What a crazy world!

Want to see something crazy?

Go to google, yahoo, whatever your search engine of choice is, and type in “Barack Obama Antichrist” and watch the fun.  

 What is this world coming to?


Walk it Then Talk it…

Little Miss Know it All wants to take a pop quiz, a flash poll…

 Raise your hand if you are tired of politicians spouting rhetoric, then turning their back and not doing what they said was so important?

I thought so.  I am irked, and pleased.  I am irked at all the politicians, especially the GOP, who have banged the drums of supporting the troops for so long, and who so obviously think its not that important.

 Because lets face it, if supporting the troops were so important, we wouldn’t have homeless vets, bankrupt soldiers, injured soldiers paying for their food while in the hospital or the shock of them all, rats, mold and roaches at Walter Reed hospital. 

Now, you talking heads can object all you want that it was outpatient housing.  I don’t give a rat’s rear end (pardon the pun) about that–they were wounded soldiers, no matter where they are, and they don’t deserve that!

The GOP has beat this drum for a long time, and I have spent much of my adult life trying to convince those in the military and around it that they’ve been fed a load of bull.   While the Democrats quietly spent much of the 90’s trying to re-fund Veteran health care and improve pay and benefits, the GOP spent most of the 90’s arguing that what they needed instead was more “toys” (read weapons and planes even the Pentagon didn’t want) to play with.  I was there, watching the Senate debate, and was absolutely astounded to hear Republicans argue that we needed more of these billion dollar planes, while at the same time arguing that we couldn’t afford the $400 million to properly fund veteran health care.   All the while over at the Pentagon the Secretary of Defense was saying he didn’t want the planes, and instead asked for the health care and pay raises.  So I’m pleased that some of the GOP false flag cover is falling off.

But I digress.  To make matters worse, when the polical fallout from Walter Reed became too much, they fired the General in charge.  Good, right?  Wrong.  They replaced him with his predecessor of only six month previous!  The current General had barely had time to get his head oriented, found himself canned, and replaced with the guy who oversaw the decline in the first place! 

I’m so tired of this.  When are we going to wake up and hold politicians accountable for their actions, not just swallow whatever line they give us, hook line and sinker?  I mean, what they’ve done is a photo op shuffle–enough to make it appear as if real changes are taking place, but not enough to actually change it.

I’m so outraged I’m adding this to my “Shame on You!” list.  Join me, won’t you?

Maybe tomorrow I’ll rant on the Army and their new policy of shirking Disability for diabled Iraq veterans.  Sheesh.


Enough Sharing Already!

Little Miss Know it All has been shockingly quiet lately.  And I apologize, but its not from lack of something to say.

In truth, there’s been way too much sharing going on around the Know it All household.  And as much as I try to teach my kids to share, this is NOT what I had in mind.

In the past two weeks, we have had the flu, strep throat, and most recently a nasty stomach virus being shared between parents and kids.  Not fun.

 Stay tuned, as all the bedrest has given Little Miss Know it All time to watch the talking heads chatter away, and I’ve got lots to say about the two White Houses we seem to have, Hillary’s sinking ship and Obama’s rising star, as well as the inane reporting on Anna Nichole Smith and Britney.  Lets just say I’ve had my fill of their nonsense and the tabloid reporting that makes them news.

 And to Marcus Fiesel, the dear boy who’s life ended tragically early, I was very pleased this week to see justice begin to be done.  When they find a way to trap and punish the equally guilty Amy Baker, then justice will be complete.  But until then, it was heartening to see two receive their sentence this week.


Why didn’t we learn from them?

The article below begs the question….if we had the Brits on our side, they were doing so well, and have decades of experience fighting a terrorist war with the IRA, why didn’t we adopt their methods and tactics?

 From the London Times–

From

February 21, 2007

British troops to start Iraq pullout by April

British troops will start coming home from Iraq within weeks, Tony Blair will announce today almost four years after the start of the war that removed Saddam Hussein from power.

The Prime Minister will say that up to 1,500 of Britain’s 7,000 contingent around Basra could be out by the summer, with the first coming home by April, and 3,000 by the end of the year if the process of handing over control to the Iraqi security forces continues to go well, The Times has learnt.

Mr Blair will say that Operation Sinbad, the security and reconstruction plan conducted in Basra over the past six months, has been a success. Since it ended this month Mr Blair and forces’ chiefs have assessed the ability of Iraqi troops to do the job.

Mr Blair will give the go-ahead for withdrawal despite President Bush’s decision to send more than 21,000 reinforcements to Baghdad. The decision will be seen by some as a signal that the Government is prepared to demonstrate its independence from the US.

Details of the announcement were scant last night. Mr Blair was criticised for not taking part in the recent Commons debate on Iraq but promised to make a statement about the future of British forces as soon as Operation Sinbad had been assessed.

There are 7,200 British troops serving in Basra. They are in Shaibha, south Basra, and in Maysan province. More than 130 British Service personnnel have died in Iraq.

The Times has learnt that Mr Blair will emphasise that his hopes of withdrawal will be conditional on signs that the Iraqi forces are able to fulfil their mission. The next rotation of troops in Basra — with 1 Mechanised Brigade taking over from 19 Light Brigade in the early summer — had been due to go ahead without any reduction in numbers.

There has been a growing view that the continued presence of British troops may have contributed to the violence in the city. Soldiers in Basra have predicted that the attacks will fall off when the British leave.

One factor in the move has been the assessment that the international force in Iraq will not recreate a perfect Western-style democracy. General Sir Richard Dannatt, chief of the General Staff, said in October that the Government should lower its expectations in Iraq.

Sir Richard, who took over from General Sir Mike Jackson in August, said that the continuing presence in Iraq of British troops was “exacerbating the security problems” and that they should come home soon.

This contrasted with Mr Blair, who told the Labour Party conference that it was important for troops to remain in Iraq to secure the peace. He said: “If we retreat now, we won’t be safer; we will be committing a craven act of surrender that will put our future security in the deepest peril.”

Mr Blair is widely expected to leave office in June or July. Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the US National Security Council, said: “While the United Kingdom is maintaining a robust force in southern Iraq, we’re pleased that conditions in Basra have improved sufficiently that they are able to transition more control to the Iraqis.”

But privately, there appeared some irritation in the US that the news had leaked out in London the night before Mr Blair had been due to make his announcement.

A Democratic Party strategist said: “This is the final proof of President Bush’s complete international isolation. He cannot now even count on the support of America’s closest ally, having put the special relationship with your nation under such strain that it is now a breaking point.”

It is understood that, following the initial withdrawal of troops in April, further draw-downs of UK personnel would be dependent on the conditions on the ground. Mr Blair will not, as some reports have suggested, say that all British forces will be out by the end of 2008. After the initial removal of 1,500 troops other personnel will withdraw to their heavily fortified base in the south of Iraq in preparation for their final pull out.

The start of the handover was signalled yesterday when the Iraqi Army division based in Basra transferred from Coalition command to take its orders for the first time direct from an Iraqi headquarters in Baghdad.


Anything to Look Good

Again proving that the motto of this administration is “It doesn’t matter if its true, as long as we sound good.”

From Time Magazine.

Terror Data Flawed, Audit Says

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors counted immigration violations, marriage fraud and drug trafficking among anti-terror cases in the four years after 9/11 — despite no evidence linking them to terror activity, a Justice Department audit found Tuesday.

Overall, nearly all of the terrorism-related statistics on investigations, referrals and cases examined by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine were either diminished or inflated. Only two of 26 sets of department data reported between 2001 and 2005 were accurate, the audit found.

Responding, a Justice spokesman pointed to figures showing that prosecutors in the department’s headquarters for the most part either accurately or underreported their data — underscoring what he called efforts to avoid pumping up federal terror statistics.

The numbers, used to monitor the Justice Department’s progress in battling terrorists, are reported to Congress and the public and help, in part, shape the department’s budget needs.

“For these and other reasons, it is essential that the department report accurate terrorism-related statistics,” the audit concluded.

Still, Fine’s office took care to say that the flawed data appear to be the result of disagreements over how the numbers are reported, or “decentralized and haphazard” methods of collecting them, and do not appear to be intentional.

Auditors looked at 26 categories of statistics — including numbers of suspects charged and convicted in terror cases, and terror-related threats against cities and other U.S. targets — compiled by the FBI, the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys.

It found that data from the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys were the most severely flawed. Auditors said the office, which compiles statistics from the 94 federal prosecutors’ districts nationwide, both under- and over-counted the number of terror-related cases during a four-year period.

