Bracing for an escalation

So the flotilla news is bad enough (summary for those of you who don't know: a bunch of ships headed for Gaza with aid supplies attempting to break the three year blockade was intercepted by Israel in international waters, with at least 10 and possibly 19 activists killed, and at least 60 injured). But it looks like it could get worse quickly.

The aid flotilla was organized by a Turkish humanitarian organization with a close relationship to the Turkish government, and most of the people on board (as well as most of the victims of violence) were Turkish. Turkey has called an emergency NATO meeting (tomorrow), is threatening reprisals against Israel, and is considering sending another aid mission with a naval escort. (Source:

On the other side, an Israeli naval officer has stated that future interceptions will be more aggressive, and that vessels attempting to break the Gaza blockade will be treated as if they are "coming for war". (Source:

I think, and hope, that both Israel (increasingly unpredictable and rash though they are) and Turkey will stop short of actual combat, recognizing the fact that such a confrontation could become a real war between real military powers, but the situation is already tense and even a confrontation between cautious naval forces can go south with little direct provocation. It seems Turkey's goal is to force the US to intervene to either end the blockade or to force Israel to allow more aid into Gaza, invoking NATO treaty obligations to defend any member state in case they are attacked.

But that's sort of a dangerous gamble, and a lot is at stake. The US response so far has been lukewarm in comparison to pretty much the rest of the world (which isn't a surprise; when was the last time the US offered anything beyond "regret" and apologetics in the face of a massacre committed by Israel?), and it's not obvious that we would honor NATO obligations over our support for Israel. Further, there have been some tensions since the Iraq war began between Turkey and the US, and Turkey's regional policies frequently conflict with US policies in the Middle East. Moreover, while the US has favored Turkey as a close ally in the past, aid to Turkey dropped significantly after our short-term goals there were met.

Turning off my emotions and concern for the human beings in the crossfire for a moment... I think a response of this kind by Turkey is understandable, and if their bet is right, has some potential to bring a positive change in the dynamics of the conflict. Even if it comes to blows, gods forbid, Turkey is not a small military power in the region, and could potentially defeat Israel in a naval conflict, forcing an end to the blockade and possibly a change in the US relationship with Israel. But the best case scenario if it goes that way would probably still be quite bloody and messy, and could also potentially escalate much further. A comment by faithhopetricks on sabotabby's post resonated with me: I wonder if people felt this way when they heard the news about Franz Ferdinand.

It's too early to predict where this will go, if anywhere, but I think it's a good idea to prepare for things to escalate before this blows over.

I know some of you know folks who were on those boats. I hope you are able to get in contact and get confirmation that all your friends and loved ones are alive and well. The violence that took place out there was a horrible tragedy, and salt in the wounds of an ongoing tragedy of a million and a half human souls imprisoned and impoverished in Gaza—people who've committed no crime other than to have the gall and tenacity to live in the wrong place and to refuse to just die or leave.

This is why I don't play well with others

leth: not in particlely
leth: particly?
leth: parity. parody.
me: pert.
me: it's just for men.
leth: isn't that a shampoo?
me: by mennen
me: kastanza
leth: cantstandzya
me: i'm on a horse.
leth: is it going to college?
me: that's what she said
leth: that's what she said your mother
leth: yo mama went to college.
me: throw mama from the train
me: the train job
leth: manna manna
me: wokka wokka
me: ewok
leth: man, go listen to the pixies single from after they broke up
me: skywalker
leth: it's so good
leth: bam thwock
me: moonwalk
me: michael jackson (by soul coughing)
me: too fat fat
leth: moon dust moon beam chimes on a rail line
me: conspiracy theory
leth: ratta tat tat the fat rat drowned the lank cat
leth: blank pebkac
me: sam i am
me: i am the son of sam
me: i am i am i am
leth: green eggs with toast and tea
me: i'm late i'm late
leth: honey bees
leth: fate, fake or traits
leth: frickery jickery fock
me: anthropomorphic
me: robotic robot
me: google opt-out
leth: pop out
leth: phase out phasers
leth: (to stun)
me: stun gun sun fun
leth: forced out camp out barbeque
me: object
me: subject
me: medicate
leth: pronouns whoa now low down
me: heshezheherhimhir
leth: shiz fiz liz jizzed on the piazza at the ritz
me: plaza piazza pizzicato
leth: picasso
me: za za za
leth: gabor labor lenor adored chores
leth: up beat up beat up
me: down
me: in the park
me: madmen
me: marketing
me: kill yourself
leth: after dark
me: in the back off my mind
me: up up up
me: red red red
me: oh sailor
me: are you still waiting for the messiah?
leth: seaweed parts
me: seaward parts
me: seaman parts
leth: wee wards pants
me: semen parts
leth: see men plant semen plants
me: semen pants?
me: jizz jazz just juice josie and the pussy cats
leth: seamen plant semen plants too
me: loose lips sink angelina jolie
leth: in the unfortunate pitts
me: pitstains
leth: mr & mrs amith go to washington
me: amish?
me: hentai
me: gokkun
leth: doubtful thomas
me: cheerful british
leth: tentacle porn
me: tentacle zehr
me: zehr porn
leth: ponzher
me: world war zehr
leth: zherkreig
me: nazher
me: fazherst
leth: lobsthurst
me: franklin delano rozehrvelt
me: nevin more than evan
leth: zehr she goes again
me: 867-5309
leth: google dolls
me: google fail
me: moog de-autotune
leth: bangorang
me: rama ramtha mice parade
me: bomb the moon
leth: rockalockaping
leth: rockalockapong
me: jay zee. j-z-night.
me: r kelly
me: i wanna piss on you
leth: you're in de light.
me: i wish i was a little bit taller
leth: you must be this short to ride
me: what's a tallie?
leth: high ho silver today only SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY
leth: Sunny sunday sundae
me: bloody
me: hell
me: smell ya later
leth: oh well
me: choo choo
leth: swallow don't spit
me: she said she'd be mine
leth: who said when
leth: when said who
me: i'm not wearing any baseball caps
leth: the cat's a reincarnated baseball mitt
me: the eagle has departed for pittsburgh
leth: we'll be cruising at don knotts
me: schmitts gay beer.
leth: Punk Goes 80s
me: punk goes 20s
me: punk can't drive 55
leth: actually punk goes 90s
leth: rem covers.
me: sleepless nights
leth: deepend trite
me: i call it quits.
leth: aquitters quit

Oh, livejournal

I never call, I never write.

But I have an important question for those musicians among you, Friends List.

I have an old Applause acoustic guitar. It originally had a pickup, but that's broken. It's super narrow and has really terrible sound (no bass tone at all). And it's covered in dumb stickers, like "Nixon's the one".

I recently bought a really nice acoustic, and as such I plan to retire the Applause in some way. I don't really see giving it to anyone as an option (in the same way as I wouldn't give anyone a water damaged Stephen King novel), so I had the idea to modify it.

Some ideas I've had (from mundane to... not so mundane):

1. Reverse the string order, and learn to play left-handed.

2. Other alternate string orders, string counts (bridge/nut modifications) and so on.

3. Mount a slide (either a custom one arched to match the string arch, or on a pivot) onto some kind of contraption that can be slid up and down the neck; mount a "magnetic bow" above the sound hole, on some kind of contraption that can let it connect with the strings at a fifth note from the bridge, and pivot for tonal variation; some kind of new pickup system so this can be played through various effects and whatnot.

Of course, the last one sounds really neat, but it sounds like a good project to never finish or get quite right. But I'm willing to give it a go if I can figure out the hardware needed.

Friends List, what ideas do you have? What would you do to a junk acoustic guitar to give it new life?

Heroic tales, volume I

I know I promised I was going to write some boring diatribe about bipartisan snake oil, but I'll have to come back to that later. For now, I have a truly inspiring story to share.

leth: dude
leth: wachovia charged me a TWO HUNDRED FIFTY dollar overdraft fee
leth: i'm on the phone right now about it
leth: they're being assholes
leth: they're claiming this draft for my car insurance
leth: that i knew wouldn't clear
leth: and called about
leth: happened 3 days before it happened
leth: they're saying it was a weekend charge
leth: I'm saying I have a bill from said insurance
leth: indicating the 15th
leth: not 3-4 days before the 15th
leth: so they can suck my cock
leth: AND
leth: I can view my holds online
leth: date of the hold?
leth: they gave me...
leth: 70 dollars off the fees
leth: i almost asked if they had offices in greece
leth: i got as far as
leth: "does wachovia have offices in... you know what? nevermind. bad idea'
leth: i can't believe i'm calling back
leth: just to bitch
leth: lol dude
leth: instead of calling and bitching
leth: I called customer service
leth: and explicitly said
leth: I'm angry but not at you
leth: so instead of yelling at you
leth: I'm going to have a nice chat with you about why banks are usuristic parasites
leth: and you can get paid for not having to do any work
leth: I also suggested she organize her coworkers
leth: and take control of the bank
leth: ousting upper management
me: ROL
me: how did she respond to the whole thing?
leth: She had a grand old time
leth: and she let me know that all calls were monitored
leth: so I started talking to them
leth: you don't trust your employees?
leth: you have t listen to ever call your employees make?
leth: You fucking gestapo, you fucking pinkertons.
leth: lol man I went off
leth: and went
leth: wait they're listening?
leth: have you heard about the riots in greece?
leth: they're burning banks down.
leth: too bad wachovia has none there
leth: also best part?
leth: end of the conversation she told me that the half an hour of no work
leth: was the best x mas present she's going to get
leth: I also explained to her how banks make their money
leth: which she didn't know
leth: I was like
leth: You know, Claire
leth: I hate banks
leth: and she said I don't hate them, why do you?
leth: so I explained that they take our deposits and loan them out at 100x the interest they pay us
leth: and that's how they make their money
leth: and she was like
leth: "that's... interesting. i didn't know that."
leth: i was also making like
leth: absurd small talk
leth: what's your favorite ice cream?
leth: oh you're lactose intolerant? what do you eat instead?
leth: pie! that's great i love pie
leth: what's your favorite kind of pie?
leth: apple? that is a fantastic choice

Bipartisanship is the answer to the question no one asked

Dear Livejournal,

Tonight you get to be my notepad. I want to flesh this out into a whole argument with lots of supporting evidence and maybe some great illustrations and figures and whatnot, but for now I have to eat dinner and just want to jot it down so I remember it.

Basically, the argument goes: with approval ratings of the Republican executive and the Democratic Congress have-beens hitting record lows, it seems to me that the would-bes realized that neither of their platforms were digestible, so they invented a problem to blame, and sold Bipartisanship brand snake oil as a cure. Somehow the answer to problems with the Republicans that even Republicans can't tolerate, and likewise problems with the Democrats that even Democrats can't tolerate, is to "reach across the aisle", and the way to "go against their own parties" is to work with the "opposing" party. In other words, after ages of demonization of one another in pretense that they are even politically distant, their solution is to "put aside their differences" and "work together" (as they have always done), and this is a "new kind of politics". A few key phrases aside, McCain and Obama ran almost identical campaigns, and were falling over each other to be more the same as the other than the other.

The problem is "divisiveness" and the answer is "unity".

Watching people praise Obama as some kind of departure from anything as he stacks his administration with neoconservative Republicans (who are, go figure, RINO liberals) is just astounding.

Meet the new boss, more the same as the old boss than ever.

Fuck hope.

For discussion

What is cowardice?

I seem to have a different understanding of it than the rest of this country. Can someone explain it with the subtlety I'm missing?