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Friday, December 31, 2010

Couric: I wear big glasses cuz I'm really smart

  From The Right Scoop, a clip of Katie Couric decrying the very disturbing prejudice Americans feel for all Muslims. Some dopey guy named Mo contributes to the condescension that just drips from this interview. "I'm pretty smart," he says. Yeah, that's what all the ruling class thinks. We're pretty smart and you're not. Couric, wearing big black reading glasses like the kid on A Christmas Story to look more intellectual, also suggests anybody who opposed the Ground Zero mosque is a bigot. Geez. Dopiness on display. There's more. Watch here:


  Likewise over at The Right Scoop is a video of that dopey MSNBC host who laughs at, sneers at, and condescends to the GOProud director Christopher Barron, who says he's more discriminated against by liberals than conservatives, a story we've heard repeatedly from gay conservatives. "They don't like you," and you're not being intellectually "honest," Mr. Condescension claims with scoffing laughter.
  It's true that RINOS aren't welcomed by tea partiers. Barron doesn't seem to be one of them.
  Right Scoop is right. Read it here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Big union; big neglect

UPDATE: Over 10% (500 workers) called in sick those days. Salaries of municipal workers are much higher than private industry workers. 325 sanitation workers make over $100,000 a year without overtime. AND: Many retired employees receive health, dental and vision insurance without paying a penney.
  Big government. Big unions. Big demands. 
  We are faced with people who no longer feel anything for human beings, but rather only for themselves and their hive of union thugs.
  We are faced with leaders who are quick to defend politically correct causes such as the NYC mosque but then quick to criticize the citizens of New York for complaining about their employees' incompetence.
  New York City is perhaps a harbinger of things to come with health care, which will eventually deteriorate into nothing but government health care as regulations and restrictions strangle private insurance companies.
  Most everyone has the story today from the New York Post, as concerned NYC sanitation workers have come forward, only to be labeled "snitches" (what happened to whistle blower), for telling the truth about what their bosses instructed them to do in the recent snow emergency last weekend.
  Why would sanitation workers be "guilt ridden," as the NY Post describes them?
  Because they did what they're told by their union bosses, who were protesting recent cuts in their department, as the city struggles with a deficit of up to $4.5 billion.
  Rather than be concerned with the fact that their city has not only run out of money, but is deeply in debt, the workers want more.
  Instead of working with the city's medics to respond to emergency calls, for example, working in tandem with ambulances, the sanitation workers did the following:

  1. Did not lower their shovels entirely to intentionally leave a layer of snow 
  2. worked slowly to accrue overtime pay
  3. avoided plowing main streets
  4. did not call all workers in on the weekend
  In addition, mysteriously the head of the sanitation department's street was bone dry, shoveled clean, while the streets next to his were not.
 Here's visual evidence from the New York Daily News from Tuesday:

Bonifacio/News The Staten Island street outside Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty's home. 
The street around the corner from Doherty's street tells a different story.  Bonifacio/News
  Mayor Bloomberg's street was also plowed clean.
  Although much of this snow mess has to be attributed to the lack of leadership on the part of NYC's Nolabels Mayor Bloomberg, who has probably lost any bid for national office through this ordeal, the union leaders are also to blame. The following questions need to be answered: 
  • Why couldn't the Red Cross reach the airports which were full of people who had run out of food and blankets? 
  • Why did NO city services come to the aid of the stranded passengers?
  • Why weren't ambulances paired with snow plows? 
  • Why were not all the stops pulled out to relieve the city's misery, only later to prove the usefulness and loyalty of union workers, rather than the criminal neglect that resulted? 

  If this is the way government unions react in the nation's largest city, can we expect anything better from a national health care system, which will most certainly be unionized and politicized?
  The best roundup of bad behavior is here at the Frugal Cafe.
  In addition, there is some question that the new government rules regarding fines of $27,000 per passenger over a 3 hour wait imposed for passengers waiting on the tarmac may have  added to the problems. More regulations.
  Numerous deaths, still untold, have resulted from this barbarous behavior; the baby's is only one but the most poignant example of a life started and ended in misery because of the malfeasance of human beings who only think of themselves and money first, not the job which they signed on for or their loyalty to fellow humans, the most vulnerable of whom died this last weekend.
  Let the death of this child be on the heads of those who have sworn to protect the people of New York City.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Full metal Glenn Beck

Heh. From Patterico:

Reid: Let's change the rules!

From Investors, we learn of a new plot by the ever plotting Harry Reid, who wants to change the rules again to benefit himself and his party, thereby nullifying again the will of the people. It's all about power, not the will of the people. Investors is calling it the "nuclear option." The ruling class isn't going down easily.

Politics: The Senate Majority Leader has a plan to deal with Republican electoral success. When you lose the game, you simply change the rules. When you only have 53 votes, you lower the bar to 51.
When Harry Reid was hawking his book "The Good Fight" on C-Span's "Book Notes" in 2008, he described how he had vehemently opposed GOP plans for the "nuclear option," changing the rules to break a Democratic filibuster on President George W. Bush's judicial nominees. Only 51 votes would be needed to move them along.

Swedish govt health care: off with his head!

  First something about the Swedish health care system and a warning to Dr. Donald Berwick, our new health czar over medicare (yes, that means YOU, baby boomer), who loves the idea of rationed care and says openly that he is "loves" the British health care system:
Like other nations with a single-payer system, Sweden has had to deal with the problem of ever-growing health care expenses causing a strain on government budgets.  It has dealt with this problem by rationing health care - instituting waiting lists for medical appointments and surgery.
  Hey, don't worry, the doctors said. It's just inflammation. So they sent him home.
  It's nice the way the doctors delicately used the word "removed" to describe a, um,  traumatic operation. They had a year to detect it but it came down to "removal" because they misdiagnosed it a year earlier. 
  Too busy, I guess, and, hey, the guy was 65. 
  Not that significant according to the QALY.

When he finally met with doctors at the hospital, the man was informed he had cancer and his penis would have to be removed.
It remains unclear if the man would have been able to keep his penis had the cancer been detected sooner.
  Britain's health care decision makers, AKA NICE, AKA newspeak,  quite matter of factly states that "no publicly funded healthcare system, including the NHS, can possibly pay for every new medical treatment which becomes available." 

TSA scanners? Nuh uh. Eat beans and embrace the patdown.

  Having just traveled across the United States this CHRISTmas season, I noticed the TSA back scatter scanners in even the smallest of airports. 
  The issue of the safety of the scanners is entering cult territory; a Google search of one article that has appeared over and over across the web reveals that many blogs have picked up the phrase "How TSA scanners tear apart DNA."
  Because blogs can be unreliable and exciteable, I have tried to track down the most reliable, reasonable and scientific sources of the information about the safety of the scanners, avoiding the "Infowars" articles to which Drudge has been linking which have a tendency to be paranoid and incendiary.
  On a scientific level, however, It seems there are significant questions about the impact of terahertz radiation; the scientists who have studied it have called the damage "probabilistic" rather than "deterministic."
  Written in October of 2009, Technology Review carefully examines the effect of terahertz radiation without referring to the backscatter scanners:
Alexandrov and co have created a model to investigate how THz fields interact with double-stranded DNA and what they've found is remarkable. They say that although the forces generated are tiny, resonant effects allow THz waves to unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. That's a jaw dropping conclusion.
  A writer at Veterans Today discusses the work of Alexandrov at Los Alamos, who has detailed research on THz:
Boian Alexandrov at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico recently published an abstract with colleagues, “DNA Breathing Dynamics in the Presence of a Terahertz Field ” that reveals very disturbing—even shocking—evidence that the THz waves generated by TSA scanners is significantly damaging the DNA of the people being directed through the machines, and the TSA workers that are in close proximity to the scanners throughout their workday.
 New Scientist, which seems to be a bit fussy about copying their text, goes into detail about the effect of the scanners on the human body, the research that's been done by a group of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, and the letter that was written to the FDA to request that more outside review be done of the scanners before implementing them into public use.
  Just how effective are the scanners anyway, CBS news asked. 
  Senator Grassley requested a review of the effectiveness of the scanners by the government; unfortunately, we will never see it because the results of the investigation are, you know, untransparently classified:

Another report on the scanners was done by the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security . Investigators tested the devices in eight airports using federal agents disguised as passengers to see if the items they had on their person were detected by the controversial whole body scanners.
summary of the report was published in March 2010.
But good luck getting your hands on what they found.
The report notes: "The number of tests conducted, the names of the airports tested, and the quantitative and qualitative results of our testing are classified."
  Probably the most partisan, if clear, reading about the effectiveness of the scanners is over at Natural News, which picks apart and explains, according to writer and editor Mike Adams's viewpoint, the research about the scanners and poses ten questions that arise from their use, who the most vulnerable citizens are (children, pregnant women, senior citizens, cancer patients) and the consequences of doing nothing. 
  One of the most disturbing points Adams makes is problem #9: concern over a malfunctioning machine. Who would know? Who would be there to fix it?
#9 Problems with the machine- There are a number of 'red flags' related to the hardware itself. Because this device can scan a human in a few seconds, the X-ray beam is very intense. Any glitch inpowerat any point in the hardware (or more importantly in software) that stops the device could cause an intense radiation dose to a single spot on the skin. 
Translation: This machine does not emit a "flood light" of radiation like you might get from a dental X-ray machine. Rather, this machine emits a thin, narrow beam of radiation that is quickly "scanned" across your body, back and forth, in much the same way that an inkjet printer prints a page (but a lot faster). Because the angle of the X-ray beam is controlled by the scanner software,a glitch in the software could turn the naked body scannerinto a high-energy weapon if the beam gets "stuck" in one location for more than a fraction of a second.
  Even taxpayer funded politically correct NPR gets in on the criticism, although safely maintaining no resistance to the current administration's conclusions that the scanners are completely safe. 
  Dr. David Brenner of Columbia has changed his mind about the scanners, as quoted in the Digital Journal. It is being suggested by scientists that the amount of radiation an individual receives going through the scanners is 20 times higher than the government claims:

Dr. Brenner, who was consulted to write guidelines for the security scanners in 2002, claims he would not have signed the report had he known the devices would be so widely used. He said a type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma, which occurs mainly on the head and neck and is usually curable, is the most likely risk from the airport scanners.
 Dr. Brenner was interviewed recently by NPR; his concern is significant for the number of people being scanned, the baggage handlers and TSA agents standing next to the machines:
Dr. BRENNER: I certainly would. It's hard to know what the logic is. I mean, I think the logic must be that the TSA believes both of them are safe and so they're using both of these devices. But there is certainly not conclusive evidence but convincing evidence that there will be some cancers induced some time in the future by these X-ray devices.
John Whitehead of Rutherford examines the situation and why we are being subjected to having to make the decision whether to get into the scanner or not:
Of course, the FDA, which has been criticized heavily in recent years as being fundamentally broken and even corrupt, has a very dubious track record when it comes to ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs, biologics and medical devices. Over the years, the FDA has been accused of causing high drug prices, keeping life-saving drugs off the market, allowing unsafe drugs on the market because of pressure from pharmaceutical companies and censoring health information about nutritional supplements and foods. For example, the FDA recently admitted to making a mistake in approving a controversial knee implant against the advice of its scientific reviewers. As the Associated Press reports, “The announcement comes a year after the agency first acknowledged that its decision to approve the device was influenced by outside pressure, including lobbying by four lawmakers from the company’s home state of New Jersey.”
  In response to citizen concern over the TSA's new policies, government officials have responded by saying, "Don't fly" then
  Let's get real here. 
  A good number of people don't fly for pleasure. 
  A good number of people fly to see family members, to do business and to fulfill obligations that cannot be fulfilled by driving.
  So that puts fliers in a bind. Do we opt for the patdown? Some of those experiences have been quite unpleasant. 
  In fact, it appears that the TSA is intentionally making the patdowns as embarrassing as possible to force encourage people to choose the scanner rather than the patdown. Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic, who has undergone several patdowns and queried the agents about the motivation behind them:
In other words, people, when faced with a choice, will inevitably choose the Dick-Measuring Device over molestation? "That's what we're hoping for. We're trying to get everyone into the machine." He called over a colleague. "Tell him what you call the back-scatter," he said. "The Dick-Measuring Device," I said. "That's the truth," the other officer responded. [SNIP]
The second lesson is that the effectiveness of pat-downs does not matter very much, because the obvious goal of the TSA is to make the pat-down embarrassing enough for the average passenger that the vast majority of people will choose high-tech humiliation over the low-tech ball check.  
  TSA technique includes not only humiliation, but time wasting, apparently, which most people can ill afford when flying. Again, Goldberg in another article and another experience at The Atlantic:
Reagan National, 6:40 a.m. today. I opt-out of the humiliating back-scatter machine and ask for a pat-down. Once again, the TSA officers eye me suspiciously. "Wait here," one says. I wait, and wait some more. One obvious technique the TSA is using to funnel passengers through the back-scatter imager is to waste their time -- many people can't afford to wait five minutes for a pat-down, and will exchange the humiliation of the Federal Dick-Measurer for a speedier trip through security.
Eventually, I'm called over for my pat-down. "Do you want to do this privately?" he asks. "No, right here in the middle of the airport is fine," I say. 
  On several occasions over traveling the last few days, I casually asked people if they minded some of the "whacky"( is the word I think I used), new measures the TSA is employing for security. The answer was invariably no, as long as I get to my destination without being blown up.
  The reason people are not disturbed by the new measures is that they have not suffered the ill effects, or yet seen the ill effects, of these machines' impact on the human body, or the psychological effect of the intrusive body patdowns, or the impact on the progression of government intrusion into our daily lives. 
  When 9/11 happened, the first responders rushed in heroically, many without breathing apparatus or protection against the lethal air. Interviews showed them brushing off the use of such devices because of their grief and earnestness to help. Even Christie Todd Whitman, EPA director, absolved the air quality of its filth. Now, years later, we see the result of such impulsivity.
  Will it take years and ill effects for the resolution of this question of the safety of the back scatter scanners?
  It is probably not definitive yet that the scanners are damaging to human DNA; however, there is enough question about their safety that one has to wonder why the TSA has rushed them into use.
  Unfortunately there's money involved from people who have invested in the machines: the money of a former DHS official, the omnipresent George Soros, Deepak Chopra, lobbyists and politicians (3 democrats and 5 republicans).
  This is all reminiscent of an old Twilight Zone episode called "To Serve Man," in which earthlings are enticed by all an alien race has to offer. The aliens are so accommodating that they have even written a book on integrating with the human race. The book is called, of course, "To Serve Man."
  The conclusion is, shall we say, not what the earthlings expect.
  One has to be sympathetic to the quandary of the TSA agents forced to participate in these shenanigans. It's not all their fault, and they will probably be forced to suffer the most significant health consequences of the effect of any radiation seeping from these machines. 
  One would also hope the agents will begin a protest of their own, just as the pilots have.
  One solution for the flier might be to leave for the airport in plenty of time.
  And eat lots of beans before you go, just in case you have to undergo a patdown to resist the scanner examination.
  That might encourage TSA agents on the ground to hurry up their protest.

Congress: Let's go green by burning cash!

Evidence of global cooling...

Fiddle with the facts to get a theory of global warming....

Monday, December 27, 2010

The advance directive vs the prime directive

  It all sounds so simple. 
  Be sure you and your doctor have decided how to treat your illness before you get sick. Of course, you won't know what your options are because you aren't sick yet but that isn't a problem.
  The NY TImes article about the death panels is both orwellian and revealing; the Times reports it matter of factly, as if everyone knows that these decisions need to be made and that the government should be involved. Out of concern, you know.
  Ann Althouse picks apart the piece. Here's one comment:
The question is what do patients want and how what they want will be determined. It seems to me that the effort is to get people to commit in advance to death-hastening choices, by getting everyone to sign these documents. Now, all the new regulation seems to do is to authorize Medicare reimbursements for the time health care professionals spend counseling patients about the value and importance of signing the document. It's hard to see what's wrong with that. If treatments are covered but advice about forgoing treatment is not covered, then there's an incentive to do expensive things.
  As usual, the administration presents it very logically and clinically, in typical newspeak.
  On a related note, Gateway Pundit has a post about PBS's coverage of health care in Cuba. Jim at GP is horrified that PBS, which receives taxpayer dollars, would present such a one-sided, biased, totally inaccurate report. 
  Here is the video in which Gwen Ifill and Ray Suarez report, quite seriously, that health care in Cuba is so much better than in the US.
  What's remarkable about this video is the gushing of the propagandists, as if the average citizen in Cuba has a government doctor in every home. There's also mention that all doctors have only 1100 patients; no one is overworked, though not paid well, doctors see their work as a philosophical calling to aid in their social revolution.
  Jim at GP quotes from a recent article in the WSJ. Cubans are so angry over the degenerate nature of their lives that the country is ready for a new revolution: one that rids them of the ham handed fist of communism. 
  Medical care, unlike Michael Moore's portrayal in his fraudulent movie Sicko which was exposed by Wikileaks as banned as foolishness even in CUBA, is abominable. From the WSJ, via GP:
Dissent is spreading in Cuba like dengue fever because daily life is so onerous. One of the best documented sources on this subject is the Botín narrative (“Los Funerales de Castro,” 2009, available in Spanish only), which pulls back the curtain on “the Potemkin village” that foreigners see on official visits to Cuba. Behind the façade is desperate want. Food, water, transportation, access to health care, electricity, soap and toilet paper are all hard to come by. Even housing is in short supply, with multiple families wedged into single-family homes. The government tries to keep the lid on through repression. But in private there are no limits to the derision of the brothers Castro.
  Cuba doesn't work anymore, as GP points out. Communism has been exposed.
  American Thinker:

Furthermore, Castro's murder tally is not difficult to dig up. No need to consult the ravings of some "crackpot" scandal sheet from us "crackpot" Cuban-Americans. Simply open The Black Book of Communism, written by French scholars and published in English by Harvard University Press, neither an outpost of the vast right-wing conspiracy. Here you'll find a tally of 14,000 Castroite murders by firing squad. "The facts and figures are irrefutable. No one will any longer be able to claim ignorance or uncertainty about the criminal nature of Communism," wrote the New York Times (no less!) about The Black Book of Communism.
The Cuba Archive project, headed by scholars Maria Werlau and the late Armando Lago, estimates the death toll from Castro's regime, including firing squads, prison beatings and deaths at sea while attempting escape, at slightly over 100,000. This project has been lauded by everyone from the Miami Herald to the Boston Globe (again, no right-wing outposts) to the Wall Street Journal.
  Yet PBS continues to brag it up, as if this regime is exemplary of what the US should strive for. 

  Not to sound like Glenn Beck in this cheery Christmas, forgive the expression, season, but this all sounds like what is being planned for the US, step by step.
  Right on cue, PBS issues this extraordinary report on how great government health care is.
  Right on cue, the government took over education grants, with the proviso that the government will get to determine where you practice medicine when and if they grant you the loan. The government's intervention in where you practice medicine and how much you get paid are also mentioned, however minimally, in the PBS report  on Cuba.
  Right on cue, the New York Times is gradually revealing the truth about the so-called death panels. The surreptitiousness of putting the advance directive back into obamacare is a part of the email in which this bombshell is revealed. 
  The writer of the email urges people not to pass the email around, not to gloat over the return of the advance directive after having been rooted out to pass the bill. People might misunderstand, after all, that what the advance directive is really about is, well, what it's really all about: assisted suicide. Giving drugs instead of treatment. The government shedding the expensive clientele or at least drugging them into submission. (Have you ever seen the medicine cabinet of an elderly person? And that's current. What's coming may be reduced to one simple pacifying pill.)
  Is it any wonder Russian immigrants to the US are fleeing the democrat party for the GOP?
  And now, our PRIME DIRECTIVE.
  Abolish obamacare.

Republicans, democrats, funding and the future

  Suddenly the press, viz., Politico, is interested in the amount of money a politician spends on travel here and there in government flying machines. 
  Bill Clinton was notorious for buzzing around the country on thinly veiled fundraising jaunts, and certainly no one could possibly fail to mention, oh, say Michelle Obama's penny pinching extra $63,000 early plane trip to Hawaii or fabulous self sacrificial trip to Spain or flying the dog on a separate plane or The Messiah Himself flying around the country fundraising and charging the country for it...(Notice most of the sources to which I've linked are conservative. The CBS link title is "Michelle Obama criticized as modern day Marie Antoinette, which can easily be inferred as much a criticism of the criticizers as the spendthrift herself.)
  The politician in question is Haley Barbour, whose star has been rising considerably in recent days. Barbour is an interesting character, partly because he is sort of the anti-Romney possible candidate for the presidency. As the Hill Buzz guys repeatedly mention, the Republican party rarely steps out of the mold when it comes to presidential candidates. It's always the next rich white guy in line. 
  And Romney is an appealing character, Hillbuzz's personal experience with him notwithstanding in which Romney appeared to be a foppish, fussy, pampered sort of fellow unused to dealing with the real world.
  The horse race is beginning to heat up nationally. The knives are out and have been for Palin, whose popular influence probably reaches further than any other candidate.
  Some folks are pushing Pawlenty, some Thune, some Mitch Daniels, some Newt. They all have one thing in common: they're old white guys.
  This is also true of Barbour but he's not a traditional candidate. Why? Because he's forceful, practical, down home folksy and strong, rather than the usual go along to get along cucumber sandwich crowd candidate.
  He has more personality than all the other old white guys put together.
  You could picture yourself eating ribs and drinking beer with Barbour or Palin. Not so the others. Certainly not Romney.
  So natch the Politico pulls the long knives out for Barbour. Gabriel at Ace says Palin gains the most from this so-called expose because she sold the state jet on eBay rather than fly all over the country in it. Maybe so. We'll see.
  Also regarding the state of Republican politics, this link to Hillbuzz is a gossipy piece about the state of Republican politics in Chicago. Kevin calls Republicans "The party of stupid." 
  The race for RNC chair is also heating up, as the WSJ today has a comment that Steele is losing support faster than he's gaining it. We'll wait to see if the old "racism" cries start up if he loses his job. 
  The truth is that equality means equal butt kicking when you do the wrong things. If you spend the party apparatus into the ground, if your employees are caught going to porn joints, if you have trouble articulating why you're a Republican, then you're probably not a very good RNC chair.
  Who cares what color your butt is. Kick it out.
  That's true equality.
  Critics are saying that Steele had a most successful season with the Republican landslide on November 2, but the truth is Steele had little to do with it. It was citizen activists, many of whom say the same thing: We woke up. Now we're doing something.
  While some lament (or rejoice) that the RNC is in deeply in debt, I have yet to see any commentary regarding the fact that numerous patriots, knowing full well the financial state of the RNC, spent time studying candidates nationally and consequently donated to specific candidates who represented their interests, rather than delegating that money to others to decide for them. How else to explain Sharron Angle's enormous last quarter draw?
  That citizen interest is, in itself, a change from the way things have been done previously. 
  Now let's hope, as we march toward the next election, that we can pick someone who is a little less traditional than the usual white bread dude.
  The field is wide open, with lots of interesting characters on the horizon.
  The democrats, however, are in a pickle.
  Obama is indeed an interesting character, if not one we like. 
  He is charismatic (my fingers are choking as I write) enough to sway the weak minded with lofty rhetoric about oceans and mountains and how much we need to love everyone and not have nukes anymore. He's good looking (to his cult members, at least), appears to be family oriented, and knows how to mouth the right things (in general) when in a pinch.
  In truth, we all know he's a typical Chicago thug (I respect the presidency, so it feels sort of traitorish to write that) whose heavy hand is transforming traditional conservative US citizens into activists who are increasingly seeing themselves as madcap pirates and legal insurrectionists.
  He has decimated his party into only the most leftwing and increasingly unpopular politicians, who are being seen for who and what they are. (Read it? We don't have time to read the bills! Rules? We don't follow rules. We make em up as we go! In short, DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?)
  Any criticism of Obama, regardless of its origin, is regarded, or at least accused of, racism, the first unfair card to play to shut your critics up without ever having to even explain your behavior. 
  Indeed, democrats are increasingly worried about the insular nature of the Obama regime.
  Though he is adored by the press, he increasingly reveals his absolute contempt for all of them, as the enormous ego that seems to have been nurtured by the people in his life takes over in times of trouble. 
  It looks to be a few years before that party collects itself again, having willingly led the people of this country down the road of regulation, control and heavy handed intervention.
  In short, they are writing the letter V.
  For Vendetta.