Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Not to beat a dead horse...

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:05 PM Permalink

But the talk of Hillary running in 2008 has made me ponder the concepts of dynasty, monarchy, and oligarchy.

Here's a rhetorical question for you: Wasn't the United States created to counter a monarchy? I mean, I can see it now, Hillary in 2008, Jeb in 2012 or 2016, Chelsea after that. And frankly, the Clintons and the Bushes aren't all that different. Some social issues vary, but as far as big business goes, they're all in the same stinkpot. It's both dynastic AND monarchic.

Compounded with that is the fact that the gap between the haves and the have nots has become a gaping chasm over the years. According to Paul Krugman (excerpt here)
Excerpt: Between 1972 and 2001 the wage and salary income of Americans at the 90th percentile of the income distribution rose only 34 percent, or about 1 percent per year. So being in the top 10 percent of the income distribution, like being a college graduate, wasn't a ticket to big income gains. But income at the 99th percentile rose 87 percent; income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181 percent; and income at the 99.99th percentile rose 497 percent. No, that's not a misprint.

Yes, the economy is in crisis, but apparently, not for the top .1% of the population.

That's some pretty scary stuff. Add to that the fact that the poor are drastically undercounted which ends up reducing the amount of aid made available to them, making their predicament even more dire. And if that wasn't bad enough, a program that encouraged public service among those without connections was drastically cut by 87%! And that's just the general population.

Now, if you look at who actually is running things in Washington, you see what can only be called oligarchy. Sons working for companies, fathers in congress directing defense officials to their sons. Not to mention the standard revolving door at the nexus of politics/lobbying/corporate power. To get elected, you have to be "connected" to a lot of corporate money. To lobby, it helps to be "connected" to someone who's "connected." If you're a corporation, you hire someone to lobby who's "connected" to someone who's "connected" who, BTW, you've probably funded in the first place through a primary "connection."

Here are some more rhetorical questions for you:

Why don't we have term limits?

Why don't we have publicly funded elections?

Why doesn't somebody break up the media monopolies?

Why do corporations have the rights of personhood?

Why aren't ethics rules enforced in Congress?

Why is the voice of one corporation louder than the voices of 1 million citizens?

The answers to all of these can be found among the structures of dynasty, monarchy, and oligarchy.

I think our democracy died a long time ago. And the corpse is beginning to stink.


posted by The Vidiot @ 5:04 PM Permalink

Japanese Capsule Hotel

One cute police dog.

Motorcycle stupidity

Great party idea

Top 10 strangest iPod accessories

10 most eccentric people you don't know (I actually knew of one of them.)

Something I must have

Error Message Generator

I couldn't decide

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:13 AM Permalink

on what headline to use for this.
Excerpt: The United States government has called for a transparent investigation of the opposition charges of fraud in Thursday's general election that saw President Yoweri Museveni retain his seat.

The two contenders are:

What? Did the wrong guy win?


Irony? Anybody?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Almost enough to make you want to move to Norway

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:40 PM Permalink

I don't care much about the Olympics these days. The way it is covered and the athletes' off stage antics make it seem more like an episode of Survivor than a sporting event. But Norwegian cross-country skiing coach Bjornar Hakensmoen deserves his flag to be flown from the highest masthead.

Quick summary: Canadian Sara Renner broke a ski pole during the race, Coach Hakensmoen, out of the blue, (or white in this case), handed her a spare from his team. His team had just been able to pass her because of her equipment failure. She, and her team, came back from behind. The Norwegian team finished fourth, the Canadian team finished second.

"We talked about this as a group before the Games," Hakensmoen said. "Our policy is to help others when they need help."

Even when it costs your nation a medal?

"How can you be proud of a medal if you win when someone else's equipment is not working?"

This is what the spirit of the Olympics is about, what good sportsmanship is about, and lesson in how to achieve a victory that doesn't win the Gold, but stands for something more precious.

Bush needs a war, and he needs one bad.

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:30 AM Permalink

Update: Call me prescient 'cause I am.

The Dubai port thing 'sploded in his face. Even members of his own party are coming out against him. Dick has become a legend with regards to the shooting accident. Not only that, Dick et al "found" a bunch of emails with regards to the Plame investigation. (Really, can you picture the conversation about this. "Hey Albert! What's worse? Deleting the emails or having what's in them exposed?" Albert probably said, "Uh sir, destroying evidence is waaaaay worse.") GW's poll numbers are still down, Enron is in the news again, Abramoff and DeLay are making some noise, New Orleans is in the news because of Mardi Gras, perception of the economy (which is everything) is not good. The latest move by Japan to start charging interest on loans will greatly effect investment in US bonds. Remember, it's the foreign investment here that helps us finance our huge deficit. Add to that the rumblings that Iran will start it's own oil bourse (and so is Norway by the way) and the fact that Chavez keeps threatening to turn off the spigot makes the whole economic situation even more precarious.

Meanwhile, a new meme has developed with regard to Korea and our economy. A story, out on Sunday, stated that they had found a "Dollar Factory" in Korea. I feel like they're trying to plant a possible explanation for hyperinflation that will be occurring. Remember when I mentioned that the government will stop reporting on M3 money production. (M3 being the amount of money that is printed by the Fed. to "match" GDP. It's all very complicated, but this gist is, if nobody knows how much money is being pumped into the economy, nobody will know how the economy is really doing.) One of the possible negative results of flooding the system with dollars would be hyperinflation. If they have it out there that Korea is the one printing up all the money, making the dollar worthless, then nobody will blame the Fed (even though it'll be the Fed that's actually pumping in the dollars.) Clever little monkeys.

Also meanwhile, Iraq is getting worse DESPITE what you might be hearing from the spinners. Just read Juan Cole regularly if you want to get a feel for what's really going on over there. He understands what's going on in Iraq and he doesn't have to worry about poll numbers so he's telling it like it is. He even mentions that there are some, like me, who think that the US is behind the cartoon mayhem and the bombing of the mosque.
Excerpt: Former CIA analyst a and presidential advisor Ray McGovern does not rule out Western involvement in this week's Askariya mosque bombing in light of previous false flag operations that have advanced hidden agendas of the ruling elite.
I mean, if you think about it, it makes sense. If it gets crazy enough, not only with the US have a reason to stay, if it gets pushed hard enough and there's an attack on Americans somewhere, then another war can be started. And, like I said, Bush needs another war. There's too much going on that makes Bush look bad AND that people are beginning to notice. He's always done stuff to make him look bad, but nobody was really paying attention.

I have to say, one of my more die-hard republican friends (a "free market gal" as she likes to call herself) was even thrown by the Dubai thing. When people like her are going "Hey! Wait a gosh darned minute there!" you KNOW Bush is in trouble.

And, historically, during his presidency, when Bush does bad, terror happens.

So many of us here in the blogosphere have been saying for so long now that the more trouble the administration is in, the more like some sort of "terror attack" will occur. Maybe all of us saying it over and over again had been staving it off. Mostly because the more people who are aware of a possible connection, the less likely the administration will be to utilize such a strategy. But these guys can only go so long like this. They're running out of options. And they're laying the groundwork for something nasty.
Excerpt: The report describes a vision of America as a militaristic society, where civilian institutions are partially controlled by the military and every individual adopts a bunker mentality of vigilence and submission to an all-knowing and all-powerful benevolent leader. It's a vision that Chairman Mao and Dick Cheney would both heartily embrace. Much like the situation in Iraq, the "conservative" solution to every problem is to throw the military at it.
Like I always say, call me paranoid. Everyone else does.

Word O' The Day

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:45 AM Permalink

atrabilious adjective

Definition: Irritable; ill-natured; peevish.

