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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Preparing Us for Bad News
(or "Be Afraid - Be Very Afraid)

"U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded al-Qaeda has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,"
-The Associated Press has learned

That's not good, right?

"A counterterrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the new government threat assessment called it a stark appraisal that will be discussed at the White House on Thursday as part of a broader meeting on an upcoming (NIE) National Intelligence Estimate,"
-The AP, quoting an "official" who spoke "on condition of anonymity"

We're just waiting on the NIE to hear the rest of the "good news" about the people that President Bush uses as his very own "Boogy-Men", while at the same time doesn't seem to care about.

Remember, it was President Bush who gave us all the "Dead or Alive" line referring to Osama bin-Laden and al-Qaeda in 2001, right after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; and it was that same George Bush who told us all that he doesn't think about him all that much.

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him." President Bush, 9/13/01
"I want justice...There's an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive,'" President Bush, 9/17/01, UPI
"So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him. ... And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
"Deep in my heart I know the man's on the run, if he's alive at all...I just don't spend much time on it, really, to be honest with you." (March 13, 2002.)
"Because he's hiding" Bush, explaining why Osama bin Laden has yet to be captured. (Washington Post interview, Jan. 16, 2005)
(-thanks to Air America Radio's "The Young Turks" http://www.theyoungturks.com/info/osama)

He's on the run, huh, Georgie-Boy? Is that why al-Qaeda is as strong today as they were in 2001? Is that why they are now a force which we have to deal with in Iraq, a place they weren't active in prior to our invasion? Is that why his group has been able to wreak havoc in Iraq, set off bombs in Spain and England and is being used by your administration to strike fear into the hearts of your fellow Americans in general? Could it be that being on the run is good for bin-Laden and al-Qaeda? or is it just that you and your cabal of advisors care more about photo-ops, spin and staying in power than actually doing something to protect us. After all, if it weren't for the fear created by the likes of then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom "Crayola-Man" Ridge and his colorful fear scale, and the constant reminders that al-Qaeda, a.k.a. "The Boogy-Men" are gonna git us, George Bush would have been a one-term president.

He should have been a no-term president.

Al-Qaeda has regrouped and hey have done so under the watch of George W. Bush. There is no excuse. There is no one else to blame. They're just plain pitiful.

-Noah Greenberg

"Today" Wakes Up

Congratulations to The Today Show. On this morning's show they finally discovered what we here on Note From a Madman have noticed a long time ago: That high school students aren't working as much as they were just a few short years ago.

Welcome to the party guys.

In a real "State the Obvious" moment, the three hosts of yesterday's "The Today Show" reported that America's high school students aren't employed the way they were in the 1970's and 1980's. Their implication, however, wasn't that there were other

"Remember the days of mowing lawns, packing groceries or working at the movie theater? Well, it appears the days of the Summer job may be long gone with kids opting for books over bucks"
-Matt Lauer

With "All I Wanna Do is Have Some Fun" is the song playing in the background, NBC takes a gratuitous shot of high school girls in string bikinis running into the waves at a Chicago area Lakeshore beach. My fifteen-year-old son says "Thank You.

According to MSNBC, the Department of Labor reports a steady decline in the number of teens employed at summer jobs. I bet if you look even more closely, you'll see that trend hold true for the rest of the year as well.

MSNBC reports that in 1978, 68 percent of high school students sought summer employment. By 2006, only 52 percent did. And this year, that number is down to 49 percent. The reporter asked, and answered, his own rhetorical question:

"Why? Teens are more focused on their careers."
-Today Show Reporter, Kevin Tibbles


I guess that the people at NBC either don't remember being a teen or were so wealthy as teenagers that they didn't need to work as teens. Maybe MSNBC shouldn't just have looked at the teenagers who live in the upper class neighborhoods of Chicago's North and Northwest suburbs to do their report to see the real reasons why America's teenagers are "seeking" work.

The irony isn't lost on me that the similarities in the way Bush administration has the Department of Labor measure unemployment statistics to manipulate the numbers to make sure that more and more Americans aren't included in the real stats is exactly the same as they are using to claim that more and more high school students aren't seeking jobs. Let me give you all a bit of history and a shot of reality here. In 1978 there were programs set up by municipalities, cities and other organizations, with help, in the form of funding by the federal government, to employ summer youths in jobs. These programs were helpful in teaching teenagers the way the real world works. It not only gave them a few bucks in their pockets, but a sense of pride and responsibility as well. I was fortunate enough to be included in one of these programs, as a college freshman, in 1979. Many of these programs don't exist today (thank you Ronald Reagan).

At the same time we see a reduction in the number of American teenagers looking for summer (or part-time) employment, as compared to those actually employed, we similarly see a drop in the number of adult Americans (what the Department of Labor calls non-institutionalized work force) who aren't looking for a job.

They must be on the beach with the kids!

However, when you look at the real stats, which you can find on the


Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics pages, you'll notice that the Bush administration's numbers lie. For example, we don't in fact, have "only" 4.7 percent unemployment in this country. Taking the real numbers, you would see that less than 66 percent pf all able-bodied Americans who might be working are, in fact working. That number was above 67 percent during the Bill Clinton years and was above 66 percent during the 7.5 percent unemployment-rate years of George H.W. Bush.

Another "trend" not looked at by the good people at GE-owned NBC is "The jobs American's won't do. I did those jobs when I was a "Summer Teenager", as well as when I was a "Winter-teenager", "Spring-Teenager" and "Fall-teenager", and, let me tell you, I wasn't alone. I worked cleaning dishes in the kitchen of an old-aged home; busing tables in a busy Brooklyn restaurant (sometimes until 1:00 in the morning): and handing out fliers on the streets of Manhattan's lower east side for a shoe and handbag company. I stocked shelves in a Drug store, liquor store and a clothing store. Those jobs today aren't available for the American teenager. Don't let them tell you that we won't do them. Those of you with kids looking for a job know exactly what I'm talking about.

With jobs slipping away to other nations and with people coming across our border looking for a better life, is it no wonder why our American youth aren't working at those same jobs as I did in the 1970's and 80's?

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg