Friday, September 30, 2005

Homecoming Game

Tonight was the homecoming game at our local high school (and my alma mater). It was very cold.

The football team wasn't very good and lost again, but the band was awesome! (OK, I may be a bit biased since my daughter is in the band.)

The queen crowning was a nice surprise. It was five cheerleaders and one band member and guess who won? The BAND GIRL!!! The whole band was on the field playing "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" and broke into cheers when Kylee was announced as the 2005 Homecoming Queen. I must admit, I cheered, too. Just seeing the looks on the cheerleaders' faces ... well ... it was worth freezing my butt off.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Roberts is the Chief

It wasn't even close. The Senate just voted 78 - 22 to confirm him.

Rumors are that Bush will probably name a new justice this week -- and given the DeLay scandal and their need to change the story, that's probably likely.

New site to learn about newest video games

My son is addicted to video games, so I have to keep up on all the newest ones out just so we have something to talk about. :)

Found this site and thought I'd share it with everyone who is in the same boat as I am.

Click here to become a member of Capcom City!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Indicted DeLay leaves House leadership post

I don't like that it's only "temporary", but it's a start. Get rid of the slime and clean up that town.


Indicted DeLay leaves House leadership post
51 minutes ago

HOUSTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said he
would "step aside" from his congressional leadership post following his
indictment in Texas on Wednesday on one conspiracy count, his office

"I have notified the speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my
position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican
Conference and the actions of the Travis County District Attorney
today," he said in a statement.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Blame Game: Brownie Sez "It Wasn't My Fault"

The Blame Game: Brownie Sez "It Wasn't My Fault"
by Armando
Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 10:12:18 PDT

Former FEMA director Michael Brown aggressively defended his role in responding to Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday and put much of the blame for coordination failures on Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. "My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional," two days before the storm hit, Brown told a special congressional panel set up by House Republican leaders to investigate the catastrophe.

. . . Brown's defense drew a scathing response from Rep. William Jefferson, D-La. "I find it absolutely stunning that this hearing would start out with you, Mr. Brown, laying the blame for FEMA's failings at the feet of the governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans."

Brown, who for many became a symbol of government failures in the natural disaster that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, rejected accusations that he was too inexperienced for the job. "I've overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I'm doing, and I think I do a pretty darn good job of it," Brown said.

You did a heck of a job Brownie. Que cojones. (Rough translation - chutzpah.)

Washington Post: Pentagon Drilling for Martial Law in US

Washington Post: Pentagon Drilling for Martial Law in US

Folks, the headline should send chills down your spine.

Washington Post columnist William M. Arkin discloses that the unusually large presence of soldiers in DC right now is a Pentagon drill in preparation for "Operation Granite", a top secret plan for martial law in the wake of an attack or major disaster (or perhaps just if Bush and his thugs simply aren't willing to give up the reins of power).

Things are getting very, very serious folks. No time to lose; choose where you stand here and now: if you choose to do nothing to resist it, you choose your own perpetual slavery.

Personal Virtue, Revisited (or, Hell Freezes Over)

Personal Virtue, Revisited (or, Hell Freezes Over)
by DavidNYC
Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 13:43:19 PDT
Will the media even comment on the latest Bush Administration flip-flop?

"Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." - Dick Cheney, May 1, 2001

"We can all pitch in by being better conservers." - George Bush, Sep. 26, 2005

Of course, I'm in favor of energy conservation, and ordinarily, I'd be glad that Bush has flip-flopped on this one. But knowing this gang, these are just empty words, without the force of laws or regulations behind them - and a bit of fig-leaf for what will undoubtedly be attempted giveaways to oil refiners.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rotten Spammers

I had to turn on word verification this morning for comments. I didn't want to take this step, but I have had it with spammers!

It's bad enough they fill my email with promises of larger "organs" (and I'm female), cheap pills or whatever else they're peddling, but now they're trying to take over my blog. Grrrrrrrr

So, if you want to leave comments on any of my posts, you'll have to take that one additional step.

It's a Bad Week to be a Crony

FEMA's disastrous performance following Katrina has drawn into question both the hiring of failed horse-trader Michael Brown to head the agency and the decision to fold FEMA into the Department of Homeland Security.

Well, with the news that Julie Meyers, the Bush administration's nominee for head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (a part of the Department of Homeland Security), is also the niece of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the wife of the DHS's chief of staff, we finally understand the White House's promise that their contribution to architecture of federal government would be a bureaucracy-free model of efficiency. They got rid of a lot of paperwork by dispensing with resumes.

What's the excuse this time?

What's the excuse this time?
by Chris in Paris - 9/22/2005 02:41:00 AM

Bush and the GOP had been itching for a war ever since Vietnam where they could fight it there way. The common belief, often by those who never actually fought, was that the politicians controlled the war and that next time, they were going to let the military fight the war and win. (Perhaps they also pine away for living in a military dictatorship as well where pesky folks who are representatives of the people don't get in the way.) OK, so they have the war that they always wanted, they've managed to neuter the press and for a good while had the country buying their story and accepting it all.

