Monday, July 31, 2006

Bush Quiz

The New Yorker published this

Issue of 2005-10-31
Posted 2005-10-24

1. Who is Ben Marble?

(a) The Pentagon official who said that George W. Bush’s staged videoconference with U.S. troops in Iraq made him “livid.”

(b) The Texas liquor-authority agent who arrested George W. Bush’s intoxicated nephew John for resisting arrest.

(c) The former White House speechwriter who said that Harriet Miers, the Supreme Court nominee, told him that George W. Bush was the most brilliant man she’d ever met.

(d) The Gulfport, Mississippi, onlooker who twice interrupted Dick Cheney’s conversation with reporters to tell Cheney, “Go fuck yourself.”

2. True or false: During Sky News Ireland’s coverage of George W. Bush’s reaction to Hurricane Katrina, the network paraphrased his comments with the caption “BUSH: ONE OF THE WORST DISASTERS TO HIT THE U.S.

3. To what was George W. Bush referring when he said, “The best place for the facts to be done is by somebody who’s spending time investigating it”?

(a) The investigation into Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s stock sale.

(b) The investigation into the role of the White House aide Karl Rove in the Valerie Plame case.

(c) The indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on money-laundering charges.

(d) The indictment of the former Bush Administration budget official David Safavian on charges of lying and obstruction of justice.

4. What did Dick Cheney say when asked why he didn’t cut his Wyoming fly-fishing vacation short until several days after Katrina hit New Orleans?

(a) “Go fuck yourself.”

(b) “I didn’t stop smoking until after my fourth heart attack, so some things take a while to sink in with me.”

(c) “I came back four days early.”

(d) “The trout were biting big-time.”

Who said what about stranded flood victims?

5. Barbara Bush.

6. Wolf Blitzer.

7. Bill O’Reilly.

(a) “So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway. This is working very [chuckling] well for them.”

(b) That many of them were “drug-addicted.”

(c) “So many of these people, almost all of them that we see, are so poor, and they are so black.”

8. While speaking to hurricane victims in Mississippi, Laura Bush twice mistakenly referred to the storm as:

(a) Catalina. (c) Condoleezza.

(b) Corina. (d) Karenina.

9. What was notable about the memo sent by FEMA’s director, Michael Brown, to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff hours after the flooding of New Orleans began?

(a) His repeated references to FEMA as the “Federal Emergency Management Association” instead of “Agency.”

(b) The lack of urgency in his request that a thousand workers be sent to the region “within forty-eight hours,” and his suggestion that those workers bring cash, because “A.T.M.s may not be working.”

(c) His prediction that the disaster could be “just the thing” to lead an “already shaky” George W. Bush to start drinking again.

(d) His suggestion that the agency see about setting up “foster barns” for the region’s Arabian horses.

10. Who is Norris Alderson?

(a) The Food and Drug Administration official who resigned in protest of the agency’s refusal to allow over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill.

(b) The veterinarian with no experience on women’s-health issues who was initially named to run the F.D.A.’s Office of Women’s Health.

(c) The lawyer who was named to run the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency despite having minimal experience in immigration, customs, or law enforcement.

(d) The Manhattan shopper who confronted Condoleezza Rice at Ferragamo, where she was spending thousands of dollars as the situation in New Orleans was deteriorating, and demanded, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless?”

11. Three of these statements were made by George W. Bush. Which one did Michael Chertoff make?

(a) “One of the things that people want us to do here is to play a blame game.”

(b) “So please give cash money to organizations that are directly involved in helping save lives—save the life who had been affected by Hurricane Katrina.”

(c) “Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater.”

(d) “We look forward to hearing your vision, so we can more better do our job.”

Who did what?

12. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

13. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

14. Representative Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.).

15. Representative Richard Baker (R-La.).

16. Representative Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

17. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

(a) Said that God “finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans.”

(b) Complained about the people who refused to evacuate, and suggested that “there may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving.”

(c) Said of Dick Cheney, “I would like to believe he’s sick rather than just mean and evil.”

(d) Said that if anyone, including George W. Bush, spoke another word trying to blame local officials for the magnitude of the disaster, “I might likely have to punch him. Literally.”

(e) Approached three newly homeless children in the Astrodome and said, “Now, tell me the truth, boys, is this kind of fun?”

(f) Said of George W. Bush’s photo op in San Diego as New Orleans flooded, “The President was enjoying the day; he was strumming a guitar. I don’t deny him the pleasures of office, but people were drowning.”

18. What did George W. Bush say to reassure people about Harriet Miers?

(a) “She’s the most brilliant woman I’ve ever met.”

(b) “She’s got the best heart of anyone I know, just a super heart.”

(c) “She helped hide the bodies in my National Guard record.”

(d) “She is plenty bright.”

19. What prompted George W. Bush’s response “I’ve got a life to live, and will do so”?

(a) A question about the propriety of taking a five-week vacation when U.S. soldiers were dying in Iraq.

(b) A question about why he was out bike-riding instead of talking to the war protester Cindy Sheehan.

(c) A question about why he flew to California instead of Louisiana after he heard about the New Orleans flooding.

(d) A question about the propriety of wasting so much fuel on trips to New Orleans that had no purpose but to make the public think he was in charge.

20. What did George W. Bush say that the government had to do in response to the New Orleans flooding?

(a) “We’ve got to solve problems. We’re problem-solvers.”

(b) “We’ve got to do the work. We’re work-doers.”

(c) “We’ve got to fire Brownie. We’re Brownie-firers.”

(d) “We’ve got to get rid of that water. We’re water-getter-ridders. Of.”


(1) d, (2) True, (3) b, (4) c, (5) a, (6) c, (7) b, (8) b, (9) b, (10) b, (11) c, (12) b, (13) d, (14) c, (15) a, (16) e, (17) f, (18) d, (19) b, (20) a.

Israel's place on the world stage

Israel was founded in 1948. The United Nations passed resolution 181 dividing the British mandate into two states, one Jewish, and one Arab. This resolution was passed in 1947. Rather than agreeing to this at the time, the Arab leaders said it was not acceptable and attacked the Jewish sections of Palestine. I constantly here current Arab talking heads spouting about how they want Israel to abide by resolution 181.

It appears that nobody is abiding by 181. There is no viable Arab state currently in the area, and Jerusalem, is not an international open city. Here's the part that the world doesn't seem to pay attention to: Lebanon, along with Hamas and Hezballah, does not recognize Israel as a country. Why should Israel stop what it is doing if these countries or Non Governmental Organizations, choose to act as if Israel does not have the right to exist?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What the News is not telling you....

This is from Jihad Watch:

"Another UN position of the Ghanaian battalion in the area of Marwahin in the western sector was also directly hit by one mortar round from the Hezbollah side last night. The round did not explode, and there were no casualties or material damage. Another 5 incidents of firing close to UN positions from the Israeli side were reported yesterday. It was also reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of four UN positions at Alma ash Shab, Tibnin, Brashit, and At Tiri. All UNIFIL positions remain occupied and maintained by the troops."

I'm certain that Israel has done things that would not fill me with pride.... However, this report from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon helps to explain why the Israelis might accidently bomb a U.N. position. If Hezbollah is positioning itself in close proximity to U.N. forces, then those same U.N. forces might be jeopardized.

Why isn't the mass media publicizing this press release.

Monday, July 24, 2006

On a Lighter Note

These two items are worth sharing.

According to the Washington University Law Quarterly:
"Between 1989 and 2002, the average conviction rate for federal criminal defendants was 84 percent in jury trials, but a mere 55 percent in bench trials"(vol. 83 no.1)... Three quarters of federal criminal defendants choose a jury trial.... Something does not add up.

A piece, in the anthology Vampires, written by Pete Remington diagnoses Anne Rice's characters. Here are the symptoms:
1. They eat oddly and sporadically
2. Sleep too much
3. Lack of Self Esteem

I'd be depressed too if I looked that pasty.

Friday, July 21, 2006

World Politics from a Pre-K Perspective

Successful people learn to share at a very early age. As toddlers grow it’s necessary for them to learn the difference between necessity and desire. If Cassie wants something we do our best to accommodate. We as new parents are learning to create boundaries that she must abide by. For instance, she must pet our cat nicely. We taught her how to pet Molly softly and encourage Cassie to pet the cat in this manner. There are numerous other rules that she needs to abide by. She has also learned to back away from doors that are closing, and to be careful when stepping down. Unfortunately, it appears that nations do not know how to abide by the rules they needed to learn as toddlers.

The Middle East is embroiled in a series of wars right now. Whether you look at Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan or Gaza there are military operations going on daily. It is very easy to say this side is right and that side is wrong. The problem I see from here is that people are acting without thinking. Why is this going on? What are the goals of Israel, Hezbollah, and Hamas? Is there a difference between one Muslim fundamentalist and another?

These are questions I’ve wondered about for days. Here is the little I do know about the Middle East and its history. First of all, countries are worse at sharing than my only child. Cassie will give up toys on occasion when other children want them. She does not necessarily need to get something in return. I am not saying that countries should give up assets especially real estate without getting something of consequence back. However, if a country is willing to unilaterally give up land, so that you would get what you want, then let them.

In 1947, the Palestinians were offered a state alongside a state designated for the Jews. The Palestinian leadership at the time, said that this was not enough. Anything other than all of Palestine was unacceptable to the leadership. Now 60 years later, some Palestinians claim that this two state solution is what they want. Forgive me if I don't believe them. As a parent, I am expected to teach Cassie the quality of honesty. Honesty as defined by is truthfulness; sincerity. I expect that this will not be a hard value to explain and at an individual level it is not hard to follow, but Nation states appear to have a trouble living up this value. Hamas claims that it wants to be left alone, and that the occupation by Israel should end. Not a bad idea, until you examine it. What does Hamas claim as occupied area?

According to the U.N., no friend of Israel, the occupied areas are commonly referred to as the West Bank and Gaza. However, in the eyes of Hamas , any area in what is now Israel is occupied by Zionists. Hamas' covenant claims that all non Muslims need to be removed from the area. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. This is not a situation where you can be a 2 year old. Hamas can take their ball and go home. That is fine with me, but they can't claim they own someone's home because they don't want them next door. The international community was created by the U.N. so that people could live side by side and settle their disputes peacefully. It does not appear to me that this group, or the other liberation groups do believe in conflict resolution. They get stuck on the 2nd to last word.

Finally this is a hard one. This is a rule we try to teach at schools, and it gets in the way of the most accomplished individuals in every field. Think before you speak. It wasn't until 2002 that the Arab League considered recognizing Israel's right to exist. The Prime Minister of Lebanon is basically begging Israel to stop bombing. I can appreciate that. However, at the end of the interview, the PM said he would be the last country to sign a peace treaty with Israel. If you are not going to recognize the right of the Israelis to exist, why should they stop bombing you under any circumstances. By the way, Bill Bennett, who made his mark on the national stage as an icon for family values, went on CNN yesterday, and said "Just Give War a Chance"...Not exactly what I would teach my daughter, but then again a fundamentalist by any other name is still a fundamentalist.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Our government looking out for us

This is from the US Embassy in Lebanon:

Lebanon Situation Update - July 15, 2006

July 15, 2006 This information is current as of today, Sat Jul 15 12:20:12 2006.

A message to the American citizens in Lebanon:

The Department of State continues to work with the Department of Defense on a plan to help American citizens depart Lebanon. As of the morning of July 15, we are looking at how we might transport Americans to Cyprus. Once in Cyprus, Americans can then board commercial aircraft for onward travel. Commercial airlines provide the safest and most efficient repatriation options to final destinations.

The Department of State reminds American citizens that the U.S. government does not provide no-cost transportation but does have the authority to provide repatriation loans to those in financial need. For the portion of your trip directly handled by the U.S. Government we will ask you to sign a promissory note and we will bill you at a later date. In a subsequent message, when we have specific details about the transportation arrangements, we will inform you about the costs you will incur. We will also work with commercial aircraft to ensure that they have adequate flights to help you depart Cyprus and connect to your final destination.

The Department of State continues to work around the clock and will continue to send updates as appropriate.

I have to be honest.... I could not even figure out how to show what 25,000 Americans lives are worth to this nation.

Cost of the War in Iraq roughly 300 Billion Dollars

This amount of money is being spent because 2,819 people were killed on 9/11/2001.
The U.S. government is spending billions for people who have been killed, but they are not willing to spend millions for 25,000 people who are still alive… I can’t wait to hear about the Culture of Life. Honor those that died in that tragedy, but try not to forget the citizens trapped in this one.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Truth is the 1st Casualty of War

Bush May Cut Short Vacation

"The White House is concerned enough about President Bush's job rating and its possible effect on Republican chances in the November elections that word of reduction in vacation time at Crawford next month is being put about," the Houston Chronicle reports.

Let me see if I've got this straight.... The Middle East is in the midst of at least a 3 party war (Lebanon,Hamas, Israel)... Iraq is getting closer to Civil War by the day.... Oil prices are at an all time high... North Korea is firing missiles that could hit the U.S..... China, and Russia are basically giving Iran the ability to create nuclear weapons... Oh then there's Darfur... Plamegate... and his continuing problems with Hugo Chavez....

Why is it that the U.S. waited two weeks to start moving on the Mid East crisis? I mentioned on 30 June that there were problems brewing in Israel and the Mid East in general. The fact that Israel is, two weeks later, embroiled in a military conflict with Hamas, Hezbollah, Lebanon and possibly Syria, is absolutely no shock to me. It however, appears to have surprised CNN, Fox News and most unfortunately, the Administration.

About 10 years ago, I was finishing my second undergraduate degree. One of the classes required to become a teacher, involved mastering targeted teaching techniques. I had to explain to a class of my peers how to present a controversial topic. It just so happens that this was the topic I chose. I compared the Middle East Conflict to a traffic accident. Unfortunately, this traffic accident is taking place on a global scale.

I’ve watched a good bit of the coverage, partially because I’m a news junkie, and partially because I’ve got numerous extended family members, and friends over there. I believe Martin Indyk will become a new star on the rubber chicken circuit, much in the way that Arthur Kent did after the 1st Gulf expedition. Personally, the Syrian foreign minister makes me ill, but we all have a point of you. It just so happens that mine is more valid than his.

What worries me is that the U.S. is about as disengaged from this region as ever in modern history. Depending on when you listen to the Syrian ambassador, the conflict currently playing out has significantly different starting points. The Syrian ambassador keeps claiming that the timeline is 50 years. That means 1956 would be the beginning of the conflict. Israel had already been in existence for 8 years at that point, and was already fighting ( the 2nd of numerous wars for its very existence.

Mr. Imad Mustafa, the Syrian ambassador to the U.S. then goes on to talk about how the occupation of territory is the driving concern causing the conflict. As soon as Israel came into existence she was attacked by numerous Arab states. The occupation from the Palestinians normally discusses the taking of the West Bank and Gaza by the Israelis in 1967. Arabs attacking Israel started the 1967 war. So which is it Mr. Mustafa, was the occupation the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, by U.N. charter; or the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, that have upset you so?

Israel had unilaterally pulled out of Gaza, and was going to do the same in the West Bank, until Hamas kidnapped Gilat Shalit. Then Hezbollah invaded Israel and kidnapped two soldiers. If you are trying to get Israel to disengage with the Palestinians why provoke those people you want to get rid of? It is much easier to complain about how someone else does something, rather than doing it yourself. If Hamas, and Hezbollah can keep Israel as the focus of public discontent, then their respective publics will not worry about a lack of infrastructure or opportunity.

President Bush needs to stop pushing bans on gay marriage and flag burning, and start working toward that roadmap for peace. Use that roadmap for directions to Jerusalem, don’t pass go and don’t stop in Crawford. By the way, the Senate is currently trying to protect the Pledge of Allegiance ( . I didn’t realize it was in danger.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Striving for the Brass Rattle

Everyone has obstacles. How people handle the challenges they represent shows something about these same people. Toddlers are not different. When Cassie has a problem, she has a few options. She can try and solve the issue herself, or she can get help from Elizabeth or me. If she tries to solve it herself, which is often her first choice, then she might fail on that very first attempt. The toy she is trying to grasp might be in an area that she just can’t get to.

A good example of this is a large brass rattle that was given to her as a gift from friends of ours. For those of you who worry a bit, this toy is perfectly child safe. Not only is it safe, but shiny and a little noisy as well. All in all, it is a perfect toy for an 18 month old. If the rattle is in a spot, Cassie thinks nothing of improvising to get the toy. She will use a teddy bear as a sweeper to get it, or possibly a bouncy ball to move it. In this way I don’t think Cassie is much different than most of her age group. It is very cute, endearing, amazing, etc. to see. I love to see my daughter thinking outside of the box.

It is not nearly as endearing to see grown men who cannot think outside of the box. This is a problem across the board. The Supreme Court just recently came down with their decision on the Tom Delay Texas redistricting case. Now, there was someone thinking outside of the box. Unfortunately, in this case the box happened to be labeled the United States Constitution in my opinion. The majority of Justices do not agree with my opinion.

Given the ruling, Democrats should reenergize their state level campaigns, and use those legislatures to take advantage of this decision. Let me see if I’ve got this straight, you have failed to reach that Brass Ring, called Congressional majority, since 1994. An adversary shows you how to do it, and you still don’t try the successful technique. In the business world, if you fail at your objective for 10 years plus and then someone shows you how to succeed take notes and follow them. The other option being sitting on the floor, crying and whining because you can’t get what you want and waiting to be changed, because eventually you will soil yourself.

The Administration could take a hint from my daughter as well. The current situation in Iraq does not appear to be progressing at an acceptable rate. As you can see from the table below, this conflict has come at a tremendous cost for American servicemen and women:

US Casualties By Calendar Year


US Deaths

US Wounded
















Those figures go up every day. Today, you can read an article about significant mob violence in Iraq . We’ve been at this for about 3 years now. It does not appear that this policy is working. There are 2 similar military campaigns in the American memory, Vietnam and Korea. People, including Donald Rumsfeld, felt the aims of Vietnam and the secrecy of the government hindered the government’s efforts in that war. Maybe he should take a bit of his own advice. In Korea, the US worked within the framework of the UN and achieved an end it wanted.

If these men would take a hint from their grandchildren, the world would be better for them. If you want to reach that brass rattle and what you are doing isn’t working, then look at it from a different angle. If you can’t do it all by yourself get help from someone else. Don’t continue the same failed actions, over and over again. If you do, chances are you will end up crying on the floor not getting anywhere.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

How intelligent do you really need to be to get elected Senator from Alaska... Or Be afraid, Be very Afraid

I found this on Wired....

I would like to thank the Honorable but stupid Senior Senator from Alaska. The link above is a partial transcript to Senator Stevens trying to explain his vote on net neutrality. He has no understanding of how the Internet works, and even proclaims that the Defense Dept. just recently got it's own Internet. Being a layperson, I believe he is talking about an intranet. Those are not new Senator. Please contact the Senator from your state to try and vote down this bill.

If you want to see the Bill that passed the House I linked that to the bottom of this page, look for the Cope Act. It still has to pass out of the Commerce Committee and then achieve cloture. We can all thank Senator Wyden for that. To achieve cloture a bill must recieve 60 votes. I honestly do not see this bill making it past that test. I hope I'm right. For those of you who wonder about my prognosticating, I've never honestly believed the Saints were going to the Super Bowl.

Examining the 1st on the 4th

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

On this 4th of July, it’s appropriate to check in on the 1st Amendment. This amendment appears to be taking a beating lately. As a high school social studies teacher, I’m going to stand up as a defender of this amendment. Within this amendment is the right to a free press. Many countries in the world do not have a free press, able to challenge the ruling government publicly without fear of reprisal. I fear that we as a country might be slipping in this area .

The NY Times is a liberal paper, I might disagree that this is necessarily a bad thing but I will not argue with its bias. The press has for years been an agent for social change. Newspapers in this country broke Watergate, exposed the Teapot Dome Scandal, and worked to clean up the living conditions in urban areas caused by the Industrial Revolution. Until recently the NY Times was one of the few media outlets willing to exercise its responsibility to report and examine the news.

CBS News tried to examine George Bush’s. You can ask Dan Rather how that went. There are numerous cover-ups from the Presidents past that have been ignored by the press. There are questions about the election procedures in both 2000 and the 2004 . The secrecy that this administration strives for has been mentioned before in this blog space.

What would Rush Limbaugh be doing right now, other than Viagra, if President Clinton held the Press on this tight a leash? In today’s featured article the Wall Street Journal argues against the recent push for a flag burning amendment . Could someone please tell me when Fox News is going to lambast the Journal because of its liberal bias. Hopefully, on the 4th next year I won’t fear that the 1st Amendment is on the endangered list any more.