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Friday, September 30, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world
by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Opinion: Bush Has Blood On His Hands, Bob Herbert (excerpt)

Make no mistake: government officials have blood on their hands. Men, women and children - some of them handicapped, some of them elderly or already desperately ill - were condemned to horrible suffering and, in many cases, agonizing deaths. Human beings were left to drown in their flooded homes, in hospitals, in nursing homes and in the street. The American people deserve to know why.

Even as the tragedy was unfolding, carried live on television screens across the U.S. and around the world, President Bush declined to intervene in a timely and effective way. Had he acted promptly, he no doubt could have saved some lives. But he didn't. His inaction seemed both inexplicable and unforgivable, and would certainly be a main focus of an independent investigation.

What is needed now are the findings and the learned counsel of a bipartisan group of distinguished, sincere and dedicated individuals who are capable of keeping the best interests of the people of the United States in mind.

Investigation: Brown Lie Smears Gov. Blanco: Ex-FEMA Head Incorrectly Claims The "Looked At Request" Did Not Include New Orleans

Pre-Katrina, August 27: In the letter that Blanco sent to Bush, she specifically requests a coastal state of emergency: "The affected areas are all the southeastern parishes including the New Orleans Metropolitan area...." Blanco to Bush letter requesting Bush declaration of St. of Emergency.

Pre-Katrina, August 27: Bush Declares Louisiana St. Of Emergency, But For Northern Parishes, Only, Not For Coastal Parishes, Including New Orleans Parishes, Which Blanco Had Specifically Named. --WH ST On Fed ASS For LA.

Map Showing Parishes Covered By Bush Declaration. --Bob Harris.com.

Pre-Katrina, August 28: Blanco sends another request for a Bush emergency declaration, again spelling out the need in specific coastal parishes, including those in New Orleans, that likely will be in the path of Katrina. --Blanco Letter Of Request To Bush (pdf).

Pre-Katrina, August 28: Bush names coastal parishes as being eligible for federal funding to affected individuals, but does not indicate (as he does for inland parishes) that funding will be made available to State and eligible local governments in the coastal hardest-hit area. --St. on Fed. Dis. Ass. For LA.

FEMA House Hearings, September 27: Rep. Steve Buyer asks FEMA Paid Consultant and ex-head Michael Brown why New Orleans was not included in August 27 declaration, and Brown says it was because LA Gov. Blanco did not request that Bush declare a state of emergency in New Orleans. --House Committee Hearings (excerpt). --Politex

DeLay Indictment: Following The Bouncing Money Ball, Austin American-Statesman

According to the indictment:

1. Delay conspired with two officials at Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC) or with TRMPAC to launder $155,000 in corporate contributions to Republican legislative candidates in Texas, which is against Texas law.

2. John Colyandro, the PAC head and former executive director of a PAC connected to DeLay, ordered a blank check be given to Jim Ellis, the PAC's consultant who headed DeLay's national political committee

3. Jim Ellis gave that check, filled out for $190,000, to an arm of the Republican National Committee, along with a list of Texas Republican candidates and suggested campaign contributions to them.

4. The arm of the RNC donated $190,000 of non-corporate money to 7 Texas Republican legislative candidates.

5. Politex Question: Is there non-circumstancial evidence of the alleged conspiracy? On the other hand, in Texas people have been tried for murder and executed on circumstancial evidence.

6. Follow-up: According to the Boston Globe, "some analysts said Ronnie Earle, the Travis County, Texas, prosecutor who brought the case, lacked jurisdiction to bring potentially tougher charges of state election law violations. The conspiracy charge that Earle filed is a broader allegation that could be harder to prove in court, analysts said."

Verse: DeLay Haiku, Madeleine Begun Kane

DeLay's indictment.
Long awaited by Lib'rals.
The delay's over.

We're Reading: "The Complete New Yorker," 8 DVD's for Computer (New Yorker/Random House)


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world
by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Letters: Indecent And Offensive: Signing Up The Poor For War

Politex, Could you please remove the [animated] pix [linked to the actual video] of Bush with the finger? Makes me cringe everytime I visit your excellent site.Even though I do not support the Bush administration, still I find it indecent and offensive.Thank you. --Tomasita

Thanks, Tomasita. What I find indecent and offensive is what Bush is doing to you and I; most of the country, in fact, except for the wealthiest 1%. The pix from the video and the video that Bush made are daily reminders of Bush's attitude toward us, as well as what he's doing to us. If he would only stop, I'd be more than happy to delete his pix and video. --Politex

Politex, I rented "No Direction Home" last night and saw some of the footage from 66's march on Washington that apparently Dylan attended. Point is that the number of folks who demonstrated to see and hear King must have been hundreds of thousands. What do you think was driving that kind of energy and willingness to stand up then, that's missing now with Bush and his gang so blatantly behaving badly. --Stan

I think the difference between then and now is that both racism and the war were more blatant then, the media didn't hide things as well, and a greater slice of our society was involved. We have no draft today. That's why I always talked about the need for a draft of men and women from 18-65 at my book signings during the presidential campaign. That would get the people marching. Bush and Rummy know that if they just sign up the poor and privatize for the rest, they can get away with just about anything. The political strategy of this administration is to turn everyone into whores, and they can do whatever they want. This is their idea of "democracy." --Politex

Opinion: Why Should Any More US Troops Die In Iraq
To Defend Ethnic Hatred? Thomas Friedman (excerpt)

Some courageous Sunnis have begun to speak out. "One of the most bizarre phenomena of recent times has been the refusal of Arab governments to condemn terrorist acts in Iraq or to commiserate with the victims," Abdul Rahman al-Rashed wrote in the Saudi daily Asharq Al Awsat. He added, "Take the most recent atrocities in which more than 200 Iraqis lost their lives in two days of carnage: no Arab government raised its voice in condemnation, although most of them shrilly objected when the new Iraqi constitution failed to mention that the country was part of the Arab nation. The official Arab position vis-à-vis Iraq has always been spineless."

So, folks, we are faltering in Iraq today in part because of the Bush team's incompetence, but also because of the moral vacuum in the Sunni Arab world, where the worst are engaged in murderous ethnic cleansing - and trying to stifle any prospect of democracy here - and the rest are too afraid, too weak, too lost or too anti-Shiite to do anything about it.

Maybe the cynical Europeans were right. Maybe this neighborhood is just beyond transformation. That will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the Sunnis in Iraq intend to be. If they come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. If they won't, then we are wasting our time. We should arm the Shiites and Kurds and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind. We must not throw more good American lives after good American lives for people who hate others more than they love their own children.

   Verse: Ballad Of The Bush Man, Dylan/Politex

Bush walks into the room
With a guitar in his hand
He sees Brownie naked
And he says, "Who is that man?"
He tries so hard
But he doesn't understand
Now that he's
Fallen on his tush.

Something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Bush? (more).  


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world
by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Opinion: News From Behind The Facade, John Pilger

...The Facade was how we described the dividing line between the America of real life - of a poverty so profound that slavery was still a presence and a rapacious state power that waged war against its own citizens, as it did against black and brown-skinned people in faraway countries - and the America that spawned the greed of corporatism and invented public relations as a means of social control; the "American Dream" and the "American Way of Life" began as advertising slogans.

The wilful neglect of the Bush regime before and after hurricane Katrina offered a rare glimpse behind The Facade. The poor were no longer invisible; the bodies floating in contaminated water, the survivors threatened with police shotguns, the distinct obesity of American poverty - all of it mocked the forests of advertising billboards and relentless television commercials and news sound-bites (average length 9.9 seconds) that glorify the "dream" of wealth and power. A word long expropriated and debased - reality - found its true meaning, if briefly.

As if by accident, the American media, which is the legitimising arm of corporate public relations, reported the truth. For a few days, a selective group of liberal newspaper readers were told that poverty had risen an amazing 17 per cent under Bush; that an African-American baby born within a mile of the White House had less chance of surviving its first year than an urban baby in India; that the United States was now ranked 43rd in the world in infant mortality, 84th for measles immunisation and 89th for polio; that the world's richest oil company, ExxonMobil, would make 30 billion dollars in profits this year, having received a huge slice of the 14.5 billion dollars in "tax breaks" which Bush's new energy bill guarantees his elite cronies.

In his two elections, Bush has received most of his "corporate contributions" - the euphemism for bribes totalling 61.5 million dollars - from oil and gas companies. The bloody conquest of Iraq, the world's second biggest source of oil, will be their prize: their loot....

Interview: Bush Has Put Us All In The Superdome, Chris Floyd

The Bush Faction are not people who are going to be moved by soaring words into changing their position. There's no point in "speaking truth to power" with them. They are utter cynics. They know what the truth is; they know very well what they are doing to American society. And they don't give a damn. It's what they came to Washington to do. If they could be moved by appeals to reason, compassion, principle, logic or genuine patriotism, they wouldn't be where they are in the first place. Anyone among them who might respond to anything like that has already been weeded out long ago. I wouldn't waste my breath on any of them....

The game is so rigged now that it's hard to see what would make a difference to those in power. Mass demonstrations do have an effect, although it's harder now because the media invariably ignores or under-reports them. I think the thing to do is just keep on plugging. Keep marching, keep organizing campaigns, keep trying in every possible way to get the truth out to as many people as possible. Because push is going to come to shove in America sooner or later – probably sooner.

The rapacious policies of the Bush Faction – and the whole 30-year right-wing juggernaut – are starting to hit home in a big way. They waged a war of decimation against the poor, and they won, while the middle-class looked the other way. But now it's their turn. The elitist policies are now devouring the middle class too. They're skating on the thinnest ice right now, living on debt, stretched to the margins. When economic crisis hits – perhaps as soon as this winter, with gasoline and home fuel prices skyrocketing – they're going to find that the safety net has been ripped to shreds, that the candy store has been given away to a few fat cats around the corner. They're going to find that the whole country has been turned into the Superdome and they've been left to fend for themselves. It's not going to be pretty.

Quip: The mark of true leadership is knowing when to resign in disgrace.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world
by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Statistics: Arming The World At A Theater Near You, Mickey Z.

It's not every day Amnesty International asks me to go see a Nic Cage movie. So, when I got their e-mail about Lord of War, I promptly caught a bargain matinee at my local multiplex. This is not a movie review, but, by Hollywood standards, Lord of War rates R for radical: a film about the governments and freelancers supplying the weapons that kill men, women, and children every minute of every day.

According to the Federation of American Scientists:

  • Half of the world's governments spend more on defense than health care.
  • The U.S. share of total world military expenditures per year has been roughly 36 percent, though the U.S. constitutes under 5 percent of the world's population.
  • The U.S. arms industry is the second most heavily subsidized industry after agriculture.
  • 2001 world military expenditures topped $839 billion, while at the same time an estimated 1.3 billion people survive on less than the equivalent of $1 (U.S.) a day.
  • The International Red Cross has estimated that one out of every two casualties of war is a civilian caught in the crossfire.
  • According to the United Nations, there are now over 300,000 child soldiers around the world, now serving as combatants in over 30 current conflicts.
  • The Center for International Policy estimates that about 80% of U.S. arms exports to the developing world go to non-democratic regimes.
  • There are more landmines planted in Cambodia than people. Cambodia is just one of 64 countries around the world littered with some 100 million anti-personnel landmines. Intended primarily to maim, landmines can lie in wait years after a conflict ends, causing 500 deaths and injuries per week.
  • The U.S. government is training soldiers in upwards of 70 countries at any given time.

Statistics: Health (N. Kristof) and Education (D. Brooks) Excerpts

Health: "Our medical system failed [the gulf states] long before Katrina arrived. One of the Children's Health Fund doctors discovered a previously undetected hole in a 4-year-old boy's heart. The mother said nobody had ever listened to the boy's chest before. In both Mississippi and Louisiana, infant mortality is worse (for every 1,000 babies born, 10 die in their first year of life) than in Costa Rica (8 die per 1,000). For black babies in either state, the picture is still more horrifying: 15 die per 1,000. In poor, war-torn Sri Lanka, where per capita medical spending is only $131, babies have better odds, with 13 dying per 1,000. So let's rebuild the levees, but let's also construct a health care system that works."

Education: "Divorce rates for college grads are plummeting, but they are not for everyone else. The divorce rate for high school grads is now twice as high as that of college grads....High school grads are twice as likely to smoke as college grads. They are much less likely to exercise. College grads are nearly twice as likely to vote. They are more than twice as likely to do voluntary work. They are much more likely to give blood....Part of the problem is that kids from poorer families have trouble affording higher education....A lot of it has to do with being academically prepared, psychologically prepared and culturally prepared for college."

GOP Words: SUPPORT THE MILITARY, v. To praise Bush when he sends our young men and women off to die for no reason and without proper body armor. (Marc Goldberg, Vancouver, Washington)


Monday, September 26, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world
by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Opinion: Katrina: Bush's New Crony Cash Cow, Chris Floyd

George W. Bush's plan to reconstruct the Gulf Coast is the biggest crony cash-cow in American history (aside from the pork-orgy he's throwing for his pals in Iraq). Bush is using his emergency powers to strip American citizens of their legal protections against exploitation, handing out no-bid contracts to his pals and paymasters and allowing them to pay coolie wages to build their new commercial empires on the bones and blood of the hurricane's victims.

All of this is aimed at "changing the demographics" of the region, especially New Orleans, as the city's wealthy white elite have openly admitted to the Wall Street Journal. They want to scatter the poor – especially the black poor – to the four winds, and rebuild New Orleans as a playground for the rich, a malevolent corporate fantasyland patroled by heat-packing private goons.

While Bush is handing fat federal deals to his biggest contributors, to his former aides – and, as always, to the ubiquitous Halliburton – he has suspended regulations that would have paid the countless thousands of displaced natives a living wage to rebuild their communities and their region. Instead, as investigator Jeremy Scahill reports, the Bushist elite are bringing in migrant laborers – legal and illegal – to work, unprotected and ill-paid, under the watchful eye of hired guns from the Blackwater mercenary agency, many of them fresh from the privatized killing fields of Iraq and now under direct federal contract, with shoot-to-kill powers, in the streets of New Orleans.

Letters: Headlines Page Readers Comment On NYT's Op-Ed Policy

Pedro: Could you identify the NY Times links? They require subscription and it is a waste of band width to hit the link button.

Politex: Only selected op-eds need a subscription, and they're identified as "[TS]".

Mark: The "[TS]" designation in The NYT means "Tough S*&%," right?

Kent: I think you should seriously consider dropping the NY Times from the newspapers you cover, along with a clear statement in each issue you post as to why that paper is not being covered. Other major papers continue to be part of the public record, while the NY Times has opted for commercializing their commentators, joining the ranks of the Wall Street Journal and a few other right-wing rags in trying to squeeze dollars out of the internet.

Politex: Actually, the Wall Street Journal has commercialized its news, but posts its conservative op-eds free at www.opinionjournal.com. To my knowledge, the only other mainstream newspaper that commercializes its op-eds but not its news is the progressive UK Independent. Bush Watch has no plans to delete news and analysis by either The Independent or The NYT.

Alan: The NY Times charging for [op-eds] may be a signal that this golden age of easily reading [internet] newspapers from around the world will eventually come to an end.

Opinion: CEO Bush And His Enron Government, Frank Rich (excerpt)

Ours will be remembered as the Enron era. Enron itself is a distant memory - much like all that circa 2000 talk of a smoothly efficient C.E.O. presidency led by a Harvard M.B.A. and a former chief executive of Halliburton. But even as American business has since been purged by prosecutions and reforms, the mutant Enron version of the C.E.O. culture still rules in Washington: uninhibited cronyism, cooked books, special-favors networks, the banishment of whistle-blowers and accountability. More than ideology, this ethos has sabotaged even the best of American intentions, whether in Iraq or New Orleans. Unchecked, it promises greater disasters to come....

The damage done to the mission in Iraq and homeland security alike by Enron governance is immeasurable. Administration apologists who now claim that hurricane relief will bring still more examples of innovative, C.E.O.-style governmental enterprise (Mr. Bush's "Gulf Opportunity Zone," for instance) conveniently sidestep the harsh truth that such schemes are destined to be as empty and corrupt as Andrew Fastow's Raptor partnerships at Enron once they're staffed from the apparently infinite crony talent pool.

Tom Tomorrow Free Swimming Ponies To Everyone In New Orleans!


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world
by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Opinion: Four Strikes: Bush Katrina Investigator Should Be Out, William Fisher

Either President Bush just doesn’t get it, or he just doesn’t care, or he thinks the people he serves are all gullible morons. He’s appointed his own Homeland Security Advisor, Ms. Frances Townsend, to lead the White House investigation into how the government screwed up with Hurricane Katrina – and what to do about it.Does the president really believe the American people will find such an investigation credible?...

Second, Ms. Townsend is a career prosecutor with no experience in natural disaster preparedness or response. Her homeland security experience has been limited to terrorism-related intelligence.... Third, her track record leading investigations does not exactly inspire confidence....[Last April,] Ms. Townsend directed Cabinet secretaries to report back to her quickly [on a 9/11 report]. "You will begin to see action in a matter of weeks," Townsend said from the White House podium. Maybe I missed something, but I think we’re still waiting. Finally,....

Opinion: Play Stormy For Me, Maureen Dowd (excerpt)

Stormy is like his dad, Desert Stormy. They both love wardrobe calls: cool costumes, sports outfits, presidential windbreakers, "Top Gun" get-ups, weather gear. But leadership is not a series of costume changes. The former Andover cheerleader has been too reliant on photo-ops, drop-bys and "Mission Accomplished" strut-bys, rather than a font of personal knowledge. What Katrina exposed was a president who - remarkable as this may sound - seemed bored after his re-election....

Before the Katrina scandal, W. had lethargically wandered the country, lifelessly promoting his Social Security plan and an energy bill that did nothing to solve the energy crisis, and endlessly vacationing in Crawford.He campaigned as a strong daddy who would keep us safe, but then seemed lost when his daddy figure, Dick Cheney, kept vacationing as Katrina exposed a grotesque rescue apartheid in New Orleans. The more tuned-in W. is now, the more obvious it is that he tuned out as New Orleans drowned. There is a high cost for presidential learning curves. A lot of elderly hospital and nursing home patients died in New Orleans before W. could pay attention to Houston and Galveston.

From The Mouths Of Babes: A buttress is a woman who makes butter.

We're Watching: John Malkovich in "Ripley's Game" (New Line)


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world
by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Opinion: Bush Hoards Billions In Drilling Money For Iraq War, Turns Down Share-Repair Requests From Gulf States, Jason Leopold

To hear the president in a televised speech promise to spend whatever it takes to rebuild one of the nation’s great cities is not a sign of progress, rather it’s a symbol of the total breakdown of his administration and an attempt to conceal what could arguably have been a man-made disaster because of Bush’s policies....In June. Louisiana state officials had been hoping that a provision included in the Senate energy bill that called for $500 million in offshore energy revenue from the federal government would finally provide Louisiana and four other coastal states with the funds it desperately needed to repair its damaged wetlands to protect itself, among other things, against possible future weather-related disasters.

But the White House adamantly refused to part ways with the $5 billion it gets from drilling in the Gulf Coast, its second biggest source of revenue (after income the Internal Revenue Service brings in) choosing to use most of those funds to finance the Iraq war. To ensure that the message came across crystal clear, Bush personally ordered White House aides to take the unusual step of sending a letter to House and Senate negotiators advising them to kill the revenue-sharing plan in the final version of the energy bill.It wasn t long after the White House issued its statement on the revenue sharing concept that Louisiana lawmakers predicted an apocalyptic end to the city of New Orleans. Clifford Smith, a Houma, La., civil engineer and coastal advocate who is also a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River Commission, told The Courier in June that without federal assistance New Orleans could very well drown if it took a direct hit from a hurricane. "We re not going to get the kind of recognition and concern we deserve until we have a disaster," he said.

Opinion: Bush Trifecta: The Crisis Of Confidence, Paul Krugman (excerpt)

The available measures say that consumer confidence, which was already declining before Katrina hit, has now fallen off a cliff....Most Americans say the war was a mistake; a majority say the administration deliberately misled the country into war; almost 4 in 10 say Iraq will turn into another Vietnam. And many people are outraged by the war's cost....Fragmentary evidence...suggests that the confluence of Katrina and the fourth anniversary of 9/11 has caused something to snap in public perceptions about the "war on terror."...

The hapless response to Katrina, which should have been easier to deal with than a terrorist attack, has shown that our leaders have done virtually nothing to make us safer....These blows to our national self-image are mutually reinforcing. The sense that we're caught in an unwinnable war reinforces the sense that the economy is getting worse, and vice versa. So we're having a crisis of confidence....But who will provide leadership, now that Mr. Bush is damaged goods?

Bushlexia:"We look forward to hearing your vision so we can more better do our job."
--Bush in Gulfport, Miss., Sep. 20, 2005

We're Listening: Bill Frisell's, "This Land" (Elektra)


Friday, September 23, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world
by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Opinion: The People Vs./ FEMA, Sara DeHart

So far there has been little scrutiny of Michael Chertoff, the new security czar who holds dual citizenship (Israel and the United States). Most of the media directed their attention and blame on Michael Brown, who as FEMA's director was clearly ill prepared to handle the job. Brown believes he has been scapegoated by the media and, in part, I agree. This debacle is much larger than merely placing political appointees in positions for which they are unqualified.

Changing personnel is not the answer to FEMA's problem. The American people need to demand that the structure of FEMA and Homeland Security be carefully examined by an independent commission that is willing to go back to the drawing board and demand that the structure fit the needs of the United States in the 21st Century.

Homeland Security and FEMA have failed a massive systems test, and in the language of No child left behind, failure will no longer be tolerated. To members of the House and Senate, the message is clear. Fix the structure or you will lose your jobs! We cannot wait for the next disaster to find out that the U.S. Cavalry is a no-show charade directed by incompetents placed into a Hydra-headed bureaucracy by a president addicted to cronyism.

Opinion: Isn't Competence A Criteria For President? Bob Herbert (excerpt)

Here at home, even loyal Republicans are beginning to bail out on Mr. Bush's fiendish willingness to shove the monumental costs of the federal government's operations - including his war, his tax cuts and his promised reconstruction of the Gulf Coast - onto the unsuspecting backs of generations still to come. There is a general sense now that things are falling apart. The economy was already faltering before Katrina hit. Gasoline prices are starting to undermine the standard of living of some Americans, and a full-blown home-heating-oil crisis could erupt this winter. The administration's awful response to the agony of the Gulf Coast has left most Americans believing that we are not prepared to cope with a large terrorist attack. And Osama bin Laden is still at large.

This is what happens when voters choose a president because he seems like a nice guy, like someone who'd be fun at a barbecue or a ballgame. You'd never use that criterion when choosing a surgeon, or a pilot to fly your family across the country. Mr. Bush will be at the helm of the ship of state for three more years, so we have no choice but to hang on. But the next time around, voters need to keep in mind that beyond the incessant yammering about left and right, big government and small, Democrats and Republicans, is a more immediate issue, and that's competence.

