Saturday, July 21, 2007

Leaders Egg on Division

"We should together realize and admit this is an issue worthy of division"--Rev. Albert Mohler, Souther Baptist Theological Seminary in response to the Pope's assertion the Catholic Church is "the only one church". How can one divide the indivisible of all that is, of God's wondrous creation? Humans have a long history of such.

Consider the federal judge's recent determination of "unsavory" White House behavior motivated by political division in the Valerie (Plame) in Wonderland story. Behind the scenes Karl Rove did the Humpty Dumpty Dance in celebration. Cheney is the Mad Hatter (also known as Odd Job from Goldfinger). Meanwhile smiling President Bush is the always optimistic Chesire Cat claiming his actions in the present are a result of "his story" vs. intelligent analysis or an understanding of root causes. Chesire Bush is also the pussy who wouldn't fight in his generation's war.

Poor Valerie, everywhere she turns she finds a strange world. Meanwhile Humpty Karl makes a word's meaning whatever he wants it to be. If it has to work hard like freedom or democracy, he pays it more (by funneling the money through the Rand Corporation). Down the rabbit hole Pussy Bush & Co lead us.

P.S. Read a few of the 1,441 posts on this site for ways people drive division through the one body of humanity. Government and religious leaders sponsor separation to their benefit. Politicians supported by high dollar donors are the modern day money changers. It's not just a cute story from the Bible. They exist today in the hallowed halls of institutions charged with serving the people. From the White House to Congress, the money changers infiltrate both political parties. Look at those who profit from division, who gain power, influence or resources at the expense of others.

"If you destroy the people of a company, you do not have much left." W. Edwards Deming

I believe that works for countries as well...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Next Bush Target, Lantern Sodden

"Karl, the next guy we need to attack in an unsavory manner is that #@*^# blogger Lantern Sodden. He chaps my ass! How did he know I ordered foul mouthed Fran to ix-nay the Carlyle Groupay from the LL report on Hurricane-ay Katrina-ay? And how did he find out I skipped serving in Vietnam so I wouldn't have a conflict of interest in withdrawing U.S. troops from a successful victory over communism during my second term? Does he read my mind? Is he tapping into my reality? Whatever, just be sure to get his State of the Division blog shut down. Use copyright violations like we did on that gossip blogger. Sue him for millions and use RNC funds to pay the legal fees like with did with that Tobin fellow. As an independent Lantern has no deep pocket. After a few minutes with attorneys from Baker Botts, he'll be screaming bankruptcy. While I've already protected drug companies from liability, bloggers are still fair game! Screw the free press and the little guy!"

For those people wondering why President Bush would take such an action, peruse away and if motivated check out Sodden's two published books before they disappear from the Library of Congress, New Suits for World Leaders and One Fist. Two Fist, Red Fist, Blue Fist. Will we soon see each other on a rendition flight? Likely not as we'll both be hooded. Hopefully no one will be sitting on our chest. Yes, this is the state of our division...

Experts Weighing In Are Subject to Unsavory Reprisals

Any subject matter experts contributing their voice to the public debate on an issue are free game for such unsavory attacks according to a federal judge. Their choice to weigh in on matters important to the nation alone is justification for lying, cheating and law breaking on the part of federal officials. Those who thought citizens had a right to redress via a court of law are sadly mistaken.

So what nefarious plans do the Bushies have for the blogger that actually endured in a river flooded dead hospital in southwest Virginia and evacuated a Texas Gulf Coast facility before then record Hurricane Gilbert. State of the Division not only weighed in on the Bush administration's horrific performance in letting acute care patients swelter in deadly facilities, he blasted their follow up investigation, the White House Lessons Learned report for its numerous omissions. One of which The Carlyle Group is most grateful. So what do the Bushies have in store? What kind of reprisal might they proffer?

Can Condi Get Any Sadder?

Condi Rice, the United States' beleagured Secretary of State pleads that she's still in charge. She did her best to spin ex. British Prime Minister Tony Blair's appointment as Middle East envoy on behalf of the Quartet in a positive light.

Condi said she sensed a "kind of momentum" building in Middle East peace efforts, including Blair's appointment as Quartet envoy and Bush's call for a meeting this fall between Israel, the Palestinians and neighboring Arab states. On her way to Lisbon, she hailed Blair as a historic and passionate leader, saying his debut as envoy could breath new life into long-stalled talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

And how long have those talks with Israel and Palestinian leaders been stalled? Virtually Ms. Rice's whole time in office. Hmmm? And what role will this historic and passionate figure of Mr. Blair play in the Middle East? Tony will help the Palestinians with their infrastructure and economy! These are code words for giving Western businesses the chance to sell goods and build things.

Recall a year ago Ms. Rice spoke of democratic "birth pangs" in the region. After twelve months of labor what does she have to show, a "kind of momentum"? That would get an OB/GYN doctor sued for malpractice.

So what will Condi do? Supervise, just as she did at Tiger Woods' recent golf tournament outside D.C. Tony's work will "compliment U.S. led diplomatic efforts" as "the United States is committed to lead in coordination with the Quartet."

As usual Bush won't play second fiddle to anyone, not even his old buddy Tony. Condi ended with "perhaps we can finally deliver." Yes, perhaps...

Pentagon Says U.S. Should Still be in Vietnam

In a stinging rebuke a Pentagon underling bitch slapped Hillary Clinton for supporting America's enemies. The ex-Cheney aide's reply suggested "planning" for troop withdrawals aided the enemy in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia (where we weren't supposed to be in the first place as nation building is bad!) Given President Bush's 50 year war time frame, the U.S. would just be winding down operations in Vietnam despite the fall of the Soviet Union.

Of course, the Pentagon didn't mention anything about host countries ending our invitations. Saudi Arabia kicked us out after 9-11. Wasn't that a demand of Osama bin Laden's? Why didn't Cheney's attack dog mention capitulating to terrorists in that instance? Of course that got sold as the invasion of Iraq "made the region a safer place". Yes, you can stop laughing...

Carlyle Group Should Have Free Shares in SemGroup after IPO

The Carlyle Group, a private equity underwriter (PEU) will make out quite well from a subsidiary's IPO. The proceeds should cover the firm's initial investment. SemGroup intends to sell 12.5 million shares at $22 a share with total proceeds of $258 million. Carlyle owns 30% of the parent company and stands to gain $77 million. Just two and a half years ago the PEU purchased their interest in SemGroup for $75 million. This leaves Carlyle with a $2 million gain and free shares, as according to the prospectus they still control 30% of the parent corporation after the public offering of only half of the sub.

How do the Bush tax cuts save Carlyle money? A 5% savings on a $39 million profit equates to $2 million. The PEU doubles their money while saving on taxes. How much will their executives save as their proceeds are taxed at 15% vs. 35% like ordinary companies? All this so Bush can threaten a veto on efforts to expand CHIP to cover more people? The money changers are deep inside the temple while the poor beg for alms outside...

China's Latest Inferior Product is News!

The story on cardboard dinner rolls served by a Chinese street vendor is fake, i.e. not real. Beijing TV initially carried the story which spread like hot grease around the world. Just like numerous other Chinese products it carried an improper ingredient. Rather than poison the roll story had been stuffed with lies. Had the reporter read the White House Lessons Learned Report after Hurricane Katrina? It also omitted real substance. Welcome to the lowest common denominator world. Fortunately the U.S. is already the world's leader in fake news...

DOE Offers Two for One Deal

The Department of Energy will not only grant you a license to purchase raw nuclear material it has employees willing to sell you the secrets to refining it into a weapons grade finished product. A low level contractor had money as the motive for his secret selling. How does this make you feel about the profit motive within our federal government?

The contractor had the incentive to hire the cheapest person qualified for the job to maximize their profits. Then the contract employee took it upon himself to steal highly classified secrets while escorting people around the lab complex and performing various maintenance duties. It's the American entreprenurial spirit at work, or at least a variation of it. I wonder if he needed money to pay for his health insurance?

Bush Voted For It, Before Threatening to Veto It

In the latest act of political theater the Bush administration approved Wisconsin's Childrens Health Insurance Program waiver covering low to middle income parents/families. He then jumped on his high horse and threatened to veto a Congressional bill doing the same. Just last month the Bush team approved an extension of Wisconsin's waiver covering adults. So Mr. Presidential flip flopper, why did you vote for it, before railing to vote against it?

George's rationale for stopping such waiver programs is "Members of Congress have decided, however to expand the program to include, in some cases, up to families earning $80,000 a year--which would cause people to drop their private insurance in order to be involved with a government insurance plan." In Texas CHIP is provided by private insurance companies, thus the President's comment has no factual basis. Patients would simply switch from one private insurer to another. The difference is in who pays the majority of the premium.

President Bush is opposed to raising taxes on cigarettes as a means to cover more people. "If Congress continues to insist upon expanding health care through the SCHIP program--which, by the way, would entail a huge tax increase for the American people--I'll veto the bill."

But there's more to the Bush health care plan than stopping states from reducing the number of uninsured via expanded SCHIP or exhaling cigarette smoke while screaming "fire". By implementing a series of seemingly innocuous regulations President Bush has cut insurance coverage and funds for safety net hospitals caring for the uninsured. Dropping adults from existing state CHIP plans would add 300,000 to the nearly 47 million uninsureds.

The citizenship requirement caused 3,767 new applications for Medicaid in Texas to be rejected over from August to October 2006. Two hundred of those were children under 1 year of age. In Virginia from January to May 2007 some 1,932 people lost Medicaid coverage and 17,167 new applications were denied. Kansas lost 20,000 people on Medicaid or CHIP in just a few months after implementing the citizenship requirement.

Prior news reports on one state program indicated upon appeal, no previous denials had been overturned. When is the last time any government got it right 100% of the time, especially in a new program with lots of kinks or glitches?

And glitches brings me back to the last example of the Bush administration's balancing the budget on the back of the poor, dual eligibles covered under Medicare's Prescription Drug Program. Back in 2006 President Bush said in a speech in Dublin, Ohio. "And you probably read about kind of the dual- eligible problem. I don't know if you've had that problem here in Ohio, Governor. We're dealing with it. Our job is to solve problems when they arise." So what did George do? Not much as the problem lay in the pharmaceutical benefit design.

But he did shaft those same dual eligibles by not informing them of their ability to be reimbursed for past medication expenses. Recall, these are the poor, frail disabled and elderly. Hundreds of million in federal funds intended to help dual eligibles likely ended up in the coffers of insurance companies.

Bush balances his budget on the backs of the poor, the disabled, and children who can't control the circumstances into which they are born. Consider what the White House's latest budget update says about Medicaid in the FY 2007 Budget Mid Session Review on page 19.

"Medicaid outlays are projected to decrease by $7.4 billion in 2006, $6.0 billion in 2007, and $29.7 billion over the period 2007 to 2011. The largest factor in the decrease is a reduction in estimates for medical assistance payments, driven by lower estimates provided by the States this Spring."

But there's more. The President's latest rule change targets organizations providing care to the poor and uninsured, safety net hospitals. With the swipe of a pen, fewer federal dollars will soon go to government owned hospitals providing care to the underserved. The Bush cabal remains determined to push this through despite opposition from Congress and State Medicaid Directors.

There is a war going on led by our Commander in Chief, a war on the poor. So much for his promises after Hurricane Katrina. But then again he promised a thorough investigation into the federal response and that too was poorly performed to benefit his high dollar friends. He left out LifeCare Hospital with the largest number of patient deaths post Katrina. Weeks before landfall it had been purchased by none other than The Carlyle Group, just down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. The Congressional Report committed the same faux pas. Homeland Security's follow up conference did one better, it left out hospital patients entirely! I see a pattern emerging...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bush Gives Further Instructions on Health Care

President Bush expounded on last week's advice for Americans to just go to an ER if they need healthcare. "Well first, you have to be an American, so that excludes some 12 million of you. Second, I only made a referral for those in need who lack a primary care home. This leaves hospitals on the hook for illegal immigrants and for poor people without insurance. So while I acted like I did something, I really did nothing!"

This blogger suggests all Americans take the President up on his advice by going to the ER when you need care and can't find it any other way. Then send him the bill! After all, he told you to go.

Democracies Don't War, but They Do Invade & Assasinate

The lead Democrat on the Iraq Study Group suggested the U.S. should attack al Qaeda in Pakistan to take out their reconstituted leadership. Lee Hamilton, co-chair of the Rich Americans Studying Iraq from Afar Group, offered his thoughts on CNN.

Should the U.S. invade Pakistan, we would join other democracies crossing territorial lines to root out terrorists. Democratic Turkey conducts forays into the Middle East's newest democracy, Iraq on a regular basis. Last summer, Israel steamrolled democratic Lebanon to get 5,000 Hezbollah guerillas.

When President Bush launches his next pat "democracies don't war" verbal missile, you'd best run for cover. It may not be filled with hope. Incoming!

The Public Has No Right to Know

Over a slow news weekend, the White House refused to release information on the death of Pat Tillman.

"The main focus of the committee's investigation is to examine what the White House and the leadership of the Department of Defense knew about Corporal Tillman's death and when they knew it," Committee Chairs Waxman and Davis said in a letter to Fielding. "Unfortunately, the document production from the White House sheds virtually no light on these matters."

No light emanating from the White House? That's eerily familiar...

Bush's Import Safety to Follow His Previous FDA Changes?

President Bush established a working group on Import Safety via executive order. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is to chair the group, made up mostly of Cabinet members and the Chair of the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Its charge is "to identify actions and appropriate steps that can be pursued, within existing resources, to promote the safety of imported products."

Given President Bush's penchant for voluntary regulation and putting industry insiders in charge of "enforcing" those flexible standards, what can the public expect? Taking the Bush team's prior actions with the Food and Drug Administration, the American people are likely to be shafted.

In summer 2006, the federal government implemented a change that pharmaceutical companies cannot be sued for injuries to patients as a result of going through the agency's approval and labelling process. FDA approval preempts patients from making financial recoveries for injuries caused by manufactured drugs. This applies to cases where the company knows of problems but hasn't informed the patient.

Given this track record, what will the Import Safety Working Group do other than stay within "existing resources"? They'll likely clear the field of any product liability responsibility for international companies. That George, if he's one thing, he's consistently on the side of his big moneyed corporate friends.

Fran Reveals Bush's Obstinate Cover Up

White House Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend worked hard not to indict her boss during the release of the declassified National Intelligence Estimate. Unfortunately some of her words serve as a stinging rebuke to George W. Bush.

"If I only cooperated with those who gave me a hundred percent of what I thought I needed or wanted, I wouldn't have a whole lot of allies around the world."

Bingo! Might President Bush consider applying such wisdom domestically as well? He sold himself as "the uniter" but his definition is alot like the one given above. His budget bill veto threat fits with "give me a hundred percent of what I want." His lack of allies helps explain his poor approval ratings. Later Fran incriminated herself when answering a question about finding Osama bin Laden.

It's not exactly easy. If it were easy he'd be dead.

Mrs. Townsend wrote the White House Lessons Learned report after Hurricane Katrina and her tome omitted the hospital with the highest number of patients deaths, LifeCare. Fran, why didn't the feds arrive quicker to evacuate hospital and nursing home patients sweltering in dead facilities?

It's not exactly easy. If it were easy, those people wouldn't be dead.

And by the way Fran, the owners of LifeCare, The Carlyle Group are blaming you in their wrongful death civil suits. How's that for gratitude? You leave them out of the report and their attorneys claim as soon as federal evacuation teams set up in New Orleans, all patients became wards of the federal government! You might want to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and give those senior Carlyle execs a piece of your mind. The press says you curse like a sailor, so sail away!

Ware Says Bush Created Legions of New Enemies for U.S.

CNN's Iraq Correspondent, Michael Ware said that al Qaeda in Iraq is responsible for only 3% of the insurgency. Bush's current boogeyman exists alongside legions of new U.S. enemies, the other 97% of the insurgency. How successful is a program that creates new problems over 30 times as large as the old, while not wiping out the original cause? The Bush war in Iraq grew 97 new enemies for every 3 al Qaeda in Iraq members. This isn't success, not by a long shot...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Why Those on Public Assistance Can't Vote

Besides not breathing the same air as regular citizens, anyone receiving public assistance will be required to walk a treadmill as a means to generate electrical power. Adding the zap of deadbeat generated power to the grid should bring down sky high electricity rates for those actually paying taxes. (Never mind those millionaire private equity execs paying 15% vs. 35% like the rest of Americans). Those in the lowest tax bracket taking advantage of government programs will work long hours, such that polling places will be closed by the time they get off their shift. You ride the dole, you miss the poll!

Bush Rolls Dice in Final Risk Move

David Brooks from the New York Times reported on his 110 minute meeting with our nation's CEO. He came away with the impression that George Bush is on a mission from history/democracy/God. How does one combine those three ideas without a non sequiter?

The other thing Brooks noted was George's commitment to "leadership". Unfortunately David is as ignorant of leadership as his host. The form President Bush follows is closer to Machiavellian than any modern theories/practices involving knowledge, variation, people, systems and interdependence. Bush is a horrific leader when any measure of 21st century leadership is applied.

I came away with a different impression after reading Mr. Brooks hero worship piece. It's obviously an all night RISK game with his Yale buds for Georgie. Only Bush is playing with real people's lives, not colored wooden blocks on a cardboard surface. After the last die rolls, what will David do? Will he follow him to Paraguay when the great Bush migration occurs? And what flavor of the cool aid are the Bushies drinking? Remind me to avoid that one...

Rupert Murdoch Close to Buying Neil Cavuto a Research Department

News Corp. Chief Rupert Murdoch's $5 billion bid for the Wall Street Journal will be considered by the company's board of directors before going to the Bancroft family for final approval. The pieces are coming together given Murdoch's launch of the Fox Business Channel in October. The talking head of the new channel, Neil Cavuto (formerly of CNBC fame) needs all the research he can get to "out friendly" his rivals in the business news service. The channel will be carried on three cable networks Comcast, Time Warner, and Charter Communications.

Yes, a new station is needed to show the benefits of private equity firm's millionaire executives paying 15% vs. 35% on earned income. Fox Business News can celebrate as the spread between CEO and the lowest paid employee continues to widen. A friendly news channel can bury the stories of corporations entertaining the next round of profit improvement strategies, dumping health insurance and pension plans. But most importantly, it needs to cheer government privatization from health care to transportation to public infrastructure.

One private equity firm benefited mightily from government contracting, The Carlyle Group. It too made media moves the last few years and would benefit from a cooperative business news media. The Carlyle Group with its over 100 affiliate companies hired an-ex Time Warner executive to manage their media strategies. How can the various Carlyle subs buy ad time on the Fox Business Channel in return for kid glove treatment? And what can Carlyle's Neilson Media Group do to inflate ratings for Rupert's new network to drive those ad rates higher?

Anyone who believes Fox Business News will be anything but a shill for corporate interests has another thing coming. The news has become unnewsworthy. So throw open your window and yell, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." Then turn off your sets...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Coming to the Oval Office Soon?

"My fellow Americans, in order to protect our troops and the mission authorized by our Congress in 2002, it has became necessary to remove the ineffective and sectarian government in Iraq which was undermining our efforts to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. We offer our support to Iyad Alawi who has graciously agreed to step in on a temporary basis to bring stability to Iraq. Mr. Alawi is a secular Shia, thus not affiliated with Iran's despotic leaders and not Sunni like terrorist al Qaeda. I trust him to restore peace and security to his country. After order is restored, the Iraqi people can continue building a democracy in a responsible way. Good night and God Bless America." George W.

P.S. Thanks to my friend George W. who contributed most of this message (not GWB)!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Humanless Reaper to Join His Inhumane Grim Companion

With the loss of over 650,000 lives and over 2,000,000 living as refugees since the American invasion of Iraq, the Grim Reaper's had a field day. The harvester of death will soon be joined by his Terminator like twin, a remotely operated death plane. The U.S. Air Force expects to operate The Reaper in both Afghanistan and Iraq in the near future. AP news reported:

The MQ-9 Reaper, when compared with the 1995-vintage Predator, represents a major evolution of the unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV. At five tons gross weight, the Reaper is four times heavier than the Predator. Its size - 36 feet long, with a 66-foot wingspan - is comparable to the profile of the Air Force's workhorse A-10 attack plane. It can fly twice as fast and twice as high as the Predator. Most significantly, it carries many more weapons. While the Predator is armed with two Hellfire missiles, the Reaper can carry 14 of the air-to-ground weapons - or four Hellfires and two 500-pound bombs.

How does turning killing people into a long distance video game impact the practice of war? My guess is it makes it all the more impersonal, and isn't that the crux of the problem? Too many people can't seem to find the slightest shred of humanity in the other. The Reaper should make the problem worse...

Nurse What's That Smell? It's Your PEU Robot Doctor

Coming soon to a hospital near you, the robot doctor! This is courtesy of President Bush's health care plans which don't address the looming 200,000 doctor shortage, expected nationwide in 2020. While the President can provide $6 billion in incentives for energy companies to grow supply, he ignores this important aspect while saying doctors are in "short supply".

Who stands to benefit from the robot doctor's proliferation? The maker is InTouch Technologies a subsidiary of private equity underwriter, Galen Partners. A quick review of Galen's past holdings indicate sales of assets to large health insurance and medical device makers.

The private equity firms buys smaller health care companies, holds them and sells them later at a profit. Blackstone purchased one firm, might The Carlyle Group be next as they started their health care division over a year ago? Given Carlyle's ownership of huge PPO MultiPlan, they may be interested in Galen's disease management company, QMED. Let's make a deal!

The doctor pushing the robot in the AP article has a financial conflict of interest, so common in the hallowed halls of goverment and corporate boardrooms these days. The doctor owns stock options for InTouch Technologies. Recall how this pure incentive reward distorted CEO behavior on a widespread basis as nearly one third of publicly traded companies cheated by backdating their stock options. Could this cause the robot doctor to fudge the data on his patient studies? If he's as smart as a CEO or teacher, it certainly could.

This one product provides insight into the Bush health care free market. I can see why the President isn't interested in growing doctor supply, he'd rather stetch it with robots. Funny a doctor stretching device sounds like a new torture machine. Build it and export it to the U.K. as they have a few terror docs to interview!

Those Despairing, Depressed Enemies

While everyone in the Bush administration yells "fear al Qaida" simultaneously, the public wonders why the same group dropped the ball on this group since 9-11? Presidential advisor Stephen Hadley said of the terror threat using his best Austin Powers voice:

"It's a source of concern. And we're responding to it. It's a good reminder that the struggle against terrorism is going to be with us for a long time. We need to also, at the same time, engage in the battle of ideas, the president talking about the vision of democracy versus a vision of despair."

That's funny Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson just called the Democratic Party the "party of despair". Does that make them terrorists? Meanwhile, the glass half full President believes a terror group with tens of thousands of members can defeat 11 countries with 1.8 billion people. So who's dressed in 'dis pear now?

Bush Sports Analogies

President Bush likes to use sports analogies in reference to political issues. He's called his remaining time in office "a sprint to the finish". His said his administration's response to global warming is "a marathon", but it's more like watching a 26.2 mile run from a lawnchair. To help the President with key issues his last year and half in office I offer the following sport's analogies:

Iraq is like Pamplona's Running with the Bulls. The bulls (Iraqi's) hate the people blocking their way to freedom and democracy and gore them.

The Bush health care plan to address the legions of uninsured in America is patterned after Dean Smith's Four Corners Offense in basketball. The UNC genius crafted the stall to keep the number of points scored by the opposition at a minimum. Similarly Bush's policies prevent the huge number of uninsured from making any progress other than getting the opportunity to run up expensive ER bills. And that ain't tar on them heels, those who believe health savings accounts will solve our nation's ills just stepped in some Bush manure.

Presidential appointees looking for a private sector opportunity are often run through The Combine. The positions vary from defense department safeties to homeland security closers to health care trainers. Each is measured for their speed dialing capabilities and access to Bush team insiders with sole source, no bid purchasing power. The end result is a deep draft with those going in the first round pocketing 6 and 7 figure contracts.

Congress is the Tour de France. Political party is equivalent to the cyclist's home country, but their true allegiance is to their team and its sponsors. Each member of Congress rides hard for their committee sponsors. Just as Phonak team riders pull together to help their lead rider, members of the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees align to push ahead health care legislation favorable to their sponsors.

I hope these help President Bush during his year and a half "sprint" to the finish. I hope next time a hurricane strikes the continental U.S. President Bush can get out of the blocks. And for his follow up investigation report, did the athlete pay someone else to write it for him? He didn't get his money's worth as they left out alot of important information...

Bush's 50 Year War

Despite the Marines recent training on "battlefield ethics" in Iraq, problems remain. One involves some 80% of the Iraqi people wanting U.S. soldiers to leave their country. Another came to light during a military trial. A soldier said they were "ordered to crank up the violence" while another stated Marines consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency.

Wouldn't you hate to be part of the 20% that want American soldiers to remain in country, especially an Iraqi male? The conditions on the ground ensure continued mayhem. How long will it take for the U.S. military to rid Iraq of all its insurgents, in this case some 13 million males? Bush may just get one of his wishes, a long war.

However, his administration's desire to pass this ship of fools off to the next president may come back to bite the Bush family. In thirty years, George Prescott Bush could be managing the withdrawal from both Iraq and the East Coast (from sea level rise). His uncle George W. could be selling bottled water from Paraguay or be in jail for war crimes. I know which is more likely. Agua por favor...

Setting the Record Straight

President Bush and Vice President Cheney took time out from their important meeting to dictate a message to the blogger known as State of the Division. The transcript of their statement is below:

President Bush: The White House passionately disagrees with everything SOD wrote in his time blogging. The Bush administration did not abandon hospital and nursing home patients post Hurricane Katrina, we were test marketing a new form of Survivor with CBS. That's why we didn't need to include The Carlyle Group's LifeCare Hospital patient deaths in our "Lessons Learned" report. Valuable space was needed to cover plot lines and camera angles. Do you recall Michael Brown's outfit planning? The report asked Paris Hilton what's hotter, acute care patients sweltering in steamy, fetid dead hospitals or Michael Brown showing a little chest hair? The White House understands America's priorities, unlike Mr. Sodden. However, to show our ability to rise above, we wish Lantern well in his time "vacationing in the Tropics". Calm down Dick.

Vice President Dick Cheney: Orange jump suit, there Lantern! Soon it too will be sodden, urine, sweat or blood? Your choice.

P.S. Of course neither man said such things, however, they may have thought them after finding two collections of Mr. Sodden's political commentary in the Library of Congress. The question is whether SMU will stock the books at the Bush Library?

New Way Backwards

President Bush asked Vice President Cheney to "wake up" as Condi Rice got ready to talk. "And Dick, I'm interested in your reactions to the falling number of Iraqi battalions able to act on their own. C'mon Dick, we're on closed circuit television. No, you can't stamp it with your double secret made up classification."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Israel Gets "Go Ahead" to Bomb Iran's Nuclear Facilities

In a Men in Black like scene, the Israeli version of Dick Cheney announced U.S. and European leaders back Israel's taking out Iranian nuclear facilities. The Jewish State's Minister of Strategic Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman noted:

"If we start military operations against Iran alone, then Europe and the U.S. will support us,” Mr. Lieberman said following a meeting with NATO and European Union officials.

The cameramen couldn't share their pictures from the meeting with the mainstream media as parties wore their genitalia on the outside. However, bloggers can publish such pictures. Inside the meeting attendees' mental instability was clearly on display. "Cojones? I'll show you who has the bigger pair." Gentlemen, please resheath your weapons and stash away the family jewels.

Other alien chess moves include Iran's decision to play ball with the IAEA and Congress' spate of bills on Iran, one of which documents Iran's acts of war against the United States. Stay tuned as an out of this world check mate approaches.

Dwarfs Strategize

Four of the seven dwarfs decide how to off Snow White to get her significant financial wealth. Dummy, Grumpy, Sporty and Fleecie work to bury love and hope once and for all while enriching the Seven Dwarfs beyond measure.

Friday, July 13, 2007

What the Media Isn't Telling

Congress has been busy passing bills and statements on Iran, much to the public's ignorance. One calls for a report to be generated showing Iran's involvement in attacks on coalition troops in Iraq, an act of war. The text is below:

(a) Findings.--Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Since January 19, 1984, the Secretary of State has designated the Islamic Republic of Iran as a ``state sponsor of terrorism,'' one of only five countries in the world at present so designated.
(2) The Department of State, in its most recent ``Country Reports on Terrorism,'' stated that ``Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism'' in 2006.
(3) The most recent Country Reports on Terrorism report further stated, ``Iran continued [in 2006] to play a destabilizing role in Iraq. . . Iran provided guidance and training to select Iraqi Shia political groups, and weapons and training to Shia militant groups to enable anti-Coalition attacks. Iranian government forces have been responsible for at least some of the increasing lethality of anti-Coalition attacks by providing Shia militants with the capability to build IEDs with explosively formed projectiles similar to those developed by Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard was linked to armor-piercing explosives that resulted in the deaths of Coalition Forces.''
(4) In an interview published on June 7, 2006, Zalmay Khalilzad, then-United States ambassador to Iraq, said of Iranian support for extremist activity in Iraq, ``We can say with certainty that they support groups that are attacking coalition troops. These groups are using the same ammunition to destroy armored vehicles that the Iranians are supplying to Hezbollah in Lebanon. They pay money to Shiite militias and they train some of the groups. We can't say whether Teheran is supporting Al Qaeda, but we do know that Al Qaeda people come here from Pakistan through Iran. And Ansar al Sunna, a partner organization of Zarqawi's network, has a base in northwest Iran.''
(5) On April 26, 2007, General David Petraeus, commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq, said of Iranian support for extremist activity in Iraq, ``The level of financing, the level of training on Iranian soil, the level of equipping some sophisticated technologies. . . even advice in some cases, has been very, very substantial and very harmful.''
(6) On April 26, 2007, General Petraeus also said of Iranian support for extremist activity in Iraq, ``We know that it goes as high as [Brig. Gen. Qassem] Suleimani, who is the head of the Qods Force. . .. We believe that he works directly for the supreme leader of the country.''
(7) On May 27, 2007, then-Major General William Caldwell, spokesperson for Multi-National Force-Iraq, said, ``What we do know is that the Iranian intelligence services, the Qods Force, is in fact both training, equipping, and funding Shia extremist groups. . . both in Iraq and also in Iran. . .. We have in detention now people that we have captured that, in fact, are Sunni extremist-related that have, in fact, received both some funding and training from the Iranian intelligence services, the Qods Force.''
(8) On February 27, 2007, in testimony before the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate, Lieutenant General Michael Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said of Iranian support for extremist activity in Iraq, ``We believe Hezbollah is involved in the training as well.''
(9) On July 2, 2007, Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, spokesperson for Multi-National Force-Iraq, stated, ``The Iranian Qods Force is using Lebanese Hezbollah essentially as a proxy, as a surrogate in Iraq.''
(10) On July 2, 2007, Brigadier General Bergner detailed the capture in southern Iraq by coalition forces of Ali Musa Daqdaq, whom the United States military believes to be a 24-year veteran of Lebanese Hezbollah involved in the training of Iraqi extremists in Iraq and Iran.
(11) The Department of State designates Hezbollah a foreign terrorist organization.
(12) On July 2, 2007, Brigadier General Bergner stated that the Iranian Qods Force operates three camps near Teheran where it trains Iraqi extremists in cooperation with Lebanese Hezbollah, stating, ``The Qods Force, along with Hezbollah instructors, train approximately 20 to 60 Iraqis at a time, sending them back to Iraq organized into these special groups. They are being taught how to use EPFs [explosively formed penetrators], mortars, rockets, as well as intelligence, sniper, and kidnapping operations.''
(13) On July 2, 2007, Brigadier General Bergner stated that Iraqi extremists receive between $750,000 and $3,000,000 every month from Iranian sources.
(14) On July 2, 2007, Brigadier General Bergner stated that ``[o]ur intelligence reveals that senior leadership in Iran is aware of this activity'' and that it would be ``hard to imagine'' that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, is unaware of it.
(15) On July 2, 2007, Brigadier General Bergner stated, ``There does not seem to be any follow-through on the commitments that Iran has made to work with Iraq in addressing the destabilizing security issues here in Iraq.''
(16) On February 11, 2007, the United States military held a briefing in Baghdad at which its representatives stated that at least 170 members of the United States Armed Forces have been killed, and at least 620 wounded, by weapons tied to Iran.
(17) On January 20, 2007, a sophisticated attack was launched by insurgents at the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Iraq, resulting in the murder of five American soldiers, four of whom were first abducted.
(18) On April 26, 2007, General Petraeus stated that the so-called Qazali network was responsible for the attack on the Karbala [Page: S9036] GPO's PDFProvincial Joint Coordination Center and that ``there's no question that the Qazali network is directly connected to the Iranian Qods force [and has] received money, training, arms, ammunition, and at some points in time even advice and assistance and direction''.
(19) On July 2, 2007, Brigadier General Bergner stated that the United States Armed Forces possesses documentary evidence that the Qods Force had developed detailed information on the United States position at the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center ``regarding our soldiers' activities, shift changes, and defenses, and this information was shared with the attackers''.
(20) On July 2, 2007, Brigadier General Bergner stated of the January 20 Karbala attackers, ``[They] could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Qods Force.''
(b) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that--
(1) the murder of members of the United States Armed Forces by a foreign government or its agents is an intolerable and unacceptable act of hostility against the United States by the foreign government in question; and
(2) the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran must take immediate action to end all training, arming, equipping, funding, advising, and any other forms of support that it or its agents are providing, and have provided, to Iraqi militias and insurgents, who are contributing to the destabilization of Iraq and are responsible for the murder of members of the United States Armed Forces.
(c) Report.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 60 days thereafter, the Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq and the United States Ambassador to Iraq shall jointly submit to Congress a report describing and assessing in detail--
(A) the external support or direction provided to anti-coalition forces by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran or its agents;
(B) the strategy and ambitions in Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran; and
(C) any counter-strategy or efforts by the United States Government to counter the activities of agents of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Iraq.
(2) FORM.--Each report required under paragraph (1) shall be in unclassified form, but may contain a classified annex.

What the World Needs Now, is War, Sweet War

The United States Senate voted 97-0 on a statement saying Iran has committed acts of war against the U.S.A. Who were the three not voting? One is the "serious sinning" Senator from Lousiana. He's been A.W.O.L from the Capital since the revelation of his using prostitutes over a number of years. I hear President Bush is warming up the Presidential pardoning pen for another round of "get out of jail free" cards for law breaking Republicans.

Now that the Senate has given the War President carte blanche to attack Iran, what will the crazed chief executive do? Why what he's always done, why should we expect anything different? As for results, it's a dangerous world, made ever more so by George's self fulfilling prophecies. That his friends in the defense and oil industries are profiting wildly is just an odd occurence, maybe divine intervention. Thus we have "prophets for profit"...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Best Bush Team Defense is Ignorance

The best Bush administration defense is "I haven't read that report". From Alberto Gonzales to Dick Cheney to Donald Rumsfeld to Condi Rice to George Bush, all have claimed ignorance of materials sitting on their desks. The latest is the report from the National Counterterrorism Center citing a reconstituted al Qaida threat. President Bush turned it into "media speculation" as he doesn't read reports. Sometimes he has them read to him. I've heard his favorite is "See Dick run after shooting his friend in the face..."

SOD Earns Presidential Gold Star

Just last night I predicted the President would respond to a re-invigorated al Qaida with "how much worse it would've been had we not undertaken the War on Terror." The news confirmed my prediction with:

The president also said that, while al-Qaida remains a threat to the United States, it has been hurt by his war on terrorism and is "weaker today than they would have been" otherwise.

So line up Mr. President to receive your incentive compensation. Your bonus for growing the terror threat is more loss of innocent lives worldwide...

Downside to iPope is Lightning Strikes

Scientists say one downside to the high tech connection to the Vatican is lightning strikes. Users of the iPope have found the device a potent conductor of God's retribution. They've experienced chest burns, even ruptured ear drums when lightning strikes nearby. In a strange set of coincidences virtually all iPope users were deep in the iConfess function when the external shock occurred.

Apparently the Pope is using the GPS location capability within the iPope to target the sinner. A special deal with the U.S. military gives him access to America's latest space weapon, code named the God Bolt. Pope Benedict is said to enjoy shocking grievous sinners so much, he spends hours at the controls. The question is whether any are converted?

More Bush Bull

If only President Bush caught Pinnochio Syndrome and his nose grew everytime he lied to the public. His latest gross misrepresentation came during a press conference when he addressed a question on the CIA agent name leak.

"I'm aware of the fact that perhaps somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person. I've often thought about what would have happened if that person had come forth and said, 'I did it.' Would we have had this endless hours of investigation and a lot of money being spent on this matter? But, so, it's been a tough issue for a lot of people in the White House. It's run its course and now we're going to move on."

And I've often thought 'what if we had a leader capable of conducting a basic investigation?' Leaders don't blow those off because of the possiblity of later legal action. A timely, thorough investigation often provides information to know if anything untoward happened or not. This gives leaders the opportunity to approach authorities so that there's no appearance of a cover up.

Bush failed on all aspects of quality leadership. That he stands in front of the American people and gives a fake lament is even more frustrating for people like me yearning for leaders vs. cardboard cutouts. And in a nod to his cardboard Press Secretary Bush called his Libby pardon "fair and balanced".

Iraqi's Score 44 on Test

The Iraqi government made "satisfactory progress" on only 8 of 18 critical progress measures. Had this been an actual test, passing 8 of 18 questions would score a 44.4. Yes, four years in the same grade is Bush level performance...

Bush Puts Brakes on Legal Immigration Process

After the British doctor attempted terror attacks, I worried about the shut down of foreign medical professionals as many are key in serving Americans who might otherwise fall through the health care safety net. Community health centers frequently employ foreign physicians and currently have a high vacancy rate. With the large number of unfilled primary care doctor slots, any immigration shutdown will have a rollover impact on care delivery.

From letters on it appears that shutdown has begun. One letter stated "... on July 2nd, the DOS declared that no visas were available until Oct 1st 2007, forcing USCIS to reject all the applications received..." The person ended their letter with:

"I strongly urge you to support highly skilled people seeking legal employment-based immigration, like me, who are actively contributing and improving the greater American Society."

If any doctor slots go unfilled, one can always fall back on the President's recent reassurance. "I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room." I hope President Bush knows who works those ER's. That would be doctors....

Can American Fast Food Restaurants Learn from Chinese?

Chinese entrepreneurs learned from American CEO's the value of substituting lower cost components into making products. Many U.S. companies hired low wage Chinese workers as their American counterparts were too expensive. We've already seen the impact of CEO greed in the thousands of publicly traded companies that backdated stock options to optimize executive pay and cheat shareholders. Chinese manufacturers substituted dangerous lower cost ingredients in pet food, toothpaste and car tires.

The AP revealed a small Chinese bun producer cheated their customers similarly. The vendor made his delictable treat with 6 parts cardboard to 4 parts meat. Should McDonald's, Burger King or Wendy's return the copying trend, they could begin adding cardboard to their buns. Who'd be the wiser?

As for the Chinese, one of their latest steps to improve quality was to execute a high government official. You'd think they would hire quality experts instead. It's obvious a culture change is badly needed in both China and American boardrooms. Both have a funny texture and bad aftertaste...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Live by the Sword...

President Bush and his cronies have disdain for "process" and laud outcomes backed up by accountability. The latest AP report on al Qaida indicates the Bush led War on Terror not doing well on either front.

The government has concluded that al-Qaida has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since the summer of 2001, The Associated Press has learned. A new threat assessment suggests the group that launched the most devastating terrorist attack on the United States has been able to rebuild despite nearly six years of bombings, war and other tactics aimed at crippling it.

There you go, those who live by the sword, die by the sword. So step up for your accountability for another bad outcome, Mr. President.... Oh, if you hadn't done all that, it would've been worse? My that sounds like a CEO defending his incentive compensation after another disappointing year. Victory is redefined yet again.

al Qaida Declares Yet Another Holy War

The fundamentalist Islamic terror group al Qaida declared holy war on its second country in a month's time. June saw the group declare jihad against India while July it came out as the sworn enemy of Pakistan. According to the CIA Factbook the countries at war with al Qaida have the following population characteristics.

U.S. has 301 million people, 1% of which are Muslims
Britain has 61 million people, 3% Muslim
Israel has 6.5 million people, 76% Jewish and 16% Muslim
India's population is 1.1 billion people, 130 million are Muslim.
Pakistan has 164 million people, mostly Sunni
Iraq is populated by 27 million most Shia Muslims
Afghanistan has 32 million people, 99% Muslim with 80% Sunni
Somalia has 9 million people Sunni Muslim

Without achieving the territory of an empire builder, al Qaida risks falling for the same reasons as past notable empires, the inability to war on multiple fronts simultaneously. The group has also denounced Egypt (80 million mostly Sunni), Jordan (6 million mostly Sunni Muslims) and Saudi Arabia (28 million all Sunni). Add them to the list and al Qaida is fighting 11 countries with 1.8 billion people.

And President Bush wants the average American to take this as a credible national threat? Sorry, the group is a significant threat for isolated and very deadly operations in countries with a non Muslim majority population. In Muslim countries with poor economies, like Iraq, they may be a greater danger. But who opened the door wide for them? Can we quit doing that?

Bush Learned Lessons from Katrina

Hurricane Katrina resurfaced in the Q & A session in Cleveland yesterday. President Bush took the question head on.

We learned a lot of lessons from Katrina. Lesson one is, is that we've got to make sure local governments are better prepared to respond. Lesson two is that there's seamless decision-making between the state and local government. And lesson three is, is that if need be, the federal government needs to move troops in there, regardless of what the local people want.

Did the President accomplish what he hoped? Delegate blame to overwhelmed local government. Check. Then delegate blame to overwhelmed local and state governments. Did that. Then assert the right the President already had, but chose not to exercise. Check.

And be sure not to mention what the White House didn't learn, which is who actually coordinated hospital patient evacuations from New Orleans and the hospital with the highest patient death toll. Neither group got one mention in the President's Lessons Learned report.

If the public paid attention to the President's tome it learned the Bush team is willing to bury information to protect its high dollar political insiders. The Carlyle Group sends a big thank you bouquet! And don't worry that their legal defense blames the federal government, the gift that keeps on giving to Carlyle & Company...

Bush Tells Uninsured "Just Go to Emergency Room"

In the President's speech in Cleveland he touched on health care. My hospital administrator friends likely would be surprised by what he said.

I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room. The question is, will we be wise about how we pay for health care.

Yes, Mr. President how will we pay for all those expensive ER referrals you just made? In San Angelo the average ER charge was $775 per visit in 2004. The uninsured accounted for over $11 million in charges between the two area hospitals, with over 80% borne by our nonprofit community hospital. Contrast that with an average charge of $76 at our community health center.

Your suggestion of "just going to an Emergency Room" works against your very next sentence as it isn't a wise use of resources. In discounting the existence of a major social problem you provide just the wrong solution. Adding to the error of your ways is your tax code reform which would give tax cuts to 5 million people making over $50,000 a year but only reduce the number of uninsured by 2-4 million.

And health savings accounts, while growing in numbers, provide help for only 1.5% of the population. When have producers flipped pricing behavior for such a small segment of the market? And doctors have a track record of changing practice patterns based on coverage. The current volume needs to grow by some 30 times to have a significant impact.

Your solutions won't make health care any better for the legions of uninsureds in America. But heck, there's no problem. People just need to go to an emergency room!

Bush Team Says Nixon Innocent

In the case of FBI domestic spying the Bush Administration said the government doesn't break laws when it commits "glitches" or "makes mistakes". These errors are not actual violations of the law, much as your foot falling asleep increases pressure on your gas pedal causing the car to accelerate beyond the legal speed limit. Of course explaining this "glitch" to the judge will get that reckless driving ticket thrown out.

Even more comical, internal documents reveal such violations were reported to Justice Chief Alberto Gonzales' office prior to his testimony before Congress on the domestic wiretapping program. His defense for telling the people's legislature that no violations had occurred? Alberto hadn't read the report! You can only share what you know and with Alberto, that ain't much. Hazy memories, unread reports, what's next? Did he get his law degree from a mail order program in the Carribean?

So what's the public to think about these two recent plops in our nation's political toilet bowl? First, it appears the government is incapable of breaking the law. Using this logic Nixon's break-in and cover up are just part of fun Washington hi jinks gone awry. Nixon's mendacity involved illegal domestic spying. For that mistake a number of people actually went to jail, as opposed to similarly untruthful Scooter Libby.

Second, government leaders don't have to do anything, read reports, make decisions, keep files, take notes, use calendars, record summaries of phone conversations, keep e-mails, etc. They get a free pass on the things leaders in other organizations do every day so when it comes time to justify the basis for their actions they can say "I don't have a recollection of that." Now, that should be illegal!

As an odd footnote, a recent audiotape was discovered for the interaction between Nixon and the Chinese girl pictured above. Tricky Dick said "In thirty years, you'll own a factory selliing goods to the U.S. If they treat me bad as President, make sure Americans pay for shunning me." The little girl replied "With their money or their life?" "Both" shot back Tricky. It appears his wishes were granted...

Bush Advisor to Deliver Pallets of Freedhem to Key Republicans in Congress

Bush advisor Stephen Hadley will meet with up to 20 Republican leaders to personally stress the importance of the President's Iraqi Freedhem initiative. President Bush had a special shipment flown in for Stephen to apply to the inflammed Legislators. "If this doesn't give them some relief, call the boys at Freedhem Inc. and tell them we want our money back. We already know it doesn't work on Iraqis. After four years of applications, one would expect better results." Exactly!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Faith Doctoring Equals Religious Doctrine

The U.S. Surgeon General had his public health hands tied for four years under President George Bush and his political appointees. Basic science on keeping people healthy took a back seat to political and theological positions according to Dr. Richard Carmona who served four years in this position. Does that sound a familiar refrain? Incidentally Dr. Carmona is seen in the picture behind the President. An evil nurse sent by Sec. Tommy Thompson is threatening him with torture should he speak honestly with the public about stem cells.

iPope NoNo to Show Final Rewards & Punishments

The Vatican expects to come out with a smaller version of the iPope the end of this year. It will be based on the smaller NoNo technology for which Apple is famous. (How else do you think Adam got thrown out of the garden? God caught him playing with his Apple?)

The NoNo technology involves the wheel which controls the iPope's functions. After entering in the religion or denomination the wheel indicates the final resting place for that person's soul. It's like a high tech Ouiji board, except witchcraft gets you a straight ticket to Hades, which in a few decades will be the planet Earth. So buy fast to find out your final destination according to Pope Benedict XVI! Purgatory, Hell, Limbo, Heaven, Guantanamo Bay, Nirvana, there are so many choices...

Man Claims to be Bush to Avoid Jury Duty

A man claimed to be a rascist, homophobic liar to avoid jury duty. When asked why he made such outrageous statements, the man said "If President Bush can support a Jewish State while turning a blind eye to its rascist policies, be the titular head of a party that derides homosexuality and can lie at the drop of a hat, well, then so can I. As a matter of fact, I am President Bush! See all the people behind me? I hate them all! Especially the Asian girl that gave me that letter objecting to my torturing." Then the man was taken to an institution, where he belongs...

Sprint Sheds Customers

Sprint cut 1,000 wireless customers because they called customer service too often. My wife and I have two phones from Sprint and deciphering the bill every month is a challenge. Numerous times it appears we have been charged for calls that are "included" in our plan. Just the other day she called customer service and was on hold for SprintSpeed, some 15-20 minutes. Please let them cancel us as their hefty termination fees will be waived.

Rather than improve the quality of their service, Spring aims to improve the quality of their customer base. As Dr. Deming would say "off to the Milky War!" which roughly translates to leaders making bizarre incremental decisions because the distance between two points is small. It's only a thousand customers concerned about service. Who cares?

For more evidence of off to the Milky Way, look at Texas electrical providers under deregulation. The bills have gone up, one must enter a long term arrangement like the cell phone companies to get even the slightest break in price, and huge early termination fees abound. China makes crap and the U.S. sells crummy service. I know who's rolling over in his grave.

Pope Shows Apostolic Succession

Pope Benedict XVI reiterated other churches are not true churches. "Christ 'established here on earth' only one church," the document said. The other communities "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" because they do not have apostolic succession - the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ's original apostles.

I hate to tell the Pope but Christ was a Jew, practicing a reformed method of Judaism. It was the Pope's Roman Catholic ancestors who claimed Christ established the Christian church. However the Pope was kind enough to explain the measure of apostolic succession. "It's in the shoes man. While the Devil wears Prada, the Pope has his Ruby Red Slippers. Yes, Dorothy was of the one true faith!" The Pope failed to mention Prada made his shoes. Does that make him the devil in terms of podiatric succession?

What Won't Improve Quality of Chinese Products

The Chinese government executed the former director of their Food and Drug Administration.  Zheng Xiaoyu accepted $850,000 in bribes from eight firms. Zheng optimized his personal income at the expense of the public and drug company customers.

The U.S. variation on this theme saw one third of publicly traded companies cheating on stock option grants at the expense of shareholders. Many corporate executives stole much more than $850,000. Yet only a handful face prosecution, much less jail time. Most issue a statement not admitting guilt, while returning ill begotten gains.

In China and America, leaders chose to optimize their pay at the expense of others. Noted management guru W. Edwards Deming said "Sub-optimization is when everyone is for himself. Optimization is when everyone is working to help the company."

Zheng's returning the bribes and confession were not enough to justify mercy. China executed him as a warning.  It came amidst a series of health scandals rocking the China brand. Canadian news called it "the strongest signal yet" that officials are serious about tackling product safety issues.

"Zheng Xiaoyu's grave irresponsibility in pharmaceutical safety inspection and failure to conscientiously carry out his duties seriously damaged the interests of the state and people. The social impact has been utterly malign."

Yan Jiangying, spokeswoman for the State Food and Drug Administration, said the case had brought only shame to the watchdog. "This kind of serious case of law breaking by a small minority of corrupt elements, as far as the entire system is concerned, really made us feel ashamed."
Small minority or systemic practice? China has a long history of huilu (payola), as do American branded multinationals.  Corporate giant Halliburton's Facilitating Payments Policy states:

It may be difficult to distinguish a legal facilitating payment from an illegal bribe, kickback or payoff.

China's action shows how ignorant they are about tackling their dangerous quality problems.  Given the execution, how many will step forward to report corruption? Dr. Deming spoke of the need to drive out fear as it distorts communication, processes and figures.

While people need to be held responsible for their illegal deeds, actions that impose fear could make China's quality problems worse. Dr. Deming asked "Are you in favor of quality?" If so, American and Chinese leaders have much to learn. That includes business and government leaders.  The Bush team has a long track record of "glitches", bumbling and instilling fear.

News reports indicated up to half of water in coolers in Beijing might be below standards. The official reponsible called it an "isolated incident". Might he be in fear for his life?