Note From a Madman

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Paying for Katrina, and Maybe Rita

There is now a list of services and programs that could be cut in order to pay for the damage Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast. It is a list that might grow with Katrina's little sister, Hurricane Rita on the way to that same vicinity. Rita will probably make landfall somewhere in the East Texas Gulf Coast region, even possibly directly on Houston, America's fifth largest city. Rita, at the time I write this is a Category 4 hurricane, the same as Katrina.

The list of possible cuts reads as follows:
-Pushing the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan back one year to save $31 billion
We all know that elderly sick people don't really need their prescription drugs anyway. After all there are other options such as: faith healing; positive thinking; and meditation, just to name a few. The other options are purchasing these life-saving drugs (that is for the elderly who aren't "true believers) and skimping on things like food, or heat, for example. I think we have enough of our poorest elderly citizens eating dog food already. We don't need any more.

-Eliminating $25 billion in projects from the newly enacted transportation measure.
Hey... That's a great idea. But let's make sure that "bridge to nowhere" in the town of "Freaking' Freezing," Alaska doesn't get the boot. After all there is pork and there are necessities.

-Eliminating the Moon to Mars plans that NASA announced this past Monday, saving $44 billion
But that was supposed to be the "G"lobal "W"arming Bush legacy. He was going to get US to Mars. Now he's just going to have to finish screwing up Earth before he continues his quest to pollute the rest of the solar system.

-No more support for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, $4 billion savings
Kermit, Big Bird, Snuffleupagus... YOU'RE FIRED! The bad news is the loss of a major chunk of money to the only true "fair and balanced" news and entertainment programs on TV. The good news is that a streamlined Corporation for Public Broadcasting won't have to put up with Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the guy who funded research to discover the "liberal bias" of PBS. The "study" by another Republican Operative judged only the Bill Moyers program. Every time someone said "yeah Bush", it was a "good conservative mark." Every time someone said "Boo Bush," it was labeled a "bad liberal slander." By the way, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) is now a "liberal."

-No more taxpayer supported national political conventions and no more presidential election campaign fund, saving $600 million
Let's take it a step further. NO MORE LOBBYISTS. (see the Madman plan below)

-Charging federal employees for parking, $1.54 billion
Is that a monthly fee of a daily fee?

They even gave it a name, for crying out loud:


These guys do love to give "initiatives" names, don't they? I have a better name:


Yeah... that's sounds more realistic, doesn't it?

"What House conservatives will demonstrate through Operation Offset is that there is more than enough room in the federal budget to provide for the needs of the families affected by Katrina without raising taxes,"
-a House Republican aide, insisting on anonymity

Still missing from the OPERATION OFFSET list, and what would be at the top of the OPERATION MADMAN list are:
-Scaling back the tax give-back to the richest one percent of Americans
-Taxing American
Corporations who manufacture goods elsewhere, but pay no taxes in the USA
-Forgetting about eliminating the inheritance tax, which would only benefit America's
wealthiest 28,000 families (or 0.3 percent of the population)
-Increasing the size of the
Capital Gains Tax so wealthy Americans who "earn" their money from stocks pay the same as those of US who "earn" their salaries the old fashioned way... by "earning it"
-Coming up with a National Health Care alternative which would allow people to buy minimal health insurance at a price they can afford. This will allow people to get a physical, find possible problems, and take care of them before its too late. A plan like this will help alleviate the onus put on the middle class taxpayer to subsidize default payments to doctors and hospitals as well as allowing our poor or uninsured to STAY HEALTHY AND PRODUCTIVE MEMBERS OF SOCIETY

That's what we here at Madman call a "SOCIETY OF LIFE."

Congress needs "to make sure that that money is spent wisely, that it is spent with full accountability, that it is spent with fiscal responsibility and transparency."
-Senate majority leader, Doctor, and "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party presidential hopeful, Bill Frist

Transparency?! These guess are the most dense and opaque bunch of money grubbers I have ever seen! Senator Frist had better hope that Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney doesn't hear his words. He has his Halliburton stock futures to worry about. Do you think Cheney has a plan to "take it with him?"

"We need to make sure that federal contracts are awarded based on confidence and integrity instead of cronyism and greed. And at long last, we need to start putting the interests of the taxpayers ahead of the private contractor."
-Representative Henry A. Waxman (D-CA)

I like Rep. Waxman, but we all know these "G"reedy "O"ld "P"arty members are going to do what they like, to who they like and when they like. If it's money for tax give-backs to the wealthiest one percent of Americans, then the GOP says deficits are okay. If ithe money is to make sure our citizens are taken care of, every dome needs to be accounted for.

Tell me again, just what "sacrifices" have people like Bush and Cheney made again?

-Noah Greenberg

Humans as Guinea Pigs


The EPA will not allow testing pesticides on humans, especially children and pregnant women. Nope. Never gonna happen. No matter what. "Categorically."

Well... Maybe with a few exceptions.


Here are the exceptions that prove the EPA's rules:
-Testing of "abused or neglected" children without permission from parents or guardians.
After all, "abused and neglected" children hardly ever complain, and when they do the EPA testers could just beat them some more. I'm sure as the EPA testers are spraying these unwitting and unwilling children with DDT or RAID that they have their hands, feet and other pertinent parts of their bodies covered.

-"Ethically deficient" human research if it is considered crucial to "protect public health."
Doesn't "Ethically deficient" actually mean "unethical?" The "public health" must mean everyone except those being tested.

-More than minimal health risk to a subject if there is a "direct benefit" to the child being tested, and the parents or guardians agree.
This must be when the EPA convinces under-educated and poverty-stricken parents that DDT is "good for little Johnny or Janey. Here's a couple of bucks. Have a nice time at Denny's."

-EPA acceptance of overseas industry studies, which are often performed in countries that have minimal or no ethical standards for testing, as long as the tests are not done directly for the EPA.
I was wondering when "outsourcing" would rear its ugly head. It's not okay for the EPA to take advantage of the underprivileged youth of the world's poor nations, but it is okay for someone else to poison the youth of the world in the name of "progress."

"For the first time in our nation's history, the EPA has proposed a program to allow for the systematic and everyday experimentation of pesticides on humans. Moreover, the proposed program is riddled with ethical loopholes."
-Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) a leading critic of the testing policies

"The EPA proposed rule on human testing has several large loopholes that undermine the very purpose of the rule. No wonder the pesticide companies are saying such nice things about it."
-Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

"This is unethical and contrary to recent direction from Congress."
-Senator Boxer

Yeah, but its only "Ethically deficient", Senator Boxer and Rep. Waxman. That almost sounds like a good thing, doesn't it?

The exemptions are "obviously driven by the pesticide industry's goal of relaxing pesticide safety standards."
-Aaron Colangelo, a senior staff lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Fund

"The rule says it's acceptable to test children if there is a direct benefit. How can any child possibly benefit from exposure to pesticides? What was EPA thinking about?"

"This is ethically abhorrent, and the way EPA described this rule is clearly misleading. In fact, the rule expressly approves intentional chemical tests against these [at-risk groups] in several circumstances."

The "EPA's proposal is the [pesticide] industry's dream, and the public's nightmare."
-Richard Wiles, senior vice president of Environmental Working Group

These guys are defining a "public health benefit" could be defined as "higher crop yields."

It sounds more like a "corporate profit benefit" to me.

-Noah Greenberg

Maybe the EPA could try turning one of the flooded neighborhoods in New Orleans into an experimental swimming pool for underprivileged youth. Under strict medical supervision, of course.

-Victoria Brownworth

We Need to Say "NO!" to Lobbyists

It's just insane! The people who have he ears of our elected officials are the people they shouldn't be listening to. The people that can't get past the "gatekeepers" are those who elected them in the first place. Madman proposes one of two ways, or maybe both ways to alter "business as usual" in our nation's capital.

Idea 1 (originally published in Madman on April 6, 2005):
All television and radio advertisements should be considered as simple ads performed by the candidates themselves or a member of their campaign staff, not actors. Each candidate will be supplied an amount of points to be used as currency in order to purchase time. For example, assume that a candidate for U.S. Senate is running in a State with two metropolitan areas. The candidate will be allotted 5000 points for each metropolitan area to use on both radio and television. Candidate "A" decides that an all out radio blitz during drive time is the best means to reach his audience. Drive time spots would cost 10 points per each segment. Candidate "B" decides television ads during a high ratings sporting event is best. These spots might run as high as 100 points for each spot. It would be the choice of the candidate how best to spend their new points-based currency Congressional candidates would be allotted fewer points and presidential candidates would be allotted considerably more.

Idea 2 (This is a simple one):
Anyone who collects a government paycheck will not be allowed to work for a lobby form for a number of years relative to their position and office. All lobby firms will be excluded from hiring these recent employees, or any private "consulting firms" started by these former brokers of influence.

For example, when The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a drug company lobby firm was "searching" for a new head-honcho they hired Republican Congressman W. J. “Billy” Tauzin of Louisiana as its new president and CEO. For those of you who don't know, Tauzin who, as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was one of the main "pushers" of the Medicare Drug Benefit Plan that mainly "benefits" the drug companies. What a coincidence that he was hired by their lobby firm. His annual salary jumped to near $2 million dollars a year.

Under Madman's plan, any elected official wouldn't be able to take a job with any company that does business with the government for the amount of years he served as a high-elected official. Tauzin, who was first elected in 1980 would then have been able to work for PhRMA in 2028. I know... I know.... That might be too much hardship on poor Congressman Tauzin, so how about this: Two years for congressmen and their senior aides and six years for senators and two years for their senior aides.

These are simple plans that might make our elected officials start performing in the best interests of their REAL constituents, the people who elected them, and not their PREFERRED constituent, those with the biggest bank accounts.


Like that's going to happen.

-Noah Greenberg

“Marine Species Extinctions Feared” (2005)
U.S. Navy, 1957-1968
Member VVAW / VFP

A headline quote:
“Marine Species Extinctions Feared”--
Undersea life in peril
From profiteering,

The writer wrote.
Floating dead fish had appeared
In seas polluted sterile.
My eyes were blearing--

Again I read
That terrifying banner line.
Undersea predation?
Or desert dying?

Young warriors dead
In dry Iraq, like fish in brine,
From cold exploitation
And falsifying.

None will return,
Those brave and dead Marines of ours,
Purposeless brigades
Forever linked.

Mourn with concern
Any deaths that greed devours.
Break down the barricades--
Or go extinct.

-Sandy Fulton

Media Madman
More on The Bush Speech

I don't know how "brilliantly executed" Bush's speech was - it just came across as sort of lame to me. I watched it at my Mom's house and she had it on MSNBC. Afterwards, Chris Matthews raved about what a great speech is, comparing Bush to FDR and Johnson... what a shill! Somebody give that guy some truth serum. Tip O'Neill must be turning over in his

-Eddie Konczal

Leno Quote

"The Prime Minister of Spain has called the war in Iraq a disaster. President Bush is so upset with Spain that he is now threatening to close down the border between Spain and the U.S."
-Jay Leno

-Forwarded by numerous sources

In response to "We are up to the letter 'R', as in 'Rita', as in 'Hurricane Rita.' That's 18 named storms this season. When we hit 27, we start using the Greek Alphabet," Victoria Brownworth writes:

Actually, Noah, it's when we reach 21. We don't use certain letters of the alphabet for hurricanes: Q, U, X, Y, Z.

Picky, picky, picky. -NG

Today's  Quote

"Ten U.S. Army recruiters are offering volunteer help for Katrina evacuees at Houston's Astrodome. But the recruiters, struggling to keep enlistment up during Iraq war, are also available with options for the jobless. "Our intent is to approach the evacuees at the right time for them,''
-Douglas Smith, an Army spokesman

How repulsive is this? Talk about taking advantage of people! They are now trying to pump enlistment from the SHELTERS! The Bush folks really can't crawl any lower, can they?

-Victoria Brownworth

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-Noah Greenberg