The former commander of the USS Cole, the American war ship that was struck by a suicide boat in Yemeni waters more than eight years ago, on Thursday slammed President Barack Obama's orders to close the Guantanamo detention center and reassess the prisoners being held there.
''We shouldn't make policy decisions based on human rights and legal advocacy groups,'' retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kurt Lippold said in a telephone interview.
This country was founded on the concept of human rights, no wonder this stupid bastard lost his ship and his career.
posted by The Vidiot @ 3:32 PM Permalink
Though, not for the usual reasons. Seems some 'disgruntled employee' was going to take down Fannie by erasing all sorts of data with some malicious code. The code was to be activated tomorrow and probably would've given anyone whose mortgage was held by Fannie a hearty yet mordant chuckle.
Freddie, on the other hand, is slapping its mortgage holders in the face by saying, "even though you've lost your home due to foreclosure, we're going to be civilized and let you pay rent to continue to live there." Their reasoning?
"Keeping foreclosed properties occupied and in better repair will support local property values and promote a faster recovery in the housing market," said Freddie Mac Chief Executive David Moffett.
Our corporate overlords. Constantly looking out for what's best for us. See how benevolent they are?
posted by The Vidiot @ 9:01 AM Permalink
Seems that a few folks think I'm wrong with my earlier post that called out John Stossel's "journalistic" report on public schools as being retarded. After a long talk with Mr. Vidiot who REALLY understands the system, please allow me to reiterate and expound.
I reiterate, John Stossel is an idiot because:
He took wholly unrelated issues, manufactured false conclusions, relied on on hyperbole and rhetoric to support his overall conclusion that public schools need competition in order to succeed. His techniques were little more than cheap, emotional ploys used to manipulate the viewer in order to make them feel enough outrage and frustration so that when the conclusion was presented, they had no choice but to agree with it and think it was logical.
Now, I'm going to expound:
What's wrong with the schools is NOT that they don't have competition. The ENTIRE system is dysfunctional. The entire system must be destroyed. But, since that's not going to happen, here are some conservative ideas that WILL work.
One of the major problems in the public schools is that the teachers have no power whatsoever. They have retarded administrators telling them what to do and the retarded administrators have retarded bureaucrats telling THEM what to do. For the most part, administrators and bureaucrats have no experience in education. Many of them have never even been in a classroom. Some have, sure. But they worked as a teacher until they were promoted out of the classroom. So think about that for a moment; if you're good at what you do, they PROMOTE you and take you OUT of the classroom. Stupid, right? It's all upside down. Teachers should be at the top, administrators below and bureaucrats even lower.
As the system stands now, teachers are completely demoralized. They're told they have to 'punch in' and if they arrive even one minute late, they are told they'll get a 'letter in their permanent record.' If they have a free period, they are not allowed to leave the building. I've even heard of a teacher being arrested the day after she left work early (she didn't have a last period class) and was charged with 'theft of time.' The administrators abuse them, the students abuse them, and the parents abuse them because everybody knows that a teacher is nothing but a bug in the system and the smallest, most vulnerable bug at that. So, of course you have teachers who behave badly. They're like abused animals and children. Treat someone like crap long enough and you'll be left with a shell of a human being. And don't give me the "what about the sexual predator teachers" because frankly, it's not that big of a problem. It just garners a lot of media attention so you THINK there's lots of it going around. If what I suggest below is instituted, your sexual predator teacher problem will almost completely disappear. (I say almost only because there's always going to be one bad apple.)
The demoralization of teachers needs to stop. And here are a few suggestions on how to do that:
Teaching should be a discipline, like sociology or physics or anything else.
Teachers should come up with a curriculum. At present, they do not. Curriculum is decided upon by the State.
Teachers should decide how students are taught and administrators should be there to merely facilitate that. It's quite the opposite now.
Like any discipline, teachers should have a long tenure track where they must participate in committees, publish, be active in school functions, basically take criticism from their peers, coaching from their peers, and finally, evaluation by their peers and maybe acceptance by their peers.
Teachers must themselves decide what they can best teach, not an administrator, as is done now. (Trust me, there are English majors teaching math out there.)
Teachers must police themselves. If a sociologist writes a bad paper or supports a bad theory, his peers will tear him to shreds and he's either shamed and leaves the discipline or rethinks, relearns and tries again, thereby becoming a better sociologist.
Teachers must be paid more than administrators and bureaucrats. Right now, the retarded administrator who can't even arrange to have pencils handy during state-ordered standardized tests gets paid 30-40 thousand more than a long-time teacher.
How does one accomplish turning teachers from just a job to a discipline? For one thing, you have to fire EVERYBODY; teachers, administrators and bureaucrats. Then, rehire almost everyone with the new hierarchy and procedures mentioned above. For another thing, the schools that teach education have to change their focus from methods to theory and criticism. Additionally, teachers, like any other discipline, have to write and publish on education. Right now, most of the theory and criticism comes out of sociology and psychology departments, people who probably haven't even been in a public school during their entire lives.
Most of all, the State has to get out of education. Leave it alone. It should not be an institution they even touch. Does the state dictate what physicists study and teach? No. Physicists research and move their discipline in the direction they see fit. The State doesn't tell them to study string theory over quantum theory. Of course not. It should be the same in public schools, (which, frankly, should just be called 'free schools'). Moreover, the teachers should decide how best to serve their community. Right now, the 'one curriculum fits all' system is trying to teach poor working class kids white, bourgeois ideas. Of course they're not going to pay attention or want to learn that. They want to rebel against that because it doesn't relate to them, the don't feel any connection to it, they feel they're repressed by it and they resent having it thrust in their faces.
I have no problem with competition between schools; Yale competes with Harvard competes with Boston University, etc. But the Stossel report presented competition like it was the ONLY thing that was wrong with the public school system. That everything else being the same, competition was the only thing that needed to change in order to make it all work. That's wrong, it's stupid, it's reductionist, it's overly simplistic, it's completely retarded and it's disingenous to think that one little thing like competition will cure what ails the system. THAT'S why I called him an idiot.
