Columbus Day Madman

Monday, October 10, 2005

Quote in the Lead

Reservists as "Cannon-Fodder"

"Decisions made years earlier made going to war in any significant way impossible without Guard and Reserve participation. But I can't imagine anyone postulated the situation we face today: We don't seem very anxious to bring back the draft and we can't get enough volunteers for a war that is not universally popular,"
-Charles Krohn, a former Army deputy chief of public affairs

Mr. Krohn was speaking about the fact that reservists are "taking up the slack for the "stressed-out" regular Army. To date, twenty-five percent of all fatalities have been Army Reservists. Reservists have usually been "rear-area" support and far from the front lines. Today that has changed and our part-time soldiers are in harm's way more than ever.

"That's a first. The Guard can't claim that (level of combat) for World War II or World War I — the other major wars we fought in. Never more than 50 percent of the combat forces were Guard."
- Army Major Les Melnyk, historian for the Pentagon office that manages the Army and Air National Guard, regarding the fact that at one point, more than half of the active troops in Iraq were National Guardsmen

"It bought us the time we needed,"
-Lt. Gen. James Lovelace, the Army's deputy chief of staff for operations

If you needed the time, General Lovelace, perhaps we could have waited a little while to invade Iraq instead of using our part-time Army as cannon-fodder.

It's like I have said before, the only thing expendable to "G"lobal "W"arming Bush, Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney, Donald "Duh" Rumsfeld and the rest of the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party cronies are the youth of America itself.

-Noah Greenberg

Democrats Release A Comprehensive Energy Plan

The Republican pundits repeat the myth that Democrats have no ideas. But, it's the Republican leadership that have offered no new vision on energy independence.

Today, the Democratic leadership released a comprehensive plan for energy independence by 2020. The plan covers energy diversification, consumer and environmental protection, energy security, conservation and American jobs.

Some highlights of the plan are:

. Increase commitment to scientific research in alternative fuel sources.
. Increase production of domestic biodiesels.
. Increase fiscal incentives for solar, wind and geothermal energy sources.
. Build the infrastructure necessary for a hydrogen based vehicles.
. Increase the deployment of advanced clean coal technology.
. Prevent oil company price gouging and market manipulation.
. Increase the CAFE standards for cars, improve the national electric grid.
. Raise the efficiency standards for electric appliances.
. Invest in science and math education for a workforce that can solve technical energy issues.
. Train workers for careers in energy related jobs.

Democrats have supported such a plan for quite some time. But, Republicans have done everything they can to suppress debate. It's now up to the people to decide which party really has the better ideas.

See this URL for details:

-Robert Scardapane

Does George Bush know what he's doing?

This is not the lead-in to a punch-line from Jay Leno or David Letterman.. It's a very real question that many Americans are asking these days. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are shaking their heads over Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers for the U.S. Supreme Court. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, seemed on the verge of laughter as he responded to reporters about Miers's nomination. Looking not a little taken aback, Specter noted that there were many things to consider, not the least of which would be constitutional questions to be asked of Miers.

For those who don't know who Harriet Miers is, you aren't alone. Aside from a handful of Texans and the President himself, "no one" knows Miers. Yet in an unscheduled, lengthy and peculiarly rambling press conference on October 6th, Bush explained that "he" knew who she was and everyone had to just "trust" him about Miers.

Yet polls show almost no one--including his own conservative constituency--trusts the President about anything these days. Conservatives are as outraged at Bush's choice of Miers as are Democrats, and for the same reasons: she's simply not qualified for such an important position.

After Bush nominated Miers, late night talk show comedian Jay Leno joked, "She's never been a judge before, never served on the bench. This is part of President Bush's strategy of surrounding himself with people who are also in over their heads."

The joke received cheers from the audience, however the appointment of a Supreme Court justice is no laughing matter. The appointment is, after all, for life. Justice John Paul Stephens, the High Court's ranking justice, has been on the court for more than three decades. Since only impeachment or death can remove a justice from the Supreme Court, that should be cause for the most stringent vetting of a candidate. Bush's "trust me" caveat simply isn't enough. Americans deserve far more.
Like a resume.

