2006 by the Numbers ... or ... 3 freaking THOUSAND!?
posted by The Vidiot @ 5:12 PM Permalink
The Blair/Bush Dumbvirate has claimed another American soldier's life, bringing the total American deaths for the war to 3,000! Yet another milestone for the millstone around America's neck.
posted by The Vidiot @ 5:10 PM Permalink
A fellow sailor and poet, (clarification: we're sailors, he's a poet), has started his own blog. I highly recommend it. It has lots o' snarkalicious content, and a unique point of view. A view that can only be obtained from outside our national bush-o-sphere.
I'll be adding Only In America to our blogroll ASAP. (which will probably be a day or two after the New Year ... I hope to have better peoplethings to do until then;-)
posted by The Vidiot @ 8:47 AM Permalink
The number of visitors has been going up which means someone out there is recommending us! So, thanks for reading our blog and, to those of you who have recommended us to others, thanks for recommending us.
In the coming year, we hope to add a few more regular posters (Mr. Vidiot has a New Year's resolution to post more than twice in one year, whether he likes that or not) because we want to have more voices than just our [the Sailor and I] "left-leaning acerbic wit." There are other points of view out there. Somewhere. I just know it.
Visiting family is a huuuuuuge time sink. I've had like NO time to surf or even notice what's going on. Ford is dead? Really? And the godfather of soul? Huh. (Who will be the third I wonder.)
I personally can't wait until January 2 when the relatives pack up and go home and the vidiot household can return back to it's usual balanced, calm and peaceful state. Well, as peaceful as it can be considering one, if not both of us, are anarchists.
For the coming year, there are a few things I'd like to see happen.
First, I'd like to see people stop wearing leggings. Those things are ugly and SO had their day in the 80s and, frankly, what happened in the 80s should just STAY in the 80s. (Same goes for dress shorts. What the hell is THAT all about?)
Second, I hope that Britney Spears finds her underwear. Really. Underwear. SUPER necessary if you're wearing short skirts AND climbing out of limos.
Third, if there are such things as UFOs, please, for the love of God, come out of hiding already because I'm tired of reading abduction stories and thinking that everyone involved is insane or stupid.
Fourth, and speaking of God, if there is a God, here's hoping he's pissed at George and Co. and has them all whisked away to The Hague this year.
Fifth, fingers crossed that the state-sanctioned assassination of Saddam Hussein doesn't start an escalation of violence in a world where violence is already overflowing. (Clap your hands and say "I believe in fairies. I believe in fairies...")
And finally, sixth, wishing and praying that the people in this country finally wake up and smell the coffee. There's little hope in this world unless the American people get it together, turn off their boob tubes, put down their Doritos, cast aside their diet sodas, lift their chubby assess out of their comfy, lazy-boy seats and march outside and challenge this government. Otherwise, we're doomed as a people and we're doomed as a planet.
Yes. I sincerely hope that 2007 is the year of the pissed off American citizen.
Hope all cheery for you and yours and I'll post again in the New Year.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today learned from a U.S. Army officer working closely with Iraqi forces that Iraqi units are gaining confidence in their abilities and are doing more to empower noncommissioned officers. [...] In a news conference a few hours later, Gates told reporters he was impressed and encouraged by what he heard from the Soldiers. He said he was particularly encouraged by the trust the Soldiers described developing between American and Iraqi troops. [...] The U.S. Soldiers "described these Iraqi soldiers as being very brave and very willing to be aggressive," Gates said.
When Gunnery Sgt. Scott Stalker, one of 5,000 U.S. military advisors in Iraq, arrived at this sprawling base last spring, he was training 80 Iraqi soldiers to fire and maintain their rifles.
Now his class is down to 25.
"It almost feels like 'What are we here for?' " the Marine told Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard, the Army officer sent to Iraq in June to overhaul the Pentagon's military advisor program. "Now the philosophy is 'Train who's there.' " [...] Corruption and fuel shortages are endemic. And 75% of Iraqi soldiers don't show up for duty.
After $353,341,239,615 (that's $353 BILLION+ (and counting), fewer Iraqi troops are being trained!? Well OK, so training the Iraqi troops isn't going so well. But we're doing better training their cops! Right? Right!? Aw jeez, it was fantasyland again:
A Feud over Bush's Pick Warren Bell draws criticism as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting appointee. by Matea Gold
President Bush quietly appointed television sitcom producer Warren Bell to the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting this week, overriding opposition from public broadcasting advocates who fear the outspoken conservative will politicize the post.
Bell's nomination had been stalled since September because of concerns about his qualifications among several members of the Senate Commerce Committee, which must approve nominees to the board of the CPB, the private nonprofit that distributes federal funds to public television and radio stations.
But Bush was able to circumvent the need for Senate approval by naming Bell to the board Wednesday evening as a recess appointee. [...] "There had not been action in the Senate on his nomination," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.
Gee Fratto, you think maybe there wasn't any action because they didn't want to approve him! Why would Bush appoint him!? Survey says!
I have met President Bush twice. I have no powerful political connections — both times were the result of sizable checks written by me to support his campaign.
Anyway, I turned 30, started making some serious coin, had some kids, read some Dennis Prager (for starters), and got my head screwed on straight. [...] I am thoroughly conservative in ways that strike horror into the hearts of my Hollywood colleagues. I support a woman’s right to choose what movie we should see, but not that other one. I am on the Right, in every way.
The incredibly partisan tone should be enough to bar any idealogue from the board.
The fact that he got his head screwed by Dennis Prager should bar him from civilization.
From the CPB's mission statement:
The fundamental purpose of public telecommunications is to provide programs and services which inform, enlighten and enrich the public. While these programs and services are provided to enhance the knowledge, and citizenship, and inspire the imagination of all Americans, the Corporation has particular responsibility to encourage the development of programming that involves creative risks and that addresses the needs of unserved and underserved audiences, particularly children and minorities.
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:35 PM Permalink
That the number of troops Bush wants to surge the size of the military in Iraq is about the same number of troops he has already gotten killed (2959) and wounded (22,057) in Iraq?
Sorry, apparently I can't keep up with their changing stories, Bush no longer wants to surge, now he wants to permanently increase the number of troops:
Althoughthe president offered no specifics, other U.S. officials said the administration is preparing plans to bolster the nation's permanent active-duty military with as many as 70,000 additional troops.
I want to comment on this, I really do, but I'm too busy cleaning up my exploding head detritus and the posterior and anterior spew.
Remember when Bush said he'd listen to the Generals? Nope, he just changes the Generals until he finds ones that tell him what he want's to hear:
Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, has submitted plans to go ahead with a retirement that is months overdue, according to the U.S. Central Command.
And the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, has indicated in recent months that he also may not stay much longer than the end of this year.
Since they have opposed sending more troops to Iraq, their departures could make it easier for Bush and his new Defense Secretary Robert Gates to switch course in the troubled campaign, where they are considering a short-term surge in forces.
There are already almost 450,000 thousand troops in Iraq (140,000 American, 17,500 (ever shrinking) coalition of the shilling and 280,000 trained Iraqi troops and cops) and they can't even secure the capitol of Iraq. Why would Bush (R- moron) think another 20,000 to 30,000 more troops are the answer!? (Yep, that was a rhetorical question.)
When you're in a hole, stop digging! Especially if all you are digging are more Americans' and Iraqis' graves.
It's not a matter of 'winning' (even if Bush could define winning), it's the fact that Bush sold this war as having to stop an imminent attack on the US by Iraq.
Excerpt: "The public was ignored on this; public opinion was ignored on this," says Dave Menzer, an organizer at Citizens Action Coalition, an Indianapolis-based advocacy group that also joined the anti-privatization suit. "I think that increasingly the public feels like what's driving politics, what's driving these decisions, is multinational corporations and deal-makers like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley. They're the ones making tens of millions of dollars ultimately at the public's expense."
Towards the end of the article, there's this:
Excerpt: Enright concludes, "The private operator's fidelity is to his stockholders—not to the public transportation system, not to the people who use the road. His duty is to get the most possible revenues out of the asset." Enright's firm did a study showing that if a pricing scheme similar to the one agreed to in Chicago had been applied to New York's Holland Tunnel for the past 70 years, the toll would stand at $185 rather than the current $6.
Read the whole thing. It's a doozy. (Here, print it out.)
Now, I ask you, WHAT IF, instead of selling these roads to say, private contractors, and instead, sell the roads to the people via bonds, (like is supposed to happen), but just say they tried that. So the roads would be wholly owned by citizens and managed by a non-profit holding company that would manage and maintain the roads while at the same time, maximizing the value for the citizen investors? I know I'm being naive, and I know that's sort of how traditional bond market stuff works, but jeeze! Selling our infrastructure to private companies just has trouble and angst written all over it.
The only thing I can hope for is by the time this government gets overthrown by a VERY angry populace, that the new government re-nationalizes our roads and cancels all of those contracts.
Excerpt: Is this a new 9/11 conspiracy The New York Times is reporting? That “roughly $40 million that was set aside by the federal government to treat rescue workers, volunteers and firefighters who became ill after helping with the 9/11 cleanup and recovery will run out in months, physicians and federal officials said yesterday.” And the fund goes broke while the war meter ticks in Iraq at nearly $3 billion a week?
Excerpt: We talked a while back about the planned solar power tower in Australia. Well, a functioning experimental solar power tower has been generating the juice in Spain for quite some time. The project plant is really pretty exciting, and though there's still the whole "ugly giant pipe on the horizon" problem, I very much like the idea, and could see it generating cost-effective energy sooner than most alternative technologies.
