Sunday Open: Tidbits and Detritus -- Big winds, blowhards and compromising positions

A few tidbits to open the day:

  1. 19 dead in Missouri, Oklahoma after new round of tornadoes By MURRAY EVANS, Associated Press:

    A tornado ripped through a 20-block swath of Picher late Saturday afternoon, killing at least seven people. The same storm system then moved into southwest Missouri where tornadoes took the lives of at least 12 others, authorities said.


    At least 12 people were killed after severe storms spawned tornadoes and high winds across sections of southwestern Missouri, the State Emergency Management Agency said. Ten of the dead were killed when a twister struck near Seneca, about 20 miles southeast of Picher, near the Oklahoma border.


    Tornadoes killed 13 people in Arkansas on Feb. 5, and another seven were killed in an outbreak May 2.

    Hopefully, the storms will abate soon and give the people a break.

  2. Pentagon legal advisor is barred from trial of Osama bin Laden's driver
    A judge for the Guantanamo tribunal says Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann lacked independence and must be replaced before Salim Ahmed Hamdan is prosecuted.
    From the Associated Press, 11 May 2008

    This is odd. Seriously.


    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO -- A Navy judge has barred a Pentagon legal advisor from participating in the war crimes trial of Osama bin Laden's former driver, saying the advisor lacks independence.

    Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, legal advisor to the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, must be replaced before next month's scheduled trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Capt. Keith J. Allred ruled Friday.

    Why is it odd? Well, because it flies in the face of the SOP for the trials, namely the policy that "We can't have acquittals." Either someone blinked, or the replacement of Hartmann is simply more kabuki theater in the Potemkin village known as Guatanamo.1

  3. PC Phone Home (or at least send out a tracking beacon, and let the owner remotely access to snap a pic of the theif who stole you). The story is a hoot -- a woman's stolen laptop showed itself as "online" when the thief sat down to use it at his home, and a friend of the true owner gave her a heads-up. Using an online software service, she was able to remotely gain access to her home system and snap a picture of the culprit using the built-in camera.
  4. The Republican party hypocrisy2 of claiming to be the party of "family values" continues to get hammered home as disgraced Congressman Vito Fossella3 hid in his home and failed to attend his goddaughter's First Communion party.

    I feel bad for the little girl, as well as the entire family.

That's a smattering of items -- what have you got?

Footnoted references appear below the fold.



  1. "kabuki theater in a Potemkin village" -- other usage:

    Obviously, I seem to like misspelling the word -- I'm constantly adding a "p" in the middle of it.

  2. See also The Devil Quotes Scripture: The GOP's Damning Hypocrisy.
  3. From Wikipedia, Fossella is the

    Republican politician from the state of New York who has represented the state's 13th Congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997

    Apparently, his resignation could come soon. Also from the Wiki, via WNBC (cited source from Wiki: "Fossella Resignation Could Come Soon",, May 9, 2008):


    He may not even finish his current term; some Republicans have said that top leaders in the national Republican Party want Fossella to resign by Monday, May 12.[1]

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Evil in Burma:

Like almost everyone who has been in the country, we have viewed its regime as a peculiarly pre-modern and backward form of evil. It does not seems capable of thoroughly-organized evil and repression, as in the old Soviet system. Rather it displays a benighted, superstitious, and almost unthinking indifference to whether its people suffer and die.

Definitely worth the (short) read.

of things to do before meeting Mom. :)