What exactly are Miers's qualifications? She's an attorney and was co-head of her law firm from 1998 to 2000. She has represented several corporate giants with bad politics and policies, like Microsoft. She also ran the Texas Lottery Commission for five years, her longest public appointment--which was made under George Bush's term as governor--but there were allegations of corruption. Dallas Morning News political writer Wayne Slater described her tenure as "troubled" in an interview with NPR's Renee Montagne. Slater, who covered Miers' tenure at the Commission, noted that under her command "It was a real, real problem. It was a troubled agency, but not when she arrived. She was there about a year, year and a half, and then questions of influence-peddling arrived, and during her tenure, it was a stormy time where two directors were fired, questions were raised about a lobbyist for the lottery contractor."
Accusations of influence peddling.

Hardly a qualification for the U.S. Supreme Court, but perhaps given that Bush's colleague, fellow Texan and former House Majority Leader Tom Delay had to resign his post two weeks ago when he was indicted for influence peddling and Senate Majority Leader and Bush ally Bill Frist is being investigated for securities irregularities, the President may think vague criminality isn't a deterrent to a Supreme Court nomination.

Bush asserts he wants an appointee who "won't legislate from the bench," but that is exactly what Bush wants. Miers is an evangelical Christian who has, according to one conservative Texas judge who is her good friend, worked with anti-abortion groups.

Miers's main qualification is the fundamental qualifier in every Bush appointment: she's buddies with the President. Just like Michael Brown, the now disgraced former head of FEMA who was forced to resign last month after the appalling failure of his agency to respond to the Katrina disaster. Like Karl Rove, also under investigation for his role in the Valerie Plame CIA scandal, Miers is a long-time friend of the President. Miers currently serves as Counsel to the President. Most recently, she served as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff and prior to that she was Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary. Cronyism is a keystone of the Bush Administration and the Miers nomination is emblematic of this increasingly problematic feature of the Bush presidency.

Miers was appointed Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary on January 20, 2001. As Staff Secretary, Miers acted as "the ultimate gatekeeper for what crosses the desk of the nation's commander in chief." Is office manager “even if it's to the President" a qualification for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land?

There is far more to disqualify Miers than validate her nomination. She has never been a judge and has never worked outside corporate law except in her few months as White House counsel. Thus when the President shook his finger and admonished the press corps to "trust" him on Miers, it was a tad reminiscent of when Bill Clinton shook his finger at the press and admonished them with his now infamous "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" speech. We know where that led.

"Trust" is irrelevant. Qualifications are the issue and Miers has none, which puts her confirmation squarely in the hands of the bemused Sen. Specter and his colleagues whose only duty is to determine those qualifications.

Bush wants Miers confirmed by Thanksgiving, but neither that arbitrary deadline nor the confirmation itself is decided by the President. It is decided by the Senate, which should reject Miers unanimously. Just because a president nominates someone doesn't mean they must be confirmed. There is ample" and recent" historical precedent for a denial of a Supreme Court nominee's confirmation and Miers's lack of qualifications are reason enough to do so.

Does George Bush know what he's doing? The Miers nomination suggests that he's either wholly incompetent or, as the October 6th press conference intimates, irredeemably arrogant. Are there no conservative jurists with a viable resume worthy of nomination? Of course there are. Many of them were on the President's short list months ago when it appeared the late Chief Justice Rehnquist would retire. Certainly if Bush is concerned with replacing retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, one of the most accomplished women in American law with another woman there are numerous women worthy of the position who would fulfill Bush's desire for a conservative voice on the court as well as having significant judicial experience.

Why choose Miers?

The answer can only be fealty. Bush has always appointed cronies to positions of power in his Administration, regardless of their qualifications or lack thereof. Moreover it was this insistence on cronyism over credentials that led to the disaster in New Orleans--a disaster for which taxpayers will be responsible for years to come.
Yet despite that recent and highly public embarrassment which cost the President in the polls, he's doing it again. Which signals either incompetence or arrogance, either one being dangerous for those of us who will have to live with Bush's Supreme Court choice for decades after he leaves office.

When Ronald Reagan chose Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, he chose a woman whose conservatism mirrored his own but who also possessed a resume of impressive jurisprudential credentials.. O'Connor has been one of the hardest working justices--not even taking a leave of absence when she underwent cancer treatment several years ago.. There is no indication that Miers is capable of filling the vacancy left by O'Connor.

When esteemed Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to sit on the High Court retired, George Bush, Sr. nominated Clarence Thomas as his replacement. Marshall argued the landmark "Brown v. Topeka Board of Education" case that overturned segregation; Thomas is an opponent of affirmative action. But it wasn't simply the difference in politics between Marshall, one of the court's most liberal voices and a staunch supporter of rights for women and minorities, but that Marshall was a hard worker and Thomas is known for being unable to keep up with his caseload. Other justices must pick up the slack for his failure to maintain his own workload.
This is one of the perils of approving a nominee whose qualifications are ideological rather than merit-based.