So, in summation:
Money for war: Check!
Money for people who were on the frontlines of that war before that war even started: No!
Money for energy that would make the aformentioned war unnecessary: Hell No!
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:55 AM Permalink
I'm sure you've heard that Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, et al, are considered neocons. And while some of you may know that the ideas many neocons embrace stem from the philosophical writings of Leo Strauss, you may not understand what the means to you or if that even should have any effect on your life. Well, I have to say, there's a very clear example of how it does effect our foreign policy and it's happening right now. (Well, it's been happening all along, but with Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Perle's diminished influence, it's still going on which just underscores the possibility that Bush foreign policy = Cheney foreign policy.)
Here, I'm only going to refer to two aspects of neocon/Straussian belief -- their belief in the "noble lie" and dominance by the elite -- because both aspects directly effect how Bush et al is handling the Iraq situation.
Excerpt: What gives Straussian thought its special flavor – a bitter blend of hypocrisy and cynicism – is the fact that Strauss himself didn’t believe in the eternal “truths” he championed. He was a nihilist, in other words – but one who believed only the philosophical elite could be trusted to indulge in such a dangerous vice. In exchange for this privilege, the elite has a special obligation to uphold the “noble lies” the ignorant masses must live by if society is to survive.
So how are do these beliefs effect our foreign policy? Well, let's look at it this way: Only 11% of the people polled support increasing troop levels in Iraq. The military doesn't support increasing troop levels. The Iraq Report cautions against increasing troop levels. And what does Bush et al want to do? Increase troop levels. 'Natch. The neocons think they know better than EVERYBODY ELSE.
Couple that with "noble lies" like proof they were told, in 2002, that Iraq had no WMDs and Iran approached THEM in 2003 to have a nice chat and they ignored it, well, there's no way to even think that the neocon foreign policy has no bearing.
You know, I've read that Strauss wrote in such a complex way that very few understood what he was saying. Theory being that he wrote in a sort of "code" so that only the most brilliant minds could embrace his thought processes. But judging by how things have turned out, it's more likely that Strauss was an idiot, and anyone who managed to find meaning in his drivel is completely and certifiably insane.
posted by The Vidiot @ 4:18 PM Permalink
The differences have been explained to me a bunch of different ways, and I get it, but I can't explain it. So here it is, explained by some upstart out of Brown University.
Excerpt:The division dates back to the time after Muhammad's death in 632, in the area which is now known as Saudi Arabia, when the next leader of the Muslim nation had yet to be decided. One group of people (who would later become known as the "Shiites") believed that the ruler should be a member of the prophet's family, while another group (who would later be called the "Sunnis") believed that Muhammad’s successor should be chosen from amongst those who were most qualified. While Shiites desired the succession of Muhammad’s cousin “Ali” as the next leader, Sunnis opted for “Abu Bakr,” a close friend to the prophet. The Sunnis quickly prevailed and Abu Bakr was installed as Muhammad's successor.
Go to the link to read the rest. It's pretty good.
Excerpt: Hours after signing an agreement yesterday on cooperation with India on civilian nuclear technology, President George W. Bush issued a "signing statement" insisting that the executive branch was not bound by terms of the agreement approved by the House of Representatives and Senate, RAW STORY has learned.
Dems and Repubs might as well be the same. They're irrelevant no matter what they do.
Excerpt: The US Army is considering measures to force striking workers back to their jobs at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant in Kansas in the face of a looming shortage of tyres for Humvee trucks and other military equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, according to the Taft Hartley Act, which I never actually read before, but just have and wow, how did THAT get passed, says that injunctions can be filed by interested parties. Sure, I'll say the military is an interested party since the strike is effect the availability of tires and such, but that opening paragraph there scared the dickens out of me.
So here's a little note to Bernard Simon of FT.com: When you used the word "military" and "force" in the same sentence, you make people nervous.
The Environmental Protection Agency approved new rules today that will quadruple the amount of some toxic pollutants that companies can release before they have to reveal the amounts to the public.
Federal officials originally proposed a 10-fold increase in the trigger for public reports on most chemicals covered by the 20-year-old "Toxic Release Inventory" program. EPA Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock said the revised limits will ease regulatory burdens on industry while giving companies an incentive to recycle or better manage toxic compounds.
More than a dozen states sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday to lower soot levels from smokestacks and exhaust pipes, a move the state officials argue would save thousands of lives.
The states argue that the Bush administration is ignoring science and its own experts in refusing to slightly reduce the allowed threshold for soot. [...] Officials from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia joined New York in the action filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. [...] Last week [...] the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association and Environmental Defense, sued the EPA over the same issue.
And it's not like we haven't covered similar moves by the BPA (Bushco Protection Agency) before.
