Monday, July 31, 2006

Idle Idolatry ... or ... Disengaged in the clutch

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:09 PM Permalink

North Korea has nukes, but Bush won't talk to them; Iran is working on nukes, but Bush won't talk to them; Pakistan has nukes, and is making more of them, but Bush won't talk about it; India has nukes, and we're enabling them to make more of them, but Bush won't talk about it; Iraq is in civil war with an average of 100 civilian deaths per day, but Bush and the MSM won't talk about it. Israel has killed 700+ Lebanon civilians, Hezbollah has killed 18 civilians, but Bush doesn't want to talk about a ceasefire.

And what does Bush want to talk about? Bush held a photo op with contestants from "American Idol."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

For whom the bell tolls

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:40 PM Permalink

I had never heard of this man, but I'm fascinated by his story
Rupert Pole, one of the two simultaneous - and simultaneously unwitting - husbands of the novelist, erotic adventurer and copiously confessional diarist Anais Nin, was found dead on July 15 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 87.
I recommend you read it all, but even better, read this.

I think ICANN, I think ICANN

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:59 PM Permalink

US to continue its control over ICANN

Over the past couple of years, the issue of Internet governance has become a hot topic. Currently, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is responsible for parceling out IP addresses and domain names. In turn, ICANN operates under the auspices of the US Commerce Department, an arrangement that doesn't sit too well with parts of Europe, the UN, and many developing nations.

Contrary to some reports, things are not about to change. After a meeting at the Commerce Department, Acting Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, John M.R. Kneuer, said that the existing arrangement was likely to continue, at least for another year. "There certainly are still strong arguments that there's more work to be done," said Kneuer.

When ICANN was created in 1998, the US government intended for it to be fully privatized by 2000. However, that has failed to happen for a couple of reasons, namely a reluctance on the part of the US to let go control and ICANN's inability to meet some performance benchmarks.
Kneuer did reiterate the US government's commitment to ultimately relinquishing control over ICANN, saying that "that we're all gathered here today and we've undertaken this process is a clear indication that we are committed to this transition." That's a big change from last summer, when the Commerce Department declared that it would "retain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file" while reiterating its stance against interfering in how other countries handle their own top-level domains.
A few questions immediately occur to me. What happened in 2000 that derailed the plan? Oh, yeah, right (cough, Bush, cough.) And who the hell is John M.R. Kneuer? Well, as you might expect he is a Bush political appointee who used to work for the Industrial Telecommunications Association, a lobbying group for ISPs, and private wireless licensees such as airlines and oil companies. Somehow, like all Bush political appointees, I doubt his veracity ... especially when he says that "we are committed to this transition", which still hasn't taken place 6 years after it was scheduled to.

In all the talk about 'net neutrality' we may be missing the forest for the trees. Bushco has already overruled ICANN's decisions because their religious base objected to certain provisions.

Bushco is already illegally tapping the internets' tubes, how long before they shut down parts of it they don't want us to see?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

War Heads, bump and update:

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:09 PM Permalink

Bush is giving classified nuclear technology to a country that sells missile tech to Iran
Markey accuses White House of duplicity
Says Bush delays news of sanctions on Indian firms

Massachusetts congressman Edward Markey yesterday accused the Bush administration of delaying an announcement that the United States plans to impose sanctions on two Indian companies for assisting in Iran's missile program.

Markey , a Malden Democrat, said the administration is withholding the announcement for fear that it would jeopardize chances of getting congressional approval for a controversial proposal to sell nuclear technology to India.

The measure, which would make India the only country in the world to receive sensitive nuclear technology from the United States without signing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, was overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives late Wednesday. It now goes to the Senate.

The State Department is not expected to release the report on which Indian firms have been sanctioned until next week. But Reuters quoted two US officials yesterday saying that two Indian firms were being sanctioned for selling missiles-related technology to Iran.
US and Indian officials say that the Indian government has kept its nuclear technology from leaking to other countries, and that there is no risk that India will pass on US nuclear know-how to Iran. But in 2004, the State Department sanctioned two Indian nuclear scientists, Y. S. R. Prasad and C. Surendar, for working with Iran's nuclear program. Few details were available about the cases.
The bill approved by the House 359-to-68 cited the need to secure ``India's full and active participation in United States efforts to dissuade, isolate, and, if necessary, sanction and contain Iran for its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear weapons capability."

But Indian officials said this week that the US agreement does not obligate them to turn their back on Iran.
In recent years, India has become one of Iran's most reliable investors, even as other countries have balked at doing business with the volatile fundamentalist regime. This spring, an arm of India's Oil and Natural Gas Company began drilling in Yadavaran, one of Iran's biggest onshore oilfields, despite a US law that threatens sanctions against foreign companies that invest in Iran's energy sector.
``Indians and Iranians say that this is a strategic relationship which is not going to be knocked off course," she said.
I'm so confused: India is selling missile technology to Iran (you remember Iran; hostages, axis of evil, developing nukes), but they didn't have a delivery vehicle, (until now.) So why are we giving technology to a country that is partners with Iran?

India, the country that threatens the US if we don't give them the nuclear technology, a country that is the ONLY country in the world that we have shared classified nuclear secrets with that hasn't signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, is partners with Iran? WTF!?

India could make 50 warheads under nuclear deal with Bush

The US House of Representatives was set to vote yesterday on a nuclear deal with India that threatens to fuel a nuclear arms race in Asia. The deal, a centrepiece of the Bush administration's foreign policy, comes as the US is pressuring Iran and North Korea to halt their nuclear programmes.

Under the deal, the US will sell India nuclear fuel and technology for civilian purposes, in exchange for India putting most of its reactors under international safeguards. But a former head of Indian intelligence has said publicly the deal will allow India to produce 50 more nuclear warheads a year than it can now, by freeing up existing uranium reserves for military use.

The vote in Washington comes days after satellite photographs revealed Pakistan is building what analysts believe is a large reactor capable of producing enough plutonium for 50 warheads a year, a discovery which has led to fears of an intensified nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan.
Under the new nuclear deal, the US will exempt India from its own laws banning any nuclear dealings with countries that do not submit to international inspections, and sell it nuclear fuel and reactors. In return, India is to place 13 of its existing reactors under international safeguards.
50 more nukes a year for India, 50 more nukes a year for Pakistan, yeah, that's gonna make the world safer ... not!
India warns against changes to US nuclear deal

India said it will not accept any changes by the US Senate to a controversial US-India nuclear energy agreement, a day after the US House of Representatives approved the deal.
They are warning us about a sweetheart deal that gives them 50 more nukes outside of the international regulations for nuclear proliferation.

North Korea, Iran, India, Pakistan, no one in the history of the world has done more to increase nuclear weapons around the world than Bush.

Saturday Sailboat Blogging: Early Morning Edition

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:09 AM Permalink

Friday, July 28, 2006

Corruption at home and abroad ... OK, two broads

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:47 PM Permalink

Series of Woes Mar Iraq Project Hailed as Model

The United States is dropping Bechtel, the American construction giant, from a project to build a high-tech children's hospital in the southern Iraqi city of Basra after the project fell nearly a year behind schedule and exceeded its expected cost by as much as 150 percent.

Called the Basra Children's Hospital, the project has been consistently championed by the first lady, Laura Bush, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and was designed to house sophisticated equipment for treating childhood cancer.

Now it becomes the latest in a series of American taxpayer-financed health projects in Iraq to face overruns, delays and cancellations. Earlier this year, the Army Corps of Engineers canceled more than $300 million in contracts held by Parsons, another American contractor, to build and refurbish hospitals and clinics across Iraq.
In a gala for Project HOPE last October, Mrs. Bush praised the project, describing its plan for 94 beds, a state-of-the-art neonatal unit, a linear particle accelerator for radiation therapy and CAT scanners. Ms. Rice added that the hospital "will make a real difference, a life-saving and lasting difference, to the thousands of children and their families."
So apparently a lasting difference doesn't actually need to take place at all. More newspeak from Bushco.

But it's really not fair to blame Bechtel, at least according to Dave Snider of USAID:
"They are under a ‘term contract,' which means their job is over when their money ends," Mr. Snider said. So despite not finishing the hospital, he said, "they did complete the contract."
How can you complete a job if you don't do the job!?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Welcome to The Jungle

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:39 PM Permalink

Farmers Use as Much Pesticide With GM Crops, US Study Finds

One of the major arguments in favour of growing GM crops has been undermined by a study showing that the benefits are short-lived because farmers quickly resort to spraying their fields with harmful pesticides.

Supporters of genetically modified crops claim the technique saves money and provides environmental benefits because farmers need to spray their fields fewer times with chemicals.

However, a detailed survey of 481 cotton growers in China found that, although they did use fewer pesticides in the first few years of adopting GM plants, after seven years they had to use just as much pesticide as they did with conventional crops.
"These results should send a very strong signal to researchers and governments that they need to come up with remedial actions for the Bt-cotton farmers, otherwise these farmers will stop using Bt cotton and that would be very unfortunate," Professor Pinstrup-Andersen said.
Uhhh, why would it be 'unfortunate' if they don't work? And it's not like there aren't other problems with GM crops!

Breathe, breathe in the air

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:41 PM Permalink

Or better yet, don't:
Report Faults EPA on Clean Air Regulation

The government is failing to reduce health risks from toxic air pollution as required by law, congressional investigators said Wednesday.

The Environmental Protection Agency has not met 30 percent of the Clean Air Act's requirements and regularly misses deadlines, they said.
The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said the EPA largely has failed to regulate air pollutants from small sources, including dry cleaners and trucks. The GAO report said the EPA has not yet met 239 of the law's requirements; of those the agency did fulfill, only 12 were met on time.
See what happens when you put political hacks in science jobs?


posted by The Vidiot @ 3:54 PM Permalink

If the contracts are a problem
Excerpt: Lawmakers say that since the Homeland Security Department's formation in 2003, an explosion of no-bid deals and a critical shortage of trained government contract managers have created a system prone to abuse. Based on a comprehensive survey of hundreds of government audits, 32 Homeland Security Department contracts worth a total of $34 billion have experienced significant overcharges, wasteful spending, or mismanagement," according to the report, which is slated for release today and was obtained in advance by The Washington Post.
Then just don't disclose the contracts
Excerpt: The U.S. government can keep secret the names of private security contractors involved in serious shooting incidents in Iraq, a federal judge has ruled, rejecting a Freedom of Information Act request by the Los Angeles Times.
(It may look like apples and oranges now, but just you wait and see.)

In light of my rant below

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:09 PM Permalink

This story made me AND Mr. Vidiot giggle. It's about Chicago telling big-box stores like Wal-mart that they have to start paying a living wage. And here's the money quote:
Wal-Mart's response to the Council's action was swift and blunt.

"It's sad -- this puts politics ahead of working men and women," John Simley, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said in a telephone interview. "It means that Chicago is closed to business."

Read that again and digest it. It's hiLARious. It's so deep and so convoluted and so rich with irony, while at the same time, riddled with stupidity.

I love it.

Taking a lesson from Bush v Gore

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:02 PM Permalink

The left leaning Obrador has declared himself president of Mexico. Had Al Gore done that and tried to at least counter Bush's claim to the presidency, things might be a wee bit different.

This is what a police state looks like

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:54 PM Permalink

This is outragious. This guy took a picture of cops using his cell phone. They then arrested him for it. Then this guy, 44 years old, tried to buy a beer and got ridiculously carded. And now lawmakers are being "urged" to ok eavesdropping.


Did I go to sleep and wake up in F'd-up-land?


posted by The Vidiot @ 1:53 PM Permalink

I'm bookmarking this, and everytime something makes my head explode, I will listen to it.

The other day, I went OFF. I mean really, went OFF.

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:47 PM Permalink

Everywhere I looked, I saw advertising and crass commercialism. I saw cars spewing crap into the air and trash on the streets. I saw too many homeless people to throw money at and I saw a Dunkin Donuts on the corner of a really neighborhoody street here in Brooklyn, a storefront that used to house a cute little crap shop that was owned by someone in the neighborhood. I saw people displaying hundreds of different logos on their bodies and sipping Starbucks, oblivious to it all because they were stuck in iPod land and looking in the windows of really posh shops, examining the merchandise while simultaneously checking themselves out via their reflections in the windows. "Does my hair look alright? Oooo, nice bag!"

Maybe I'm just over reacting because we just got back from Spain, and well, it's just not that bad there. For instance, here, every available space in the transit system has advertising it on it, inside and outside of the trains, including some of the tunnel walls. In Spain, the advertising stopped once you walked on the train. It was shocking AND delightful. It was a relief. I couldn't believe how relieved I was to have a few moments that were advertising free. It was like the noise stopped, or the ringing in my ears that was suddenly silenced.

But what is this plague? The images, noise, lack of social safety net and destruction of our neighborhoods? What's driving this force that is transforming America into an ugly spectacle of strip malls, fast food and self-centered citizens?

In a word?
CORPORATIONS. (I mean, I know it's deeper than that, but that's the cyst that's easiest to pop.) I'm sick of corporations. I'm tired of hearing about their profits on one day, and their layoffs the next. Who are they maximizing profit for anyway? Shareholders? Who are the shareholders? They aren't you and me. Sure, we may own a few stocks here and there, mostly because our IRAs or 401(k)s do, but for the most part, the shareholders are the donor class. NOT the working class (and any working class person who considers himself a shareholder should also consider himself an idiot.) And this isn't bad apples here. I'm not pissed because I'm broke. Until a corporation starts to make my life miserable (a la Time Warner or Verizon with their ludicrous and loosely termed "customer support") I don't care all that much about money.

However, when gas is up over $3/gallon nationally and that cost is being pushed onto the consumer in ways not even considered (trucks deliver the food, no?) yet gas companies are reaping a windfall in profits -- Apache, Exxon/Mobil, Shell, all of them -- while some of us have to resort to pedal bikes, I tend to get a little persnickety.

Meanwhile, while they're making outrageous profits, the corporations funnel money into our political system and our media to maximize their agendas. They've hijacked the 14th Amendment by having themselves declared persons so that the Bill of Rights will apply to them. And because of their wealth, their megaphone is a lot bigger that yours or mine. I ask you, how are they persons, exactly? Do they breath? Nope. Do they crap? Well, in manner of speaking if you consider all the crap they produce, I'll give them that. They do crap and they do it well and with aplomb. Do they reproduce? Well, I guess they can create little sub-divisions but those sub-divisions don't breathe, so I won't give them that. Do they feel sadness, love, go hungry, feel pain? No, no, no, and no. Can they die? (And going bankrupt is not death. It just feels like it is all.) No, they cannot die. (They can profit from death however.) So, other than the occasional crap, I don't see how they can possibly be considered a person.

When did it become legal to not provide your employees with decent healthcare, then force that employee to pay for his healthcare with public funds, while at the same time, taking business tax deductions for having that employee to begin with?

When did it become legal give your CEOs millions upon millions of dollars in compensation (that's barely taxed, by the way because most of it is deferred) then turn around and say your pension is unfunded?

When did it become legal
to move your business address and operations offshore to escape taxes and environmental and labor standards, while still reaping the benefits of doing business in the USA?

Why aren't any of these damn corporate bastards having their charters revoked?

With so much going on in the world, why am I going off on corporations right now? Well, for the most part it's because these corporations have polluted our minds and confused us as to the difference between what we want and what we need that has created this resource-driven world -- created by their greed and avarice and our laziness in confronting it, thereby creating a government that responds to their greed and avarice and not to our actual, real needs.

It has to stop.

But when?

Written by The Vidiot and posted via The Sailor due to blogger probs.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Queens Have Power in New York

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:54 PM Permalink

No, no, not those queens, the borough!

Earlier today, Con Edison announced that it had restored power to the last of 25,065 affected customers — a term that includes households as well as residential and commercial buildings — at 11:25 p.m. on Tuesday, more than eight days after the blackout began on the evening of July 17.
That's the good news.
Here's the bad news:
About 14,000 customers in Staten Island lost power this afternoon because of downed electrical wires, Consolidated Edison said.
The problem isn't being caused by lack of power generation, it's because the existing infrastructure hasn't been updated or even maintained. If I lived in New York and had been paying those outrageous electric bills, I'd want to know where my money went.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Not Funny

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:33 PM Permalink

Pat Tillman's Uncertain Death

Two years after Tillman's death, the perspectives on the circumstances are still very much at odds and the story is still very much alive. As the Defense Department Inspector General's Office nears the completion of yet another investigation into Tillman's death, many very important questions remain unanswered.

• Are the Rangers who fired at Tillman and their other fellow soldiers guilty of criminal wrongdoing?

• Why did the Army glorify Tillman's actions on the battlefield during the firefight in which he was killed?

• Did the Army purposely conceal that Tillman had been killed by friendly fire? If so, why?

• And did the Army consciously puff up the Tillman story by awarding the dead soldier a Silver Star, its third-highest distinction for combat valor, to go along with his Purple Heart and a posthumous promotion from specialist to corporal?
"They should be able to figure out where the bullets came from, from the trajectory analysis, and whose weapon they came from, from microscopic ballistic comparison," said Baden, chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police and a frequent consultant in high-profile murder cases. "The person who fired probably knows who he is. I think the supervisors know who the shooter or shooters were, but they're not releasing it."

According to the Army officer who directed the first official inquiry, the Army might have more of a clue about the shooter's identity than it has let on. Asked whether ballistics work was done to identify who fired the fatal shots, Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich told, "I think, yeah, they did. And I think they know [who fired]. But I never found out."
"But there [have] been numerous unfortunate cases of fratricide, and the parents have basically said, 'OK, it was an unfortunate accident.' And they let it go. So this is — I don't know, these people have a hard time letting it go. [Kauzlarich said]It may be because of their religious beliefs."
Kauzlarich, now a battalion commanding officer at Fort Riley in Kansas, further suggested the Tillman family's unhappiness with the findings of past investigations might be because of the absence of a Christian faith in their lives.
Asked by whether the Tillmans' religious beliefs are a factor in the ongoing investigation, Kauzlarich said, "I think so. There is not a whole lot of trust in the system or faith in the system [by the Tillmans]. So that is my personal opinion, knowing what I know."
Jesus Christ! This a$$hole just equated belief in Christ in belief in Bush and the Government! But wait, there's more
Kauzlarich, now 40, was the Ranger regiment executive officer in Afghanistan, who played a role in writing the recommendation for Tillman's posthumous Silver Star. And finally, with his fingerprints already all over many of the hot-button issues, including the question of who ordered the platoon to be split as it dragged a disabled Humvee through the mountains, Kauzlarich conducted the first official Army investigation into Tillman's death.
This sunuvabeyatch Kauzlarich needs to be cashiered now! He swore to defend the constitution, yet castigates a family who lost a soldier in friendly fire, lied about it, and then claimed the family is upset because they aren't Christian.

As they say in the big leagues, read the whole thing.


posted by The Vidiot @ 5:40 PM Permalink

We've been saying something like this since, oh, I dunno, December 12, 2000.
"Bush violating Constitution"
That article is referring to his signing statements, but it can be generally applied to numerous things. Like, oh, I dunno, destroying the separation of church and state, knowing about something bad (A Pak nuke program) and not telling Congress, refusing to stop doing big agriculture's bidness or protecting your rich donors.

Yes, there are times when I think we can all at least understand this Nobel peace laureate's sentiment.

Some links

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:37 PM Permalink

This looks usefulto find a car pool near you.

And find locally grown food here.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Do the math

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:42 PM Permalink

Israel's overall death toll stands at 40, with 17 people killed by Hezbollah rockets and 23 soldiers
[In Lebanon] 384 people had been killed, including 20 soldiers and 11 Hezbollah guerrillas.
The majority of Israelis died in combat.
12 times as many Lebanese civilians have been killed as fighters.
20 times as many Lebanese civilians have been killed as Israeli civilians.
1/3 of the Lebanese civilian deaths have been children.
500,000 refugees.
Whole neighborhoods have been bombed to rubble.
Bush's response is to refuse to call for a cease fire and speed up the delivery of more weapons.

Here are some computer records we need to see:

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:07 PM Permalink

Group: U.S. Military Urged Abuse in Iraq

The group Human Rights Watch said in a report released Sunday that U.S. military commanders encouraged abusive interrogations of detainees in Iraq, even after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal called attention to the issue in 2004.

Between 2003 and 2005, prisoners were routinely physically mistreated, deprived of sleep and exposed to extreme temperatures as part of the interrogation process, the report said.

``Soldiers were told that the Geneva Conventions did not apply, and that interrogators could use abusive techniques to get detainees to talk,' al-Qaida.

The Bush administration had previously held that certain enemies, including terrorists, were illegal combatants and not protected by those rules.

The conventions prohibit ``outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.''

Human Rights Watch focused much of its report on a detention facility called Camp Nama at Baghdad International Airport.

One soldier, whose name was withheld from the report, described a suspected insurgent being stripped naked, thrown in the mud, sprayed with water and then exposed to frigid temperatures in an attempt to soften him up for interrogators.

Commanders, the soldier said, seemed confident that their treatment of prisoners was legal.
And the money quote:
He described computerized authorization forms that had to be filled out before subjecting detainees to strobe lights, loud music, extreme heat or cold, or intimidation by barking dogs.
FOIA, anyone?

Oh brother.

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:53 AM Permalink

Either this guy is an idiot, or he works for the propaganda ministry.
Excerpt: Most computer scientists have long viewed Diebold as the poster child
for all that is wrong with touch screen voting machines. But we never
imagined that Diebold would be as irresponsible and incompetent as they
have turned out to be.
He frames the issue, wrongly I might add, that Diebold is "irresponsible and incompetent" rather than just outright criminal.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Middle East Roundup

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:30 PM Permalink

Saudis Ask Bush to Intervene in Mideast

Saudi Arabia asked President Bush on Sunday to intervene in Israel's military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon to stop the mounting deaths, but administration officials said they remain convinced that an immediate cease-fire is not the answer.
WTF!? Not killing each other is always better than killing each other!

U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis

The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.
Not only won't Bush call for a cease fire, he'll give them even more weapons! Yeah, bigger guns always help cooler heads prevail.

Iraq Parliament Speaker Calls for US Withdrawal

Iraq's parliament speaker Mahmud Mashhadani bitterly criticized US forces in Iraq, accusing them of "butchery" and demanded that they pull out of the country.
Anyone else remember when Bush said we'd absolutely leave Iraq if asked?

Afghanistan Close to Anarchy, Warns General
· NATO commander's view in stark contrast to ministers'
· Forces short of equipment and 'running out of time'

The most senior British military commander in Afghanistan yesterday described the situation in the country as "close to anarchy" with feuding foreign agencies and unethical private security companies compounding problems caused by local corruption.
"Private security companies" ... whaaa!? Call 'em what they are mercenaries!

"Stay the course" my ass!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday Sailboat Blogging ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:24 PM Permalink

... skippy tee-shirt edition:

Notice the large T-shirt suspended from the boathook for a mainsail, and the medium size suspended from the whisker pole as the 'backed' jib.

Be careful if you order the extra, extra, extra large size!

Full disclosure: Nothing to disclose, I like skippy's site in blogtopia (y, wksctp!) and I like the T-shirts so I bought some.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Last Train to iTune ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:41 PM Permalink

Brick House 3:26 Commodores

Stuck In The Middle With You 3:23 Steelers Wheel

Killing Me Softly 4:50 Roberta Flack

Can't Find My Way Home 3:16 Steve Winwood

I Can't Make You Love Me 5:32 Bonnie Raitt

Use Me 3:42 Bill Withers

Good Girls Don't 3:07 The Knack

I Never Loved a Man .mp3 2:45 Aretha Franklin

The Boy From Ipanema 2:37 Julie London

Put A Little Love In Your Heart 3:48 Annie Lennox & Al Green

What'll I Do 3:12 Alison Krauss

If You Don't Know Me By Now 3:24 Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes

Oy! Como VA!?

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:43 PM Permalink

So a few weeks ago I got this letter from the VA saying my personal data might have been compromised because they let an idiot employee take home 26+ million records on unencrypted hard drives. The laptop and external HD were stolen on May 3rd. The VA told the public 3 weeks later. They sent the letter almost a month later. On June 21st, during a fit of crocodile tears and congressional investigations, they offered a free credit monitoring service.

I'm sure you saw it on the news. That news was released on a Monday. Today, a Friday, while 'taking out the trash' the government says:
No Free Credit Monitoring For Vets in Database Theft

The Bush administration has decided not to offer free credit monitoring to 26.5 million veterans and military personnel whose personal information was on computer equipment stolen from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs analyst in May.

Rob Portman, the White House budget director, wrote House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) yesterday withdrawing the administration's request for $160.5 million to pay for a year of free credit monitoring and citing the June 28 recovery of the stolen laptop and external hard drive by police. The FBI said it had a "high degree of confidence" that thieves had not accessed the files containing the names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of millions of veterans and active-duty military personnel.
The FBI doesn't have a clue! You don't have to access the records, just copy the disks! Bastids! To put it in perspective, my $450 dollar refurbished laptop has encryption built in.

Once again Bushco has screwed the vets and active duty personnel.

USA=Third World Country

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:58 AM Permalink

On so many levels, we already are, what with the increase in poverty, dwindling middle class, lack of manufacturing, etc. But now, it's official. Just like in any third world nation, our utilities seem to be, well, inadequate. St. Louis is having a helluva time and people here in Queens haven't had juice for 4 days. I was talking to one girl from Astoria in the elevator yesterday who said she hadn't had electricity since Wednesday and that sometimes it comes on but it doesn't stay on. Sounds a lot like Iraq, no? Though, our system isn't being messed with by insurgents. It's the corporations that done did us in.

Hmmmm, corporations=insurgents. Fascinating.

Action alert

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:32 AM Permalink

They want to allow more chemicals in organic meat. I don't normally eat meat, (and NEVER beef) but when I do, it's organic. I'm all too aware of the crap they put into the animals. Now, they want to screw up that too. (Gee, I wonder what lobbying influence paid for THAT idea.)

Anyway, here's the list of the chemicals they want to allow. After you read it and when you're good and mad, right a letter and send it to this guy:
Arthur Neal, Director of Program Administration
National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-TMP-NOP
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Room4008-So., Ag Stop 0268
Washington, DC 20250
Fax 202-205-7808

Irony of the century.

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:27 AM Permalink

"We will not use American tax dollars to take human life."

GW Bush telling us why he vetoed the stem cell bill.

Oh really, George?

Thursday, July 20, 2006


posted by The Vidiot @ 4:17 PM Permalink

Besides everything? One of my favorite things: The Bathrooms. So clean you almost wanted to sit on the seats.

Least favorite thing: Pamplona and the running of the bulls.

You can see a video of it that I've uploaded here. (Mr. Vidiot comes in right around the 40 second mark.) That was the second day he ran. The first day, I was sitting on a fence near the Telefónica section. (You can view the route here.)

Here was my view on the first day:
Here was my view on the second day:
The two days he ran was on the 12th and the 13th of July. The 14th was out of the question, mostly because we had heard about the guy from New York who got paralyzed and I was NOT pleased.

Honestly, I can't imagine why anyone would want to do this. It's insanity. Or a form of it anyway. He actually smiles when he thinks about the bit where he had to jump on a fence to get away from a 600 kg bull! He actually smiles!

I sit there and say Hail Marys like I got busted for stealing my little sister's candy and he's enjoying being chased by tomorrow's lunch. Unbelievable.

No she di'int!

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:12 PM Permalink

And if Ann Coulter did send fake anthrax to the New York Times, why isn't she in jail?

Oh, right, sorry. Forgot. In this brave world, republican wrongs are really rights.

Anything but the "A" word

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:55 AM Permalink

Ralph Reed, the conservative wunderkind who lost his run for Lt. Gov primary, blames McCain for the loss, saying basically that the late date of McCain's report on the Indian Casino scandal kept the Abramoff issue alive well into the election cycle. So, it wasn't the Abramoff taint, per se, it was just that the taint wasn't allowed to fade and be forgotten the way taints are supposed to do.

So, I guess when Dems retake Congress this fall, they can blame the House of Representatives for investigating Abramoff-White House links so close to the elections.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Big Ahoy Mates to The Vidiot and Her Mate, Welcome Back!

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:27 PM Permalink

I'm sure there are millions ... OK thousands ... would you believe hundreds ... how about both people who read this blog are as relieved as I am with Mr. Vidiot's and Mrs. Mr Vidiot's return from ruining with the bulls in Spain.

They said it was a honeymoon, but I think it was the old 'I'm telling my blog partner it's a honeymoon but frankly we're just shacking up in NYC and doing it like bunnies trick' ... that's the second time I fell for that this month.

What's that you say? They really were in Spain on a honeymoon!? Ah, well ... missed it by that much!

Sorry about that Chief!

And don't tell me they're already back blogging ... ... ... I asked you not to tell me that!

(With apologies to Don Adams and Get Smart)

The hardest thing about getting back to blogging...

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:45 PM Permalink

Is that I have no idea where to begin!

EVERYTHING is like, crazy man, crazy.

Lieberman running on the GOP side (though, that's the least crazy of it all)
Bush obstructing justice AGAIN and the media is mute AGAIN.
It's nearly official: civil war in Iraq
Bush is a COMPLETE idiot. Really. Either that or on drugs. (Which would support this rumor that his poop is top secret.)
Turkey wants to invade Iraq.
Diebold is STILL mucking with our elections
And I can't even go into the Israel/Lebanon thing. But I have noticed that the media is pro- WWWIII.

Now, I ask you, why on god's green earth did we leave Spain? To return to what? This?

I'll tell you one thing. I wouldn't want to be on the cruise ship that's leaving Lebanon right now.
Remember the Lusitania? Anyone? Anyone?

Since I've been away

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:01 AM Permalink

I've not been paying attention to the news. Frankly, the few times we turned on CNN world and saw the idiot speaking, we realized how nice it was not to have been subjected to him on a daily basis. So, here I am, 7am, jetlagged, can't sleep, surfing around and I see that the idiot has inappropriately touched the female leader of another country! He gave her a massage! What? Is he used to doing that to Condi?