There are jurists out there--women, minorities, men--who are worthy of the nomination and who, if appointed, will be capable of handling the workload. Miers has never been a judge; she has no idea what that entails. And the job of Supreme Court Justice has become increasingly demanding in recent years; the caseload has nearly doubled in the past decade.

The primary focus of the U.S. Supreme Court is interpretation of the Constitution as it applies to everyday laws. Miers is not a constitutional scholar like O'Connor. In fact all the President could say to a stunned press corps was that in 20 years her views would be the same as they are today.

That statement alone disqualifies her for the position. It is vital that any Supreme Court Justice comprehend the living nature of the Constitution. Envision this: Had Bush appointed Miers in 1855 and she retained her implacable views for two decades, it would have meant she'd have continued to accept slavery as constitutional.
This is not what America needs on the Supreme Court.

It is a foregone conclusion that the next appointee to the High Court will be a conservative. Every branch of government is run by Republicans; there's no way to avoid another conservative being appointed to the court. However, that appointee should at least be qualified to hold the position.
Ideologues on the right and the left are equally concerned about Miers's political views. Bush contends that although their friendship spans 20 years, they have never discussed abortion--a wholly unbelievable statement from the man who demands that we trust him. But regardless of whether abortion is or is not one's main concern in the next judicial appointee, the complexities of constitutional law are of concern to everyone and Miers knows nothing about those--just as Michael Brown knew nothing about disaster preparation and relief when Bush appointed him to head FEMA, whose only job is disaster preparation and relief.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has an obligation to the American people and to the Constitution to do more than simply rubber-stamp the President's choices. Miers's nomination demands the heightened scrutiny successive generations who would be forced to abide by her rulings deserve. The Committee should reject Miers as a candidate and demand that Bush treat the Court with the respect he does not give its foundation document--the Constitution--and proffer a nominee with the gravitas to do the job.

by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2005 Journal-Register Newspapers, Inc.

New Department - More Bushspeak

Bush created a new department called the "Office Of Public Diplomacy". He put his crony Karen Hughes in charge. Hughes has been on a world tour rolling out that good old "Bush speak". Hughes claims her priorities are:

Education, Empowerment, Engagement and Exchanges.


However, no one is buying it. Reaction to her visits have been categorized by foreign journalists with these E's:

Evangelical, Erroneous, Evasive, Eccentric, Egocentric and Escapist -

Now, wouldn't it be better to promote peace rather than propaganda? I think it's time for the Department Of Peace. Dennis Kucinich has introduced the legislation. This Department would be tasked with finding peaceful solutions to conflict and would provide a counter-point to Departments that have vested interest in the military-industrial complex.

I say junk the "Office Of Public Diplomacy" and start up the "Department Of Peace". Of course, with the bunch of neoconservative coconuts in the White House, there is little chance of that happening but it is useful to start a debate.

-Robert Scardapane

What is a Christian?

The Lord is my Shepard,
I shall not want
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
He leadeth me beside still waters
He restoreth my soul
He leadeth me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil
for thou art with me
thy rod and thy staff shall comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies.
Thou anointest my head with oil
My cup runneth over
Surely goodness and mercy shall
follow me al the days of my life
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever

What is a Christian?????
Jesus said, 'by their works ye shall know them.'

President Bush said 'you are either with us (NEOCONS) or against democracy' which is the signature threat of his administration, though not his only one, leveled at the American people. We The People.

Is there a single 'work' of the Bush administration, that is not of bloodletting, of revenge, of coercion? Is there a single thing that has been accomplished by the Bush Administration that has made the world a better place for any part of humanity?