Much of the problem stemmed from how that office defines anti-terrorism cases.

A November 2001 federal crackdown on security breaches at airports, for example, yielded arrests on immigration and false document charges, but no evidence of terrorist activity. Nonetheless, the attorneys’ office lumped them in with other anti-terror cases since they were investigated by federal Joint Terrorism Task Forces or with other counterterror measures.

Other examples, according to the audit, included:

—Charges against a marriage broker for being paid to arrange six fraudulent marriages between Tunisian nationals and U.S. citizens.

—Prosecution of a Mexican citizen who falsely identified himself as another person in a passport application.

—Charges against a suspect for dealing firearms without a license. The prosecutor handling the case told auditors it should not have been labeled as anti-terrorism.

“We do not agree that law enforcement efforts such as these should be counted as anti-terrorism,” the audit concluded.

The office has since agreed to change the way it counts and classifies anti-terrorism cases, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said.

“The IG’s findings, with respect to U.S. attorneys’ statistics, largely boiled down to a difference of opinion over the definition of anti-terrorism,” Boyd said.

Additionally, Boyd said, Criminal Division prosecutors at the department’s headquarters and the FBI have overhauled their respective case reporting systems since 2004 for a more accurate picture of terror-related workloads. He said both agencies were “strained” to accurately report terrorism data in the flood of cases immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In all but one area, Criminal Division prosecutors either accurately stated or underreported their data — the ones the department usually uses in public statements about its counterterror efforts, Boyd noted. He said the Justice Department has already completed most of the fixes recommended in the audit.


The Big, Fat, Scary Disease

No, not Cancer, not Heart Disease, not Diabetes.  Autism.

In my house, this is a very personal thing.  Our oldest son is 6, and a year ago was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome.  We’d known for years things weren’t right, but it takes a lot of time and the collection of symptopm diagnoses before they will diagnose Autism.

Its a word no parent wants to hear.  Even when you know that the diagnosis will help, that it will open doors to treatments and therapies for behavior that already exists, help for behavior that you’re already struggling with day in and day out, there’s a large chunk of you that screams out, please, Lord, no, not my child!

But it is my child, and if it isn’t yours, its likely that you know someone whose child it is as well.  Autism occurs in 1 out of every 150 children.  Autism isn’t something that can be cured, but it can be treated.  And its confusing–there are a million and more opinions on what treatments work–sign language classes for the non-verbal (worked for us.)  Special gluten-free casein-free diets (very expensive and sometimes work), sensory light shows, physical therapies, sound therapies, play therapies, food therapies, vitamin supplements, avoiding immunizations….its a crazy world out there for a parent of a child with Autism.  No one can agree on what needs to be done–for each child with autism is different, has different behaviors, different needs.

This is an epidemic that is not limited just to the families of autism.  This affects schools, as they must find ways to integrate children with reactive behaviors and no social skills into schools that are already overcrowded, overburdened, dealing with every need in society.  Schools are social nightmares for kids with autism–threats lurk around every corner.  Yet they are bright, often brighter than neuro-typical children, and deserve a great education.  However, they often lack the social skills to survive in classes of children–they play out of rote patterns, memorized games.  They are often the child hiding under the table, eating off on their own, or avoiding other kids because they don’t know how to interact.

This affects the workplace, as these children grow, they need jobs, and they need the social skills to interact with co-workers.   Their parents must have good healthcare coverage, as the average autistic child receives 2-3 therapies a week, at a cost of $115 an hour.  Most insurace policies will cover only a third of that, leaving parents to shoulder approximately $10-15 thousand dollars a year in basic therapy bills.  That’s not for experimental therapies, that’s just for the basic, run of the mill therapy course.

So what does Little Miss Know it All want you to do?  Well, there’s a lot you can do, but the one most parents of autistic children would appreciate is this–when you see us in the store, at the park, at a restaurant, and you see our child “melting down” (meaning they are throwing the mother of all fits) don’t assume our child is spoiled.  Autism isn’t something you can often recognize at first glance–what may look like a spoiled brat could very well be a child who is suddenly melting down after hours of being alright.  If you know someone with a child with autism, offer to take the other child out to the amusement park, to the park, to the normal kid stuff that they often must miss because of their special needs sibling.  Listen.  I know, you couldn’t understand the difference between fine motor skills and gross motor skills, casein versus lactose, but to us, these are important concerns and we need the time to express them.

And get to know about Autism.  Its close to you, and until we find the cause, the likelihood is it will only continue to grow.

Here’s a few places to learn about Autism.

60 Minutes Story on Autism

Autism Speaks

Autism Everyday


Belly Up!

Saw this today, and found it intriguing.  What will happen?  Will we all be thinner?  Will we take it and eat more because we think it will protect us?  Or will we be a country full of bloating, diarrhea and gas?

Little Miss Know it All would like to lose a pound or two….hmmm….

From AOL and ABC’s Good Morning America

An Over-The-Counter Diet Quick Fix?

Now Playing

 

New pill speeds up fat-burning by 50 percent. (Feb. 8)

 


Much Ado about Nothing

Little Miss Know it All is baffled.  With all the fraud, waste and abuse of power being uncovered, this is what they want to make a fuss over?  Seriously?!?

White House Defends Pelosi Plane Request

By JIM KUHNHENN

AP and AOL

WASHINGTON (Feb. 8) – The White House on Thursday defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  against Republican  criticism that her desire to fly in an Air Force transport plane is an extravagance.

“This is a silly story and I think it’s been unfair to the speaker,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

Republicans are taking issue with the size of the plane Pelosi would need to fly in to reach her hometown of San Francisco without refueling. There are three Air Force airplanes that have the fuel capacity to make the trip nonstop, with the largest being a C-32 plane, a military version of the Boeing 757-200.

In an interview with Fox News Wednesday night, Pelosi speculated that Department of Defense officials were distorting the story as retribution for her stance against the war and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld .

“There are probably those in the Department of Defense who are not happy with my criticism of Secretary Rumsfeld, the war in Iraq , other waste, fraud and abuse in the Defense Department, and I guess this is their way of making their voices heard,” she said.

Pelosi’s Style-High Club?

The Pentagon this week informed Pelosi’s staff that she would be provided with a plane but that its size would be based on availability and that it could not guarantee nonstop service.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Pentagon agreed to provide the House speaker, who is second in the line of presidential succession, with a military plane for added security during trips back home. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert , an Illinois Republican, flew in a small commuter-sized Air Force jet.

Pelosi said she would be happy to fly on commercial airliners but said the House sergeant-at-arms office urged her to continue Hastert’s practice of using Air Force transport. She said she was informed on her first trip home that her plane would not make it across the country.

“I said well, that’s fine, I’m going commercial,” she told Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren. “I’m not asking to go on that plane. If you need to take me there for security purposes, you’re going to have to get a plane that goes across the country, because I’m going home to my family.”

Rep. Adam Putnam of Florida, the No. 3 Republican leader, called Pelosi’s desire for a large transport plane “an extravagance of power that the taxpayers won’t swallow.”

“It’s important we see what the specific request was,” Putnam said.

But Snow on Thursday said the negotiations over Pelosi’s transport have been conducted solely by the House sergeant-at-arms and the Pentagon, with no direct involvement by the speaker or her office — or the White House.

The guidelines provided by the Pentagon say Pelosi could be accompanied by family members, provided they pay the government coach fare. The plane could not be used for travel to political events. Members of Congress  could accompany her on the plane if the travel is cleared by the House ethics committee.


More news…

Following up on the Henry Waxman story, read on.  And add this to Little Miss Know it All’s list of “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

 For an Air Force perspective on this story, head over to In search of rebuilding billions

From AOL and Reuters–

Pallets of U.S. cash sent to Baghdad before handover

By Jeremy Pelofsky

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve sent record payouts of more than $4 billion in cash to Baghdad on giant pallets aboard military planes shortly before the United States gave control back to Iraqis, lawmakers said on Tuesday.

The money, which had been held by the United States, came from Iraqi oil exports, surplus dollars from the U.N.-run oil-for-food program and frozen assets belonging to the ousted Saddam Hussein  regime.

Bills weighing a total of 363 tons were loaded onto military aircraft in the largest cash shipments ever made by the Federal Reserve, said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House of Representatives  Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone? But that’s exactly what our government did,” the California Democrat  said during a hearing reviewing possible waste, fraud and abuse of funds in Iraq .

On December 12, 2003, $1.5 billion was shipped to Iraq, initially “the largest pay out of U.S. currency in Fed history,” according to an e-mail cited by committee members.

It was followed by more than $2.4 billion on June 22, 2004, and $1.6 billion three days later. The CPA turned over sovereignty on June 28.

Paul Bremer, who as the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority ran Iraq after initial combat operations ended, said the enormous shipments were done at the request of the Iraqi minister of finance.

“He said, ‘I am concerned that I will not have the money to support the Iraqi government expenses for the first couple of months after we are sovereign. We won’t have the mechanisms in place, I won’t know how to get the money here,”‘ Bremer said.

“So these shipments were made at the explicit request of the Iraqi minister of finance to forward fund government expenses, a perfectly, seems to me, legitimate use of his money,” Bremer told lawmakers.

WHERE’S THE MONEY?

Democrats led by Waxman also questioned whether the lack of oversight of $12 billion in Iraqi money that was disbursed by Bremer and the CPA somehow enabled insurgents to get their hands on the funds, possibly through falsifying names on the government payroll.

“I have no knowledge of monies being diverted. I would certainly be concerned if I thought they were,” Bremer said. He pointed out that the problem of fake names on the payroll existed before the U.S.-led invasion.

The special inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, said in a January 2005 report that $8.8 billion was unaccounted for after being given to the Iraqi ministries.

“We were in the middle of a war, working in very difficult conditions, and we had to move quickly to get this Iraqi money working for the Iraqi people,” Bremer told lawmakers. He said there was no banking system and it would have been impossible to apply modern accounting standards in the midst of a war.

“I acknowledge that I made mistakes and that, with the benefit of hindsight, I would have made some decisions differently,” Bremer said.

Republicans argued that Bremer and the CPA staff did the best they could under the circumstances and accused Democrats of trying to score political points over the increasingly unpopular Iraq war.

“We are in a war against terrorists, to have a blame meeting isn’t, in my opinion, constructive,” said Rep. Dan Burton, an Indiana Republican .


In the news…

Today we are all celebrating snow around here. The kids are home from school, hot chocolate abounds, as do snowmen, snowball fights and sledding out in the yard. So, instead of re-inventing the wheel, I thought that I would bring you a couple of thought provoking news stories. Okay, so they aren’t all head scratchers, but I find them interesting.

Take some time today to enjoy the weather you have in your area…warm and sunny, bitter cold (brings a silence to the world that you will rarely experience), or the sound of kids enjoying a snow day.

From the New York Times and AOL

As New Cop on the Beat,’ Congressman Starts Patrol

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, has reclaimed his leadership of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

By PHILIP SHENON

Published: February 6, 2007

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 — Halliburton? Tobacco executives? Vice President Dick Cheney? You’ve been warned.

Representative Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is promising the sort of oversight that the Bush administration has not experienced before.

“There has been no cop on the beat,” said Mr. Waxman, who accuses Congressional Republicans of having abdicated their responsibility for oversight in recent years. “And when there is no cop on the beat, criminals are more willing to engage in crimes.”

Without constant policing by Congress, he said, “the bad actors feel they can get away with anything.”

Returned to power when the Democrats took over Congress last month, Mr. Waxman has already made things difficult for the Bush White House. Last week, he held a televised hearing on accusations that the administration was interfering with the work of climate scientists to protect polluters.

On Tuesday, he has scheduled a hearing on reports of fraud in multibillion-dollar reconstruction projects in Iraq. The main witness will be L. Paul Bremer III, the former American civilian administrator in Baghdad, who is expected to be questioned about his role in awarding some of the most troubled contracts.

Also testifying will be Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the government’s special inspector general for Iraq, whose most recent quarterly report found that the government’s reconstruction program was riddled with waste and corruption.

Mr. Waxman is 5-foot-5. He has a big, toothy grin and a bushy mustache. He has none of the glitz of some of his constituents in the 30th Congressional District, which includes Beverly Hills, Malibu and Santa Monica, some of California’s richest and flashiest communities.

The congressman, a 67-year-old grandfather of four, would strike no one — at least no one meeting him for the first time — as a candidate for the role of Congress’s most aggressive muckraker.

But the liberal Nation magazine has called him the Democrats’ Eliot Ness, and Republicans who have tangled with him say the description is apt.

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