"Passion" Update: Blood Libel Out, Aussie Jews Approve

Herald Sun: Jews OK Mel's film [07feb04]

Other religious groups support the movie, saying it follows closely the literal interpretation of the Gospel. "In Christian teaching, Jesus died because of human sin and it would be quite tragic if a film about Jesus' death resulted in a human sin of anti-semitism," said Jeremy Jones, the president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

"We think it would be very unlikely that there would be hostility because of one person's artistic rendering of a Bible story, which is what this is.

"I don't think Mel Gibson is claiming this is anything other than one person's artistic rendering of how he reads a story important to his religious faith."

All Hail the Seventh Century Saxon King

Museum of London

Last autumn, the undisturbed tomb of an early 7th century Saxon King was discovered. The Museum of London is displaying some of the objects found in the tomb.

This is an incredible find. I'm going to guess - why not? - on the limited info available that the king is Sigeberht II, who converted in 653 CE. The other strong candidate is Saebert who died in 616, but the presence of Christian artifacts says that the survivors accepted the religion, and Saebert's sons kicked the Christians out after Saebert died.

But Then Again...

uggabugga: A possibility

Since the computer printout uses a machine font, anyone with a W middle initial, four letters in his last name, and six letters in his first, could fit into the torn SPE's name field.

From any year whatsoever.

Thanks, uggabugga. Be sure to go see the picture ugga's rigged up. It's eye-opening...

Is There A Missing 72-73 SPE?

UPDATE: THIS IS AN OLD POST OF MINE. Go see my new post on the recent Killian memos here. I no longer think the Killian memos are forgeries.

In a comment below, Gryn suggests that the first line of the torn SPE is for October, rather than November. He's angling for the maximum contradiction angle, but I'm afraid this assumption would loosen the noose considerably for Bush.

Reexamining the document, I agree that the letter could be a T. It's a computerized printout that doesn't use serifs in its font, contrary to my assertion below. What I see as a serif, therefore, could be the top of a T (I still believe the line is slanting). OCT is a good guess for the first date, though.

Here's why that starts to clear Bush: If the torn SPE proves to be genuine, then he's got proof that he made up time in October and mid November (the second line can now be NOV, placing the time immediately after Election Day) for the second quarter. This leaves a single quarter for the case of AWOL, and now it's getting down to a possible case of crossed communication.

Let's follow this trail of assumption: Bush clears base, confident that he's being transferred to an Alabama unit that won't require attendance. This transfer is denied, but because he's already left town, he doesn't get the notification. Thinking his Guard service is covered, Bush doesn't attend any drills, and at the end of the first quarter, someone in Houston (Jerry Killian) finally gets word to him that his attendance is deficient. He then applies on Sept. 5, early on in the second quarter for transfer to the second Guard unit in Alabama. (This request is sent to Col. Killian, and signed "George" - it reads like a letter dictated to Bush). This transfer is approved.

But for good measure, Bush comes back to Houston in October for a weekend drill. And immediately after Election Day, Bush pulls a six day stint in Houston. Both of these times of service must have been makeup days for the first quarter, a deal worked out with his commanders based on the mixup. This service would have cleared him for the first quarter.

This leaves room for Bush to have done duty in Alabama, while he was working the Senate campaign, and then gives him time to go back to Alabama for the November 29 date that the Bush campaign has specifically claimed for Bush to have attended in Alabama. This gets Bush cleared for the second quarter.

If there's a case for an AWOL Bush, then my original guesses for the first two months on the torn SPE must stand as the working hypothesis. However, the above scenario, while solving many problems for Bush apologists, still heighten the tension between other documents and claims about this time period. It's never been claimed that Bush returned from Alabama to get any drill points at Houston.

Furthermore, Killian is the person who signed off on Bush's annual evaluation for 72-73, the one stating that Bush had not been observed at Houston for 01 May 72 - 31 April 73. How could he have missed Bush's return to Houston in October, and his six day stint in November - not to mention the January and February/April times? Killian is the one who probably prodded Bush into the second transfer - he would definitely have known if Bush came back while in Alabama!

Since the torn SPE is specifically for Houston points earned, there must be a similar document from his Montgomery unit somewhere. If the SPE is gone, there are other ways to determine just what days Bush served in Alabama. Phil Carter explains the different paths by which paperwork can establish the truth about Bush's service record in 1972-74. This information could confirm or deny the above scenario conclusively. So once again, the call for Bush to fully release his military records goes out.

The only reason for Bush to withhold his records is if he's got something to hide.

Plamegate's Shaken Loose a Few Names

Cheney's Staff Focus of Probe - Insight on the News - National

Scooter Davis and John Hannah, both from Dick Cheney's staff.

Pizza Party U.S.A.

The Morning News

The execution is never going to happen, of course. But I love the general idea. Leap Day (February 29) is the day of Pizza Party USA. Throw a pizza party yourself, invite your friends, make the dough yourselves, build little personal size pizzas and cook them on the stone. Pop open a cold one, eat the pizza you make yourself, and play Parcheesi with your pals. That's the way to celebrate the day that comes along every four years (excluding years divisible by 100, unless they're also divisible by 400).

Why Corporate Heads are Idiots, Part 754: Hey Ya, Charlie Brown

What used to be "Hey Ya! Charlie Brown

I was one of the lucky ones (although I never saw the last third). I got to view this cute clip that turned "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!" into a music video for the infectious song Hey Ya!. It was incredible how well the different shots fit the song.

What United Media, the owners of Charlie Brown, should have done was throw a few bucks in the direction of the editors, negotiated for the Hey Ya! rights, and gotten the video onto MTV. Seriously, it's that good. I haven't seen the Outkast video, but I imagine that shots could have been edited into the Charlie Brown video. A half day of greenscreen, and the band members could have been in the Charlie Brown shots.

Then United could have made the video the center of a marketing campaign for the DVDs of the Charlie Brown specials.

Instead, they stepped on it. We may never see it again. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Georgia Teacher Applicant Considered "Unrealistic Expectation" for Potential Students

Brains can hurt job applicants

This is outrageous. You would think that a metro school system would fall all over itself trying to score this kind of teacher for their students: African American. Male. 22 years old. Rhodes Scholar nominee. 3.75 GPA in college. Double major (sociology and secondary education - social studies). Three years on the National Dean's List.

That's just half of the man's qualifications - and yet he was denied a job teaching urban high schoolers because his "demeanor and therefore presence in the classroom would serve as an unrealistic expectation as to what high school students could strive to achieve or become."

Words fail me.

Something Going Unnoticed Concerning "The Passion"


In October, Gibson's Icon Productions company and independent movie specialist Newmarket Films agreed to distribute The Passion of the Christ. It will be shown on 2,000 screens in the US.
Something's being obscured by all the controversy: Mel's carving out a major niche for his production company. The true bottleneck of Hollywood power is in distribution, and now Icon is developing a distribution network to get The Passion of the Christ into theaters. Since the film only cost $25 million to make, it will clearly make an incredible amount of money. This will in turn strengthen the distribution arm of Icon Productions.

Mel's made an end run around Hollywood, and it doesn't look like he'll ever have to look back.

WaPo on Bush's Guard Service: The Cracks Are Showing

Bush's Guard Service In Question

This article is from yesterday, but it's a step in the right direction.

Bush's 72-73 year in the Texas Air National Guard is baldly described as "a one year gap...during the height of the Vietnam War." From the rest of the article, it's clear that the 73-74 complete SPE is being used, and the torn 72-73 document is not.

The heart of the Bush defense on this matter is this:

White House communications director Dan Bartlett said yesterday that although no official record can be found, "obviously, you don't get an honorable discharge unless you receive the required points for annual service." He said Bush "specifically remembers" performing some of his duties in Alabama. Bartlett also provided a news clipping from 2000 quoting friends of Bush's from the Alabama Senate campaign saying they recalled Bush leaving for Guard duty on occasion.

Bush said in 2000 that he did "show up for drills. I made most monthly meetings, and when I missed them I made them up."

Reached in Montgomery yesterday, Turnipseed stood by his claim that Bush never reported to him. But Turnipseed added that he could not recall if he, himself, was on the base much at that time.
1. Bush says he did. Well, that and a dollar fifty will get you a cup of coffee.

2. The points must have been made up for his honorable discharge. Perhaps so. When and how? It wasn't during the first two quarters of 72-73, and the Post doesn't seem to be admitting the torn SPE into evidence.

3. People remember him leaving for Guard duty. Well, unless they watched him actually go to Guard duty, fulfill Guard duty, and record his Guard duty, it doesn't matter if Bear Bryant saw him leave for Guard duty.

4. Turnipseed can't recall today whether he was on the base much at the time. There would still be records of Bush's attendance. There would be other Alabama guard members who remember Bush being there. No record and no Guard member has come to light.

The complete answer is yet to be understood. A full and immediate release of Bush's military records would clear all these questions up.

Unless, of course, what hasn't been released is even more damning than what has.

The 72-73 SPE: More Info Comes to Light

Today the incomparable Bob Somersby does a critique of Bush AWOL articles. He quotes from a Jo Thomas Nov 3, 2000 New York Times Article:

[Bush aide Dan] Bartlett pointed to a document in Mr. Bush’s military records that showed credit for four days of duty ending Nov. 29 and for eight days ending Dec. 14, 1972, and, after he moved back to Houston, on dates in January, April and May…

Another document showed that Mr. Bush served at various times from May 29, 1973, through July 30, 1973, a period of time questioned by The Globe.
These two documents are almost certainly the SPEs that I've been discussing. Thomas describes four days that end on Nov. 29, and eight that end on December 14. The first two lines of the 72-73 document reveal two dates ending in 29 and 14, with four points and eight points respectively. Thomas confuses days with points earned, perhaps under the patient tutelage of Dan Bartlett. And as the 73-74 SPE shows, points earned under the TD code 2 are two a day. So we're only talking about 2 days and 4 days on these lines, not four and eight.