Ask Cindy Sheehan
Ask the women of Iraq, who will lose all rights under the Shiite (Islamic fundamentalists) 'democratic constitution.'
Ask the victims of Darfur, ignored while billions of future American tax dollars have been dumped into the coffers of the Halliburton Corp. and Cheney's pockets.
Ask Ariel Sharon, who was threatened by the Bush administration, via Condoleezza Rice, to pull out of Gaza and the West Bank, or lose their treaty with the US.
Ask troops in about 20 years, permanently maimed from following the orders to stay in occupation of Iraq.
Ask France, with it's 22% Arab Muslim population when they dared not support Bush in his hell-bent rush to invade Iraq, who still sit on the powder keg called Islam.
Ask the illiterate, who were not Left Behind, just left uneducated.
Ask those without access to transportation who watched rising flood waters, from the roofs of their homes, in New Orleans, and then thirsted and starved for over a week, while tax funded FEMA did nothing but make matters worse.
Ask the governor of Louisiana who was invited onto Air Force One after a Class 5 hurricane, to be given the choice of federal assistance, in exchange for federal take-over, or nothing. (Till public outrage forced the federal hand somewhat)
Ask Valerie Plame.
Ask anyone at any gas pump, anywhere, choosing necessary fuel for necessary transportation, instead of some other need.
Ask those who own ranches along the Mexican border.
Ask any single mom or dad, who's wages are reduced for having to compete with illegals for jobs, for what used to be quite respectable construction incomes.
Ask fiancés of those deployed, who wait for the most important relationships of their lives, in terror that the loved one will be killed, not knowing from one day to the next, which phone call, might be 'the one.' And wait, and wait, and wait. And wait another year.
Ask the 140,000 families, destabilized by the absence of heads of households who are ever more reluctantly engaged in what is the hostile occupation of a foreign nation.
Ask the inmates at Abu Ghraib.
Ask the tortured in Iran, Pakistan, Saudi, El Salvador, Columbia, after sanctioning, which will come back to haunt us in ways that will make our darkest dreams pale.

We can, as a nation, ask
God to give us ways to rid ourselves of an administration which acts as an enemy of the people of the United States of America, and an enemy of Constitutional rights. We can, fear no evil, and remind ourselves we have the Bill of Rights, and can grant ourselves freedom from those who have proved themselves to be destructive in their objective as well as their usurpations. The administration has unmasked and they are not Christians. By their works, we know them, and will not unmake ourselves and our moralities by removing them, not by revenge, but by right and duty. And then, provide ourselves new leaders, leaders of vision, leaders of honor, for our future security.


A Cadillac is Comfier than The DC Metro

Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman may have missed a chance yesterday to prove to the public that he's serious about conserving energy.

Appearing at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown Washington only days after President Bush exhorted Americans, including all federal employees, to save energy and avoid unnecessary car travel, Bodman confessed that he made the 15-block trip from Department of Energy headquarters in a Cadillac limousine instead of taking the Metro.

"I'd like to have done it, but you know the problems with security,"
-Bodman, who was accompanied by an aide and several security officers driving a large SUV

Had he chosen to, Bodman could have made the trip on the Orange or Blue Line from L'Enfant Plaza to McPherson Square and even gotten some exercise with a two-block walk to the hotel. And it only would have cost him $1.35 each way.

Or, as one over-65 reporter pointed out to him, the 67-year-old Bodman could have used a senior-citizen pass and gotten a 50 percent discount.

"That's good to know,"

-Bodman, who only two days earlier launched a national campaign to exhort families, government and businesses to conserve energy. The campaign features the Energy Department's new cartoon mascot, the Energy Hog, a pig wearing blue jeans and a leather jacket, which will appear in media ads and on billboards, a la Smokey Bear.


Okay so if Bush is serious about conservation, he should start with himself and then his cabinet. Bush has made all sorts of photo-op trips burning up jet fuel. His own Cabinet uses limos when they could be using public transit. What a bunch of phonies! They demand sacrifice from everyone except themselves. Simply disgusting!

-Robert Scardapane

Just a side-note: Every time that Air Force One takes off for one of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush's "Photo-Ops", it costs the American People about $30,000. -NG

Media Madman

"Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced a medical plan Thursday that would make Illinois the first state to offer health benefits to all uninsured children. The plan, which has the endorsement of Democratic legislative leaders, would target children in families that earn too little for private coverage but too much to qualify for existing state-funded programs."
-The Washington Post,

It's a start! By the way, recent polling indicates that national health care is popular with a majority of Republicans as well as Democrats.

-Robert Scardapane

More Media Madman Headlines

In the early evening of October 10, 2005, the following are the top stories on,, in order:

• Desperate Pakistanis wait for earthquake aid
• Death toll rises for U.S. reservists in Iraq
• N.H. declares state of emergency after flooding
• Rebel attacks displace thousands in Congo

Let's face it. "G"lobal "W"arming Bush is just Bad Luck.

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg