October 26th, 2003


War insane.

Pfc. Tyrone Roper killed eight Iraqis during his stay in Iraq, and came home a decorated soldier. Not all is well, however. He's gone AWOL, leaving his base, his wife, his six-year-old daughter Passion, and his three-year-old son Deja. What he can't run away from are the nightmares and the guilt. He's left with an acheing loneliness that doesn't go away, even around those who care about him. He's afraid a lot. He's turned to drinking to cope. He's scaring himself.

Pfc. Roper is one of the over 478 US soldiers sent home from Iraq for psychiatric reasons. If past events are any indication, many former soldiers will either live shattered lives or go on to commit suicide. Many more will suffer in silence. Yet another hidden cost of war...

This just in -- FoxNews still doesn't get it.

According to Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, FoxNews threatened to sue the Simpsons for their parody of the news network... only to back down when they realized that both The Simpsons and FoxNews were owned by the same company.

What this all comes down to is respect. FoxNews wants it, but appears to have no clue on how to get it. All they seemingly know how to do is to bully, intimidate, shout down, or gag those who disagree with them, and these baseless lawsuits and threats are making what is already a bad, seemingly systemic problem within their organization that much worse.

If FoxNews needs a good example of how to earn respect, all they need to do is look at The Simpsons, a show that started out as a national scandal and has become an international treasure. They did it by being consistantly good, funny, smart, and relevant. They didn't talk down to their audience. Their depiction of the world around them in all its ludicrous banality has always been dead-on, and yet they stayed above it all on some level, while still not becoming elitist. Everyone's a potential target, and because of that, The Simpsons really does come off as "fair and balanced".

As for Fox News, you have to wonder whether they'll ever learn these lessons. Perhaps FoxNews is destined to become this nation's longest running joke...

Yeah, it gets really hot... but it's a dry heat.

Hm. Looks like Southern California is burning to the ground. It's sad that people are dying, but I admit that I have mixed feelings about it.

Maybe people shouldn't plunder nature in order to divert water and power hundreds of miles away from where it belongs. Maybe if more effort was spent on trying to find ways to coexist with nature rather than conquer it. Maybe if people lived in cities near rivers, streams and fertile valleys, instead of building them in the middle of a desert.

Because, sooner or later, if you screw with Mother Nature enough, she *WILL* make you her bitch.

Tomorrow may be the real kicker - 95 degree temperatures and 45 MPH gusts. Whole towns could burn to the ground, theoretically. Sure, it's awful weather for fires, but, hey, it's SoCal... it could make for some compelling television.

Journal quotes:
laymedownbroken - "My old house is gone. My new house is within a few miles of the fire .... Fuck. I don't want to evacuate but most of my city has evacuated already. God this sucks. I really don't want to have to lose my house. Jenny Peter Will and Derek have already lost their house. Countless people I know have evacuated. All because of fucking arsonists."

sylent_earth - "I'm here at home when I should be at work. The fires have reached Mervyn's and although it isn't on fire, it is evacuated so no work for me. I'm pretty nervous about the fire. It's really quite close. It won't come to my house, but the smoke and ash is getting kind of bad. I hope I don't have to evacuate."

psilverswirl - "Last I heard from a friend who lives in Highland, around one-ish, he said the fire passed right by his house. He told me he could have sat on his porch and roast hot dogs... He lives well in the northeast corner of Highland, and if the fire's that far in that means it's bagged an enormous number of houses. He told me it was heading east, to the upscale area of Highland. Shallow I am, I hope the fire doesn't get my favorite burrito joint, Rosa Maria's - they make awesome garbage burritos. I wonder if the Wal-Mart there is still standing?"

USA Today adds up the cold, hard facts...

I've been saying it for some time now, but USA Today finally ran the stats and reached the inevitable conclusion... the proportion and severity of US wounded in Iraq is significantly greater than in prior wars.

Since the Iraq war began in March, one American servicemember has been killed for every seven injured in combat, as opposed to wars from last century, where that number was closer to one death for every two wounded.

That's good news, you might say. More US soldiers are coming home alive.

True, but to what kind of life? Should we judge a war by how many US soldiers are killed, when the number of wounded is proportionally much greater? If our battlefield medicine hadn't advanced so significantly, we'd be looking at a War on Terror which would have claimed the lives of approximately1150 US servicemen by now. Instead, we're currently at around 437 dead US servicemen and approxinately 3000 wounded during the War on Terror, with no end in sight.

And meanwhile as more and more wounded veterans come home, Bush has threatenned to veto a bill to increase their benefits, and has stuck it to the soldiers and wounded veterans in ways too numerous to mention. His goal appears to be to make sure that paying for all the wounded soldiers coming home doesn't inconvenience his tax cuts and kickbacks to the rich. Perhaps he should have thought of that before he dragged our country into war.