Etymology: Atrabilious is from Latin atra bilis, "black" (atra) "bile" (bilis), 'black bile.'

In situ: With such an atrabilious disposition, one wonders whether Dick shot Harry by accident.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Lies Big Brother Told Me

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:59 PM Permalink

Iraq is connected to al Qaeda:

Bush: "We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases."*

But then:

The Sept. 11 commission reported yesterday that it has found no "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and al Qaeda, challenging one of the Bush administration's main justifications for the war in Iraq.

Iraq has weapons of mass destruction:

Cheney: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.

Rumsfeld: "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

But then:

Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them, a CIA report concludes.

The war will be over quickly and we will be greeted as liberators:

March 16, Vice President Cheney, on NBC's Meet the Press: "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months."

But then:

US Casualties By Year
YearUS DeathsUS Wounded
The war will pay for itself:

Earlier this year, experts said the war and aftermath in Iraq would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, a fact the White House refused to acknowledge as valid, even going so far as to fire Lawrence Lindsey for his realistic projections.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz: "There's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon." [Source: House Committee on Appropriations Hearing on a Supplemental War Regulation, 3/27/03]

But then:

The Pentagon is spending more than $5.8 billion a month on the war in Iraq, according to the military's top generals.
That is nearly a 50 percent increase above the $4 billion-a-month benchmark the Pentagon has used to estimate the cost of the war so far.

... the war in Iraq, which has cost an estimated $250 billion since the U.S. invasion in March 2003.

The insurgency is in its death throes:

June 20, 2005, interview on CNN's Larry King Live:
Hailing what he described as "major progress" in Iraq, Cheney said, "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

But then:

But a former British ambassador to Iraq predicted Sunday that increasing sectarian bloodshed would require that troops in the U.S.-led foreign coalition stay for some time to help keep peace among rival ethnic and religious groups.

More Iraqi Troops are ready every day:

Already more than 35 Iraqi battalions have assumed control of their own areas of responsibility - including nearly half of Baghdad province and sectors of South-Central, Southeast, Western and North-Central Iraq.

But then:

U.S. Report on Iraqi Troops Is Mixed

The number of Iraqi army battalions judged by their American trainers to be capable of fighting insurgents without U.S. help has fallen from one to none since September, Pentagon officials said yesterday.

Light at the end of the tunnel:

The U.S. report claimed important successes against the insurgency and said the term "insurgency" is not necessarily appropriate anymore because the synergy that once existed among various rebel elements "is breaking apart." The report asserted that the insurgents have alienated most ordinary Iraqis. "Terrorist attacks have failed to create and spread sectarian conflict," it said.

But then:

Iraq defence minister warns against civil war
BAGHDAD, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Iraq's Defence Minister said on Saturday civil war would never end if it erupts and that he was ready to put tanks on the streets to impose order.

*Bonus quote from the same speech: Bush-"Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:56 PM Permalink

[Click on the image for a larger view]
Notice the square rigged ship in the distance. Now there's something you don't see every day!

Thursday, February 23, 2006


posted by The Vidiot @ 5:52 PM Permalink

28 December 2005

Barry Cowsill, member of real-life Partridge Family, died in Katrina's wake
The body of Barry Cowsill, one of the singing Cowsills, the family band that inspired the Partridge Family, was discovered on December 28th on a wharf in New Orleans. Local authorities believe Cowsill, 51, died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the city on August 29th. Cowsill reportedly left phone messages for his sister Susan on September 1st, and was not heard from again.
During the 1990s Barry and Susan both became involved with the New Orleans music community. Susan joined her then-husband, former dBs frontman Peter Holsapple, ex-Bangle Vicki Peterson and others in the L.A.-New Orleans band the Continental Drifters.
17 February 2006
Billy Cowsill, 58; Lead Singer for 1960s Teen Pop Band the Cowsills

Billy Cowsill, former lead singer of the Cowsills, the pop family band that scored several top-10 hits in the 1960s and inspired "The Partridge Family" television series, has died.
"I've played with a lot of musicians, but he was the best singer and best live performer I've ever witnessed," Pineo said. "There was no other way for him to perform than all out."

When I was a kid the Cowsills' family and band of the same name didn't mean a lot to me. I liked their song "Indian Lake" and I thought their version of "Hair" surpassed the Broadway cast's version.

Then in the early '90s I had a gig with them at the China Club in L.A. They proved to be one of the most talented, nicest, professional and self-deprecating acts I ever had the pleasure to work with.

They opened up the show saying something like 'we've heard the critics say our name is associated with schmaltzy music. So tonight we're changing our names. I'm Ed Cowsill, this is Brenda Cowsill, over to my right is Herman Cowsill ...'

They didn't rock my world, but they did make it a better place. And you can't ask for more.

I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the deaths of these people does matter in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand.*

*Apologies to Casa Blanca.

Does Kyle write Bush's Speeches?

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:59 PM Permalink

Whenever Bush speaks, he says one word over and over. It could be terrorism, or freedom or something else. Well, I just remembered this episode of South Park called Starvin' Marvin in Space:
I think I can explain this whole thing. Marklar, these marklars want to change your marklar. They don't want Marklar or any of these marklars to live here because it's bad for their marklar. They use Marklar to try and force marklars to believe they're marklar. If you let them stay here, they will build marklars and marklars. They will take all your marklars and replace them with Marklar. These marklar have no good marklar to live on Marklar, so they must come here to Marklar. Please, let these marklars stay where they can grow and prosper without any marklars, marklars, eh or marklars.

Just substitute "Marklar" with "Freedom" or "Terrorism" and you have your typical, run-of-the-mill Bush speech, no?

Of course, it's entirely possible that he could even screw that up.
Bush at cabinet meeting: "And so people don't need to worry about security. This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America."

Meanwhile, while we're blabbering about the Port deal, we're not talking about the possible war with Iran, the fact that if you're a woman, it sucks to live in South Dakota, that Bush is so out of touch that he thinks outsourcing is just fine, (yeah, tell that to these people) and that everything we could be doing could end up being moot because the voting machines are crap.


I'll try to write something thoughtful over the weekend. But this is the stuff that's really getting my goat right now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

inCurious George Strikes Again ... And again ... and again

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:50 PM Permalink

Jobs cut at energy lab restored before Bush visit
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Energy Department said it has come up with $5 million to immediately restore jobs cut at a renewable energy laboratory President George W. Bush will visit on Tuesday, avoiding a potentially embarrassing moment as the president promotes his energy plan.

At a Scientific Gathering, US Policies Are Lamented
David Baltimore, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist and president of the California Institute of Technology, is used to the Bush administration misrepresenting scientific findings to support its policy aims, he told an audience of fellow researchers Saturday. Each time it happens, he said, "I shrug and say, 'What do you expect?' "

Preeminent Scientists Protest Bush Administration's Misuse of Science
Nobel Laureates, National Medal of Science Recipients, and Other Leading Researchers Call for End to Scientific Abuses

Today, more than 60 leading scientists—including Nobel laureates, leading medical experts, former federal agency directors and university chairs and presidents—issued a statement calling for regulatory and legislative action to restore scientific integrity to federal policymaking. According to the scientists, the Bush administration has, among other abuses, suppressed and distorted scientific analysis from federal agencies, and taken actions that have undermined the quality of scientific advisory panels.