We're Reading: Thom Hartman's "We The People: A Call To Take Back America" (Core Way Media)


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world
by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Opinion: Who Lost New Orleans? Ernest Partridge

The port of New Orleans is an indispensable national asset. Its loss, while an inconsolable tragedy to its residents, now scattered around the nation, is also an economic hardship to all Americans, and to millions abroad – as we are all about to discover. And so, the response to the taunt – “it’s their fault for living in a disaster-prone region” – is simple and straightforward: someone had to live there, and because the entire nation has benefited from the city and port of New Orleans, it is appropriate that the entire nation should invest in its reconstruction and assist in the rehabilitation of its unfortunate residents.

Similar considerations apply to the Pacific coast with its seismic hazards, and the Northwest with the additional threat of volcanoes. The national economy requires Pacific seaports, along with the timber of the Northwest and the agricultural production of California’s incomparably fertile central valley. And so, if disaster strikes, compensation to the victims is appropriate. Any politician who believes that these regions are autonomous and economically detachable and thus not the responsibility of the federal government is unqualified for national leadership. To the great misfortune of the United States, such individuals are nonetheless in political control of the federal government.  

Opinion: Won't Get Fooled Again, Thomas Friedman (excerpt)

Following President Bush's speech in New Orleans, many U.S. papers carried the same basic headline: "Bush Rules Out Raising Taxes for Gulf Relief." The president is planning to rely on "spending cuts" instead to pay for rebuilding New Orleans. Yeah, right - and if you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Biloxi I'd like to sell you. The underlying message of all these stories is that the Bush team sees no reason to change course in response to Katrina.

I beg to differ. Katrina deprived the Bush team of the energy source that propelled it forward for the last four years: 9/11 and the halo over the presidency that came with it. The events of 9/11 created a deference in the U.S. public, and media, for the administration, which exploited it to the hilt to push an uncompassionate conservative agenda on tax cuts and runaway spending, on which it never could have gotten elected. That deference is over.

If Mr. Bush wants to make anything of his second term, he'll have to do his own Nixon-to-China turnaround, reframe the debate and recast the priorities of his presidency. He seems to think that by offering to spend billions of dollars to rebuild one city, New Orleans, he'll get his leadership halo back. Wrong.

   Verse: Rebuilder In Chief, Madeleine Begun Kane

George Bush said he'll Gulf Coast rebuild
In a speech that was platitude filled.
And he'll do it with cash
From fine programs he'll slash.
And for that, we're supposed to be thrilled?   


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world
by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Disaster: Praying For Katrina, William Fisher

Congress gave our military $10 billion for Iraq Reconstruction. A good chunk of that money has simply vanished – it’s been lost. And there is virtually no reconstruction to show for it. And, in one more of a long litany of incompetence and malfeasance, the General Accountability Office (GAO) informed us recently that millions of dollars worth of new equipment was being sold as ‘surplus’ for pennies on the dollar. That equipment included Kevlar flak jackets needed by the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, so of course the Pentagon ordered more.

If President Bush is looking for ‘offsets’ to pay for Katrina, he shouldn’t be thinking about cutting back on Medicaid, No Child Left Behind, Social Security, and other programs that directly benefit those most devastated by Katrina. He should take a look at the ‘offsets’ already in the Pentagon’s appropriations – if he can find them.

Disaster: It's All In The (Dysfunctional) Family, Maureen Dowd (excerpt)

Mr. Bush should stop posing in shirtsleeves and get back to the Oval Office. He has more hacks and cronies he's trying to put into important jobs, and he needs to ride herd on that.... The announcement that a veterinarian, Norris Alderson, who has no experience on women's health issues, would head the F.D.A.'s Office of Women's Health ran into so much flak from appalled women that the F.D.A. may have already reneged on it....The choice of Julie Myers, a 36-year-old lawyer with virtually no immigration, customs or law enforcement experience, to head the roiling Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency with its $4 billion budget and 22,000 staffers, has caused some alarm...She just married Mr. Chertoff's chief of staff, John Wood, and she's the niece of Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

David Safavian, the White House procurement official involved in Katrina relief efforts, was arrested on Monday, accused by the F.B.I. of lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into the seamy case of "Casino Jack" Abramoff, the Republican operative [and old friend of Tom DeLay] who has broken new ground in giving lobbying a bad name. Democrats say the fact that Mr. Safavian's wife is a top lawyer for the Republican congressman who's leading the whitewash of the White House blundering on Katrina does not give them confidence. Just as he has stonewalled other inquiries, Mr. Bush is trying to paper over his Katrina mistakes by appointing his homeland security adviser, Frances Townsend, to investigate how the feds fumbled the response.

Quip: Bush To Nominee: "I'm trying to find a way to balance your strengths against your felonies."


Tuesday, September 20, 2005


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Opinion: Rebuilding New Orleans Like Iraq, Bob Herbert (excerpt)

In the same lavish way that Mr. Bush is promising to rebuild New Orleans and the rest of the storm-damaged Gulf Coast, he assured us and the rest of the world that the invasion he was ordering would lead to the rebuilding of Iraq and its devastated economy....But last Thursday, the very same day that he delivered his speech in New Orleans, the World Bank released a report showing that the continued violence in Iraq had frightened away private investors, slowed reconstruction and disrupted oil production.

The country has put its faith in Mr. Bush many times before, and come up empty. It may be cynical, but my guess is that if we believe him again this time, we're going to end up on our collective keisters.... Polls have shown that over the past two years Americans have lost a great deal of faith in Mr. Bush, who tends to talk a good game but doesn't seem to know how to deliver....

This president has had zero interest in attacking poverty, and the result has been an increase in poverty in the U.S., the richest country in the world, in each of the last four years. Instead of attacking poverty, the Bush administration has attacked the safety net and has stubbornly refused to stop the decline in the value of the minimum wage on his watch. You can believe that he's suddenly worried about poor people if you want to. What is more likely is that his reference to racism and poverty was just another opportunistic Karl Rove moment, never to be acted upon....

Opinion: America's "Mental Defectives" Confront Iran, Walter C. Uhler (link corrected)

On a recent visit to a periodicals room in the Joe Paterno wing of Penn State's Pattee Library I ran across a fascinating journal, The Long Term View, published by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. Its Spring 2004 issue was entirely devoted to the question, "Why We Seek War" and its editor, Lawrence R. Velvel, commenced his introduction by asserting: "The United States is a nation which seeks war. We better change or we may end up destroying ourselves and perhaps even the world." [p.3]

Mr. Velvel provides some twenty-one reasons why Americans seek war, but I was especially intrigued by reason number six: "Government is incompetent and its leaders stupid." [p.9] Velvel offers many persuasive reasons for government incompetence (which should not prevent us from acknowledging widespread incompetence in the private sector), but he's less persuasive when attempting to explain why leaders become stupid.

True, Velvel gets close when he observes: "politicians, who run government, care little about truth, accuracy, honesty, or any of those other disposable attributes. They care far more about what can be spun, sold, and made to sound good, so that they will get votes." [Ibid.] Were one to add that most politicians these days are driven by ideology, then he arrives at our present day phenomenon: the ideological moron.

GOP Words: STRICT CONSTRUCTIONIST

n. A judge with extremely conservative beliefs, who interprets laws in a manner that fits his/rarely-her own belief systems, while maintaining that this was the original intent of the law. (Floyd Doney, Athens, Ohio)

Monday, September 19, 2005


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Opinion: America's "Mental Defectives" Confront Iran, Walter C. Uhler

On a recent visit to a periodicals room in the Joe Paterno wing of Penn State's Pattee Library I ran across a fascinating journal, The Long Term View, published by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. Its Spring 2004 issue was entirely devoted to the question, "Why We Seek War" and its editor, Lawrence R. Velvel, commenced his introduction by asserting: "The United States is a nation which seeks war. We better change or we may end up destroying ourselves and perhaps even the world." [p.3]

Mr. Velvel provides some twenty-one reasons why Americans seek war, but I was especially intrigued by reason number six: "Government is incompetent and its leaders stupid." [p.9] Velvel offers many persuasive reasons for government incompetence (which should not prevent us from acknowledging widespread incompetence in the private sector), but he's less persuasive when attempting to explain why leaders become stupid.

True, Velvel gets close when he observes: "politicians, who run government, care little about truth, accuracy, honesty, or any of those other disposable attributes. They care far more about what can be spun, sold, and made to sound good, so that they will get votes." [Ibid.] Were one to add that most politicians these days are driven by ideology, then he arrives at our present day phenomenon: the ideological moron.

Opinion: Race and Poor In America, Paul Krugman (excerpt)

The administration's lethally inept response to Hurricane Katrina had a lot to do with race. For race is the biggest reason the United States, uniquely among advanced countries, is ruled by a political movement that is hostile to the idea of helping citizens in need. Race, after all, was central to the emergence of a Republican majority: essentially, the South switched sides after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Today, states that had slavery in 1860 are much more likely to vote Republican than states that didn't.

And who can honestly deny that race is a major reason America treats its poor more harshly than any other advanced country? To put it crudely: a middle-class European, thinking about the poor, says to himself, "There but for the grace of God go I." A middle-class American is all too likely to think, perhaps without admitting it to himself, "Why should I be taxed to support those people?" Above all, race-based hostility to the idea of helping the poor created an environment in which a political movement hostile to government aid in general could flourish.

Tom Tomorrow GOP Voter Backs Bush No Matter What. What???

Sunday, September 18, 2005

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Opinion: Iraqis To Bush - Where Did All Our Money Go? Evelyn Pringle

I have come to the conclusion that even if I live to be 100, I will never be able to track down every Bush-connected profiteer involved in this phony war on terror scheme. According to a report released in March 2005, by Transparency International (TI), an international organization that focuses on matters of corruption, Iraq could become "the biggest corruption scandal in history."

...As for Halliburton, it is currently facing a number of investigations for overcharging in Iraq, according to a report released in March 2005, by Rep Henry Waxman (D-CA). But hey, what better choice could Bush have made than for Halliburton to get the $700 million reconstruction contract to repair the damage caused by Katrina? I mean, look what the firm has done for the Iraqis.

Opinion: Senate's Kabuki Dance With Roberts, William Fisher
After three days of hearings on the confirmation of Judge John G. Roberts to be the seventeenth Chief Justice of the United States, what the public has learned is that the nominee appears to be as much Talmudic scholar as jurist. In the relatively few questions he did not duck altogether by saying they related to issues likely to come before the Court, or by claiming the views he wrote were those of the administrations he has worked for in the past, Roberts responded even to most specific questions with an "on the one hand, on the other hand" approach.

...That has been his response to a long litany of questions for the past three days. The questions involved such issues as civil rights, end-of-life decisions, HIV-AIDS, Congressional power, terrorism, freedom of information, abortion, guns in schools, the Geneva Conventions, affirmative action, separation of church and state, detention of alleged terrorists, and dozens of others.

Sunday Bible School: (Actual test answers.)
Christians have only one spouse. This is called monotony.

We're Watching: Matthew Vaughn's "L4yer Cake" (Sony)


Saturday, September 17, 2005

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Opinion: Georgie, You’re Doing a Heck of a Job, W. David Jenkins, III

The last few weeks have been irrefutable proof that America is being wrecked and mismanaged by the most incompetent, dangerous and out of touch boobs ever to obtain power. Any American with even a tiny amount of conscience who watched those images from New Orleans shook their heads with disbelief and shame that something like this should happen within our own borders in these modern times. As pictures of floating corpses glared at us through our TV sets, we were treated to photo-ops of our supposed leader golfing, blithering about Social Security, eating cake and strumming a guitar. Meanwhile, our Secretary of State shopped for shoes and took in a show while the Vice President shopped for a house in a ritzy Maryland neighborhood.

And just as it was four years ago before the smoke had cleared in Southern Manhattan, the Bush people are running from any sense of responsibility or accountability before the waters are gone from New Orleans. Oh sure, I know Bush came out later the same week and assumed responsibility for any short-comings by the federal government, but that ploy was devised to address his pathetic numbers rather than any altruistic intentions. They still shamelessly accuse those who point to the pathetic response of the federal government of playing the “blame game” and “pointing fingers” while they and their media mouthpieces do exactly the same thing when referring to State and Local officials. But there are other unfortunate similarities regarding Bush and Company’s actions that also remind us of what happened four years ago besides their chronic fear of accountability.

Opinion: Where's My Flying Car? William A. Smith

How many wake-up calls do we need? I ve seen the obscene sums. Show me the progress. Please, show me the error of my ways. Although I ll readily cop to being AWOL in the 70s, I didn t miss too many classes in the 50s and 60s; and looking back down the road, with JFK and Neil Armstrong in the rearview, I was taught that I d be buzzing around Paris and Bangkok in a flying car that ran on grass and little more than a liter of water by now.

So of course I'm PO'ed. I despise 97 percent of what I see and hear. Life is pointless without a flying car, and every complacent jerk who thinks it's so Jim Dandy can easily shove his or her freakin Ipod nano where the sun doesn t charge a dollar for a song. Which reminds me of another sure thing from the olden days: They had me believing any ditty ever recorded--from ABBA to Zappa--might cost maybe a nickel or a dime at most if I wanted to play it forever inside my flying car. And that was before eight tracks, dadgummit!

We're Listening: Andy Summers, "Green Chimneys" (BMG)


Friday, September 16, 2005

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Opinion: 20 Things We Now Know 4 Years After 9/11, Bernard Weiner

A general assessment before we begin the numbered list: There now is a widely-accepted foreign and domestic judgment that the Bush Administration is composed of bumbling, dangerous, close-minded ideologues. You can see it in the polls (as I write this, Bush has only a 40% approval rating, amazingly low) and, particularly, in how many conservative/traditional Republicans and former military officers are expressing remorse at having supported this guy in the 2004 election. Bush these days still has his true-believer base of about 30%, but he's extremely vulnerable politically, which is why Rove and his minions are so desperate right now and are ratcheting up the rhetoric and smear-tactics against their political enemies. And the desperation helps us understand why Bush keeps returning to 9/11, the one talisman that he thinks still may work for him, that singular moment in his history when many Americans thought he looked good.

Disaster In New Orleans: Memorable Katrina Quotes, ed. by Richard Roeper

From the disputed presidential election of 2000 to the terrorist attacks on America on 9/11/01 to the failure to find Osama bin Laden to the quagmire of a war in Iraq to Hurricane Katrina, this has been a terrible decade, century, millennium. It's got to get better in 2006, doesn't it? In the meantime, we're two weeks into one of the most tragic and shameful events in American history. Here, in chronological order, are some of the most memorable quotes from evacuees, politicians, journalists, media personalities and celebrities.

Verse: Though Judge Roberts is getting a hearing, Madeleine Begun Kane

Though Judge Roberts is getting a hearing,
To measure his outlook and bearing,
He's determined to hide
Views that Dems can't abide.
His convictions he simply ain't sharing.

We're Reading: Douglas Preston's "Tyrannosaur Canyon" (Tom Doherty Associates)


Friday, September 23, 2005

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Opinion: The People Vs./ FEMA, Sara DeHart

So far there has been little scrutiny of Michael Chertoff, the new security czar who holds dual citizenship (Israel and the United States). Most of the media directed their attention and blame on Michael Brown, who as FEMA's director was clearly ill prepared to handle the job. Brown believes he has been scapegoated by the media and, in part, I agree. This debacle is much larger than merely placing political appointees in positions for which they are unqualified.

Changing personnel is not the answer to FEMA's problem. The American people need to demand that the structure of FEMA and Homeland Security be carefully examined by an independent commission that is willing to go back to the drawing board and demand that the structure fit the needs of the United States in the 21st Century.

Homeland Security and FEMA have failed a massive systems test, and in the language of No child left behind, failure will no longer be tolerated. To members of the House and Senate, the message is clear. Fix the structure or you will lose your jobs! We cannot wait for the next disaster to find out that the U.S. Cavalry is a no-show charade directed by incompetents placed into a Hydra-headed bureaucracy by a president addicted to cronyism.

Opinion: Isn't Competence A Criteria For President? Bob Herbert (excerpt)

Here at home, even loyal Republicans are beginning to bail out on Mr. Bush's fiendish willingness to shove the monumental costs of the federal government's operations - including his war, his tax cuts and his promised reconstruction of the Gulf Coast - onto the unsuspecting backs of generations still to come. There is a general sense now that things are falling apart. The economy was already faltering before Katrina hit. Gasoline prices are starting to undermine the standard of living of some Americans, and a full-blown home-heating-oil crisis could erupt this winter. The administration's awful response to the agony of the Gulf Coast has left most Americans believing that we are not prepared to cope with a large terrorist attack. And Osama bin Laden is still at large.

This is what happens when voters choose a president because he seems like a nice guy, like someone who'd be fun at a barbecue or a ballgame. You'd never use that criterion when choosing a surgeon, or a pilot to fly your family across the country. Mr. Bush will be at the helm of the ship of state for three more years, so we have no choice but to hang on. But the next time around, voters need to keep in mind that beyond the incessant yammering about left and right, big government and small, Democrats and Republicans, is a more immediate issue, and that's competence.

We're Reading: Thom Hartman's "We The People: A Call To Take Back America" (Core Way Media)


Thursday, September 22, 2005

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Opinion: Who Lost New Orleans? Ernest Partridge

The port of New Orleans is an indispensable national asset. Its loss, while an inconsolable tragedy to its residents, now scattered around the nation, is also an economic hardship to all Americans, and to millions abroad – as we are all about to discover. And so, the response to the taunt – “it’s their fault for living in a disaster-prone region” – is simple and straightforward: someone had to live there, and because the entire nation has benefited from the city and port of New Orleans, it is appropriate that the entire nation should invest in its reconstruction and assist in the rehabilitation of its unfortunate residents.

Similar considerations apply to the Pacific coast with its seismic hazards, and the Northwest with the additional threat of volcanoes. The national economy requires Pacific seaports, along with the timber of the Northwest and the agricultural production of California’s incomparably fertile central valley. And so, if disaster strikes, compensation to the victims is appropriate. Any politician who believes that these regions are autonomous and economically detachable and thus not the responsibility of the federal government is unqualified for national leadership. To the great misfortune of the United States, such individuals are nonetheless in political control of the federal government.  

Opinion: Won't Get Fooled Again, Thomas Friedman (excerpt)

Following President Bush's speech in New Orleans, many U.S. papers carried the same basic headline: "Bush Rules Out Raising Taxes for Gulf Relief." The president is planning to rely on "spending cuts" instead to pay for rebuilding New Orleans. Yeah, right - and if you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Biloxi I'd like to sell you. The underlying message of all these stories is that the Bush team sees no reason to change course in response to Katrina.

I beg to differ. Katrina deprived the Bush team of the energy source that propelled it forward for the last four years: 9/11 and the halo over the presidency that came with it. The events of 9/11 created a deference in the U.S. public, and media, for the administration, which exploited it to the hilt to push an uncompassionate conservative agenda on tax cuts and runaway spending, on which it never could have gotten elected. That deference is over.

If Mr. Bush wants to make anything of his second term, he'll have to do his own Nixon-to-China turnaround, reframe the debate and recast the priorities of his presidency. He seems to think that by offering to spend billions of dollars to rebuild one city, New Orleans, he'll get his leadership halo back. Wrong.

   Verse: Rebuilder In Chief, Madeleine Begun Kane

George Bush said he'll Gulf Coast rebuild
In a speech that was platitude filled.
And he'll do it with cash
From fine programs he'll slash.
And for that, we're supposed to be thrilled?   


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

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Disaster: Praying For Katrina, William Fisher

Congress gave our military $10 billion for Iraq Reconstruction. A good chunk of that money has simply vanished – it’s been lost. And there is virtually no reconstruction to show for it. And, in one more of a long litany of incompetence and malfeasance, the General Accountability Office (GAO) informed us recently that millions of dollars worth of new equipment was being sold as ‘surplus’ for pennies on the dollar. That equipment included Kevlar flak jackets needed by the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, so of course the Pentagon ordered more.

If President Bush is looking for ‘offsets’ to pay for Katrina, he shouldn’t be thinking about cutting back on Medicaid, No Child Left Behind, Social Security, and other programs that directly benefit those most devastated by Katrina. He should take a look at the ‘offsets’ already in the Pentagon’s appropriations – if he can find them.

Disaster: It's All In The (Dysfunctional) Family, Maureen Dowd (excerpt)

Mr. Bush should stop posing in shirtsleeves and get back to the Oval Office. He has more hacks and cronies he's trying to put into important jobs, and he needs to ride herd on that.... The announcement that a veterinarian, Norris Alderson, who has no experience on women's health issues, would head the F.D.A.'s Office of Women's Health ran into so much flak from appalled women that the F.D.A. may have already reneged on it....The choice of Julie Myers, a 36-year-old lawyer with virtually no immigration, customs or law enforcement experience, to head the roiling Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency with its $4 billion budget and 22,000 staffers, has caused some alarm...She just married Mr. Chertoff's chief of staff, John Wood, and she's the niece of Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

David Safavian, the White House procurement official involved in Katrina relief efforts, was arrested on Monday, accused by the F.B.I. of lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into the seamy case of "Casino Jack" Abramoff, the Republican operative [and old friend of Tom DeLay] who has broken new ground in giving lobbying a bad name. Democrats say the fact that Mr. Safavian's wife is a top lawyer for the Republican congressman who's leading the whitewash of the White House blundering on Katrina does not give them confidence. Just as he has stonewalled other inquiries, Mr. Bush is trying to paper over his Katrina mistakes by appointing his homeland security adviser, Frances Townsend, to investigate how the feds fumbled the response.

Quip: Bush To Nominee: "I'm trying to find a way to balance your strengths against your felonies."


Tuesday, September 20, 2005


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Opinion: Good Grief, Bob Herbert (excerpt)

In the same lavish way that Mr. Bush is promising to rebuild New Orleans and the rest of the storm-damaged Gulf Coast, he assured us and the rest of the world that the invasion he was ordering would lead to the rebuilding of Iraq and its devastated economy....But last Thursday, the very same day that he delivered his speech in New Orleans, the World Bank released a report showing that the continued violence in Iraq had frightened away private investors, slowed reconstruction and disrupted oil production.

The country has put its faith in Mr. Bush many times before, and come up empty. It may be cynical, but my guess is that if we believe him again this time, we're going to end up on our collective keisters.... Polls have shown that over the past two years Americans have lost a great deal of faith in Mr. Bush, who tends to talk a good game but doesn't seem to know how to deliver....

This president has had zero interest in attacking poverty, and the result has been an increase in poverty in the U.S., the richest country in the world, in each of the last four years. Instead of attacking poverty, the Bush administration has attacked the safety net and has stubbornly refused to stop the decline in the value of the minimum wage on his watch. You can believe that he's suddenly worried about poor people if you want to. What is more likely is that his reference to racism and poverty was just another opportunistic Karl Rove moment, never to be acted upon....

Opinion: America's "Mental Defectives" Confront Iran, Walter C. Uhler (link corrected)

On a recent visit to a periodicals room in the Joe Paterno wing of Penn State's Pattee Library I ran across a fascinating journal, The Long Term View, published by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. Its Spring 2004 issue was entirely devoted to the question, "Why We Seek War" and its editor, Lawrence R. Velvel, commenced his introduction by asserting: "The United States is a nation which seeks war. We better change or we may end up destroying ourselves and perhaps even the world." [p.3]

Mr. Velvel provides some twenty-one reasons why Americans seek war, but I was especially intrigued by reason number six: "Government is incompetent and its leaders stupid." [p.9] Velvel offers many persuasive reasons for government incompetence (which should not prevent us from acknowledging widespread incompetence in the private sector), but he's less persuasive when attempting to explain why leaders become stupid.

True, Velvel gets close when he observes: "politicians, who run government, care little about truth, accuracy, honesty, or any of those other disposable attributes. They care far more about what can be spun, sold, and made to sound good, so that they will get votes." [Ibid.] Were one to add that most politicians these days are driven by ideology, then he arrives at our present day phenomenon: the ideological moron.

GOP Words: STRICT CONSTRUCTIONIST

n. A judge with extremely conservative beliefs, who interprets laws in a manner that fits his/rarely-her own belief systems, while maintaining that this was the original intent of the law. (Floyd Doney, Athens, Ohio)

Monday, September 19, 2005


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Opinion: America's "Mental Defectives" Confront Iran, Walter C. Uhler

On a recent visit to a periodicals room in the Joe Paterno wing of Penn State's Pattee Library I ran across a fascinating journal, The Long Term View, published by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. Its Spring 2004 issue was entirely devoted to the question, "Why We Seek War" and its editor, Lawrence R. Velvel, commenced his introduction by asserting: "The United States is a nation which seeks war. We better change or we may end up destroying ourselves and perhaps even the world." [p.3]

Mr. Velvel provides some twenty-one reasons why Americans seek war, but I was especially intrigued by reason number six: "Government is incompetent and its leaders stupid." [p.9] Velvel offers many persuasive reasons for government incompetence (which should not prevent us from acknowledging widespread incompetence in the private sector), but he's less persuasive when attempting to explain why leaders become stupid.

True, Velvel gets close when he observes: "politicians, who run government, care little about truth, accuracy, honesty, or any of those other disposable attributes. They care far more about what can be spun, sold, and made to sound good, so that they will get votes." [Ibid.] Were one to add that most politicians these days are driven by ideology, then he arrives at our present day phenomenon: the ideological moron.

Opinion: Tragedy in Black and White, Paul Krugman (excerpt)

The administration's lethally inept response to Hurricane Katrina had a lot to do with race. For race is the biggest reason the United States, uniquely among advanced countries, is ruled by a political movement that is hostile to the idea of helping citizens in need. Race, after all, was central to the emergence of a Republican majority: essentially, the South switched sides after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Today, states that had slavery in 1860 are much more likely to vote Republican than states that didn't.

And who can honestly deny that race is a major reason America treats its poor more harshly than any other advanced country? To put it crudely: a middle-class European, thinking about the poor, says to himself, "There but for the grace of God go I." A middle-class American is all too likely to think, perhaps without admitting it to himself, "Why should I be taxed to support those people?" Above all, race-based hostility to the idea of helping the poor created an environment in which a political movement hostile to government aid in general could flourish.

Tom Tomorrow GOP Voter Backs Bush No Matter What. What???

Sunday, September 18, 2005

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Opinion: Iraqis To Bush - Where Did All Our Money Go? Evelyn Pringle

I have come to the conclusion that even if I live to be 100, I will never be able to track down every Bush-connected profiteer involved in this phony war on terror scheme. According to a report released in March 2005, by Transparency International (TI), an international organization that focuses on matters of corruption, Iraq could become "the biggest corruption scandal in history."

...As for Halliburton, it is currently facing a number of investigations for overcharging in Iraq, according to a report released in March 2005, by Rep Henry Waxman (D-CA). But hey, what better choice could Bush have made than for Halliburton to get the $700 million reconstruction contract to repair the damage caused by Katrina? I mean, look what the firm has done for the Iraqis.

Opinion: Senate's Kabuki Dance With Roberts, William Fisher
After three days of hearings on the confirmation of Judge John G. Roberts to be the seventeenth Chief Justice of the United States, what the public has learned is that the nominee appears to be as much Talmudic scholar as jurist. In the relatively few questions he did not duck altogether by saying they related to issues likely to come before the Court, or by claiming the views he wrote were those of the administrations he has worked for in the past, Roberts responded even to most specific questions with an "on the one hand, on the other hand" approach.

...That has been his response to a long litany of questions for the past three days. The questions involved such issues as civil rights, end-of-life decisions, HIV-AIDS, Congressional power, terrorism, freedom of information, abortion, guns in schools, the Geneva Conventions, affirmative action, separation of church and state, detention of alleged terrorists, and dozens of others.

Sunday Bible School: (Actual test answers.)
Christians have only one spouse. This is called monotony.

We're Watching: Matthew Vaughn's "L4yer Cake" (Sony)


Saturday, September 17, 2005

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Opinion: Georgie, You’re Doing a Heck of a Job, W. David Jenkins, III

The last few weeks have been irrefutable proof that America is being wrecked and mismanaged by the most incompetent, dangerous and out of touch boobs ever to obtain power. Any American with even a tiny amount of conscience who watched those images from New Orleans shook their heads with disbelief and shame that something like this should happen within our own borders in these modern times. As pictures of floating corpses glared at us through our TV sets, we were treated to photo-ops of our supposed leader golfing, blithering about Social Security, eating cake and strumming a guitar. Meanwhile, our Secretary of State shopped for shoes and took in a show while the Vice President shopped for a house in a ritzy Maryland neighborhood.

And just as it was four years ago before the smoke had cleared in Southern Manhattan, the Bush people are running from any sense of responsibility or accountability before the waters are gone from New Orleans. Oh sure, I know Bush came out later the same week and assumed responsibility for any short-comings by the federal government, but that ploy was devised to address his pathetic numbers rather than any altruistic intentions. They still shamelessly accuse those who point to the pathetic response of the federal government of playing the “blame game” and “pointing fingers” while they and their media mouthpieces do exactly the same thing when referring to State and Local officials. But there are other unfortunate similarities regarding Bush and Company’s actions that also remind us of what happened four years ago besides their chronic fear of accountability.

Opinion: Where's My Flying Car? William A. Smith

How many wake-up calls do we need? I ve seen the obscene sums. Show me the progress. Please, show me the error of my ways. Although I ll readily cop to being AWOL in the 70s, I didn t miss too many classes in the 50s and 60s; and looking back down the road, with JFK and Neil Armstrong in the rearview, I was taught that I d be buzzing around Paris and Bangkok in a flying car that ran on grass and little more than a liter of water by now.

So of course I'm PO'ed. I despise 97 percent of what I see and hear. Life is pointless without a flying car, and every complacent jerk who thinks it's so Jim Dandy can easily shove his or her freakin Ipod nano where the sun doesn t charge a dollar for a song. Which reminds me of another sure thing from the olden days: They had me believing any ditty ever recorded--from ABBA to Zappa--might cost maybe a nickel or a dime at most if I wanted to play it forever inside my flying car. And that was before eight tracks, dadgummit!

We're Listening: Andy Summers, "Green Chimneys" (BMG)


Friday, September 16, 2005

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Opinion: 20 Things We Now Know 4 Years After 9/11, Bernard Weiner

A general assessment before we begin the numbered list: There now is a widely-accepted foreign and domestic judgment that the Bush Administration is composed of bumbling, dangerous, close-minded ideologues. You can see it in the polls (as I write this, Bush has only a 40% approval rating, amazingly low) and, particularly, in how many conservative/traditional Republicans and former military officers are expressing remorse at having supported this guy in the 2004 election. Bush these days still has his true-believer base of about 30%, but he's extremely vulnerable politically, which is why Rove and his minions are so desperate right now and are ratcheting up the rhetoric and smear-tactics against their political enemies. And the desperation helps us understand why Bush keeps returning to 9/11, the one talisman that he thinks still may work for him, that singular moment in his history when many Americans thought he looked good.

Disaster In New Orleans: Memorable Katrina Quotes, ed. by Richard Roeper

From the disputed presidential election of 2000 to the terrorist attacks on America on 9/11/01 to the failure to find Osama bin Laden to the quagmire of a war in Iraq to Hurricane Katrina, this has been a terrible decade, century, millennium. It's got to get better in 2006, doesn't it? In the meantime, we're two weeks into one of the most tragic and shameful events in American history. Here, in chronological order, are some of the most memorable quotes from evacuees, politicians, journalists, media personalities and celebrities.

Verse: Though Judge Roberts is getting a hearing, Madeleine Begun Kane

Though Judge Roberts is getting a hearing,
To measure his outlook and bearing,
He's determined to hide
Views that Dems can't abide.
His convictions he simply ain't sharing.

We're Reading: Douglas Preston's "Tyrannosaur Canyon" (Tom Doherty Associates)


Thursday, September 15, 2005 (HTML Version)

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Satire: Bush 4 Horseman Apply "O.J. Dodge" to Katrina, Bernie Weiner

TURD BLOSSOM: Need I remind you guys that your approval numbers are way low? Were it not for our tech-savvy friends out there, we couldn't win an election for dogcatcher right now, and neither could you, Arnold. Somewhere between election day 2004 and now, the public seems to have figured out something. Our job is to make them forget the facts, and alter those negative feelings and images; we need to frighten the hell out of them, make them dependent on us as the authority figures who can make them feel better, and regain our old momentum. If it takes cracking some heads, or rounding up critical types for 're-education' in FEMA summer camps, we'll do it.

UNCLE DICK: Hey, your mention of "camps" just reminded me that you three guys have something interesting in common. You all had relatives with ties to the Third Reich. Karl, your grandfather, a high-up Party man, helped plan the Birkenau death camp; your father, Arnold, volunteered for the Nazi S.A. in Austria and worked his way fairly high up in the officer corps; and your industrialist great-grandfather, Mr. President, helped finance the Nazi Party from here in America, and your grandfather carried on the tradition -- actually, to the point where the U.S. government shut down his German money-laundering operation in 1942. I'm really impressed with how you guys managed to spin your way out of all that. (Long Silence)  

Letter And Response: 9/11 and Katrina: Bush Policy Changes Have Weakend The Government

Politex, A new administration came to power in 2001 loaded with monumental hubris and decided to destroy anything the previous administration had done. An example: 9/11. Clinton had set up interagency working groups in PDD 62 and PDD 63. This was an attempt to get around the gorelick wall. It created a position that would have access to all cabinet level posts to run it, the one Clarke held. With NSPD-1 Bush abolished what Clinton set up in February of 2001, one month into his first term.

Another example: FEMA. Clinton had set up a policy of mitigating damages of national disasters and Bush abolished them. One such policy Bush abolished was "Project Impact" which among other things set up protocols for the coordination of federal, state, and local governments during an emergency. The very thing that went wrong during Katrina.

...The point I'm making is that no one is looking at the policy changes Bush has made and how they have contributed to 9/11 and Katrina. Certainly not the mainstream media, for this topic seems to be beyond their ability to comprehend. --Dean Nusholtz

Dean, yesterday's NYT story on the Bush Administrations censoring of 9/11 Committee reports since 1998 that Al Queda was looking into flying planes into key national buildings and monuments gives lie to Condi's "Who Knew?" Similarly, a WP story on August 30, "Destroying FEMA," by Eric Holdeman, gives fair warning about how Bush's dismantling of FEMA will come back to bit him on the butt:
"In the days to come, as the nation and the people along the Gulf Coast work to cope with the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we will be reminded anew, how important it is to have a federal agency capable of dealing with natural catastrophes of this sort. This is an immense human tragedy, one that will work hardship on millions of people. It is beyond the capabilities of state and local government to deal with. It requires a national response.

"Which makes it all the more difficult to understand why, at this moment, the country's premier agency for dealing with such events -- FEMA -- is being, in effect, systematically downgraded and all but dismantled by the Department of Homeland Security. Apparently homeland security now consists almost entirely of protection against terrorist acts. How else to explain why the Federal Emergency Management Agency will no longer be responsible for disaster preparedness? Given our country's long record of natural disasters, how much sense does this make?

"Indeed, the advent of the Bush administration in January 2001 signaled the beginning of the end for FEMA. The newly appointed leadership of the agency showed little interest in its work or in the missions pursued by the departed Witt. Then came the Sept. 11 attacks and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Soon FEMA was being absorbed into the "homeland security borg." This year it was announced that FEMA is to "officially" lose the disaster preparedness function that it has had since its creation. The move is a death blow to an agency that was already on life support. In fact, FEMA employees have been directed not to become involved in disaster preparedness functions, since a new directorate (yet to be established) will have that mission." --Politex

Song: Back In The U.S.S.A., Beatles with Politex

Flew in to New Orleans BOAC
Couldn't find a bed last night
On the way the paper bag was on my knee
Man I had a dreadful flight
I'm back in the U.S.S.A.
I know how lucky I am, boy
Back in the U.S.S.A.

Been away so long I hardly knew the place
Gee it's good to be back home
Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my mace
FEMA's disconnected the phone
I'm back in the U.S.S.A.
I know how lucky I am, boy
Back in the U.S.S.A.

Well the N'Awlins girls really knock me out
They leave the rest behind
And the Mississippi girls makes me sing and shout
And Alabama's always on my my my my my my my mind.

Show me round your flooded cities way down south
Take me to Trent Lott's crawdaddy farm
Let me hear Bush FEMA spinners shoutin' out
Come and keep our corporations warm.
I'm back in the U.S.S.A.
I know how lucky I am, boy
Back in the U.S.S.A.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

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Disaster: Hurricane Katrina: Our Experiences, Larry Bradshaw, Lorrie Beth Slonsky

The following is a message from Tobias Wolff to his father, Robert Paul Wolff, professor in the Afro-American Studies Department at UMass Amherst, and contains an eyewitness account of two friends of Tobias who were trapped in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

"...As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the police commander and of the commander's assurances. The sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move.

We questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.

Our small group retreated back down Highway 90 to seek shelter from the rain under an overpass. We debated our options and in the end decided to build an encampment in the middle of the Ponchartrain Expressway on the center divide, between the O'Keefe and Tchoupitoulas exits. We reasoned we would be visible to everyone, we would have some security being on an elevated freeway and we could wait and watch for the arrival of the yet to be seen buses.

All day long, we saw other families, individuals and groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the City on foot...."

Disaster: After The Deluge, Ben Ehrenreich, LA Weekly

In the Houston Astrodome last Saturday, I met a man named Robert. He invited me to take a seat beside him on a cot pushed against the wall — his home for the previous three days and the foreseeable future. Robert had lived in New Orleans for all of his 55 years, and was in the St. Bernard projects when Katrina washed it all away. “After the storm,” he told me almost as soon as I sat down, “they blew the levees up so they could flood New Orleans.”

I asked him who “they” were.
“The money people,” he answered. “The big money.”
“Why?” I asked.
Robert shook his head at my naiveté. “They had to get the poor people out so they could get the space.” He gestured to the thousands of people in the dome around us, almost all of them African-American, crammed onto cots a few inches apart. “Now they got their space.
“We survived the storm,” Robert went on. “We survived the wind and the rain. After the storm passed, the water started rising, and all you heard was ‘Boom!’ ” The explosions, he said, were the levees blowing. “Ask any of these people. The hurricane wasn’t that bad, but the opportunity came up.”

It was a real estate grab, Robert explained — gentrification with a genocidal edge. And if he was more than slightly paranoid — he didn’t want to tell me his last name, and grew visibly nervous when a white stadium employee began sweeping the floor within earshot a few feet away — his theory made a certain kind of sense, far more than any of the official excuses for government inaction. I would later hear similar speculations again and again in New Orleans, and saw them written on the walls. Just across the canal from the flooded 9th Ward, on a corner heavy with the scent of death, these words were scrawled across an abandoned garage: “F*** Bush They F*** Left Us Here Them B*** Flooded Us . . . Them B*** Killed Our People.”

But bombing the levees wasn’t necessary. Years of neglect, suicidal environmental policies (the natural wetland barrier that might have protected New Orleans from the storm surge has been eaten away by pollution in the Delta) and the massive under-funding of urban infrastructure did the trick. It amounts to the same thing: Them b*** killed our people. Poor people, black people, people who can be easily transformed — with a flash of the darkest TV news magic — into a criminal class of looters hardly worthy of our care.

Quip: Bush To Sec. of Homeland Security Chertoff: "To be fair, Mike, I think you should be very clear about the general rules with your next jester."

New York Times To Charge For Op-Eds Starting Next Monday
On Monday, Sept. 19, NYTimes.com will launch a new subscription service, TimesSelect, an important step in the development of The New York Times. Subscribers to TimesSelect will have exclusive online access to many of our most influential columnists in Op-Ed, Business, New York/Region and Sports. In addition to reading the columns, TimesSelect subscribers can also engage with our columnists through video interviews and Web-only postings.

All of our news, features, editorials and analysis will remain free to readers of NYTimes.com, as will our interactive graphics, multimedia and popular video minutes. --Letter From Editor


Tuesday, September 13, 2005 (HTML Version)


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Special Report: ‘Unacceptable’: The Federal Response to Katrina, Walter M. Brasch
EDITOR’S NOTE: We recommend that our readers print out this incisive special report and read it in print. The author is an award-winning syndicated columnist, professor of journalism, and a former emergency management official. This article is an in-depth look at the Bush policies that created the atmosphere not only for an ineffective FEMA response during the Katrina catastrophe, but which may have contributed to additional property destruction and deaths than should have occurred.

Florida Disaster: FEMA Paid Millions in False Claims to Help Bush Win Fla. Votes, Jason Leopold
Michael Brown, the embattled head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, approved payments in excess of $31 million in taxpayer money to thousands of Florida residents who were unaffected by Hurricane Frances and three other hurricanes last year in an effort to help President Bush win a majority of votes in that state during his reelection campaign, according to published reports. Some Homeland Security sources said FEMA's efforts to distribute funds quickly after Frances and three other hurricanes that hit the key political battleground state of Florida in a six-week period last fall were undertaken with a keen awareness of the looming presidential elections, according to a May 19 Washington Post story.

Homeland Security sources told the Post that after the hurricanes that Brown and his allies [recommended] him to succeed Tom Ridge as Homeland Security secretary because of their claim that he helped deliver Florida to President Bush by efficiently responding to the Florida hurricanes. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel uncovered emails from Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that confirmed those allegations and directly implicated Brown as playing politics at the expense of hurricane victims.

GOP Words: ECONOMIC PROGRESS, n. 1. Recession; 2. Rising unemployment; 3. Minimum-wage freeze. (Terry McGarry, East Rockaway, New York)

New York Times To Charge For Op-Eds Starting Next Monday
On Monday, Sept. 19, NYTimes.com will launch a new subscription service, TimesSelect, an important step in the development of The New York Times. Subscribers to TimesSelect will have exclusive online access to many of our most influential columnists in Op-Ed, Business, New York/Region and Sports. In addition to reading the columns, TimesSelect subscribers can also engage with our columnists through video interviews and Web-only postings.

All of our news, features, editorials and analysis will remain free to readers of NYTimes.com, as will our interactive graphics, multimedia and popular video minutes. --Letter From Editor


Monday, September 12, 2005 (HTML Version)


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Audio/Video: New Bush Watch Feature
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Disaster: Randville, Rawlsburg, and New Orleans, Ernest Partridge

Is there such a thing as a “public interest” distinct and apart from a simple summation of private interests? The libertarians and the regressive right say that there is not. Progressives say that there is a public interest, and both history and common sense bear this out. In a free society, the appropriate protector and administrator of this public interest is a government of, by, and for the people. Our founding documents affirm this explicitly.

The regressive right (falsely called “conservatives”) tells us otherwise. Thus we are now experiencing the bitter consequences of Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inauguration pronouncement: “government is not the solution, government is the problem.” The Reagan administration and the two subsequent Bush administrations have crippled and dismantled government agencies almost the point at which, as Grover Norquist puts it, government can be “drowned in a bathtub.” And so today it is the unprepared and unprotected city of New Orleans that is drowning in the filthy flood waters left by Hurricane Katrina.

Disaster: "Physician who told off Cheney lost his home in Katrina, arrested by Cheney's goons"

"I am no fan of Mr. Cheney because of several reasons," [Dr.] Marble explains. "For those who don't know Mr. Cheney is infamous for telling Senator [Pat] Leahy 'go fu** yourself' on the Senate floor. Also, I am not happy about the fact that thousands have died due to the slow action of FEMA, not to even mention the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time i.e. Iraq."

So Marble asked a couple police officers if he and a friend could walk down to Cheney. They told him Cheney was "looking forward to talk to the locals." "So we grabbed my Canon digital rebel and my Sony videocamera and started walking down the street," Marble wrote. "And then right in front of the destroyed tennis court I used to play on Dick Cheney was giving a pep rally, talking to the press. The secret service guys patted us down and waved the wands over us, and then let us pass."

As he stood about 10 feet away from Cheney and his friend and some camera operators from CNN and other media filmed the scene, Marble suddenly yelled, 'Go fu** yourself', Mr. Cheney! "Go fu** yourself', you a**hole!'" --Jackson Thoreau

Tom Tomorrow What Went Wrong? Explanations are not pretty.

Mr. Fish: Cartoon: George W. Bush speaks to a man as a woman sits weeping in the background. Bush says: "Find out if she lost her family in the hurricane or if she lost a son in Iraq so I knew whether or not she deserves my sympathy."


Sunday, September 11, 2005 (HTML Version)

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Opinion: This unfeeling president should be held accountable, Carla Binion

The novelist E. L. Doctorow once said of George W. Bush, "He is the president who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead, he does not feel for the 35 million of us who live in poverty." (http://www.easthamptonstar.com/20040909/col5.htm) Bush's disconnect from normal human feeling, his general lack of seriousness and abysmal leadership skills have always been evident. His response to the recent hurricane has only highlighted them. What are the consequences of our failure to hold Bush accountable?

Bush's demeanor has been eerily upbeat as thousands of corpses floated through the streets of New Orleans. He said in one recent speech, "The good news is - and it's hard for some to see it now - that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house - he's lost his entire house - there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."...

If any of us ever doubted that empathy and mature seriousness are necessary character traits in a political leader, few doubt it now. Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina and his failure to promptly aid hurricane victims contributed to thousands, possibly as many as ten thousand, needless deaths. This could be described as criminal negligence or murder by neglect.