So how come Iraq is such a mess? They enjoyed complete GOP control in Washington, found enough dumbass Democrats to go along with it and yet they still couldn't get the job done. They had no plan, but no matter. Criticism came and went like water off a duck's back. Perhaps their response is that it's going well, democracy, blah, blah, blah but Iraq has been a failure and a money drain on the US taxpayer, just like Vietnam. Who are they going to blame this time for a failed venture like this? They rarely accept blame and have carried this torch ever since the withdrawal from Vietnam, so fess up and explain. C'mon, they were all supposed to be experts at this (as they often liked telling us) and yet it's a mess.

If anyone knows who their whipping boy is this time and what the excuse is I'd like to hear it.

Catholic Church: Gays? No. Drug Lords and Child Molesters? Yes. War Criminals? Maybe.

Catholic Church: Gays? No. Drug Lords and Child Molesters? Yes. War Criminals? Maybe.
by Michael in New York - 9/22/2005 02:00:00 AM

In Mexico, Bishop Ramon Godinez is ignoring the pleas of the country's leader by insisting he has no problem with taking money from cruel and violent drug dealers responsible for misery and death all over the hemisphere.
"If they have money, they have to spend it; I don't know why such a scandal has been made of this," Godinez said in a follow-up interview with the Televisa television network Tuesday....

"Let me explain: We live on this, on the offerings of the faithful.
So it wasn't just a one-time slip of the tongue. The bishop said it, said it again, and can't figure out why people are upset. Exactly how could an unrepentant drug dealer be considered "one of the faithful?" As John posted below, back in the US, a grand jury condemns the Philly archdiocese:

The Philadelphia Archdiocese concealed sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests for four decades, a grand jury has found, but no criminal charges can be brought against the church or its clergy because of the limits of state law....

The report names 63 priests "whose abusive behavior was well-documented in archdiocese files and by witnesses who testified" before the grand jury.
Finally, a UN prosecutor says the Vatican is hiding a Croatian war criminal indicted for crimes against humanity in a monastery. The Church says "Prove it." How low can the Church sink?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My dad

This is the hardest blog entry I've ever had to write. We just got the news that my dad has colon cancer. I'm scared.

He keeps saying he's fine and not to worry, but to take care of Mom because she's not doing too well with the news, but I can't help myself.

I've watched him get older and I don't know how to handle it. I'm just like every other (not so little) girl out there who thinks the sun rises and sets because her daddy put it in the sky for her.

He'll be having surgery in late October to remove that tumor that is causing all the problems and I'll be there with him the entire way. I'd appreciate any thoughts or prayers you can send his way.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bush's threats again Iran. Why should Iran care?

Bush's threats again Iran. Why should Iran care?
by John in DC - 9/18/2005 06:38:00 PM

I can see it now. Bush gets the Europeans to join him in threatening Iran (Condi threatened them the other day). And so what? Why should Iran care? What are we going to do, invade them with, uh, an army that isn't sufficiently large enough to even fight in Iraq, let alone continue the war in Afghanistan and the relief work in New Orleans and across the south? What "or else" can we legitimately throw at Iran? We're gonna blow up your facilities? Well that's nice. Sounds like a perfect invitation for Iran to send its troops across the Iraqi border and annex a bunch of land. And what would we do in return, go to war against Iran? That'd be special.

I don't see has Bush has any credibility whatsoever to threaten Iran. If Iran has any balls, and they appear to, they'll just up the ante and there isn't a damn thing we can do about it.

That's the cost of trying to do too many unnecessary things. Eventually the necessary things arise and, well, there's no money or manpower or weaponry left. Surprise!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Open House

Tonight is open house at my son's elementary school, so I'll get to talk to his teacher. I'm not at all pleased that he is in the back of the classroom. I sent in a note that he needs to be up front with his left ear to the teacher and I've been ingored.

My son has had his right eardrum rebuilt, two of three hearing bones reuilt and numerous other ear surgeries. He has significant hearing loss and being in the back of the room, he misses a lot.

Why oh why can't teachers listen? The school is well aware of my son's medical history, so there's no reason why the request can't be honored.

Hopefully, the teacher will listen to me when we're face to face.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bush puts "duct tape" idiot in charge of FEMA

Bush puts "duct tape" idiot in charge of FEMA
by John in DC - 9/12/2005 06:05:00 PM

Guess who Bush just appointed as the acting head of FEMA? Yes, you guessed it. The idiot who caused the "duct tape" scare two years ago.

Yes, David Paulison, a top official in Homeland Security, has just been appointed by Bush as the acting new head of FEMA.

President George W. Bush on Monday named David Paulison, a top official in the Homeland Security Department, to replace Michael Brown on an acting basis as head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This is the same David Paulison who gave us the infamous "duct tape" scare a little over two years ago.

Americans have apparently heeded the U.S. government's advice to prepare for terror attacks, emptying hardware store shelves of duct tape.