“Across a broad range of issues, the administration has undermined the quality of the scientific advisory system and the morale of the government’s outstanding scientific personnel,� said Dr. Kurt Gottfried, emeritus professor of physics at Cornell University and Chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Whether the issue is lead paint, clean air or climate change, this behavior has serious consequences for all Americans.� 

Dr. Gerald Keusch, former director of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says he saw a marked change in its operations as the government moved from the Clinton to the Bush administrations. Under Clinton, Keusch says, he never encountered resistance in appointing experts to the advisory board that conducted peer reviews of grant proposals to the center, which focuses on international health issues, particularly in developing countries. He made seven nominations, and all were approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within three weeks. Under Bush, his first four nominations were quickly endorsed by NIH but then, says Keusch, "it's 10 months before I hear from HHS, rejecting three of the four, including a Nobel laureate, with no reasons given." In return, HHS sent him the resumes of other people, many of whom had no expertise in infectious diseases or developing countries. Over the next three years, Keusch recalls, he had to nominate 26 people to fill seven vacancies and "came close to having a very dysfunctional advisory committee. I couldn't get a quorum anymore."

And so on, and so on...

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:18 PM Permalink

I was wondering why he stated it like he did:
But they need to know that our government has looked at this issue and looked at it carefully.
Because this:

President Bush was unaware of the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates until the deal already had been approved by his administration, the White House said Wednesday.

tells us that he had nothing to do with the decision.

Not only that, the decision might be illegal because they didn't do a mandatory 45 day investigation.

And it gets worse: There is another connection to Dubai Ports World than just John Snow. Just last month, Bush appointed David Sanborn as head of the U.S. Maritime Administration. Where was Sanborn before his position at the U.S. Maritime Administration? He was Director of Operations for Europe and Latin America at, you guest it, Dubai Ports World.

In the immortal words of Jon Stewart: Waaaaaaaaaa???

I'm baaaack.

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:06 AM Permalink

Sorta' anyway. The move went fine. I HIGHLY recommend the movers I used, Schleppers. Not only is their name perfect, but they were considerate and fast. (I'm not getting any kickback or discount for mentioning them, BTW. They were just that good.)

I don't really have my computer up and running yet though, hence the extremely light blogging. But I do feel the need to mention this Dubai port control thing.

Does anyone but me think it's odd that John Snow, head of the Treasury Department, has a direct link to Dubai Ports World since the decision to award the port contract to that company was made in a secretive multi-agency panel headed by, well, the Treasurey Department??

Just puttin' it out there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What is the Sound of One Hand Smacking Your Forehead ... Repeatedly?

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:49 PM Permalink

Bump and UPDATE:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Tuesday he was mistaken when he stated last week that the U.S. military had stopped paying Iraqi newspapers to publish pro-American articles.
"I just misstated the facts," Rumsfeld told a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday.

Odd, when anyone else 'just misstated the facts' it is called lying. At best it means the Secretary of Defense doesn't know that when he calls a halt to a program, (see below quote), and it doesn't happen, and he doesn't know about it, he's out of the loop. The SecDef is out of the loop and he's in charge of the Defense Department!?

Multiple choice question:
a) Does this show him to be a liar?
b) Does this show him to be incompetent?
c) Does this show him to be evil.
d) All of the above.

Original post:

First he says this:

Rumsfeld says extremists are beating U.S. government to the punch in media war
"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but for the most part we _ our country, our government _ has not adapted," he said.
Rumsfeld has often described the U.S. government as being disadvantaged by its ponderous approach to dealing with the media, and he has pushed for the U.S. military in particular to try innovative approaches to getting out its message to the Islamic world.

Then a day later he says this:

Propaganda Effort in Iraq a Mistake, Rumsfeld Says
The Defense secretary says he ordered the planting of articles to stop after learning of it, although others have said the effort continues.
In his most specific comments thus far about the information operations program, — carried out by U.S. troops and a private contractor — Rumsfeld said the U.S. military should not be paying Iraqi media to publish articles, whose origin was concealed even from the news outlets.

He said he had not been initially aware of the clandestine program, and ordered it shut down after news outlets published details of it.

"When we heard about it, we said, 'Gee, that's not what we ought to be doing,' " Rumsfeld said Friday during a taped interview on PBS' "The Charlie Rose Show."

Rumsfeld said the contractor, Lincoln Group, and commanders in Iraq were notified of the Pentagon's concerns and ended the propaganda effort.

"They stopped doing that," he said.
"Psy-ops is restricted by both [Defense Department] policy and executive order from targeting American audiences, our military personnel and news agencies or outlets," says the directive, dated Oct. 30, 2003, and signed by Rumsfeld.

Well OK then! But of course then there's this:

One person familiar with Lincoln Group's operations, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of an ongoing investigation, said the program in Iraq was still active as of a week ago.

Army Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said during a Dec. 16 news conference — more than two weeks after the existence of the operation was revealed — that it had not been shut down.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Cartoon uproar felt throughout Bay Area*

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:28 PM Permalink

Today the Acme Corporation [NASDAQ: ACME (halliburtonus sardonicus)] disclosed they had lied about positive forecasts and manipulated their stock price. Shares immediately fell to the sellers' cellars and closed under the boardwalk. Stockholders demanded answers. Said one who wished to remain anonymous, "Tarnation! These varmints have plumb cleaned me out! Why I oughta ..."

CEO 'Duck' Cunningpork refused to comment except to say "These chargeth are dethpicable and bathleth!"

Wall Street insiders were shocked at the sudden collapse of the company in light of the frequent no-bid contracts they received from the Coalition Provisional Authority. These lucrative contracts, which included 25,000 bags of birdseed; 13,000 gallons of desert tunnel paint; 1,250 giant coil springs; 582 cases of dynamite; 187 'Jetson' style death ray guns; 16 industrial teeter-totters; 4 tons of TNT; two slide whistles and one giant X, were awarded even when many other companies could provide the items cheaper and with foolproof guarantees.

An ACME official in Iraq, who declined to be identified for fear of retribution, described the situation as "Crazy son, I say it was crazy, now listen to me when I'm talking to you. They had suitcases full of cash, solid gold HumVees and one peculiar little fellow with a shotgun always claiming he was goin' rabbit hunting. I went with him once. He damn near blew my tailfeathers off! Fortunately, I say fortunately son, I always keep a spare set of tailfeathers!"

Marvin the Martian, ACME's Director of Iraqi Operations, responded to questions regarding his role in the corruption: "You earthlings make me furious! Now stand on this giant X while I get my ray gun!"

Concerned that the scandal might go higher in the administration, a White House spokesman said off the record "The p p ppictures of the P P Ppresident and Wile E. Coyote (genius) p p pprove nothing! The P P Ppresident shakes hands with many p p p poli, p p poli ... lobbyists! Th Th Th That's all folks!"

*Yeah, I know it's a real headline, and I know the subject is serious. But the serious and the absurd are not mutually exclusive. Get it? Got it! Good!

Unnatural Causes

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:29 PM Permalink

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Guards beat a prisoner to death. The beating was caught on tape. The ME rules it 'natural causes.'

No, this wasn't Gitmo, it was a Florida punitive boot camp. And the prisoner who died was a 14 year old boy who weighed 140 pounds.

A (not so) brief time line:
On January 6th Martin Lee Anderson, who been sent to the boot camp for a parole violation, died shortly after the intake process. Anderson had been arrested in June for stealing his grandmother's car and was then sent to the boot camp for violating his probation by trespassing at a school.

The body was sent, not to the hospital's morgue where he died, but to a neighboring county's hospital morgue:

Before he issued a controversial autopsy report on Martin Lee Anderson, Bay County's chief medical examiner said it was ''highly unusual'' that the local sheriff requested him to perform the procedure in the first place because the death did not occur in his county, according to a state report.
[Benjamin Crump, lawyer for Martin's family] said Martin should have had an autopsy in Escambia County, where he died at Pensacola's Sacred Heart Hospital. The family is also concerned about ties between the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the sheriff's office. FDLE Commissioner Guy Tunnell was Bay's sheriff and founded the boot camp. An FDLE spokesman said it's conducting a fair probe.

Jeff Martin, chief investigator for Escambia's medical examiner, said his agency didn't perform Martin's autopsy ''as a courtesy'' to its Bay counterparts and FDLE. [Ed: If I die in this county, please don't do me any courtesies.]

''It's not uncommon to change jurisdiction,'' said Martin, but noted that in his two years in the office he had never seen such a request.
Well, OK then, it's not uncommon, but it had never before happened in his experience.

But wait, there's more:

The report, released Thursday, said 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson didn't die because he was beaten by guards. Instead, strenuous exercise triggered an unusual blood reaction because of his sickle cell trait, said medical examiner Charles F. Siebert Jr.

From the same article:

Siebert's report created a storm of controversy. Some of Florida's best-known sickle-cell specialists said it couldn't happen. Unlike sickle cell anemia, which causes crippling pain and other health problems, sickle cell trait is silent, they said.

"In 30 years of taking care of children with sickle cell disease, I never, ever heard of anybody dying from sickle cell trait," said Dr. Jerry Barbosa, medical director of pediatric hematology oncology at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.
Then it became known that a videotape of the induction was made. So the state did the right thing and released it, right? Sadly, No!*

Martin's final moments at the Bay Boot Camp, contained on a grainy 30-minute videotape, were played on televisions throughout the nation Friday after state investigators released the video in settlement of a public records lawsuit filed by the Miami Herald and CNN.

Let's go to the tape, but I warn you it is not suitable for viewing for those with sensitive stomachs, (and it is a 3.8 MB file in WMV format.) I had to turn it off several times, and I really don't want to imagine how his Mom felt:

For more than a month, his mother pleaded with authorities to show her what happened to her son. But when Gina Jones saw the video for the first time Friday, she had to turn away.

A description from the NYT is somewhat less disturbing:

A teenager who died a day after entering a juvenile-detention boot camp was kneed and hit by guards while being restrained the day before his death, a videotape released Friday showed.[...]
Martin, who entered the camp Jan. 5 because of a probation violation, complained of difficulty in breathing and collapsed during exercises that were part of the entry process. He died the next day at a hospital.

The Bay County Sheriff's Department, which runs the camp, said Martin was restrained after he became uncooperative.[Ed: Collapsing is uncooperative!?]

On the surveillance videotape, which lasts 80 minutes and has no sound, as many as nine guards can be seen restraining Martin. Guards kneed him and wrestled him to the ground, where he was repeatedly hit by one guard. He was limp throughout most of the videotape.

The videotape shows that a woman in a white coat was present while the guards restrained Martin and at one point used a stethoscope to check him. Near the end of the confrontation, guards appeared to become more concerned, and several began running in and out of the scene. Emergency medical personnel later arrived and took the boy away.

And the WaPo:

The boy appeared limp for most of the ordeal and never appeared to offer significant resistance. While he lay motionless on the ground, a guard struck him several times, either on his arm or torso.

At one point, a guard struck him from behind, lifting his feet off the ground. At the beginning, as the guards are pinning him against a pole, they struck him three times with their knees.

But now that the tape is out and we all have seen the outrageous conduct, of course Jeb Bush will do the right thing? Sadly, No!*

Bush said he continues to support the boot camp concept.

"I don't believe we should shut down every boot camp because of one tragic accident," he said.
ONE tragic 'accident!?'

Meanwhile, Department of Juvenile Justice officials were grilled Wednesday by a House committee looking for answers on the recent rash of deaths in Florida boot camps. Three teenagers have died in state custody in the past three years

What the hell is wrong with our country that we torture and kill adults and children? That our government even attempts to justify these acts shames all of us. We not only justify these practices against 'illegal combatants', a fictional term invented by Bushco that appears nowhere in the Geneva Conventions or the UN Treaty Against Torture, we use them at home, against children.

* Please don't confuse these references with the great blog Sadly, No!

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:47 AM Permalink

I've had better days!

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Fabric of Our Social Contract

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:21 PM Permalink

It is so easy to miss the forest for the trees. There are so many atrocities daily from this misAdministration that sometimes I lose sight of how far we have sunk as a nation.

inCurious George has done much more than just start an illegal war against a country that had no ability to harm us and nothing to do with 9/11, he has also subverted the US Constitution, attacked human rights and insists he can keep on, keeping on trashing Americans' rights. The Geneva Conventions are not quaint! The US Constitution is not just a legal document, it is the basis of almost every democracy that has since sprung forth, and most that died aborning.

The social contract of one human being to all others is the cornerstone of a democracy. Yet Bushco has so rendered asunder the fabric of this contract that America, long held as a shining beacon, has now become the dark light, and is included among the greatest offenders.

How have we so mislaid the concepts of our Declaration of Independence?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

When I think of what we have lost, I grieve deeply. Not just for my country, but for the world.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dick Takes a Holiday

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:52 PM Permalink

I've been trying really hard not to post about this. For one thing, the news reports have been so peculiar; they get scrubbed, each successive one has a different story, and none of them quite make sense. For another, it's such a target rich environment that many bloggers with much more talent have been on top of the story.

But I gotta say it's kinda funny how a large guy in orange behind the shooter catches ~200 pellets meant for a small nondescript bird. He caught those pellets in his face, neck and chest and suffered a subsequent heart attack.

And let's not forget that instead of Dick following the man he shot to the hospital he opted to have a drink instead.

Dick drank alcohol before the shooting, and Dick drank alcohol after the shooting.

Blood thinners, heart attack meds, and the first thing the Vice President of the United States of America thinks to do after shooting a man is have a drink?

What a Dick.

Just a quickie...

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:32 AM Permalink

'Cause I'm surround by boxes and I can barely think straight.

But, is it me, or does it seem like the Powers That Be (whomever they may be and I'm not saying it's the illuminati or anything) are stirring things up in the Middle East? I mean, first it was the rhetoric, then the cartoons, now the new prison torture images. Week after week, pound, pound, pound. It's like they're trying to push the Muslim people over the edge or something. Get them to blow something up so we have a reason to attack.

Or perhaps being surround by so many boxes is making me feel like I'm under seige or something.

Moving day is Saturday! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Party of Corruption

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:56 PM Permalink

the chairman of the House Republican Conference, composed of all the Republicans in the chamber, named a registered lobbyist for the Securities Industry Association as its chief of staff.

Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) cited Rachel Robinson's experience, not only as a vice president of the securities trade group but as a director of operations for former Rep. Newt Gingrich when he was speaker of the House.
I would never claim that Dems don't suck at Mammon's teat, (in every sense of the phrase;-), but c'mon! Hiring a lobbyist to be Chief of Staff for ALL of the House republicans sears them with a corporate logo.

We are so past the 'have they no shame' point for this misAdministration and their minions in congress that while I am continually amazed at their anfractuosity, I'm never surprised. This move codifies their contempt for most Americans and enshrines their obeisance to corporations.
Yet another example from the NYT:
U.S. Royalty Plan to Give Windfall to Oil Companies
by Edmund L. Andrews

WASHINGTON - The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.
New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.
Record profits in the billions of dollars aren't enough for these oilymen, they need tax breaks too!?

Word O' The Day

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:11 PM Permalink

Adjective: Full of twists and turns; tortuous.

Etymology: 1621, from L. anfractuous, from anfractus "a winding," from am(bi)- "around" + frangere "to break"

Used in a sentence: The Bush regime's anfractuous explanations for Gitmo are tortured and weary, much like the majority of the inhabitants.