Bush Diary: It's Raining Money, Peter Clothier

Listen, it's not that I disapprove in any way, Bush, of coming up with all that money to help those who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their loved ones in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. No, I approve. It's the right thing to do. For you, with your latest polls showing a terrible loss of faith in your administration, it's the only thing to do. The latest figures I heard were the $51.8 billion request you sent to Congress yesterday, plus the amount already requested, totalling now some $62 billion, plus. You had to do it, Bush, no question. And no question that it helps to make you look a little better, both to the affected people and to your constituents in general, after last week's political disaster. It's also, as I see it, one of the important functions of government, to provide that safety net for our less fortunate citizens--among whom we must now count the storm victims of the Gulf Coast. But... and here's my but, Bush--if you'll forgive the pun: what I still need to hear from you is some strong, unambiguous statement as to where that money's coming from. Show me the other side of the ledger here. Say the word. There's only one. It begins with a "T."

Sunday Bible School: (Actual test answers.)
The Epistles were the wives of the Apostles.

We're Watching: Paul Haggis' "Crash" (Lion's Gate)


Saturday, September 10, 2005 (HTML Version)

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Disaster: Big Talking, Poor Performing America, Walter C. Uhler

You can't fool the precious few Americans who really know their country's history. They know that America's big talk (dating from Puritan times) about God's plan for America to redeem the world is largely the product of religiously inspired self-delusion or outright propaganda. They also know that, far too often, the big talk has been belied by extremely low-class performance. Now it's happening once again in the events surrounding hurricane-ravaged New Orleans.... Let's try removing the God-tinted glasses, which severely distort our views about America's behavior, both at home and abroad. Ask yourself; did God support America's genocide of Native Americans? Did God support slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow, Hiroshima, or Vietnam? Did God support 9/11? How about the devastation of the great city of New Orleans?...America's worst president and biggest phony wraps himself in God.

Audio/Video: New Bush Watch Feature
Top of the home page: Listen to and watch people, politicians, and pundits.

Propaganda: FEMA's Brown And Adolph Hitler Agree: Propaganda is Where It's At.

The function of propaganda does not lie in the scientific training of the individual, but in calling the masses' attention to certain facts, processes, necessities, etc., whose significance is thus for the first time placed within their field of vision. The whole art consists in doing this so skillfully that everyone will be convinced that the fact is real, the process necessary, the necessity correct, etc. But since propaganda is not and cannot be the necessity in itself, since its function, like the poster, consists in attracting the attention of the crowd, and not in educating those who are already educated or who are striving after education and knowledge, its effect for the most part must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect.

All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be. But if, as in propaganda for sticking out a war, the aim is to influence a whole people, we must avoid excessive intellectual demands on our public, and too much caution cannot be exerted in this direction. The more modest its intellectual ballast, the more exclusively it takes into consideration the emotions of the masses, the more effective it will be. And this is the best proof of the soundness or unsoundness of a propaganda campaign, and not success in pleasing a few scholars or young aesthetes. The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses. The fact that our bright boys do not understand this merely shows how mentally lazy and conceited they are.

Once we understand how necessary it is for propaganda to be adjusted to the broad mass, the following rule results:
It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientific instruction, for instance. The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in sloans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out. Thus we see that propaganda must follow a simple line and correspondingly the basic tactics must be psychologically sound. --Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. One, Ch. VI.

**********************

"It's not really all that surprising that the officials who run FEMA are stressing that all-important emergency response function: the public relations campaign. As it turns out, that's all they really have experience at doing....When Mr. Brown finally got around to asking Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff for extra people for Katrina, it wasn't much of a departure for Mr. Brown to say that one of the things he wanted them to do was to "convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public." We'd like them to stay focused on conveying food, water and medical help to victims. --NYT Ed.

We're Listening: Randy Newman, Good Old Boys (Rhino)


Friday, September 9, 2005 (HTML Version)

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Opinion: The Perfect Storm, Chris Floyd
The destruction of New Orleans was a work of nature - but a nature that has been worked upon by human hands and human policies. As global climate change continues its deadly symbiosis with unbridled commercial development for elite profit, we will see more such destruction, far more, on an even more devastating scale. As the harsh, aggressive militarism and brutal corporate ethos that Bush has injected into the mainstream of American society continues to spread its poison, we will see fewer and fewer resources available to nurture the common good. As the political process becomes more and more corrupt, ever more a creation of elite puppetmasters and their craven bagmen, we will see the poor and the weak and even the middle class driven further and further into the low ground of society, where every passing storm - economic, political, natural - will threaten their homes, their livelihoods, their very existence.

Dispassionate Conservatism: Is The Purpose Of Government To Watch People Die?
"By which measures, precisely, do we lead the world? Caring for our countrymen? You jest. A first-class physical infrastructure? Tell that to New Orleans. Throwing so much money at the rich that we've got nothing left over to promote the general welfare? Now you're talking. The problem goes beyond the fact that we can't count on our government to be there for us in catastrophes. It's that a can't-do spirit, a shouldn't-do spirit, guides the men who run the nation. Consider the congressional testimony of Joe Allbaugh, George W. Bush's 2000 campaign manager, who assumed the top position at FEMA in 2001. He characterized the organization as "an oversized entitlement program," and counseled states and cities to rely instead on "faith-based organizations . . . like the Salvation Army and the Mennonite Disaster Service."

Is it any surprise, then, that the administration's response to the devastation in New Orleans is of a piece with its response to the sacking of Baghdad once our troops arrived? "Stuff happens" was the way Don Rumsfeld described the destruction of Baghdad's hospitals, universities and museums while American soldiers stood around. Now stuff has happened in New Orleans, too, even as FEMA was turning away offers of assistance. This is the stuff-happens administration. And it's willing, apparently, to sacrifice any claim America may have to national greatness rather than inconvenience the rich by taxing them to build a more secure nation. As a matter of social policy, the catastrophic lack of response in New Orleans is exceptional only in its scale and immediacy. When it comes to caring for our fellow countrymen, we all know that America has never ranked very high. We are, of course, the only democracy in the developed world that doesn't offer health care to its citizens as a matter of right. We rank 34th among nations in infant mortality rates, behind such rival superpowers as Cyprus, Andorra and Brunei. But these are chronic conditions, and even many of us who argue for universal health coverage have grown inured to that distinctly American indifference to the common good, to our radical lack of solidarity with our fellow citizens. Besides, the poor generally have the decency to die discreetly, and discretely -- not conspicuously, not in droves. Come rain or come shine, we leave millions of beleaguered Americans to fend for themselves on a daily basis. It's just a lot more noticeable in a horrific rain, and when the ordinary lack of access to medical care is augmented by an extraordinary lack of access to emergency services.

Even if we'll never win the national-greatness sweepstakes for solidarity, though, we've long been the model of the world in matters infrastructural, in roads, bridges and dams and the like. But the America in which Eisenhower the Good decreed the construction of the interstate highway system now seems a far-off land in which even conservatives believed in public expenditures for the public good. The radical-capitalist conservatives of the past quarter-century not only haven't supported the public expenditures, they don't even believe there is such a thing as the public good. Let the Dutch build their dikes through some socialistic scheme of taxing and spending; that isn't the American way. Here, the business of government is to let the private sector create wealth -- even if that wealth doesn't circulate where it's most needed. So George W. Bush threw trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, and what did they do with it? Did the Walton family up in Bentonville raise the levees in New Orleans? Did the Bass family over in Texas write a tax-deductible check to the Mennonites for the billions of dollars they would need to rescue the elderly from inundated nursing homes? Even now, with bedraggled rescuers pulling decomposed bodies from the muck of New Orleans, Bill Frist, the moral cretin who runs the U.S. Senate, wanted its first order of business this week to be the permanent repeal of the estate tax, until the public outcry persuaded him to change course. The Republicans profess belief in trickle-down, but what they've given us is the Flood." --Harold Meyerson

We're Reading: Douglas Coupland's "Souvenir of Canada 1" (Douglas & McIntyre)


Thursday, September 8, 2005 (HTML Version)

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Opinion: Bankruptcy of Bush culture now apparent for all to see, Kent Southard
So it's official: The Bush Administration is a clustermuck. Who knew?! I suppose about the time it was known that the administration was sending the College Republicans to run things in Iraq - not to be interns, say, but to actually run things - it was obvious that this White House took some things less seriously than others.

 You see, it's not as if they're complete twits about everything - what they want to do, invade Iraq, say, or destroying the legal framework for environmental protection, privacy rights of the American public, worker's rights, and making the country a fundamentalist theocracy, etc., that kind of thing they're pretty good at. Ruthlessly efficient, actually.  But when it comes to their actual job, running the government for the benefit of the whole country; that they don't give a rat's butt because they fundamentally don't care about it.  

Quotes: The New Orleans Disaster: We're Killing Ourselves
"For half a century, free-market purists have to great effect denigrated the essential role that modern government performs as some terrible liberal plot. Thus, the symbolism of New Orleans' flooding is tragically apt: Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and Louisiana Gov. Huey Long's ambitious populist reforms in the 1930s eased Louisiana out of feudalism and toward modernity; the Reagan Revolution and the callousness of both Bush administrations have sent them back toward the abyss. Now we have a president who wastes tax revenues in Iraq instead of protecting us at home. Levee improvements were deferred in recent years even after congressional approval, reportedly prompting EPA staffers to dub flooded New Orleans "Lake George."

None of this is an oversight, or simple incompetence. It is the result of a campaign by most Republicans and too many Democrats to systematically vilify the role of government in American life. Manipulative politicians have convinced lower- and middle-class whites that their own economic pains were caused by "quasi-socialist" government policies that aid only poor brown and black people — even as corporate profits and CEO salaries soared. For decades we have seen social services that benefit everyone — education, community policing, public health, environmental protections and infrastructure repair, emergency services — in steady, steep decline in the face of tax cuts and rising military spending. But it is a false savings; it will certainly cost exponentially more to save New Orleans than it would have to protect it in the first place." --Robert Scheer

"In a May 25, 2001 interview, Grover Norquist told National Public Radio's Mara Liasson, "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." Norquist got his wish. Democracy - and at least several thousand people, most of them Democrats, black, and poor - drowned last week in the basin of New Orleans. Our nation failed in its response, because for most of the past 25 years conservatives who don't believe in governance have run our government. As incompetent as George W. Bush has been in his response to the disaster in New Orleans, he wasn't the one who began the process that inevitably led to that disaster spiraling out of control. That would be Ronald Reagan.

It was Reagan who began the deliberate and intentional destruction of the United States of America when he famously cracked (and then incessantly repeated): "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" Reagan, like George W. Bush after him, failed to understand that when people come together into community, and then into nationhood, that they organize themselves to protect themselves from predators, both human and corporate, both domestic and foreign. This form of organization is called government. But the Reagan/Bush ideologues don't "believe" in government, in anything other than a military and police capacity. Government should punish, they agree, but it should never nurture, protect, or defend individuals. Nurturing and protecting, they suggest, is the more appropriate role of religious institutions, private charities, families, and - perhaps most important - corporations.

Let the corporations handle your old-age pension. Let the corporations decide how much protection we and our environment need from their toxics. Let the corporations decide what we're paid. Let the corporations decide what doctor we can see, when, and for what purpose. This is the exact opposite of the vision for which the Founders of this nation fought and died. --Thom Hartman

Verse: The Blame Game (excerpts)
The Blame Game
Is the game we're in.
And we're proud to be
In The Blame Game
We love it.
We can hardly wait to wake
And get to work at eight
Nothing's quite the same as the Blame Game.

