Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, December 2-4, 2005



A Media Madman Quote in the Lead

"God says, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'"
-Ann Coulter on Fox News' Hannity and Colmes

Funny ("funny" as in ironic, not "funny" as in Ha-Ha) how I never read that in the Bible or any of the Talmud Stories. I guess that was only in Ms. Coulter's version of the Bible, the one with her wearing a leather bustier on the cover. Oh... wait... That was her book! Well Ms. Coulter probably thinks of it as a Bible.

-Noah Greenberg (Quote forwarded by David W.)

Making Seniors Pay

"The circumstances would be laughable if the consequences weren't so dire. The lawmakers who created this mess should get their drug coverage this way and see how they do."
-George J. Kourpias, president of the Alliance for Retired Americans, regarding the confusion and difficulty that retired Americans face in using the new Medicare Part D, which includes the now infamous Medicare Drug Discount Cards.

And if that wasn't enough, officials at Medicare admitted that the online drug plan finder was inflating drug prices, according to the USA Today.

Just how does one inflate a RETAIL DRUG PRICE? Is it like a popular car? Do they put pin-striping on it? Do they call it a "Value added fee"?

"Our 50 Alliance delegates will not stand by as important topics are drowned out by public relations ploys,"
-Edward Coyle, executive director of the Alliance, regarding this week's upcoming
White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA)

Wasn't it just last week that "G"lobal "W"arming Bush said "We have to go forward with a plan, not just slogans,"?

"Continued lax oversight and enforcement will serve neither seniors nor the taxpayers,"
-Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), regarding the GAO (General Accountability Office) report citing numerous problems:

-Inaccurate information sent by insurance companies
-Unlawful use of Medicare funds to pay for drugs expressly forbidden by Congress
-Nearly 26,000 complaints about the drug discount cards
-The inability to confirm the Bush administraion's "estimate" that the Medicare Drug "Discount" Plan will save seniors between "10 and 26 percent"

By the way, how does one come up with the number "26" as an "estimate" anyway?

-Noah Greenberg, from a forward by Annmarie Polinsky from an article by the Alliance for Retired Americans

The Iraqi Stock Exchange

They don't have clean water or electricity. Their air conditioning doesn't. They have close to 70 percent unemployment.

But, in Iraq, they have a stock exchange.

"Security guards, Iraqi and foreign, are on constant duty, and American troops built reinforced concrete walls six months ago specifically to guard the site from attack from a nearby bridge across the Tigris. In addition, wire netting rises from the near railing of the bridge to ensnare rocket-propelled grenades that may be fired from passing cars."
-The New York Times, November 19, 2004

If there is a dollar to be made, invested or protected, you can make sure that our brave sons and daughters are going to do just that. Forget about their safety or that of the Iraqi people, it's all about "The Money."

Yes, the Iraqi's are making sure that they develop an ultra-rich elitist trading class, much the same as we have here in the Good Ol' USA. Their needs will be met before that of the everyday Iraqi citizen.

The needs of the new Iraq Elitists get met before the needs of our troops as well.

The Iraqi stock exchange is planning a move to a new building at a cost of $2 million. I wonder who is going to pay for it? I wonder if there is something else that could be done for $2 million for the Iraqi people? Perhaps I'm just an inquisitive guy.

"I believe the new place (once moved from the former Italian restaurant it occupies now) will be more safe than this place. We are happy with it.''
-Abdul-Salam, an employee of the exchange

I believe it will be more safe as well, Mr. Abdul-Salam. After all, that's where the money is. By now, we all know the priorities of the Bush administration, so it's not hard to imaging that these priorities will spread to Iraq, as well.

''We're still using the old system,''
-Sherwan Mustafa, depository manager, complaining that the
Americans haven't updated thier equipment yet

How about electricity and sewers for the Iraqi people? How about security? The very last thing that should be addresses, after the last pothole is fixed, should be the Iraqi stock exchange.

-Noah Greenberg

One Billion Chinese

The One Billion Chinese are now our biggest competitor for the remaining oil. There is talk of Chinese military bases to protect their oil interests. While we lose troops, time, and world opinion in Iraq, we are mindlessly allowing the Chinese to manufacture everything from T-shirts to TV sets for us, taking away American workers' jobs. We are in debt to them in the billions, if not trillions of dollars. Thanks to Wal-Mart, small hardware, toy, specialty stores of all kinds, independent Mom and Pop operations, have been put out of business by cheap importation of Chinese goods. American manufacturing jobs have disappeared as more things are made in China. Now they have our cash to pay for oil, forcing prices up. I often wonder if anyone in Washington is paying attention....

-Pat Thompson

Freedom of the (Iraqi) Press (?)

The Pentagon was caught secretly placing propaganda articles in local Iraqi newspapers. These articles are designed to put a happy face on the dismal occupation. The LA Times reports on the mechanism used by the Pentagon to maintain secrecy:

"The operation is designed to mask any connection with the U.S. military. The Pentagon has a contract with a small Washington-based firm called Lincoln Group, which helps translate and place the stories. The Lincoln Group's Iraqi staff, or its subcontractors, sometimes pose as freelance reporters or advertising executives when they deliver the stories to Baghdad media outlets."
-The LA Times

The Lincoln Group was founded by Christian Bailey - a major RNC donor! Gee, what a surprise ...

-Robert Scardapane

GOP Wins the Old Fashioned Way
They Cheat and Steal

Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan.

The memo, unanimously endorsed by six lawyers and two analysts in the department's voting section, said the redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts. It also said the plan eliminated several other districts in which minorities had a substantial, though not necessarily decisive, influence in elections.

"The State of Texas has not met its burden in showing that the proposed congressional redistricting plan does not have a discriminatory effect," the memo concluded. The memo also found that Republican lawmakers and state officials who helped craft the proposal were aware it posed a high risk of being ruled discriminatory compared with other options.
But the Texas legislature proceeded with the new map anyway because it would maximize the number of Republican federal lawmakers in the state, the memo said. The redistricting was approved in 2003, and Texas Republicans gained five seats in the U.S. House in the 2004 elections, solidifying GOP control of Congress.

J. Gerald "Gerry" Hebert, one of the lawyers representing Texas Democrats who are challenging the redistricting in court, said of the Justice Department's action: "We always felt that the process . . . wouldn't be corrupt, but it was. . . . The staff didn't see this as a close call or a mixed bag or anything like that. This should have been a very clear-cut case."

. . . The 73-page memo, dated Dec. 12, 2003, has been kept under tight wraps for two years. Lawyers who worked on the case were subjected to an unusual gag rule. The memo was provided to The Post by a person connected to the case who is critical of the adopted redistricting map. Such recommendation memos, while not binding, historically carry great weight within the Justice Department.
-Daily Kos


As usual, the Bush Justice department is less concerning about upholding the law and more concerned about being partisan political hacks. This is yet another disgraceful revolving around Delay (R-TX), for now that is.

-Forwarded and Commented by Robert Scardapane

Sony and Panasonic

My son, Jason noticed and commented on this:

The new Sony PSP (Play Station Personal) commercial, which appears to take place mostly in the Barrio of Los Angeles, has the handheld device being thrown from one Latino to another, with each person playing or watching it to show its versatility. Each player/ watcher appears to be playing or watching what is closest to their interest.

So, finally, the last group to get throw the PSP is a groups of three or four young men, who appear to be Latino, wearing do-rags riding in a low-riding 1960's style convertible. Guess what game interests these four young men?

Grand Theft Auto. Arguably, the single most violent game on the market, one where you can kill hookers, cops and pedestrians, among other crimes.

Contrast that to a different commercial for Panasonic's LCD Television (the commercial emphasized "the color of life, and such) which had what could have been the same three Latino men in the same convertible. They were riding in the car, showing a tough posture and listening to a Hispanic-Rap type of music. As they pass a home lit-up with a stunning array of Christmas lights, the four men retreat back to their not-so-distant past and become children again with their mouths agape staring at the lights. They soon come back to their present-day selves, but a little more boyish.

Comparing these two commercials, we realize that what Sony must think of different ethnic groups and how they feel they must market their goods. Panasonic, on the other hand, realizes that we are all the same, regardless of our background, clothing or mode of transportation.

Thank you, Jason (my son) for pointing that out to me.

-Noah Greenberg

Out of the Mouth of Babes

I don't ship at Wal-Mart or the Home Depot unless they are the only store in the area. As it happens, a few years ago, I was up in Middletown, NY when I realized I had forgotten to bring a few items up to my mother, who stays the summer about 30 miles away in Liberty, NY. Having no choice, I went into the "Big Box killer of small businesses" and purchased the few items we needed... nothing more.

As we walked to the car, my son Jason asked me why I didn't like to shop at Wal-Mart. He said they have good prices and was curious. When I explained to him that smaller, independently owned stores are put out of business because of Wal-Mart, and that appears to be their plan... to remove competition... and that Wal-Mart doesn't treat their employees well, a little light bulb seemingly popped up above his head.

Noah: What do you think that means, Jason?
Jason: It means that Wal-Mart will be the only store left and charge anything they like for their stuff.

Jason was no older than eleven at the time. Just how transparent are these guys anyway?

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "With American confidence in his handling of the war in Iraq at an all-time low, when will President Bush get the message? It's up to us to keep standing up and speaking out until he does," Pat Thompson writes:

All I want to know is what his definition of VICTORY is. He has yet to explain what that would look like, exactly. However, if the polls continue to show that the American people are not supporting the war, he will make at least token troop withdrawals prior to the 06 elections. They won't allow Congress to be lost!

In response to, "There must be only few people that President Bush thinks are as good as him," Pat Thompson writes:

If he had been raised by a decent woman, or married to one, maybe he would be a little better. Read Barbara's Bush's several books. The woman is incredible. She actually played golf the day her 3 year old daughter died of Leukemia. His wife is really a very vacant woman -- look at her eyes -- no one is home. She (Laura Bush) ran a red light and broadsided her ex-boyfriend, killing him when she was a teenager. She has spent the 25 years of their marriage reading novels and smoking cigarettes, hasn't worked a day. And her most famous quote is: "George and I don't agonize over decisions -- we make them and then don't think about it again" Easy decisions when it means sending someone else's child off to be killed in a useless war. Then he surrounds himself with women who "adore" him, and agree with him; like Condoleeza Rice, Karen Hughes, and the so easily forgotten almost-Supreme Court justice Harriet Miers. At least Clinton didn't try to make Monica Secretary of State!

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-Noah Greenberg