There's a lot of rampant speculation on the internet about everything and anything -- from weather control to mind control, to alien lizards disguised as the Bush family. But the one subject that seems most plausible is the speculation that the goal of the corporatists is to form a North American union. The groundwork was established with the NAFTA agreements. And now, the next step is to collapse the dollar.
Excerpt: "Creating the amero," Chapman explained, "will be presented to the American public as the administration's solution for dollar recovery. In the process of creating the amero, the Bush administration just abandons the dollar."
Now, I've been called, by a poster in the comment section, a one-worlder or some such. Meaning that I support the UN becoming the end-all, be-all in global management. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For one thing, the UN is a nightmare. Case in point: I did some graphic freelance work back in August for one of their itty-bitty little departments. I've not been paid yet. Basically, I had to fill out 4 or 5 different forms, I had to find information from my bank that most of the bank employees didn't know, then, it had to all be sent to Geneva. Then, Geneva came back and asked if I'd ever worked there before. I had, as a temp secretary during the GA in 1988 for chrissakes. Frankly, I'm expecting a request for a sacrificial puppy before they'll even think of releasing a check to me for a measely couple of hundred dollars. But that's the UN in a nutshell. They can't pay a freelancer a few hundred dollars within six months. What makes anyone think they can solve a world crises in anything less than six hundred years!
Not only that, I'm all for local economies. I'd rather buy a dozen eggs from my local producer that charges 50 cents more then industrial eggs from the other side of the country. I'd rather go to a small hardware store owned and run by locals. Hell, I'd prefer to have "New York Dollars" made and used in a sort of barter system throughout the city. Smaller is better as far as I'm concerned.
Which is why the concept of an amero scares me. The EU has worked, but it has major issues. And there's an homogeneity that's developing over there with problems and such that I don't like. And while the Euro is a powerful currency, there's no saying if the same thing can happen over here. The Americas are different. The corporatists are here. And they're the ones that have really screwed things up.
I don't know where I'm going with this line of thought and I don't know why I'm so uneaasy about it. I just know that it makes me really uneasy.
posted by The Vidiot @ 10:12 AM Permalink
If you had any delusions that the dems were different than the repugs, then behold:
Excerpt: Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday he would support a temporary troop increase in Iraq only if it were part of a broader strategy to bring combat forces home by early 2008.
When CLEARLY the intent of and will of the voters was to get OUT of Iraq.
So, if you thought that I was going to calm down and stop pissing and moaning about Congress because "our side" won, you have another thing coming. There is no "our side" when it comes to these guys. It's only "us" and "them," "them" being the corporate interests and "us" being, well, everybody else. "They" will always side with big business. "They" will always decide in favor of money over people. "They" are worthless.
If this Congress doesn't stop taking money from the corporatists, doesn't stop the war, doesn't arrest the Bush cabal, doesn't reinstitute and reestablish strong social policies, we should march on Washington, shackle the lot of them and throw them into the prisons they so lovingly (and profitably) built.
I know. It's the holidays and I should be joyous and shopping and cooking and cleaning. And I AM doing all of those things (except for the shopping part), yet there's this little itch in the back of my brain... and no, it's not my scar. Something is telling me that this will all end badly (Or well, if you're an anarchist!) because the system is broken. REALLY broken. And the dems have six months to convince us that it's not.
posted by The Vidiot @ 10:21 AM Permalink
The Department of Homeland Security is fined for hiring illigals to build the fence that's meant to keep out illegals.
Excerpt: A fence-building company in Southern California agrees to pay nearly $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. Two executives from the company may also serve jail time. The Golden State Fence Company's work includes some of the border fence between San Diego and Mexico.
I agree with both of them. Whenever I hear a cover of a song that was just so supremely nailed by an artist I wonder 'what the fuc hell were they thinking!?' when someone else covered it.
But when I hear Fiona Apple singing "Across the Universe", Joe Cocker doing "She came in thru the Bathroom Window" and (gasp!) Guns N' Roses covering "Live and Let Die" I have to open my head just a bit and acknowledge something new was made of these songs that brought the original intent into sharper focus. (I used The Beatles in all 3 examples because I've rarely heard such perfect originals have something added.)
All art is subjective, it's what makes it Art. If you love velvet Elvises, they are art for you. No one has the right to say otherwise. The mere fact that a piece of art moved you, whether it was music, movement, sculpture, painting , (and all the other art forms I don't have time or space to mention), means you are certifiably human.
So I think skippy and SteveAudio are both right ... and both wrong.
Excerpt: According to the data, drinking a moderate amount of alcohol — up to four drinks per day in men and two drinks per day in women — reduces the risk of death from any cause by roughly 18 percent, the team reports in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Television producers, musicians, actors and writers made that pronouncement during testimony in Los Angeles in the first of six public hearings being held across the country. [...] The commission heard from notable people in the industry such as Mike Mills, bassist for the rock band R.E.M., Stephen Cannell, producer of the 1970s detective show "Rockford Files," [...] Patric Verrone, president of Writers Guild of America [...] Taylor Hackford, third vice president for the Directors Guild of America.
A parade of Washingtonians — some prominent, some not-so — urged the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday to resist big-media pressure to loosen rules limiting how many local media outlets one company can own. [...] The two FCC commissioners in attendance, Democrats Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, joined in denouncing media consolidation [...] Thursday's forum was not one of the six official hearings the FCC will hold on media ownership rules. [...] Locations for the other four have not been announced.
Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America told FCC commissioners in the second of six public meetings nationwide. "You can drive I-40 from Knoxville to Barstow, California, and hear the same 20 songs on every country radio station." [...] George Jones, who said he and his fans have suffered under tighter radio playlists that he says are often determined by a relative few with little knowledge of country music history. [...] Porter Wagoner said "clear channel" used to mean a powerful coast-to-coast radio signal like the one that used to broadcast the Opry.[...]"The days of an artist receiving airplay as a new act are gone,"
Local activists, politicians and business owners said the Texas-based radio giant's decision to replace its highly rated progressive talk station with Fox Sports Radio simply doesn't make sense. [...] The station had the second highest ratings in Madison for news talk and the 11th highest in the market overall over the summer, according to Arbitron, Inc. [...] The top rated news talk station, WIBA-AM, features a mix of straight news and conservative talkers.
The airwaves belong to us. Every time a large corporation consolidates more outlets, we hear less of our collective voices. So you see it's not just radio, it's not just TV, it's politics. The politics of controlling the message we get to hear.
The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says.
The arts have always been at the forefront of societal change.
If Mike Mills, Stephen Cannell, Porter Wagoner, George Jones, the Writers Guild of America, the Songwriters Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America, to name just a few, all agree this is a bad idea? It's a bad idea!
Silence our voices and you silence our choices.
More examples of this trend and what you can do to help are here.
posted by The Vidiot @ 4:48 PM Permalink
Kinda' difficult to juggle the two. Lately, when I'm on-line, I'm busy looking for gifts for kids, etc. (Adults don't get a lot of gifts from me.) Besides, there's nothing going on in the news that impresses me much. It's all the same drivel as always. The only story that's really piqued my interest is the Saudi Ambassador abruptly leaving his post. Last time that happened was 9/4/2001 and well, we all know what happened then, don't we. Couple that with an interesting post over at George Ure's Urban Survival (do a search for "spy death") about how Litvinenko may not have been poisoned after all, but rather, he may have been working with the Chechens or SOMEone to create a trigger for a nuclear bomb. The conclusions:
Excerpt: The real message, the one found by reading between the lines, not the MSM headlines, is much more frightening. This message states quite clearly that individuals with known ties to Chechen insurgents (beneficiaries of intense support from radical Islamic terrorists from around the world) have succeeded in processing enough nuclear material to produce an exotic substance with one real use – as part of the trigger for a basic nuclear warhead. If these same insurgents have also acquired a nuclear warhead, especially a small nuclear device that could be easily transported, then we have entered into a new nightmare world where terrorists do have a functioning nuclear warhead.
It also means that their supply of Po-210 is almost certainly limited and that every day that passes means their trigger becomes weaker and weaker. Within a year, two at the most, the material obtained with such painstaking effort (if this scenario is true) will become worthless specks of lead. They have no reason to delay in using such a device, if that is their intent.
Well, that outta' keep you up at night. My work here is done.
Excerpt: The goal of this blog is to collect 315 copies of Orwell’s 1984 and send them to every member of Congress who voted for the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which suspends the writ of Habeas Corpus for anyone deemed an “enemy combatant” by anyone in the Bush Administration, meaning they can detain you indefinitely without access to a court and torture you if they like. We can be reached at unpersonsATgmailDOTcom Big Brother is watching you.
posted by The Vidiot @ 10:51 AM Permalink
Honestly? Not so bad. I barely noticed it was almost two and half hours long. It's lovely, it's suspenseful, it's interesting. But I tell you one thing, Mel Gibson is completely nuts and he's fantastically violent. And Mad Max is never far from Mr. Gibson's psyche. If you haven't noticed, almost all of Gibson's movies are just variations on the Mad Max theme: Great life. Great wife. Wife gets murdered. Gibson goes crazy, bat-shit violent. Behold: The Patriot? Mad Max with a musket. Braveheart? Mad Max in a kilt. Lethal Weapon? Mad Max with a magnum. So there you have it. Gibson has made a sort of genre out of Mad Max. Kind of like film noir, only a bazillion times more noir. Really, high cringe-factor noir.
We recommend it. It made an impression and images and feelings from the movie hung around afterwards, which for me, is a sign that the movie was pretty good. The movie should be seriously looked at for cinematography and set design.
