Thanksgiving Weekend Madman

Thursday-Sunday, November 24-27, 2005



Help Wanted - Irresponsible Economists

Ben Bernanke is leaving as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to become the new Federal Reserve chairman. That CEA position, along with two other positions on the Federal Reserve Board, the assistant secretary of the Treasury for tax policy, and the director's position at the Congressional Budget Office are all vacant or about to be. The question is why? I think I have the answer.

What "economist" in their right mind would want to be associated with the economic policies of the administration of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush? Some of you might remember the trial and tribulations of Dr. N. Gregory Mankiw, the former chairman of the CEO who said "Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade... which makes it a good thing."

It's a "good thing" if you're one of the ultra-rich friends of GW Bush, that is.

"The president is very focused on putting people back to work, at creating jobs. The president has said that he wants to make the tax cuts permanent. He believes that is important for economic growth."
-Mankiw, now a professor at Harvard

GW believes what Karl "The Traitor" Rove and Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney tell him to believe. In Dr. Mankiw's case, however, once you buy into the "LIE", you have to "LIVE WITH THE LIE." And that would be the problem anyone who works in this White House has to face.

Let's face facts, although the CEA position is supposed to offer the president an "objective" view of the economy and the administration's policies, we all have seen when an "objective view" is offered to the president's inner circle. You can fish out the likes of General Eric Shinseki, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who suggested, correctly, I might add, that we would need more than the trimmed-down force that couldn't keep the peace in Iraq; General Jay Garner whose stated positions as the first administrative head of Iraq got him sent back home for his effort (he, too was proven right); Richard Clarke, the former anti-terrorism expert who worked for the last four presidents, whose warnings were ignored by the Bushies; Paul O'Neill, the former treasury secretary whose "objective advice" made him the only "mistake" that Bush would admit to. Need I go on?

No one of any good reputation wants to be associated with the administration that has put US into a debt that our great-grandchildren will be paying for.

"Bush's reputation in at least the academic community is about as low as you can imagine,. A lot of people would not be willing to give up a good tenured position for a position in the White House."
-William A. Niskanen, chairman of the Ultra-Conservative Cato Institute and member of the CEA during President Ronald Reagan's administration

Wow... What a slap in the face from the Bush-Licking Cato Institute. You'd think that they would understand just what Bush and Company are trying to achieve (you know... the total destruction of the American Middle Class).

"It has been true, typically speaking, that Republican administrations have found it harder to find senior, more prominent academic economists for the C.E.A. members and chairman than have Democratic administrations,"
-Michael L. Mussa, a senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics, another member of the CEA during President Reagan's administration

Why do you suppose that is, Mr. Mussa? Could it be that the Democratic administrations were more fiscally responsible than the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party administrations, at least of late? Or is it that its better to operate under a surplus, the likes of which we enjoyed under President Bill Clinton, rather than a deficit that the administrations of Reagan, Bush (41) and GW have offered? Maybe its the jobs gained in the Clinton era Vs. the jobs lost in the Bush years?

Maybe its just that the GOP is bad luck. yeah... that's it.. Bad Luck.

"If you have written publicly in strong opposition to the current administration, they will be less likely to be interested in you. On the Council of Economic Advisers, the priority is a very good economist who supports most of the president's economic policies."
-Kristin J. Forbes, Associate professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former member of the CEA

So much for "objectivity".

"Bush has centralized policy decision-making much more than any president in years. The Council of Economic Advisers has been somewhat bypassed."

The "advisors" whose "advice" President Bush will take are going to have their monthly meeting next Tuesday at the Washington, DC Denny's. They can use the small booth in the back.

-Noah Greenberg

Getting Through to The Truth

There are many lies, but there can only be one truth. The problem is digging through Bush's muck and mire to get to the truth

The GOP congress is going to have to show some gumption. The GOP is going to have to legislate from the Hill. The president cannot be trusted to tell US the truth. Some feel he never was and many more feel that he never will be.

"G"lobal "W"arming Bush isn't just a lame duck, he is a lame duck with a howitzer. We need to get real leaders in the senate and the house to realize that this isn't just about politics, its about protecting Americans!

If the current leaders can't do it, we need to get the right people in as leaders who can, and soon.

-Noah Greenberg

Where are the Troops?

According to the Bush administration re-enlistment is up. The reason is simple: Soldiers don't leave one another behind. They feel obligated to be with their brothers and sisters on the battlefield and, to that end, re-enlist.

