Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Autumn Wishes

Last year at this time, I was faced with an interesting dilemma.

The election was looming with the Worst.President.Ever. running for re-election. Simultaneously, I was hanging on to every pitch as the Red Sox baseball season was winding down and the postseason was gearing up. Since I am a realist, and not greedy, I tried to decide between two wishes. So, I asked myself, which wish will it be? A World Series win or a John Kerry win?

Believe it or not, I opted for the World Series win - I truly did. In my humble opinion, I figured the chances were better that a Democrat would win the Presidency sometime in my lifetime than for the Sox to win a championship. Therefore, I put all my effort into wishing for the first championship (altogether now!) in 86 years.

And, oh what a happy year it has been since that fateful October day! In actuality, I'm not certain that Red Sox Nation has ever come down from Cloud Nine in the eleven months since the Big Win. Hardly a day went by this year that we didn't see the replay of the final out - the ball hit back to Keith Foulke, who tossed it ever-so-gently to Doug Mientkiewicz at first base, who promptly jumped in the air with both arms raised. Next, a pile of wild celebrants on the pitcher's mound - you've all seen it, too, I'm sure.

In the aftermath of the Big Win, the Sox ownership has taken the unprecedented step of touring the World Series trophy like a hot rock star. During this year, it has made guest appearances in every one of the 147 cities and towns of Massachusetts, every New England state, New York, California, Florida and many states (and foreign countries) in between. Often we hear the comment that every citizen of Red Sox Nation must have had their picture taken with it. For the record, I haven't . However, I DID get to try on one of the $15,000 championship rings that were raffled off for charity over the summer. And I have the picture to prove it, so there!

Tonight, as I type this, the Sox and MFY's are tied for first place. The outcome of this season remains in the balance, which is torturing me to no end. In fact, I get so ungodly nervous that I can't even watch the games. Regardless of how this season wraps up this weekend, I thank the Sox for all the happiness they've brought us and think they've done remarkably well this season in spite of the rampant injuries to the pitching staff. (Luckily, we have a number of young pitchers who will presumably make next year interesting, but that's a story for another day! Oh, and memo to Sox management: Can you please resign Johnny Damon?)

On the political front, however, I am witnessing the reverse of last autumn. While the Sox are deadlocked for the championship, I just may be seeing the beginning of another historic CHOKE, a la the NY Yankees last year. The Chimp's approval ratings are in the toilet, mere months after he declared his re-election "mandate." Tom DeLay was indicted today on charges of criminal conspiracy and money laundering. Bill Frist will perhaps be investigated soon by the SEC for insider trading. The Chimp and his cronies are under daily fire for ongoing corruption, cronyism and downright incompetence.

So. Once again, I am faced with a dilemma. Do I get another successful baseball postseason for the Sox? Or, on the other hand, do I finally get to see the real loosening of the Right Wing's hold on this country? While I'm still not ready to throw in the towel on our Carmine Hose, the political season is shaping up quite nicely - things are looking ever more hopeful to those of us who have been despairing the lack of decency, the lying, the corruption in the GOP.

So which will I chose? Hmmmm, can I get back to you?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Love That Dirty Water....

Tim Wakefield is THE MAN. Now we just need Schilling to kick it like it's 2004! Go SOX! Here's a good luck picture to carry us through.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Brownie's Still Doin' a Heckuva Job!

Via Raw Story, Mike Brown has been hired as a consultant by FEMA to evaluate the agency's response to the disaster!

This is a WTF moment if there ever was one. CBS News broke the story tonight.

Mitt's the Pits

The governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, is a complete fool. He's using his status as a member of the minority party in our state as a joke as he travels the rubber chicken circuit. No, he's not taking up yet another career as a comedian, he's actually thinking of running for president...yes, of the United States. If he thinks anyone in this country is interested in ANOTHER Massachusetts candidate in 2008, he's really got to be smoking something.

Here's a sample of his "humor":

"Being a conservative Republican in Massachusetts," he told a GOP audience in South Carolina, "is a bit like being a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention."

Bada-bing. For months, this blue-state governor has been pitching himself to conservatives in a way that campaign experts say is highly unusual -- perhaps even historic. Instead of talking about his home state with the usual lip-quivering pride, Romney uses it like a vaudeville comic would use his mother-in-law: as a laugh line.

As in: "There are more Republicans in this room tonight than I have in my state!" -- another joke he used in South Carolina.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Iraqi's: Yes; Gulf Coast: No

This infuriatesKos and infuriates me too. Somehow we have the money to kill innocent people in Iraq, but no dough for the rebuilding of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Sheesh!

Here's a bit:

"Congressional Republicans are not arguing with Bush's pledge that the federal government will lead the Louisiana and Mississippi recovery. But they are insisting that the massive cost -- as much as $200 billion -- be paid for. Conservatives are calling for spending cuts to existing programs, a few GOP moderates are entertaining the possibility of a tax increase, and many in the middle want to freeze Bush tax cuts that have yet to take effect."