Also, this document doesn't record any Alabama information. There's a letter code in the upper right corner of both documents that clearly corresponds to Bush's Houston unit. There's no evidence of Alabama time on either of these documents. Perhaps this is another illumination Ms. Thomas received from Mr. Bartlett.

But as you can see, my guess on the last two months is February and May, while Thomas reports that they were April and May. Following Thomas, the amended 72-73 SPE would read as follows:
1 72 NOV 28 - 72 NOV 29 2 004 (Tue after T'giving - Wed)
2 72 DEC 10 - 72 DEC 14 2 008 (Mon - Thu)
3 73 JAN 04 - 73 JAN 06 2 006 (Thu - Sat)
4 73 JAN 08 - 73 JAN 10 2 006 (Mon - Wed)
5 73 APR 07 - 73 APR 08 2 004 (Sat - Sun)
6 73 MAY 01 - 73 MAY 03 1 003 (Tue - Thu)
7 73 MAY 08 - 73 MAY 10 1 003 (Tue - Thu)
8 73 MAY 19 - 73 MAY 20 2 004 (Sat - Sun)
9 73 MAY 22 - 73 MAY 24 1 003 (Tue - Thu)
If Thomas's month guess is correct, this makes the May 2 statement by Bush's superior officers even more astonishing. According to them, Bush had not been observed at the Houston unit from May 1972 to April 1973. Yet the 72-73 SPE has him serving on April 7-8, less than a month before the signed and dated statements of his superiors.

What gives? Perhaps this is another example of the guiding hand of Dan Bartlett. Since the month in question is completely missing from the record, guessing April would be a little more complementary to Bush. It would mean he had pulled some Guard duty right before the April 26 order to active duty training (ACDUTRA). But then why the punitive character of the active duty order? This warning about "unsatisfactory participation", signed by Bush, is clearly punitive. Is it from this time period? If not, when was this warning given to Bush? The two primary guesses would be November 1972 or April 1973. What other time period would qualify for such a warning?

Guessing April for line 5 really doesn't make sense to me. So for now, I'm sticking with February.

The question remains, however: How could Bush's attendance record include credit for serving November though February/April which completely escaped the notice of his superior officers (who I assume looked at the records before signing an annual evaluation report on Bush)? How could they have missed him?

Operation "Reverse Engines Full": George Will Invalidates Preemptive War!

Remember the scene in Titantic where the iceberg has been spotted, and the crew scrambles to reverse those gigantic engines? Well, conservative journalists and pundits alike have just done the same thing with regards to their views of CIA intelligence. Before the Kay Report loomed out of the quiet January night, they regaled us with the timidity of the Intelligence Community. Now that the WMD are fully recognized to not be there, the story is that the CIA sold the White House a hyped bill of goods.

Atrios has sounded the Google call: Document the Reverse Engine Full. I'm taking George "Is Anybody Listening" Will. And while the search is on, I've landed a peach of a quote from Mr. Will:

ABCNEWS' Michel Martin said the discussion has implications for future administration efforts to build a foreign policy consensus.

"If the administration wants to go forward in Iran, in other places where there are concerns about nuclear programs being developed, and if the public — not just the American public but the broader public — comes to believe that they played fast and loose with their facts, there's going to be hell to pay when they make any effort to engage in a similar kind of policy," said Martin.

Will agreed.

"It is the case that the administration says we're going to find them," said Will, of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. "If we don't find them then the doctrine of preemption is gone, because preemption presupposes a certain degree of confidence in your intelligence."

This Week Roundtable, June 22, 2003
Maybe a better name for this would be "Operation Shooting Fish in Barrel".

Patriots 24, Panthers 14, Frodo 2

Eh, what do I know? I'm about to go see Return of the King again. (It's only my second time!)

I've not yet reviewed any of the Lord of the Rings films, a shocking lapse on my part. That's because I'm waiting for the extended version of Return for final judgment. Without a doubt the work of Peter Jackson and his production crew can't be overemphasized. Tolkien's world came alive, and it did this hobbit's heart good.

Short Disclaimer

There are good reasons for discounting the torn SPE from an accounting of Bush's service record. Many people do rely on it to exonerate Bush, however, and I hope I've shown that the document isn't the excuse Bush apologists are looking for.

In fact, the disconnect between this document and other documentation of Bush's service in 72-73 is highlighted. It shows Bush in Houston (as Martin Heldt pointed out, this SPE wouldn't have service from Bama), while other documents show Bush wasn't in Houston from May to April. Is it a forgery? If so, when was it forged - then or now? If it's authentic, then where was the time served? How did Bush put in the kind of hours the 72-73 SPE reveals without being noticed by his superior officers at Houston?

Were people protecting Bush? Or were they protecting their own culpability in falsifying Bush's record and giving him a easy path out of Vietnam? I don't know. You don't know. Only Bush knows, and he's not talking.

I'd like to thank The MahaBlog, Democratic Veteran, and Uggabugga for linking to the post below. My page views have shot through the roof! Is this what Bilbo felt when the dwarves were piling up at the door? Actually, I'm quite pleased.