Pioneertown Burning

PioneertownPioneertown, created out of high desert dust as an on-location Western movie town for the likes of Gene Autry and the Cisco Kid in the 1940s, is under siege! The home of the Sunday afternoon shootout reenactment, complete with “Amazing Grace” may never be the same. The fire blazes on with minimal containment — and pray it doesn’t threaten Joshua Tree NP.

Halliburton… Cut (and Run)???

If the murmurings in the news today are true, the Pentagon is set to end its most controversial wink-wink contracts in Iraq with gargantuan oil services corp Halliburton:

The decision on Halliburton comes as the U.S. contribution to Iraq’s reconstruction begins to wane, reducing opportunities for U.S. companies after nearly four years of massive payouts to the private sector.

After a $14.5 billiion payout, and a plethora of unfinished business — could there be less expensive contractors out there to NOT do the job?

The fact that Halliburton has overcharged the government despite winning no-bid contracts has been well-documented. Among the least impressive accomplishments of Halliburton (and let’s not forget to mention its ties to its recent CEO and current U.S. VP Dick Cheney) and its subsidiaries:

-charging $45 for a case of soda
-building only 20 of 142 contractually agreed upon health care center and then “running out of money”
-double billing for soldiers? meals
-using contaminated water for troop bathing needs

The Democrats.org blog highlights the “maybe-ness” of these contract terminations.

Personally, I’m wondering if an internal Pentagon investigation, or otherwise is finally gonna crack down on the illegally awarded contracts to Halliburton, not to mention the highway robbery that followed.

The outcome I envision — and the reason that this is not truly ground-breaking news — is that Halliburton will be awarded revised contracts after a session of supposedly “open” building.

Adele at TAPPED broadens the scope of the DoD’s chicanery, bringing up union appeals to the Pentagon’s new National Security Personnel System, which is designed to impede upon worker protections.

Geneva Convention Revival

Sounds like some sort of Swiss Family Robinson Revue at the Grand ol Opry, donit?
swiss family rumsfeld

In a potential coup for human rights the world over, the Pentagon has decided to adhere to the minimum standards of the Geneva Conventions (first ratified in the mid-20th century) to detainees in Guantanamo and elsewhere.

This statement (read the memo) comes two weeks after a Supreme Court decision ordering the Bush Administration to follow the guidelines of Article 3 of the Convention.

Now, if only the Supreme Court can decide that Global Warming is a reality and demand the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol (signed in 1998 by Al Gore, but never ratified), the U.S. will really be on its way to seeing eye to eye with the rest of the modern world.

The World (Cup) is a (Head) Butt

It was the lowest scoring World Cup since 1990, and the U.S. couldn’t even score by themselves. There is verifiable evidence that Americans now dislike soccer even more, and 1998 champs and ’06 runner up France is now the headbutt of all jokes.

I enjoy watching soccer and find it at times quite exhilirating. Penalty shot overtime shootouts, however — anticlimactic denouement of the first order. Anyway, it sure didn’t take long for the Zinedane Zidane online headbutting video game to go live. Play it here.

zinedine zidane headbutt