This explanation for re-enlistment also explains the reason new military recruitment is down. There isn't that feeling of camaraderie when no camaraderie exists.

This bring two questions to mind:
1- Since these soldiers feel that they are going to be forced to stay in the army through the back-door draft anyway, they must feel, why not make the $30,000 the army is offering for re-enlistment to help their families cope with their loss of income and their company?
2- Is the Bush administration abusing this feeling of "camaraderie" that soldiers have for one another to their advantage?

-Noah Greenberg

The Unbreakable Document

How brilliant were America's forefathers? How brilliant were the likes of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison who opposed the likes of the Federalists (who today would include global corporatists like Dick Cheney, a member of the Federalist Society). Is there anyone who doesn't believe that Cheney and the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party elitists wouldn't oppose the one-man-one-vote principle?

No matter how hard they try, these greedy right wingers just can't seem to break this amazing document, The Constitution of the United States of America.

The Republican Party used to be the party of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Today it is the party of Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, Bob Ney and is led by George W. Bush.


-Noah Greenberg

Another Coincidence!

13 million Americans are members of unions, and another 40 million say they would join a union if they could.

Keeping this in mind, isn't it amazing that there are still about 45 million Americans without Health Care coverage today? Isn't it just as amazing that the number of people who want to join unions is just about the same as the number of Americans that have no health care coverage?

-Noah Greenberg

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

Americans wept at the heartbreaking images of animals stranded and injured during the Katrina disaster. Rescue agencies reported a phenomenal surge in donations directly related to that tragedy. But similar images of animals in dire straits can be found in every city in America every day–they just aren't televised on the evening news. But those animals are in situations just as harrowing, just as heart-rending.

Animal abuse is epidemic in the U.S. Some dismiss animal abuse as inconsequential, but far from being a benign problem, animal abuse has far-reaching implications; it is associated with pathological and criminal behavior in children and adults. Every serial killer on record, for example, abused animals as have most rapists and sexual predators. Many street gangs require that those being initiated into the gang torture an animal as a test. Drug dealers incorporate animal abuse and animal fighting into their criminal behavior. Children who are abused are prone to abuse animals and children who abuse animals are at high risk for abusing their children or spouses as adults.

Animal abuse, therefore, is a serious social problem that impacts all of us, whether we are loving pet owners or have no pets at all.

The criminal justice system has attempted to address the problem of cruelty to animals with stricter sentencing for the crime. Imprisonment has now become common for those who abuse domestic animals. But animal abuse is still on the increase and awareness of what constitutes abuse as well as the training of adults and children in appropriate care of domestic pets is not provided by schools, pet adoption agencies or pet stores. Thus the cycle of abuse and neglect continues–and animals suffer as a result. Plus the relationship between abuse and neglect of animals and criminal behavior, including abuse and neglect of children, continues to grow.

For two decades I have rescued abused, neglected and stray animals. For the past seven years I have run the Foundation for Feline Urban Rescue (FFUR) in Germantown. Through this all-volunteer service I have rescued hundreds of cats and kittens, given them veterinary care and then placed them in appropriate homes. The costs have been exponential, the heartbreak immense. And yet the work I have done has barely scratched the surface of the need in my neighborhood alone.

Animal abuse could end tomorrow with two simple rules: No animal should be placed in any home without being spayed or neutered and no animal should be allowed to roam outside unmonitored. Stray animals exist because of people–no other reason.

In Philadelphia it is illegal to have pets that do not have a current rabies inoculation tag, which means that every cat or dog should be taken to the veterinarian once a year. It is also illegal to allow any dog off-leash. It is illegal to fail to clean up after a dog. It is illegal to keep a dog outside without a long chain and shelter. Yet many pet owners who don't consider themselves animal abusers regularly ignore these laws which are being broken minute by minute in Philadelphia and every other city in America. And we are all–not just animals–suffering because of it.

Stray animals are dangerous. It isn't their fault–domestic animals belong in homes, not on the street. But stray animals breed disease and breed more animals. Wild dogs are generally afraid of people, but they can attack if driven by starvation. All stray animals are susceptible to rabies and other diseases transmissible to humans. Flea outbreaks are common in neighborhoods with many stray and neglected pets. And the animals themselves suffer terribly from the harsh and painful life on the streets.

The facts on stray, abused and neglected domestic animals–cats and dogs--are harrowing. One un-spayed female cat can produce as many as 40 more cats in a year.
Every nine seconds a domestic animal is euthanized. More than 12 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year for only one reason: They have been abandoned. Overpopulation of domestic animals leads inevitably and tragically to those animals suffering disease, injury, abuse and eventually death.

Domestic pets–cats and dogs–are not wild animals. They are meant to be kept indoors; they have been bred to be kept as pets–they aren't birds or squirrels; they have no resources to take care of themselves on the streets. They rely on humans.

The holidays are the time when the majority of kittens and puppies are adopted or bought in the U.S. But statistically, six months later, when these animals hit puberty, many are abandoned, put outside by owners who no longer want the cat or dog that cute little bundle of fur has grown into. Then those animals, with no comprehension of how to live without the regular food, shelter and attention they previously received, are abandoned to the streets where many of them will be killed by cars, people, other animals or disease.

Three weeks ago I rescued several young cats, all of whom had various injuries. One had two broken pelvises and a broken leg. One of the shattered bones from the pelvis had punctured the little cat's colon. Unfortunately the cat was too badly injured to save and had to be euthanized. The other cats, with less serious injuries, are now on the mend. But these cats were living under someone's porch. Every day those people saw this one cat dragging the dead leg and did nothing. Animals who are injured must be taken to the SPCA or another shelter. They can't be left to suffer and die on the street.

What can be done to stem the flood of unwanted and abused animals in this city and across the nation?

Education is the first step. Children should be taught from an early age, in school if not at home, that animals must be taken care of in much the same way as a small child must be taken care of. Just as a toddler can't be left to fend for her- or himself , neither can a cat or dog. Pets require attention: They must be properly trained, fed regularly, kept indoors, taken annually for veterinary care and loved. If you don't think you can provide these things for an animal, then don't get one. Not everyone is meant to be a pet owner just as not everyone is meant to have children. But just as our children should not be abused or neglected, neither should our pets.

There are many myths in poor communities and communities of color about animals. Those myths need to be dispelled. For example, it is not true that spaying or neutering a cat or dog makes it mean; the opposite is true. It is healthier for the pet to be neutered and animals that have been neutered are much friendlier and more docile. Dogs that have not been neutered, for example, tend to be very aggressive and are far more likely to attack children or other animals than dogs who have been neutered. Neutering and spaying makes for better and healthier pets; not neutering or spaying an animal can actually lead to that cat or dog, particularly the females, getting various forms of cancer.

A few years ago a young cat had been coming around to my house. It looked healthy and well-cared for and it had a collar and tag, so I wasn't too concerned about him. But after a snowstorm I saw the cat, wet and dirty, in my yard. His collar was missing. I took him to the address I had seen on the tag. The owners told me he "was not their cat anymore." I was dumbfounded. They said that he had been spraying in the house and I explained that he needed to be neutered. They said they "didn't believe in that."

I took the cat, had him neutered and found him a home where no one will ever say he isn't their cat anymore. When pets aren't neutered they display behaviors that are distasteful to people; another reason for neutering.

It is also a myth that female cats and dogs need to have one litter before they are spayed. Cats and dogs should be spayed at six months. It does not inhibit their nurturing qualities; rather than turning that nurturing toward a litter of kittens, they will turn their love and attention toward you and your family. In addition, there will be no unwanted kittens and puppies for which there are no homes.

Another terrible myth is that cats and dogs can only be trained by physical force. Just as it is against the law to hit a child, it is also against the law to hit an animal. *Never hit an animal.* Hitting an animal is the surest way to turn that animal mean or frightened. It alters their personality just as it does humans who are regularly abused. It causes needless suffering. And if you hit your cat or dog, you teach your children that hitting an animal is right when it is actually criminal.

It is also a myth that dogs and cats can live outdoors. They can't. They do not have systems like birds or squirrels that allow them to build up fur and fat to protect them against the harshness of the elements in winter nor are they able to survive in the extreme heat of summer without constant supplies of fresh, cool water. Pets are meant to be kept indoors.

Last week I was walking my friend's dog and witnessed a neighbor attacking her dog–beating it mercilessly. This dog leads a terrible life. It is kept outdoors all year long–never walked, never taken inside. It is on a very short leash so it can barely move around. The dog has no shelter from the elements. When it is cold the dog barks and whines for hours on end. It was terribly cold on this night and the dog was barking. When I saw the front door open, I thought it meant the owner was going to take her little dog inside. Instead she started beating him.
I yelled at her to stop and she told me in language not printable in a family newspaper to mind my own business. I told her the dog was barking because it was cold. She told me the dog had "a fur coat on" and went back inside, leaving the whimpering dog freezing and hurt on the ground.

Don't get an animal if you aren't going to make it part of your family–and that means for the life of the animal. I constantly get calls from people telling me that they have to find a home for their pet because they are moving to a place that doesn't take pets. To which I always respond, "Then why are you moving there?" You wouldn't give up your child if the place you were moving to didn't take children. You'd find a place that did. Animals are a responsibility, just as children are. Expect that the average cat will live for 15 years and the average dog for ten, some longer. When you choose a pet, you will have that animal for ten to 15 years. If you can't imagine that, don't get a pet.

If you are going to get a pet, as many people do this time of year, know how to care for it. Cats and dogs require the same love and attention as children. Dogs need exercise–they need to be walked several times a day no matter what the weather is. Dogs require a lot of care and not everyone has the patience or time for that care. Cats are more self-sufficient, but they too need attention.

Animals must have fresh water at all times and be fed regularly every day. Cats need a clean litter box at all times. Dogs need to be walked. Puppies and older dogs require many more trips out than a young or middle-aged dog, but every dog needs to go out at least three times a day (more for puppies and older dogs with weak bladders). Dogs also tend to have separation anxiety when their owners are away, barking and chewing their way through the house. They can be trained to not be fearful when their owner is at work or away from home for several hours, but again, this requires time and effort.

Dogs must never be trained to fight. Aside from being illegal and carrying stiff fines and increasingly long prison time, fighting is cruel. It is not a sport, it is a perverted criminal act, which many judges now equate with sexual abuse of children. (And many sexual predators are also animal abusers.)

Animal abuse could end tomorrow if everyone began to treat their animals humanely. Please spay and neuter your pets. Please give them to a shelter if you can no longer care for them; there they will have some chance of being adopted and if they aren't, at least they will have a humane death through euthanasia.

This holiday season if you are planning on adopting or purchasing a pet please think of them as you would a child and plan accordingly. Pets can be a rewarding addition to any family. Children who grow up with pets tend to be more responsible and more loving than their peers. Older people with pets live longer than those who don't have pets. Cats and dogs give us what most of us want in life–unconditional love. They don't require much in return–just a good home with love and care.

The Foundation for Feline Urban Rescue (FFUR) can be reached at 215-848-9341. Donations are desperately needed and none is too small. Checks can be made payable to FFUR at 311 West Seymour Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144.

Today' Quote by a Great-American War Hero

"When I introduced this resolution, I didn't introduce this as a partisan resolution. I go by Arlington Cemetery everyday, and the vice-president, he criticizes democrats? Let me tell you, those gravestones don't say democrat or republican, they say American."
-Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)

"The Iraqis will make no progress until the Americans leave"
-Rep. Murtha

Today's Stupid GOP-Hack Quotes

"Scooter Libby is a hero"
-Mary Matalin on Imus in the Morning, November 21

Followed by:
Imus: Do you think that Scooter Libby or the Vice President have ever lied about anything?
Matalin: Not in my history with them.

Isn't it "special" that the one person Libby and Cheney tell the truth to is Mary Matalin? That just leaves one question: Having been with the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party operatives so long, how would she know?

Today's Media Madman Stupid Quote

"Is (military) recruitment down because people are dieing... but, not that much."
-Conservative Radio Host Michael Reagan, catching himself mentioning the dead American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

I wonder how much "dieing" is "that much" for Mr. Reagan? Will the lives of another 2,000 American Children do, Mr. Reagan? I wonder what his daddy, President Ronald Reagan would say to that?

Today's Scared Republican Quote

"I think it would be to Bush's advantage (to explain his position on the Iraq war). It would bring him closer to the people, dispel some of the concern that, understandably, our people have about the loss of life and limb, the enormous cost of this war to the American public,"
-Senator John Warner (R-VA)

You would think so, wouldn't you? But in order for "G"lobal "W"arming Bush to explain himself, he would have to admit that things aren't going according to plan, and that simply will never happen. Admitting mistakes or accepting blame are no qualities that President Bush or his cronies possess.

In any event, it's good to see another Republican, fearing for his political life, start to come around.

You see, every politician, in the end, still has to answer to his or her constituency.

-All quotes forwarded and commented by Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg