Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Chilly Overcast Sort of Sunday...

So. Didja watch any of the anti-war stuff on C-SPAN? The demonstration, that is. I didn’t. I did switch channels and went there, but only briefly. Some idjit in a kaffiya was haranguing the crowd, and I mean haranguing… yelling, waving his hands in the air … and I thought “No. Not today.” The Weather Channel was much more appealing. More useful, too.

Here’s Scott Ott’s take on the event:

D.C Rally Demands Iraq War End, Better Celebrities

(2007-01-27) — Tens of thousands of protesters will rally today on the mall in Washington D.C. to call on President George Bush to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq, and to demand better celebrity spokesmen for their cause.

Celebrities slated to speak at the rally include Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Three of them have made careers out of pretending to be someone they’re not, while Ms. Fonda is best known as the daughter of actor Henry Fonda.

Organizers said the biggest challenge facing the anti-war movement today is how to hold together a loose coalition of groups with divergent agendas using celebrities who peaked in popularity 10 to 30 years ago.

Of course there’s more!

And while we’re on about people who were mildly famous 30 years ago: She’s baaack! And hanging with the same sort of folks she used to, back in the day:

Before the march, Fonda spoke briefly to a few hundred people at the Navy Memorial. The event was sponsored by Code Pink, an antiwar group started by women.


She was one of the last people to speak at the midday rally. As she waited for her cue, she chatted with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). She shook hands with the Raging Grannies, a group of senior citizens who sang onstage, while the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sean Penn and actor-couple Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins milled about nearby.

Some people never learn…

John Hinderaker at Powerline posts one of his reader’s comments about these demonstrations and their impact on the “Arab street:”

A reader who is training as an intelligence analyst writes:

[A]s a spook-in-training, I am studying Arabic, inter alia, and spend more time than I would like watching Arabic TV, and this protest -- and good ole Jane Fonda, sans the AA artillery prop -- are all over the news. Expectations of American withdrawal from, and thus defeat in Iraq, are running high, and I cannot say I blame the Arabs for thinking retreat is imminent. Many Americans, including Republicans, are talking and acting as if surrender is near, and that an American loss in Iraq is a good and honorable thing. I fear that it will not be long before we do retreat and all the sacrifices will be for naught. Jane Fonda has the dubious distinction, along with the media and many Democrats, of giving aid and comfort to our enemies and bringing about American defeat in two wars.

Not yet, though. Not yet.

John also links to a first-hand account of the demonstration from someone who was there. The account is very well-written and features excellent observations.

This is good news…if it’s true. From The Observer (UK)

Iran's efforts to produce highly enriched uranium, the material used to make nuclear bombs, are in chaos and the country is still years from mastering the required technology.

Iran's uranium enrichment programme has been plagued by constant technical problems, lack of access to outside technology and knowhow, and a failure to master the complex production-engineering processes involved.


Despite Iran being presented as an urgent threat to nuclear non-proliferation and regional and world peace - in particular by an increasingly bellicose Israel and its closest ally, the US - a number of Western diplomats and technical experts close to the Iranian programme have told The Observer it is archaic, prone to breakdown and lacks the materials for industrial-scale production.

There are “a number of Western diplomats and technical experts close to the Iranian programme?” Really? This statement flies in the face of received wisdom, which is: we don’t know what the Hell is going on there. We’re not even sure where all the facilities are located, let alone know of any “technical experts” close to the program.

Accurate and comprehensive intelligence is critical for the development of good policy. There is a great deal about Iran that we do not know. It would be irresponsible to list the specific intelligence gaps in an unclassified paper, as identifying our specific shortcomings would provide critical insights to the Iranian government. Suffice it to say, however, that the United States lacks critical information needed for analysts to make many of their judgments with confidence about Iran and there are many significant information gaps. A special concern is major gaps in our knowledge of Iranian nuclear, biological, and chemical programs. US policymakers and intelligence officials believe, without exception, that the United States must collect more and better intelligence on a wide range of Iranian issues –its political dynamics, economic health, support for terrorism, the nature of its involvement in Iraq, the status of its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons efforts, and many more topics of interest. The national security community must dedicate the personnel and resources necessary to better assess Iran's plans, capabilities and intentions, and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) must identify, establish, and report on intelligence goals and performance metrics to measure progress on critical fronts.

That’s from an unclassified report drafted by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last August. And The Observer can identify “technical experts” the House Intelligence Committee can’t? Uh, OK.

And then there’s this:

VIENNA (Reuters) -

Iran has demanded the removal of the U.N. official overseeing nuclear inspections in the country, accusing him of breach of trust, and barred all inspectors from nations behind sanctions, diplomats said on Friday.

Tehran's moves, following a ban on 38 inspectors from four major Western nations announced on Monday, appeared aimed at testing Western resolve over its disputed nuclear activity while stopping short of violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Hmmm. Tehran is “inspector shopping” and delaying IAEA inspections. Perhaps the Iranians don’t want the West to know their program is in disarray and is failing. On the other hand, perhaps they have something much more insidious to hide. I want to believe the Iranian nuclear program is in disarray. But somehow I just can’t.

Today’s Pic: A family picture, of sorts. SN1’s Commissioning Day, whereby his brother swore him in as an officer in the United States Air Force. I don’t have a good picture of SN2 administering the oath to SN1…one had to preserve the dignity of the ceremony. And that means the dais can’t be overrun by proud moms and dads wanting to get a “good shot.” From left to right: SN2, The First Mrs. Pennington, SN1, and grandson Sean. May 6, 2000. Omaha, NE

Update, 01/29/2007: Bec, in the comments, said she wished there was a pic of me at this celebration. Well, since we're all about customer service here at EIP...

Living proof about that guy not in uniform: "you can dress 'em up, but you can't ____." (you fill in the blank).


  1. While channel surfing for political news, I ran across ol' Jane. I could only stand her long enough to think with dismay(as Reagan would say), "There she goes again" and to notice that her voice is sounding older.

    Great photo of the family, Buck. What a proud moment. And everyone looked really spiffy. TFMP looked lovely! Wish there was one of you, though.

  2. Out of curiosity, the picture...Parade ground at Offutt? The old brick houses in the background look familiar.

  3. Bec said: ..."There she goes again" and to notice that her voice is sounding older.

    She has an opportunity not many people get: she can piss off three generations of military people... The Vietnam generation, their parents, and the current generation. I would say four gens but the current gen's parents are the VN vets...

    Thanks for the compliments, Bec. I think there's a pic of me on that day around somewhere...I'll check! ;-)

    Mike: You're absolutely correct!

  4. Well, since we're all about customer service here at EIP...

    Aww, thanks, Buck! You look really happy and proud. Made me smile.

    She has an opportunity not many people get: she can piss off three generations of military people...


  5. I happen to catch a small portion of the war protest on some news channel. There was Jane saying,"Some people never learn..." I don't know what else she said, but I thought she might be speaking of herself.

    Great pictures! You look quite handsome in your suit, but your sons in uniform are dreamy. Of course, the grandson is just pretty cute too.

  6. It looks like your head would explode if that shirt collar was any tighter. You don’t look comfortable.

  7. Thanks for the compliments, ladies. Even though it's apparent (Lou!) I was upstaged by the boys... :-)

    Dan said: It looks like your head would explode if that shirt collar was any tighter. You don’t look comfortable.

    Methinks you may be projecting just a wee bit, Dan. :-)

    I did that suit 'n' tie thing every day for over ten years until EDS finally saw the light and went "corporate casual." The shirt fit perfectly and I was quite comfortable.

  8. I am projecting. It's a large gut, my lovely bride calls it a "gas tank for a love machine", the grandkids call it "mount everest" and my friends just snicker.

  9. Dan said: I am projecting. It's a large gut, my lovely bride calls it a "gas tank for a love machine"..."



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