On Tuesday, less than 24 hours after U.S. Fire Administrator David Paulison described a list of useful items, stores in the greater Washington, D.C. area reported a surge in sales of plastic sheeting, duct tape, and other emergency items.
Great. So we've gone from Brownie (aka Drownie) to Duckie.

Is it impossible for Bush to appoint anyone competent to head any agency?

Brown has resigned. It means little

Brown has resigned. It means little
by kos
Mon Sep 12th, 2005 at 12:18:38 PDT
So Brown has quit as FEMA chief. Yeay. I'd rather see him criminally indicted. But this is a start.

It's important to root out the incompetents who aggravated this disaster -- the people running the show and those who nominated and approved of them (like Bush and Lieberman). There must be accountability for the disaster, and that accountability must transcend political lines. D or R, we shouldn't care. What's important is to ensure that those at fault suffer the consequences.

But we can't allow this disaster to be framed in the context of a few incompetents and political hacks. Because ultimately, the federal (non) response to New Orleans went exactly according to the conservative playbook. And that's the biggest point in this whole mess.

Conservatives believe government shouldn't exist to help people. That everyone should be left to the wolves.

New Orleans demonstrated to us in vivid color what Republicanism is made of. New Orleans was, in reality, a crowning acheivement of conservatism. That is, until political pressure forced the federal government to lend a hand and those lucky duckies in the gulf coast began receiving "handouts".

While fingering the responsible is important, Democrats need to use New Orleans to draw clear distinctions between the governing philosophies of the Republicans and that of the Democrats.

Democrats would've taken care of Katrina victims from the get go. That would've been our first impulse, our first instinct. Republicans had to be shamed into helping people.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Soldier Not Killed in Action; Kin Not Told

Soldier Not Killed in Action; Kin Not Told
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

Saturday, September 10, 2005

(09-10) 11:23 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --

The Army said Saturday it knew for more than a year after 1st Lt. Kenneth Ballard's death in Iraq in May 2004 that he was not killed in action, as it initially reported. The family was not told the truth until Friday.

Ballard's mother, Karen Meredith, of Mountain View, Calif., said in a telephone interview that she is angry and will press for a full explanation. She is a public critic of the war and has attended anti-war protests in Crawford, Texas, outside President Bush's ranch, with grieving mother and peace activist Cindy Sheehan.

Meredith said she blames the Army's error on official incompetence, not an intent to cover up the truth.

"This news is stunning to me," she said. "People in the Army knew this news for 15 months, and why they couldn't be bothered to tell me the truth when this first happened and to have me go through this pain 15 months later is unconscionable on the part of the Army. It's a betrayal to my son's service," she said.

A letter from Army Secretary Francis Harvey was hand-delivered to her Friday in Mountain View. She said Harvey wrote, "I sincerely apologize to you for the unfortunate series of events that resulted in your not being informed."

Army officials said the failure to notify the family of the true cause of Ballard's death was an oversight. The military sometimes incorrectly categorizes the cause of war deaths. What is so unusual about the Ballard case is that the error was recognized early but not reported to the family for more than a year.

On Memorial Day in 2004, the day after Kenneth Ballard died, the Army informed his family that he had been killed by enemy fire while on a combat mission in the south-central Iraqi city of Najaf. In a casualty announcement from June 1, the Pentagon said Ballard died "during a firefight with insurgents."

The Army disclosed on Saturday that Ballard, 26, actually died of wounds from the accidental discharge of a M240 machine gun on his tank after his platoon had returned from battling insurgents in Najaf.

He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery last Oct. 22.

An Army spokesman, Col. Joseph Curtin, said in an interview that separate investigations by the local commander and by the Army's Criminal Investigation Division concluded days after Ballard's death that it was an accident.

The tank accidentally backed into a tree and a branch hit the mounted, unmanned machine gun, causing it to fire, Curtin said. Ballard was struck at close range and died of his wounds, he added.

For reasons that are not clear, the Army did not correct the public record and inform the family until Friday.

Last spring, it was disclosed that the Army had delayed in telling the family of ex-pro football player Pat Tillman that his death in Afghanistan in April 2004 was caused by gunfire from his fellow Rangers and not enemy forces, as the Army initially reported. The Tillman case is being reviewed by the Pentagon inspector general's office.

Curtin said the Ballard matter was a regrettable mistake and that Harvey, the Army secretary, has ordered a review of procedures in reporting accidental deaths.

"Furthermore, the Army regrets that the initial casualty report from the field was in error as well as the time that it has taken to correct the report and to inform his family," Curtin said in a statement issued Friday night.

Ballard was a platoon leader in 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division. During the Najaf fighting he was attached to a unit of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

On May 22, approaching the one-year anniversary of her son's death, Meredith wrote in a Web posting, "One year ago you were killed by a snipers bullet. They said you were killed instantly. There is not a minute that goes by that I do not remember answering the phone and hearing I regret to inform you."

The 1st Armored Division, which also investigated the death, said in a written statement from its post in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Friday night that investigations had "revealed additional information of the cause" of Ballard's death. It did not mention that the investigations were conducted more than a year ago.