You should've seen some of the wrinkled noses we encountered in Spain when Bush's name was mentioned. Is it any wonder?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Word O' the Day

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:44 PM Permalink


Containing or stating briefly and concisely all the essentials; succinct.

I chose that word because it is the 200th anniversary of Noah Webster's original dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language.

Finally home.

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:09 PM Permalink

SO didn't want to come back. Spain is AWESOME. And the concept of the siesta is perfect. Madrid was my favorite, with Barcelona a close second and Jaca and Zaragosa were sentimental 3rd place ties.

I'll be posting some more details as I get over my jet lag. But suffice it to say, Mr. Vidiot ran with the bulls (on the 12th and 13th) and survived. Twice. Had he tried to run a third time, however, he would NOT have survived my wrath.

Oh, and one more thing. I have a nomination for the Worst Airline Ever: Air Plus Comet. It totally supports the "you get what you pay for" notion. Going there and coming back, we were delayed at least 12 hours each way. On top of that, the planes are so old, there are ashtrays in the arm rests.

Now can we impeach him?

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:50 PM Permalink

Bush Personally Blocked DOJ Investigation Of Wiretapping Program

Monday, July 17, 2006

Religion Roundup

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:14 PM Permalink

WTF is the matter with Kansas!?
Group weighs in for Kansas

A Seattle-based group [ED: They buried the lede. The Seattle-based group is the Discovery Institute which is dedicated to overturning science and installing their religious beliefs. See 'Galileo' for a harbinger.] launching a public relations campaign to defend science standards adopted in November by the Kansas Board of Education.

Those standards encourage students to look at both the theory of evolution and criticism of it, and changes the definition of science from the search for natural explanations to a search for more adequate explanations.

Critics say the standards include Intelligent Design terminology and many of its arguments against evolution.
Well of course they include Intelligent Design, the Discovery Institute was founded to install ID in our public schools.
West said the campaign is in response to criticism of the standards by Kansas Citizens for Science, including a letter that group sent to Kansas school superintendents in June and a fact sheet posted on its Web site.
And who are the Kansas Citizens for Science? Once again, I'm glad you asked, (or at least reading far enough to where I can ask and answer my own questions;-), they are actual scientists and teachers.

Continuing on:
He denied that the Stand up for Science campaign had anything to do with state board elections this summer and fall.
Giving the timing and their mandate why would he make such an lie? Because they are a tax exempt not for profit and federally tax-exempt organizations are prohibited from influencing elections and legislation! But I guess if you'd lie about science you'd lie about anything.

Christian Fundamentalists don't teach the fundamentals:
Little separates public, private schools -- report
Study finds worst performance in conservative Christian schools

WASHINGTON - The federal Education Department reported Friday that, in reading and math, children attending public schools generally do as well as or better than comparable children in private schools. The exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private-school children did better.

The report, which compared fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores from nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 530 private schools in 2003, also found that conservative Christian schools lagged significantly behind public schools when it came to eighth-grade math.

The study, carrying the imprimatur of the National Center for Education Statistics, part of the Education Department, was contracted to the Educational Testing Service and delivered to the department last year.
Its release, on a summer Friday, was made without a news conference or comment from Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, the union for millions of teachers, said the findings showed that public schools were "doing an outstanding job" and said that if the results had been favorable to private schools, "there would have been press conferences and glowing statements about private schools."

"The administration has been giving public schools a beating since the beginning" to advance President Bush's political agenda, Weaver said, of promoting charter schools and taxpayer-financed vouchers for private schools as alternatives to failing traditional public schools. A spokesman for the Education Department, Chad Colby, said he did not expect the findings to influence policy. Colby emphasized repeatedly that "an overall comparison of the two types of schools is of modest utility."
Findings favorable to private schools would likely have given a boost to administration efforts to offer children in ailing public schools the option of attending private schools. An Education Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the climate surrounding the report said researchers were "extra cautious" in reviewing the study and were aware of the "political sensitivity" of the issue. The official said the section warning against drawing unsupported conclusions from data was expanded somewhat as the report went through the review process.
The report separated private schools by type, and found that among private-school students, those in Lutheran schools did best, while those in conservative Christian schools did worst. For example, in eighth-grade reading, children in conservative Christian schools did no better than comparable children in public schools.

In eighth-grade math, children in Lutheran schools did significantly better than children in public schools, but those in conservative Christian schools fared worse.

Two weeks ago, the American Federation of Teachers, on its Web log, predicted that the report would be released on a Friday, suggesting that the Bush administration saw it as "bad news to be buried at the bottom of the news cycle."
And guess what, it was delivered on a Friday with no announcement. But I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

Religious (in)tolerance:
Plans for new mosque ignite cultural turf war in Florida

Muslims find surprising foes, friends in 'nightmare'

Two years ago, the congregation of a small but growing mosque in Pompano Beach raised money to expand because it needed more parking.

Mosque leaders, filled with hope, chose a patch of land in a predominantly black area.

"They picked that spot because they were sympathetic to the black struggle and believed the feelings were mutual, especially since the persecution after 9-11," said Altaf Ali of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Several black ministers and civic leaders, led by the Rev. O'Neal Dozier [R- Wackjob], pastor of Worldwide Christian Center near the mosque site, protested in mid-June at the commission meeting.
Dozier called Muslims "dangerous," said they were "terrorists." Another black minister in the area warned they would "try to convert young black men." A black commissioner said Muslim shopkeepers were "not good business partners."

"We thought, if we talked to them, these black Christians would listen to reason," said Sofian Zakkout, head of AMANA, the American Muslim Association of North America.
What began as civil debate quickly plunged into an anti-Islamic diatribe with Dozier and his security force shouting at Ali that "Islam is evil" and "the Koran says to cut off heads."

That a 57-year-old black Christian minister, who gets teary-eyed when he talks about how he was "excluded as a young black man," is dead set on excluding Muslims is surprising enough. But even more surprising is who supports him and who doesn't.

Besides the three dozen, mostly black, protesters from his church - which his deacon says has more than 300 parishioners -[ED: Irony ALert!] ] Dozier is backed by two other black ministers from the area and about four local Jewish supporters, led by Joe Kaufman, founder of "Citizens Against Hate" and the "Republican Jewish Coalition of South Florida."

Opposing Dozier: Willie Larson, head of Broward County's NAACP chapter, and Andrew Louis, head of the county's Democratic Black Caucus.
Larson, the NAACP head, went to the podium to caution against "religious intolerance." He quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

The audience booed.

"Now, I've seen it all," Louis said. "Black people booing King.
Just how crazy can this get?"
Before he left City Hall on Tuesday, he [Rev. Dozier] announced his next step would be a lawsuit against the city if it doesn't rescind approval for the mosque.

Then, Dozier walked to his PT Cruiser, which his church security force had searched for a bomb, and drove off.
BTW, The good (sick) reverend is a political appointee of Jeb Bush to the Judicial Nominating Commission and an advisor to president Bush. They all deserve each other, but what did we do to deserve them?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Res ipsa loquitor

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:28 PM Permalink

Is US Winning? Army Chief Is at a Loss

It seemed like a routine question, one that military leaders involved in prosecuting the war in Iraq must ask themselves with some regularity: Is the U.S. winning?
During a Capitol Hill briefing for an audience mostly of congressional aides, Schoomaker paused for more than 10 seconds after he was asked the question — lips pursed and brow furrowed — before venturing:

"I think I would answer that by telling you I don't think we're losing."
"The challenge … is becoming more complex, and it's going to continue to be," Schoomaker mused. "That's why I'll tell you I think we're closer to the beginning than we are to the end of all this."

Rule of Law! Rule of Law!