Sporadic Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:06 AM Permalink

That's me trying to make a snow angel in 2 feet of snow. Didn't work.

Sorry about the lack of blogging. Posting will be light for the next few weeks since I'm moving out of an apartment that I've lived in for nearly 12 years. Do you have any idea how much crap you can stuff into the corners of a small apartment over 12 years? I'll tell you: A LOT. I must have at least 100 boxes. That's ONE HUNDRED! I have no idea where I put it all and right now, it's all down on the floor in piles. Both of my pinky toes are bruised and smashed from running into boxes on my way to the bathroom.

Anyway, enough about that.

There's not been a huge amount of news... except for the possibly drunken Cheney shooting a laywer thing. Which is a classic, don't get me wrong. One can always appreciate anything that provides an apt metaphor for this administration's actions. From the manipulation of the media, to the withholding of information, to the breaking of the law (official report here and a discussion of various and sundry other laws he may have broken here), it perfectly illustrates just how incompetent (and perhaps evil) these people are.
Excerpt: Rumsfeld and Cheney began a concerted effort - first secretly and then openly - to undermine Nixon's treaty for peace and to rebuild the state of fear. They did it by claiming that the Soviets had a new secret weapon of mass destruction that the president didn't know about, that the CIA didn't know about, that nobody knew about but them. It was a nuclear submarine technology that was undetectable by current American technology. And, they said, because of this and related-undetectable-technology weapons, the US must redirect billions of dollars away from domestic programs and instead give the money to defense contractors for whom these two men would one day work or have businesses relationships with.
There's more to the history of Cheney from John Dean.
Excerpt: At issue was whether the Reagan Administration had ignored the Boland Amendment, a 1984 law that restricted the CIA's use of appropriated funds to support the Nicaragua Contra movement - and, relatedly, whether Congress had been properly informed about the Administration's actions. The majority report asserted that the entire affair "was characterized by pervasive dishonesty and inordinate secrecy." But Cheney authored a minority report - joined by several other Republicans, though not all. Cheney's report took a very different view: He called the failures of the Reagan White House to comply with the laws "mistakes," insisting they "were just that -- mistakes in judgment and nothing more."
I almost have to thank Cheney though, because without him, I would've had to pay attention to the Olympics, which couldn't be more boring.
In other news, Syria has dropped it's drawers and is mooning the Bushies.
Excerpt: Syria has switched all of the state's foreign currency transactions to euros from dollars amid a political confrontation with the United States, the head of state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria said on Monday.
Ouch. That won't be good for them
Excerpt: The United States government is preparing for an eventual nuclear war with a determination approximating Cold War standards, but this time with an expressed preemptive first-strike option against even non-nuclear countries.

or us. It'll be interesting to see.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Starr Chamber ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:02 PM Permalink

Starr accused of sending fake clemency pleas

On Friday, the San Joaquin District Attorney’s office sent Schwarzenegger a new batch of sworn statements from five of those jurors saying they not only still supported capital punishment for Morales, but had never spoken with the defense investigator who claimed to have secured their signatures.

Kathleen Culhane, the San Francisco private investigator who Starr and Senior said had interviewed the jurors, declined to comment.

But then:

San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Charles Schultz called the document "an outright forgery," and released an affidavit that, he said, really was signed by Felix. In it, Felix said her court testimony was truthful. She also said she never met Kathleen Culhane, the Morales investigator who claimed to have interviewed her in January -- at an address where Felix hasn't lived in since July 2005.

I think we've seen this movie before, and apparently this time Starr didn't have an $80Mil budget to suborn perjury.

Update on Bush Statements and Policies ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:03 PM Permalink

"I'm going to bring back integrity and decency into the White House"

Photo shows Bush, Abramoff at meeting
White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said the White House did not know about Abramoff's presence at the May 9, 2001, meeting before seeing the picture, but told CNN, "We now know that Mr. Abramoff attended the meeting." [Ed: Well duh! I guess the 'who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes' tactic doesn't work anymore.]
A senior Bush official insisted the administration does not know how Abramoff got into the meeting or on the White House grounds that day.
[Ed: Suuuure! It's just so easy to get into the White House, and even easier to be in a room with the president!]
N.Y. Times gets photo of Bush, Abramoff
The photograph was taken at a White House meeting in 2001 for state legislators who had supported Bush`s tax cuts. Abramoff and Raul Garza, then the chief of the Kickapoo Tribe, were at the meeting along with Grover Norquist, a friend of Abramoff and anti-tax activist.
The photo was given to the Times by Garza, who is under indictment for allegedly embezzling tribal funds. At the time the photo was taken, Abramoff was trying, unsuccessfully, to get the Kickapoo`s business as a lobbyist.
So Jack (Abram)off bragged about his access to the WH, got a prospective client in to meet Bush, but "Bush told reporters last month that he doesn't know Abramoff." Shorter Bush: "I did not have sex with that man, [but I am screwing the rest of the country."]

The Patriot Act:
Update 20: Bush: U.S. Surveillance Helped Stop Attack
Under fire for eavesdropping on Americans, President Bush said Thursday that spy work stretching from the U.S. to Asia helped thwart terrorists plotting to use shoe bombs to hijack an airliner and crash it into the tallest skyscraper on the West Coast.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa complained he first learned of Bush's remarks while watching TV.

Bush press secretary Scott McClellan said that the White House did reach out before the speech to officials in California and that there was appreciation for the notification.
Probably something like "Now you tell us!? Thanks a lot!"

Then the experts weighed in:
Within hours of the President's speech Thursday claiming his administration had prevented a major attack, sources who said they were current and retired intelligence pros from the CIA, NSA, FBI and military contacted Capitol Hill Blue with angry comments disputing the President's remarks.

I Agree With Bush, It's Definitely An Intelligence Failure:
Ex-CIA Official: Bush Administration Misused Iraq Intelligence
The Bush administration disregarded the expertise of the intelligence community, politicized the intelligence process and used unrepresentative data in making the case for war, a former CIA senior analyst alleged.

In an article published on Friday in the journal Foreign Affairs, Paul R. Pillar, the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, called the relationship between U.S. intelligence and policymaking "broken."

"In the wake of the Iraq war, it has become clear that official intelligence analysis was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made," Pillar wrote.


Protecting America's Homeland:
Passenger Check May Be Vulnerable

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 — The newest version of the Transportation Security Administration's proposed system to check the names of airline passengers against terrorist watch lists could be vulnerable to hackers, the agency said on Thursday.
The agency has been working on the program for about four years and has spent at least $140 million.

4 years and $140M for a secure database that isn't secure!?

The Clear Skies Iniative:
Whitman Sued for Calling 9/11 Air "Safe to Breathe"

NEW YORK, NY, February 03, 2006 — A federal judge is allowing a class action lawsuit to go forward against the EPA and its former administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, for telling people the air in Lower Manhattan was safe shortly after the World Trade Towers collapsed.
US District Court Judge Deborah Batts called Whitman's statements "misleading," and "conscience-shocking." She did not grant Whitman immunity from the lawsuit. Residents, students and workers in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn sued in 2004, saying the actions of Whitman and the EPA endangered their health.
Not to mention the 2,752 who died because Bush chose to read "My Pet Goat" instead of the PDB: OBL Determined to Attack In the US.

No doubt this is part of that Healthy Forests Initiative:

Bush administration seeks sale of Forest Service lands
The federal government on Friday unveiled the list of U.S. Forest Service lands that may be put on the auction block, acknowledging that this might be the largest public land sale in decades.

The list of 2,930 parcels in 34 states comprises 309,121 acres, including 85,000 acres in California, 25,000 acres in Idaho and 21,000 acres in Colorado, ranging in size from less than an acre to about 900 acres in Virginia.
The Bureau of Land Management also is working on selling off federal lands to raise about $182 million during the next five years.

And then there's this:

Cubin says she didn't sign bill, can't prove it
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo., said Friday she believes she did not sign forms to co-sponsor legislation she in fact opposes that would sell off lands in the West, saying she was listed as a co-sponsor through a clerical error.
The measure would require the federal government to sell off quickly 15 percent of national forest lands and 15 percent of lands managed by Interior Department agencies, except national parks, to raise funds for Hurricane Katrina and other disaster relief.
Cubin on Friday asked the Star-Tribune to produce the document with her signature. A spokesman for Tancredo's office, where the only copy of the document would be kept, said the document could no longer be found.
Tancredo spokesman Will Adams told the Star-Tribune in early January that his office had Cubin's signature on the paperwork to list her as a co-sponsor of the bill.
Brownie, You're Doing a Heckuva Job:
Katrina Report Spreads Blame
Homeland Security, Chertoff Singled Out

Hurricane Katrina exposed the U.S. government's failure to learn the lessons of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as leaders from President Bush down disregarded ample warnings of the threat to New Orleans and did not execute emergency plans or share information that would have saved lives, according to a blistering report by House investigators.
So apparently 9/11 didn't change things that much.

Standard Bushco Response, Kill The Messenger(s):

Florida: National Weather Service to offer early retirement to 1,000

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (AP) -- The National Weather Service has drafted a cost-cutting plan that could offer early retirement to as many as one-thousand of its employees, including veteran hurricane forecasters in Florida.

A voluntary retirement plan would qualify approximately one-thousand of the National Weather Service's four-thousand-seven-hundred employees for early retirement.

Positions left vacant by retirements would either be filled by junior staff members or left vacant, according to a report published today.

In Florida, 68 employees would qualify for the plan, including 13 of the 42 staff members at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Well, it's not like we need experienced hurricane forecasters.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Valentines Day Cell Phone Accessories

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:47 PM Permalink

I noticed in an earlier post that The Vidiot had linked to an iPod accessory site with special Valentine's Day motifs.

I found this site (Not SFW!) that makes perfect accessories for cell phones! Especially for those who talk while driving;-)

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:37 PM Permalink

Friday, February 10, 2006

None Dare Call It Treason ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:49 PM Permalink

but sedition, heck yeah!

A VA nurse in NM wrote the following letter to the The Alibi:
Wake Up, Get Real
Dear Alibi,

I am furious with the tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence of this government. The Katrina tragedy in the U.S. shows that the emperor has no clothes! Bush and his team partied and delayed while millions of people were displaced, hundreds of thousands were abandoned to a living hell. Thousands more died of drowning, dehydration, hunger and exposure; most bodies remain unburied and rotting in attics and floodwater. Is this America the beautiful?

Bush, Cheney, Chertoff, Brown and Rice should be tried for criminal negligence. This country needs to get out of Iraq now and return to our original vision and priorities of caring for land and people and resources rather than killing for oil.

We need to wake up and get real here, and act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit. Otherwise, many more of us will be facing living hell in these times.

Laura Berg
So an investigation had to be made right ... right!? from the ACLU:
In September, 2005, VA Information Security employees seized Laura Berg's office computer due to the professed belief "that government equipment was used inappropriately ... during government time for drafting an editorial letter." No evidence was recovered to support that belief..
From the AP:
The agency's human resources office ultimately cleared her of any wrongdoing, but [Senator] Bingaman, D-N.M., said yesterday he was concerned that the VA investigated Laura Berg of Albuquerque in the first place.
So surely they apologized right ... right!? ACLU:
... the VA's Human Resource Chief, Mel Hooker, conceded that no evidence was found implicating the use of Berg's work computer in the writing of the editorial. However, he justified the investigation by saying that "[the] Agency is bound by law to investigate and pursue any act which potentially represents sedition."
Apparently she wasn't in a free speech zone.


posted by The Vidiot @ 2:24 PM Permalink

Found 'em! They had to be out there somewhere. I guess the Bush's cleaning crew missed a few.

Bush-Abramoff photos.

Now, I don't know how good the source is, so I'm sure a grain of salt might be necessary.

Who Says There Is No Deadline for Iraq?

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:58 PM Permalink

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think we're making progress against the insurgency.
The blue line connects the dots of all coalition military deaths per month since May 2003 when Bush pranced about the deck of the USS Lincoln under a banner of 'Mission Accomplished.'
The blackline is the linear regression showing a steady upward trend, or if you prefer, the deadline. I don't see any corners being turned, do you?

The Bush Bounce from the STFU Address ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:59 AM Permalink

... was almost as high as the spinning, putrescent corpse of irony would bounce. IOW, splat!
President George W. Bush's State of the Union address on Jan. 31 did little to move his overall job approval rating, according to a new Gallup Poll. Roughly 4 in 10 Americans continue to say they approve of Bush, with a majority saying they disapprove.

Hmmm, I wonder if that has anything to do with the following events?:

Bush Gives New Details of 2002 Qaeda Plot to Attack Los Angeles
[Yet they didn't bother to tell the mayor.]

US Senate Building Evacuated After Alarm for Possible Nerve Agent
[Apparently some Dems found their nerve and an alarm went off.]

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dumb Stuff

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:28 PM Permalink

Political Flash Games

Now that's a power nap

I really want one of these

And things are ramping up...

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:27 PM Permalink

Scott Ritter, who was right about Iraq's WMDs, is saying we're definitely going to war with Iran.
Excerpt: The former U.N. weapons inspector who said Iraq disarmed long before the U.S. invasion in 2003 is warning Americans to prepare for a war with Iran. "We just don’t know when, but it’s going to happen," Scott Ritter said to a crowd of about 150 at the James A. Little Theater on Sunday night.
The Russians seem to think we are as well and has offered some protection for the Iranians from incoming missiles.
Excerpt: Amid the escalating crisis around Iran's nuclear programme, Russia said Thursday that it will still arm Tehran with missiles that can secure nuclear facilities from attacks.
What does this guy have to do to get impeached?

Sedition, Sedition

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:26 PM Permalink

Sometimes, when I read stories like this,
Excerpt: The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico wants the government to apologize to a nurse for seizing her computer and investigating her for "sedition" after she criticized the Bush administration.
Or this
Excerpt: Just over three years ago, as the nation readied for war with Iraq, elementary school teacher Deb Mayer stood in front of her class and uttered the word that would get her blacklisted from her profession. It was a word that got her deemed “unpatriotic” by an angry parent. A word that led to her termination from the Bloomington, Indiana school district. A word that got her labeled as a potential sex offender and ruined her chances of finding work elsewhere.That word was “peace.”
Or even this
Excerpt: French farmer Jose Bove, a prominent protester against genetically modified food and agricultural free trade, has been denied entry into the United States, officials of an event he was due to address said on Thursday.
I wonder why I don't get that "knock on the door."


posted by The Vidiot @ 5:06 PM Permalink

Twas my head that 'sploded on this one.

Excerpt: Summary: Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume showed an edited video clip of Rev. Joseph Lowery's remarks at Coretta Scott King's funeral, during which he mentioned the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Lowery's remarks were greeted with 23 seconds of applause and a standing ovation, but the clip Fox News aired presented nine seconds of applause and little hint of the standing ovation without noting that the clip had been doctored. After seeing the clip, Roll Call's Morton Kondracke concluded that the audience "wasn't exactly uproarious in its response" to Lowery.

Smoke and Mirrors

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:58 PM Permalink

NOT ONLY did this "announcement" by Bush that a terrorist attack was thwarted in 2002 not very believable

Excerpt: President Bush gave new details Thursday about a foiled terror attack in 2002 in which plotters planned to use hijacked commercial airplanes to strike the West Coast.

But now, the mayor of LA is like "Dude, they never said anything to me about it."

Methinks they're trying to distract us again.

Orwell would be proud.

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:42 AM Permalink

I don't like to post at work, but this is unbelievable. (And I'll consider this lunch)
Excerpt: The US government is developing a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity.

Here's what I suggest we all do: Add a signature to your email. And not just any signature but the Fourth Amendment:

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fox? Here are the keys to the hen house.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:56 AM Permalink

This would be impossible to believe, if it weren't so predictable.
Excerpt: Indicted Rep. Tom DeLay, forced to step down as the No. 2 Republican in the House, scored a soft landing Wednesday as GOP leaders rewarded him with a coveted seat on the Appropriations Committee. DeLay, R-Texas, also claimed a seat on the subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department, which is currently investigating an influence-peddling scandal involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his dealings with lawmakers.

And the hits, they just keep comin'.

The US is bankrupt.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:46 AM Permalink

What's really happening here?
Excerpt: President Bush wants to sell more public land across the West to raise money for schools, conservation and deficit reduction.
I'll tell you what's happening. That line should read like this:
President Bush wants to sell more public land across the West to [obstensibly] raise money for schools, conservation and deficit reduction.
See, that land was originally set aside as collateral for our debt.
Excerpt; This is not about conservation, it is about collateral. YOUR land is being stolen by the government and used to secure loans the government really had no business taking out in the first place. Given that the government cannot get out of debt, and is collateralizing more and more land to avoid foreclosure, the day is not long off when the people of the United States will one day wake up and discover they are no longer citizens, but tenants.

My best guess? Well, if it's collateral, someone has to be cashing in. China's recent pull-back from our bond market
Excerpt: China has resolved to shift some of its foreign exchange reserves -- now in excess of $800 billion -- away from the U.S. dollar and into other world currencies in a move likely to push down the value of the greenback...

must be causing some debt to come due. Rather than come out and say anything directly, (or drastically raise the interest rates to attract even more foreign investment to compensate for what we're not getting from the Chinese) they're just saying they're using the money for 'this and that'.

Hey, wouldn't be the first time our government lied to us.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


posted by The Vidiot @ 8:31 PM Permalink

No matter how old you are, when both your parents are gone, you feel like an orphan.

My Mom died much too soon, and it's been a while since my Dad passed. They've been gone for years, and I thought I was pretty well used to it.

Then I saw Liza Minelli on the Actors Studio show on Bravo. I wasn't watching it, I just caught it while channel surfing. I rode the tube in at the moment she was singing a song from Rose. It was the Sondheim tune "Wherever we go, whatever we do, we're going to go thru it together"

My Dad sang that song to me when I was a little nipper. He adjusted the chorus for him and me: 'wherever Daddy goes Bonson goes'

I hadn't thought about that since ... well, since the 5th of never.

Watching people honor your parents is a poor substitute for having them.
Coretta Scott King's service brought this in sharp focus.

Some wrongwingers decried the 'politicization' of a funeral service while shedding crocodile tears and calling for 'Decorum, people, Decorum.'

My Dad, and I suspect the Dr. and Mrs. King, were more concerned about obscenity than decorum. The obscenity of siccing dogs on humans. The obscenity of an illegal war. The obscenity of dead and disfigured Americans sacrificed for a lie. The obscenity of spying on Americans and 'leaking' to the press the results of the spying. The obscenity of cutting social programs to fund an illegal war ... ad nauseam.

It was a beautiful service, a fine tribute to her life. But at the end of the day, we are still orphans.

I sure wish my Dad had been here to see it.

Science Sunday Update:

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:34 PM Permalink

If you've been following the suppression of free speech and science by Bushco political operatives, you might be interested in the following:
From the NYT:
A Young Bush Appointee Resigns His Post at NASA

George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said.

Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on file at the agency asserted.
It's hard to imagine that someone would lie about graduating from Texas A&M, usually they lie about going there. (Obligatory Aggie Joke:)
A Texas Tech graduate, a University of Texas grad and a Texas Aggie were sitting in a bar in San Antonio. The view of the river was fantastic, the beer was ice cold and the food exceptional. "But," said the guy from Tech, "I still prefer the beer joints back in Lubbock. There's one place where the owner goes out of his way for the locals. When you buy 4 beers, he will buy the 5th."

The Longhorn said "Well, at my local bar in Austin, the owner will buy your 3rd drink after you've bought 2."

"Hell, that's nothin'," the Aggie responded. "Back in College Station there's this bar where the moment you set foot in the place they'll buy you a drink and keep them coming all night. Then when you've had enough to drink, they take you upstairs and see that you get laid. And it's all on the house."

The Red Raider and the Longhorn immediately doubted the Aggie's claims.

"And this actually happened to you?" asked the Tech grad.

"No, not myself personally," admitted the Aggie. "But it did happen to my sister."

Hat tip to TBOGG

I seem to remember another lying, incompetent hack appointed by Bush managed to drown New Orleans also lied on his resume. What was his name ... oh yeah, 'Heckuvajob Brownie.'

Corporate Control

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:24 AM Permalink

I saw this headline and nearly did a spit take:
Exxon: America will always rely on foreign oil
And here's the first paragraph:
The United States will always rely on foreign imports of oil to feed its energy needs and should stop trying to become energy independent, a top Exxon Mobil Corp. executive said on Tuesday.

"Resistance is futile."

Well, well, well...

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:22 AM Permalink

The royal chimpster FINALLY got to hear a little dissent.

Excerpt: We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. [Standing Ovation] But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor.

I wonder what that was like for him. He's usually so insulated. His handlers prescreen his audiences and the questions. I wonder how he handled not only hearing the people think he lied, but that people AGREED with hearing someone SAY they think he lied, to the point that they stood up and applauded.
Whoa. Must've been quite a break from his usual reality. Of course, there are a few blovators who are saying "how dare they politicize a funeral" but I have to say, how the hell does on NOT politicize the funeral of a political figure? Besides, it was high time he heard something of how the rest of us feel out here in the real world.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

All of this is outrageous

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:06 PM Permalink

I don't even know how to address this. Poor guy is wounded and then he gets a bill for the thing that kept him from being dead??!!

Excerpt: The last time 1st Lt. William “Eddie” Rebrook IV saw his body armor, he was lying on a stretcher in Iraq, his arm shattered and covered in blood. A field medic tied a tourniquet around Rebrook’s right arm to stanch the bleeding from shrapnel wounds. Soldiers yanked off his blood-soaked body armor. He never saw it again. But last week, Rebrook was forced to pay $700 for that body armor, blown up by a roadside bomb more than a year ago.

Why are they so desperate for money?

And don't even get me started on Gonzales.

Excerpt: In his lengthy appearance today before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee probe of the domestic spying dispute, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales took several opportunities to criticize the press for using the term "domestic spying program" and for leaking information about the warrantless eavesdropping.

He's pissed 'cause the media isn't using the GOP-approved frame... for a change. I mean, they're usually quite accommodating.

Excerpt: As 'Neocons' Leave, Bush Foreign Policy Takes Softer Line

Yeah, this is a much softer line:

Excerpt: Imposing economic sanctions on Iran without United Nations backing would be legitimate if other efforts failed to convince Tehran to halt uranium enrichment, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Monday.


And in an interesting twist I hadn't thought of, if the wiretapping turns out to be illegal (and woe to any repuglican that votes on the side that it is, in fact, illegal), then all of those telecommunication cowards could be in trouble for aiding and abetting.

Excerpt:Under federal law, any person or company who helps someone "intercept any wire, oral, or electronic communication"--unless specifically authorized by law--could face criminal charges. Even if cooperation is found to be legal, however, it could be embarrassing to acknowledge opening up customers' communications to a spy agency.

And for you Plame addicts,

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:05 PM Permalink

I saw this over at Firedoglake. It's a Slate two-parter that pretty much reveals a good number of bombshells that point to a large conspiracy.

The Saudis' View on Alternate Energy

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:05 PM Permalink

They don't like it. I'm shocked.

Odd Links

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:03 PM Permalink

Oh, come on. This can't be serious.

This is one cool mirror.

I wondered. Now I don't care anymore.

How to make a beer popcicle.

That's one big assed bunny.

Damn cool kitchen gizmo.

Must watch video if you have kids.

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:03 PM Permalink

It's about those awful, violent video games and how addicting they are.

Excellent perspective on Gonzales

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:49 PM Permalink

Soj at Flogging the Simian explains what's at stake.

Excerpt: DSP1 is the administration's point program. It's the one in the lead. They found legal justifications for it (however shaky) and kept it secret until someone blew the whistle. And now they're actively promoting it for a reason - because all the furor and Senate testimony covers up the existence of all the other DSP's, which were built on the backbone of the justifications for DSP1.

Muslim caricatures

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:39 PM Permalink

Update: More credence can be given to the conspiracy crowd. Seems that the publisher of the Danish paper that printed the Muslim caricatures may have connections to PNAC.

I'm so koany

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:32 AM Permalink

If a real estate bubble bursts and the media doesn't mention it, did it really burst?

A few thoughts before I head off to work...

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:29 AM Permalink

The blogosphere is digesting the Gonzales "hearings" (I use quotes because he wasn't sworn in.) Digby was appropriately snarky. There was a good diary entry on it over at dKos. Firedoglake did live blogging of the whole thing, so if you want a blow-by-blow, go there. Josh Marshall had the best line though: "The argument to history that Gonzales is attempting isn't just off point. It's typical of the administration's basic way of operating with the public -- conscious misdirection and flimflam."


Meanwhile, two of the senators had to excuse themselves briefly from the hearing to do some work for their Halliburton overlords.

Monday, February 06, 2006


posted by The Vidiot @ 2:00 PM Permalink

If you're not chic enough to be at Sundance, here's a link to the movies so you can see what you're missing.


posted by The Vidiot @ 12:41 PM Permalink

Say goodbye to the internet as we know it.

Now, they're talking about charging "postage" for email. Honestly, I send so much email during the course of a day, business and otherwise, that I'd go broke.

Wiretapping on trial

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:39 PM Permalink

As I'm posting, I'm listening to the Gonzales hearing on C-SPAN. He's hedging and avoiding like expected. It must be difficult to defend the indefensible. Meanwhile, the White House is going after the media saying it's their fault that people think the wiretapping is illegal.
Gotta' love the spinners on that one.
Impeach Bush and amend the constitution to never let this happen again!

Update: Uh, did you know they didn't swear Gonzales in? Uh, why not?


posted by The Vidiot @ 12:37 PM Permalink

In the words of Monty Python: I'm not dead yet!

More information has come out with regards to the outing of the CIA agent. As mentioned in a previous post, the White House has deleted important related emails.

(Gee. Didn't see that coming.) And now, Libby has implicated Cheney!

And it's also possible that Libby hinted at Ari to leak the information.

Muslim Caricatures

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:36 PM Permalink

I've not been following the uproar regarding the Muhammad caricatures too closely. I had to erase my hard drive this weekend and I didn't follow the news too closely (Grandpa Munster is dead?!) George Ure, over at Urban Survival thinks the caricature thing is this century's equivalent to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. I hope he's wrong.

Is it a manufactured controversy? I have no idea. Is it a defamation of Muhammad? Again, I have no idea. It certainly is violent though. Like I said, I've not been following it too closely, but I have to say, if someone did a caricature of Jesus torturing people a la the Spanish Inquisition, I would find it distasteful, but I wouldn't burn anybody's embassy over it.

I'm just saying.

Update: Don't know how I feel about this, but it certainly is one way to fight back.


posted by The Vidiot @ 12:34 PM Permalink

Knitting art

Super Bowl 40 Commercials

John Bolton - here's a blog that's watching him

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Science Sunday

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:53 AM Permalink

NASA Scientists in Deutsch with the White House:

NASA, rapidly becoming the No Actual Science Allowed agency, is being used by Bushco to advance their religion and politics1. While the scientific papers are still peer reviewed, it tuns out that means reviewed by a 'peer of the realm' of our imperial presidency. King George has appointed2 a 24 year old former campaign worker to stifle science and promote the fundamentalist screed of Intelligent Design.

George Deutsch, whose qualifications for the job consist of being an intern in the "war room" of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, has repeatedly promoted one religious point of view over, you know, actual science. From the NYT:
Climate science has been a thorny issue for the administration since 2001, when Mr. Bush abandoned a campaign pledge3 to restrict power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas linked to global warming, and said the United States would not join the Kyoto Protocol, the first climate treaty requiring reductions.
Repeatedly that year, public-affairs directors at all of NASA's science centers were admonished by White House appointees at headquarters to focus all attention on Mr. Bush's January 2004 "vision"4 for returning to the Moon and eventually traveling to Mars.

Starting early in 2004, directives, almost always transmitted verbally through a chain of midlevel workers, went out from NASA headquarters to the agency's far-flung research centers and institutes saying that all news releases on earth science developments had to allude to goals set out in Mr. Bush's "vision statement" for the agency, according to interviews with public-affairs officials working in headquarters and at three research centers.
In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word "theory" needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most."
So a 24 your old republican operative turned pr flack is a better judge of science and the facts than the actual scientists who did the research!?
Foooomph! [/sound of head imploding]

IG stands for Ignoring Gripes:
First the good news:
An FBI-led watchdog agency has opened an investigation into multiple complaints accusing NASA Inspector General Robert W. Cobb of failing to investigate safety violations and retaliating against whistle-blowers. Most of the complaints were filed by current and former employees of his own office.

Written complaints and supporting documents from at least 16 people have been given to investigators. They allege that Cobb, appointed by President Bush in 2002, suppressed investigations of wrongdoing within NASA, and abused and penalized his own investigators when they persisted in raising concerns.

Now the bad news:
The complaints are being reviewed by the Integrity Committee of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency.5 Cobb is among four of 11 inspectors general appointed by Bush who previously worked in the White House, and one of nine with no audit experience.6
Obviously Mr. Cobb is doing a heckuva job!

1) Yes, I know religion and politics is redundant for this regime. [back]

2) Or was that 'anointed?' It's so hard to tell these days. [back]

3) Translation: "abandoned a campaign pledge" = 'lied.' [back]

4) I think perhaps they meant 'visions', See: aberration, apparition, delusion, fantasy, head trip, hallucinations, illusion, mirage, phantasm, phantasmagoria, phantom, pink elephant, pipe dream. Ready examples of georgie's 'vision' include not being able to find his a$$ with both hands in a hall of mirrors, an inablilty to pour pi$$ from a boot with the instructions on the heel, and a proven ability to f@#! up an anvil.

5) Every time I read that the word 'oxymoron' comes to mind. [back]

6) I'm starting to sense a pattern here, but maybe it's just the Scotch. [back]