Bush logic: mentioning 9/11 makes everything ok

Bush logic: mentioning 9/11 makes everything ok
by Plutonium Page
Sat Sep 10th, 2005 at 11:50:51 PDT

You knew he'd do it:

President Bush said Saturday that Americans will come together and make the Gulf Coast "more vibrant than ever," just as they rebuilt after the devastation brought by terrorist attacks four years ago this weekend.

Bush plans to mark Sunday's fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by remembering the victims of that tragedy and Hurricane Katrina.

"Our greatest resource in such times is the compassionate character of the American people, because even the most destructive storm cannot weaken the heart and soul of our nation," the president said in his weekly radio address. "America will overcome this ordeal, and we will be stronger for it."

Of course, it's absolutely critical to listen to Karl Rove when it comes to what to say (and how to pat yourself on the back), and what not to mention:

Bush did not note widespread complaints about government handling of the disaster, instead calling on Americans to help with recovery by contacting the USA Freedom Corps volunteer network. He said he signed spending bills this week that will provide an additional $52 billion for response and recovery and called for special evacuee status for people in the disaster areas so they can more easily collect federal benefits.

Finally, the article really nails it:

Bush often talks about Sept. 11 when he is under public scrutiny, and Sunday's anniversary was a natural occasion to reminisce about the attacks as he faces criticism for a slow government response to the hurricane and subsequent flooding. In his radio address, he drew similarities to the two catastrophes that hit the United States four years apart.

"Reminisce" indeed, for as we all know, in part, Bush built his 2004 campaign on his War on Terror™ (or whatever you want to call it).

Tomorrow is a day for remembering, not for "reminiscing". And the Katrina catastrophe will linger for years.

Our only hope can be that Bush's legacy of colossal mistakes (including ignoring intelligence regarding 9/11 and cutting FEMA funding, which lead to the poor response to the Katrina disaster) will not endure for generations.

Here's the radio address referenced by the article.

Friday, September 09, 2005


by Rob in Baltimore - 9/09/2005 12:09:00 AM

Time did the homework:

Now, an investigation by TIME has found discrepancies in his online legal profile and official bio, including a description of Brown released by the White House at the time of his nomination in 2001 to the job as deputy chief of FEMA. (Brown became Director of FEMA, succeeding Allbaugh, in 2003.)

Before joining FEMA, his only previous stint in emergency management, according to his bio posted on FEMA's website, was "serving as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight." The White House press release from 2001 stated that Brown worked for the city of Edmond, Okla., from 1975 to 1978 "overseeing the emergency services division." In fact, according to Claudia Deakins, head of public relations for the city of Edmond, Brown was an "assistant to the city manager" from 1977 to 1980, not a manager himself, and had no authority over other employees. "The assistant is more like an intern," she told TIME. "Department heads did not report to him." Brown did do a good job at his humble position, however, according to his boss. "Yes. Mike Brown worked for me. He was my administrative assistant. He was a student at Central State University," recalls former city manager Bill Dashner. "Mike used to handle a lot of details. Every now and again I'd ask him to write me a speech. He was very loyal. He was always on time. He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt."

MICHAEL BROWN YOU INCOMPETENT LIAR -- QUIT ALREADY. How can you live with yourself? And you don't want the media to take pictures of your monumental disaster? FUCK YOU. You don't get to tell us ANYTHING ever again.

There is more in the article, including the fact that his resume includes jobs he never had.

Bush suspends prevailing wage rule; more profits for Halliburton

Bush suspends prevailing wage rule; more profits for Halliburton
by seesdifferent
Thu Sep 8th, 2005 at 22:35:46 PDT

Bush continues to act outrageously and opportunistically to advance his ideological and political agenda and enrich his political allies in this time of national crisis. He has suspended rules for pollution control, tried to use the crisis to enhance fears about social security, hire Halliburton, he suspends the "prevailing wage" rule in the areas that need decent jobs:

President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.

In a notice to Congress, Bush said the hurricane had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to take such action under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

New elk photo

To get back to a little of my own travels, I'll post one of my newest photos.

While I was at a meeting the other night, a huge set of antlers went by the window. The township supervisor told me to go look since he knew I wanted to photograph one of the large bulls.

I grabbed my camera and followed this elk for about half a mile til he got to a campground and started eating apples. I stayed for about 20 minutes taking photos and wanted to share.

Had to Wait for State Requests

Had to Wait for State Requests
Perhaps the biggest pile of bullshit coming out of FEMA is that they had to defer to local officials. They don't--and the National Response Plan points that out, but that isn't even the worst of it. If they had simply not acted that would be bad.

If FEMA had only done exactly what the State of Louisiana had asked, that's a bit bizarre and strange, but at least fits some sort of bureaucratic model of how things might work.

But FEMA did get involved when the State didn't want FEMA to act

Far from deferring to state or local officials, FEMA asserted its authority and made things worse, Mr. Broussard complained on "Meet the Press."
When Wal-Mart sent three trailer trucks loaded with water, FEMA officials turned them away, he said. Agency workers prevented the Coast Guard from delivering 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel, and on Saturday they cut the parish's emergency communications line, leading the sheriff to restore it and post armed guards to protect it from FEMA, Mr. Broussard said.

It appears that the State and Feds were fighting over basic issues and both bear a lot of blame over that, but to try and claim that they didn't have authority when they were actively blocking particular efforts is just stunning.

There's a lot of blame to go around--Nagin dilly dallying about ordering a mandatory evacuation because of legal technicalities regarding whether he could allow some exceptions (people who had cancelled flights, etc--even with that there was the highest percent ever evacuated and the first ever mandatory evac), Blanco and the late push for National Guard in the City, but FEMA keeps making absurd claims about what it knew and what it could do that are so demonstratively false that one wonders not why such liars are allowed to continue in employment, but how did such bad liars ever seem credible to anyone?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Foreign aid donors still waiting for clearance

Foreign aid donors still waiting for clearance
by Chris in Paris - 9/07/2005 03:21:00 AM

I heard wingnuts early on crying about "where are all of the foreign donors since the US always acts to help others" but in fact the international donors were there, it was Condi and team at State that was foot dragging. The fact remains that besides just people, equipment to handle disasters such as Katrina are over in Iraq. Foreign aid was offered by friends such as Canada, Sweden, France, etc but our bungling bunch of royals in the administration were too busy taking vacations to worry about it.

Since Hurricane Katrina, more than 90 countries and international organizations offered to assist in recovery efforts for the flood-stricken region, but nearly all endeavors remained mired yesterday in bureaucratic entanglements, in most cases, at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"FEMA? That was a lost case," said Mirit Hemy, an executive with the Netherlands-based New Skies Satellite who made the phone calls. "We got zero help, and we lost one week trying to get hold of them."

"As far as I know, it's still on the ground," said Claes Thorson, press counselor at the Swedish Embassy in Washington. He said that along with 20 other European Union nations that have pledged aid, "We are ready to send our things. We know they are needed, but what seems to be a problem is getting all these offers into the country."

So far, Thorson said, the State Department has denied Sweden's request for flight clearance. "We don't know exactly why, but we have a suspicion that the system is clogged on the receiving end," he said.

Michael Brown is incompetent but he is just the starting point for failure so sacking him is only the first step. It's much deeper than just one or two people. $400 Billion in spending for this?

Rove's machine revs up

Rove's machine revs up
by kos
Tue Sep 6th, 2005 at 15:36:37 PDT

[F]acing what is clearly a full-scale political disaster, Rove and a handful of other masterful political operatives have gone into overdrive. They are back in campaign mode.

This campaign is to salvage Bush's reputation.

Like previous Rove operations, it calls for multiple appearances by the president in controlled environments in which he can appear leader-like. It calls for extensive use of Air Force One and a massive deployment of spinners.

It doesn't necessarily include any change in policy. It certainly doesn't include any admission of error.

It utilizes the classic Rovian tactic of attacking critics rather than defending against their criticism -- and of throwing up chaff to muddle the issue and throw the press off the scent.

It calls for public expressions of outrage over the politicization of the issue and of those who would play the "blame game." While at the same time, it is utterly political in nature and heavily reliant on shifting the blame elsewhere.

And from Time, we find out that Bush fucked up because, well, because he was left to his own devices:


It isn't easy picking George Bush's worst moment last week. Was it his first go at addressing the crisis Wednesday, when he came across as cool to the point of uncaring? Was it when he said that he didn't "think anybody expected" the New Orleans levees to give way, though that very possibility had been forecast for years? Was it when he arrived in Mobile, Ala., a full four days after the storm made landfall, and praised his hapless Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director, Michael D. Brown, whose disaster credentials seemed to consist of once being the commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association? "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," said the President. Or was it that odd moment when he promised to rebuild Mississippi Senator Trent Lott's house--a gesture that must have sounded astonishingly tone-deaf to the homeless black citizens still trapped in the postapocalyptic water world of New Orleans. "Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house--he's lost his entire house," cracked Bush, "there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."

Bush seemed so regularly out of it last week, it made you wonder if he was stuck in the same White House bubble of isolation that confined his dad. Too often, W. looked annoyed. Or he smiled when he should have been serious. Or he swaggered when simple action would have been the right move [...]

There was no breaking off from his commemoration in Coronado, Calif., of the 60th anniversary of victory over Japan, but there were videoconference calls and the like. The White House is "very, very slow sometimes," says a former Administration official. Besides, members of the A team were on vacation: chief of staff Andy Card was in Maine; Dick Cheney was in Wyoming; even Condoleezza Rice was out of town, shoe-shopping in Manhattan. Many of Bush's best p.r. minds, including media adviser Mark McKinnon, were in Greece at the wedding of White House communications director Nicolle Devenish. Had they been around, perhaps Bush would not have been accompanied only by his dog Barney when he returned from vacation in Crawford.


Remember, 9-11 wasn't a triumph of Bush's leadership, he was hiding out in the Mountain West while NYC and DC burned. Nah, it was a triumph of Karl Rove and Karen Hughes and their ability to create the fiction of Bush's leadership acumen. The fact we had been attacked by an external enemy allowed them to clamp down on all criticism, and mold their fiction unimpeded by such hassles as the "truth" and "reality".

They'll find the going a lot more difficult this time.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Beautiful Mind Strikes Again

The Beautiful Mind Strikes Again
by DavidNYC
Mon Sep 5th, 2005 at 17:09:32 PDT

Barbara Bush - the woman whom no less an authority than Dick Nixon said "knows how to hate," the woman who didn't want to trouble her "beautiful mind" with thoughts of "body bags and deaths" - has now offered us yet another gem. After visting refugees staying at the Houston Astrodome, she had this to say:

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this (she chuckled slightly)--this is working very well for them."

What a cold, callous, wretched ghoul of a person. I just don't even know what else to say.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


As if to keep pace with the floodwaters, the staggering, unbelievable, yet fully documented facts just keep pouring in:

This time, it's revealed how three tons of Emergency Food and all air rescue missions were halted the day Bush appeared for what a German national television crewand a US senator have now confirmed was a completely staged event.

Bush couldn't be more culpable for thousands of deaths if he'd just started shooting at poor people fighting for their lives in the streets.

Oh, wait; he's just issued orders for that now too.

Please, oh please, let's get him and the rest of those evil bastards holding the world hostage thrown immediately and permanently out of the White House and Congress.

I understand they've finally arranged for some room in Gitmo.

How appropriate.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Chief Justice Rehnquist Dies at Home

What this will mean is anyone's guess, but I hope that the Roberts' confirmation hearings are postponed now. If not for the thousands who have been killed by Katrina, then for the Chief Justice.


Chief Justice Rehnquist Dies at Home

WASHINGTON - Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening at his home in suburban Virginia, said Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg.

A statement from the spokeswoman said he was surrounded by his three children when he died in Arlington.

"The Chief Justice battled thyroid cancer since being diagnosed last October and continued to perform his dues on the court until a precipitous decline in his health the last couple of days," she said.

Rehnquist was appointed to the Supreme Court as an associate justice in 1971 by President Nixon and took his seat on Jan. 7, 1982. He was elevated to chief justice by President Reagan in 1986.


by Hunter
Sat Sep 3rd, 2005 at 16:45:10 PDT
Via AP:

Several states ready and willing to send National Guard troops to the rescue in New Orleans didn't get the go-ahead until days after the storm struck -- a delay nearly certain to be investigated by Congress.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard last Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday.

Paperwork? PAPERWORK?

We are hearing similar stories from all quarters, over and over. It seems the response to the hurricane on the national scale was beyond incompetent, beyond indifferent, and somewhere approaching the line of ... what, exactly? CrapMcFungled? Jackasstrophic? Neroesque?

The top political appointees and candidates, in interview after interview, have decided on their defense. In each specific instance, aid wasn't given because that particular fragment of aid wasn't asked for (or because four or five days after landfall they still didn't know about, oh say, 15,000 evacuees in a major evacuation center.) There are still, today, reports of small communities that haven't yet gotten more than a token amount of aid.

The entire argument is beyond insulting. The reason these communities haven't "requested" more aid? Because they have no working communications. They have no phones. Police and fire capabilities were all but destroyed, in some areas. Medical capabilities, even worse off. And yet it dawned on nobody, within FEMA or "Homeland Security" or anywhere else in this vaunted post-9/11 world, that maybe the flattened counties that nobody could contact and nobody could get information from NEEDED HELP?

Oh, the state and local authorities, make no mistake, they don't deserve anything resembling praise here either -- though when a New Orleans mayor is reduced to screaming obscenities on the radio as the only remaining response to federal lethargy, I'm not exactly sure what more he can do. But it was clear that this was going to be a multistate disaster beyond state and local capabilities before the first squalls even hit the coastline, which is why Bush deigned to designate it as such in advance. We're watching people die, and the supposedly streamlined, remodeled infrastructure designed to protect us from catastrophic terrorist attack crumbled into chaos even when given days of warning, and years of prior planning.

There needs to be an investigation, oh you bet. And we need especially to hear why it's such a goddamn brilliant idea to have political appointees with zero disaster experience heading the efforts to respond to actual disasters. Because so far, all I've seen them do is conduct television interviews, and they can't even do those worth a damn.

This is a disaster in which thousands are now presumed dead, and unforgivably, deaths are still occurring. It's a big enough disaster that professional Bush humpers are going to look like the boorish crap factories they've always been, and hopefully tied to the levees as extra protection before the next disaster. God help you folks, you haven't even begun to see hatred yet.

Friday, September 02, 2005


by Bill in Portland Maine
Fri Sep 2nd, 2005 at 07:01:54 PDT

Just in case you missed the amazing performance of the Republican leadership yesterday...

President George W. Bush said, "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." Well, no one except the entire world and even Mr. Bill.


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went shoe shopping on Fifth Avenue, but not before she played tennis and yukked it up at Spamalot.


The Viceroy in charge of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff said "We're much better prepared than we've ever been." I'm not sure if that was before or after he reminded us that September is National Preparedness Month, so be sure to stock up on duct tape.


The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael D. Brown leapt into action, mustering all the emergency disaster management skills he learned as a lawyer for the International Arabian Horse Association Legal Department (from which he was fired). His money quote: "Paula, the federal government did not even know about the Convention Center people until today."


The Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert said, eh, maybe we should just forget all about rebuilding New Orleans. Because it might cost money and stuff.


The Pentagon, headed by Donald Rumsfeld, reassured America that, yes, the Country music hoedown with Clint Black on September 11th is still on, pard'ner! And maybe we'll even break the record for the longest line dance.


The head of the Republican National Committee, Ken Mehlman, sent out an email stressing that now---for God's sake, people---NOW is the time when we must repeal that which is causing our country to go down the tubes: the estate tax.


And Vice President Dick Cheney was still on vacation.


Lookie lookie, Planet Earth, at the leadership of the United States of America. What amazing feats will they dazzle us with today??

If you have any cheers and jeers, this is your thread. Have a safe Labor Day weekend.

DICK CHENEY Has Been On Vacation!

DICK CHENEY Has Been On Vacation!
by Michael in New York - 9/02/2005 12:49:00 AM

Dan Froomkin of The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Dick Cheney has spent part of August at his home outside Jackson Wyoming. A Cheney spokesperson insisted it wasn't a vacation because he'd had some briefings.

As of Wednesday -- two days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf States -- Cheney was STILL VACATIONING IN JACKSON WYOMING. And when was Cheney headed back to Washington?
"He will certainly be coming back. I'm not able to tell you the day right now. I don't have that handy."
Can you believe it? (Kudos to reader Aaron for pointing us to this.) For days AFTER the worst natural disaster in our nation's history:

Bush stayed on vacation. On Monday he went to Arizona to cut a birthday cake with John McCain and play politics on Medicare. On Tuesday -- as the flood waters were rising and the death toll mounted -- Bush played politics again, heading out to California to make a speech offering another excuse for staying the course in Iraq (oil!) and jamming on a guitar. He knew he had to end his vacation early (sigh) but couldn't bring himself to head straight to Washington DC. So Bush went BACK to Crawford for one more cozy night of rest before finally heading back to Washington DC on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Condi Rice is in the midst of a THREE DAY vacation that began AFTER the hurricane struck New Orleans. She's gone to a Broadway show, played tennis with Monica Seles and reportedly bought really expensive Ferragamo shoes.


Every damn reporter in this country better insist on asking again and again and again exactly what Cheney and Rice have been doing these last few days and why the HELL THEY WEREN'T BACK IN WASHINGTON DC DEALING WITH THE WORST DISASTER IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY.

If this doesn't wake people up to their utter callousness, stupidity and contempt for average Americans -- especially at a time of the most dire crisis -- well, then nothing will.

Bush is relaxing in Crawford, Condi is going to a Broadway show and Dick Cheney is probably fly fishing -- all AFTER the hurricane struck.


Left Behind

Left Behind
by Hunter
Fri Sep 2nd, 2005 at 00:10:40 PDT

The last twelve hours of news coverage has been nearly overwhelming. Anderson Cooper, Paula Zahn, others, even unapologetic partisans like Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson -- everyone is asking where the government is. (No, I haven't turned to Fox News. I don't have the heart, today.) Anderson Cooper lost it interviewing Sen. Mary Landrieu, countering her litany of thank-yous to a series of politicians with his own encounter with rats eating a body that had been left abandoned in the street for 48 hours. Paula Zahn boggled at FEMA director Michael Brown's declaration that the reason about 15,000 shelter seekers at the New Orleans Convention Center have gone without food or water since the day of the hurricane is because FEMA didn't even know the refugees were there until today.

The common televised theme is of reporters traveling to hard hit areas in New Orleans or the smaller communities, and reporting no FEMA presence, no National Guard presence, no food, no water, no help -- and this is day 5. "Where is the government?" has been the predominant theme of the day. Apologists are being met with barely concealed disgust, in more and more quarters. Bush administration cuts to the levee system are being widely reported. FEMA inaction is being roundly criticized by ever-more-urgent live feeds from disheveled media figures with stunned expressions.

The Convention Center situation appears to be horrific, with deaths of elderly and infants due to dehydration already now occurring. It's not clear if anything can be or is being done tonight, or how many will die between now and the morning, or what will happen then.

The lawlessness is rampant. It's important to note, however, that the lawlessness wasn't rampant on Monday. It wasn't rampant on Tuesday. We heard only twinges of it on Wednesday. Today, from the sounds of the reports, a city devoid of all hope devolved into absolute chaos.

It is nighttime again in New Orleans, and after four days of no food, no water, no communications, no security forces, and no apparent discernible plan that they can see, trust and hope that rescuers will arrive seems all but gone. If the forces had arrived on Tuesday, things would be different.

It is simply too stunning, too shocking, too soul-draining. Nobody knows where the emergency relief has been. Nobody can quite understand why the response to the catastrophe only now seems shuddering to life.

The politics are omnipresent, but present only a hollow shell behind which a sea, an absolute frothing sea, of much worse realizations are crowding every mind. This was a disaster the country had been preparing for. This was one of the disasters most predicted, most feared, most planned for. There was two days of advance warning, as the massive, category 5 hurricane shifted purposefully towards New Orleans. This was no terrorist attack -- this time, there was warning. This time, there was knowledge.

And yet, the much-reshuffled domestic security resculpted as a result of 9-11 simply didn't show up. It wasn't there. FEMA, which has been hacked, shuffled, and gutted in the last few years, proved unable to respond to a catastrophic emergency situation. The catastrophic emergency situation, along the Gulf Coast, the one that sounded the alarms two days before landfall, the one that triggered the warnings of nightmare scenarios known for years in advance, and yet if there was any advance plan at all, any knowledge at all, any fathoming at all of how to respond in the fourty-eight hours most critical for the survival of the victims, it didn't show up. The roads were clogged, the islands were flooded, the levees were breached, and homeland security wasn't there, leaving each state, each town, each police force, each wrecked band of shell-shocked survivors to fend, and make do, while convoys were organized and strategies prepared with seeming obliviousness to the urgency of the numbers and clocks. There is... almost nothing meaningful to say.

The apparent and most likely explanations for the failure, known long before the fact, are almost shattering when reread today, while the ongoing catastrophe unfolds around us.

We have witnessed two disasters this week. The first was an act of nature. The second was not. The second disaster, still ongoing, is unforgivable.

That's the only word that comes to mind, a word I keep repeating to myself. These deaths, these men, these women, these infants dying now in these hours didn't have to happen. They did not have to die waiting for convoys to gather outside their city or for reservists to stand alongside their shattered police forces. They did not have to wait in darkness and fear for help to arrive, only to struggle for days without that help ever coming.

This is not politics. This is not partisanship.

This is unforgivable.

Santorum is dancing while Bush fiddles

I spent yesterday afternoon listening to Sen. Rick Santorum dance around issues at a check presentation. Afterwards, I chased him down to ask about the report of the Canadian "DART" team being turned away. He tried to run and didn't want to talk to reporters, but I'm very persistant.

This is part of my article:


When questioned about this report by the ERA, Santorum said he had no idea why they were turned away and hadn’t heard about it, but stated “we may not need them.” However, in a statement to CNN, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said, "This is a desperate SOS. Right now we are out of resources at the convention center and don't anticipate enough buses. We need buses. Currently the convention center is unsanitary and unsafe and we're running out of supplies."

Santorum told residents that it’s time to open up their homes to the close to one million refugees from Katrina. He also felt that universities should allow students displaced to attend their school. “Penn State should allow them in free of charge, so they don’t lose a year of their education,” Santorum said.


I'm sure he won't be too pleased by the coverage from my paper, but I'm tired of being fed BS and told it's prime rib.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Canadian aid not allowed to get to LA

Things that make you want to scream"

Okay, first this article:


A specialized urban search and rescue team from Vancouver will be joining the rescue efforts in Louisiana in the wake of hurricane Katrina.

B.C. Solicitor General John Les said the province decided to send Vancouver Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) after officials in Louisiana asked for help.

"We're the first non-U.S.-based team to be requested," said Les. "They're going to be helping as many people as they can."

CTV Vancouver has learned that the team will board a plane Wednesday night heading to Lafayette, Louisiana, where local authorities will direct them to devastated areas.


Sounds great! Except for one problem -- this team wasn't allowed to fly into the US, blocked by Homeland Security from entering. A Canadian reader sends this report:

On last night's news, CTV (Canadian TV) said that support was offered from Canada. Planes are ready to load with food and medical supplies and a system called "DART" which can provide fresh water and medical supplies is standing by. Department of Homeland Security as well as other U.S. agencies were contacted by the Canadian government requesting permission to provide help. Despite this contact, Canada has not been allowed to fly supplies and personnel to the areas hit by Katrina. So, everything here is grounded. Prime Minister Paul Martin is reportedly trying to speak to President Bush tonight or tomorrow to ask him why the U.S. federal government will not allow aid from Canada into Louisiana and Mississippi. That said, the Canadian Red Cross is reportedly allowed into the area.

Canadian agencies are saying that foreign aid is probably not being permitted into Louisiana and Mississippi because of "mass confusion" at the U.S. federal level in the wake of the storm.


Once the hard-hit region is back on its feet, there better be a full accounting of the preparation and response to this catastrophe.

Crisis Point

Folks, This will be an important thread that will need to be monitored in the coming days. I can't cut and paste all of the crisis points right now...stay tuned.... This is THE year folks. Top off your preps now.

The thing that many people are not figuring out yet is the bigger disaster about to happen.

The Mississippi River is impassable to barge traffic. That means nothing will go north that is imported in (oil, coffee, sugar) and nothing exported out (grains, steel, etc.).

Nothing will move until all the channels are cleared and the levys stabilized.


Game over.