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:23 PM Permalink

Bush Lawyers Decry Plan for War Crimes Courts

WASHINGTON — Bush administration lawyers Wednesday rejected congressional suggestions that suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban war criminals be prosecuted in the U.S. military justice system, saying military courts provided protections for defendants that were unwarranted in the war on terrorism.

The lawyers said the government must be able to use evidence and testimony gathered through coercion and hearsay and did not want to provide captives with lawyers before interrogating them for intelligence purposes.
But lawyers from the Defense and Justice departments told members of the House Armed Services Committee that such a plan was unworkable and urged lawmakers to retain the system put in place by President Bush four years ago, despite the Supreme Court's finding that it violated U.S. law and the Geneva Convention.
Steven G. Bradbury, head of the Justice Department's office of legal counsel, said the administration also wanted to maintain flexibility in introducing evidence coerced from detainees.

"We do not use as evidence in military commissions evidence that is determined to have been obtained through torture," Bradbury said. "But when you talk about coercion and statements obtained through coercive questioning, there's obviously a spectrum, a gradation of what some might consider pressuring or coercion short of torture
BullSheeeeit! E.g.
US acknowledges torture at Guantanamo; in Iraq, Afghanistan - UN
06.24.2005, 11:37 AM

GENEVA (AFX) - Washington has, for the first time, acknowledged to the United Nations that prisoners have been tortured at US detention centres in Guantanamo Bay, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq, a UN source said.
And not just that but the Supreme Court specifically stated that Gitmo prisoners were subject to Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions which not only prohibits torture but "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment"

Is it oversight or an oversight? ... or ... These headlines make me want to exSpecterate

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:11 PM Permalink

Bush agrees to let secretive court review eavesdropping

Bush backs spy program review

Bush Agrees to Review of Domestic Spying Program

Deal reached with White House on wiretaps

Legislation would let FISA court decide legality of NSA program
While that makes a good sound bite, let's check the facts:
Although the legislation does not mandate that the president submit the program for the court to review, Bush has agreed to do so, Specter said.
They didn't 'reach a deal', they caved! Besides Bush doesn't adhere to mandates unless they are with Jeff Gannon.

More Here:
the specific agreement to have the program reviewed by the court, Specter and Gonzales said, is not actually written into the bill, and is valid only if the bill makes it through the House and Senate unaltered. The deal also requires in writing twice-yearly reports to the congressional intelligence committees on "any electronic surveillance programs in effect." And it would also give the Administration more time to apply for warrants retroactively after an emergency eavesdropping operation has already begun.

Why is this baby squawling ... and what's he doing to that infant?

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:01 PM Permalink

Caption Contest (enter your submissions in comments):

1) No George, you're supposed to shake the hands and kiss the babies!
2) The Number 2 reason not to pick up strange babies!

Saturday Sailboat Blogging ... Late Night Edition

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:39 AM Permalink

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Just a few personal notes:

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:18 PM Permalink

skippy just turned 4, and we ordered some T-shirts to celebrate it. You'll 'roo the day if you don't order some too!

SteveAudio is always worthy of mention. He does what we used to ... but better. He also does what we do now ... but better.

I may not be the marryin' kind, but I've sometimes been Marian's kind ... and I'm OK with that.

(If you're confused by the last entry ... imagine how I feel;-)

Is it just hubris or does he just need a bris?

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:32 PM Permalink

Attorney General criticizes Supreme Court ruling on detainees

"As a lawyer, I think words should mean something, so when I read a treaty that says it applies to conflicts `not of an international character,' I take those words to mean what they say. . . . I give advice on words as I read them, as I interpret them."
Gonzales said he was more concerned with "where we end up than how we get there."
As a citizen I also think words should mean something and he just paraphrased 'the ends justify the means.' WTF!?

But it's not like this is a surprise considering Gonzales' previous (il)legal contortions positions:
"In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."
The Geneva Conventions are 'quaint' and 'obsolete'!? And why would he write something so obviously unAmerican and just plain morally wrong?

I'm so glad you asked: he was trying to escape future prosecution for war crimes:
Gonzales also argued that dropping Geneva would allow the president to "preserve his flexibility" in the war on terror. His reasoning? That U.S. officials might otherwise be subject to war-crimes prosecutions under the Geneva Conventions. Gonzales said he feared "prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges" based on a 1996 U.S. law that bars "war crimes," which were defined to include "any grave breach" of the Geneva Convention
Please allow me to interject that the dehumanization and torture of people is just plain wrong!

This is supposed to be a Feith faith based administration with Jesus as their saviour and in their hearts.

Apparently they haven't read their bible(s): "Do to others as you would have them do to you." - Jesus
Or any other text from the world's major religions and philosophies:
"Love your neighbor as yourself" - Moses (ca. 1525-1405 BCE) in the Torah, Leviticus
"Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you" — Muhammad, The Farewell Sermon.
"What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to others." -Confucius (ca. 551–479 BCE)
"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man." - Hillel (ca. 50 BCE-10 CE)
"if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness; if we sow evil, we will reap evil." - Hinduism

It doesn't matter whether you follow a particular religion, or subscribe to The Rights of Man or believe that "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" it seems obvious that this misAdministration has abandoned all the principles, beliefs and teachings that our country was founded on.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I Venture to say that this just isn't right

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:30 PM Permalink

UPDATE part deux: Hello to all of SteveAudio's fans, (which include us!)

UPDATE: Hello fellow denizens of Blogtopia! (y, wksctp!)

Why Aren't The Ventures in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!?

The Ventures are still touring with the surviving original members and have sold 110+ million albums worldwide. They are the biggest selling instrumental rock & roll group of all time. They've influenced everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Joe Satriani to countless players who didn't have a clue as to who helped forge their style.

So I'm instituting the 1st ever vidiotspeak drive ... no, not for something as crass as $$, but to get The Ventures into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame*

I would hope that you Walk, Don't Run

or better yet click your way to this petition to help enshrine them in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

When you do sign the petition I'd like it if you'd come back and leave a comment.

*Yeah, I know there are bigger problems in this country and the world, (I write about them most every day, I need a break), and while I can't indict Karl Rove or correct the vote count in Florida or Ohio, or stop Bush from invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, maybe I can help The Ventures get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And if you have a problem with that ... well excuuuse me!

My head says No No, but my ears say Nano Nano

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:38 PM Permalink

I Wanna Get Next to You 4:00 Rose Royce

My Woman From Tokyo 5:50 Deep Purple

Sail On Sailor 3:21 Beach Boys

Summertime 4:21 Doc Watson & David Grisman

Waiting On A Friend 4:38 Rolling Stones

Love To Love You Baby 3:24 Donna Summers

Battle Royal 5:35 Duke Ellington & Count Basie

Peter Gunn 4:18 Emerson, Lake & Palmer

The Drum Battle 3:36 Gene Krupa & Buddy Rich

We Want The Funk 5:42 George Clinton

Barracuda 4:22 Heart

Don't Stand So Close To Me 4:01 The Police

Thursday, July 13, 2006

More Harrisment for Katherine's Campaign

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:27 AM Permalink

UPDATE: Hello fellow denizens of Blogtopia! (y, wksctp!)

Here's a headline I never get tired of seeing, (which is good because I've seen a similar one five times in two years):
Five top staffers leave embattled Harris campaign

Former campaign manager claims that she 'treats people like garbage,' is disrespectful

Five senior staffers quit the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Katherine Harris on Wednesday. The departures struck a blow to a campaign that has already seen a revolving door of top managers, communications directors and consultants.

Two Harris staffers confirmed that campaign manager Glenn Hodas; field coordinator Pat Thomas; communications director Chris Ingram; political director Brian Brooks; and deputy field coordinator John Byers left the campaign. Jim Dornan, who was Harris' Senate campaign manager before he left last fall, said he confirmed the resignations through a close contact within the campaign.

Here's a headline I never get tired of seeing, (which is good because I've seen it four times in two years):
[Katherine] Harris' chief of staff quits

Caption contest:

1) New logo of the Harris campaign: More Horses' Asses Than Horses!
2) I told you I'd turn this campaign around.
3) And now for a word from my constituents.
4) Whew! I swear it was the horse!
5) There are two points I'd like to call your attention to ...
6) They're gyro stabilized, they always point forward no matter how backwards I look.

Bonus track: Check out Kat's latest campaign video!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

When Bush Breaks the Law, He Doesn't Change His Behavior, He Tries to Change The Law

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:01 PM Permalink

Bush pushes Congress to approve tribunals

The Bush administration made its opening move Tuesday in seeking new authority from the U.S. Congress to operate military tribunals trying terror suspects.
They were responding to the Supreme Court ruling almost two weeks ago that found the operation of the special military tribunals set up by President George W. Bush to be unconstitutional.
The Bush administration is taking the position that Congress should respond to the Supreme Court`s decision in the Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld case by making new laws to approve the procedures that Bush set into place in November 2001. It maintains that no changes in the procedures are required.
Ahh, but here's the rub: They found it unconstitutional, not illegal. It doesn't matter what laws they pass, they would have to change the US Constitution to approve Bush's illegal acts. The Supreme Court also said that all detainees have to be treated according to Article Three of the Geneva Conventions.

And Bushco apologists made this statement:
military officials insisted the new policy will not have much effect because humane treatment has always been the standard
FBI agents have described witnessing interrogations at Guantanamo that included chaining prisoners to the floor and leaving them to urinate and defecate on themselves, subjecting them to freezing cold and depriving them of sleep.
There's a lot more, but shouldn't that be enough!?

Saw it on AMERICAblog:

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:46 AM Permalink

White House paying $100,000 salary to "Director of Lessons Learned"
by John in DC - 7/12/2006 11:25:00 AM

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) offers a few more lessons learned:
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the President said we continue to be wise about how we spend the people's money.

"Then why are we paying over $100,000 for a 'White House Director of Lessons Learned'?

"Maybe I can save the taxpayers $100,000 by running through a few of the lessons this White House should have learned by now.

"Lesson 1: When the Army Chief of Staff and the Secretary of State say you are going to war without enough troops, you're going to war without enough troops.

"Lesson 2: When 8.8 billion dollars of reconstruction funding disappears from Iraq, and 2 billion dollars disappears from Katrina relief, it's time to demand a little accountability.

"Lesson 3: When you've 'turned the corner' in Iraq more times than Danica Patrick at the Indy 500, it means you are going in circles.

"Lesson 4: When the national weather service tells you a category 5 hurricane is heading for New Orleans, a category 5 hurricane is heading to New Orleans.

"I would also ask the President why we're paying for two 'Ethics Advisors' and a 'Director of Fact Checking.'

"They must be the only people in Washington who get more vacation time than the President.

"Maybe the White House could consolidate these positions into a Director of Irony."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I've been remiss ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:23 PM Permalink

... in adding folks to our blogroll, and even mentioning the ones we have added.
Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you:
Reverend Mykeru
and I've always been hoppy that skippy exchanged links with us.

All of the above have links and opinions I never would have seen/appreciated without them.

Here's how atrocities are enabled:

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:03 PM Permalink

Army Relaxes Its Standards to Fill Ranks
Critics say push to meet quotas may let unstable recruits join up

Pentagon officials announced Monday that the Army has managed to achieve its latest recruiting goals, while admitting that they have lowered some standards that had been set to ensure the quality of the force.
Coincidentally, the Pentagon's announcement on recruiting came on the same day the military identified several soldiers it accuses of participating in the rape and murders with Green.
To allow more recruits to join, the Army last fall amended its rule that it can sign up no more than 2 percent of recruits who score between 15 and 30 out of 99 on the Army's aptitude test. Now, up to 4 percent of Army recruits can score under 30 on the aptitude test, which measures such things as the applicants' knowledge of mathematics and command of the English language, said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman.
"We're being held up to an impossibly high standard," Hilferty said.
Scoring less than an 'F' on a test about english and arithmetic, (I've taken the test, there isn't any 'math' on it, there aren't even any story problems on it), is an 'impossibly high standard'!?
Hilferty said Army recruiters have "an aggressive mental health program" consisting of tests and checkups intended to weed out applicants with mental health problems or personality disorders -- which Green is reported to have -- during either recruiting or at basic training.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors racist and right-wing militia groups, reported this month that thousands of white supremacists may have infiltrated the military, taking advantage of loosened recruiting standards.

"Over the last several years, there has been a lot of pressure, and ... some of the recruiters have turned a blind eye," said Mark Potok, who works at the center. The Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups in 1996.
So to meet their goals they let in drunks, addicts and mentally ill people. The torture in Abu Ghraib, the slayings in Haditha, the rape and murder by Green et al are not anomalies, they are the expected outcome of policies instituted by the Bush regime.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond*

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:35 PM Permalink

Syd Barrett, Co-Founder of Pink Floyd, Dies at 60

LONDON (AP) -- Syd Barrett, the troubled Pink Floyd co-founder who spent his last years in reclusive anonymity, has died, the band said Tuesday. He was 60.

A spokeswoman for the band said Barrett died several days ago, but she did not disclose the cause of death. Barrett had suffered from diabetes for years.

The surviving members of Pink Floyd -- David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright -- said they were ''very upset and sad to learn of Syd Barrett's death.''
Barrett was gone from the band before I started listening to them and long gone by the time I was privileged to work with them, but they all say he set the tone, and if only for that reason, I Wish You Were Here.

* Shine On You Crazy Diamond was written about Syd Barrett

Monday, July 10, 2006

Even a blind nut can find a squirrel occasionally

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:22 PM Permalink

KING: So there is no doubt, if you had it to do over again, knowing the WMDs weren't there, you'd still go in?

G. BUSH: Yes. This is -- we removed a tyrant, who was a weapon -- he was an enemy of the United States
Funny, rummy didn't used to think so:

Shaking Hands: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983
Now back to Bush for your regularly scheduled deprogramming:
"who harbored terrorists"
How often will he repeat that lie!? The truth willout:
"A new CIA assessment say[s] there's no conclusive evidence that [Saddam's] regime harbored Osama bin Laden associate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
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.
Shortly after Cheney asserted these links, Bush contradicted him, saying: "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th."
The [9/11] report said that bin Laden "at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan."
So OBL sponsored terrorists against Saddam. Only Bush could spin that into a collaborative relationship. And speaking of Bush speaking, let the lies continue:
"and who had the capacity, at the very minimum, to make weapons of mass destruction. And he was a true threat."
Oh come on! Even Bush himself has said that wasn't true! Can't he even keep track of his own lies!?
I'll just excerpt a few of those moving goal posts and blatant lies from a Rotten source, but one that quotes Bush himself:
Before 9-11 - 2 Dec 1999
During a debate in New Hampshire, Presidential candidate George W Bush declares: "If I found in any way, shape or form that he was developing weapons of mass destruction, I'd take 'em out. I'm surprised he's still there." Asked if that meant he would overthrow Saddam, Bush said he was only talking about "the weapons of mass destruction."
28 Oct 2002
President George W Bush declares: "It's a person who claims he has no weapons of mass destruction, in order to escape the dictums of the U.N. Security Council and the United Nations -- but he's got them. See, he'll lie. He'll deceive us. And he'll use them." [ED: Pot/Kettle!?]
21 Jan 2004
During his State of the Union speech, President Bush [...] declaring: "the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities"
So Bush has gone from 'has WMDs' to tried to 'tried to acquire WMDs' to 'Saddam has WMD program related activities' and now back to 'had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction.'