Now, as far as an upcoming movie goes, we saw previews for 300 and it looked awesome!
Excerpt: Chinese officials have secretly executed a demonstrator who took part in a massive protest in 2004 against a hydro-electric dam in the south-western province of Sichuan, lawyers and family members said yesterday.
And then relate that to "Oh, that would NEVER happen here."
As long as it remains a "That's them, not us" frame, that sort of behavior just won't be believed if it's reported to happen here. However, if you read the Military Commissions act, Bush is totally able to do exactly what those Chinese officials did. And who's to say he hasn't done it already?
In related news we didn't even make the cut. But we did achieve a milestone. skippy was the TEN THOUSANDTH visitor to vidiotspeak! It's kind of an inside joke, (skippy will get it), but we have achieved over 10,000 pages viewed.
posted by The Vidiot @ 1:30 PM Permalink
It's been around for a while, and it seems legit. But whoa. It just gets worse and worse and worse, well, hear it for yourself. Well, after hearing this, I no longer have that awful "peace. love. and gap" thing going 'round my head.
The Bush administration is considering doing away with health standards that cut lead from gasoline, widely regarded as one of the nation's biggest clean-air accomplishments.
Battery makers, lead smelters, refiners all have lobbied the administration to do away with the Clean Air Act limits.
A preliminary staff review released by the Environmental Protection Agency this week acknowledged the possibility of dropping the health standards for lead air pollution. The agency says revoking those standards might be justified "given the significantly changed circumstances since lead was listed in 1976" as an air pollutant.
The EPA says concentrations of lead in the air have dropped more than 90 percent in the past 2 1/2 decades. [...] Lead is one of six air pollutants the EPA is required to review every five years to make sure the health limits are protective enough. The others are ozone, soot, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides.
The EPA has repeatedly missed the deadlines set under the Clean Air Act, incurring the legal wrath of environmental groups. [...] In July, a Washington-based trade group for all U.S. lead battery makers wrote a top EPA air quality official to urge that the agency remove lead from its list of air pollutants.
So the EPA says the program is working so we can end it? And I'm sure that lobbying (read: giving $$ to Bushco) by those groups had nothing to do with it. This could explain why I own the Brooklyn Bridge and a swamp in Florida.
While some might be surprised at the dearth of cases on your docket, the rest of us understand that decisions like Bush v Gore and the relgio rantings of Scalia have made the SCOTUS, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant. Being a rubber stamp for this administration has forever tarnished your reputation.
Lyrics: I sense someone's tapping into my phones why do... I got this feeling in my bones I might die soon... The F.B.I might be tryin to pull my file soon... I might be walking blind fold into a typhoon... I might be seeing rockets light up the night sky... Right outside of the window of my living room... And if they do you can say goodnight and bye bye to my tunes... If I don't try to record as much before I do... The plan is to have as many in the can as I can... As I stand before you in this booth a walking deadman... Blank stare, dead pan look as my face as I gaze into space... As I wait to be scooped up in that van... Mysteriously disappear into thin air... And they gon' say a sniper just appeared out of no where... And I'll go down in the history as the blood sucking leech... Who hid behind the freedom of speech... Tried to take the fifth amendment use it, twist it and bend it... (???) The business way to end this... I can feel the tremors tremendous... In remembrance of September 11... Flash back to September 7th... When Tupac was murdered in Vegas... He said that he predicted his own death... Let us never forget it or should we ever live to regret it... Like the day John F Kennedy was assassinated in broad day... By a crazed lunatic with a gun... Who just happened to work on the same block in a library book depository... Where the President would go for a little Friday stroll... Shots fired from the grassy knoll... But they don't know or do they?... Who's they? Touché... We're all vulnerable and it's spooky... This is about as kooky as I've ever felt now... Count down to Nuclear Meltdown... 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... You can run you can do what you want to... But you know you ain't gonna do nuttin... When its time its your time... You are the prime target... You have become Public Enemy Number 1...
This is what rap is for. Not for stupid Gap ads.
Which, by they way, I'd like to nominate the rapping Gap christmas ad as the worst. ad. ever. And most annoying too. For an art form that was created out of resistance, this sort of crass commercialism just pisses me off. The only other commercial out there that pisses me off in a similar way is the Select Dental ad. They hired this guy to play this blonde girl's husband and when it comes time for him to talk, well, you have to hear it. I mean, he's sibilant as hell, and when he says "ssssselect dental", I just want to scream. Could they not find an actor without a sibilance to deliver that one ssssssimple line??!
posted by The Vidiot @ 8:06 AM Permalink
Haven't done one of these for a while. Mostly because watching the police state form isn't necessary since it's just so in your face these days. But, I just want to make sure you didn't miss this little bit.
Excerpt: It’s amazing what you can find if you turn over a few rocks in the anti-terrorism legislation Congress approved during the election season.
