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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, December 21, 2006

 

A Not-So-"Goode" Quote in the Lead

The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran."
-Rep. Virgil Goode (REPUBLICAN-VA) in a letter to his constituents

I wonder if Rep. Goode ever played pro ball of any kind. After all, Rep. Goode speaks of Rep. Goode in the third person, as if commenting on his own life and thoughts somehow makes him more legitimate.

It appears that Goode believes Muslims and people from Minnesota shouldn't vote. His comments were about the first Muslim representative ever elected to the US congress, Democrat Keith Ellison. Ellison had the temerity to obtain more votes than his REPUBLICAN counterpart and that makes Virgil Goode mad. My sense is that if you asked Virgil Goode just how mad it made Virgil Good Virgil Good's answer would be something to the effect of "Virgil Goode is mad".

If and when Rep. Ellison gets a chance to speak with Virgil Goode, I hope he addresses Virgil Goode as "Vigil Goode". It might go something like this:
REP. ELLISON (approaching Rep. Virgil Goode in the halls of Congress): How is Rep. Virgil Goode today?
REP. VIRGIL GOODE: Virgil Goode is good.
REP. ELLISON: Well it's good to know that Virgil Goode is good. Good-bye.
REP. VIRGIL GOODE: Virgil Goode says good-bye as well.

-Noah Greenberg wrote this short piece for Noah Greenberg to publish in Noah Greenberg's newsletter Note From a Madman



On the Ground in Iraq

"Sir I think we need to just keep doing what we're doing. I really think we need more troops here. With more presence on the ground, more troops might hold them off long enough to where we can get the Iraqi Army trained up."
-Spc. Jason T. Green of the 101st Military Intelligence Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at a breakfast with the troops

Nothing like a new Defense Secretary with a new photo-op to keep the ol' status quo "Stay the course." Just how many soldiers did the Bush administration have to interview before they found one who wanted to stay anyway?

This next question is directed to anyone in the Bush administration who may want to take a shot at answering: When General Eric Shinseki, Anthony Zinni, Tommy Franks (before he said "small", he said "big") and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell said things like "overwhelming force", why didn't you listen then?

"We need to make damned sure that the neighbors understand that we're going to be here for a long time — here being the Persian Gulf,"
-Gates.

As "The Who" might say. "Meet the new Secretary of Defense, same as the old Secretary of Defense."

"More troops would help us integrate the Iraq Army into patrols more,"
-Pfc. Cassandra Wallace of the 10th Mountain Division

Maybe we could get someone with a star or two on their hats to recommend something. Whad'ya think?

At the same time that Gates was chowin' down with is new "peeps", Commanders on the ground weren't so sure that providing more American troops, or targets, was the answer. They want the Iraqis to police themselves and feel that more troops will only act as an additional set of training wheels on this badly damaged bicycle. Even the troops who want more of their brothers in arms to show up noted that many of the Iraqi police never even show up for work.

General John Abizaid, the top US commander in the middle east is retiring and general John Casey, the top commander in Iraq may be following on Abizaid's heels. "What," you may ask, "do these two men have in common?" They both don't want any more troops in Iraq. That's advice the White house, and probably Gates, don't want to hear. And we all know what happens to Generals who don't tow the Bush line They get to retire, or get demoted or both.

No wonder Gates ate with the SPC's and PFC's.

"Secretary Gates is going to be an important voice in the Iraq strategy review that's under way,"
-President Bush

Someone check for Dick Cheney's hand up Gates' ass and see if his (Cheney's) lips are moving

"We discussed the possibility of a surge and the potential for what it might accomplish,"
-Gates

A huge surge will mean nothing if they are American troops ONLY. There needs to be an international force inn Iraq and it needs to be overwhelming. A few extra American boots on the ground won't do a thing. The Iraqi army will only respond once that have to respond. It's time to take the training wheels off and allow Iraq to peddle freely, fall, then get back up and start peddling again.

-Noah Greenberg



The "W" Legacy, Continued
Bureaucracy Solves Everything


NYS Senator Kenneth LeValle (REPUBLICAN-NY) recently called for hearings into how the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the organization that devised and administers the SAT grades the results. The hearings are the result of mistakes ETS has allegedly made in grading the fall SAT. Senator LeValle has uncovered a major flaw in the process of the high stakes educational testing: Even a valid test is subject to the competence of the scoring.

In trying to devise a fix for this problem Sen. LeValle has spoken a great deal about the use of alternative testing in the form of the American College Testing Company's ACT test. He has recognized that alternative testing is needed in many instances in our high stakes educational testing system.

SAT and ACT provide valid and reputable tests for the scholastic aptitude of college bound high school seniors, but this is not the result that the Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) testing program is seeking. NCLB is seeking to test whether a child or adolescent is competent. It is not being touted as a measure of literacy or of the attainment of a specific body of social studies, math or scientific knowledge. Bush and the GOP have been using the NCLB testing to evaluate the effectiveness of schools. This has had the perverse result of depriving improving schools of resources.

For example, if a seventh grade teacher receives a class that has a large number of pupils with third grade attainment and brings that class up to sixth grade level before turning them over the eighth grade she is deemed a failure. Even though she has brought the attainment levels of those children up three years she still has not turned them over to the next grade at their level and so is deemed a failure.

In NCLB failure has the consequence of reduced resources. SO FOR BRINGING CHILDREN'S ATTAINMENT LEVELS UP THREE YEARS IN ONE YEAR SOME TEACHERS AND SCHOOLS ARE LOSING RESOURCES. This problem is so endemic that all fifty states and the District of Columbia will be deemed deficient in the five year evaluation of NCLB.

An even more pernicious result of NCLB is the paper chase of certification that has resulted from the well qualified teacher requirements that Washington has imposed upon the states. Many teachers with years, if not decades of solid success in the classrooms- where it counts- of elementary and middle schools have lost their positions because they have not been successful in the classrooms behind the ivied walls of graduate school level classes. Failure to earn a master's degree results in decertification of teachers regardless of their track record in teaching children.

The failure of NCLB has been the result of a poorly conceived system that has rigidly maintained one form of testing. The validity of this exclusive form of testing has not been established. In fact, the research in the field shows that high stakes paper tests are not measuring the outcomes desired.

Research conclusively shows that exclusive reliance on high stakes paper testing is injurious to the educational process in the critical elementary and middle school years. Of course, every parent knows that from experience.

Teaching careers have been disrupted, not because of established deficiencies in instruction or classroom management, but because teachers lacked specific, expensively obtained credentials.

Instead of addressing educational reform in a holistic and fundamental way, Bush used NCLB to add more bureaucracy to a system already staggering under a load of excess administrators.

Bush used NCLB to strengthen and enrich the established academic testing mavens rather than devising good teaching and learning assessment appropriate to elementary and middle school pupils. He has used NCLB to extend federal control and patronage into new areas.

How ironic that the GOP, the conservative, small government party has become under GW Bush- described in '04 convention by NYS Gov. Pataki, as the indispensable man- the party of bureaucratic intervention into everything.

Our generation's challenge is not to go forth and find foreigners to fight. Our generation's challenge is to protect American liberty from a greedy and power-lusting bunch of politicos trampling on our historic values. The Bush-Cheney Administration and the GOP Congressional leadership are the nerve center of these enemies of American freedom.

If American liberty survives, the Bush Administration may well be remembered as its most perilous and darkest time.

I hope that we are remembered as another generation that handed on the heritage of freedom and not as the one, who through panic and unreasoning fear, yielded our freedom to the insidious erosion of implacable bureaucratic rigidity.

-Robert Chapman



Bush Goes "Holiday" Shopping

Chuckle Nuts Bush held the last news conference of the year. When asked about the economy, the idiot said he encourages Americans to do more Holiday shopping. Indeed, he didn't say Christmas shopping ... contact the Luffa Boy O'Reilly at once. But seriously, are Americans only good for consuming?

Meanwhile, the butcher of Crawford is prepared to send as many as 40,000 additional troops into the Iraqi meat grinder and all this cold hearted SOB can say is that he encourages Americans to do more shopping. When will this nightmare end!

-Robert Scardapane



Liberal Hate-Mongers, Too

How about Al Franken? Or Michael Moore. Michael's got some good mouth on him and Franken wrote a book called Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot or something like that.

Of course Franken used a couple of politically incorrect terms -- mainly "fat" and "idiot." Weight challenges and intellectual challenges are not why we hate Limbaugh. I would say that he is "compassionate-challenged."

-Billie M. Spaight



Forwards and Comments

from Robert Scardapane

Better Red Than Union—Communists Infiltrate Wal-Mart!
by Mike Hall, Dec 20, 2006

It’s just such a delicious thought. If only ol’ Sam Walton—the patriarch of the Wal-Mart empire—was still alive.

Picture this as some flunky Wal-Mart VP enters Walton’s office:
“Sir, do you want the good news or bad news first?”
“Hit me with the bad news!”
“We’ve been forced to recognize unions in some of our stores.”
“Ohmygawd! That’s awful. Tell me the good news.”
“We’ve given the Communist Party permission to set up chapters in some of those stores.”

To quote humor columnist Dave Barry, “I’m not making this up.”

The Associated Press reports there are six Communist Party chapters at Wal-Mart operations in China, including the latest established at the company’s Chinese headquarters in Shenzhen. In addition, the company with 68 stores in China (and many more on the drawing board) in August agreed to allow its 36,000 employees in that nation to join a union.

Sure, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions is blessed by the state and Communist Party and is considered a paper tiger when it comes to protecting workplace rights and workers, but it’s a union nonetheless.