Why didn't they insist that the war(s) be paid for, too? Why is that any more noble than taking care of your own country's men, women and children?

Thanks, But No Thanks

The poet Sharon Olds was offered an invitation to the National Book Festival in Washington DC and dinner at the White House with Laura Bush. However, she decided to decline very pointedly in a letter to Mrs. B. Here's a piece of it and you can read the entire letter here in The Nation.

"So the prospect of a festival of books seemed wonderful to me. I thought of the opportunity to talk about how to start up an outreach program. I thought of the chance to sell some books, sign some books and meet some of the citizens of Washington, DC. I thought that I could try to find a way, even as your guest, with respect, to speak about my deep feeling that we should not have invaded Iraq, and to declare my belief that the wish to invade another culture and another country--with the resultant loss of life and limb for our brave soldiers, and for the noncombatants in their home terrain--did not come out of our democracy but was instead a decision made "at the top" and forced on the people by distorted language, and by untruths. I hoped to express the fear that we have begun to live in the shadows of tyranny and religious chauvinism--the opposites of the liberty, tolerance and diversity our nation aspires to."

Speaking of Crooks and Liars...

There are any number of blogs one can read to get the rant of the day, or personal points of view on anything and everything. However, there's a blog that I check out every day, called Crooks and Liars. The specialty of this blog is video clips.

For today's viewing pleasure: Tucker Carlson v. Bill Maher, which is a no contest. While it's not as combustible as Tucker getting eaten alive by Jon Stewart on Crossfire, it's pretty darn tasty. (Be sure to stick around to the very end to hear Bill's take on Bill Clinton vs. the Chimp.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Another Media Hero - Jack Cafferty, CNN

A few days ago, Chris Matthews said that he didn't think Americans cared much about whether there was an independent commission to review the response to Hurricane Katrina. I remember thinking to myself, "why the hell do I care so much and no one else does?" Well, I'm not alone as a new CNN poll says that fully 81% of Americans would like an independent commission. Well, duh!

If you think I'm indignant, check out the video of Jack Cafferty on CNN via Crooks and Liars. It's a complete hoot!

Progressive Politics Plus Religion

The folks who bring us dailykos.com, have spawned a brand new bouncing baby blog, called "Street Prophets." The idea is to give progressives a place to discuss religion, of all things. One of the main writers goes by the nom de blog of PastorDan, and luckily for us, he's not your average man of the cloth. He's irreverent, actually uses language that we all use, and from the posts I've read on dailykos, he brings a unique perspective. Check it out.

Cynicism At Its Finest

This WaPo columnist is all over the Chimp's totally political reaction to Katrina:

"It's hard to say what's worse: The incompetence of the administration's initial hurricane response or the cowardice of its follow-up. Faced with a small hit to his ratings, the president who once boasted of ignoring polls is rushing to spend billions of other people's dollars on saving his political skin. His philosophy is, "It's going to cost whatever it costs." That phrase should be the title of some future history of the Bush era.

The worst part is, President Bush doesn't even think his splurge will be effective. If he really believed that government could overcome racial inequality by targeting subsidies at minority businesses, he should have rolled out a national program long ago. But he doesn't believe anything of the kind. His promises of racial healing are entirely cynical."

Remember Kerry-Edwards? I Do

Here is our proud Democratic ticket, beating on the Chimp while he's down. Why weren't they this lucid last September, eh?

Here's Kerry's best line:

"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.'"

And Edwards's best:

"I might have missed something, but I don't think the president ever talked about putting a cap on the salaries of the CEOs of Halliburton and the other companies . . . who are getting all these contracts. This president, who never met an earmark he wouldn't approve or a millionaire's tax cut he wouldn't promote, decided to slash wages for the least of us and the most vulnerable."

Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall...

*Well, I guess it's not going to be so hard to get Maureen Dowd's column for free after all. The link below is from the Dallas/Ft. Worth paper, which does require registration (for free)*

Here's a beaut of a paragraph from today's column:

"All Andrew Jackson's horses, and all the Boy King's men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again. His gladiatorial walk across the darkened greensward, past a St. Louis Cathedral bathed in moon glow from White House klieg lights, just seemed to intensify the sense of an isolated, out-of-touch president clinging to hollow symbols as his disastrous disaster agency continues to flail."

Monday, September 19, 2005

Steppin' In It

Halliburton Gets Contract To Pry Gold Fillings From New Orleans Corpses' Teeth

(Via TBogg, from The Onion)

"HOUSTON—On Tuesday, Halliburton received a $110 million no-bid government contract to pry the gold fillings from the mouths of deceased disaster victims in the New Orleans-Gulf Coast area. "We are proud to serve the government in this time of crisis by recovering valuable resources from the wreckage of this deadly storm," said David J. Lesar, Halliburton's president. "The gold we recover from the human rubble of Katrina can be used to make fighter-jet electronics, supercomputer chips, inflation-proof A-grade investments, and luxury yachting watches."

It's so sad how true this sounds.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bush CARES about Black People

Frank Rich today:

"ONCE Toto parts the curtain, the Wizard of Oz can never be the wizard again. He is forever Professor Marvel, blowhard and snake-oil salesman. Hurricane Katrina, which is likely to endure in the American psyche as long as L. Frank Baum's mythic tornado, has similarly unmasked George W. Bush.
The worst storm in our history proved perfect for exposing this president because in one big blast it illuminated all his failings: the rampant cronyism, the empty sloganeering of "compassionate conservatism," the lack of concern for the "underprivileged" his mother condescended to at the Astrodome, the reckless lack of planning for all government operations except tax cuts, the use of spin and photo-ops to camouflage failure and to substitute for action.

In the chaos unleashed by Katrina, these plot strands coalesced into a single tragic epic played out in real time on television. The narrative is just too powerful to be undone now by the administration's desperate recycling of its greatest hits: a return Sunshine Boys tour by the surrogate empathizers Clinton and Bush I, another round of prayers at the Washington National Cathedral, another ludicrously overhyped prime-time address flecked with speechwriters' "poetry" and framed by a picturesque backdrop. Reruns never eclipse a riveting new show."

Another New Rule

To all the Talking Heads: No matter how tempting it may be, resist calling the diversity of New Orleans' culture, language, music, ethnicity, neighborhood ...or anything else...a GUMBO! That tired cliche was worn out days ago.

Thank you.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Let's Go, RED SOX

Letting the MFY's get this close is just plain MEAN.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Two Fun Pics for Tonight's Speech

Watching that Idiot President has its rewards. A couple of images from the open thread at dkos.com:


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Maureen Dowd: Free for Now

If you haven't heard, the New York Times will soon begin to charge for access to their columnists. To mark the occasion, we feature today's Maureen Dowd column - another zinger for the Chimp.

I would give a lot to be able to write like this woman, by the way.

Here's a bit:

"The aides were scared to tell the isolated president that he should cut short his vacation by a couple of days, Newsweek said, because he can be "cold and snappish in private." Mike Allen wrote in Time about one "youngish aide" who was so terrified about telling Mr. Bush he was wrong about something during the first term, he "had dry heaves" afterward.

The president had to be truly zoned out not to jump at the word "hurricane," given that he has always used his father's term as a reverse playbook and his father almost lost Florida in 1992 because of his slow-footed response to Hurricane Andrew. And W.'s chief of staff, Andy Card, was the White House transportation secretary the senior President Bush sent to the rescue after FEMA bungled that one.

W. has said he prefers to get his information straight up from aides, rather than filtered through newspapers or newscasts. But he surrounds himself with weak sisters who don't have the nerve to break bad news to him, or ideologues with agendas that require warping reality or chuckleheaded cronies like Brownie.

The president should stop haunting New Orleans, looking for that bullhorn moment. It's too late."

No Independent Katrina Commission (Yet)

Dopes.

"WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans on Wednesday scuttled an attempt by Sen. Hillary Clinton to establish an independent, bipartisan panel patterned after the 9/11 Commission to investigate what went wrong with federal, state and local governments' response to Hurricane Katrina."

New Rule

From Bill Maher (one of the FAVORITES at our house);

..."New Rule: America must recall the president. That's what this country needs. A good, old-fashioned, California-style recall election! Complete with Gary Coleman, porno actresses and action film stars. And just like Schwarzenegger's predecessor here in California, George Bush is now so unpopular, he must defend his jog against...Russell Crowe. Because at this point, I want a leader who will throw a phone at somebody. In fact, let's have only phone throwers. Naomi Campbell can be the vice-president!

Now, I kid, but seriously, 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?!

Now, I know what you're saying. You're saying that there's so many other things that you, as president, could involve yourself in...Please don't. I know, I know, there's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela, and eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote. But, sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man.

Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire metropolis to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two Trade Centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans...Maybe you're just not lucky!

I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. So, yes, God does speak to you, and what he's saying is, "Take a hint."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Bush Era Is Over

There's so much being said about the Bush administration problems, and of course regarding the hurricane situation, that I find it hard to say anything new. So I continue to link to others who have very interesting things to say - and say it better than I ever could. Today, here's one from EJ Dionne (Washington Post) that is just incredible.

"The Bush Era is over. The sooner politicians in both parties realize that, the better for them -- and the country.

Recent months, and especially the past two weeks, have brought home to a steadily growing majority of Americans the truth that President Bush's government doesn't work. His policies are failing, his approach to leadership is detached and self-indulgent, his way of politics has produced a divided, angry and dysfunctional public square. We dare not go on like this.

The Bush Era did not begin when he took office, or even with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It began on Sept. 14, 2001, when Bush declared at the World Trade Center site: "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." Bush was, indeed, skilled in identifying enemies and rallying a nation already disposed to action. He failed to realize after Sept. 11 that it was not we who were lucky to have him as a leader, but he who was lucky to be president of a great country that understood the importance of standing together in the face of a grave foreign threat. Very nearly all of us rallied behind him."


Gotta read the whole thing.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Charmaine Neville's Story

Just when you think that things are improving in New Orleans and there are rays of hope (and there actually are), you come across stories like Charmaine Neville's (yes, of the famous NOLA clan).

Here's a bit:

"Barely surviving the storm, she found shelter at the school across the street from her home. In a flat-bottom boat she helped rescue nearby residents, including stranded policemen. With a crowbar, she smashed a hole in the roof so people could climb to safety. For the next day or two, she waded back and forth in waist-deep water to bring food and drinking water to the growing number of people in the school, but conditions worsened and desperation grew by the hour.

Neville and others tried to get the attention of helicopters from the school's roof. Time after time they signaled for helicopters to help them but there weren’t nearly enough in the air. And they dropped no food or water, either. "We couldn't understand why they couldn’t help us,” she says on the video. The National Guard, she recalls bitterly, was absent."

The Emperor Truly Has No Clothes

This from Newsweek:

"Sept. 19, 2005 issue - It's a standing joke among the president's top aides: who gets to deliver the bad news? Warm and hearty in public, Bush can be cold and snappish in private, and aides sometimes cringe before the displeasure of the president of the United States, or, as he is known in West Wing jargon, POTUS. The bad news on this early morning, Tuesday, Aug. 30, some 24 hours after Hurricane Katrina had ripped through New Orleans, was that the president would have to cut short his five-week vacation by a couple of days and return to Washington. The president's chief of staff, Andrew Card; his deputy chief of staff, Joe Hagin; his counselor, Dan Bartlett, and his spokesman, Scott McClellan, held a conference call to discuss the question of the president's early return and the delicate task of telling him. Hagin, it was decided, as senior aide on the ground, would do the deed."

and it continues:

"The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until Thursday night. Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.

How this could be—how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century—is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace."

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Chimp Approval at 38%

It's amazing how many people one has to kill before the country wakes up. But waking up is exactly what our fellow country-people are doing.

Newsweek: "President Bush could become Katrina’s next casualty."

Friday, September 09, 2005

When God Made Neil

Neil Young, another treasure of a human being, just sang this song on the "Shelter From the Storm" hurricane relief telethon tonight. Amazing!

WHEN GOD MADE ME

When God made me
Was he thinking about my country,
or the colour of my skin?
Was he thinking about my religion,
and the way I worshipped him?
Did he create just me in his image,
or every living thing?

When God made me.
When God made me.

Was he planning only for believers,
or for those who just had faith?
Did he envision all wars
that were fought in his name?
Did he say there was only one way
to be close to him?

When God made me.
When God made me.

Did he give me the gift of love
to say who I could choose?

When God made me.
When God made me.
When God made me.

Did he give me the gift of voice
so some could silence me?
Did he give me the gift of vision
not knowing what I might see?
Did he give me the gift of compassion
to help my fellow man?

When God made me.
When God made me.
When God made me

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sure Wish I Had Been There

A bystander in Mississippi (of all places) told Dick to go fuck himself today. Here's the video, from Crooks and Liars.
From Daily Kos's Hunter today. He says "Enough. It's Over"...from his keyboard to God's ear. You must read the whole post, but here's a key passage:

"When Joe Scarborough and ultraconservative Family Research Council head Tony Perkins are on television discussing the government's failed response to the Katrina disaster...when Tucker Carlson is wading through storm waters with a dazed expression but an odd, new fire in his eyes...when Michelle Malkin takes time out from thoroughly out-frothing has-been Ann Coulter in order to call for FEMA head Michael Brown to be fired... I'm sorry, but the administration spin is spun. It's over. I'm not saying well-funded hacks won't be back with another angle tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, but when even partisans like that are calling you out, your spin isn't so much "tough" as just pathetic and an embarrassment to your country. For once in Bush's sheltered, spoonfed existence, he needs to put Karl Rove and the political machine of his government in a corner for a few days, and get around to doing some actual governing."

Read the rest, it's worth it.

If You Look Long Enough...

...you'll see why this is posted.









Did you see it? They're obviously more honest overseas. This is from Ireland, by the way. (Courtesy Daily Kos)

The Corpse On Union Street

From today's New York Times:

"NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 7 - In the downtown business district here, on a dry stretch of Union Street, past the Omni Bank automated teller machine, across from a parking garage offering "early bird" rates: a corpse. Its feet jut from a damp blue tarp. Its knees rise in rigor mortis.

The sight of corpses has become almost common on the mostly abandoned streets of New Orleans, as rescue and evacuation operations have taken priority over removing the dead. Six National Guardsmen walked up to it on Tuesday afternoon and two blessed themselves with the sign of the cross. One soldier took a parting snapshot like some visiting conventioneer, and they walked away. New Orleans, September 2005."


Well written (By Dan Barry) and dreadful, all at once. You should read the entire story.

Keith Rides Again

You can see some of the key statements of the Administration during the lead-up and immediate aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina, using Keith Olbermann's video timeline. (Courtesy Crooks and Liars)

C'mon, Keith! Keep it up - the country needs you.

Hurricane Editorial Cartoon: Flash Animated

Check this out. (courtesy Daily Kos)

Wanna Hear A Joke?

This is probably going to become a VERY popular link.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Lest We Forget

Here's the damning report of the Administration's cluelessness in dealing with Katrina. Now that the evacuees have moved to better shelter, the finger-pointing and blame-gaming (to quote Scottie McStupid) can really begin. Let's not just go back to our lives as if nothing has changed. Folks, there is a change 20,000 people could be dead. How's that sound?

And from the Senate Democrats...the Security Index. Here's a sampling of how safe we are and how we are being 'protected' from a forthcoming potential security problem:

Homeland Security

Factor by which passengers on mass transit systems exceed passengers on airlines: 16

Funding per passenger the Bush Administration has spent to secure mass transit systems since September 11, 2001: $0.01

Cost of security upgrades needed to protect rail and transit systems as estimated by U.S. transit authorities: $6 billion

Amount of funding designated specifically for rail and transit security in President Bush's budget: $0

Total amount of funding added to the Fiscal Year 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill for rail security in the wake of the July 7 London Bombings: $0

Number of provisions in federal law requiring chemical facilities to establish safeguards against a terrorist attack: 0

Number of chemical facilities at which a terrorist strike could threaten the lives of over 1 million people: 123

Percent of cargo arriving at U.S. ports inspected for WMD: <1

Percent of "high-risk" cargo inspected: 17.5

Estimated economic impact of a terrorist attack to a U.S. port: $1 trillion

Percent of Transportation Security Administration Fiscal Year 2005 budget allocated for port security grants: 2.8

Deadline for meeting port security standards set by the Maritime Transportation Security Act: 2004

Year in which MTSA port security standards will be met if port security funding levels remain constant: 2050

Ratio of federal air security screeners to federal surface transportation (rail and public transit) security screeners: 450:1

Arrested Development

Here's another indictment of the Chimp who would be President...who has NEVER grown up. (This is from a newly discovered site that I'm growing to like.)

Broussard in 2008

Here's a man who speaks some sense. Think he's interested in expanding his administration to Washington? Thanks to Billmon's Whiskey Bar.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Kanye West Was Wrong

I learned today that the Chimp actually does care about black people. (turn your sound on)

Trying to Stem Another Tide

The Washington Post speculates on the damage control going on at the White House. I would be ecstatic, if it wasn't so damn sad.

"WASHINGTON -- The Bush White House is known for its ability to remain in control of its message and image, sliding out of crises with barely a scratch. Not this time.

Despite day after day of appearances by President Bush aimed at undoing the political damage from a poor response to Hurricane Katrina, the White House has not been able to regain its footing, already shaken by the war in Iraq and a death toll exceeding 1,880."

Howard Dean's Statement Re Katrina

"Based on today’s reports, it seems clear that President Bush’s visit today is just another callous political move crafted by Karl Rove. It’s just appalling to see how quickly President Bush and Karl Rove have mobilized a political strategy in their own defense, but simply failed to mobilize a swift response to either keep the people in the Gulf Coast region safe in the first place or aid the victims in the aftermath of the storm.

"Thousands of people have lost their lives. Our nation faces difficult times as we address the painful aftermath of Katrina, yet President Bush is worried about shifting blame and passing the buck? Shouldn’t he be worried about restoring stability, plans to evacuate survivors, and ensuring that our communities have the resources they need to help the victims of this tragedy rebuild their lives? Now is a time for leadership not partisanship. This is one failure we will not allow Rove and the GOP attack machine to spin away with their usual barrage of photo-ops, misinformation, smear campaigns and press conferences."


The rest of the story.

Scottie Gets Attacked

It appears that the White House press corps is getting a backbone. From today's Press Secretary meeting with reporters:

"Q Well, let's talk about it. Are you saying the President is -- are you saying that the President is confident that his administration is prepared to adequately, confidently secure the American people in the event of a terrorist attack of a level that we have not seen? And based on what does he have that confidence?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, and that's what he made clear earlier today, that obviously we want to look and learn lessons from a major catastrophe of this nature.

Q Yes, but you're telling us today there will be time for that somewhere down the road. Well, what if it happens tomorrow?

MR. McCLELLAN: We can engage in this blame-gaming going on and I think that's what you're getting --

Q No, no. That's a talking point, Scott, and I think most people who are watching this --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's a fact. I mean, some are wanting to engage in that, and we're going to remain focused --

Q I'm asking a direct question. Is he confident --

MR. McCLELLAN: We're going to remain focused on the people.

Q -- that he can secure the American people in the event of a major terrorist attack?

MR. McCLELLAN: We are securing the American people by staying on the offensive abroad and working to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East.

Q That's a talking point. That's a talking point.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's a fact.

Go ahead.

Q No, it's not."

Barbara Bush Just Sucks

According to The Nation:

"Finally, we have discovered the roots of George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism."

On the heels of the president's "What, me worry?" response to the death, destruction and dislocation that followed upon Hurricane Katrina comes the news of his mother's Labor Day visit with hurricane evacuees at the Astrodome in Houston.

Commenting on the facilities that have been set up for the evacuees -- cots crammed side-by-side in a huge stadium where the lights never go out and the sound of sobbing children never completely ceases -- former First Lady Barbara Bush concluded that the poor people of New Orleans had lucked out."


Read the rest, if you dare.

Olbermann Rocks! Again


Check out Keith's response to Katrina and the incompetence that is our government.

Here it is...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Blessed Are The Children

You must read this story about some lost children, and how they were finally found:

From the LA Times:

"BATON ROUGE, La. — In the chaos that was Causeway Boulevard, this group of refugees stood out: a 6-year-old boy walking down the road, holding a 5-month-old, surrounded by five toddlers who followed him around as if he were their leader.

They were holding hands. Three of the children were about 2 years old, and one was wearing only diapers. A 3-year-old girl, who wore colorful barrettes on the ends of her braids, had her 14-month-old brother in tow. The 6-year-old spoke for all of them, and he told rescuers his name was Deamonte Love."


and it continues:

"At the rescue headquarters, a cool tile-floored building swarming with firefighters and paramedics, the children ate cafeteria food and fell into a deep sleep. Deamonte volunteered his vital statistics. He said his father was tall and his mother was short. He gave his address, his phone number and the name of his elementary school.

He said that the 5-month-old was his brother, Darynael, and that two others were his cousins, Tyreek and Zoria. The other three lived in his apartment building.

The children were clean and healthy — downright plump in the case of the infant, said Joyce Miller, a nurse who examined them. It was clear, she said, that "time had been taken with those kids." The baby was "fat and happy."


Well, this now makes two stories about the Hurricane in which I have quoted scripture. Maybe it is a life-changing experience?

We'll see.

Political Fallout

It's good to know that grief over the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe has not stopped the Chimp's team from managing the politics. But, of course, this isn't about politics, now is it?

Love Note to New Orleans



By Andrei Codrescu

www.codrescu.com
www.corpse.org

It’s heart-breaking watching my beautiful city sink, but I’m at a safe distance 90 miles away and my heartbreak is nothing compared to the suffering of people still in the city. New Orleans will be rebuilt, but it will never again be the city I knew and loved. I often compared it to Venice because of its beauty and tenuousness, its love of music, art, and carnival. The problem of engineering the survival of Venice has preoccupied the world for centuries, but very little thought has gone into saving New Orleans in the same way. New Orleans was, and it may be yet, a thriving commercial city crucial to controlling the mouth of the Mississippi River, vital to American industry and access to the Gulf of Mexico. Jean de Bienville founded the city here in 1718, ignoring his engineers’ warning about settling a patch of swampland between the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico and a massive lake to the North. The needs of the American republic continued to compound Bienville’s original sin, requiring more and more engineering to correct nature at one of its grandest meeting points. The wetlands that once served to tame the savagery of the winds are gone, victims of big oil and global warming. The seas are hotter, people, and this is the result! Pay attention, global-warming deniers, this is the real thing! The saving grace of New Orleans was its music, its food, its festivals and its poor. This was the most brutal slave market in America and the northernemost point of the Caribbean trade in guns, rum, and human beings. The slaves and subsequent refugees, immigrants, pirates, and quick-buck artists brought culture with them from Africa and places they ran from. New Orleans music traveled upriver and became America’s music. We’ve been a generator of human and cultural energy for centuries, but all this bounty brought the city no careful engineering, no thought for its future, no world-wide cry of help for its inevitable demise. The Army Corps of Engineers saved the city heroically at least once during the floods of 1927, but it was then as now a response to crisis, no forethought, no concern for the future. So here we are, sinking into the water around us, drowning in our own waste, poverty, incompetence, and the greed of those who came before us. This is the time for straight reporting, of heartbreaking stories, of heroic rescues and superhuman efforts by good-hearted individuals and the weary but always-ready charities. It’s not a time for anger, but I can’t help wondering: what is going to survive of our culture? We already know who’s going to pay for all this: the poor. They always do. The whole country’s garbage flows down the Mississippi to them. Until now, they turned all that waste into song, they took the sins of America unto themselves. But this blues now is just too big.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

My Pet Goat, The Sequel

From Editor and Publisher:

"This time, during a catastrophe, the president did not merely dither for seven minutes, but for three days, and his top advisors followed suit. While the media has done a good job in portraying the overall failure of leadership in this weeks hurricane's disaster, it has not focused enough on this deadly dereliction of duty."


Rehnquist

Hey, stop me if you've heard this one already...

People tell me Chief Justice Rehnquist has been dead for 4 days, but FEMA just found him.

*The man hasn't been gone for 24 hours and the jokes begin. I guess the country will survive.*

We Told You So

For all the conservative pundits and true believers out there (and for anyone who is beyond angry at the aftermath of Katrina), I give you this incredible rant.

Read it if you dare, here's an excerpt:

"You say this isn't about politics? Fuck you, this IS politics, real time, real life politics, where the insanity of all your ideas are exposed to the world for the fraud that they are. Tax cuts kill. Ask the relatives of the dead of the Gulf Coast.

Well, motherfuckers, the alligators are feasting on dead nigger and there isn't an Iraqi in sight. And Bush is trying to gladhand his way through a mess which has stunned FOX reporters. I mean, Shepard Smith is calling Fox's talking heads liars ON THE AIR.

CNN rips Bush in print and online after nearly five years of sleep.

Instead of hearing what we had to say about Bush, you called John Kerry a coward, mocked Max Cleland, blamed everything but herpes on Bill Clinton. You enabled Bush into this mess and now you're shocked?

Now, Fox can be outraged, now, Wash Times and Union Leader call Bush weak? Well, his coward ass disappeared in 2001. But you rather blame Michael Moore for that.

He can't even explain the Iraq war to a grieving mother.

So what did you do?

Write the most vile things about her and her dead son. Attacked her patriotism and her honesty."


There's more on this sad story at the link.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Failure of Supply Side Economics

All week, as we watch the economics of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, I keep harkening back to the GOP's philosophy that we have small government and that each of us is "on our own" when it comes to taking care of our civic, educational, social and economic life.

This article from MyDD.com does a much better job than I ever could of explaining why Supply Side Economics (the ol' trickle down theory) has failed us all, but especially those on the lowest economic rungs of our society. Here's a quote:

"And as Kos has pointed out repeatedly, the supply-siders' agenda has been to shrink the size of government until "we can be drown it in the bathtub". We're seeing the true cost of these policies in New Orleans right now. Spending on priorities like fixing the city's levees was ignored while supply-side tax cuts were pushed to the fore. From large scale economic data to the horrific impact of federal budget cuts on one city, these are the costs of supply-side economics writ large."

This article in today's New York Times also provides a good status report on the effects of Supply Side economics. Here's another quote:

"For liberal economists, the data prove that supply-side economics has failed to deliver under Mr. Bush, just as it did when President Ronald Reagan applied it in the 1980's. Rising corporate profits and dividend payments clearly haven't trickled down into gains for people who don't own companies or stock, says Dean Baker, co-director at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington. "The wage gains," Mr. Baker said, "are concentrated in the upper-income level, just as they were in the 1980's."

A good question to me is: what will the Democrats do in response to the Hurricane's aftermath? Not that everything is political, but it appears that there is a vacuum of leadership that the Democrats should take advantage of, especially while these images are fresh in our minds. (Cue Senator Edwards!) If they don't, then they have no value whatsoever to anyone.

Hillary Slams Oil Companies

Go get 'em, Hillary! While we're all somewhat distracted with the news from the Gulf, gas prices continue to rise, and there's a good chance the oil companies will continue to record profits (*sarcasm*). Hillary's got the story right...here.

I paid $3.31/gallon yesterday...how 'bout you?

Two Americas ... Again

Throughout the 2004 campaign I maintained that John Edwards's "Two Americas" stump speech resonated more than nearly anything I heard from anyone else (including, at the time, Howard Dean's anti-war rhetoric). In the aftermath of the craziness on the Gulf Coast, John continues to talk about it (his email to supporters is below). I would say that everything he says here beats all of the politicians who have appeared on camera during the past several days.

If there was any doubt about it, we are clearly seeing the Two Americas writ large this week. I agree with John that most Americas are surprised to see the desperation and poverty inside America. In my daily life I experience this disconnect all the time. I work in a large American city for a large company. Many of the people I see every day of the week are millionaires whose biggest worry is whether to buy the Volvo, the BMW or the Lexus. Another large decision is what high falutin' college to send their children to, or on which Carribbean island they will spend their winter vacation. Often, these people are heard complaining about how high their taxes are.

Will they realize this week how ridiculous they sound? My hope is that we've reached a tipping point, when people begin to see that we are judged by how we treat the LEAST of us. Anywone who knows me, knows I am not a religious person, but I heard a black congressman quote scripture yesterday, and I want to repeat it here (this is from Matthew 25, verse 35-40):

"'For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."

I include John Edwards's email message in its entirety because I think it's vital that we all connect to it. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Dear *Beckperson*,

During the campaign of 2004, I spoke often of the two Americas: the America of the privileged and the wealthy, and the America of those who lived from paycheck to paycheck. I spoke of the difference in the schools, the difference in the loan rates, the difference in opportunity. All of that pales today. Today - and for many days and weeks and months to follow - we see a harsher example of two Americas. We see the poor and working class of New Orleans who don't own a car and couldn't evacuate to hotels or families far from the target of Katrina. We see the suffering of families who lived from paycheck to paycheck and who followed the advice of officials and went to shelters at the Civic Center or the Superdome or stayed home to protect their possessions.

Now every single resident of New Orleans, regardless of their wealth or status, will have terrible losses and life-altering experiences. Every single resident will know and care about someone who was lost to this hurricane. But some, ranging from the very poorest to the working class unable to accumulate a cushion of assets to rely upon on a very, very rainy day, will suffer the most because they simply didn't have the means to evacuate. They suffered the most from Katrina because they always suffer the most.

These are Americans some of whom who left everything they possessed behind in order to save those they loved. These are Americans huddled with their children or pushing a wheelchair between rows of those too beaten or weak to stand. In this moment, we have to remember they are part of us, Americans who love their country and are part of our national community. In this moment, it is hard because our hair is clean and our clothes are washed and our eyes are not glazed with hopelessness. But these are our brothers and sisters, and we have to remember this not just for them, but for us. We must finally recognize that when any of us suffer, we are all weaker; it affects us all.

Commentators on television have expressed surprise, saying they think that most people didn't know there was such poverty in America. Thirty-seven million Americans live in poverty, most of them are the working poor, but it is clear that they have been invisible. But if these commentators are right, this tragedy can have a great influence, if we listen to its message.

The people most devastated have always lived on a razor blade, afraid of any setback, any illness, any job loss that could disrupt the fragile balance they achieved paycheck to paycheck. They didn't leave New Orleans because they couldn't leave. Some didn't leave their homes because they wanted to protect the hard-won possessions that made their lives a little easier.

The government released new poverty statistics this week. The number of Americans living in poverty rose again last year. Thirteen million children -- nearly one in every five -- lives in poverty. Close to 25 percent of all African Americans live in poverty. Twenty-three percent of the population in New Orleans lives in poverty. Those are chilling numbers. Because of Katrina, we have now seen many of the faces behind those numbers.

Poverty exists everywhere in America. It is in Detroit and El Paso. It is in Omaha, Nebraska and Stockton, California. It is in rural towns like Chillicothe, Ohio and Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Nearly half of the children in Detroit, Atlanta and Long Beach, California live in poverty. It doesn't have to be this way. We can begin embracing policies that offer opportunity, reward responsibility, and assume the dignity of each American.

There are immediate needs in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and the first priority is meeting those, but after that, we need to think about the American community, about the one America we think we are, the one we talk about. We need people to feel more than sympathy with the victims, we need them to feel empathy with our national community that includes the poor. We have missed opportunities to make certain that all Americans would be more than huddled masses. We have been too slow to act in the face in the misery of our brothers and sisters. This is an ugly and horrifying wake-up call to America. Let us pray we answer this call. Now is the time to act.

- John


Thanks, John and Elizabeth Edwards. I only hope the two of you are able someday to be in positions of power. We need people like you in this country today.

In actuality, if we had to go through this Hurricane at all, I wish to God it had been last summer, when voters may have realized the inhumanity of the Chimp and his cohorts. By the way, we're hearing from the VP candidate who lost. Where the hell is Cheney? Hmmm?

The fallout continues and it will be interesting to see whether Americans actually demand some accountability - at long last.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Oh, And By The Way...

...the Chimp says "don't buy gas if you don't need it." I'll try not to. In the past, I've often bought gas when I didn't need it - just to look at it. Just to smell it. Just because I could.

Man, he gets even MORE stupid every day.

This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land

Adding something profound to the zillions of words about Katrina on the web is an impossibility. We sat and watched the news tonight and I ended up sobbing at what I was seeing in New Orleans. Apparently, Americans all over this great land are beginning to understand the enormity of what is happening to the most vulnerable among us.

And yet, it appears that no one in a position of authority has a meaningful response. In fact, in some cases it appears that the refugees are being blamed for not leaving the city when they were told to do so before the hurricane hit. Can you imagine?

I am distraught for my country. I am beyond frustration at not being able to do anything.

As someone said to me recently: "If we can't handle a natural disaster, how the hell will we handle a major terrorist attack?" And this: "What does it tell those who would harm us about our preparedness?" Now that's a scary proposition, isn't it?

The Chimp says he's sending money. But right now, it doesn't appear that money is actually the answer. The refugees need transportation - where are the airlines or even small private planes (dare I even say "corporate" planes?), where is the shipping industry with barges, where are the cruise ships? People need food and water.

Looting?
If one more fucking person says anything about "looters" I might rip their lips off. What would you do after being scared shitless by the initial hurricane, knowing your home is gone, your job is gone, and that you have no money or resources? What would you do if you knew there was food and water or medical supplies in a drug store and you were desperate? This is commonly known as "nothing left to lose." Yet, the Chimp says we should show so-called looters "zero tolerance." Well, I say let's show zero tolerance to the incompetence that passes for crisis management.