Take, for example, the John W. Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2006, named for the longtime Armed Services Committee chairman from Virginia.
Signed by President Bush on Oct. 17, the law (PL 109-364) has a provocative provision called “Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies.”
The thrust of it seems to be about giving the federal government a far stronger hand in coordinating responses to Katrina-like disasters.
But on closer inspection, its language also alters the two-centuries-old Insurrection Act, which Congress passed in 1807 to limit the president’s power to deploy troops within the United States.
Seems the new bill shreds all sorts of things, like the Posse Comitatus act and constitutional state soverignty, to just name a few.
Yes, it's just a matter of time before Bush et al, feeling threatened by something shuts down a US city, declares martial law, stations troops in homes, and has troops doing civilian policing. I honestly don't know why Bush feels the need to do this sort of thing though. It's not like Americans have the energy to protest like they do in Peru or Lebanon. I'd be surprised if you could get your typical American to make a single phone call to their Congressman, let alone take to the streets and shut down government.
Excerpt: For Jay Bakker, a preacher with perhaps the most notorious surname in modern Christianity, family is never very far away—even here at Pete's Candy Store, a subway car-sized rock club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which has served as home base for his Revolution ministry since relocating from Atlanta in August. On a recent Sunday afternoon, Jay's father, disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker, could be seen sitting at the foot of Pete's stage along with his second wife and a dozen or so dreadlocked and tattooed Revolution churchgoers.
A presidential advisory commission created two years ago to monitor the effects of anti-terrorism measures on civil liberties held its first public hearing Tuesday amid criticism from advocacy groups that the panel was a paper tiger and indications that its members were wrestling with their watchdog role. [...] Created by Congress in response to a recommendation by the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission, the panel was conceived as a way to ensure the administration considers implications on privacy and civil liberties when implementing "all laws, regulations and executive branch policies." In practice, though, its power is limited by the fact that its members are appointed by the president, whose policies they are supposed to scrutinize. [...] But board members said at the hearing that they were taking their job seriously. They have received classified briefings on the secret surveillance program and a separate program that monitored international bank data, and were also briefed on legislation to put new limits on the surveillance program. [...] "It is important for us to maintain the confidentiality of the recommendations that we might or might not take," Alan Raul, a Washington lawyer and vice chairman of the panel, said in response to a question. "To share some of the private views we might have would undermine our ability to be effective as the statute contemplated."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't a panel on 'civil liberties' not meet in secret? Shouldn't they have folks who have had their liberties curtailed/stolen actually testify? Shouldn't they not be appointed by the guy who stole our liberties?
And all they did was go ask various secret federal agencies if they'd done anything wrong. I'm fairly certain the answer was a (resounding whispered and classified top secret) no.
This panel wasn't just window dressing, they spent their time discussing exactly what shade of lipstick to put on the pig. In secret.
No, it's not. Our country was founded, at best, by deists, but mainly it was founded by folks who wanted freedom of/from religion, (See "Church of England" AKA 'I'm going to split from the pope because I have a heir-brained idea' or as I like to call it, 'they should have bought a coup instead of a tudor.'), it's enshrined in the Constitution as the 1st Amendment.
Sure, Iraqis should reject religious extremism, but so should Americans ... starting with the President.
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a free-speech case from Alaska known as the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" dispute, in which a high school principal suspended a student for displaying that phrase on a banner.
The case, which hinges on the extent free-speech rights are afforded to students, drew national interest after former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr took the case in August. [...] "The school boards and the administrators need guidance as to the appropriate line between the enforcement of existing and common school policies on one hand and the rights of students to engage in certain types of speech on the other hand," Starr said.
The controversy erupted in 2002 after Joseph Frederick, then a senior at Alaska's Juneau Douglas High School, displayed a banner proclaiming "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" while standing on a sidewalk across the street from the school as the Winter Olympics torch was passing through Juneau.
Then-Principal Deborah Morse confiscated the banner and suspended Frederick from school for 10 days. [...] Because the demonstration occurred outside the classroom and did not disrupt school activity, the school had violated the student's free-speech rights by punishing him, the appeals court found.
In the court opinion, Judge Andrew Kleinfeld wrote that "public schools are instrumentalities of government, and government is not entitled to suppress speech that undermines whatever missions it defines for itself."
He wasn't on school grounds, let me repeat, HE WASN'T ON SCHOOL GROUNDS! Sorry for the shouting, but it's bad enough that schools can tell students how to dress, what to write, what they can say, what they can think on school grounds, they just have no business in a student's life outside of school.
And if that wasn't enough, the justices took this case but turned down the case of a guy who got 55 years, that's YEARS!, for carrying a handgun during three 8 oz. marijuana sales. Even after four former attorneys general and 145 former prosecutors and judges wrote in support of a lighter sentence.*
* Hat tip to TalkLeft, a great site about the Politics of Crime.