Now, I hope I've made myself clear.
Update: A few more things that popped into my head after another jolt of caffeine:
Some might say "I know a teacher or two who REALLY shouldn't be allowed to police themselves." Well, under the system proposed here, those teachers would never get tenure and would be drummed out of the discipline early in their careers.
What about standards? How would we know our 'childrens is learning'? Under the above system, reputation is VERY important. Standardized tests would be unneccessary. If kids are coming out of a school and not being able to do simple multiplication, word would spread and those teaches would be ostracized and removed by the community. Think of a college that has physics majors that can't explain simple quantum theory. That department would fold, be replaced and they'd try again.
I'm not saying what I (and Mr. Vidiot) have come up with there is 100% perfect but MY GOD it's a far sight better than what we have now.
Update 2: See? I'm not the only one who gets it. In response to this article stating that Rupert Murdoch thinks Obama should kill the teachers union to save education, Mike Rivero of whatreallyhappened.com got it right:
"The real problem is that our educational system, besides being crippled by a union that turned the teaching profession into the teaching trade, has dropped education in favor of indoctrination."
Frankly, I'm not sure they have real evidence on the guy. A lot of what I've heard can be construed to be referring to a bunch of other things, not just bribes. But, as usual, I'm only catching snippets and not wasting time listening to all the tape samples out there. My gut, however, tells me this guy isn't as guilty as they say he is. A bit of a loon, yes. Guilty? I'm not convinced.
Hundreds of thousands of workers have begun a nationwide strike in France. Eight labor unions have called the industrial action to protest against what they say are insufficient measures by the government to tackle the economic crisis. Unions say that with unemployment mounting, French workers should not have to foot the bill for a crisis that has led to expensive government bailouts for banks, carmakers and other sectors. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced a 26-billion-euro stimulus package while pledging to press ahead with unpopular reforms to trim the public sector workforce and liberalize the labor market.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:38 AM Permalink
…Republicans with their OCD to keep lowering taxes, despite the fact that the ruination of this nation started with those massive tax cuts bush gave his buddies (and himself – the bush family got back an extra $200,000 last year) in a time of his war making just for the helluva it?
Does the simple fact that a country needs taxes to maintain standards of living and a better quality for all escape them? It takes money to run things and since the government neither manufactures nor sells anything, from whence will the money come?
The GOP yoyo (you're on your own) policy to me says:
If you're hungary go get one of the nonexistent jobs they promised and failed to provide or go starve.
If you are deathly ill and cannot afford medical treatment, crawl off and die.
If you cant afford to send all your chirrun' to Harvard, Princeton, Yale or Stanford, forget about the waste of great talent, let 'em grow up stupid.
Don't like taking three buses, a train, the subway, and walking the last half-mile to work, buy yourself a limousine and quit yer bitchn'.
Lying beside the road on fire? The GOPer wouldn't stop and p*ss on your face to extinguish the fire.
Elderly and having to make that decision of whether you take your medicine or open a can of dog food tonight, all you can expect from the GOP is raising your medicinal costs, deny collective bargaining with the drug companies to keep already exorbitant prices high, and seeing that you at least get some of that melamine tainted food. (They gotta do something with it. Must be frugal when you can only sweet talk the treasury out of 7,000,000,000 billion dollars of of unaccountable welfare, you know, the Billionaire Bailout Bill).
The board of Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker, agreed to acquire a rival, Wyeth, for $68 billion, the companies announced Monday. [...] If completed as planned, the transaction would be the biggest merger since AT&T and BellSouth combined in a $70 billion deal in March 2006, according to the research firm Capital IQ.
WTF!? We need to have smaller companies, not more companies that are 'too big to [let] fail.' There's a reason that laws were passed after the Great Depression that (temporarily) put the kibosh on monopolies.
There is a limit on 'economies of scale' and once passed it's just greed. And speaking of greed:
Howdy! I'm Cal Worthington and this is my dog Spot…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 9:51 AM Permalink
…and if you're lookin' for a quality used jet all ya'll gotta do is just come on down and see me, Cal Worthington. Why I was just reading that the market for both used jets and new jets corporations can't afford to pay for now has blown wide open, so this is gonna be the chance of a lifetime to buy that jet you've always had your eye own and at these low, low prices you can get that second jet for the wife!
After enjoying a long run as an enviable perk of corporate America — justified to shareholders as time- and money-savers for globe-trotting executives — they are rapidly becoming symbols of high-flying excess.
Congress, in particular, is frowning upon companies that ask for taxpayer bailouts while still enjoying the comfort of their private planes or placing orders for a new one.
Still not a believer?:
Detroit automakers learned that lesson late last year, and announced they would sell their fleets after being questioned in Congressional hearings. Now Citigroup has said it would not take delivery of a $42 million Dassault Falcon 7X jet that it had planned to buy.
“It’s getting to be a black eye to own a corporate jet,” said Paul Nisbet, an aviation analyst with JSA Research. With so many companies deciding to sell their planes — both for cost-cutting reasons and to avoid public relations headaches — the used-jet market is being flooded with inventory, and the prices of private jets are falling faster than the value of McMansions. On Wednesday, Starbucks said it would sell two of its three corporate jets, a Gulfstream 550 and a Gulfstream V, to save money.
“A year ago, there would be 30 people looking for one airplane,” said Jay Mesinger, a corporate jet broker, who said that prices had fallen 30 to 40 percent since late 2007. “Today there are 30 airplanes looking for one buyer.“
Still not a believer yet?:
“After the automakers came to Washington and after the Citibank silliness, there’s been a rush to get out of these airplanes,” said Clark Onstad, president of Solutions 4 VIP, a Denver company that outfits large corporate jets. “Price is not an issue. They are selling for image purposes, and the operation of a jet is a small overall cost in relation to a company’s image. So they are saying, ‘dump.’ ”
So if you want a first-rate airplane or just need to take a 'dump,' c'mon down to fast jet town and ask for Cal Worthington – or my dog Spot!
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:49 AM PermalinkOk, so that headline isn't the revelation of the century, I get that, but this segment he did on 20/20 called "Stupid in America" on the state of public schools in the US was an insult to my intelligence. It was aired sometime ago, but this is the first time I'd seen it all together. (I vaguely remember seeing clips.) How does that man maintain employment as a journalist?
First, he starts out comparing US kids test scores with a bunch of smart asses in Belgium. Of course the US kids were woeful. Were the kids in Belgium the best that Belgium had to offer? They may have been. It may have been an unfair comparison. We'll never know. Then, he goes after the teachers, how hard it is to fire them even when sexual indiscretions were apparent. This is blatantly untrue. It's easy to fire a teacher if even a soupcon of sexual indiscretion is brought to the administration's attention. REALLY easy. Stossel even went on about the "rubber room" which is where all teachers under investigation are sent while their case is being heard. He treated the whole concept of the "rubber room" with such derision, like "how dare they pay these teachers who aren't teaching because they're under investigation," never mind that not all teachers are guilty, because, frankly, a lot of charges are brought against teachers out of pure spite by either teachers, students or some administrator with an ax to grind. Due process, meh. Then there's the whole thing with the 18 year old who can't read. THEN, he shows some really dumb, crazy looking teachers saying things like "there are no bad teachers" and "I'm a bad teacher? Prove that I'm a bad teacher and then talk to me!" Then he showed how crazy the union meetings look. His final conclusion: the reason US schools suck so bad is that there's no choice, there's no competition. We need vouchers and options and competitive pay and punishment for poor performance. That will solve the whole system's problems.
Honestly, I could go on and on with how badly the report was skewed, how bad the reporting was, how biased, how incomplete, but it would be a waste of electrons. Corporate-owned media and today's journalists will NEVER examine the REAL reasons our public schools are failing. The REAL reason that the schools are failing at education is that they haven't educated anyone in years. The system is not set up for education. The school system is set up to maintain social class. If you're on the lower rungs of the social strata, then you're going to get sub-par education. They higher you are in social class, the better education you're going to get. That's it. There's no education, there's only maintenance of social class.
Think about that and then try to imagine a journalist delving into THAT story. You can't do it because it will never happen.
One of the stupidest things I ever heard come out of Bill Kristol's mouth
posted by The Vidiot @ 4:51 PM Permalink
(And I'm pretty sure it was Bill Kristol, though all "those guys" seem to blend together into one annoying amalgam whose different parts are barely discernible) Anyway, he said something to the effect that "of course the market works. Look at McDonalds! In these hard times, their profits are soaring."
US fast-food giant McDonald's said Monday its 2008 net profit soared 80 percent from a year, lifted by growing demand from consumers seeking low-cost meals in a deepening global recession.
But it's not because the market works, at least not for the little guy. The market has bankrupted regular people to such an extent they can only afford the crappy, fatty food they sell at McDonalds. Hell, even sad Wall Street guys are succumbing to the lure of the artery clogging eatery. It's sad that the only food people can afford to feed themselves is stuff that will kill them.
posted by The Vidiot @ 3:09 PM Permalink
Every time I read a rosy article about the future -- and usually that future has something to do with the messianic Obama -- the catch phrase is always "sustainable development."
One of President Barack Obama's historic contributions will be a grand act of policy jujitsu - turning the crushing economic crisis into the launch of a new age of sustainable development. His macroeconomic stimulus may or may not cushion the recession, and bitter partisan fights over priorities no doubt lie ahead. But Obama is already setting a new historic course by reorienting the economy from private consumption to public investments directed at the great challenges of energy, climate, food production, water and biodiversity.
Now I ask you; who is the development sustainable for? Me? You? Probably not. More than likely it's sustainable in that businesses will continue to make profit, corporations will continue to exploit and resources will be managed for the benefit of the few. THAT'S what sustainable development means. It has nothing to do with you or me. We are nobodies.
"Sustainable development" may sound all warm and fuzzy, but the reality is cold and stark. One always has to ask "growth for whom?" or "sustainable for whom?" I understand that we've been conditioned to think that growth is good and sustainable development will benefit us and generations to come. The truth is our condition of enslavement to the State will continue, indefinitely unless we rise up and change our circumstances.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:42 AM Permalink
…that the GOP might as well start making funeral plans to bury their party of evil, malicious, malevolence, and complete inability to govern a country like America.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:07 AM Permalink
…or I've grown much dumber (the most likely of the two), but I can't seem to find a way to let you guys know I have changed email service to gmail. Nothing changed but from @mac.com to the new @gmail account. Would you fellow writers please send me an email so I can update my address book?
Let's get this straight right off the bat, I have nothing against Jews or Judaism, but this has nothing to do with that, it has to do with war crimes. And before you go off on me please look at the following analogies and the articles I quote below. 1) If you kill my brother and I kill your whole family and everyone in your neighborhood, that's wrong.[/obvious] 2) The comparative size & technology of the 2 parties involved is like the Nez Perce fighting the USA.
January 5 The Times reports that telltale smoke has appeared from areas of shelling. Israel denies using phosphorus
January 8 The Times reports photographic evidence showing stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells. Israel Defence Forces spokesman says: "This is what we call a quiet shell - it has no explosives and no white phosphorus"
January 12 The Times reports that more than 50 phosphorus burns victims are taken into Nasser Hospital. An Israeli military spokesman "categorically" denies the use of white phosphorus
January 15 Remnants of white phosphorus shells are found in western Gaza. The IDF refuses to comment on specific weaponry but insists ammunition is "within the scope of international law"
January 16 The United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters are hit with phosphorus munitions. The Israeli military continues to deny its use
January 21 Avital Leibovich, Israel's military spokeswoman, admits white phosphorus munitions were employed in a manner "according to international law"
January 23 Israel says it is launching an investigation into white phosphorus munitions, which hit a UN school on January 17. "Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF is holding an investigation concerning one specific unit and one incident"
[...] Last week, the military censor ordered local and foreign media in Israel not to publish names of army commanders in the Gaza war and to blur their faces in photos and video for fear they could be identified and arrested while travelling abroad.
posted by The Vidiot @ 2:19 PM Permalink When I was walking through the French Quarter this weekend holding an adorable puppy, nobody said anything to me. The minute Mr. Vidiot started to carry it, everyone and his mother had something to say to him.
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:25 AM PermalinkThis article in theNYT today is saying that the epidemic that the media used to go on about, crack babies, really wasn't much of an epidemic after all.
“Are there differences? Yes,” said Barry M. Lester, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University who directs the Maternal Lifestyle Study, a large federally financed study of children exposed to cocaine in the womb. “Are they reliable and persistent? Yes. Are they big? No.”
Cocaine is undoubtedly bad for the fetus. But experts say its effects are less severe than those of alcohol and are comparable to those of tobacco — two legal substances that are used much more often by pregnant women, despite health warnings.
I beg to differ.
At some point during the 90s, Mr. Vidiot, a teacher at the time, was brought into a meeting with all the other teachers at the high school he worked in and it was announced by the school's administration that the "crack babies were about to start high school." It was a big meeting and a big warning to the teachers that their jobs were about to get exponentially difficult. He says that when the influx started, it was obvious that they were different than the kids who weren't crack babies. Ten years later, after the crack epidemic has passed, he says that he can tell he doesn't have that many crack babies in his classrooms.
There have always been kids from that socioeconomic background, so certain variables like diet, parental neglect, violence, would be a constant. Then, suddenly, some kids started having more problems. The only new variable would be the crack. Now, these researchers are saying the whole crack-baby thing isn't all that big of a deal. But at the time, it was noticeable and now, as far as Mr. Vidiot can tell, since crack isn't as big a problem, the kids aren't having the same sort of problems.
So, why would they want to lessen the importance of crack? Why would they want to downplay that? The only thing we can think of is that all the kids in the system that are from the same socioeconomic backgrounds that the crack babies came from are performing badly and they need a way to explain that poor performance away that doesn't blame the schools. What they don't want anyone to look at is the fact that the system has just plain failed. It doesn't educate anybody and it hasn't for years. Add to that the dumbed down books and magazines, the pounding media, the bad diets, and constant lack of parental involvement and you get a whole group of kids who act like crack babies whose mothers were never on crack.
By negating the effects of crack, they are showing that ALL kids perform like crack babies, that crack babies aren't special, that they're at the same level of everyone else, and that their intelligence isn't any different than any other kid from that strata of society. As long as all kids perform at the same level, it's just the way it is. It's not the fault of the school system. It's not the fault of education in any way. It's just that all these kids have low IQs or school performance issues. They all do. No big whoop.
What they'll never do is take a look at a school system that has failed the kids so badly that they all perform like crack babies.
posted by The Sailor @ 8:36 PM Permalink
and The Vidiot The Vidiot was born in the back seat of Bartcop's TV Review page back in 2002. The TV page had started some time in 2000 or 2001 and at some point, things started to get to me and I felt the need to start spouting. The language was quite, um, blue. But hey, I was still young. The first post I could find was dated February 8, 2002. Corporate greed was big, political stupidity was in the news and Corporate-owned media was still a thorn in my side. Not much has changed. At some point, the Sailor offered to mirror the geocities site because of high traffic and finally, I gave up the TV commentary and just did the "I'm pissed" page. Then we moved over to blogger, I invited him to co-blog because his emails were so funny and so VidiotSpeak was born on this date in 2006.
It used to be just me and the Sailor in our lonely little corner of the blogosphere, and we tried adding a few other personalities here and there but we had a hard time finding someone who would post often enough to be considered a third... until Bill. Bill completes our blog-triumvirate. Now we work like a well-oiled machine (or a well-medicated one, whatever) and VidiotSpeak is now a huge part of global popular culture, referenced by celebrities, pundits, politicians and all great people of import. It is a world-wide phenom.
OK, that last bit was just wishful thinking.
Thanks for reading. Tell all your friends. Onward and upward. ******************** Addendum by The Sailor: I was wandering/wondering around blogtopia (y, wksctp!) and found this mewling baby in the backseat of Bartcop ... but seriously folks, as soon as I read the first post of The Vidiot it was a daily read for me. I loved the writing and the subjects and the attitude. I'd see news, funny things, kinda weird things, some I knew about, some I never had a clue about. And who could resist the tag line "Because I'm pissed off and my friends are sick of listening to me" (it's evolved a bit;-)
I was pissed off too, I'd talk to friends about Iraq, WMDS, Enron etc, and they would humor me, thinking that since they'd read their daily paper I must be a dirty fu*king hippy or crazy. Well, I can't deny the crazy part, but us DFH's were right!
And then came the day when I couldn't get my fix because The Vidiot was so popular she'd exceed the allowable bandwidth. I had some bandwidth to offer and mirrored the site. Then she needed a break and I filled in for a week.
And then ... and thennn (cue the music) she started a blog and asked me to contribute. Aw shucks, me!? I'd commented on other folk's blogs but I can't put myself out there! Especially not with the same guts and panache that The Vidiot does! But I did. Of course not with the same guts and panache she did & does.
And we stumbled around a bit finding even more people to join. You might think blogging's easy, but when you have a full time job and/or a family and/or kids and/or health issues, and/or girlfriends, boyfriends, boy/girlfriends!? It's tough and you have to have people that are productive, willing to disagree with you, but always have your back.
We found an absolute gem in Bill Arnett. I just can't say enough about how much I appreciate Bill. He grounds me, uplifts me, and writes so well I can almost feel his pain and I always laugh at his humor.
3 years of blogging and I've never met my co-bloggers in meat space. I live in the fly-over states, they live on the east and west coasts. We sometimes disagree, occasionally we talk over each other, but we always seem to make it work. At the very least, it works for us. Kinda like a family, a family separated by 1500 miles in each direction. No wonder we get along!
Happy blogiversary folks, may we have many more!
p.s. Bill, chime in here anytime you want, you know where the edit button is!
NOTE: I have no greater influences in my life than my Warrior Woman, Mila, and writing for this blog. From Day One it was as if I had joined a very special family, and I cannot find the words to express my gratitude to my fellow writers here; I am honored beyond belief. I may not always hit the mark and say exactly what I mean to say, but at least I don't sugarcoat my feelings and I'm fortunate that Sailor saw that an got me signed on board. It' been a gas, gas, gas guys! Bill
UPDATE & correction:The Vidiot & I were in no way intending to demean or diminish the fine job Marty at Bartcop Entertainment does every day. We owe him/her a great debt and an apology. Marty, we were trying for humor, frequently it fails.
Update & correction II: The Vidiot's column first appeared in July 2001!
Thanks Marty for the correction and history lesson!
"I've been compiling my list and checking it twice"…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:38 PM Permalink
…and realized that with the numbers being where they are in the Senate, Republicans can again play obstructionists and filibuster a good deal of very fine legislation in a vain hope people won't think that the GOP isn't completely useless and incapable of governing as they have spent the last years proving.
Well, I call BS on this. This was the only good idea John McCain proposed: expose worthless Senators who propose wasteful spending and report the name, position, state and city which they represent, to include those filibustering just to be filibustering like Mitch McConnell.
President Obama should have a staff member with the sole job of counting votes and reporting every time a senseless filibuster is proposed by Republican.
It's not even that there would be hugh numbers involved, just keep hammering away with newspaper and radio ads naming names, writing political epitaphs, and putting the picture of all the obstructers in their hometown papers and Washington. There are many Senators coming up for reelection in 2010, and I'm certain their constituents would just LOVE to know why good, valuable, and important legislation is being held up for bullsh*t reasons by bullsh*t idiots that don't realize they are standing in five feet of bullsh*t for partisan reasons, primarily trying to make the Obama administration appear as useless, incompetent fools just like the GOP which has virtually destroyed America and its fine ideals of democratic governance for the good of all, or at least as many citizens.
If those citizens knew who was filibustering when there is general support for a bill maybe in two years they will throw out all the GOP scoundrels and help the Obama administration get the majorities they need to pass whatever is needed for the sake of our country.
Call your Senators and tell them you will brook no more garbage from them and that they must work for the combined good of America and not just the usual GOP crap that insures more of the same from the last eight years.
posted by The Sailor @ 1:39 AM Permalink I was going to write about how I feel about the changing of the guard, but Chicago Fan at the Slog summed it right up:
For me, the main thing about the Obama presidency is that it re-sets my default mood. Since Bush v. Gore and the judicial coup d'etat of 2000, my default political mood has been pissed off. Occasionally things would make me more pissed off or less pissed off, and once in a blue moon I'd be happy, but pissed off was the baseline from which everything started. And that was before 9/11 and Iraq.
Now, with a President who can speak in complete sentences, who believes in the rule of law, who believes in hiring people for their competence and ability rather than their personal loyalty and religion—my default political mood is happy. Things will piss me off about Obama, I'm sure, and some things will elate me: but the baseline is changed from pissed off to happy, and that's a huge shift.
And you usually hear about the first 100 days of a new presidency, how's this for the first 100 hours!
And last but not least I want my co-bloggers to know how much I appreciate their patience while I've been going thru some heartaches, headaches, toothaches, computer aches and just general mid-winter aches. My colleagues in blogging, just like my colleagues at work, make me humble when I realize how lucky I am to be included in their company.
I'm not sure I have ever read words more true than…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 3:28 PM Permalink
…those written by Eugene Robinson of the WaPo this morning, refering to the national disgrace forced upon us by bush the Little:
Obama should form an official blue-ribbon panel, some sort of "truth commission," to investigate Bush's conduct of his "war on terror" and report to the American people. The point isn't to prosecute anyone. The point certainly isn't to reveal genuine national security secrets whose disclosure would put lives in danger. The point is to know, and to remember.
This nation's ideals of due process, rule of law, humane interrogation, privacy and governmental openness are not mere embellishments. They are essential to who we are. By disregarding those ideals, the previous administration diminished us all.
A thorough investigation would be controversial and could make it more difficult for Obama to move ahead with his agenda in other areas. But as he said yesterday, we must honor our values "not just when it's easy, but also when it's hard."
This must be done to find out just how terribly close bush came to destroying the very idea of America with his evil machinations.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:45 PM Permalink
…the completely wrong way goin' about tryin' to resurrect the corpse!
I know! I've read David Brook's opinion column that says so. (I never link to Brooks, don't wanna waste the time.)
Isn't it amazing how many otherwise unintelligent, uninteresting, quintessentially ignorant people suddenly become economic geniuses, even when their dislike for the parties and people involved are worn on their sleeve like a private's stripes and their hidden agendas are so glaringly obvious? (My apology to privates, who are fine people far more deserving of interest than any pundit in Washington. They earn their respect.)
Brooks purports to lay out all the reasons Obama's plan won't work, but we all know how he voted in the last election and that sore losers will always try in print or life to obliterate those they don't like.
Let's discuss people lucky to get out of town without being tarred-and-feathered…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:15 PM Permalink
…and george bush and cohorts and partners in crime, which, as it turns out, are the same group of people. Although in reality tar-and-feathering AND being run out of town on a rail would still be a much kinder fate than he and his cronies deserve.
bush, the Least and Last thinker for the country spent 8-years screwing up everything America ever stood for, policies and promises made over two hundred years ago, and butchered American values so he could munch on the Oil Bacon and grits of insanity bordering thermonuclear war.
I do not believe in god, so I'll instead thank our lucky stars that bush is gone. I spent Inauguration Day prancing and dancing and for some reason repeatedly singing, "Ding dong, the witch is dead, the wicked witch, the wicked witch, ding-dong the wicked witch is dead!" (My Warrior Woman, Mila, didn't mind the singing, in fact I'm sure she actually sang along in some parts, although she drew the line at the tutu.)
America has done what it always eventually does, in my opinion, and has again grabbed for the brass ring, reshuffled the deck to get better cards, flipped a coin, drawn straws, recast the chicken bones, reread the tarot cards, recast the dice, picked fresh four-leaf clovers, drawn new straws, realized that three-card-monte is a losing proposition, recovered some sanity, checked to see just where they are in this economy (recognizing imminent doom), and have finally awakened to the fact that America, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave has somehow survived the mismanagement, gaffs, plain errors, and the blatant illegalities of the idiot formerly running the country.
bush needs to and must be tried for war crimes if America is to recover its previously high standing in the world and to regain the trust of the world.
As the secret facts previously zealously guarded by the bush administration will show as exposed, I am convinced it would still reach down only into the top ten percent of bush illegalities.
I fear (and I'm sure bush/cheney do as well) that America has barely managed to scratch out a tiny, tiny sample of the illegalities they have committed.
I hope they spend the next few years trembling in their boots before a U.N. Human Rights Commission, and or the International Court awaiting, and then being actually being prosecuted for their crimes.
I guess for the mean time we'll just have to comfort ourselves that none of these a$$holes can never again travel outside the contiguous United States without being arrested by other authorities, waiting and willing, to prosecute the bush/cheney for their quite obvious war crimes committed in America's name.
"O happy days!"
NOTE: I have been absent through the graciousness of our government that somehow has managed to instill cluster headaches for my winter amusement and to have me writhing in agony for these colder winter months, so if anyone missed me, I extend my apologies and will endeavor to write more and more often.
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:18 AM Permalink
I'm not sure this is what the Obamaniacs are talking about, but I have to say, since Obama took power, my bank has been, well, nice.
Our landlady, bless her 80-year-old heart, took our post-dated rent check to the bank four days before the money was in there. The bank, of course tried to cash it and the check was returned with insufficient funds. Fine, so I explained to her what happened, wrote her another check plus the fee and it happened it again... because MY bank had charged ME a fee for insufficient funds to the tune of $35. So she incurred ANOTHER fee as did I.
I freaked out. I haven't bounced a check since college. I completely forgot that there would be a fee. So, here we are $70 in the hole with the bank. It seems that since some time in the 90s, banks no longer have to follow the post-date on the check. It seems that you can write "Marchember 62, 3013" on the date line and they'll still cash it. I couldn't handle it. I was too angry to speak to any bank employee calmly and rationally. I made Mr. Vidiot do it. His southern demeanor seems to have an effect on these hard-nosed northerners.
Sure enough, using straight logic of "good faith and trust" and a lot of "Yes ma'ams and No ma'ams", he got them to return BOTH fees. The girl actually said, "Sir, you've been nothing but pleasant and polite, you argued your case perfectly, AND you didn't yell at me. I'll just refund you both fees." (She's actually lucky she caved into him. His NEXT argument was going to be sociological and no mere mortal can battle that.)
So, just as Obama took power, apparantly, the entire personality of our bank industry changed! Long live King Obama!
posted by The Vidiot @ 1:02 PM Permalink
While I'm not convinced that Obama is the savior so many are hoping he is, it is nice to see Bush leave the world stage, if only so we don't have to listen to his tortured speech patterns anymore.
Yet, I'm left wondering; he's got about 23 hours left in his presidency and there still haven't been any major pardons. Now, we all know to what lengths their legal teams can twist and subvert and manipulate the laws. Are they, perhaps, putting on the final touches to blanket pardons of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Gonzales, et al? I mean, pardons are for people convicted or at least charged with a crime. However, it's not out of the realm of possiblity that the Bush administration is developing some sort of super pardon and will announce it at, oh, around midnight tonight.
My fevered imagination at work. What has probably already happened is that Bush and Obama have reached a gentleman's agreement to not have any prosecutions.
Whatever the case, Goodbye Mr. Bush and don't let they door hit you on the ass on your way out.
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:52 AM Permalink
Tonight on PBS, on NOW, they're doing a segment on the "Power Struggle" which talks about renewable energy and how government should handle it.
As America looks to dramatically increase its use of renewable energy, an inconvenient reality stands in the way: the need to upgrade the country's antiquated electricity grid. Part of that overhaul involves the construction of gigantic and expensive long-distance transmission lines to carry clean energy from remote sites to population centers.
NOW travels to California, which has the most ambitious clean energy plan in the nation. But the state's efforts face stiff opposition from property owners and conservationists who prefer renewable energy from "local sources," such as photovoltaic rooftop solar panels.
Oh, those horrible, horrible conservationists. Who do they think they are? Egads, man!
I actually heard part of an interview with the producer this morning on the radio (interspersed, of course, with TONS of coverage on that plane that landed in the Hudson river.) She was going on about how they need to figure out how to get say, solar power that's generated in sunny areas to areas of the state that aren't so sunny. And that got my feathers ruffled.
While I didn't listen to the whole interview and will probably not watch the program, I can safely assume that the angle of the story is towards the government rebuilding its decrepit infrastructure and how the government needs to do the work, get the funding, make the plans, and blah blah blah. What I'm sure won't be discussed that the idea that maybe a huge government managed infrastructure may not be the best idea. That maybe less sunny areas need to generate their own renewable energy in another way. (Or if it is discussed, it will be done with a tone of derision.)
Are we so incapable of thinking without a government? Has government really solved any problems? Hell no. If government has solved any problems, and that's a big if, but if they have, it was only to correct a problem they created in the first place. Why do we trust the government to do good when they are constantly not capable of doing anything at all? Did government lay down the rail road tracks? No. Private companies did, maybe with the help of some government regulations, but the minute the government took it over, it went to hell in a hand basket. Government built the highway system, but they didn't do it for us. It was a war-time preparation plan. It was for the military. War is the only thing they're good at.
And that's what gets me about these shows discussing so-called renewable energy and the country's infrastructure. Thinking in terms of a smaller, more nimble and responsive solution just isn't done. The real solution will never be discussed. The real solution is for every community to get together to see what works best for them -- maybe it's solar, maybe it's geothermal, maybe it's wind or hydro or some combination of those things -- and then they should do that. Our tax dollars should go our own to local communities to help facilitate this process with a very small percentage of those tax dollars going to a fund that gets diverted to areas that need financial help doing the same thing, but don't have the money in their own community to do it. I have no problem with the government playing the role of facilitator (with a TON of oversight), but I don't believe they are capable of doing much else. The greedy people in power just muck things up with their incompetence and shortsightedness.
Our "power struggle" therefore is not only how to generate the renewable energy, but who should manage it. The State? The Federal government? The counties? That's the real power struggle. It's easy to get the juice, it's what's the best way to make it controllable and profitable and who gets to manage all of it is what's causing all the distraction.
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:41 AM Permalink Why did we just give Ford a ton of money? I thought it was to save 'merican jobs.
Ford Motor Company started producing its fuel-efficient low-cost Fiesta car at a plant in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing on Thursday, the company said. ... The Fiesta will go on sale in North America in early 2010 and will be produced at Ford's Cuautitlan Assembly Plant in Mexico.
posted by The Vidiot @ 4:35 PM Permalink That's weird. I got an email from a friend who's friend was twittered that linked to the twitter page showing this image. Anyway, I didn't believe it at first because the picture was sort of surreal and I couldn't find it on any of the local sites. Now the story is up and running though.
Why I even mentioned it is I just went to the window. I'm about 11 floors up and have a clear view to the river from Chelsea and I saw the "armada" floating down the Hudson river. I guess it went down at 48th street a bit before 4pm and then it started floating downstream and it just passed 14th street at about 4:30.
It's my nightmare. I feel bad for those cold, wet, freaked out people.
posted by The Vidiot @ 6:25 PM Permalink
Or rather, the truth can finally be told. Obama's choice to head NASA is a military man.
A retired Air Force major general could soon be heading up the US space program after being tapped by president-elect Barack Obama to take over at the helm of NASA, a transition team source said Wednesday.
There has always been talk that NASA was really a secret arm of the military, launching weapons in space and secret military satellites and so on. Might as well make it official I guess.
I don't know how I feel about that. Well, actually, YES I DO.
It's bad. The military isn't interested in exploring, it's interested in utilizing. Maybe I was raised on too much "Star Trek" but I think space belongs to everybody and should be explored, not exploited.
posted by The Vidiot @ 11:13 AM Permalink
The show is well-written, entertaining and at times, suspenseful. However, you must keep your eyes open to the subtle messaging that you are being bombarded with. As they manipulate your emotions, they're inserting ideas; really bad ideas.
Torture is OK for the right reasons because it saves lives.
The torturer rationalizes and maybe even suffers emotional stress due to his use of torture and that makes him sympathetic and even respectable.
Being known as a torturer makes it easier to extract information from those who have it because everyone knows "what they're capable of." And that's a useful thing.
Only those who truly understand the torturer's line of work not only understand it, but appreciate, respect and fully support it.
Any FBI agent can be tracked using their comm system.
The president is under constant pressure to make life and death decisions every second of every day.
With respect to point six above, the level of pressure that a president is portrayed as having is unrealistic. No human being could physically withstand such pressure for one year, let alone four years or even eight years straight. Even though you may know that their dramatizing the work day of a president, part of you thinks "Well, the president DOES make life and death decisions, just not that many." You must think past the obviously theatrical presentation and realize the obvious; that the president is no more than a figurehead for powerful players. The show dials it up so you can dial it back a bit. They don't want folks thinking the truth: that the president doesn't have any real power and never has. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain....
For point five, the tracking of the FBI agent, what they didn't mention was that all of us have a comm system in the form of a cell phone that can be similarly tracked. Wouldn't want to raise that flag in anyone's mind, now would they? They made it seem like only a federal agent could be tracked. Yeah. Right. (And don't even get me started on the perfectly functioning database that brings up the most minute information on anyone they need to know about.)
The points on torture have always been the show's forte. They create these emotionally charged moments and when the torture happens, and people are saved, all is well and the torture seems right. Most folks probably don't even notice that the acceptance of torture is happening to them. Others might say "oh, I know it's a TV show for chrissakes. I'm against torture." But unless you really think about what the show is doing and how they're doing it, it'll be in there somewhere in your brain, dialing down your reaction to news of actual torture just a notch or two, inserting a little thread of doubt and acceptance, like "maybe they got good information out of them", and it's just enough to start letting torture (and the torturers) slide.
The trick of the show is this: dial up the atrocities and the shock effect so folks can draw them back down to what they think is reality. But, if you're really aware of what they're doing, you'll more than likely realize that dialing it back isn't what needs to happen, you need to reverse it entirely; torture is never right, the torturer more than likely feels no remorse, the president is a figurehead, the database NEVER works that well, EVERYONE can be tracked, etc. and so forth.
Get it? Good.
Update:Good article on new government admissions regarding torture in Slate.
posted by The Vidiot @ 9:08 AM PermalinkFinally got around to weaning Mr. Vidiot off of the MS poison. I have now, all by myself, backed up his files, installed UBUNTU, got his wireless to work, downloaded all updates, reloaded his files INCLUDING his Firefox bookmarks and all I can say is....
I mean, WOW.
It's free. It works. It looks decent.
I'm VERY impressed, both with the system AND with myself.
WooHoo! Yay for me.
OK, sorry. I had to toot my own horn. I'm a dork, not a computer geek so I'm just a little shocked I managed to pull it off.
posted by The Vidiot @ 12:55 PM Permalink
Forget the fancy graphs and charts. I figured out how to get a feel for the economy right here in my office. I just realized that lately, I've had to wait in line at the microwave to heat up my leftovers. I never had to do that and I've been here for over 7 years the office holds 200+ people. I guess folks are pinching every penny they can.
Honestly, I never did understand how people could afford to go out and buy lunch in this neighborhood every day.
The roving mob expressed fury at police and frustration over society's racial injustice. Yet the demonstrators were often indiscriminate, frequently targeting the businesses and prized possessions of people of color.
