Monday, April 30, 2007

So how's that whole War on Terror thing going?

posted by The Sailor @ 6:50 PM Permalink

Thanks to Bush, business is booming:
Annual Terrorism Report Will Show 29% Rise in Attacks

A State Department report on terrorism due out next week will show a nearly 30 percent increase in terrorist attacks worldwide in 2006 to more than 14,000, almost all of the boost due to growing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said Friday.
[...]
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her top aides earlier this week had considered postponing or downplaying the release of this year's edition of [...] congressionally mandated deadline of Monday, the officials said.
[...]
Even after this year's report was largely completed and approved, Rice and her aides this week called for a further round of review, in part to avoid repeating embarrassing missteps of recent years in the report's release, officials said. The review process is being led by Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, formerly the nation's intelligence czar.
[...]
In 2005, the department was again accused of playing politics with the report when it decided not to publish the document after U.S. officials concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985.

The outcry forced Rice to drop that plan and publish the report.

The Just Us Department

posted by The Sailor @ 6:34 PM Permalink

Minorities fare worse in traffic stops

Black, Hispanic and white drivers are equally likely to be pulled over by police, but blacks and Hispanics are much more likely to be searched and arrested, a federal study found.

Police were much more likely to threaten or use force against blacks and Hispanics than against whites in any encounter, whether at a traffic stop or elsewhere, according to the Justice Department.
[...]
-Blacks (9.5 percent) and Hispanics (8.8 percent) were much more likely to be searched than whites (3.6 percent). There were slight but statistically insignificant declines compared with the 2002 report in the percentages of blacks and Hispanics searched.

-Blacks (4.5 percent) were more than twice as likely as whites (2.1 percent) to be arrested. Hispanic drivers were arrested 3.1 percent of the time.

Among all police-public contacts, force was used 1.6 percent of the time. But blacks (4.4 percent) and Hispanics (2.3 percent) were more likely than whites (1.2 percent) to be subjected to force or the threat of force by police officers.
[...]
Two years ago, the Bush administration's handling of the 2002 report and its finding of racial disparities generated considerable controversy.

Departing from normal practice, the earlier report was simply posted on the statistics bureau's Web site without any press release announcing it.


The bureau's director at the time, Lawrence A. Greenfeld, appointed by President Bush in 2001, wanted to publicize the racial disparities, but his superiors disagreed, according to a statistics bureau employee. Greenfeld told his staff he was being moved to a new job following the dispute, according to this employee, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

This time there was a press release.
And in related news:
FBI opening far fewer civil rights inquiries
Civil rights hiring shifted in Bush era
Conservative leanings stressed


The Bush administration is quietly remaking the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, filling the permanent ranks with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights, according to job application materials obtained by the Globe.

The documents show that only 42 percent of the lawyers hired since 2003, after the administration changed the rules to give political appointees more influence in the hiring process, have civil rights experience. In the two years before the change, 77 percent of those who were hired had civil rights backgrounds.

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This should set your blood to boil

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:31 PM Permalink

Wow.

I mean WOW.

Not like it's unexpected or anything, but it's just so... well, in your face. Back during the reign of GH Bush
Excerpt: Barlow says he continued to be engaged in trying to arrest more Pakistani nuclear agents. He also claims there were other examples of officials lying to Congress about Pakistan's nuclear program in order to keep aid flowing, but now there was a significant difference: The Afghan war was over, so there was no Cold War “justification” for continuing to shovel money at Pakistan. This time, he believes, it was simply about profit.

"They sold out the world for an F-16 sale," Barlow says.
The gist of the story is this: They were funneling money into Pakistan -- against the law because of the fact Pakistan had nukes -- and the main reason was greed. Pure and simple greed. And the guys who managed this fiasco are now running the country (Cheney, et al) and they guy who tried to be honest and stand up about it? Drummed out of his job, natch.

Wow.

Republican Rats Ready to Abandon Sinking Iraqi Ship

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:06 PM Permalink


After all the bluster, veto threats, and hoo-ha-ha being excreted by the bush/cheney maladministration comes this latest article on how anxious the rethug party is becoming and how they are getting ready to abandon bush/cheney in favor of improving their own chances for reelection.

From the LA Times:
On the surface,there's not much suspense about what happens next in the battle between President Bush and Democratic lawmakers over the war in Iraq. Bush says he will veto the $124-billion war spending bill passed by both houses of Congress last week that requires him to begin withdrawing troops this year; when he does, Democrats say, they will protest and then send him the money without binding conditions.…That noisy script, however, is just a prelude to a debate — under conditions likely to be more difficult for Bush — that could turn into a decisive moment for the course of the war.…Democratic and Republican members of Congress already are focusing on September as their next major decision point on the war — planning hearings to debate Petraeus' findings and, in the Democrats' case, promising new attempts to force Bush to withdraw troops.…By September, the troop buildup will have been underway for more than six months. Unless there is dramatic improvement in Iraq, public support for the war will probably have eroded further. And by September, skittish Republicans will be four months closer to starting their reelection campaigns.…But nuances may no longer be enough to keep Republicans from breaking ranks. GOP leaders warn that they will need dramatic evidence of progress — something that has been in short supply in Iraq — to maintain support for the war.…"We need to get some better results from Iraq both politically, economically and militarily, and that needs to happen in the foreseeable future," said House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a Bush administration loyalist.
How many more times must we "turn the corner" in Iraq before even the Republicans recognize that bush has us going in catastrophic circles?

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I just figured out why I don't like Hillary

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:20 AM Permalink

Beyond the myriad of reasons cited by various and sundries that I more or less agree with, here's what I really don't like about her:

If she's elected, it would make it Bush, Clinton, bush, Clinton. That's just not in the best interest this country. Even if not in reality and only in theory. And the kind of person who would put her own ambition ahead of her country's own best interest will NOT be good for this country. Period.

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Tenet on 60 Minutes

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:37 AM Permalink

We were eating dinner at the time and at one point, I think we BOTH did a spit take. With regards to the crazy WMD estimates that were so very wrong...
Excerpt: "From our national intelligence estimate," Tenet says. "You don't make this kind of stuff up."
Oh, really?

And the other one that got us to say "what?" was after he denied that the US tortures -- up and down he said the US doesn't torture -- but when asked if he lost sleep over it:
Excerpt: Asked if he lost any sleep over it, Tenet tells Pelley, "Yeah, of course you do! Of course you lose sleep over it."
So, the US doesn't torture, but he still loses sleep over it.

Also, at one point he said that Zawahiri called off an attack on the NYC subway system "in favor of something larger." And the clue he has to go on is that bin Laden "has been trying to get his hands on nuclear material"

Boo!

There were so many little loopholes and contradictions in what he said. And he seemed almost panicked and freaked out.

So, here's my wine-induced theory: Tenet knows something, either that the administration is planning something big and bad or that they're not preventing something big and bad. And this whole thing, this mad blathering on 60 Minutes, the book, everything, is his way of telling the administration that they had better not or he's going to really tell all.

Well, it's a wine-induced theory after all.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Oh. I'd vote for this guy.

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:02 AM Permalink

This Mike Gravel guy. Did you hear him on the debate? He basically said everyone else was nuts, especially the top tier guys and gave special mention to Biden's arrogance. Behold.

I don't know about you but I LIKE him. Too bad the corptocracy is now conspiring against him by not letting him participate in the New Hampshire debate.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

HeadLyings

posted by The Sailor @ 5:45 PM Permalink

So how's that whole surge escalation thing going?
Petraeus: Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better
[...]
He says that the increasing use of car bombs and suicide attacks plus the greater concentration of US troops among the population, have led to greater US and Iraqi military losses.
U.S. officials exclude car bombs in touting drop in Iraq violence

U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren't counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians.

Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn't include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
[...]
But the number of people killed in explosive attacks is rising, the same statistics show - up from 323 in March, the first full month of the security plan, to 365 through April 24.
[...]
In that same period, the number of bombings has increased, as well. In December, there were 65 explosive attacks. That number was unchanged in January, but it rose to 72 in February, 74 in March and 81 through April 24.
Iraq won't give casualty figures to UN

The Iraqi government has refused to provide civilian casualty figures to the United Nations for its latest report on the hardships facing Iraqis, the UN said Wednesday, but numbers from various ministries indicate that more than 5,500 people died in the Baghdad area alone in the first three months of 2007.
[...]
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government rejected the report for its criticisms of the country's judicial system, saying it "lacks accuracy" and balance.
Really!? Gee PM, if it lacks accuracy, it's because you won't release the numbers. Now why wouldn't they want to release the numbers?
Ivana Vuco, a UN human-rights officer, said government officials had made clear during discussions that they believed releasing high casualty numbers would make it more difficult to quell unrest.
[...]
American officials also defended al-Maliki's decision to withhold casualty figures. "There were sometimes concerns with political motivations" in the release of statistics, one U.S. Embassy official said, referring to the sectarian and ethnic polarization plaguing al-Maliki's government.
Yeah, all those pesky civilian deaths might cramp the White House's lies about the escalation working.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Day 2

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:10 PM Permalink

And counting.

What am I counting, you may ask?

Well, I'm counting the number of days the MSM blacks out coverage of the impeachment proceedings against Dick Cheney.

Hrmph.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Fifth Amendment or the Fifth Column?

posted by The Sailor @ 10:25 PM Permalink

By now you've probably heard about the hearings that have exposed the Pentagon and White House lies regarding the death of Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch's travails.
But I think this component deserves special attention:
The Army recently completed two inquiries into [Tillman's] death.
[...]
The report from the inspector general’s office in the Defense Department singled out four generals and five other officers for potential discipline but said that they had done nothing criminal and that there was no broader cover-up.

The report was especially critical, however, of Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr., head of the Army Special Operations Command at the time of Corporal Tillman’s death.
[...]
The oversight committee requested that General Kensinger testify today, but he declined through a lawyer, citing his constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination.
The Army's report said there was nothing criminal ... and yet an American General is refusing to testify because he may incriminate himself.
Read that last line again.
General Kensinger refuses to answer to civilian authorities after being cleared by the Army of any criminal offenses because he might incriminate himself!?

Fine, after he's removed from his job for contempt of congress, compel him to attend and make him plead the fifth, over and over and over, in front of the TV cameras. And remind him that in this country the military is under civilian control.

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Oh, I SO needed a laugh today

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:53 PM Permalink

And thanks to the wonders of blogs and youtube, I found two of them. They're part of an ad campaign for New Mexico tourism.

New Mexico Alien Visitors

Aliens Again Visit New Mexico

I didn't notice it at first

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:14 PM Permalink


But in the story about Kucinich and his articles of impeachment, the WaPo misquoted the Declaration of Independence.
Excerpt: 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; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the government; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.
Uh, no they don't, they derive their just powers from the consent of the governed you f'ing morons.

Holy crap. They really DON'T care anymore.

Oh for heaven's sake.

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:05 PM Permalink

With regards to the articles of impeachment against Cheney, if this isn't a joke, I don't know what is.
Excerpt: Our contacts (we promised to keep their names confidential) have also stated that any attack on Vice President Dick Cheney will be met with retribution in the form of Veto’s for pet projects in their home district. In short, don’t make any mistakes on the concept of the Whitehouse shutting down Washington for the next 2 years should this be attempted.
To whomever posted that:

Shutting down Washington for two years is a GOOD thing.

Programming note

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:52 PM Permalink


Not that the readers of this blog aren't already aware of the MSM's complicity in selling the Iraq war to the public, but just in case, watch Bill Moyers tonight on PBS.

Here's a link to a summary of tonight's show.

ROFLMAO!

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:35 AM Permalink

Bwaahahahhahahhahahahaaa
Excerpt: Intelligence has nothing to do with wealth, according to a US study published Tuesday which found that people with below average smarts were just as wealthy as those with higher IQ scores.

"People don't become rich because they are smart," said Jay Zagorsky, research scientist at Ohio State University whose study appears in the Journal Intelligence.
{whew}

Please, tell me something I DON'T already know.

Here's what I'm talking about

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:29 AM Permalink

While this is totally cool and all:
Excerpt: For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for "life in the universe.
Is there a reason why that story has eclipsed the fact that articles of impeachment have been filed against the Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney??!!!

Just Asking.

Update:
Here are two (one, two) blog entries worth reading about the discovery. {sigh} Might as well give into it.

Action Alert

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:24 AM Permalink

They're coming after our Vitamin C.
Excerpt: The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has launched another sneak-attack, trying to regulate your health freedom into oblivion. Through FDA’s unholy partnerships with Big Pharma and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (an offshoot of the UN), we are very close to losing alternative health care in America. This is a crisis, and needs your immediate action.
(More information the Codex can be found here)

From the first link above:

ACTION TO TAKE:

I assert my fundamental right to control my own health and health care. I want Complementary and Alternative Modalities ("CAM") to be freely available.

Submit comments on the draft guidance to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

OR, submit electronic comments to: [Click here]

Tell the FDA:
Finally, add Cc: Representative (Senator) _______________, so the FDA knows you’ve contacted your Congressmen.

Your comments must reference "FDA Docket No. 2006D-0480", and must be submitted by April 30, 2007. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Philip L. Chao, Office of Policy and Planning (HF-23), Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, 301-827-0587.

1, It is urgent that you contact your own Congressman. You can write your Representative and Senator as below: Office of Congressman (Name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Office of Senator (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
You may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate or House office you request. Or, go to this website.

It's about friggn' time.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:37 AM Permalink

Finally, somebody (even the elfin Kucinich) filed SOME sort of impeachment paperwork.
Excerpt: Let me cite from the articles of impeachment that were introduced this afternoon, Article I, that Richard Cheney had purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and the Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States armed forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security.
(Supporting documents are here)

Going after Cheney is first is a good move. If they went after Bush first, then Cheney would be president and well, THAT would be scary. And if they went after Bush and Cheney together, well, that would just be unwieldy.

But, as much as this is mildly satisfying on a partisan level, I have to wonder A) what took so long and B) why did he wait until so close to the 6 o'clock news cycle. Had he done it at 4pm or so, it may have made the news. I didn't watch the news last night (sometimes, I just can't stomach it) Was it mentioned?

I just looked at the CNN homepage: No mention of it
ABC homepage: nada
MSNBC: zilch
CBS: whoa, nothing
FOX: no surprise, but I had to look.

OK. So articles of impeachment have been presented to Congress against the Vice President of the United States of America and NONE of the major news outlets have it on the homepages?! Even if just from an historical perspective IT'S A BIG STORY.

Now I'm getting angry.

If there was any illusion or delusion that the media gave a flying crap about anything, it's gone. Those guys are useless. USELESS. How on god's green earth could they not even have a MENTION of it on their HOMEPAGES?!

I'M SO MAD RIGHT NOW I COULD SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Call you congresscritter and tell that idiot that if they don't vote "yes" on impeachment that you will sell your house to fund whomever runs against them that says they would've voted yes. Then contact the media and tell them that if they don't start talking about it, you'll stop watching and start a boycott of their advertisers.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Victory for Freedom of Religion

posted by The Sailor @ 6:06 PM Permalink



First the good news:
U.S. Says Wiccan Symbol Can Appear on Veterans' Headstones

To settle a lawsuit, the Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed to add the Wiccan pentacle to a list of approved religious symbols that it will engrave on veterans’ headstones.
[...]
Until now, the Veterans Affairs department had approved 38 symbols to indicate the faith of deceased service members on memorials. It normally takes a few months for a petition by a faith group to win the department’s approval, but the effort to win approval for the Wiccan symbol took about 10 years and a lawsuit, said Richard B. Katskee, assistant legal director for Americans United.
[...]
"I was just aghast that someone who would fight for their country and die for their country would not get the symbol he wanted on his gravestone," said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, which litigates many First Amendment cases. "It's just overt religious discrimination."
Exactly what he said. This is excellent, if long overdue, news.

Now the bad news:
"The government acted to settle in the interest of the families concerned," he added, "and to spare taxpayers the expense of further litigation."

In reviewing 30,000 pages of documents from Veterans Affairs, Americans United said it found e-mails and memoranda referring to negative comments that President Bush made about Wicca during a 1999 interview with the ABC program "Good Morning America," when he was governor of Texas. The interview had to do with a controversy at the time about Wiccan soldiers being allowed to worship at Fort Hood in Texas.

"I don’t think witchcraft is a religion," Mr. Bush said at the time, according to a transcript. "I would hope the military officials would take a second look at the decision they made."
[...]
Under the terms of the settlement, Americans United had to return the documents and could not copy them


Previous post here.

A Teachable Moment

posted by Mr. Vidiot @ 10:12 AM Permalink

Teacher (to his high school class): What are your thoughts on the Virginia Tech shootings? How should we as a concerned public understand this tragic event?

Student 1: The problem is safety.

Teacher: OK. (Writes that on the board.) Anyone else?

Student 2: More police!

Teacher: (Writes that on the board) OK. Next?

Student 3: More security!

Teacher: (writes that on the board) OK. Anyone else?

Student 4: More Cameras!

After writing “More Cameras" on the board, the teacher puts a big equal sign next to everything and says, "Add that up and you get"
= Culture of Fear

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Police State NYC

posted by Mr. Vidiot @ 6:45 PM Permalink

The scene: Bowery Street, near Bleeker, a sunny day, people casually walking about the city, a sudden fender bender.

A woman hits the back of an SUV. She seemed to have attempted to leave the scene. Unfortunately for her, the car behind her was an unmarked NYPD SUV. The police jump out of the car, night sticks drawn, and frantically screaming. They repeatedly yelled at the woman to open the car door, night sticks in hand, beating the window with the stick. The woman sat in silence, ignoring the police officer. The officer grows agitated. He becomes frantic and panics. He radios for help. Beats the window again, his face red with panic, yelling in a rage for the woman to open the door. Again, she sits calmly, hands on the wheel, without movement. Within moments, three, then five, then ten, and twelve police cruisers arrive on the scene, sirens wailing, police running, nightsticks drawn, confused, panicked, and disorganized.

They don't know how to get the woman out of the car.

A regular guy on the street, walks up and opens the passenger side door. The policemen then physically pulls the woman, now kicking and screaming, out of the car. She wails. Officers, one then two, struggle with the woman on the ground, finally handcuffing her, preparing to put her in the back of a cruiser. There may have been more than 15 cops for this one, 5 foot 2, 120 pound woman.

The police say the usual "Nothing to see here, move on. If you stay here, you're a witness." The crowd wonders, if there was nothing to see, why 15 police, 7 or 8 cruisers with sirens wailing, some yelling some screaming, and some confused with the rest standing around and watching. How many police does it take to handle a ordinary, common, what should be routine situation?

There seem to be too many police on the streets. In any situation, no matter how banal, it becomes police by the dozens on the scene, an NYPD version "shock and awe." Beyond that, they seem poorly trained and chronically panic stricken, nervous even. Night sticks drawn for a little woman. 15 police, some with the PR24s drawn to intimidate one woman in a fender bender.

This is a police state. In any situation, police are ready to swarm the area, grab the offender of society who broke the conformed sanctioned flow of NYC life and whisk them away into the state prison complex to await punishment.

We witnessed a similar scene last night in Brooklyn. The entire block filled with police cars for something that may have just been a ‘dine and dash’. Cops quickly entered the scene by the dozens, swarming like bees in a hive.

The point: any small infraction, and the State will crush you.

If the police get nervous and panicked over a small woman in a fender bender, it's no wonder that they could shoot 50+ bullets into an unarmed man on the night before his wedding.

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Sailor @ 2:54 PM Permalink

Spring has sprung!

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Shut up and/or you're out of here!

posted by The Sailor @ 6:25 PM Permalink

If you've been paying attention you know that the Freedom of Speech (along with all the other Bill of Rights) has been suspended under Bush. Who knew that being silent was also a threat to the regime!?
Students suspended after supporting 'Day of Silence'

The national "Day of Silence," designed to highlight the bullying and harassing of students who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, resulted in the suspension of two Gulf Middle School students.

One of the pupils at the Cape Coral school was suspended after other students began yelling about a sticker she was wearing explaining the pledge of silence. The other suspended pupil had distributed some papers describing the Day of Silence, sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

"These students violated school district policy," Lee County School District spokesman Joe Donzelli said. "You can't just hand stuff out without approval from administration. You can't wear something that could become a disruption to the education process."
Uhhh, 'scuse me, the freakin' morons shouting were the disruption!

Hmm, I wonder why they they got the idea ... maybe here.

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Headlyings!

posted by The Sailor @ 6:01 PM Permalink

Iraq Pullout Would Lead To Bloodbath, Bush Warns

Bush: Sectarian Killings Drop in Baghdad

Army General Says Security in Baghdad Has Lost Traction

A day after a wave of car bombings killed more than 150 civilians and injured almost 200 others in Baghdad, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates asserted today that the U.S. commitment to the Iraq war is not open-ended.

Training Iraqi troops no longer driving force in U.S. policy

Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.

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Watching the hearings yesterday.

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:36 AM Permalink

And even though Fredo was caught in a red-handed lie (and maybe more than one), at the end of it, Schumer said "Well, it wasn't a knockout punch, but he's in serious trouble" or words to that effect.

So now, lying under oath is OK?

Do you need any more proof that the Dems are just as worthless as the GOP?

Oh my

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:32 AM Permalink

His "babbling incoherently" problem is getting worse.
Excerpt: Maybe the president just felt like jabbering at the town hall-style event in Tipp City, Ohio. He began talking about terrorism and ended 90 minutes later after chattering about everything from life after the White House to Vietnam War and the brutal Khmer Rouge regime.
What a pass they give him. The man can't keep a train of thought and they just call it "jabbering."
Unbelievable.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Going, going ... Gone-zales!

posted by The Sailor @ 5:55 PM Permalink

UPDATE:
President Bush was pleased with the Attorney General's testimony today.


A few highlights from today's Senate Hearing regarding Abu Gonzales:
"I think it's clear to me that some of these people just had personality conflicts with people in your office or at the White House and, you know, we made up reasons to fire them."

"I'm concerned about your recollection, really, because it's not that long ago."

"There are some very serious problems, Mr. Attorney General. [...] Your ability to lead the Department of Justice is in question."

"We have to evaluate whether you are really being forthright in saying that you, quote, 'should have been more precise,' close quote, when the reality is that your characterization of your participation is just significantly, if not totally, at variance with the facts."

"I believe you ought to suffer the consequences that these others have suffered, and I believe that the best way to put this behind us is your resignation."
And those were the Republicans' comments.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

And in related news

posted by The Sailor @ 8:12 PM Permalink

Leak Prompts Fear Over World Bank [reproductive] Health Policies

Juan José Daboub, the bank’s managing director, ordered staff to remove all references to family planning from its country assistance programme document for Madagascar. Mr Daboub is the former finance minister of El Salvador and a member of the Arena party, which has close ties to the Catholic church.
[...]
specific targets relating to contraception were also deleted. The original draft committed the bank to work to increase contraception uptake from 14% as of 2004 to 20%. The final document contained no goal.
[...]
In the past, the World Bank has championed the sexual and reproductive rights of women, which are considered by most in international development as critical to their health, status and economic progress.
[...]
Paul Wolfowitz, the bank's president, has also claimed there is no change
Gee, would that be the same Wolfowitz who was the feces flinger of the Iraq war, (sorry, architect is much to grand to use for this fiasco), the same Wolfowitz who vowed to banish corruption in the World Bank, the same Wolfowitz who dictated his girlfriend gets a job in the Department of Defense and then transferred her to the State department and dictated to the World Bank that she should make more money working for the State Department than the Sec of State Condi Rice gets!?

Yes officer, that's the guy.

BTW, pity that poor woman whose salary jumped from only $132,000 and was forced, against her will, to be 'victimized' by a pay raise to $193,000.

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They're like a$$holes

posted by The Sailor @ 7:06 PM Permalink

Everyone has one. The US Supreme Court has 5.

The only opinion that should matter is the medical one between a patient and her doctor.
From the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
The intact variant of D&E offers significant safety advantages over the non-intact method, including a reduced risk of catastrophic hemorrhage and life-threatening infection. These safety advantages are widely recognized by experts in the field of women's health, authoritative medical texts, peer-reviewed studies, and the nation's leading medical schools.

And Bush agrees:
the best healthcare decisions are made not by government and insurance companies, but by patients and their doctors.

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Counseling for all, please.

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:58 AM Permalink


Along with everyone else in the country I mourn the loss of innocent life at Virginia Tech and extend my sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the departed.

I also pray that every student on campus will be seeing a crisis counselor, whether they believe they need to or not, because for a short time they were all in a war zone and many watched friends die or heard the screams of the wounded among the gunshots.

I believe one of the single greatest threats to the mind after a horrific event like this is the guilt that survivors feel, the question in their minds being, "Why did I survive while my friends died?" These thoughts, without counseling, can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a most unpleasant state of mind.

I urge Virginia Tech to make such counselors available to all students and further urge all parents of the survivors to see that their young adult receives such counseling.

God bless them all.

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When it comes to Cheney

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:41 AM Permalink

You never know if this sort of thing is a threat or a promise.
Excerpt: Vice President Dick Cheney, often called upon to deliver the administration's toughest talk about the wars abroad, now says this about the threat of terrorists detonating a nuclear bomb in an American city: "It's a very real threat. ... Something that we have to worry about and defeat every single day."

Accidental Discharges–Not Just for Lovers Anymore

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:16 AM Permalink


From Reuters.com:
Two Secret Service officers were injured on Tuesday after a gun held by another Secret Service officer accidentally fired inside the White House gate, according to a spokesman, Darrin Blackford.…Their injuries are non-life threatening, the spokesman said.…One officer suffered a shrapnel wound to the face, and the other was wounded in the leg.…They were taken to George Washington Hospital.…"It appears that at approximately 2:10 p.m. (1810 GMT) there was an accidental discharge of a service issued weapon, which occurred inside the Southwest Gate at a security post near the White House," Blackford said.…
Every military policeman, and most soldiers, have heard repeated the warning that their weapon is not a toy, games such as "quickdraw" should never be played with even an empty weapon, for that weapon will be loaded at some time and, should the quickdraw game start anew, it is very possible that someone will be shot. All weapons bearing personnel also are told not to un-holster their weapon for any reasons but loading, unloading, and for possible use in dangerous circumstances and that even then it should not be drawn unless you may have to shoot and then you shoot to kill (center mass, technically, but the home of the heart).

The old .38 Special that used to be standard issue for Air Force police have a special "trigger-block" internally that prevents a weapon from firing if dropped (even from great height) so if any discharge occurred all that had to be done was to take the weapon to the Armory, disassemble it, and if the trigger block was still in place it told you that contrary to whatever story was told, the only way that gun went off was through pulling the trigger.

Many agencies have switched to 9mm handguns, primarily for the increased ammunition holding capacity (15-16 rounds compared to 6), and bearers of this type of weapon are trained to keep the safety on at all times while holstered to prevent accidental discharge, then after drawing the weapon, releasing the safety only when ready or forced to fire.

Secret Service personnel are taught to do those two things simultaneously, while drawing the weapon they will release the safety while the gun is coming out of the holster so it is ready to fire immediately.

Draw your own inferences, the results of a shooting investigation of this type are not generally released to the public, but it's very difficult to accept an "accidental" discharge of a weapon in such a high security location.

Makes me wonder if bush has loaded up the Secret Service with political cronies, too.

And now for something completely frivolous.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:41 AM Permalink


Me wanny.

Excellent catch at BoingBoing.net

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:28 AM Permalink

Wow.

The comment, in it's entirety:
W. Vann Hall says,

This quote from an ABC News story contains a disturbing piece of information:
Some news accounts have suggested that Cho had a history of antidepressant use, but senior federal officials tell ABC News that they can find no record of such medication in the government's files. This does not completely rule out prescription drug use, including samples from a physician, drugs obtained through illegal Internet sources, or a gap in the federal database, but the sources say theirs is a reasonably complete search.
Somehow I missed the signing into law of NASPER, the National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act of 2005 (assuming the 'federal database' referenced is actually the combined databases of states accepting NASPER funding).

Unfortunately, as I read subsections (f)(1) and (g) of the Act, it doesn't seem to allow searches such as this one. Must've been a signing statement attached: Link

Indeed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Headlyings

posted by The Sailor @ 8:55 PM Permalink

Administration Seeks to Expand Surveillance Law

White House Says Emails Lost Due to Tech Glitch
I got nothin' ... except Bushco's new motto:"We screwed up and we're trying to fix it"

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In other news

posted by The Sailor @ 6:12 PM Permalink

Yes, it's a shame that a mentally disturbed student killed 32 other students at Virginia Tech. But that's an aberration, it doesn't happen every day in the US ... but it does happen to innocent Iraqis twice a day in Iraq.

Please pardon the black humor but I will illustrate my point with an old joke:
Bush and Rumsfeld walk into a bar.
A guy comes in, sees them and asks the bartender: "Hey, is that Bush and Rumsfeld over there?"
"Yup", replies the bartender.
So the guy approaches their table and asks: "Hey, what the hell are you guys doing here?".
Rumsfeld says: "We're planning to attack Iran right now".
"Really! What's going to happen?"
Bush says: "Well, we're gonna kill 130,000 Iranians, and one bicycle mechanic."
"Why would you kill a bicycle mechanic?" asks the guy.
Bush turns to Rumsfeld and says: "See? I told you nobody cared about 130,000 Iranians".
In other news:
Number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq climbing

Over the past six months, U.S. troops have died in Iraq at the highest rate since the war began, an indication that the conflict is becoming increasingly dangerous for U.S. forces even after more than four years of fighting.

From October 2006 through last month, 532 U.S. troops were killed, the most during any six-month period of the war. March also marked the first time that the U.S. military suffered four straight months of 80 or more fatalities. April, with at least 58 service members killed through Monday, is on pace to be one of the deadliest months of the conflict for U.S. forces.
So while the MSM is screeching 24/7 about VaTech shootings, let's take a look at how Bush et al see the situation in Iraq:
Bush: we're beginning to see some progress
Cheney:
I think we are making progress.
General McCaffrey:
Since the arrival of General David Petraeus in command of Multi-National Force Iraq – the situation on the ground has clearly and measurably improved.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates:
Security in Baghdad has improved even though only part of the planned increase of U.S. troops is in place
I feel bad for the loved ones of the dead and the wounded students at Virginia Tech, they were caught up in a tragedy that no one could have predicted or stopped. It's horrible ... but a constant horror goes on every day in Iraq.

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The Virginia Tech Shooting and Orwell

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:32 PM Permalink

I'm reading Orwell's 1984 right now. I just started it so I'm at the very beginning where he's talking about how they revise and redo all the old newspapers, books, magazines, over and over again so that there are no contradictions ever. All of history is constantly rewritten.

As I follow through the tragic story of the Virginia Tech shooting, the stories keep changing. First, he had no expression on his face. Then he had a blank smile, now I just read somewhere that he maniacally laughed after every shot. First we read he had sanded off the serial numbers on the guns, then we find there was a receipt for a glock in his backpack. First we read that there was no connection to an earlier bomb threat, then we find out there was a bomb threat note by his body. (Remind anyone of the 9/11 fire proof passport?)

I'm not saying there's any conspiracy here, but there does some to be a lot of bad reporting. In the rush to get the story out before anyone else, the result is a really Orwellian palimpsest of information.

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I am a complete and utter geek

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:50 PM Permalink

The analytical structure underlying the spinorial theory
can be represented visually. The structure is a Xi-transform,
which moves between the three spaces in the directions given
by the bendings of the upper case Greek letter Xi. The distorted squares
represent the wave operator. The product of a wave operator and
a Xi transform, taken in any order, is zero.
Image credit: Erin Sparling.


I get all excited when I read about an animated movie that's going to be released that's based on Edwin Abbott's novel called Flatland. (Read online version of the book here.)

What's even more geeky is that I found it on physorg.com when I was reading an article on how other dimensions may be time-like.
Excerpt: In a recent study, mathematician George Sparling of the University of Pittsburgh examines a fundamental question pondered since the time of Pythagoras, and still vexing scientists today: what is the nature of space and time? After analyzing different perspectives, Sparling offers an alternative idea: space-time may have six dimensions, with the extra two being time-like.
I need help.

America: Thy Name is Hypocrisy.

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:40 PM Permalink


From Raw Story:
The White House on Monday sharply scolded Russia over the repression of opposition demonstrations over the weekend and urged Moscow to reaffirm publicly its respect for freedom of speech.…"We are deeply disturbed by the heavy-handed manner in which this weekend's demonstrations in Moscow and Saint Petersburg were broken up by the authorities, and by an emerging pattern of use of excessive force by the authorities in reaction to similar events," said spokeswoman Dana Perino.
From the NYT:
Lawyers for two men charged with illegally ejecting two people from a speech by President Bush in 2005 are arguing that the president’s staff can lawfully remove anyone who expresses points of view different from his.…Mr. Young and Ms. Weise filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court here, saying they were ejected shortly after they had arrived in a car that had an antiwar bumper sticker, although they had done nothing disruptive. The suit charged Mr. Casper and Mr. Klinkerman with violating Mr. Young’s and Ms. Weise’s First Amendment right to free speech.…Mr. Casper and Mr. Klinkerman lost their motion for dismissal, and this week their lawyers filed an appeals brief arguing that their clients had the right to take action against Mr. Young and Ms. Weise precisely because the two held views different from Mr. Bush’s.…“They excluded people from a White House event because they posed a threat of being disruptive,” said a lawyer for Mr. Casper, Sean Gallagher.
I am at a total loss for words.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Oh boy, oh boy, Alberto! ... or ... a Roving I will go

posted by The Sailor @ 6:22 PM Permalink

Statements from Alberto Gonzales:
"I value their independence, their professionalism, what they do in the community, and these decisions were not based on political reasons"
and speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee January 18th:
"I would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney position for political reasons or if it would in any way jeopardize an ongoing serious investigation. I just would not do it."
and
"To think we made these changes to retaliate or because they didn't carry out certain prosecutions?" he said. "That did not occur here. I stand by the decision to make the changes."
Yet the changes were explicitly made because of complaints from Repub congress critters and state RNC heads that immigration and 'election violations by Dems' were at the heart of the firings.

It gets worse:
"This story is really now a two-part issue," CREW's Melanie Sloan told CNN. "First there's the use of the RNC e-mail server that's inappropriate by White House officials and secondly we've also learned that there were between March of 2003 and October of 2005 apparently over 5 million e-mail that were not preserved and these are e-mail on the regular White House server."

Perino stressed there's no indication the e-mails were intentionally lost, but she was careful not to dispute the [...] allegations.
And even worser:
Rove E-Mail Sought by Congress May Be Missing
RNC Took Away His Access to Delete Files in 2005


A lawyer for the Republican National Committee told congressional staff members yesterday that the RNC is missing at least four years' worth of e-mail from White House senior adviser Karl Rove that is being sought as part of investigations into the Bush administration, according to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
[...]
they took action to prevent Rove -- and Rove alone among the two dozen or so White House officials with RNC accounts -- from deleting his e-mails from the RNC server. Waxman (D-Calif.) said he was told the RNC made that move in 2005.
Hmmm, and what did Gonzales previously have to say about the deletions of WH emails? I'm so glad you asked:
Rove warned in 'manuals, memos, and briefings' to save emails

Further complicating the picture in White House adviser Karl Rove's deleting of numerous e-mails, the Los Angeles Times reports today that the White House had established a policy of saving emails related to official business and warned staff not to delete them.
[...]
Among a set of employee manuals from 2001, a memorandum from former White House counsel and current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales explains that "any e-mail relating to official business...qualifies as a presidential record."

Another manual reads, "If you happen to receive an e-mail on a personal account which otherwise qualifies as a presidential record, it is your duty to insure that it is saved as such by printing it out and saving it or by forwarding it to your White House e-mail account."
Once again, they are hoist on their own retard petard.

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Gonzales "… an unsuitable steward of the law…"

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:37 AM Permalink


A short time back four of the biggest of big-time conservatives, David keene, Richard Vigurie, Bob Barr, and Bruce Fein banded together to form the American Freedom Agenda with a ten-point list of things bush has done to destroy freedom, run the country into the ground, assume excessive power, and their plan bring about restoration of the checks and balances provided by our forefathers.

Happily, it seems that they are starting with Abu Gonzales and the U.S. Attorney scandal, and they have written to demand that bush fire the A.G. immediately as he has proven himself to be "…an unsuitable steward of the law…", which should be apparent to everyone familiar with this matter.

See this article in Time, where their letter and its intent are revealed:
In what could prove an embarrassing new setback for embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the eve of his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a group of influential conservatives and longtime Bush supporters has written a letter to the White House to call for his resignation.…The two-page letter, written on stationery of the American Freedom Agenda, a recently formed body designed to promote conservative legal principles, is blunt. Addressed to both Bush and Gonzales, it goes well beyond the U.S. attorneys controversy and details other alleged failings by Gonzales."Mr. Gonzales has presided over an unprecedented crippling of the Constitution's time-honored checks and balances," it declares. "He has brought rule of law into disrepute, and debased honesty as the coin of the realm." Alluding to ongoing scandal, it notes: "He has engendered the suspicion that partisan politics trumps evenhanded law enforcement in the Department of Justice."…The letter concludes by saying, "Attorney General Gonzales has proven an unsuitable steward of the law and should resign for the good of the country... The President should accept the resignation, and set a standard to which the wise and honest might repair in nominating a successor..."…Signatories to the letter include Bruce Fein…; David Keene…, Richard Viguerie…, Bob Barr…, as well as John Whitehead, head of the Rutherford Institute…


When Nixon found himself sinking fast, responsible party statesmen told him he would be impeached if he didn't resign. He did the honorable thing for the country (and his party, which in this context is fine) and resigned. bush, of course, knows no shame, lies relentlessly, is demonstrably a far worse president than Nixon, and he lacks even a smidgen of the class Nixon had.

It is high time that responsible leaders of the GOP came together to forcefully identify and call for the correction of the problems bush has created for the nation and the world. And apparently they intend to condemn bush practices in the harshest terms and most public manner possible. This is a good thing.

I am certainly aware that there is more than bit of self-preservation involved with this effort, as bush has so seriously damaged the GOP, and proven that the GOP is incapable of governing, that there is significant damage control to be done by these men. But that's okay, and I will applaud their efforts to restore checks and balances and rid ourselves of the despicable despot currently residing in the people's house at 1600 Pennsylvania.

Will they succeed? I pray so and wish them luck - they'll need it when bush/cheney/rove fire up the famous Republican smear campaigners, liars, talking heads, and other people to attempt to thoroughly trash the AFA and discredit the conservatives running it.

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Blogtopiate

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:57 AM Permalink

This way too cool to not post. (I looked on Snopes and it's not there so it may actually be real.)

Update: From the comments, it is classified as "undetermined" by Snopes. (Thanks for that)

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Why I hate MSM, Part 2,504

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:49 AM Permalink

I noticed that yesterday's talkhead shows spent an inordinate amount of time talking about Don Imus. I'm not the only one.
Excerpt: After a full week of shocking and sometimes heartbreaking news from around the world and especially in the political environment, what single issue could be so important that the Meet the Press round table discussed it (and nothing else) for 36 full minutes? Iraq? Iran? Wolfowitz? Missing emails? Deadly weather patterns?

Nope.
Don. F-cking. Imus.

I used to be astounded by such behavior by our 'illustrious' media, but alas, I am now too jaded.

Update: Forgot to add that it was only a matter of time before someone came out with the "Imus was really fired for his plan to reveal 9/11 truth" story line. Not saying I don't believe it though. These days, anything is possible. (Though the source is iffy to be sure.)

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Blogtopiate

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:01 AM Permalink

A belly laugh on Sunday morning.

Goooooood.


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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Sailor @ 12:01 PM Permalink

How do you launch a sailboat?

It's as easy as 1 ...

... 2 ...

... 3.

Ahh, safe at home. Let the games begin!

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Friday, April 13, 2007

The Difference Between Vietnam and Iraq

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:15 PM Permalink


Usually when people make comparisons between the Vietnam War and the Iraqi War it is to point out similarities that should have acted as a warning to observe lessons learned and not repeat the mistakes we made in Vietnam.

But there is a difference, it's a hugh one, and it's one I believe reinforces the need to get out of Iraq.

In April, 1975, I was in Saigon during the baby-lift and mass evacuation operation in Vietnam. From the moment we hit the ground in Saigon we were continually surrounded by the largest mass of humanity I've ever seen, before or since. Every twenty minutes, depending on what type of aircraft was on the ground, we processed, searched, and then evacuated anywhere from 210-260 people. We combat-loaded them, marching them up the aircraft's tail ramp and seating them on the bare floor of the plane. Then we loaded what luggage they were allowed on the tailgate itself, the tailgate closed, and the craft would execute a rapid takeoff and turning ascent to gain altitude quickly and be less of a target for missles. My group worked for over 96 hours non-stop before backup help was flown in from the Philippines, and then we started twelve hour shifts and maintained that same pace continuously up to April 29th. I left on the last C-130 aircraft off the runway; everyone else behind me came out on helicopters, including those in the famous shot from the top of the embassy of helicopters taking off while people cried for help.

That sea of faces still haunts me, I still hear their pleas for help and evacuation, and it was obvious from the start that we would never be able to get all those people out. I felt genuine grief that America, after causing so much destruction and death in Vietnam, was abandoning these people to be killed or subjugated by the North Vietnamese and the disillusionment caused by the defeat of our forces was staggering. I still see the faces; I still hear their cries; I am haunted by our failure and the grief we caused so many innocent people. I hear the hubbub of a million voices in despair and cannot forget the ocean of humanity surging and retreating like waves on a beach as we'd load, process, load, process, seemingly without end.

And that is where the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam end. In Vietnam, millions begged us to stay, and despite all the doom-and-gloom predictions our government made then, as they do now in Iraq, leaving turned out to be the best thing we could have done for the Vietnamese, a country which is now a trading partner with much of the world and prospering as a whole.

There are not millions of iraqis begging and pleading with America to stay and protect the country and them. By a large margin they wish us gone so they can determine the future of Iraq and establish whatever government they wish, and not suffer under the rule of American puppet politicians.

The maladministration of bush cannot point to a sea of faces, an ocean of humanity, no millions of Iraqi citizens begging us to stay as they do not exist.

All comparisons stop: We were begged to stay by the South Vietnamese; Iraqi's are killing as many soldiers as they can to drive us out of Iraq. There is no comparison yet no one in government admits it.

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Irony alert!

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:30 PM Permalink

I know he was talking about stem cells, but still.
Excerpt: "In our day there is a temptation to manipulate life in ways that do not respect the humanity of the person,'' Bush said Friday. "When that happens, the most vulnerable among us can be valued for their utility to others instead of their own inherent worth.''
and
"We must continue to work for a culture of life where the strong protect the weak and where we recognize in every human life the image of our creator,'' Bush said.
Emphasis add is mine.

Jeebus.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

At the Bomb Up Ahead, It's the Twilight Zone

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:36 PM Permalink


Article, from the AP-huffington Post Wires:
A suicide bomber blew himself up in the Iraqi parliament cafeteria Thursday, killing at least eight people _ including three lawmakers _ and wounding dozens in a stunning assault in the heart of the heavily fortified, U.S.-protected Green Zone.…
A stunning assault? Who are they kidding? Every sentient being on the planet knew it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

And just how strange is it for parliament itself to be attacked? Could this be interpreted as a warning that the lawmakers must sign the Profit Sharing Agreement drawn up by bush/cheney before the war even started? Remember, Maliki has only to June 30 to deliver the signed PSAs or his government will be overthrown and a government more amenable to giving away 87% of all oil profits for the next 30 years will be put in place by bush and the Saudis. cheney and former hand puppet Allawi have already made the plans to take over government with the Saudis.

After all, that's why we attacked and conquered Iraq, for all that oil. Now we'll see if bush can keep control of it and what new atrocities lay in wait for the Iraqi people until those PSAs are signed.

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Payback is a Beeyatch.

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:58 AM Permalink

Poor, poor Katie. Her ratings are in the tank and now she gets busted on plagiarism.
Excerpt: Although the producer from CBS News anchor Katie Couric's program who appears to have lifted large segments of a Wall Street Journal column for a nightly broadcast has been fired, the network has yet to take down from the CBS News website a blog post containing the original news item, RAW STORY has found.
I don't feel too bad for her, especially after her interview with the Edwards'
Excerpt: Couric: Your decision to stay in this race has been analyzed, and quite frankly judged by a lot of people. And some say, what you're doing is courageous, others say it's callous. Some say, "Isn't it wonderful they care for something greater than themselves?" And others say, "It's a case of insatiable ambition." You say?
Even though she didn't quit her job to stay at home with her husband when he was dying of colon cancer.

Now, I'm not judging her for her decision, but why did she judge the Edwards' for the same decision? Seems a little hypocritical, no?

Listen. Cancer sucks. The treatment sucks. The disease sucks even more. How a family decides to deal with it is their own damn business. And the way she framed the question was downright insensitive and cruel. She of all people should know better.

I used to like Ms. Couric, back when I didn't mind the MSM so much (pre Dec. 12, 2000). When her husband got sick and died, I felt bad for her and respected that she took the time off she needed and then came back and attacked the disease head-on by promoting early screening by undergoing a televised colonoscopy. Balls on. It was good. But ever since she made the switch from AM to PM, she seems to have lost her sense of self.

Maybe Katie is just a morning person.

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Officers and Gentlemen: Getting the Hell Out Now

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:56 AM Permalink


bush continues his delusional path to completely destroy our military by driving away West Point graduates, officers who have received one of the finest educations available at a cost of several million dollars each for their training and ongoing education. These young officers, like the NCOs (Non-commissioned officers; sergeants) serving under them, are the troops out doing the grunt work under the most horrid of conditions, as highly visible targets, and now maintaining an operational tempo so insane that it vastly increases the possibility of being killed, wounded, or suffering the ravages of PTSD and other illnesses.

See this article in the Boston Globe:
Recent graduates of the US Military Academy at West Point are choosing to leave active duty at the highest rate in more than three decades, a sign to many military specialists that repeated tours in Iraq are prematurely driving out some of the Army's top young officers.…According to statistics compiled by West Point, of the 903 Army officers commissioned upon graduation in 2001, nearly 46 percent left the service last year -- 35 percent at the conclusion of their five years of required service, and another 11 percent over the next six months. And more than 54 percent of the 935 graduates in the class of 2000 had left active duty by this January, the statistics show.…
This article further explains why the officers are leaving in droves, but the upshot is that the Army is figuratively killing the officer corp by forcing repeated and extended tours of duty in Iraq. It doesn't take a genius to know that such repeated tours increases the possibility of death, dismemberment, blindness, and widows and widowers with children that will never know the parent killed in this insane war.

But the bush maladministration is making sure that the spokesman for West Point keeps his mouth shut. How else explain this statement:
West Point spokesman Francis J. DeMaro said he could not explain why more young officers were opting to leave the Army, and declined to comment further.
DeMaro is either a bush man supporting propaganda, or a fool, for a blind idiot can see plainly why the officer corps is leaving: bush incompetence in waging war is causing many, many unnecessary deaths and permanent wounds.

Duh.

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Blogtopiates

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:13 AM Permalink

Just a few:

Here's a great use for an small, empty, CD spindle.

And you should watch this video that shows how your ATM card info can be stolen.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Read it and weep

posted by The Sailor @ 10:16 PM Permalink

Injured troops shipped back into battle

US Is Extending Tours of Army in Battle Zones

Once Prohibited, Guard Units Now Returning to Iraq

Bush: Iraq reinforcements working

Red Cross: Iraq is disastrous and getting worse

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The Northeast 'Experiment'

posted by Mr. Vidiot @ 5:25 PM Permalink

Social control is not sweeping but swarming the entire Northeast United States. Notice -- the schools, governmental facilities, highways, and other institutional complexes now resemble prisons. Let us invoke Foucault's word; panopticon. The gaze is now directed towards almost every aspect of our social life, in every social setting.

fTake for example the taken-for-granted “road trip.” The Northeast highway driving is no longer free, but is instead regulated to the confines of turnpikes, thruways and bridge tolls, some privately and some publicly owned. Further, your movements on these roadways are tracked with the “convenient” EZ Pass. Gas stations and fast food chains, all manufactured on the sides of these roadways, are equipped with police and cameras gazing at your every move and the speed at which you make that move. The days of the free road is replaced by the manufactured turnpike, where travelers move along the path as a prisoner from Cell Block D to the lunch room. All side roads are inaccessible or too congested to use. In the South, of which I have some familiarity, the roads remain open, clear, and organic, passing through real communities, free from the manufactured, state-controlled highways.

Recently, the Vidiot and I discussed the pending court decision on banning iPod use by citizens traveling by foot or car in New York City. As she presented this information, I hastened to realize that this was yet another aspect of social control, the iPod blocks corporate advertisement. In capitalism, it is foolish to separate social policy from the economy. The state upholds policy that is agreeable to corporate structures. The iPod is another example.

The Northeast, and New York City in particular, resembles a police state. It seems possible that an experiment is being conducted on creating an entire panopticon in the Northeast, an experiment that will eventually envelope the entire country. Guns are illegal and almost impossible for a law-abiding citizen to obtain. Permits are needed, even for small gatherings. Police are likely to break up, and violently if necessary, people who have gathered in a space. Cabaret licenses are needed to dance in any privately owned establishment. No alcoholic beverage can be consumed outdoors without the proper liscensing. Cameras, often hidden, are everywhere, insuring the ‘correct’ movements. Police cars cluster, ostensibly to intimidate ‘terrorists’, but in reality, flexing their military muscle at the population. Police stand on nearly every corner and nearly every subway stop, monitoring the flow of traffic, watching, gazing, looming, waiting to move on any who fits ‘the description’. At subways stations, they reserve the right to search your bags, touch your body, frisk you, feel you, put their eyes all over you, in search of anything they consider threatening, all under the guise of “safety.” The police on the corner, on the subway, on the streets, the illegality of gathering, of protesting, the cameras, the watchful and ever-suspectful policeman with the power to touch our bodies, to feel our legs and stomachs and our chests, watching, waiting, anticipating, is a sign our society is no longer hoping to pursue social control, they are actively engaged in the process. There is little resistance, and those who resist, we call thugs. They sit in prison and we dismiss them as a poor and uneducated underclass.

One might fear that failure to enforce these harsh rules might lead to higher crime, chaos and anarchy, a lack of social organization. But I've seen an absense of these rules and lo and behold, there were no murders. There were no assaults. And further, there was total peace and flow between to the social organization. In fact, the state -- with its police and other enforcement agencies -- disrupts the natural flow of human interaction. Anyone who's ever been at an anti-war demonstration knows that it's perfectly peaceful until it is disrupted by hostile police actions. (As an aside, I find it intriguing that another human being -- a policeman -- has the right to gaze over, inspect or touch me in order to ensure that some law is upheld.)

So, are we ready to roll over and accept our fate?

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Doh! Of course voter fraud caused GOP losses!

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:33 PM Permalink


From today's NYT:
A federal panel responsible for conducting election research played down the findings of experts who concluded last year that there was little voter fraud around the nation, according to a review of the original report obtained by The New York Times.…Instead, the panel, the Election Assistance Commission, issued a report that said the pervasiveness of fraud was open to debate.…The revised version echoes complaints made by Republican politicians
Just how pathetic can a political party get when they have to allege voter fraud to excuse their losses in the last election? Especially when it is that party which is found to have committed voter fraud in every election held since 2000? And the party which is demonstrably the most corrupt in American history?

That's not the pot calling the kettle black, that's the pot calling the kettle a frog. Unbelievable.

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Jailing away, jailing away, we must go rejoicing…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:12 PM Permalink


A scathingly brilliant plan has been devised to stop the insurgency in Iraq and the beauty of it is that it is so easy to affect. Truly a plan that could only be made by a country with a prison population of over two million and the basest of motivation: Let's put 'em all in prison by making their very own neighborhood a gulag, with proper papers that must be carried by all, and arresting any males of military age. Brilliant! This is General Petraeus' plan as described by The Independent Online Edition, an article by Mr. Robert Fisk that should be read by everyone, as I'm just going to hit the highlights, and not necessarily in the same order as he:
Faced with an ever-more ruthless insurgency in Baghdad - despite President George Bush's "surge" in troops - US forces in the city are now planning a massive and highly controversial counter-insurgency operation that will seal off vast areas of the city, enclosing whole neighbourhoods with barricades and allowing only Iraqis with newly issued ID cards to enter.…The campaign of "gated communities" - whose genesis was in the Vietnam War - will involve up to 30 of the city's 89 official districts and will be the most ambitious counter-insurgency programme yet mounted by the US in Iraq.…The system has been used - and has spectacularly failed - in the past, and its inauguration in Iraq is as much a sign of American desperation at the country's continued descent into civil conflict as it is of US determination to "win" the war against an Iraqi insurgency…But the campaign has far wider military ambitions than the pacification of Baghdad. It now appears that the US military intends to place as many as five mechanised brigades - comprising about 40,000 men - south and east of Baghdad, at least three of them positioned between the capital and the Iranian border. This would present Iran with a powerful - and potentially aggressive - American military force close to its border…The latest "security" plan, of which The Independent has learnt the details, was concocted by General David Petraeus…The initial emphasis of the new American plan will be placed on securing Baghdad market places and predominantly Shia Muslim areas. Arrests of men of military age will be substantial.[Please note that these "men of military age" will be arrested and jailed without stated cause, a bush trademark. Bill ] The ID card project is based upon a system adopted in the city of Tal Afar by General Petraeus's men…General Petraeus regarded the campaign as a success although Tal Afar, close to the Syrian border, has since fallen back into insurgent control.…US-Iraqi forces will supposedly clear militias from civilian streets which will then be walled off and the occupants issued with ID cards. Only the occupants will be allowed into these "gated communities" and there will be continuous patrolling by US-Iraqi forces. There are likely to be pass systems, "visitor" registration and restrictions on movement outside the "gated communities". Civilians may find themselves inside a "controlled population" prison.…
I mean, screw Big Brother, Orwell was a piker compared to the viciousness, vileness, and evil that will be wrought by this plan: Ve must haf your papers or you vill be shot! Or jailed! Or shot in jail! Or shot and then jailed!

When will the suffering of these poor people, the Iraqis who posed absolutely no threat to America but had the misfortune of sitting on top of a lot of oil wanted by bush and his cronies, end? Their country is a living hell on earth thanks to America, and now Americans are going to dictate who may live in what hellish neighborhoods using a plan that has failed spectacularly in the past and that is likely to fail now? This is a plan so poorly thought out that only a bushie could like it or even find it acceptable, because bush is and always has been a control freak. Well, a freak anyway. Who else but a freak would seek to permanently imprison entire neighborhoods?

It also gives the lie to bush's "temporary surge" and his demand for immediate money from congress under threat that the soldiers will suffer. The only suffering the troops are undergoing has been caused by bush's incompetence, war/fearmongering, and furtherance of his imperial ambitions. bush has clearly lied to America again as to his need and plans for the use of mo' money, because this "surge" was planned long ago to increase the number of our forces in Iraq to prepare for war with Iran.

This is being done in our name, America, and it must stop, for the cost is too dear and the shame of bush's actions shames us all.

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Not to be believed

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:40 PM Permalink

If the IMF says the world economy is going to boom, well, then, they MUST be right.
Excerpt: The world economy is set to grow briskly in 2007-08, heading for a "soft landing" despite this year's stock- market jitters and slower growth in the United States and Europe, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday.
It's not like they've ever been wrong before, what with the economic collapse of most of Latin America due to their forced austerity programs and the slower recovery of any of the countries they "helped" after the Asian flu hit. (OK, I know that's a little cryptic, but take my word for it, the IMF is riddled with incompetents.)

And this one is a doozie.
Excerpt: Iranian intelligence operatives have been training Iraqi fighters inside Iran on how to use and assemble deadly roadside bombs known as EFPs, the U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday.
OK. Let's recap.

We heard similar nonsense in the buildup to the war with Iraq. "Iraq was helping al Qaeda" blah blah blah. (Why did the WaPo report, then scrub, an article that said that and EFP factory was found INSIDE Iraq. WTF?) Do they really think we'll fall for any of that crap again?

And with friends like these....
Excerpt: Henry Kissinger and three other former US secretaries of state have endorsed Republican Senator John McCain in his bid for the presidency, his campaign team said on Tuesday.
McCain is SURE to win now. Oh boy!

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Something else I noticed

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:07 AM Permalink

Being out of the country, even though it was only Canada, upon my return, I was struck by a few things.

First, when we got to the border, the border guard was very stern and cold. "What do you do for a living? And you? Where do you live? Where were you born? Did you buy anything while in Canada? Open your trunk. Open your glove compartment."

He treated us like suspects! Rifled through our stuff, looked at us in an accusatory way. It was demoralizing and demeaning.

Which I suppose is the point. Whether your flying or driving, they want you to feel the pressure of the police state. (Next time, I vow to load up the trunk, then place our dirty underwear everywhere.)

Second thing I noticed was all of the consumerism. (Yes yes. Brace yourself for one of my anti-consumerism tirades.) Canada is not THAT much different than the US, but it is a notch down in intensity. (Though, there was this bit of Montreal that was deplorable. It's an underground shopping mall. It's horrible. It's acres upon acres and you can get lost down there and it's nothing but stores and food courts. Ugh. We couldn't believe that something with the potential to be so cool was so wrecked and useless. But at least the consumer frenzy was hidden. Other than the above-ground Rue St. Catherine, the overwhelming shopping thing wasn't such a big deal.)

So anyway, yesterday, Mr. Vidiot and I had to go into the city for a few things and we're walking around and EVERYONE we saw (and we saw a lot of people, I mean, after the veritable emptiness of Canada, it was a little jarring) was carrying a bag of something they had bought. Some were lugging multiple bags and could barely walk.

Not only that, I never really noticed all the stores and the window designs and the various ways the stores attempt to lure you into them. Visually, it was a mish mosh and the noise, wow. The final straw was when we walked in the mall at Herald Square. Why we did such thing I have no idea, but we literally walked in there, looked around, freaked out at all the shopping and the people and walked out. I couldn't take spending a single minute in there. Then, Mr. Vidiot got the bright idea to walk into the GAP across the street and that's when I started pitching a fit. I couldn't understand how the store was laid out, it was so confusing. On top of that, the men's and women's clothes looked identical to me. I had to leave. Finally, we went down to the subway and we found that all of the gates had been chained closed leaving only two revolving gates. There was a long line to get in and a long line on the other side of people trying to get out. It was a constant battle to see who could grab control of the gate.

AND NOBODY UTTERED A WORD! I mean, people were just going through, battling it out, but quietly, like, whatever, just get through this, get on with my day. Sheep!

I, on the other hand -- already over stimulated by the consumer mayhem -- just lost it. I started to yell at people, I was saying "This is bullshit! What the f-ck! Are they trying to yank our chains? Are they following Orwell's playbook?" I walked off to look for another way in and found none. We would've had to go up the stairs, cross the street, and enter from the other side. I'm sure people thought I was quite mad and Mr. Vidiot was doing his best to calm me, but I'd really had it. Between the shopping drones, the visual and aural over stimulation due to advertising, I was not about to stand for being herded like sheep through a chute. (Oh, and meanwhile, there were two fat cops just standing there, not doing a thing. They could've made themselves useful and directed the people trying to get out to an alternate exit-only turnstyle just a few feet away.)

Yes, I overreact to things. I admit I'm a bit of a drama queen, but sometimes I feel like I have to overcompensate for the LACK of reaction from everybody else.

Drones.

Sheep.

It's sad and maddening, all at the same time.

Consumerism is a lethal disease alright:
Excerpt: 'Fascism. Communism. Democracy. Religion. But only one has achieved total supremacy. Its compulsive attractions rob its followers of reason and good sense. It has created unsustainable inequalities and threatened to tear apart the very fabric of our society. More powerful than any cause or even religion, it has reached into every corner of the globe. It is consumerism.'
But I'd say it's not only lethal for the planet, but for the human soul as well.

(Go to the bottom of that article for list of resources and ideas on how to get unbitten from the buying bug.)

Alright, sorry. That's my rant for the day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A kinder, Gentler Internet? For Whom and Why?

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:16 PM Permalink


From an article in the NYT, "A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs":
Is it too late to bring civility to the Web?…The conversational free-for-all on the Internet known as the blogosphere can be a prickly and unpleasant place. Now, a few high-profile figures in high-tech are proposing a blogger code of conduct to clean up the quality of online discourse.…Last week, Tim O’Reilly, a conference promoter and book publisher who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0, began working with Jimmy Wales, creator of the communal online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to create a set of guidelines to shape online discussion and debate.…Chief among the recommendations is that bloggers consider banning anonymous comments left by visitors to their pages and be able to delete threatening or libelous comments without facing cries of censorship.
I got your "code of ethics" right here:

Be the antithesis of the MSM. Be highly suspicious of people who want to write a "code of ethics" for you, which is basically a way of limiting your options to speak freely. Don't allow specious rules formulated for the purpose of limiting debate, limit the debate. Speak as you wish, say what you want and say it in the manner of your choice. Ignore false pleas for "civility" that are themselves just calls for censorship from the "elite" who revile the internet for its capability to allow the free-flow of information sans editorial staffs that may be biased beyond belief. (Like the NYT, WaPo, WaPost, Atlantic Journal, the WSJ, etc)

Endeavor to tell the truth from your perspective, even if that may not jibe with another's perspective. If you inadvertently "misspeak" plead the Reagan/McCain defense. Try to source any really wild claims or, if you write from memory of what has been in the public domain, do your best to be correct. If you're citing a rumor, so state. If it is pure speculation and suppositions about which you write remember that your opinion is just as valid as that of anyone else.

Don't allow anyone, for any reason real or imagined, known or unknown to man, censor your words. If someone is offended, tell them to avert their eyes, grow up, get over it and go elsewhere. Very few people today aren't familiar with the full gamut of spoken/written obscenities and their objections to it are made in an effort to discredit the writer by discrediting the language. Don't fall for it.

In other words: Let's all keep on doing what we've been doing without regard for the sensitivities of those who would limit our right to free speech.

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Exercise in Futility or Futile Exercise-No Difference

posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:50 AM Permalink


From Politico.com regarding Henry Waxman seeking answers from Condo-lie-zza Rice:
After receiving what he deemed an insufficient response from the State Department, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) is reiterating his request for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to appear before the panel on April 18 to answer questions about administration claims that Iraq tried to buy enriched uranium from Niger.…Waxman wants Rice to answer questions about what she knew about the assertion that Iraq tried to buy uranium before the U.S. invasion, according to a letter the chairman sent Rice on Monday.…
Waxman wants answers to four questions:

1) Whether she knew if Bush “cited forged evidence …
2) Whether she was aware of doubts raised by CIA …
3) Whether there was any factual basis for Rice’s reference in a 2003 op-ed to “Iraq’s efforts to get uranium from abroad”;
4) Whether Rice “took appropriate steps to investigate …

At this point I have become so jaded about life-in-America-as-it-used-to-be-and-may-never-be-the-again that I have to ask what I believe must now be considered an open question:

What the hell makes anyone think that any bush official will ever tell the truth to anyone whether under penalty of perjury or not?

When the NSA's telephone spying on Americans was the big thing bush gave the telephone companies orders to lie to anyone questioning the program, especially if under oath, with the specific implication that he was empowered to order others to lie to conceal any information damaging to bush…uh…national security, yeah, yeah, national security, that's the ticket.

Does or did anyone expect any truth from bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, cheney, "Scooter" Libby, Feith, Addington, Gates, Pace, or anyone else in this maladministration?

America just may be over, people, and its time to face the facts, as ugly as they may be: When you have a chief executive who admittedly lies and picks and chooses which laws he will obey or enforce, and who believes he has "unitary executive" authority to order or okay others to lie while under oath, the truth of how badly America has been damaged by bush/cheney will never be known 'til they are out of office, in jail, dead of natural causes, or until God reaches down from the sky to squeeze the truth from them all.

All of which are likely to happen before Rep. Waxman, or any mortal, gets the truth from them.

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