Update III: A reader informs me that this story is just an urban legend, debunked by Snopes. I don't really have a beef with Snopes, and I might just be revealing my ignorance, but I'm not sure if I find their argument mooving. Maybe I'm just sensitive because it's my ox being gored.
It is reported that the dazed crew of a Japanese trawler were plucked of the Sea of Japan clinging to the wreckage of their sunken ship. Their rescue, however, was followed by the imprisonment of the boat's crew once authorities started to question the sailors on their ship's loss. They all maintained that a cow, falling out of a clear sky, had struck the trawler amidships, shattering its hull and sinking the vessel within minutes.
No one believed them, suspecting them of drunkenness or worse and so they remained in prison for several weeks, until the Russian Air Force reluctantly informed Japanese authorities that the crew of one of its cargo planes had apparently stolen a cow wandering at the edge of a Siberian airfield, forced the cow into the plane's hold and rather rashly then taken off for home.
Unprepared for live cargo, the Russian crew was ill-equipped to manage a now rampaging and fed-up cow within its hold. To save the aircraft and themselves, they pushed the animal out of the cargo hold as they crossed the Sea of Japan at an altitude of 30,000 feet.
A cow in the cargo hold!?
What cud possibly go wrong?
After a bit of rumination, what other course did the plane's crew have but putting the cow down?
And after the gravity of the situation was lost on the Russian's shouldn't the trawler crew have gotten out of the way when they herd the horns?
Of course, once it's pasture deck the hull thing couldn't be avoided.
It's bull to make the cow the fall guy, and I am milking the story, but this is just udderly ridiculous!
Thanks, I'll be here all week and don't forget your bartender or your waitresses' teats tips!
For that camp fire worshipper in your life. I can't tell how many times I've sat in front of a fire and had to rotate myself like a slab of meat so I could warm my backside. Well, this little ingenious piece solves that problem.
Excerpt: Travellers aren't allowed to see or challenge the computer-generated scores, which the government plans to keep on file for 40 years. The scores are assigned to people entering and leaving the US after computers assess their travel records, including where they are from, how they paid for tickets, past one-way travel, seating preference - and even what kind of meal they ordered.
I think from now on, we should all ask for aisle seats and halal food. That would clog up the system.
posted by The Vidiot @ 9:10 AM Permalink
In the UK, they're thinking of letting people invest in the prison system.
Excerpt: Over the summer the home secretary said he had won cabinet backing for 8,000 extra prison places, with 4,000 to be provided in existing jails and a further 4,000 in three "super-prisons" each housing 1,300 inmates, double the normal capacity. The model uses "real estate investment trusts" (Reits) which are to be launched by the Treasury in January and will enjoy tax exemptions.
So basically, investors will actually WANT the police and the court system to incarcerate as many of their fellow citizens as possible so that the newly built prisons they invested in will be filled to capacity and will therefore be profitable.
Paperless electronic voting machines used throughout the Washington region and much of the country "cannot be made secure," according to draft recommendations issued this week by a federal agency that advises the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Gee, we shrill ones have only been saying that since 2001.
posted by The Vidiot @ 9:16 AM Permalink
A new and useful search engine. Whenever we google something, how many of us ever really go beyond the first page or two. Well this search tool, Page Bull, loads a snapshot of the webpages from your search so you don't even have to click through anymore. Very cool.
1.(sometimes capital letters 'V' and 'S' with no space) a style of writing or saying something using emotion and/or logic and snark, esp. in order to elucidate the obvious while pretending to be objective.
2. anything written by The Vidiot, The Sailor, Mr. Vidiot and anyone else they allow to post on the blog “vidiotspeak”
[Origin: loosely based on new + speak, coined by George Orwell in his novel, 1984 (1949)]
And for godsakes, stay away from FOX, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC.
It's ALL CRAP!!!
Watch the BBC news or ITN news instead.
"POSSE COMITATUS ACT" (18 USC 1385)
A Reconstruction Era criminal law proscribing use of Army (later, Air Force) to "execute the laws" except where expressly authorized by Constitution or Congress. Limit on use of military for civilian law enforcement also applies to Navy by regulation. Dec '81 additional laws were enacted (codified 10 USC 371-78) clarifying permissible military assistance to civilian law enforcement agencies--including the Coast Guard--especially in combating drug smuggling into the United States. Posse Comitatus clarifications emphasize supportive and technical assistance (e.g., use of facilities, vessels, aircraft, intelligence, tech aid, surveillance, etc.) while generally prohibiting direct participation of DoD personnel in law enforcement (e.g., search, seizure, and arrests). For example, Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETS) serve aboard Navy vessels and perform the actual boardings of interdicted suspect drug smuggling vessels and, if needed, arrest their crews). Positive results have been realized especially from Navy ship/aircraft involvement.