The matter-of-fact explanation of Wal-Mart’s acceptance of the Communist Party chapters is priceless when—compared to the vicious tactics and end-of-the-world rhetoric used against its U.S. workers seeking to win a voice at work with a union. Wal-Mart spokesman Jonathan Dong tells the AP:

Quite a few of our associates [workers] are party members already, so they have a right to establish branch organizations.

Translation: Communist Party membership OK. Membership in unions with real rights and freedom—forbidden!
****

Word has it that the American corporations have gone completely berserk since the Chinese government announced their intentions to allow factories to unionize. In fact, they are encouraging it! There have been many instances of riots at these plants and the Chinese government is getting nervous. Could this explain why the American corporations were desperate for a free trade agreement with Vietnam (as was the CEO President Dumbya)? Apparently, unions are outlawed in Vietnam. -RJS



Wal-Mart & Child Labor

Wal-Mart has repeatedly violated U.S. child labor laws and profited from overseas child labor abuses.

A recent investigation revealed children, some only 11 years old, were making Wal-Mart clothes in a Bangladesh factory. The children report being routinely slapped and beaten, forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day, often seven days a week, for wages as low as 6 and a half cents an hour.

In the United States, Wal-Mart's own internal audit found 1,371 instances in which minors worked too late at night, during school hours, or too many hours in a day. It also found 60,767 instances of workers missing breaks and 15,705 instances where employees were forced to work and miss meal times.

Despite all of this, Wal-Mart refuses to adopt a zero tolerance policy on child labor! Our children deserve better from Wal-Mart this holiday season.

http://wakeupwalmart.com/feature/holidays/childlabor.html

***

Wal-Wart sucks! I simply refuse to shop at their stores. -RJS



Bush, Asleep in his Bunker
by David Corn

David Corn writes The Loyal Opposition twice a month for TomPaine.com. Corn is also the Washington editor of The Nation and the co-author, along with Michael Isikoff, of Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War. Read his blog at http://www.davidcorn.com.

I'm sleeping a lot better than people would assume.
-George W. Bush

Don Rumsfeld is the finest Secretary of Defense this nation has ever had.
-Dick Cheney

This is scary. The president of the United States of America has created a hellish disaster that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and thousands of American soldiers, and he's resting well. The vice president believes that the man responsible for three of the greatest military blunders in U.S. history (attacking Iraq without devising a strategy for securing the country after the invasion; dissolving the Iraqi army, creating armed and trained recruits for the incipient insurgency; and mounting an extensive de-Baathification campaign that destroyed the governing infrastructure of the nation) did his job well.

Such comments suggest that the two people in charge of this country are not living in denial but detachment. They must realize that Iraq is a mess perhaps beyond remedy. But that doesn't seem to affect them. How can that be?

http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/12/20/bush_asleep_in_the_bunker.php

****

This country is being governed by a pair of lunatics. The Bush/Cheney combination is without a doubt the worst in history. -RJS



Eye of Newt speaks:

"Newt bit his tongue for months and now feels he has to tell his base the truth: the White House does not have the will or the power to promote any agenda," (and he) blames White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove for Mr. Bush's mistakes, including the loss of Congress in 2006. They said Mr. Gingrich's criticism of the top Bush political adviser has been considered by the president and this could lead to Mr. Rove's early departure...
****


I have news for World War IV Newt. Americans are as disgusted with you as they are with Bush. Okay, indeed Rove should go. If there was any decency in the Bush administration Rove's security clearance would have already been pulled for leaking information to the press about the identity of an undercover CIA agent - namely, Valerie Plame Wilson. Any other government employee in a high security job would have been toast by now. I don't like Newt as he is a disgusting charter member of PNAC but in this case he is right - Rove must go! -RJS



In response to Employment and Health Care, Billie M. Spaight writes:

Having universal health care would certainly spur employment. Many middle-sized employers would also be less hesitant to take on older or disabled employees because there would not be concerns about healthcare premiums going up. In addition, workers who get healthcare are, of course, more likely to BE healthy and thus more productive. And while depression can be both chronic and/or situational, having universal healthcare in place could ensure that any person who experienced depression could afford to have it addressed.

Your reasons among many, many others are why Carol and I--and so many others--are in the movement to pass H.R. 676, the New and Improved Expanded Medicare for All bill, sponsored by John Conyers, Jr., in the House of Representatives.

But there is one flaw in the scenarios presented. The flaw is the idea of taking 10% from a person's unemployment check. Those checks are extremely small and barely cover living expenses. Unemployment insurance should not be subject to any money removed from it for any reason whatsoever--not for taxes, not for healthcare--not for anything! In fact, that amount of money should be at least doubled!

Other than that--I think it is a great idea to "sell" the concept to small businesses--that THEY can profit from it.


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-Noah Greenberg