THE NEWSLETTER

Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, October 21-23, 2005


Today marks the one-year anniversary of "Today's Note From a Madman"

How 'bout that.

Thank you all for reading and contributing

-Noah Greenberg

 

P.S. Anyone interested in a "Note From a Madman" one-year anniversary T-Shirt, please let me know.


Health care in the Lead

Direct from Oklahoma


I know that many Oklahoman women, like me, have found themselves without enough money to cover today's outrageous medical care costs during pregnancy, or for a sick child, without some government assistance.

I also know that anyone who really cares about babies, cares about offering complete prenatal care for all Americans.

Providing the best prenatal care and education to all pregnant Americans and demanding accountability from our doctors will save thousands of babies. Yet, this is precisely the opposite of what the Republican leadership has in mind to do with Medicaid cuts and so-called 'medical tort reform"

-Randi Haley



Health Care, Bankruptcy and a US "Society of Life"

This was the lead story on the New York Times web site today, and Madman's take on it:

The New York Times today printed a story about a family that has gone into debt to save their child. Zachery Dorsett, after expensive test after expensive test was found to have an immune system disorder. The Times described his parents Sharon and Arnold as "a young, middle-income couple, with health insurance that covered 90 percent of doctors' bills and most of the costs of prescription drugs." Sounds as if they have their bases covered, doesn't it?

Bills started piling up. A payment plan with the hospital and doctors overwhelmed them. They had a choice: Pay the medical bills or pay their mortgage. They chose the former.

"Zach was really mad at us when we told him we were going to lose the house. We told him we had to make a choice: whether to pay for medical bills or the house."
-Mrs. Dorsett, Zach's mom

These bills were for charges like co-payments and deductibles. With the insurance companies forcing the average American to pay for more and more of their health care costs, the "$12,000 to $20,000" was too much for this young, working class family to keep up with. They had to file for bankruptcy protection.

"I didn't want the kids to hate their father for working all the time, but I also didn't want them to think we were irresponsible. I was worried about Zach feeling guilty or his sister blaming him that she has to leave her friends. But whatever we gave up is a small price to pay for his health."
-Zach's mom

Is this what Senator Rick Santorum meant by, "It takes a Family?", his book's title?

"Even those with health insurance - are financially ill prepared."
-The New York Times

"My friends don't understand it. They think, 'How could it get so bad so quick?' Unless you have a sick kid, you don't know what it's like."
-Mrs. Dorsett

That is a problem that many people don't understand until they are put in this awful place.

 

Now, imagine a double-illness. Imagine if, while Zach was sick, mom or dad developed something that required dad to stop working or mom to be unable to drag her sick son to the hospital. Imagine trying to cope with a meager Social security Disability payment every month.

Sure, people like Santorum and Senator Bill Frist and their leader GW Bush talk about the importance of a life, but what they don't talk about is a "Quality of Life."

What happens when the "Family" (as in "It Takes a Family") isn't able to cope? What happens to the rest of that family when one member of a family requires the entire attention and finances of that family?

In order to care about life, we must also be concerned about a "Quality of Life." In order to have a "Quality of Life" we must establish a "Society of Life." The "Compassionate Conservatives" just didn't understand that.

 

Don't you imagine that what Thomas Jefferson and our founding fathers had in mind some 230 years ago?

It does "Take a Family", but families don't, and can't live in a vacuum, unless they are willing to, and have the financial ability to do so. When I think of famous people who have had sick children and, thus, having taken up a cause, it puts a silver lining into a very bleak cloud.

Think about the work former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason did for Cystic Fibrosis when he son Gunner was diagnosed with the disease; think of Don Imus' work on behalf of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when his ex-boss, Joel Hollander and his wife lost their child to unknown reasons. The latter, in part, built a hospital in Hackensack, NJ.

But what about the rest of US?

Working about 90 hours per week (more than twice what most of US work, and more than ten times what "G"lobal "W"arming Bush probably puts in a week), Zach's dad earns about $68,000 per week. That's about $14.50 an hour. Let's also remember that Mr. Dorsett is taxed fully on every dollar he makes, unlike wealthy Americans who "earn" their income in the stock market and are taxed at a much lower rate (that the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party want to eliminate altogether).

"We don't live a frivolous life, but I need to make my kids' life normal. They still need bikes. My husband says, 'Kids in the third world don't have those things.' I say, 'We don't live in a third world country.' "
-Mrs. Dorsett

Bit you are living a third-world type of health care coverage, as most of US who have sick children are.

 

Here's another problem with how the health care industry works to put the burden more and more on the insured:
"They (the health care company) refused to pay for antibiotics when (Zach) had pneumonia" last year,. "The antibiotics cost $373, and we didn't have it. But we couldn't just not give it to him. I knew the review board would come around eventually, but he needed the medicine right away. Finally the doctor gave us samples."

-Mrs. Dorsett

Similarly, earlier this summer, we had almost the same issue with our daughter, Bonnie and her antibiotics. Bonnie had a PICC line installed to deliver the antibiotics she needed to recover from a staff infection she received from a July operation (she had to be operated on in August to clean out a July infection). After about a month of these IV drugs, we were sent a letter that they were not proven medicine for her ailment, thus not covered. We made a call and straightened it out, but one wonders how many don't make that call and simply hand over their credit card number.

"Not only are the bills higher, but the way we pay for care has changed. My mother always carried a bill with the doctor, but every dollar she paid went to principal. Today, the doctor takes a credit card, and a family might be paying that off at extraordinary interest rates. So people may recover physically from major medical injury, but may not recover financially."
-Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School and one of the authors of a Bankruptcy study at both Harvard and Ohio University

We now have to pay 18 percent interest and more for health care? Amazing and Incredible!

"From 2000 to 2005, employees in the most common type of insurance plan, known as preferred provider organizations, saw their premiums for individual coverage rise 76 percent, to $603 from $342, while their deductibles - the amount they pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in - rose almost 85 percent, to $323 from $175, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. By 2003, a survey by the Center for Studying Health System Change estimated, 20 million American families had trouble paying their medical bills. Two-thirds of these had health insurance."
-The New York Times

"They said all I could do was go to churches. Which is worse, filing for bankruptcy or - I'm going to say it - begging at churches?"
-Mrs. Dorsett, regarding the hospital's response to her asking for their assistance

Personally, I can't imagine my child's picture on one of those jars at the neighborhood diner saying, "Help this child."

"I make good money, and I work hard for it. When we filed for bankruptcy, I felt I failed."
-Mr. Dorsett

And you would be surprised how many people look at oyu as you have failed as well, Mr. Dorsett.

 

Is this the "Family" that Sen. Santorum had in mind?

Just when do we have a "Society of Life" to build on?

-Noah Greenberg

Proponent for a

"Society of Life"



What is Intelligence?

Intelligent design theory proposes that the "irreducible" complexity of fundamental natural mechanisms cannot have emerged through accidental evolution. Like creationism, it argues for a supernatural origin of life and the universe. Unlike creationism, the teaching of which is banned as unconstitutional in the secular U.S. public school system, intelligent design claims a basis in science, not religion.

***
 

I read this paragraph in a newspaper article. I am astounded at the absurdity of claiming intelligent design is scientific yet this "theory" cites supernatural causes. The supernatural is simply outside of the realm of science.

I have no problem with a religious conviction that the origins of the universe can not be explained completely by science. Consider the "big bang theory". Where did all matter that blew apart come from anyway? It's hard to conceive of something coming out of nothing. But, this is more a matter for philosophy and theology. Intelligent design should not be taught in science classes.

Now for the story behind the story. You might be wondering why we are arguing about intelligent design in this day and age. I think it is a political ruse that Bush is using to sidetrack debate on real issues such as the Iraq war, the budget deficit and our priorities as a nation. Are we going to continue favoring the wealthy and corporations over the needy? Are we ever going to face up to the health care insurance crisis? A meaningful solution excludes health care saving accounts (HSA's) as a solution. Stephen Morre (Club for Growth) and Newt Gingrich are shoveling this rubbish of late. We need a real debate on a single payer insurance system.

