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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Why Does Paul Krugman Hate America?

He must. Only the most depraved commie baby-stomper would encourage patriotic, red-blooded Americans to play "Find the Brownie" and "Two degrees of Jack Abramoff".

For the politically curious seeking entertainment, I'd like to propose two new trivia games: "Find the Brownie" and "Two Degrees of Jack Abramoff."

The objective in Find the Brownie is to find an obscure but important government job held by someone whose only apparent qualifications for that job are political loyalty and personal connections. It's inspired by President Bush's praise, four days after Katrina hit, for the hapless Michael Brown, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." I guess it depends on the meaning of the word heck.

There are a lot of Brownies. As Time magazine puts it in its latest issue, "Bush has gone further than most presidents to put political stalwarts in some of the most important government jobs you've never heard of." Time offers a couple of fresh examples, such as the former editor of a Wall Street medical-industry newsletter who now holds a crucial position at the Food and Drug Administration.

A tipster urged me to look for Brownies among regional administrators for the General Services Administration, which oversees federal property and leases. There are several potential ways a position at G.S.A. could be abused. For example, an official might give a particular businessman an inside track in the purchase of government property - the charge against David Safavian, who was recently arrested - or give a particular landlord an inside track in renting space to federal agencies.

Some of the regional administrators at G.S.A. are longtime professionals. But the regional administrator for the Northeast and Caribbean region, which includes New York, has no obvious qualifications other than being the daughter of the chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State. The regional administrator for the Southwest, appointed in 2002 after a failed bid for his father's Congressional seat, is Scott Armey, the son of Dick Armey, the former House majority leader.

You get the idea. Go ahead, see what - or rather who - you can come up with.

Jack Abramoff is a lobbyist who was paid huge sums by clients such as casino-owning Indian tribes and sweatshop operators on Saipan. Two Degrees of Jack Abramoff is inspired by the remarkable centrality of Mr. Abramoff, who was indicted last month on charges of fraud, in Washington's power structure.

The goal isn't to find important political players who were chummy with Mr. Abramoff - that's too easy. Instead, you have to find people linked by employment. One degree of Jack Abramoff is someone who actually worked for the lobbyist. Two degrees is a powerful Washington figure who hired someone who formerly worked for Mr. Abramoff, or who had one of his own former employees go to work for Mr. Abramoff.

Grover Norquist, the powerful antitax lobbyist, is a one-degree man. Mr. Norquist was Mr. Abramoff's campaign manager when he ran for chairman of the College Republican National Committee, then became his executive director. And don't dismiss this as kid stuff: as Franklin Foer explains in The New Republic, the college Republican organization pays serious salaries and has been a steppingstone for the likes of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove.

Mr. Rove, by the way, is a two-degree man. He hired Susan Ralston, Mr. Abramoff's personal assistant, as his own personal assistant. For those unfamiliar with what that means, Ms. Ralston became Mr. Rove's gatekeeper - the person who determined who got to see the great man.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Rush Limbaugh Wants You To Talk About Global Warming

The Progressive Bloggers Union is encouraging me to write about Global Warming today, and I'm assuming they want me to take the Bush Administration to task for not doing anything about global warming.

Here's why I'm not going to do that.

On my drive home from Buffalo the other day, I listened to Rush Limbaugh, and his entire broadcast focused on global warming. While there is practically consensus in the scientific community on climate change, making this the cornerstone of our criticism of the Bush Administration's environmental policy is sheer folly.

The reason I say this is because science isn't the bible, and the whole notion of science "proving" anything is antithetical to the scientific method. Unlike dogma, science is always interested in testing a hypothesis, and incorporating new variables into the equation. This is why, despite mounds of evidence, it took decades to establish a causal link between smoking and cancer.

Instead of focusing on global warming, the environmental movement would be better off focusing on emissions, clean air, and clean water. These are the environmental issues most likely to persuade Americans that this administration isn't representing them.

But don't take my word for it, ask the nation's oldest and largest environmental group:

The Bush administration has systematically undermined environmental laws, weakened pollution and public safety standards, cut funding for enforcement agencies and programs, and nominated agency and judicial appointees that are openly hostile to environmental and public health protections. Despite stating on his website, "When government and landowners and conservationists and others work together, we can make dramatic progress in preserving the beauty and the quality of our environment,"( George W. Bush has compiled one of the worst environmental records of any President in the history of the United States.

Read It:

Of course those who can craft a compelling argument against global warming should do so--especially climatologists--but it seems to me the most expedient arguments are those that hit home with everyday people--the gutting of Nixon's Clean Air and Water Acts, loosened restrictions on mercury pollution, hog lots, etc.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What If They Had A War, And Nobody Paid?

From The Observer:

An extraordinary appeal to Americans from the Bush administration for money to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq has raised only $600 (£337), The Observer has learnt. Yet since the appeal was launched earlier this month, donations to rebuild New Orleans have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars.

The public's reluctance to contribute much more than the cost of two iPods to the administration's attempt to offer citizens 'a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq' has been seized on by critics as evidence of growing ambivalence over that country.

Maybe we're just using the wrong approach...How about a bake sale at SuperValu to buy a bomber?

I guess it's a lot easier to send someone else's kids and spend someone else's money than put your money where your mouth is.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Ascendancy of Federal Troops (Continued)

I think my initial hunch was correct--when people have talked about hurricanes in the past, they didn't use the term "federal troops" as often as they do now.

What I think is actually happening is that we're hearing a lot more about "federal troops" because the National Guard and Coast Guard have needed reinforcement. In past hurricanes and national disasters, you didn't hear as much about federal troops because federal troops weren't necessary, and the government wanted to avoid legal and constitutional isssues related to the Posse Commitatus Act if at all possible.

It's not a conspiracy, but rather the logical consequence of a massive storm coupled with having 1/3 of the national guard in Iraq. It's completely natural, too, that some slacker reporters might muddle terminology.

Nevertheless, I could see how the muddying of terms could serve political interests. For example, if the Federal Troops umbrella covers all military and quasi-military forces, then people will begin to associate any respose other than those of NGOs as the activity of the Federal government. For better or worse, the association of the Federal Govm't. with the military would become greater. I could see how both Democratic and Republican tacticians could use that to their advantage. If someone associated with crafting purely polical responses to the tragedy hasn't noticed this yet, I'd be suprised.

The combined effect of hearing "Federal Troops" over and over again made me speculate that General Sherman was heading south for another campaign. I really have to wonder if hearing that term over and over again might rub some southerners the wrong way. I also wonder why, when we refer to soldiers in Iraq, we don't use the same "federal troops" label.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Orwell's Federal Troops: More Fun With Google

File Under: Ministry of Truth

Search Results:

That was then:

Your search - "Federal Troops" - did not match any articles between 1 Aug 2005 and 28 Aug 2005.

This is now:

Results 1 - 10 of about 518,000 for "Federal Troops". (0.30 seconds)

Driving back from Buffalo yesterday, I listened to ABC news coverage of Hurricaine Rita. Every time they spoke of the military being involved, they used the term "Federal Troops".

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this term hasn't been used in the mainstream media coverage of any storm relief effort prior to Katrina.

Cached Google searches focusing on news reports prior to Aug. 15th record no search results referring to "federal troops" in any other context than Civil War re-enactments.

While the term is technically corrrect--national guardsmen, coast guardians, army troops, etc. are all federal troops--why has it suddenly become en vogue?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Congo Model in Iraq

Did British commandos stage a terrorist attack in Baghdad?

It sure looks that way...

The police attempted to stop the men, who were disguised as Arabs in local garb over their T-shirts and trousers. The men wore black-hair wigs and, according to some reports, typical headresses.

And they also carried a whole lot of weapons, including explosives and other bomb-making materials. They began firing at the police and passers-by.

At least one Basra policeman was shot dead. At least one person in the crowd was shot dead. An undetermined number of others were injured in the gunfight.

The British pair was jailed. Arab television showed the beaten men with bandages on their heads, and their huge collection of weaponry. Basra -- a relatively peaceful city compared to the rest of bloodsoaked Iraq -- had suddenly lost patience with the British occupiers, caught red-handed with all the tools necessary to launch "suicide bombs" against the people.

"...We do not have designs to stay (in Iraq) as an occupying imperial power. Nor are we going to cut and run because of terrorists," Defence Secretary John Reid was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

This event, when viewed through the prism of British colonial and neocolonial history gives the lie to Reid's claim. If you're not there to become an occupying power, why are the bases you're built referred to as 'enduring bases'? If you're not there to become an occupying power, why do you seem to be engaged in clandestine operations with the intent of inflaming sectarian outrage? What other possible motive could there be?

If this is indeed the case, it's exactly what the British did in Nigeria--pitting Hausa against Igbo, Igbo against Yorouba, and so forth...Why? The classic divide-and-conquer strategy.

Look at the British military presence in Africa: Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Congo...Colton, Rubber, and Oil: these precious commondities are always paired with warfare and tremendous exploitation of natural resources by neocolonial powers and multinationals.

What is happening now in Iraq is what could be known as the "Congo Solution".

In the midst of a chaotic civil war in the Congo, multinational corporations have found they can make a handsome profit. The assumption used to be that peace was the necessary precursor to prosperity. The dirty secret of the Congo is that neocolonial powers and multinationals have discovered the opposite is true.

As long as military contractors can provide multinationals with a secure perimeter around a resource-rich area, a containable conflict helps maximize profit.

...Based upon my experience in the developing world, that's my take on it...What do you think?

First Source:
Second Source:

Third Source:

Quebec 1, Wal-Mart O

Quebec's labor relations board has rejected Wal-Mart Canada's claim that it closed a unionized store in that province for economic reasons, saying instead that there was evidence the store might reopen.

In a decision released late last week, the board said that it did not find the April closing of the store in Jonquière to be "real, genuine and definitive" under the province's law. The decision makes it possible that the company could be fined and that compensation could be ordered for about 190 former employees.

Read It:
Greg Palast Speaks, I Quote

...But I could not, like Hitchens, shill for Mr. Bush's war of "liberation." I could see where it would end. When a snake devours a rat, it doesn't liberate the captive mice. The mice are "saved" -- for lunch.

But it is not good enough for the Left to oppose Mr. Bush's re-colonization of Iraq. We needed to have actively supported Iraqis fighting to remove their Mesopotamian Stalin. And now, we'd better come up with something a little less nutty than a recent suggestion by one otherwise thoughtful writer that we, "unconditionally support the insurgency" of berserker killers and fundamentalist madmen. If that's the Left's program for Iraq, count me out.

We can't define ourselves as the "anti-Bush," blindly supporting those he opposes, and thereby letting the nitwit Napoleon in the White House pick our enemies for us. Nor can our revulsion for Bush's horrors throw us into the arms of swamp-things like George Galloway.

Read It:

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Top 1%

We all knew they would eventually conquer the world.

Dan Stout and Faust Gertz have officially become internet demigods via their website Manufactured Environments.

Their eclectic, hip, and technologically literateblog is ranked in the top 1% of all blogs according to technorati.

Congratulations, guys, and thanks for still returning my calls.

John Kerry is pissed:

Katrina is a symbol of all this administration does and doesn't do. Michael Brown -- or Brownie as the President so famously thanked him for doing a heck of a job - Brownie is to Katrina what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq; what George Tenet is to slam dunk intelligence; what Paul Wolfowitz is to parades paved with flowers in Baghdad; what Dick Cheney is to visionary energy policy; what Donald Rumsfeld is to basic war planning; what Tom Delay is to ethics; and what George Bush is to “Mission Accomplished” and "Wanted Dead or Alive." The bottom line is simple: The "we'll do whatever it takes" administration doesn't have what it takes to get the job done.

This is the Katrina administration.

I agree with you John, but why did you have to have such a glass jaw on the campaign trail? You picked a fine time to start fighting.
You Want It, You Got It: The Looting Continues

Say what you want about the neocons, but you can't say they aren't optimistic.

Their patron saint, Reagan, once remarked that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter", painting a rosy picture of the Contras. Now, these folks from the sunny side of the street see a tremendous opportunity in the aftermath of our nation's greatest natural disaster...A tremendous opportunity to push for a radical right-wing agenda:

Drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, suspend environmental regulations including the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, suspend prevailing wage labor laws, promote vouchers and school choice, repeal the estate tax and copiously fund faith-based organizations. These are just some of the recommendations a trio of hearty Heritage Foundation senior management officials are making to best facilitate the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast.

Read It:

Recommendation? Hardly. It's already happened. No bid contracts worked so well in Iraq, we'll try 'em here!

Some of the first large-scale Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery contracts awarded by the Bush administration were awarded on a no-bid basis to corporations with strong ties to the administration and the Republican Party, according to news stories in The Wall Street Journal and other media. At the same time, the administration is using the catastrophe to push a reactionary anti-worker agenda, gutting federal regulations that protect worker safety and ensure quality work and living wages.

Read It:

He's Like The Soup Nazi, But With Oil!

No Power For You, Hospitals! We've gotta get this fresh, hot crude to market!

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina roared through South Mississippi knocking out electricity and communication systems, the White House ordered power restored to a pipeline that sends fuel to the Northeast.

That order -- to restart two power substations in Collins that serve Colonial Pipeline Co. -- delayed efforts by at least 24 hours to restore power to two rural hospitals and a number of water systems in the Pine Belt.

(Thanks to Faust of Manufactured Environments for the article)

Read It:

We're Not Playing The Blame Game*

* Official copywrited slogan of the Bush Administration. Certain restrictions apply. "We" does not refer to Karl Rove or any other senior administration official whose sole purpose is to engage in the blame game. Slogan not valid in all areas.

Faust pointed out this one too:

Federal officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, documents show.

The Clarion-Ledger has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the U.S. Department of Justice sent out this week to various U.S. attorneys' offices: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

Read It:

Friday, September 16, 2005

Rove's Katrina Plan

Huffington writes:

So here is the White House’s Katrina Plan in a nutshell: block any independent examination of its failings, put the Einstein of damage control in charge of reconstructing New Orleans, keep the dead bodies out of sight, try to get away with general platitudes and palliatives, offer watered-down acceptances of “responsibility” while trying to pin everything you can on local yokels and fall guys like Brownie, and let Bush’s corporate cronies get fat on hefty no-bid reconstruction contracts.

Read "Karl Rove's Big Easy"

No-bid contracts! You've gotta be kidding me. Could your local government get away with it? Is there anything less befitting of a democracy? Will anyone in the press corps ask what possible justification there could be for hiring Fluor, Bechtel, and Halliburton to "fix" New Orleans?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bill Maeher on Bush:

Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you anymore. There's no more money to spend. You used up all of that. You can't start another war because you also used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people.

Yeah, listen to your mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit card's maxed out, and no one is speaking to you: mission accomplished! Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service. And the oil company. And the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or spaceman?!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Blame Game, Republican-Style

The latest right wing tack on the disaster in New Orleans is to pin the blame on "the welfare state" and its purported architects:

"Oh, look how poor the population --" Well, what do you expect when you have a welfare state mentality as your city government? I mean, I'm not even being critical. I'm just trying to point out something obvious here! That -- talking about this for 18 years, folks -- socialism versus capitalism; entrepreneurialism and self-reliance versus the entitlement mentality -- so much on display here. That's what nobody's got the guts to say...We are not going to be lectured to by a bunch of people who ran New Orleans and Louisiana for 60 years and gave us what we just saw on TV the last week. We are not going to be lectured to.".

Rush Limbaugh, Sept. 1st

Is there anyone actually dumb enough to follow Bush down the primrose path to complete denial of political reality over the last century?

The fact is that Louisiana has always been a state where ideologies like Limbaugh's have held sway. You can point to Democratic leadership historically, but how much of that leadership was actually Dixiecrat?

Consider the current congressional caucus from LA: Jindal(R), Alexander(R),Baker(R), Boustany(R), MCCrery(R),Melancon(D),Jefferson(D), and Landreiu (D).

Of the Democrats listed above, with the possible exception of Jefferson, their voting records have led them to be referred to as "DINOS": Democrats in Name Only.

That's the quandry for Republicans. If you control all three branches of government and the majority of the press, who is there left to blame?

Why the corrupt, liberal Democratic local government, of course...But wait...there's only one problem with this approach. The designated scapegoat, New Orleans mayor Roy Nagin, is also a DINO:

* In 2000, Nagin supported George W. Bush (R) for president.
* In 2002, Nagin got elected mayor, saying he was a Democrat (D).
* In 2003, Nagin supported Bobby Jindal (R) for governor over Democrat Kathleen Blanco

The Louisiana Democratic Party, is a far cry from the Minnesota DFL. Lousiana is a Red State, and its policies prior to the disaster practically made it a posterboy for the values you espouse.

Lousiana is the consummate low tax, low service state conservatives love, and tragedies like this are more a consequence of a warfare state than a welfare state.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Aunty Linda Knows What's Up

The succinct summary in cartoon form by Wasserman:

I Get Hate Mail

Yesterday, I received a prototypical forwarded, hate-filled email. It went a little something like this:

"Congress, do you get it? Wake up!


1. 1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by
a. Superman
b. Jay Leno
c. Harry Potter
d. a Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40"

The chain email then mentions the 1972 Munich Olympics, the takeover of the Iranian Embassy, the original bombing of the World Trade Center, etc--all with the familiar tag line. I bet you can see where it's headed...

"11. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to
take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed
into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers.
Thousands of people were killed by:
a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr. Bean
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

12. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
a. Enron
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The NFL
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

Come on people, wake up!!! Keep this going. Pass it on to everyone in your
address book. Our Country and our troops need our support.

And guess who just bombed London?"

Here is my response:

The "History Test" you forwarded is from an organization called "ROPMA", which stands for "Religion of Peace, My Ass". While the message is ostensibly about airport screening, the details of the quiz put forth the philosophy of ROPMA quite succintly: That Islam is a bloodthirsty, murderous religion. and that muslim men between 17 and 40 are our enemies. It's obvious why this message is so commonplace on conservative blogs. If we can label all muslims--not just the bastards that attack us--as bloodthirsty thugs, we can feel better about killing them.

History Test:

1. In 1957 police search the home of a murder suspect. Inside the home, authorities found severed heads acting as bedposts in the bedroom, skin used to make lampshades and chair seats, skullcaps made into soup bowls. This serial killer was...

A. Ed Gein
B. George Bush
C. Curious George
D. A White Male Christian Extremist between the ages of 19 and 65.

2. In 1968, Although it will not become public knowledge for more than a year, US ground troops from Charlie Company rampage through the hamlet of My Lai killing more than 500 Vietnamese civilians from infants to the elderly. The massacre continued for three hours until three American fliers intervened. Those responsible for the killing were...

A. Innocent kids just following orders
B. The Pentagon brass
C. Colin Powell
D. White Christian Male Extremists between the ages of 19 and 65.

3. In 1984, a gunman used a nine-millimeter Uzi carbine, a Winchester pump-action twelve-gauge shotgun, and a nine-millimeter Browning semi-automatic pistol in a San Ysidro McDonald's, killing 21 people and wounding 19 others. This mass-murderer was....

A. Ronald MacDonald
B. The Hamburglar
C. A liberal, tree-hugging pacifist
D. A White Christian Male extremist between the ages of 19 and 65.

4. In 1995, A truck filled with explosives blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City.

The man responsible for this killing was:

A. Bill Clinton, whose affair with Monica made this happen.
B. Hillary Clinton, who secretly funded the mission on behalf of Greenpeace
C. Janet Reno. Remember Ruby Ridge!
D. A White Christian Male Extremist between the ages of 19 and 65.

5. In 2003, the moron declaring "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq while aboard an carrier outside San Diego was..

A. The greatest president we've ever had.
B. The man who is accountable for starting the Iraq War.
C. Unwilling to send his own daughters to fight for such a noble cause.
D. A White Christian Male Extremist between the ages of 19 and 65.

Answer Key: #1: A and D are both correct. If you've answered with B, you're thinking of the wrong serial killer. #2: B and D are both correct. Answer C receives partial credit--Colin Powell paid a pivotal role in the coverup while serving as an officer in Vietnam. If you answered A and you haven't served in the military yourself, you're a dick.
#3: The correct answer is D. Although Ronald MacDonald and the Hamburgalar could be considered partially responsible for premature deaths due to heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, etc, it would be a stretch to label them mass-murderers. #4: The correct answer is D, although I eschew the multiple choice format from a pedagogical standpoint. #5: Answers C and D receive full credit. If you answered B, you don't know our president. He isn't accountable for anything.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Taking Us For A Ride

How much more proof of the moral bankruptcy of this administration do you need? It's time to face the fact that 30% of our fellow citizens will never see this president for what he is.

As thehim of Blog Reload notes:

I'm not even mildly surprised. He could be at the Superdome beating up old people, and 30% of this country would say he was doing a good job.

The emperor has no clothes, and those who don't see it aren't the only ones to blame...Our sychophantic media is bending over backwards to admire the work of the tailors.

Once again, Josh Marshall has the scoop:

Did Newsweek get spun too?

One way or another, let's get this straightened out once and for all.

As we've discussed over the course of the day, the Washington Post ran an article
today in which they reported, on the say-so of an unidentified "senior Bush official", that as late as yesterday Louisiana Gov. Blanco still hadn't gotten around to declaring a state of emergency. This, allegedly, had prevented a more rapid federal response.

Only this claim seemed to be belied by a copious public record, not least of which was the actual declaration of a state of emergency dated August 26th, 2005, available on the state of Louisiana website.

The falsity of what the "senior Bush official" told the Post apparently turned out to be so patently obvious that before the day was out the Post issued a correction, noting Blanco's declaration on the 26th.

Yet the new issue of Newsweek says this of Blanco, as of September 1st, almost a week later ...

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco seemed uncertain and sluggish, hesitant to declare martial law or a state of emergency, which would have opened the door to more Pentagon help.

Now, all the rights and wrongs of this tragic debacle will turn on weightier facts than the day on which Blanco issued this declaration. But this claim, which appeared in two major national publications, seems to be patently false. In both the Post and Newsweek the anecdote appears as an illustration of Blanco's dawdling which prevented a more rapid federal response.

The Post got played by a senior administration official. Pretty odd that Newsweek would come up with the same false anecdote on their own, right?

Who's Newsweek's source?
Sara Speaks!

Not to mention the billions of dollars we've spent on our brand spanking new Dept. of Homeland Security.... Isn't the central purpose of that agency to coordinate fast responses to terrorist disasters? Katrina could just have easily been a dirty bomb attack- and look at the woeful un-preparedness and response. Armed gangs roaming the city- shooting at military copters, thousands of people dying in the streets from exposure and lack of medical attention, shortages of food/water, no clear evacuation plan. Look at Katrina and realize despite billions of dollars, the US is not organized enough to adequately respond to a disaster, natural or manmade.

-Sara Noleman McMurry Dady

Monday, September 05, 2005

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Friday, September 02, 2005

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I'm Shamelessly Expoiting This Tragedy

...I'm using it to further my political agenda of impeaching this president. Shame, shame on me...That's what I'm assuming the pious Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit would say.

Shamelessly evoking a tragedy for political gain? You mean, like 9/11, Glenn?

Here's what I'm going to do, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it...

Every time someone mentions the tragedy of New Orleans, I'm going to link it to the war, just like you linked the fu*king war to September 11th, 2001.

Do you know what the difference is? There's actually a clear, indisputable connection between this tragedy and the war.

How about this...I'm able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Why can't I both help the relief effort, and criticize the government that is responsible for the botched relief effort simultaneously?

If you're looking for ways to help, Faust, who thoughfully considers all options, suggests checking out

"'s encourages people to donate short-term
housing to those made homeless by Hurricane Katrina. Already more than
50,000 beds have been offered. While housing offers in the Southeast are
the most useful, people anywhere in the US are encouraged to
participate. Even providing temporary housing for pets can be useful."

If you have any other suggestions, I'd be happy to pass them on.

While it's admirable to encourage people to step up and contribute, the message should also be sent to the administration that disaster prevention and relief is a basic, essential service that people should expect from the government, not "a thousand points of light".

The politicians are on the defensive, and they damn well should be. Americans don't like seeing people die on the streets four days after a hurricane.

If you want to see things like this continue to happen, be sure to vote for candidates whose only concerns seem to be cutting taxes for the wealthy and fighting a war in Iraq with National Guard troops on stop-loss orders.
Krugman on New Orleans

"Last year James Lee Witt, who won bipartisan praise for his leadership of the agency during the Clinton years, said at a Congressional hearing: "I am extremely concerned that the ability of our nation to prepare for and respond to disasters has been sharply eroded. I hear from emergency managers, local and state leaders, and first responders nearly every day that the FEMA they knew and worked well with has now disappeared."

I don't think this is a simple tale of incompetence. The reason the military wasn't rushed in to help along the Gulf Coast is, I believe, the same reason nothing was done to stop looting after the fall of Baghdad. Flood control was neglected for the same reason our troops in Iraq didn't get adequate armor.

At a fundamental level, I'd argue, our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice."

Yesterday Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk.

So America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can't-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes those excuses, Americans are dying".

Thursday, September 01, 2005

If You're A Bush Supporter, I Blame You

I used to say that I had conservative friends, and that I could still get along with those whom I disagreed with politically, but if you're still enamoured with this president, our friendship is officially over. I will be civil. I will be polite, but I've had enough. If you're a Bush supporter at this point, you're not welcome in my home.

Paul Craig Roberts is right. New Orleans is a casualty of the Iraq War:

Chalk up the city of New Orleans as a cost of Bush's Iraq war.

There were not enough helicopters to repair the breached levees and rescue people trapped by rising water. Nor are there enough Louisiana National Guardsmen available to help with rescue efforts and to patrol against looting.

The situation is the same in Mississippi.

The National Guard and helicopters are off on a fool's mission in Iraq.

The National Guard is in Iraq because fanatical neoconservatives in the Bush administration were determined to invade the Middle East and because incompetent Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld refused to listen to the generals, who told him there were not enough regular troops available to do the job.

After the invasion, the arrogant Rumsfeld found out that the generals were right. The National Guard was called up to fill in the gaping gaps.

Now the Guardsmen, trapped in the Iraqi quagmire, are watching on TV the families they left behind trapped by rising waters and wondering if the floating bodies are family members. None know where their dislocated families are, but, shades of Fallujah, they do see their destroyed homes

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Condi To The Rescue!

Once she straps on a thousand-dollar pair of pumps, that is.

This from Gawker:

Breaking: Condi Rice Spends Salary on Shoes
READ MORE: breaking, condoleezza rice, fashion, ferragamo, metro, weather

According to Drudge, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently enjoyed a little Broadway entertainment. And Page Six reports that she’s also working on her backhand with Monica Seles. So the Gulf Coast has gone all Mad Max, women are being raped in the Superdome, and Rice is enjoying a brief vacation in New York. We wish we were surprised.

What does surprise us: Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.

Angry Lady, whoever you are, we love you. You are a true American, and we’ll go shoe shopping with you anytime.


Condi Rice: The very definition of dressed-to-kill.

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If we can just keep the focus on black people stealing stuff, maybe people will forget this:

...Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA [Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project] dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

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