Tuesday, March 27, 2007
This might be a long post so grab a cup of coffee and settle in.
Back? O.k. here we go!!
First I want to post some more quotes from Richard Dawkin's book, "The God Delusion."
In "Climbing Mount Improbable," I expressed the point in a parable. One side of the mountain is a sheer cliff, impossible to climb, but on the others side is a gentle slope to the summit. On the summit sits a complex device such as an eye or a bacterial flagellar motor. The absurd notion that such complexity could spontaneously self-assemble is symbolized by leaping from the foot of the cliff to the top in one bound. Evolution, be contrast, goes around the back of the mountain and creeps up the gentle slope to the summit: easy! Another favorite metaphor for extreme improbability is the combination lock on a bank vault. Theoretically, a bank robber could get lucky and hit upon the right combination of numbers by chance. In practice, the bank's combination lock is designed with enough improbability to make this tantamount to impossible - But imagine a badly designed combination lock that gave out little hints progressively - the equivalent of the 'getting warmer' of children playing Hunt the Slipper: Suppose that when each one of the dials approaches its correct setting, the vault door opens another chink, and a dribble of money trickles out. The burglar would hone in on the jackpot in no time.
However small the minority of planets will just the right conditions for life may be, we necessarily have to be on one of that minority, because here we are thinking about it.
Once the vital ingredient - some kind of genetic molecule - is in place, true Darwinian natural selection can follow, and complex life emerges as the eventual consequence. But the spontaneous arising by chance of the first hereditary molecule strikes many as improbable. Maybe it is - very very improbable, and I shall dwell on this, for it is central to this section of the book.
Now suppose the origin of life, the spontaneous arising of something equivalent to DNA, really was a quite straggeringly improbable event. Suppose it was so improbable as to occur on only one in a billion planets. And yet ... even with such absurdly long odds, life will still have arisen on a billion planets - of which Earth, of course, is one.
Each species is well fitted to its particular way of life. Could we get away with the 'huge numbers of planets' argument to explain all these separate illusions of design? No, we could not, repeat not. Don't even think about it. This is important, for it goes to the heart of the most serious misunderstanding of Darwinism. The evolution of life is a completely different case from the origin of life because, to repeat, the origin of life was (or could have been) a unique even which had to happen only once. The adaptive fit of species to their separate environments, on the other hand, is millionfold, and ongoing.
GOI: Interesting stuff and on a related note: There is a great article in The New York Times on the evolution of morality from chimpanzees. I was especially interested in how the chimpanzees show empathy, consolation and peacemaking abilities. Chimp and human DNA by the way is 95-98.5% identical.
Next, I'd like to write about Elizabeth Edwards and her desire for John and her to continue their run for president. There are many people who are criticizing this decision and saying it is taking advantage of her health for donations to the Edwards campaign and ultimately votes. This kind of thinking makes me sick, sick, SICK to my stomach. It is of course a brave decision to devote oneself to serve America despite one's health. This is what our brave soldiers do everyday in Iraq and many who are wounded want to go back into service in one manner of another and they do. And they are of course heroes--and so is Elizabeth Edwards. Anyone who wishes to serve America despite their health is a hero-period.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Well, right now Tony Snow Job is answering questions on this issue and saying that subpoenas (where those wanting to be questioned will be under oath and their testimony on the record) aren't necessary because those testifying will certainly answer the questions honestly.
What in the history of the Bush administration gives anyone confidence that they'll do anything honestly without subpoena power. In FACT, they STILL lie when under oath. Just look at Scooter but at LEAST under oath we can get them on perjury.
And THEN Tony Snow Job says that the White House offer is not only generous but EXTRAORDINARILY generous. Oh let me grovel at your feet and kiss your ring oh mighty King George and your Royal griot His Holiness Tony Snow.
Then he goes into the "separation of powers" and that the White House is privileged to confidentiality of communications. First of all I find it LAUGHABLE that the White House is now claiming that their right of "separation of powers" is being violated. AND that this whole process is a "political circus" and a "show trial" when: 1) it is has a been historical precedence for White House staff AND even presidents to testify UNDER OATH in front of Congress. And: 2) The Bush White House are the ones pushing the "unitary executive" all the time and the encroachment on the powers of the other branches of government!!! And: 3) Separation of powers flies out the window like a shit-stained fly when there is an investigation concerning impropriety by the White House and the Department of Justice. Who the hell is supposed to investigate the Department of Justice and the White House if not Congress?!!!!
The other issue here is that in wanting to avoid taking an oath and having testimony on the record they are saying that they don't have to act like every other American. How many of us could get away with not taking an oath or having the testimony on the record during an investigation?? Zero. No one. See, this is their feeling that they are above everyone else and more importantly above the law. This is how they've acted since day one of the Bush presidency.
This is the "unitary executive" rearing it's ugly mug again. However, when a Congress with real oversight and subpeona power comes knocking they scream at the top of their lungs (in a whining, annoying kids voice) SEPARATION OF POWERS!!!! SEPERATION OF POWERS!!!!
One reporter threw the smack down quite well on Mr. Snow Job when he said:
Back when President Clinton was citing executive privilege to keep internal deliberations from being talked about in Congress you (Tony Snow) wrote quite eloquently about this you said 'that taken to it's logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold the chief executive accountable. We would have a Constitutional right to a cover-up.' Why were you wrong then and right now?
You got served!!!
These people are SO FULL OF SHIT!!!!!!!!!! I'm so so SO sick of these elephants dumping all over us, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the world. And you know how much an elephant can shit!! It's going to take a generation or more to clean all the shit from this elephants path.
PHOTO: I took this off the screen during the press conference. Check out the zombie, death-ray, laser beam eyes stare down he is giving a reporter.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007
CHICAGO -- U.S. Justice Department documents released this week show Chicago federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was on the list of U.S. attorneys considered for dismissal.
Fitzgerald is the U.S. attorney for the northern district of Illinois. A March 2005 e-mail described Fizgerald in the "not distinguished" category. The document was written by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' chief of staff, Kyle Sampson. Fitzgerald was included among prosecutors doing an inadequate job with ther communities. However, the 9-11 Commission called Fitzgerald one of the world's best terrorism prosecutors.
GOI: No wonder they don't want to testify on the record and under oath!! Oh yeah, then there is the pesky little fact that Fitzgerald was put in charge of investigating the Valerie Plame CIA leak scandal on December 30, 2003. A scandal which was closely looking at the White House by March 2005. The very month that the White House put him on the "to axe list."
Things that make you go, "Hmmmm" as C&C Music Factory sang.
Wow, that takes me back--but anyway back to the time line:
Then of course we know that later on in 2005: On October 28, 2005 Fitzgerald brought an indictment for 5 counts of false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice against Lewis "Scooter" Libby, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff.
So yeah, of course they thought he wasn't being "distinguished!!" He was hot on their asses!!!
BREAKING NEWS (Speaking of my previous post!!): Bush is now speaking about Gonzo-gate (as No Blood for Hubris so aptly puts it). Bush is blowing yet more smoke up our already sore, raw, chaffed, Bush-raped asses. His offer today of allowing key staff members to testify without being under oath, without being "on the record" and in private is a red herring. If they don't have anything to hide then they will tell the truth, won't perjure themselves and all will be ironed out. By the way, he's now calling any lawful right by the judiciary committee to subpoena and place people under oath to investigate any wrong-doing is engaging in a "show trial!!!"
Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh god i'm sorry but that's hilarious. I can't stop laughing as I type this out.
This is just another chapter in the Bush legacy of scandals. It is time to call the entire Bush Presidency a scandal--"The Bush Presidency-gate."
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In the light of Bill Maher's "New Rules":
New rule. A story is no longer "BREAKING NEWS" if the story has been resolved for 2 hours!!!!
The use of the "BREAKING NEWS" logo is being abused. For example, they found that young boy scout today who was lost in the North Carolina wilderness. Which is obviously excellent news. However. CNN stayed on the story for 2 HOURS after he was found alive, safe and sound. How do I know?? Well, they broke with that news, then I turned off the t.v., meditated, showered, cleaned up the house a bit, read my book for awhile and then turned on the news--and they were on the same story!!!
Later, they broke into regular coverage to give us more "BREAKING NEWS" about the boy just to show us a 30 second clip of the boy being rolled out of the ambulance and into the hospital for re-hydration. The MSM (Main Stream Media) is worthless.
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Monday, March 19, 2007
3,217 U.S. soldiers killed
24,000+ U.S. soldiers wounded
Iraqis killed: 30,000-100,000
The words of Rumsfeld speaking about the Iraq war echo in my brain on today's sad anniversary:
It is unknowable how long the conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months
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Friday, March 16, 2007
First of all I want to share a great quote from Carl Sagan on the matter of a supernatural "God:"
Carl Sagan put it well: '...if by "God" one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying...it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.'
This quote pretty much sums up my attitude about and toward a "God." However, I would add the following: My personal view of a "God" is most closely to that of a pantheist (if I have to delve into definitions). I try not to put limits upon such a force. Even though I do not believe in a supernatural "God" I do believe in an Unfathomable "God-force."
I think that such a force is so Enlightened that it is not limited to a permanent body (as my friend David alludes to in my cross-post at my Buddhist blog). That all sentient beings and non-sentient things have a piece of this "God-force" within "their" very DNA and molecular structure. I call myself a "Buddhist" to make it easier for people that think in structured, dualistic 'religious' terms. However, as a "Buddhist" I see that there really is no such thing as a "Buddhist" or "Buddhism" as both are always changing--as are all things according to the Buddha. Being a student of "Buddhism" I promptly looked up "Buddhism" in the index of the book and found this lonely reference.
And I shall not be concerned at all with other religions such as Buddhism or Confucianism. Indeed, there is something to be said for treating these not as religions but as ethical systems or philosophies of life.
I do not believe in a "God" that can be conceivable to the average theist either and I would submit that Dawkins believes the same. That his belief in science is a 'religion' but as the below quote explains, he purposely does not call himself 'religious' because that word is loaded with centuries of preconceived ideas.
He seems to be a pantheist:
Pantheists don't believe in a supernatural God at all, but use the word God as a non-supernatural synonym for Nature, or for the Universe, or for the lawfulness that governs it's workings. ...Pantheism is sexed up Atheism. He then goes on to quote Einstein's religious beliefs and agrees with them: 'To sense behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious.' In this sense I too am religious, with the reservation that 'cannot grasp' does not have to mean 'forever graspable.' But I prefer not to call myself religious because it is misleading. It is destructively misleading because for the vast majority of people, 'religion' implies 'supernatural.'
James: After reading this quote I sank my teeth into the first, real meaty issue of the book. That being the idea that anything religious deserves an abnormal amount of respect and even a state of untouchability. He gives a couple of great examples regarding this issue:
I have previously drawn attention to the privileging of religion in public discussions of ethics in the media and in government. Whenever a controversy arises over sexual or reproductive morals, you can bet that religious leaders from several different faith groups will be prominently represented on influential committees, or on panel discussions on radio and television. I'm not suggesting that we should go out of our way to censor the views of these people. But why does our society beat a path to their door, as though they had some expertise comparable to that of, say, a moral philosopher, family lawyer or a doctor?
James: This is an excellent point. Abortion for example is a medical issue and not a religious issue. Sure religions have a right to be against abortion but why should a religious belief influence our laws that are supposed to be independent from any religion? Especially if we believe in a separation between church and state? Religions have a right to be free from governmental imposition of beliefs but the government has a right to make decisions based on science, reason and sociological data rather then on faith, based on what an arguable, mythical, "man in the sky" tells us to belief or do. History has tried many, many times to run government by religion and it has made a serious mess of things. That was one of the major reasons that the American revolution took off and was so successful. If religious groups are going to be invited to discuss and decide major government and political issues then they should lose their tax exempt status.
Here's another weird example of privileging of religion. On 21 February 2006 the United States Supreme Court ruled that a church in New Mexico should be exempt from the law, which everybody else has to obey, against the taking of hallucinogenic drugs. Faithful members of the Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal believe that they that they can understand God only by drinking hoasca tea, which contains illegal hallucinogenic drug dimethyltryptamine. Note that is sufficient to believe that the drug enhances their understanding. They do not have to produce evidence. Conversely, there is plenty of evidence that cannabis eases the nausea and discomfort of cancer sufferers undergoing chemotheraphy. Yet the Supreme Court ruled in 2005, that all patients who use cannabis for medical purposes are vulnerable to federal prosecution (even in the minority of states where such specialist use is legalized). Religion, as ever, is the trump card. Imagine members of an art appreciation society pleading in court that they 'believe' they need a hallucinogenic drug in order to enhance their understanding of Impressionist or Surrealist paintings. Yet, when a church claims such an equivalent need, it is backed by the highest court in the land. Such is the power of religion as a talisman.
James: This is going to be a great book.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The e-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with recently departed White House counsel Harriet Miers and was her idea alone.Two independent sources in a position to know have described the contents of the email exchange, which could be released as early as tomorrow. They put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter.
What has made the issue a political firestorm is the White House's insistence that the idea came from Miers and was swiftly rejected.
White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters Tuesday that Miers had suggested firing all 93, and that it was "her idea only." Snow said Miers' idea was quickly rejected by the Department of Justice.The latest e-mails show that Gonzales and Rove were both involved in the discussion, and neither rejected it out of hand.
GOI: And then there is this from the Washington Post:
"As an operational matter, we would like to replace 15-20 percent of the current U.S. Attorneys--the underperforming ones," Sampson wrote on Jan. 9, 2005. "...The vast majority of U.S. Attorneys, 80-85 percent, I would guess, are doing a great job, are loyal Bushies, etc., etc."
GOI: I knew that if we dug at little further that we'd find turd blossom's shitty fingerprints on this as well.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Marine General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he backed the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuality.
The policy bans homosexual acts between members of the military.
A gay rights group called the comments "a slap in the face to gay men and women serving with honour and bravery".
Joe Solomonese, president of Human Rights Campaign, said: "What is immoral is to weaken our national security because of personal prejudices."
"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," Gen Pace told the Chicago Tribune.
Critics say the policy is discriminatory and also country productive, as it may undermine recruitment as the US military is struggling to maintain sufficient forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A 2005 government audit said 10,000 troops including more then 50 specialists in Arabic, have been discharged because of the policy.
GOI: No. You know what is immoral, "General???" The immoral war that you helped lead and wage in Iraq. Losing more the 50 specialists in a language that is critical to stopping terrorists attacks is being soft on terrorism as far as I'm concerned. It is amazingly short-sighted and stupid. Letting one's opinions get in the way of national security is irresponsible and childish.
This hints at a long held bigoted view about gays. That they can't control their "urges" and hit on every man or woman that comes along. That somehow in a fox hole that they would try and rape or flirt with their fellow soldier while bullets were flying along side them and mortar rounds exploding at their feet. Sexual urges are the LAST thing on ones mind when ones life is on the line.
It's immoral to send our troops to battle without the proper body armor that they deserve to accomplish their missions. It's immoral to accept people into the military who have mental illnesses and felony criminal backgrounds over gays with impeccable records!! I would MUCH rather have a gay man or woman serving next to men then an unstable, fragile, mentally ill soldier or one with a criminal background!!! (And I should know. I have a mental illness and I know that I have no business carrying a loaded weapon in a war zone).
And the conservatives say that they support the troops. How can you say that when you favor letting in felony convicts into the armed forces over homosexuals with no criminal or mental issues?!!Two other issues: 1). Generals and all other members of the military take an oath to protect all Americans and that includes homosexuals whether they like it or not. That leads into point 2). that the Christian view that homosexuality is immoral means that ultimately gays do not deserve to live because they are wicked. God supposedly wiped out Sodom and Gomorrah because of their "immoral acts." And in a general sense if one is immoral in Christianity then one will be throw into the furnace of death and annihilation. This comes from Matthew in the New Testament (Matthew 13:40-42). So tell me, if you believe in this Biblical, Christian "God" and that homosexuality is immoral and thus a sin, then you have to believe in this teaching that homosexuals should be annihilated. So how can you then believe that people who are immoral should be thrown into the furnace of death and annihilation and yet take an oath to defend such people??
Then there are the many great soldiers through out the history of warfare who have been homosexuals. These men weren't "soft" or "pansies" or whatever else bigots try to say about gays to demean them and "prove" that gays can't serve effectively in the military.
There were the Lambda warriors, an entire gay army that successfully conquered neighboring lands for the Ancient Greek Empire. Alexander the Great and Richard the Lion heart were both said to be successful homosexual warriors. Although both were most likely more bisexual then gay.
Back to this era, Great Britain, France, Canada and Germany all allow gays to serve openly in their armed forces. Once again we are behind (no pun intended) the rest of the world.
Excuse me while I go smash my head against the wall in frustration.
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Sunday, March 11, 2007
And yet even when these Iraqi civilian "collaborators"(and their families) are intimated with death threats the U.S. government denies their expatriation to the United States with the worst excuse of all.
That these Iraqi's who work (and have worked) with the U.S. Military and government would be "national security risks" if repatriated in the states. Which is absurd and embarrassing because these people have been painstakingly vetted on various levels in order to begin work for the military/government in the FIRST PLACE!!!!
So much for the Bush administration caring about Iraqi's and winning their hearts and minds.
They are using these Iraqi's up and throwing them away just like our troops. However, at least our troops get to come home to a grateful, stable nation and not have to stay behind in the war zone left to their own devices to protect themselves and their families.
Yet another glorious chapter in the Bush legacy!
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Saturday, March 10, 2007
Miller claimed that 45 million babies have been 'killed' since the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade in 1973.
"If those 45 million children had lived, today they would be defending our country, they would be filling our jobs, they would be paying into Social Security," he asserted.GOI: This is such non-sense. More irrational, illogical brain dead thinking from the right. You can't assume that all these aborted babies would grow up to do great things. Just as many aborted babies would grow up to be drug dealers, rapists, drunks, wife beaters, etc. Or they could turn out to become 45 million liberals god forbid!!!! That would be ironic. 45 million "saved children" growing up to be pro-choice liberals. Ha!! That idea would explode poor Zell's 17th century brain. I wouldn't be surprised if surgery was performed on Zell's skull to explore his brain and it turned out to be a dog's squeaky toy.
All of these anti-choice people are hypocrites if they don't adopt unwanted children into their homes.
Oh yeah and we have nearly 3,200 dead soldiers from the Iraq war that were are best and brightest. How about them apples Zell?? I'm sure you'd rather not think of that.
Great comment I found in regards to this story:
What's terribly sad is that this moron, and others who agree with him, seem to miss the total irony of "saving" children from abortion so they can be killed in an unjust war.
GOI: but here's my favorite:
I know for a FACT if Terri Schiavo had been allowed to live, she would have single-handedly captured Osama bin Laden AND cured cancer. But the damn liberals ruined it!
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Thursday, March 08, 2007
The scene that alarmed the most (so far) was the one where Borat is about to sing the national anthem of the United States at a rodeo in the south somewhere. The organizer of the event proceeds to tell "Borat"that his "dark hair" and mustache make him look like a "terrorist" and that he should probably shave it. That it makes him look like a "Muslim." And that when the war "over there" is done that he would be better accepted "around here." All this despite "Borat" wearing an American flag shirt and over-sized cowboy hat.
The fictitious character of Borat then launches into into expressing his hatred against homosexuals saying, "“They hang ’em in our country.” The man replies: “That’s what we’re trying to do here.”
The ignorance, hatred and bigotry in this country is breath-taking sometimes. Especially since this country is supposedly the most "educated" country on Earth. So much for believing that "all men are created equal." Have we ever really thought this way?? We certainly didn't think blacks were equal until only very recently. Many of us are just pretenders it seems. It appears that our "shining beacon on a hill" to guide the rest of the world is a cheap flashlight made in China. Many Americans have become just as over the top, laughable, offensive and absurd as the fictitious character of Borat--and perhaps that's the point of the movie. To shine a light on our ignorant view that we are inherently better then the rest of the world. It's sad to see people that think they have it all figured out when in reality they are obscenely uneducated and embarrassing. No wonder the rest of the world laughs at our over-inflated self-worth and narcissism. We look soooo stupid!!! We look like Neanderthals.
We think we're so cool when in reality we are like that teenager who blows money on worthless crap, drives around flipping the bird like they're the only ones on the road, struts around thinking he's "all that" when in reality he's just your average skinny punk. His low self-esteem screaming out to the rest of the world as they over-compensate for their short-comings and weaknesses. Always blaming someone else for their mistakes, misfortunes and problems. As Homer Simpson says, "It's everyone's fault but mine." Going out of their way to insult and even beat people up to make themselves feel better. Doing illegal things to get what they want and cutting in line rather then waiting their turn like everyone else because they believe that they are more deserving then anyone else.
Now, that being said I don't think ALL Americans are like this but sadly many are. Don't get me wrong I am proud to be an American and I love this country but we have to face that we have an ugly side (just like any country or people). And yes, we CAN do wrong and make mistakes. We AREN'T invincible and there ARE consequences to our actions. We are the teen-agers on the block and we need to chill out and listen to other more seasoned countries that have gone through centuries of hardships and wars and lived to tell the tale of what NOT to do. We still have a lot to learn about being a country and geo-political relations. We can't just blow up everyone we disagree with. Shooting first and asking questions later.
Well, I'm done with my rant. That guy in the movie just really hit a nerve.
Hope everyone is doing well!!
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
I found it very interesting how the executive director describes the programs. He says, "These programs, he said, the programs don't. The programs quote. The programs quote, heh, don't emphasize--he has a little trouble with the English. And so do I. Describes this as an initiative that "does not emphasis classroom and textbook learning." (nods head) My kind of program.
GOI: Laughter ensues. I guess people think, "He's funny because he's as dumb witted as I am." What is this?? The Blue Collar Comedy Tour??? I guess I'm asking too much but I don't want President "Larry the Cable Guy."
Durhhhhh!!!!! I president, you no president. I make no good English and play war and stuff. 9/11 n stuff. God, uh bless Amuraka.
He can't even get "the English" (as he calls it) right even when he's reading from a script!! "The English??" Is that what he says to people abroad when they ask what we speak here? "Yeah, we speak 'the English.'"
The only way I think we should establish English as the official language of the United States is if we start with our President. I bet that there are immigrants out there who speak better English then President C-
He's now claiming that it's too early to judge whether or not the surge is working but then goes on to say how the surge is already succeeding. Huh? Meanwhile, some 90 Iraqi pilgrims heading south were killed in Baghdad. Ask them how that "surge" is working out. In addition, nine U.S. soldiers were killed yesterday. The deadliest single day for U.S. troops in Iraq in nearly a month.
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Monday, March 05, 2007
Coulter made the comments on Friday during a speech at the influential American Conservative Union’s Political Action Conference, calling Edwards a “faggot.”
GOI: You know, in another era she'd be throwing around the "n" word around like that. Hell, she probably STILL throws it around. The thing that pisses me off the most is that the crowd was laughing over it. And we are to believe that Republicans are outraged at this too?? Not many I bet. Coulter supposed "apologized" (whatever) but then had this to say on her website, "“I’m so ashamed, I can’t stop laughing.” She then said Edwards’ campaign chairman’s main job was “fronting for Arab terrorists.”
And why are we surprised? Why are we shocked anymore by what she says?? She's a blow-hard who has nothing worth while to say so she just insults people to get attention. She's a school-yard bully. She's a nasty, nasty mean woman. She's Cruella DeVille. She's got some serious self-esteem issues obviously. She needs a team of shrinks. I'd really lay into her but she's not worth anymore space here on my blog so I'll leave it at that.
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Friday, March 02, 2007
"This internal memo from Major General George Weightman's deputy to the Army's medical command:
Dated September 2006 the memo describes how the Army's recent decision to privatize support services at Walter Reed had sparked an exodus of "highly skilled and experienced personnel." And as a result Whaitman's deputy warned that Walter Reed's "Base Operations and patient care services are at risk of mission failure." Democrats investigating the situation say the Army awarded the 5 year, $120 million contract in January 2005. At that time, they claim Walter Reed had over 300 federal employees in support services by February 2006 (a year later) that number had dropped dropped to under 60. Democrats say the company that took over (IEP Worldwide Services) was among the companies that had problems delivering ice during FEMA's response to Hurricane Katrina.
(GOI: Was Brownie doing a heck of a job again??? That rascal!!!)
The CEO of IAP (Al Neffgan) is a former senior...
...........(GOI: wait for it...................)
Halliburton official (GOI: OH MY GOD WHAT A SHOCK!!!!!!).
In a letter to General Weightman Congressman Henry Waxman says it would be "reprehensible if the deplorable conditions (at Walter Reed) were caused or aggravated by an ideological commitment to privatize government services..."
(GOI: I realize that the Congressman can't jump to conclusions but where's there's smoke there's Walter Reed on fire baby!! Keep on diggin' Congressman Waxman!! My spidey-schizo sense can see the White House's finger prints alllll over this one).
Even before news of this memo broke, Democrats were already calling for more heads to roll.
GOI: See THIS, the FEMA debacle during Katrina and the "Halliburtonization" of the war is what happens when you try and privatize government services!!! Gee, yet another stunning success of the Grover Norquist Neo-Conservative agenda. These clowns will have a sign over the White House pretty soon that says "Welcome to the White House sponsored by Exxon Mobile."
And as Brent says, this is a V.A. wide problem.
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Nearly 90 percent of Army National Guard units in the United States are rated --"not ready" largely as a result of shortfalls in billions of dollars' worth of equipment -- jeopardizing their capability to respond to crises at home and abroad, according to a congressional commission that released a preliminary report yesterday on the state of U.S. military reserve forces.
The report found that heavy deployments of the National Guard and reserves since 2001 for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other anti-terrorism missions have deepened shortages, forced the cobbling together of units and hurt recruiting."We can't sustain the [National Guard and reserves] on the course we're on," said Arnold L. Punaro, chairman of the 13-member Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, established by Congress in 2005. The independent commission, made up mainly of former senior military and civilian officials appointed by both parties, is tasked to study the mission, readiness and compensation of the reserve forces.
GOI: So Bush and his sycophants are "supporting the troops/military" by breaking it into pieces?!! Sounds like the kind of thinking that "Bush in Wonderland" is typical of engaging in. Up is down, wrong is right, bad is good. Can someone please stop giving W hits of acid please??? Oh and can someone mug Rumsfeld in order to pay for these financial shortfalls with his blood money. I'm sure Saddam won't want his money back what with him being dead and all.
And does anyone (who isn't in Bush's "Heavens Gate" cult of worship) question whether or not the Iraq war has emboldened our enemies--especially Iran?? They're smart cookies over there. They know that our military is busted, broken and beaten down. There is no way that they're going to do what we want at this point. We're an eagle who's claws and beak have been ripped out.
Gee, thanks for "supporting our troops" George. You know, someone should tell him that these are real people in those uniforms not little, plastic green toy soldiers. And yes those explosions are real--not just people making explosion noises with their mouths. I don't think he quite gets it. It will take our military decades to recover from President short bus. And to think the Rethugs said that CLINTON set our military back!! HA!!!!!!!! That's a good one.
Knowing Bush's stubborn streak, use of one deformed brain cell and lack of concern for the military and rest of the country I smell a draft coming!! Gird up your loins boys and girls!! We have to fight to save Georgie boy's legacy!!!! Wooooo!!!! Now THAT's a reason to fight a war if I EVER heard one!!! I love how he says that he will be vindicated by history in 50 years. FIFTY YEARS?!!!! Gee, why don't you go for 100 years. ANYTHING can happen in 50 years. I'm sure the Iraqi's will figure it out by then but I won't be any thanks to you Captain Crunch.
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Thursday, March 01, 2007
This is also typical of the Bush administration who's entire chain of command is inept. A chain of command where people are promoted for incompetence and failure. The only requirement for promotion apparently being that they keep the secrets and don't criticize "the plan."
A procession of Pentagon and Walter Reed officials expressed surprise last week about the living conditions and bureaucratic nightmares faced by wounded soldiers staying at the D.C. medical facility. But as far back as 2003, the commander of Walter Reed, Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who is now the Army's top medical officer, was told that soldiers who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were languishing and lost on the grounds, according to interviews. Steve Robinson, director of veterans affairs at Veterans for America, said he ran into Kiley in the foyer of the command headquarters at Walter Reed shortly after the Iraq war began and told him that "there are people in the barracks who are drinking themselves to death and people who are sharing drugs and people not getting the care they need."
I met guys who weren't going to appointments because the hospital didn't even know they were there," Robinson said. Kiley told him to speak to a sergeant major, a top enlisted officer. In 2004, Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and his wife stopped visiting the wounded at Walter Reed out of frustration. Young said he voiced concerns to commanders over troubling incidents he witnessed but was rebuffed or ignored. "When Bev or I would bring problems to the attention of authorities of Walter Reed, we were made to feel very uncomfortable," said Young, who began visiting the wounded recuperating at other facilities. Beverly Young said she complained to Kiley several times. She once visited a soldier who was lying in urine on his mattress pad in the hospital. When a nurse ignored her, Young said, "I went flying down to Kevin Kiley's office again, and got nowhere. He has skirted this stuff for five years and blamed everyone else."
More than a year ago, Chief Warrant Officer Jayson Kendrick, an outpatient, attended a sensing session, the Army's version of a town hall meeting where concerns are raised in front of the chain of command. Kendrick spoke about the deterioration and crowded conditions of the outpatient administrative building, which had secondhand computers and office furniture shoved into cubicles, creating chaos for family members. An inspector general attending the meeting "chuckled and said, 'What do you want, pool tables and Ping-Pong tables in there?' " Kendrick recalled. It found that 75 percent of outpatients said their experience at Walter Reed had been "stressful" and that there was a "significant population of unsatisfied, frustrated, disenfranchised patients." Military commanders played down the findings.
"These people knew about it," Wilson said. "The bottom line is, people knew about it but the culture of the Army didn't allow it to be addressed."Last October, Joyce Rumsfeld, the wife of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, was taken to Walter Reed by a friend concerned about outpatient treatment. She attended a weekly meeting, called Girls Time Out, at which wives, girlfriends and mothers of soldiers exchange stories and offer support.
According to three people who attended the gathering, Rumsfeld listened quietly. Some of the women did not know who she was. At the end of the meeting, Rumsfeld asked one of the staff members whether she thought that the soldiers her husband was meeting on his visits had been handpicked to paint a rosy picture of their time there. The answer was yes.
When Walter Reed officials found out that Rumsfeld had visited, they told the friend who brought her -- a woman who had volunteered there many times -- that she was no longer welcome on the grounds.UPDATE: General in charge of Walter Reed relieved from duty.
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