-Robert Scardapane



Blue Grass Sin

Putting the "GREED" into the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople Party

A Kentucky Republican Party official, whom Gov. Ernie Fletcher let have a Capitol office and taxpayer-funded secretary, and another party official were indicted Thursday on charges of conspiracy to commit political discrimination.

State GOP Treasurer Dave Disponett, who is also on the state Board of Elections, and Bowling Green attorney J. Marshall Hughes were indicted on misdemeanor charges for allegedly plotting with administration officials and others to base rank-and-file personnel decisions on candidates' political affiliations.

The charges are the first outside of state government in the investigation that has been going on since May. Disponett and Hughes are some of Fletcher's close supporters and their names have appeared frequently in e-mail exchanges about job candidates.

-Robert Scardapane



Outsourcing Our Safety

Smoke and flames stream from the broken nose gear of a JetBlue aircraft as it rolls out on its emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport on Sept. 21. After the incident, it was disclosed that JetBlue’s maintenance is outsourced to a company in El Salvador. Only a third of the company’s mechanics have passed an FAA test that is required for all U.S. mechanics.

-Sean (Mr. Blue Sky)



Fighting Bush and Restoring Davis-Bacon

"George Miller (D-CA) today introduced a Joint Resolution under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, which provides for fast track action by Congress when the President unilaterally suspends a law, as he did with Davis-Bacon.

"Although the National Emergencies Act is nearly 30 years old, this is the first time that a lawmaker has ever invoked its fast track procedures. By law, Congress must act on Miller's Joint Resolution within 15 calendar days - in this case, by November 4."
-Kos

 

***


“This extraordinary action is necessary because the Republican leadership is failing to fulfill its responsibility to investigate the wages being paid in the Gulf and to honor the will of at least half of the members of the House that oppose the President’s wage cut to hard-working Americans helping to rebuild roads, bridges, schools and hospitals,”
-George Miller (D-CA)

37 Republicans have a similar opinion to the suspension of Davis-Bacon and they have told President "G"lobal "W"arming Bush just that in a letter. This means that if all of the Democrats in the House and the 37 unhappy Republicans joined forces, it could overturn the president's unilateral move.

“The President has exploited a national tragedy to cut workers’ wages, a long-sought goal among his right-wing cronies. The prevailing wages along the Gulf Coast were already among the lowest in the country. How does the President think that $11.01 per hour is too much to pay a dump truck driver in New Orleans or that $7.45 an hour is too much to pay a pipe layer in Mississippi? It is amazing that the President and Republicans in Congress see no problem with awarding billion-dollar no-bid contracts to cronies like Halliburton, but think that local workers in the Gulf struggling to get back on their feet after Katrina are being overpaid.”
-Rep. Miller, the House Education and the Workforce Committee's senior Democrat member, who oversees the nation’s wage and labor laws

How does one drown government in a bathtub? Assuring that a figurehead like "G"lobal "W"arming Bush becomes president is step one.

-Robert Scardapane and Noah Greenberg



BIRD FLU: THE COMING PLAGUE
It doesn't get more frightening than this

Asian avian influenza virus or Asian bird flu has killed fewer than 100 people in 12 countries–so far. But within a short time bird flu is expected to become a pandemic virus, more virulent than any other influenza outbreak in history. Even the most conservative estimates of how many people would be infected and die from the disease are in the millions. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) put the likely number of cases in the U.S. alone at between five and 50 million with eight million a "best case scenario."

One infectious disease parallel would be AIDS. In 1981 only 61 cases were diagnosed in the U.S. Within five years there was a full-scale epidemic with infections in the hundred thousands. Within six years a full-fledged global pandemic raged and AIDS is not as readily transmissible a disease as flu is. Terrible as the global threat from AIDS now is, with cases in the tens of millions, the peril of bird flu is exponentially worse and could kill a sixth of the world's population.

