Saturday, 18 July 2009

My Interrogation, Your Interrogation


So this morning....we learn that the White House is considering overhauling interrogation techniques.

In fact, they kinda want to create a entirely new and small team of professionals drawn from across the government. Based on a couple of reports....this new group of fellows would come from a number of agencies and organizations and they would only be used for for "high-value detainees". The neat thing from the reports....indicate that that the group would not be limited to just the CIA dudes....they would be from walks of life.

Then they would devise bold and new methods of interrogation....which would be drawn from scientific evaluations, focus groups, psychology behind television ads, and just about anything that you can goggle.

I sat and paused over this....pondering. Basically, we are saying that even guys from the National Park Service, the Forestry department, the Peace Corps, and even the State Department....could participate in this episode.

The development of new methods? I'm already betting that a developmental grant program is underway at five major universities and they are gathering college guys to test interrogation and practice S&M bondage sessions on.

This is all pretty neat in my mind....a bold new world of interrogation....going beyond anything Cheney could have ever dreamed of.

We could "entertain" folks with fifty hours of dopey Sesame Street episodes prior to bringing in the real interrogation team. We could offer only fatty diets of burgers and Dr Pepper for two weeks straight before offering them a chance to speak to a real interrogation dude. We could paint their cell wall pink and dress all the guards in pink....to make them confused. We could offer them M&M's but only the red type (the one that causes cancer). We could diet Coke as the one and only beverage choice.

New professionals....new plans...new interrogation techniques....new devised studies to invent new interrogation programs. You can smell something funny here....as if Cheney himself wrote the script to some 2-star drama on a White House promising "change"....and it meant everything would have to change.

So, if the folks in Europe were furious before over Gitmo and interrogations....should there really be any higher anxiety now over this stuff? As someone wrote a few weeks ago....it's not what you say that counts...it's your actions that count.

Just a Universal Minute

The mighty campaign for universal health care insurance continues on this week. Just some notes and moments of analysis.

First, if you pay attention to the original problem....we had around 65-million folks in America without health care insurance. The other two hundred and thirty million were covered....in some fashion. So the emphasis now? Rather than fix the issue of the 65-million....let's aim at some master concept for three hundred million...oh, and lets not mention legal or illegal aliens because they would be part of the final fix with this plan as well.

Second, this week we learned that the rich will fund or pay for this whole thing....via a surcharge on taxes. Doesn't matter how you play your lifestyle or your tax credits.....you will donate to the system. Naturally, the rich guys are asking questions now. Some of them are small business owners....so they got hit twice...paying for employee's health care now and the surcharge....so they aren't very happy.

The curious thing is that the cost involved are barely calculated so what ever surcharge is settled upon....will be adjusted within two years because it's not enough. Then will come the issue of no paid salary while in the hospital....so the surcharge will be enlarged again to cover that problem. Then comes the issue of rehab for every man, woman and child....whether from drugs or alcohol or whatever....so the surcharge will increase again.

Adding to the episode of the surcharge....is the fact that the rich will likely come to Senator Snuffy and ask for a tax credit to cover what they are putting into the surcharge. So in two years, the IRS folks will approach the president and say that the overall pot of money....is $200 billion less. He'll grasp the problem and ask for a second surcharge to make up for the tax credit.....this pay for community college or job training. Senator Snuffy will come right back with another tax credit....and then another surcharge will be added. Eventually....rich folks will pay nothing in taxes but fifty percent of their income will be devoted to surcharges on taxes.

Third, we learned this week that the bill is now 1,000 pages. Naturally, you can't find a single Representative or Senator who has read the whole thing.

Fourth, we learned that a state commission up in the wonderland of Massachusetts (the state with universal health care currently) came out and recommended that Massachusetts change how doctors and hospitals are paid. They basically want doctors and hospitals on a budget as a way to control health care costs. What does this mean? You get X-amount of healthcare and your doctor can only make X-amount of pay, and a hospital can only make X-amount of profit. The sign of rationing heath care? Yes, the first basic step. Watch for the graceful exit of twenty percent of the public doctors in the state over the next three years. You want an appointment....call three weeks ahead of time and hope that they can help you.

Finally, some religious groups have come out....in very small forums....and noted that they don't believe in medical establishments and this infringes on their religious freedom. I read one commentary on this and scratched my head in disbelief. They are correct.....they can just pray over a snake-bite or cancer, if they want. The idea of making them pay $1000? Well....I can see this episode being challenged to the Supreme Court and tossed out. Maybe congress will give you a $1000 rebate so you can give it back to them?

Just my two cents of analysis.

Alien Damn Invasion


Ok, so this is what we know. A junior high in the UK....370 kids, wanted to inspire its young pupils to do some creative writing.

So their idea was, to have a UFO land at the school and abduct one of the teachers....taking the kids all out to the site of the abduction....and then ask them to write a report.....portraying this entire abduction as "real" to the students.

You can already get a feel for the events that unfolded.

A fair number of these 7 to 11-year old kids left the abduction site in tears....very shaken....and not so sure about their security now.

The curious thing....not only did the school management team go along with this whole thing....but then the local cops cooperated (helping to put out sirens and flashers....littering up the field with "debris" from the spaceship).

Parents....to say the least.....went nuts condemning this episode.

As the episode unfolded in the morning....the head administrator of the school came out and informed all the students that a alien craft had crashed at the school.....and at some point....Joy Law....the school's learning support teacher (the gal who gets stuck with the special kids) was apparently abducted.

So this entire "learning-experience" continued for the whole school day. By the end....Ms Law rejoined the kids and assured them that she hadn't been abducted and that everything was back to normal.

A number of parents have spoken up about their kid's and the effects. Some kids can't sleep. Some are still chatting about the idea that they might be abducted one day.

I pondered over this episode....held in the UK and came to several observations.

First, had this exercise been held in Bama....most of the kids would have left the school within thirty minutes....retreated back home....and informed the family of the events at the school. Then the entire family would have barricaded the trailer and put every bit of firepower in the hands of every member of the family....even twelve-year old Johnny who witnessed the episode at school. It would have taken a week for the Sheriff to convince the community that this was bogus. Meanwhile, Johnny would have insisted that anyone coming to the house is likely an alien in disguise.

Second, if you were the 12-year old British kid there.....and Ms Law came out at the end of the day....why would you believe her? Couldn't she have been a clone or pod? You know....like in those great alien movies? Why should you trust her today? What if the whole school administration staff were all pod folks? You just can't be sure.

Third, in the old days.....you used to show some picture of three monkeys on a elephant and ask folks to make up a story. It was pretty simple. If you felt radical....you might asked them write a story on Uncle Earl who fell down a outhouse toilet hole and was stuck overnight in a bit of a mess.

Fourth....to be honest....I would imagine that half of the students at this school are screwed up from this point on....and will absolutely believe in UFO's and aliens. They will repeat the story of the special Ed teacher being taken....as though it was fact. Even thirty years from now....it will still be messing up their lives.

Finally.....if there had been only one kid.....say one smart creative, sarcastic, sly, witty kid from Bama in this group....and he knew of this entire plan by the school.....then he would have added his own spacecraft damage parts at another point of the field...unknown to the cops or the administrators....and left some dead birds. He would have then led the kids to discover this and then churn up the whole adventure....with the cops freaking out and the school administrators thinking that they unleashed something terrible.

I'm a advocate of creative writing. But this type of exercise achieves nothing. You end up with kids questioning everything from this point on.....maybe the teachers are telling the truth....maybe they are lying. Then you might as well just cancel school and teach folks how to stack watermelons at the grocery.

Just Naughty


Out in Arizona....near Phoenix....there is this business. Basically....you've made a mess of the whole house....you really don't want to clean it yourself....and you call these gal's to come out and clean for you. The nifty thing....is that the name of the company is Naughty Housemaids. Naturally, they will clean either topless or fully nude.

So far, folks in Arizona haven't made this business illegal....like you'd do in Dothan or Red Bay or Tuscumbia, Bama.

The gal who runs this operation.....Wendy Racquet....mandates that she will wear rubber gloves but thats about all that she has to wear, ifing you have a full desire for extreme house cleaning. She's run the business for three years and admits that business is going ok, even in these bad times.

She gets calls from guys and couples.

This is in Arizona and I'm guessing a fair number of the "clients" are guys over 60 and retired. They invite a friend or two over....sipping beer....and watching the housemaid clean the kitchen. Afterwards, for hours....they probably chat over the excitment of the stove clean or the tub clean episode. They probably get all peppy thinking about the windows being cleaned. Then they even get all smiley when they think about the dusting of the coffee table in the living room. Man, that's hot stuff.

I'm thinking that some guys are looking at this and already contemplating a new business....Naughty Mechanics, and maybe even Naughty Barbers. There are endless possibilities....well...up until Naughty Septic Tank Repairmen.

Could Have Been Tragic


At some point this past week.....the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile crashed.

The best we can say is that the driver needed to turn around....got into someone's driveway....thought they were in reverse, pumped the gas and roared through the front of the house.

As luck would have it....no one was home. It was by the grace of God....that no one was home. Imagine yourself sitting there....watching Bonanza in the afternoon...sipping a Dr Pepper...smoking a cigar....and then this giant wiener vehicle crashes through the house and you lay there crushed and dying....with the last image in your mind....of Oscar Mayer. It would have been tragic.

The cops say they won't issue a ticket....I'm guessing they don't want to be the guys known in the state for giving out the first ticket ever to the Oscar Meyer guys. The owner of the vehicle says insurance will pay for the house and the vehicle damage. I'm guessing Oscar Meyer representatives showed up the next day with box of free hot dogs just to smooth over the owner of the place.

The really sad possibility was that this was rigged....just to get free coverage via Fox, CNN and ABC....but I'm guessing I'm the only one out there with this conspiracy theory. My theory would have been that Oscar Meyer is in need of extra attention and will be rigging up dozens of accidents like this....to get on page one of the news. A team....referred to as the "dog-team" runs this operation and has various plans. Their intention.....world domination of the hot dog market. This will culminate with a weiner mobile accident at the White House.....and the President runs out to get a free hot dog after the initial moment.

Yes, I may have had too much Dr Pepper....that's true.

The Passing of Cronkite

As a kid, I can remember the evening news with Walter Cronkite on CBS. His passing today brings back up this memory.

It was a curious thing....almost everyone watched the CBS news at that point in time. Cronkite was regarded as "the authority". Both ABC and NBC were minor-league in nature compared to the numbers that Cronkite pulled down. If Cronkite said it....it was regarded as fact.

By 1969, Cronkite had determined that the war in Nam was bogus and unwinnable. He'd been there....he'd seen the war from various angles....and he knew the various games that the government used in justifying the war. So he took the news bureau and simply opened up the front curtain, letting you see the various negatives.

For the government, it was something that they'd never experienced. One nightly newscast would sit there and cast doubts on the war and trigger discussions. As days and weeks went by....the support of the war kinda evaporated. Cronkite had become an icon for some and an enemy for others.

Over forty years have passed. Most of what Cronkite said was correct. We can probably add in another hundred bits of new information that has been gleaned from publications and officials....that makes the war still a discussable topic today. For the government, news went from being a reportable fact....to being a tool for changing the government. It was the end and beginning of a new era.

The sad thing today....is that you really don't have any Cronkites around.....just a bunch of used-news sales folks....who will tell you just about anything and just wink at you when they are done.