Which completely contradicts the findings of his own Iraq Survey Group. Now why would Bush say such an obvious lie? Maybe the answer lies in this quote:
For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.

Paul Wolfowitz, Vanity Fair Interview, May 28, 2003

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Victory for Artistic Integrity

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:32 PM Permalink

How would you like it if you created a work of art and some repressed wackjob altered it to their 'taste' and then made thousands of copies and sold them?
Court: Sanitizing racy content in films violates U.S. copyright laws

Sanitizing movies on DVD or VHS tape violates federal copyright laws, and several companies that scrub films must turn over their inventory to Hollywood studios, an appeals judge ruled.

Editing movies to delete objectionable language, sex and violence is an "illegitimate business" that hurts Hollywood studios and directors who own the movie rights, said U.S District Judge Richard P. Matsch in a decision released Thursday in Denver.

Not Only Is Bush Exporting Terror Overseas

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:11 PM Permalink

He's helping train future home grown terrorists:
Hate Groups Are Infiltrating the Military, Group Asserts

A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines.

"We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," the group quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying in a report to be posted today on its Web site, "That's a problem."
The report quotes Scott Barfield, a Defense Department investigator, saying, "Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don't remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members."

Mr. Barfield said Army recruiters struggled last year to meet goals. "They don't want to make a big deal again about neo-Nazis in the military," he said, "because then parents who are already worried about their kids signing up and dying in Iraq are going to be even more reluctant about their kids enlisting if they feel they'll be exposed to gangs and white supremacists."

The 1996 crackdown on extremists came after revelations that Mr. McVeigh had espoused far-right ideas when he was in the Army and recruited two fellow soldiers to aid his bomb plot. Those revelations were followed by a furor that developed when three white paratroopers were convicted of the random slaying of a black couple in order to win tattoos and 19 others were discharged for participating in neo-Nazi activities.

The Southern Poverty Law Center identified the author as Steven Barry, who it said was a former Special Forces officer who was the alliance's "military unit coordinator."

"Light infantry is your branch of choice because the coming race war and the ethnic cleansing to follow will be very much an infantryman's war," he wrote. "It will be house-to-house, neighborhood-by-neighborhood until your town or city is cleared and the alien races are driven into the countryside where they can be hunted down and 'cleansed.' "

He concluded: "As a professional soldier, my goal is to fill the ranks of the United States Army with skinheads. As street brawlers, you will be useless in the coming race war. As trained infantrymen, you will join the ranks of the Aryan warrior brotherhood."

Remember how Rumsfeld said "we don't do body counts"?

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:43 PM Permalink

Well, turns out they do ... and the figures are almost twice what Bush said they were:
Iraq Civilians: 50,000 Dead-- But Who's Counting?

UNITED NATIONS - After famously telling reporters that they "don't do body counts," Pentagon officials now say that they have in fact been keeping a record of civilian casualties in Iraq for one year. And while that number remains classified, independent estimates suggest that at least 50,000 people have died in the country since the 2003 invasion.
And due to the ongoing daily violence and security crackdowns, as well as power shortages and failing communications networks, health workers have been unable to compile accurate data concerning how many people die in the country.
Sloboda added, "Indeed, there are on-record statements from military commanders saying that no way does the U.S. count casualties caused in engagements with hostile forces."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday Sailboat Blogging ... insomnia edition

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:33 PM Permalink

Saturday Live Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:20 PM Permalink

Dead calm in the marina.

Friday, July 07, 2006

If 9/11 changed everything ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:24 PM Permalink

... then why was Bush spying on our phone records before then?

Spy Agency Sought U.S. Call Records Before 9/11, Lawyers Say

The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.

The allegation is part of a court filing adding AT&T, the nation's largest telephone company, as a defendant in a breach of privacy case filed earlier this month on behalf of Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. customers. The suit alleges that the three carriers, the NSA and President George W. Bush violated the Telecommunications Act of 1934 and the U.S. Constitution, and seeks money damages.
"The U.S. Department of Justice has stated that AT&T may neither confirm nor deny AT&T's participation in the alleged NSA program because doing so would cause 'exceptionally grave harm to national security' and would violate both civil and criminal statutes," AT&T spokesman Dave Pacholczyk said in an e-mail.

Friday Nano Shuffle

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:28 PM Permalink

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart 6:24 Al Green

I Can't Make You Love Me 5:32 Bonnie Raitt

Poppa was a rolling stone 6:54 Temptations

Suite Judy Blue Eyes 7:24 Crosby Stills Nash & Young

Dream On 4:20 Depeche Mode

Cry Me a River 5:03 Diana Krall

Slow Ride 3:58 Foghat

Smiling Faces Sometimes 3:14 The Staple Singers

Stuck In The Middle With You 3:23 Steelers Wheel

Killing Me Softly 4:50 Roberta Flack

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Who wants to be a millionaire ... or ... Bushco FOIA gras

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:22 PM Permalink

The Republican Pate' and your tax dollars at work:
Tax dollars to fund study on restricting public data

The federal government will pay a texas law school $1 million to do research aimed at rolling back the amount of sensitive data available to the press and public through freedom-of-information requests.
There's no money for vets or the troops, yet somehow Bushco comes up with a cool million dollars for restricting access to our information that we already have access to.

And who did they give the million dollars to?
I'm so glad you asked: St. Mary's University School of Law professor Jeffrey Addicott, yes the Jeffy Addicott who's a former senior counsel for the U.S. Army's Special Forces and author of the book "Winning the War on Terror". BTW, he also authored MILITARY TRIBUNALS ARE CONSTITUTIONAL. (It seems that the Supreme Court disagreed with him.)

Haditha Update:

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:02 PM Permalink

Well, actually there is no update, regardless of what the White House said, and even after the ACLU filed a lawsuit, Bushco still refuses to release the facts from an atrocity committed by Marines in 2005. And how does Bushco perceive this? I'm glad you asked:
Perception Management

A higher-level investigation of the incident, conducted by Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell of the U.S. Army, has been completed, though the final report has not yet been publicly released.
Read it and weep.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Maybe Bush didn't drown New Orleans, but he's intent on holding her under

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:13 PM Permalink

Corps report ignores call for specifics
Details of Category 5 protections left out
Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Army Corps of Engineers, which was directed by Congress to prepare a report on how to protect Louisiana from a Category 5 hurricane, is poised to issue a vaguely-worded document that will not list the specific projects that would be needed to secure the state's fragile coastline.

The report was to be issued Friday, but the corps postponed action until July 10 after several heated exchanges with representatives of Gov. Kathleen Blanco who say the Bush administration has inappropriately removed a list of specific projects that corps engineers had included in the document's initial draft.
In a letter to Maj. Gen. Don T. Riley Friday, Blanco coastal adviser Sidney Coffee was critical of a White House "policy review (that) resulted in the rewriting of the entire executive summary and much of the report, without consultation with the Corps/State Project Delivery Team."
Corps officials would not comment on the delay. "There will not be a release of the report today," said New Orleans corps spokesman John Hall. "The document is under review by the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, and that's all I can say at this point."
Gee, you'd never guess that the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works is a Bush appointee, one John Paul Woodley Jr. Well, it's not like Bush has a history of ignoring Congressionally mandated reports ... well except this, and this, ... and this.

Democracy Scorecard: 4th of July Edition ... or ... Bush just doesn't have the Constitution for the job

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:49 PM Permalink

The Bill of Rights:
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
abridging the freedom of speech,
or of
the press;
the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

[Bonus religion point]

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,
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.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;
shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,
be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;
nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required,
excessive fines imposed,
cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Bush & Co have turned the 4th of July into just another Hollow Day.