Bird flu is transmitted among poultry and fowl, most commonly chickens and turkeys. It is then passed on to migratory birds, like pigeons, who carry the virus to other places and other birds. Thus far most infected persons have worked closely with birds on poultry farms, but the transmission between birds and humans does exist, even if the pathogenic route isn't yet completely clear. Scientists believe bird flu, like many recent strains of influenza (which kills more people worldwide each year than any other infectious disease), will mutate, making transmission both simpler and more rapid.

Scientists are also clear on this frightening point: it isn't a question of *if* there will be such a mutation, but *when*and how many millions of people will be affected and die.

Fears over bird flu intensified last week when cases were discovered
in Turkey. The previous week cases had been diagnosed in Romania. Prior to these small outbreaks in Europe, bird flu had been contained to Asian countries, Russia, Mongolia and China. The majority of cases have been in Vietnam. In all the affected countries, thousands of birds have been killed to stop the spread of the virus.

The leap of the virus to Europe means migratory birds are already carrying the disease from place to place, making it only a matter of time before bird flu is global, due to migratory bird patterns. Since many migratory birds actually travel the globe, the potential for a full-scale global pandemic is rife.

For those who regularly confuse influenza with colds or viruses, let me clarify: Influenza is a deadly, killer disease. Extremely virulent, it causes fever, dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting and if untreated, death.

In 1918, Philadelphia was struck by the global Spanish influenza epidemic. The Spanish flu killed more than 5,000 people a week in Philadelphia, one of the hardest-hit cities in the U.S. (One of the main infirmary centers at the time was near Market Square in Germantown.) That same Spanish flu killed 100 million people worldwide.

Recent research deconstructed the genetic coding of the Spanish flu through the DNA of a victim buried in Alaska whose body was preserved in the permafrost. Detailed analysis of the Spanish flu elicited the fact that it was originally a bird virus that became a human virus through mutations–which is exactly what scientists fear now about the Asian bird flu.

Two weeks ago, the UN official in charge of coordinating the worldwide response to any flu outbreak warned a pandemic could kill up to 150 million people. Dr. David Nabarro, a senior public health expert at WHO, asserted that outbreaks of bird flu could soon mutate into a form transmissible between people, instead of just bird to bird or to people massively exposed to infected birds.

Nabarro was succinct, "The consequences in terms of human life when the pandemic does start are going to be extraordinary and very damaging," acknowledging that the "range of deaths could be anything between five and 150 million." As many as half the global population could be infected.

Most countries have already assessed the risk from bird flu and have begun planning for the coming plague. Last month, scientists from the European Union held talks aimed at drawing up an action plan throughout the EU to prevent the spread of bird flu. Experts believe spotting an outbreak immediately and treating people with anti-viral drugs and vaccines would be fundamental to containing an outbreak. The UK and other EU nations have begun the mass production of bird flu vaccine. Currently Tami flu is thought to be most effective, although just last week doctors declared some patients being treated with Tami flu had resistance to the drug.

Which means that the virus is mutating. The U.S., unlike the EU, has not been preparing for an epidemic or even a small outbreak. In a report leaked to the New York Times by U.S. public health officials, the draft of the Bush Administration's plan for a potential outbreak makes clear that the U.S., unlike EU nations and Canada, is woefully unprepared for this coming plague, despite consistent urging in recent years by WHO and CDC to get a health initiative in order or suffer the consequences.

Now that the bird flu is spreading, public health concerns are escalating. Yet the Bush Administration is as ready for a bird flu epidemic as it was for Hurricane Katrina. Should–or rather *when*–bird flu hits the U.S., a catastrophe not unlike what occurred in New Orleans during Katrina will ensue, except it will last for months and millions of people will die.

That hasn't stopped the Bush Administration from adhering to their standard protocol of secrecy and cronyism, however. Since September the White House has held a series of classified briefings on a bird flu epidemic, but although information has been given to some in the higher ranks of government about the consequences of an imminent epidemic, all the information has been labeled "For Official Use Only." The Bush Administration has decided to use the military in case of a flu outbreak to enforce quarantining and keep foreign visitors out of the country, which experts in other countries call the wrong approach.

This sort of response–enforcing quarantines and banning foreign tourists-- negates the immediacy of the problem, however, which is that no *medical* preparedness is in place. At present the U.S. has fewer than two million doses of vaccine stockpiled for a nation of more than 300 million people. Even first-responders won't all get the vaccine. Conversely Canada has 20 million doses and the UK more than 14 million.

Remember what it looked like last year all across the U.S. when ordinary flu vaccine wasn't available and how places with the flu vaccine were flooded with people clamoring for it and fights ensued? Remember what it looked like in New Orleans a few days into the Katrina disaster, with widespread looting and pandemic frustration and misery? Put those two hellish scenarios together and that's what will happen when the bird flu hits America: The frenzy and fear of New Orleans coupled with the outrage at local clinics or anywhere vaccine might be available.

If it sounds frightening, that's because it will be: absolutely terrifying. The Vietnam strain of the virus–the original strain–has already taught itself to mutate and there is now at least one example of human-to-human contact between a Vietnamese brother and sister. Adding to the fear factor: ABC's *Nightline* reported two weeks ago that the bird flu, if unchecked (and no effort is being made to fully educate developing nations about the disease), could kill a billion people worldwide–a sixth of the planet! *Nightline* noted that bird flu would be "like having a Category 5 viral hurricane hit every single state simultaneously."

We saw Katrina; we are so not ready for bird flu. Yet the Bush Administration has thus far, despite recent embarrassments over the President's cronyism, appointed a flu preparedness point man sadly reminiscent of dismissed FEMA head Michael Brown.

Stewart Simonson, the Bush Administration's assistant secretary for public health emergency preparedness, has absolutely no credentials in public health. None. Yet it will be Simonson who will run any and all crisis programs in the face of an outbreak. One wonders, however, the level of effectiveness in a key government official who knows nothing about infectious diseases, appropriate response, epidemics, medical preparedness and possible quarantine.

Will riots ensue if an epidemic gains a foothold? Consider New Orleans where there were 100,000 people and multiply the chaos to include the 300 million people of whom only a tiny fraction will have been vaccinated.

The bird flu epidemic isn't an immediate threat–yet. However it is an awesome time for us to consider how each of us would prepare should such an outbreak occur here.

In 1918, quarantines were in full force and families where the flu had taken hold in the entire household were not allowed to leave home until they either died or survived–and there were few of the latter. With the impending bird flu plague there can be no question that individual Americans will need to plan for the hard and dangerous road ahead by preparing for disaster and stockpiling things like water and food. If there was one lesson from Katrina, it was that the federal government cannot be counted on to do its job in the face of disaster. Bird flu is imminent and ineffably terrifying. Keeping informed is part of the battle, the rest requires personal preparedness. (Access FluWiki.com or Google other flu links for updated information as more cases are being discovered every day and more information is being made public.)

The 1918 flu onslaught disrupted local and international economies; a global bird flu could disrupt far more, sending the world into financial crisis. There are no scenarios with a bird flu outbreak that are positive–only less terrible ones.

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



A Chorus Line

"If he gives us a question that's not something that we've scripted, Captain Kennedy, you're gonna have that mic and that's your chance to impress us all.”

-Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Allison Barber

Rehearsal for presidential teleconference with the troops
October 13, 2005


Scene: A soundstage somewhere on the outskirts of Baghdad. In front of the stage, a camera crew is adjusting their equipment, while other technicians fiddle with the lights. On the stage, a dance company is warming up – doing stretches, practicing their kicks, twirls, etc. We see they are in military uniform, or rather, military costume – camouflage tights and khaki leg warmers, olive drab tank tops with screaming eagle logos on the front, red-white-and-blue headbands, etc. Most are the dancers are men, lean and hard bodied, but one is a woman, looking a little confused and awkward. She tries a few leg kicks and we can tell right away she isn’t a real combat dancer. An Army captain and a tough, hard-faced drill sergeant stand by the side of the stage.

A middle-aged woman in civilian clothes – pants suit, blouse and scarf, with the suit jacket draped over her shoulders and a pair of designer sunglasses pushed up on her forehead -- strides on stage, clapping her hands to get everyone’s attention. This is deputy assistant defense secretary Allison Barber. Her assistant -- a short, stout little man in a polo shirt – trails behind, holding a clip board. The dancers quickly line up and snap to attention.


Barber: (in a loud, raspy voice) OK, listen up people. We’ve only got an hour until air time and we still haven’t run through the opening number. Captain Kennedy, are your people ready?
Kennedy: Yes, SIR . . . uh, ma'am. All teams in place and ready to execute Operation Chorus Line on your orders. (he salutes crisply)
Barber: (scowling) Where’s Rasheed? Don’t tell me he’s gone AWOL again. (whirls on her assistant) Goddamit Jimmy, can’t you find me one fucking Iraqi soldier who knows how to take direction?
Jimmy: I’m sorry, Ms. Barber. But the Secret Service guys didn’t like the way he read his lines this morning. They said he sounded, ah, insincere.
(Offstage we hear an electrical sizzle, and the sound of a man screaming in agony.)
Jimmy: I think the dialogue coach is, um, working with him now.
Barber: There better not be any screw ups when we go live, Jimmy. The president expects to be loved by his faithful Iraqi subjects and Goddammit he is going to be loved. Got it?
Jimmy: Yes, Mam. I’ll make sure the car battery is hooked up.
Barber: (turns back to Captain Kennedy, suddenly all sweetness and light) OK, sugar, show me what your baby dolls can do. (shouts) Cue soundtrack.
(A technician pushes a button and we hear music – the opening bars of “I Hope I Get It,” from A Chorus Line. Captain Kennedy nods to the sergeant, who pivots sharply to face the line of dancers.)
Sergeant: OK you maggots, and . . . DANCE.
(The dancers swing into their routine, prancing and whirling around the stage.)
Sergeant: (screaming) On time, dammit! ON TIME, you sorry ass sons of bitches! ONE, two, three, and KICK, and step step, KICK.
(Barber, watching intently, notices the female dancer is stumbling and falling behind.)
Barber: Cut, cut. I said CUT!
(The music stops. The dancers fall in line, sweaty and panting. Barber walks slowly over to the female dancer, who snaps to attention.)
Barber: (looking her over critically) Honey, where the hell did you get the idea you could dance?
Female dancer: (panting) I’m not really a dancer, ma'am, I’m a public information officer. I was told to report here for presidential photo op duty. (sullenly) Nobody said anything about high kicking.
(Barber’s assistant, Jimmy, hurries over.)
Jimmy: It was Mr. Card’s idea, Ms. Barber. He didn’t think the cast was gender diverse enough.
Barber: Well why couldn’t we find a girl with talent? Someone who’s qualified for the job?
Jimmy: Mr. Card said it didn’t matter. He just told us to find a female candidate who loves the president more than life itself and will tell him exactly what he wants to hear.
Barber: (eyes the female dancer) Does that sound like you?
Female dancer: Oh yes, ma'am! (her eyes glaze over) I think President Bush is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known. snaps out of it) And he and Laura are both super cool!
Barber: (shrugs) Well, if it’s good enough for his Supreme Court, I guess it’s good enough for his chorus line. (she glances at her watch) OK, boys and, uh, girl, we’ll take it again from the top in a minute. But first I’ve got some last-minute script edits I need to go over with you.
(Jimmy hands her the clip board.)
Barber: (flips through a few pages) OK, which one of you is “freckle faced Midwestern farm boy”?
(One of the dancers raises his hand.)
Barber Right. When the president says: “We are fighting for the freedom of all free people yearning to live freely in freedom,” you answer: “Mr. President, we would all gladly lay down our lives to make your bold vision of peace and democracy come true in Iraq.” And don’t forget to put the quiver in your voice at the end. But you can leave out the part where you swear your own personal loyalty to the Bush family. The lawyers decided that was a little over the top.
Dancer: Do I still kneel in prayer after I’m finished?
Barber: Yeah, but skip the sign of the cross. Karen Hughes says we have to keep this non-denominational. (looks at clipboard) OK, who’s “Pedro, the sassy Latino guy.”
Dancer: Yo.
Barber: Here’s the deal, Pedro. When the president asks: “It’s a long way from east LA to west Baghdad, isn’t it, amigo?” you start to answer him in broken English – just like we talked about at rehearsal yesterday. But here’s the change: You pause in mid-sentence, and then finish what you were saying in Spanish. Then the president will say something back to you in Spanish. And then you act like you’re really impressed. Can you do that?
Dancer: (rolls his eyes) Yeah, I guess I can handle it.
Barber: Good. And remember to emote. (looks at clipboard) “Military lawyer”?
Dancer: That would be me, ma'am.
Barber: OK this one’s really important. The White House has added some lines to your dialogue. After the president compares Iraq's ayatollahs to the founding fathers, he’ll make a few remarks about article 47 of the Iraqi constitution and explain how it resembles our own 10th Amendment. Your cue is the line that ends “and that’s the beauty of federalism.” Then you say: “Gosh Mr. President, did you go to law school and business school?” And he’ll chuckle and say: “No, my Supreme Court nominee explained it to me.” And then you say: “Boy, it sounds like that lady sure knows her stuff!”
Dancer: You’re kidding, right?
Barber: (suspiciously) You do support the president, don’t you? (looks at clipboard) Your background clearance says you’re a member of the Federalist Society.
Dancer: Well yes, but I still don’t think Ms. Miers has the right kind of . . .
Barber: (cuts him off) Maybe you’d like to take it up with the dialogue coach?
(Again we hear an electric sizzle and the sound of a man screaming.)
Dancer: (loudly) Boy, it sounds like that lady sure knows her stuff.
Barber: (smiles sweetly) I knew you’d come around. (glances at her watch) Oh Jeez, look at the time. OK listen up, everybody. If you’re not sure when it’s your cue or you forget a line, just look to the right of the camera – the far right – and you’ll see the teleprompter. And don’t worry if the president flubs his lines. They’ll edit that out later on the White House end. And remember: act natural! Now let’s run through the opening number again. I wanna make sure you got that kick-salute-kick routine down. Captain?
(Captain Kennedy nods to the drill sergeant, who twirls and faces the line of dancers.)
Sergeant: OK ladies, you heard the lady. Let’s see some DANCING, goddammit.
Barber: Cue soundtrack.
(As the opening bars of “I Hope I Get It” fill the soundstage, we can see the sergeant striding down the line of kicking, whirling dancers.)
Sergeant: SHAKE those booties, you miserable maggots. And . . . Step, kick, kick, SALUTE, kick, SALUTE. Again! . . . and SING.
Dancers: God, I hope I get it. I hope I get it. How many people does he need?
Sergeant: I can’t HEAR you!
Dancers: I HOPE I GET IT! I HOPE I GET IT!
(The dancers whirl and kick, the sergeant shouting in their faces. The stage lights dim and an outside scene – a stone terrace, with an Iraqi city in the background – appears on a projection screen behind the stage. Barber stands chatting with the captain while the technicians scurry around making last-minute preparations. The dancers twist and kick.)
Fade to black.

-Forwarded from a post by billmon, and forwarded by Victoria Brownworth



Media Madman
Closing paragraphs from article "Woman Of Mass Destruction":

"It also doesn't seem credible that Judy wouldn't remember a Marvel comics name like "Valerie Flame." Nor does it seem credible that she doesn't know how the name got into her notebook and that, as she wrote, she "did not believe the name came from Mr. Libby.


"An Associated Press story yesterday reported that Judy had coughed up the details of an earlier meeting with Mr. Libby only after prosecutors confronted her with a visitor log showing that she had met with him on June 23, 2003. This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project.


"Judy is refusing to answer a lot of questions put to her by Times reporters, or show the notes that she shared with the grand jury. I admire Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Keller for aggressively backing reporters in the cross hairs of a prosecutor. But before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.


"Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover 'the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country.' If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands."

-Maureen Dowd Regarding Judith Miller

***
Sorry but Judith Miller is no longer a credible reporter. Now, The Times must work to restore it's credibility.

-Robert Scardapane



From the "Rich get Richer" Department

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) won $853,492 from the PowerBall lottery after matching five of six numbers in Wednesday's drawing, adding to his already sizable wealth.*

"Even senators can be lucky,"

-Judd, to reporters outside the D.C. Lottery claims center, where he picked up his check

The Republican from New Hampshire -- who chairs the Budget Committee and who has a reputation as a strict fiscal conservative -- said his wife is currently remodeling their home and already has plans for the new money.

-Forwarded by Eddie Konczal from CNN
 

I wonder how much, if anything, Senator Gregg had contributed in the war to fight AIDS; or to help the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Imagine what a nice gesture it would have been had Senator Gregg given the money to a local New Hampshire boys and girls club or medical clinic. I guess that's all one can do... imagine. I hope Mrs. Gregg enjoys her new kitchen. -NG



In response to, "When the tsunami struck in the Pacific last December, that disaster was the lead story on the news for several weeks and well-known reporters from every network were on hand, as were Diane Sawyer, co-host of ABC's *Good Morning America,*and NBC's *Today* show vet Anne Curry, doing human interest pieces in the disaster zone. Why isn't there similar coverage of the Pakistani earthquake, particularly as the country has been ranked repeatedly as America's most important ally in the region in the war against terror. It's a question that does demand some answers," Rhian writes:

I have an answer. If you draw a line on a globe representing earth, between the location of the earthquake/tsunami of last December, to the recent earthquake in Kashmir, Pakistan, and continue that line around the earth, you will find the flooding in New England, and the earthquake/mudslides/flooding in Guatemala.

Then all you have to do is read up on extremely low frequency beam capability research by the US Navy since 1945, have a look at the position of the tectonic plates of earth, and look up 'scalar wave weaponry'

Keep in mind,
-The Bush presidency is a coup d'etat
-The war on terrorism is fake
-The towers were demo'd
-The NWO is very, very, very real
-The NWO does posses weapons of mass destruction and they are NOT 'nucular'


Answers are getting so easy to find, so easy to see, that the media's reporting has to be blacked out, or dumbed down.


Today's "Supreme" Quote

"Earlier this year, I received notice that my dues for the District of Columbia Bar were delinquent and as a result my ability to practice law in D.C. had been suspended. I immediately sent the dues in to remedy the delinquency. The nonpayment was not intentioned, and I corrected the situation upon receiving the letter."
-Supreme Court Nominee Harriet Miers


I guess we can knock "detail-oriented" off her ever-shrinking list of qualifications.

You can't make this stuff up. The counsel to the president of the United States wasn't licensed to practice law in D.C.

-Forward from a post at Kos by Ryan Lizza, by Victoria Brownworth



Quote from Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)

The Speaker of the House iz trying to project republican thievery

Speaker Dennis Hastert had the chutzpah to blame the impotent Democratic minority for not finding "ways to keep our children from bearing the burden of a skyrocketing deficit." Much of the deficit, of course, is due to President Bush's binge of tax cuts for America's most affluent. (From NYT 10/23/05)



Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK)

Don't Touch My Money

 

Please Sen. Stevens, Go Back To Alaska and waste the state’s (and the US taxpayer's) money

This week, for once in recent memory a Republican, Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, is acting sane and called for a cut in the billions in pork projects, beginning with Alaska's notorious "bridge to nowhere."

Within minutes, Ted Stevens of Alaska, a grandee of pork, was apoplectic, warning he would quit public service if the bridges were killed. "I don't threaten people; I promise people," Senator Stevens, a Republican, growled. (From NYT 10/23/05)

-Casey Sweet


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-Noah Greenberg