See, I can't for the life of me figure out why protesters would trash the property of the very people they're trying to support. It doesn't make sense, does it? No, it doesn't.
So, why? Are American protesters just stupid and dull? Why would protesters randomly trash property of the wrong people? Well, maybe they're not all real protesters. Sure, maybe some of them are and if they're reading this (which they're not but if they were) they'd be pissed at me for even suggesting such a thing. But I betchya' some of them aren't. I betchya' some of those 'protesters' were really FBI agents. I've mentioned it before, but there used to be an FBI program called COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) and what they'd end up doing is infiltrating a group and then inciting (entrapping) them to break the law. Generally, it's safe to assume that if someone is being stupid about violence, they're probably FBI.
What the Oakland protesters probably would've done, had there been no government agents involved, is -- and this is if they descended into trashing property at all -- they would've trashed police cars, police property, and then, like Greece, turned on any large corporate property in the near vicinity.
Unless of course the reporting is just completely bogus... which, since it's print, is totally possible.
At some point, the detritus it creates will pollute it's environment so much that the stores close and nothing but a lot of Walmart carcasses will be left, along with all the carcasses of the small stores they killed..
The Turkish military regularly targets separatist Kurdish PKK rebels, who Ankara says use remote areas of northern Iraq as a base from which to fight for a Kurdish state in what is now southeastern Turkey.
The same paragraph could be started with:
The Turkish terrorists regularly bomb Kurdish territory.
Every war is different depending on who you agree with and it's usually the folks with the most money and who use the more powerful murderous weapons that get the positive spin in the press.
Comments on New Orleans though: While the reconstruction is moving along at a snail's pace, the crowds are getting back to normal. It was the Sugar Bowl while we were there so lots of folks came down for that. There were lines half way down the block on Decatur for Central Grocery's muffalatas and Bourbon street was very lively.
One sad note though; on Friday night, Mr. Vidiot and his wingman made their way to Bourbon Street at about 2am to see how the crowds were since, as a couple of natives, they would be able to take the hearbeat of the city and its recovery that way. Well, what they saw didn't make them all that happy. While the crowds were fine (lots of stupid drunks) the cops were out of control. Now, one of the BEST things about NOLA is the fact that the cops were so laid back. Especially on Bourbon Street. The rule "no nudity below the waist" wasn't even enforced unless someone was getting hurt. But that night, Mr. Vidiot and his wingman noticed a lot of cops, many of them on horses, pushing, shoving and abusing the drunk tourists. Other cops, on foot, were just plain yelling at people. It was all very unprofessional. Mr. Vidiot even asked one of the horse cops (who was Promenade - directly assigned to the Quarter on horseback) why he was there and he said it was because of the Sugar Bowl.
Now, I'm no genius, but if the only industry you have going on is tourism, and you need that industry to survive, wouldn't you want to make the tourist experience as pleasurable as possible?
Well, according to a retired Veux Carré cop, he said that since Katrina, the NOPD has been depleted of its good cops and the guys moving up in the ranks aren't all that great. They're the type of cops who wouldn't have even been promoted 10 years ago. The NOPD is having a hard time attracting decent college graduates and as a result, there's a lot of stupid and thuggish policing going on.
Which is sad. NOLA was the one place I felt like was free in this country. No TVs in bars and no cops on your back.
Now, even the hole in the wall neighborhood joints have flat screen TVs and the cops are assholes, just like they are everywhere else.
A young, black man in New Orleans is dead, slain by police officers on New Year's Day, in an incident that has outraged a community and triggered protests over what family members are calling a "murder."
posted by Bill Arnett @ 4:04 PM Permalink
…to figure out whose been naughty and haughty, and who has shown proper deference to a newly elected president.
This comment is inspired from a headline on the Huffington Post/Political Page:
Republicans To Flee DC For Obama Inauguration
What a demonstration of class! What a great way to show contempt for American voters! What a way for the GOP to continue their toxic blend of politics!
What an easy and stupid way to relegate yourself (if you're a politician) to political obscurity in the face of changing headwinds of American politics!
I LOVE IT! Go GOP! Show the world how disrespectful, ignorant, arrogant, and just how much being in office and having NOTHING to show for it just because "you lost an ewection." (This last sentence covers the use of Viagra for all the old white men that dominated the country for way too long!)
So hurray for Republicans cutting off their…uh… NOSES, yeah that's it, cutting off their noses to improve their appearance AND make friends and accumulate power in both their home state AND the Congress/Senate.
Hurray for finally showing just how much (which is very little, if any) CLASS that the GOP possesses!
I could not fail to hear the cheers for money takers and jeers for…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:15 PM Permalink
…those entrusted to guide our economy any more clearly than from this headline from NYT:
Citigroup’s Top Executives to Forgo ’08 Bonuses
How generous. How kind that the very people who guided the country to the point of, to quote Howard Cosell, " a mere shadow of [its] former greatness."
I can't read anymore of those whose primary responsibility was safeguarding America's Economy without knowing the certainty that the country has clearly had a handful of roofies shoved down our collective throats, all the while being duped into believing everything was hunky-dory, believing their sweet little lie that, "Everything's okay, baby, just relax and enjoy it, we got the best sh*t known to man."
And now, some of these created-at-our-expense and certainly for whom we bent over to have their way with us are, being so generous and civic minded that they will, therefor, forego their hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars of bonuses for performing well after having bankrupt their companies and damn near bankrupting America.
Why should these people be allowed to retain anonymity and conceal the size of bonuses they receive or would have received?
Why is there no "House of Shame" for these utter failures whose only contribution to society has been to ruin our economy in collusion with the president and his crooked men?
These people should either be in jail or seriously on the run with their pictures plastered on every outside wall, lamp post, in every newspaper, and an Executive Order issued to every law enforcement and spy agenciy with healthy bounties paid for successful arrest and prosecution.
But that's just my opinion, and I could, 'though in this case not likely, to be wrong.
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.