raged in the rubble of Falluja. Two marines were killed and four wounded in a guerrilla ambush on Friday, military officials said Saturday. The weeklong offensive, which began Nov. 7, smashed a safe haven for the insurgents, but guerrillas still roam the devastated streets, sniping at American troops and deterring military engineers who have been brought in to try to reconstruct the city.


Goodness! Just think how bad this could've been if there was still an active insurgency. Which obviously there isn't, since we just broke its back in Fallujah. What shall we call these new guys? Let's see... we've already done Saddam loyalists, done Ba'athist hardliners, obviously we nailed the insurgency... how about we call 'em "Violent Combatants"? That way, when we all wake up tomorrow morning and find ourselves fighting the VC, it'll be just like the last thirty-five years never happened.
1:55 PM ::
Sister Novena :: permalink

Friday, November 19, 2004
Feeling Victorian

Q: What's more addictive than crack?

A: According to a few congressional panelists, online porn:

Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Cognitive Therapy, called porn the "most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today."

"The internet is a perfect drug delivery system because you are anonymous, aroused and have role models for these behaviors," Layden said. "To have drug pumped into your house 24/7, free, and children know how to use it better than grown-ups know how to use it -- it's a perfect delivery system if we want to have a whole generation of young addicts who will never have the drug out of their mind."


That's it... the right is right... the academic community is clearly out of control. Somebody take this moron's tenure away, 'cause this is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
"Pornography really does, unlike other addictions, biologically cause direct release of the most perfect addictive substance," Satinover said. "That is, it causes masturbation, which causes release of the naturally occurring opioids. It does what heroin can't do, in effect."

... said another enemy of human joy.

This prudish hag nice lady has even coined a name for the new drug du jour:
Judith Reisman of the California Protective Parents Association suggested that more study of "erototoxins" could show how pornography is not speech-protected under the First Amendment.

"Erototoxins"... stupid concept, but a great name for a band.

So I guess we'll start seeing the male equivalent of crack whores wandering the streets any day now (and if a $5 porn-whore isn't reflexive and pomo enough for you, you're beyond my help.) Mat, I expect to see you turning tricks on EP Blvd. this weekend.

Just in case you're not quite convinced yet that America's sense of "morality" (read: repression) has not yet completely regressed to the 1950s, check out this bit of high irony:
Kinsey ads were just rejected by WNET - Channel 13 - PBS.

The spots were not the problem, the film's content was.

Tom Conway, the CFO of WNET who oversees the underwriting department and views the spots for approval made the call NOT to take the ad. Tom was not comfortable with the content of this movie and because there has been controversial press re: groups speaking out against the movie/subject matter, they feel that they can't risk viewer complaints on this.


Yes, they're banning the ads for the new movie about Kinsey -- the man who single-handedly helped wrest America's genitalia from the grip of puritanical Christianity (like my little double-entendre?) -- not because of the ads themselves, but because a movie about a man who openly said that sex isn't dirty is dirty.

Great. Just Great. How far we haven't come.

PS: just thought I'd reiterate this fundamental point: sex is good for you. Masturbation is good for you, emotionally and physically. Porn is only bad if it's exploitative or (more likely) badly made. Keep doing what you're doing; god made your parts so you could enjoy yourself, and Jesus will still love you even if you use them for purely recreational purposes. Just so we're clear.
6:06 PM ::
Sister Novena :: permalink

Ding Dong, The Insurgency Is Dead!

No, really... 'strue!
U.S. declares insurgency 'broken'
By Rowan Scarborough

The top Marine officer in Iraq declared yesterday that victory in the battle of Fallujah has "broken the back" of the Iraqi insurgency, while another commander in the war on terror said Osama bin Laden is all but cut off from his terrorist operatives.

The twin statements declare success on the two main war fronts -- Iraq and Afghanistan -- where the U.S. military is fighting a deadly insurgency and trying to create lasting democracies.

Lt. Gen. John Sattler, who commands the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters that 11 days after invading Fallujah, the one-time insurgent stronghold is secure, but not yet safe. His ground troops were carrying out a "search-and-clear phase," he said.

Oh, happy day! Bless you, Sung Myung Moon, for bringing us the good news! At long last, the Mission really IS Accomli...
A suicide car bomber attacked a police convoy in Baghdad on Friday as guerrillas kept pressure on Iraq's U.S.-backed security forces despite a bloody rout of insurgents in the Sunni Muslim bastion of Falluja.

A policeman and a bystander were killed and at least five people wounded, police said.

Iraqi and U.S. troops raided a major Sunni mosque in the capital after Friday prayers, killing or seizing several people, according to local witnesses.

Uhhhhh... but this can't be, the insurgency's back is br...
Two people were killed and 14 wounded, hospital sources said after national guards backed by U.S. troops tried to storm the Hanifa mosque. Witnesses said worshippers threw shoes at the troops -- a grave insult in Islam -- and soldiers opened fire.

The raid followed more than 100 arrests in a Sunni area of Baghdad the day before, when police said they detained some militants suspected of escaping Falluja.

No no no no no... this is impossible! The administration wouldn't lie...
In the troubled northern city of Mosul, an unexplained fire destroyed voter registration papers and other materials being stored at a warehouse in anticipation of the vote.

A car bomb in the city wounded a U.S. soldier. Also in the north, another Iraqi policeman was killed in a mortar attack on a police station at Muqdidiya.

Special police commandos and U.S. soldiers detained three people at a Mosul hospital they said had been used to treat rebels wounded in recent fighting, when insurgents put most of the city's new police force to flight.

Don't you think you're being awfully negative? Y'know, "trying to put the worst possible face on the war?" Dumping all over our parade when we're trying to enjoy waving our flags? Is that fair?
Dozens of political organizations, many with largely Sunni memberships, announced Thursday that they would boycott elections planned for January, while leading political parties in the government met in northern Iraq to discuss forming an alliance before the poll.

Gaaaaaahhhh! Stop! Stop! I'm an American voter, I can only take good news!

Y'know, it's funny, but this kinda reminds me of something...

Until the Tet Offensive, General William Westmoreland's now-infamous public reports of the progress of the Vietnam War were highly fictionalized and exaggerated to appear positive for the American public, often using exaggerated bodycounts and other inflated numbers.


Support for the Vietnam War began to steadily erode from that point on, until the release of the Pentagon Papers largely confirmed the deliberate practice of "covering-up" various facts about the progress of the war. After the Tet Offensive, the main issue of public debate would be "how to securely withdraw" from the war without losing a "hearts and minds" Cold War battle against then-enemy Soviet Union and its system of communism.


Hmmmm... must just be me.

PS: source 1, source 2

PPS: Thank god bin Laden has been "all but cut off from terrorist operatives"... y'know, back in last few months of 2001 I had these fantasies of seeing his throat cut on national teevee, but in restrospect him living quietly in Pakistan or Syria, "all but cut off from terrorist operatives," as punishment for killing 3000 people is obviously much better.

Smoke 'em out,
Drain the swamp,
Dead or alive,
You can run but you can't hide...
2:13 PM ::
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Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Just To Prove I'm Not As Ideological As I Might Look

In a battle between, say, the Motion Picture Association of America and the American Conservative Union, which side do you think I'd be on?

The MPAA? Bzzzzzt. Sorry, wrong answer. In this instance -- maybe the only one ever -- I'm aligning myself, at least nominally, with the ACU. The battle is over a new law that would, among other things, allow the Justice Department to go medieval on file-sharers; would mean that I'd have to sit through endless boring ads every time I watch a DVD; it would mean that Conservative Christian families, rather than just avoiding grown-up movies, can hack them to ribbons without permission; and would make Fair Use something about which we tell nostalgic stories to our grandkids.

For me, Fair Use is the biggest issue... the concept behind Fair Use is that when, say, CNN broadcasts eight hours of election night coverage, I can take that coverage and use it for my own nefarious filmmaking purposes, and as long as I don't make any money off of it or pretend that it's my original work, I can do whatever I want with it and not get my ass sued off. It's a nice thing for us little people to have, and we don't want to give it up.

So the enemy of my enemy is my friend, I guess... at least for now. I'm not sure exactly why the ACU thinks this law is bad -- making sure huge corporations can obliterate regular folks and independent artists in court while simultaneously slicing all the good bits out of slightly-risqué movies seems like something right up most conservatives' alleys -- but I'll take what I can get.
3:19 PM ::
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Something About November

Well, here we are... in the middle of the second-deadliest month for US Troops since the war began. 82 have died so far this month, a number that ties it up with what was previously the second-deadliest month, November 2003.

Of course, we're only halfway through this November, so nobody knows yet how high the number will eventually go. The deadliest month so far was April 2004, in which 135 troops were killed. Anybody remember what caused such high casualties then?

Yep. Fighting in Fallujah.

It's just such a fucking waste.
2:06 AM ::
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Monday, November 15, 2004
Hearts And Minds

Do you know what this is a picture of?

It's a picture of a US Marine... inside a mosque... shooting an unarmed, injured prisoner.

Is this prisoner likely an insurgent? Yes, that seems very possible. Was the soldier wrong to kill him? Yes and no... yes, because you shouldn't really kill unarmed people (bad for the old image, you know), but on the other hand, it's not terribly likely that this was an innocent bystander. Although that's also possible.

The point is, for a country that's swearing upside-down and sideways that our purpose in Iraq is to "win hearts and minds," performing cold-blooded executions inside an extremely sensitive location is just staggeringly destructive. This kind of shit CANNOT happen.

Hearts and minds, splattered all over the walls. That's compassionate warmongering.
9:46 PM ::
Sister Novena :: permalink

Sorry Everybody

Really, half of America deeply regrets that we couldn't quite manage to get deliver ourselves and the rest of the world from a second Bush administration. We're still trying -- we beg your support and help -- but we realize that when it counted most, we came up short.

Find several thousand more apologetic Americans at
8:32 PM ::
Sister Novena :: permalink


Remember this?

It's happening again.

A man set himself on fire outside the White House this afternoon.

D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Alan Etter said the 52-year-old man suffered serious burns to his head, back, arms and face and was conscious when medics took him to Washington Hospital Center.

There was evidence of an ignitable liquid at the scene, Etter said. It remains unclear who the man is or why he set himself on fire.

Etter said it happened around 2 p.m. on the sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue near the guard post on the north side of the White House. Witnesses reported seeing the man in flames and hearing him screaming in pain.

(Washington Post)

A Secret Service officer subdues a man after he set himself on fire outside the White House. Officials have not identified the man.

And then there's this.

As the people go, so goes the nation. This is what America is like now.

Update: It appears that the man who set himself ablaze was a Yemeni informant who was upset about how his case has been handled by the FBI. Curiouser and curiouser.
2:50 PM ::
Sister Novena :: permalink

Sunday, November 14, 2004

I'm not going to say too much about the news du jour... there's not much we could do to prevent an ideological purge of the CIA if it happens. Everything we could have done came to nothing on November 2.

I'll only say that I hope Republicans are beginning to understand why we don't trust them further than we could throw a proverbial piano. At best this is unhelpful -- filling the CIA with yes men and party lackeys does nothing to prevent terror attacks -- and at worst it's a sign that this administration has some very dark plans.
To have all the executive, congressional, and judicial branches run by one party, a party determined to bring the intelligence agencies into ideological line--that's fascism in the making, my friends.

(from James Wolcott)
6:46 PM ::
Sister Novena :: permalink