***I'll be posting what I did/experienced by day. Otherwise you poor bastards would be reading a book.***
My trip began earlier this morning on a bus headed down to "my city", Boston. Upon asking a guy if I could sit down next to him, the guy said "Sure you can! You're pretty cute."...uh...ok...? He was kind of a creeper, lol, little bit sketchy, but I had a good conversation with him. He was headed to East Boston to help his brother out of a court situation, from what I gathered.
While waiting for my train, I bought a book that isn't due to be on store shelves until next week. When I arrived at South Station and began to read it, and older man sitting at the table next to mine spoke up and said, "Nora Roberts...? J.D. Robb? She's freakin' aweseome, read some of her 'In Death' series." I glanced at him, kind of shocked that a fifty or so year old man would readily admit to reading a series of novels written by an author known more for writing romance than anything else. "Oh yeah!" He replied enthusiastically to my glance. " 'Visions in Death', that one was pretty good! It's pretty cool that she writes all her books to take place in the future."
"Have you read the whole series...?" He shook his head.
"Nah, no time. Want to though."
"Well sir, I have to say...you're the first man I've ever met that has freely admitted to reading Nora Roberts," I replied dryly. He grinned back.
"Can't help it. they're frigging good."
A shame he wasn't going down to the rally; I would have loved to have had a more in depth conversation with him about books.
Guy flips the fuck out at one of the food vendors, apparently bent out of shape they didn't have his food done before his train was supposed to leave. Surprisingly, he doesn't get forcefully escorted out of South Station, but does get plenty of 'WTF' and 'You sir, are full of crazy' looks. Also, woman suffering from Schizophrenia tells unsuspecting couple about demon babies in their strollers that don't want to live in the country. "No one wants to live in this fucking country!" She yells. Awkward glances to others and silent laughter ensues.
Met two women on board the train- they're awesome! Both are going to the rally (many on the train are, as it turns out) so it should be full of epicness. One is from my state, and the other in a native of Massachusetts. So far, we are getting along great. :)
Just leaving Providence, Rhode Island. Turns out a lot of us had the same idea - to take the overnight train down to DC and take the latest train out Saturday night to avoid forking over more money for a hotel. More people are going than I expected - one guy is dressed up as Waldo, and I expect he may be difficult to find in the crowds that are expected. (Sorry, no photo.)
WASHINGTON – The enormous cache of secret war logs disclosed by the paints a picture of an Iraq burdened by persistent sectarian tension and meddling neighbors, suggesting that the country could drift into chaos once U.S. forces leave.
The reports, covering early 2004 to Jan. 1, 2010, help explain why Iraq's struggle to create a unified, independent state continues, despite a dramatic reduction in violence. They appear to support arguments by some experts that the U.S. should keep thousands of troops there beyond their scheduled departure in 2011, to buy more time for Iraq to become stable.
The threats described in the leaked documents come from outside, including next-door Iran, as well as inside, in the form of sectarian, political and even family rivalries that predate the 2003 American-led invasion and endure today.
The reports demonstrate the weakness of Iraq's civic institutions, court system and military, even before sectarian violence exploded in 2006-2007.
In the fall of 2005, the discovered evidence of plots to assassinate various officials, including an Iraqi Army colonel. In September, one of the war logs said, a group of judges was abducted in Balad, beaten and forced into the trunk of a car.
Another example: On June 6, 2006, reported discovering large amounts of blood on the floor, a rubber hose and electric wires rigged to a metal door in a holding cell in an in Husaybah, in western Iraq.
The report called the discoveries "evidence of unchecked torture" and "clear indications" of human rights violations.
Should WikiLeaks be subject to U.S. state secrets enforcement?
The U.S. report said that for a time, U.S. military advisers slept in the police station to make sure prisoners were not abused, checked arrest logs and counseled Iraqi police, warning them against these practices.
But even a program of training and counseling didn't put an end to the abuses. According to a report dated Feb. 16, 2009, U.S. forces reported the mistreatment of 33 detainees in custody at the same police station.
The Associated Press was given access to a redacted WikiLeaks database hours before its general release Friday, but was not provided the raw data. The documents appear to be authentic, but their origin could not be confirmed independently.
The leaked war logs reflect significant progress as well. There has been a dramatic improvement in security since the height of the violence in 2006-07, due to a weakened threat from al-Qaida and an Iraqi population weary of the sectarian bloodletting that once threatened to plunge the country into civil war.
Even so, some experts question whether the fledgling military and police forces are capable of defending Iraq after Washington completes its scheduled pullout Dec. 31, 2011.
Those who hold these pessimistic views also worry Iraq could repeat its history of turning to a military dictator in the mold of Saddam Hussein.
Ryan Crocker, ambassador to Iraq in 2007-08, said Washington has decided to turn the page on Iraq but must not close the book.
"We're still very much at the beginning of this story, or more to the point, the Iraqis are at the beginning of their new narrative in their history, and for all of the extraordinary achievements that we've seen, the list of challenges is even greater," he said Friday.
One major challenge is the country's political paralysis. Iraqi politicians are struggling to form a new government seven months after a national election failed to produce a clear winner. That's a symptom, to some, of the country's stubborn religious and ethnic schisms.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's opponents said the showed he must be stopped from consolidating power. Al-Maliki's office responded by saying the document leak was timed to sabotage his re-election hopes.
Crocker called it "profoundly important" that the U.S. maintain a military presence in Iraq beyond 2011, despite America's weariness with the long and costly war and pressure to shift more resources to Afghanistan.
The leaked documents posted by WikiLeaks recount Iran's role in arming and training Shiite militia groups and seeking to influence Iraqi politics — a concern that may deepen as American influence in Baghdad wanes.
In Crocker's view, Iraq will struggle for years with profound internal political and social problems. Meanwhile, he said, Iran is in effect telling Iraq: "Looks like the Americans are leaving, and guess what — flash news — we're staying."
Before the U.S.-led invasion, predominantly Arab Iraq was stronger militarily than Persian Iran, an old foe.
Today, due to the U.S. defeat of Saddam's forces and its dismantling of his army, Iran enjoys a vast numerical advantage over Iraq in battle tanks and other weapons of war. Iran is likely to keep that edge for years to come.
Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a frequent visitor to Iraq, said that it could be another decade before Iraq has an effective air force.
In 2003, Iraq had 2,200 main battle tanks, compared with 1,565 for Iran, Cordesman wrote in a new assessment of Iraq's military. Today, Iran's fleet of main battle tanks has swelled to 1,613 while Iraq's has fallen to 149.
By Cordesman's calculations, Iraq's security forces are going to be much less capable in December 2011 — when the last U.S. troops are scheduled to depart — than was planned when the Bush administration negotiated the just two years ago.
AP National Security writer Anne Gearan and Associated Press writer Pauline Jelinek contributed to this report.