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--  Potpourri  --

Cleaning up assorted news items of the last week.

Army dude convicted of butchering more than a dozen innocent people. Does the Army: a) execute him, b) give him life/no parole, c) check the color of the victims.

Con-artist and convicted baby killer ex-Sgt. Bobby Bales dodges execution for killing 16 Afghani civilians Ė mostly kids and women Ė in their sleep.  The base commander can still let him go free, the way Vietnam mass-kiddie killer William Calley was set free. After all, Calley didn't kill any white people. 

But speaking of dead white people, back at Fort Hood TX, Nidal Hasan is convicted of killing 13, mostly white, Americans.  

Iíll give you 2 to 1 that the Army will give Hasan the death sentence.  Make that 5 to 1.  

Iím still trying to figure out how the $6.35 tax penalty grew to $235 in under two years, never mind how any judge would be so fuking stupid as to auction the house off.

Surely, you have heard about the Beaver County, PA screw-up by now. [Yes, I know. Quit calling you "Shirley."]

I get the part about Commonwealth Court judge Mary Hannah Leavitt throwing out the auction of Eileen Battisiís $280k home in Alquippa for $116k to S.P. Lewis. And I get the part about S.P. Lewisí lawyer, David Holland, trying to punk Battisi into buying her house back for $160k.  Link

But what I donít get is: 1) How the $6.35 penalty for being 6 days late on her school tax grew 42-fold in 2 years; 2) who the fucking dim-wit judge was that signed off on the auction without an evidentiary hearing, presumably never having heard of a minor American tradition called "due-process;" and 3) how have Lewis and Holland been able to avoid being tarred, feathered, and staked down on a red-ant hill?

Shirley, there will be a follow up to this story that will fill in the gaps.

Why was the Mass State Police so pissed off at the guy, Sgt Sean Murphy, who took the photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?  I'm sure it couldn't have anything to do with police brutality . . .

We've all seen the photo of the aiming laser dancing on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's forehead.  And other photos show what look like a scalp wound on his left side.  But he is sitting up on the gunwale of the boat, he's got balance, he has not lost so much blood as to be unconscious. 

But on Aug 20 Dr Stephen Ray Odom, surgeon at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center went public on Tsarnaev's wounds.  Multiple gun shot wounds.  One entered the left side of Tsarnaev's mouth and exited the left face.  A fractured skull-base.  Injuries to his middle ear.  Injuries to his vertebrae.  Lots of soft tissue damage to his face.   

The guy in those photos doesn't have a gunshot exit wound to the face.  He doesn't have a beat up face.  And if he had a vertebral injury he likely wouldn't be sitting up with his hands up. 

In other words, a lot of nasty stuff happened to Tsareaev between the time Murphy took the photograph and Dr. Odom first saw his patient.  That red laser aiming dot on the guy sitting there quietly with his hands up -- well, someone pulled the trigger.  And then some one kicked the shit out of him.  Did the cops try to execute him?  

The initial story was that Tsareaev came out shooting.  But that is clearly not the case.  In fact, the cops had to admit he had no gun on him.  And to make matters about as bad as possible for the cops, Murphy did the unthinkable and went public with his photos showing Tsareaev was in pretty good shape when he surrendered.  

How does that red-line deal work, anyway?

Here we go again.  More reports of sarin gas attack in Syria.  This is getting to be a pattern, only Obama fails to see it. 

First we have the Israelis claiming that Assad has gassed a bunch of civilians.  Then we have the UK and EU getting their knickers in a twist because Obama is dragging his feet in bombing the poop out of Assad -- after all, Obama is the one who said just about a year ago: gassing civilians is a red line that if crossed will bring military retaliation.  Then we find out -- ooops, that wasn't Assad doing the chemical attacks after all, and all the red-line talk evaporates.  Until the next attack. 

And, of course, it is precisely Obama's red-line threat that is getting all these civilians gassed.  The al-Qaeda asshole rebels are dumb, but they're not so dumb as not to be able to work out that the only way Obama is going to take out Assad is if Assad gasses civilians.  And Assad is dumb, too, but he's smart enough not gas anyone.    

And then there are the cluster bombs.  , on May 15 the USG and about 100 other countries condemned Syria for using cluster bombs -- and well that they should condemn them.  But for the hypocrisy, that is. 

For all his holier-than-thou bullshit about unethical means of warfare, Obama looks a little less than "kosher" when we find out that -- according to al-Jazeera -- the DoD has just inked a deal to produce and sell 1300 cluster bombs to the Saudis -- that would be about 300,000 bomblets.  The deal is worth $640M.  

And while Obama is being holier than thou about the Syrian red-line, we have to recall that the USG has never endorsed a world-wide ban on cluster bombs.  Israel dropped a million cluster bombs on Lebanon.  Just recently an Israeli dude stepped on either an undetonated cluster bomb or an Israeli mine while in Lebanese territory.  Good.  Stay home.  The tragedy is when it's some innocent civilian.  The US dropped untold millions of them on Vietnam and they are still killing civilians every year.

But to get back to the Syrian re-line, the question is how does it work?  Is it symmetric? 

 It's clear that if Assad crosses that line, he gets a USG cruise missile in his lap.  But what about the rebels?  If they have crossed the line -- and we know that they already have -- does the US step in and kick some rebel ass?  

Uh . . . I don't think so.  Not as long as Israel is supporting them (and providing the chemical weapons).  And if it can be proven that Israel is the one supplying the CW, does Obama then kick Israel's ass.  Uh . . . I don't think so. 

I mean, how do these red-lines work?








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