**************

I know a dark secluded muck.
A place where no one gives a darn.
A bribe, a stab, and then you're stuck.
It's called Dick Cheney's fundraiser, oy-vey!
All you drink is heavy booze.
You wonder if you're being used.
And no one cares how much you lose.
Not at Dick Cheny's fundraiser, oy-vey!

more


Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world by the editors of Bush Watch
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Disaster: To Those Of You Who Voted For Bush: Do You Get It Now? Bernard Weiner
Here's something I don't understand. The Golden Goose was about to lay another 9/11-type Golden Egg for Bush&Co. to pick up. And they didn't. Surely, Karl Rove, who had seen Bush's approval ratings drop to all-time lows, knew days ahead that a Category 5 Hurricane was bearing down on New Orleans and a calamitous disaster was likely to unfold there if and when the levees were unable to hold back the water. What better way to improve those ratings than for Bush to be photographed the day after the disaster struck, standing on top of debris, bullhorn in hand, vowing that the government would help Gulf Coast states rebuild from the Katrina catastrophe?

But none of that happened. They bungled their own political resurrection! Nearly a full week went by, while thousands were dying and starving or were kenneled in unbelievable filth in New Orleans. Nobody seemed to be in charge. Bush remained "on vacation" in Crawford, and traveled around to fundraisers, played golf, etc.; Condi was theatergoing and buying thousand-dollar shoes on Fifth Avenue. What was going on? Did Karl Rove not understand the significance of what was happening? Was Bush...uh..."incapacitated"? What about Cheney, "on vacation" in Wyoming; was he "incapacitated," too? Are the Bush people really that politically obtuse? So here's the question I have for those of you who voted for Bush in 2004: Do you get it now?

Quotes: The FEMA Disaster: Starving The Government
"The federal government's lethal ineptitude wasn't just a consequence of Mr. Bush's personal inadequacy; it was a consequence of ideological hostility to the very idea of using government to serve the public good. For 25 years the right has been denigrating the public sector, telling us that government is always the problem, not the solution. Why should we be surprised that when we needed a government solution, it wasn't forthcoming?" --Paul Krugman

Clinton knew that in times of crisis, he didn't need a speechwriter – he needed James Lee Witt. As governor, Clinton had put Witt in charge of reinventing Arkansas's emergency management system. When he became President, Clinton not only brought Witt with him, but elevated FEMA to Cabinet level. Before Witt came along, FEMA was a lackluster agency under abysmal political management. As Donald Kettl of Brookings has written, the old FEMA was a laughing stock: "Every hurricane, earthquake, tornado and flood, the joke went, brought two disasters: one when the event occurred, and the second when FEMA arrived." --Bruce Reed

"As a governor, Bush was so impressed by the agency's renaissance under Witt that he singled him out for praise in his first presidential debate with Al Gore: "You know, as governor, one of the things you have to deal with is catastrophe. I can remember the fires that swept Parker County, Texas. I remember the floods that swept our state. I remember going down to Del Rio, Texas. I have to pay the administration a compliment. James Lee Witt of FEMA has done a really good job of working with governors during times of crisis."
In 2001, despite his praise for Witt, Bush returned to the old FEMA model. He turned the agency over to Joe Allbaugh, his campaign manager. Allbaugh left in 2003 for a more lucrative disaster gig, as a lobbyist for reconstruction contracts in Iraq. Now FEMA is a tiny subsidiary of the mammoth Department of Homeland Security." --Bruce Reed

"[Allbaugh's college buddy] Michael D. Brown has been called the accidental director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, caricatured as the failed head of an Arabian horse sporting group who was plucked from obscurity to become President Bush's point man for the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. Amid the swirl of human misery along the Gulf Coast, Brown admitted initially underestimating the impact of Hurricane Katrina, whose winds and water swamped the agency's preparations. As the nation reeled at images of the calamity, he appeared to blame storm victims by noting that the crisis was worsened by New Orleans residents who did not comply with a mandatory evacuation order." --Wash. Post

"The undermining of FEMA began as soon as President Bush took office. Instead of choosing a professional with expertise in responses to disaster to head the agency, Mr. Bush appointed Joseph Allbaugh, a close political confidant. Mr. Allbaugh quickly began trying to scale back some of FEMA's preparedness programs. As many people have noticed, the failed response to Katrina shows that we are less ready to cope with a terrorist attack today than we were four years ago. But the downgrading of FEMA continued, with the appointment of Michael Brown as Mr. Allbaugh's successor. Mr. Brown had no obvious qualifications, other than having been Mr. Allbaugh's college [buddy]. But Mr. Brown was made deputy director of FEMA; The Boston Herald reports that he was forced out of his previous job, overseeing horse shows. And when Mr. Allbaugh left, Mr. Brown became the agency's director. The raw cronyism of that appointment showed the contempt the administration felt for the agency; one can only imagine the effects on staff morale." --Paul Krugman

"Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal showed how the Bush administration had systematically stripped power and money from FEMA, which had been painfully rebuilt under President Bill Clinton but had long been a target of Republican "small government" ideologues. The Journal said state officials had been warning Washington - as recently as July 27 - that the homeland secretary, Michael Chertoff, was planning further disastrous cuts." --NYT ed

"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, Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, south of New Orleans, said." --NYT

The Chicago Tribune reported that a huge assault ship, the USS Bataan, had been deployed in the Gulf of Mexico when the hurricane struck. Despite the fact it had six operating rooms and 600 hospital beds, and was willing to help, Fema did not use it all week. A New Orleans newspaper, the Times-Picayune, published an open letter to the president calling for every official at Fema to be fired, "director Michael Brown especially". --Guardian

Mayor Nagin said the root of the breakdown was the failure of the federal government to deliver relief supplies and personnel quickly. "They kept promising and saying things would happen," he said. "I was getting excited and telling people that. They kept making promises and promises." --NYT

The grisliest quote of the week, the one to cut out and keep, came when reporters asked Lea Anne McBride what her boss was doing as New Orleans sank, stank and suppurated. "He's working from Wyoming today," said Vice-President Dick Cheney's official spokesman brightly. --Peter Preston

"Experts say that the first 72 hours after a natural disaster are the crucial window during which prompt action can save many lives. Yet action after Katrina was anything but prompt. Newsweek reports that a "strange paralysis" set in among Bush administration officials, who debated lines of authority while thousands died." --Paul Krugman

"After days of withering criticism from white and black Americans, from conservatives as well as liberals, from Republicans and Democrats, the president finally felt compelled to act, however feebly. (The chorus of criticism from nearly all quarters demanding that the president do something tells me that the nation as a whole is so much better than this administration.) Mr. Bush flew south on Friday and proved (as if more proof were needed) that he didn't get it. Instead of urgently focusing on the people who were stranded, hungry, sick and dying, he engaged in small talk, reminiscing at one point about the days when he used to party in New Orleans, and mentioning that Trent Lott had lost one of his houses but that it would be replaced with "a fantastic house - and I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever by a president during a dire national emergency. What we witnessed, as clearly as the overwhelming agony of the city of New Orleans, was the dangerous incompetence and the staggering indifference to human suffering of the president and his administration." --Bob Herbert

Quip: Mr. Brown, FEMA'S head, has numerous disaster experiences. For example, two disasters that he oversaw was when a forest ranger got caught between a tree and a rock.


Tuesday, September 6, 2005 (Congress Reconvenes)


Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world by the editors of Bush Watch
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Opinion: Hot Button Congress Starts Today, Willian Fisher
When Congress returns to work today, it will face debate on a number of hot-button issues likely to inflame passions on the political left and right and deepen the country's ideological divide. The probable agenda includes reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, immigration and border control, embryonic stem cell research, a number of critical legal reforms, consideration of a new report from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) detailing its handling of pre-9/11 intelligence, and, of course, the confirmation hearings for John G. Roberts to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

GOP Words: DEATH TAX, n. [Senate scheduled to discuss issue today.] A term invented by anti-tax zealots and referring to a tax used to prevent the very wealthy from establishing a dominating aristocracy in this country. (David McNeely, Lutz, Florida)

New Orleans Quotes: "Screw this! They're lying! The President's lying! The rich fat cats that are drowning you will do it again and again and again. They lead you into imperialist wars for profit, they take away your schools and your hope and when you complain, they blame Blacks and Jews and immigrants. Then they push your kids under. I say, Kick'm in the ass and take your rightful share!" --Huey Long, 1927
"There is no such thing as a "natural" disaster. Hurricanes happen, but death comes from official neglect, from tax cuts for the rich that cut the heart out of public protection. The corpses in the street are victims of a class war in which only one side has a general. Where is our Huey Long?" --Greg Palast
"On Thursday morning, the president told Diane Sawyer that he hoped "people don't play politics during this period of time." Presumably that means that the photos of him wistfully surveying the Katrina damage from Air Force One won't be sold to campaign donors as the equivalent 9/11 photos were. Maybe he'll even call off the right-wing attack machine so it won't Swift-boat the Katrina survivors who emerge to ask tough questions as it has Cindy Sheehan and those New Jersey widows who had the gall to demand a formal 9/11 inquiry." --Frank Rich
Looters? "The real criminals are sitting in positions of authority: the president, the director of FEMA, and the hundreds of congresspersons cutting their excessive vacations short to pat one another on the back as they pass emergency funding provisions for the hardly-operative relief efforts centered in Louisiana and Mississippi." --Brian Dominick
The US Navy asked Halliburton to repair naval facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the Houston Chronicle reported today. The work was assigned to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary....In March, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is tasked with responding to hurricane disasters, became a lobbyist for KBR. Joe Allbaugh was director of FEMA during the first two years of the Bush administration." --Haliburton Watch
"The president's declaration that "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees" has instantly achieved the notoriety of Condoleezza Rice's "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center." The administration's complete obliviousness to the possibilities for energy failures, food and water deprivation, and civil disorder in a major city under siege needs only the Donald Rumsfeld punch line of "Stuff happens" for a coup de grâce." --Frank Rich
"Federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans.... The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals." --Washington Post
"Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, was so oblivious to those on the lower decks that on Thursday he applauded the federal response to the still rampaging nightmare as "really exceptional." He told NPR that he had "not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don't have food and water" - even though every television viewer in the country had been hearing of those 25,000 stranded refugees for at least a day. This Titanic syndrome, too, precisely echoes the post-9/11 wartime history of an administration that has rewarded the haves at home with economic goodies while leaving the have-nots to fight in Iraq without proper support in manpower or armor. Surely it's only a matter of time before Mr. Chertoff and the equally at sea FEMA director, Michael Brown (who also was among the last to hear about the convention center), are each awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in line with past architects of lethal administration calamity like George Tenet and Paul Bremer." --Frank Rich


Monday, September 5, 2005


Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world by the editors of Bush Watch
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Interview: Meet The Press, Sunday, September 4
MR. RUSSERT:  And we are back. Jefferson Parish President Broussard, let me start with you.  You just heard the director of Homeland Security's explanation of what has happened this last week.  What is your reaction?
MR. AARON BROUSSARD:  We have been abandoned by our own country.  Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast, but the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history.  I am personally asking our bipartisan congressional delegation here in Louisiana to immediately begin congressional hearings to find out just what happened here.  Why did it happen?  Who needs to be fired?  And believe me, they need to be fired right away, because we still have weeks to go in this tragedy.  We have months to go.  We have years to go.  And whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chain-sawed off and we've got to start with some new leadership.
It's not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area, and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now.  It's so obvious.  FEMA needs more congressional funding.  It needs more presidential support.  It needs to be a Cabinet-level director.  It needs to be an independent agency that will be able to fulfill its mission to work in partnership with state and local governments around America.  FEMA needs to be empowered to do the things it was created to do.  It needs to come somewhere, like New Orleans, with all of its force immediately, without red tape, without bureaucracy, act immediately with common sense and leadership, and save lives.  Forget about the property.  We can rebuild the property.  It's got to be able to come in and save lives.
We need strong leadership at the top of America right now in order to accomplish this and to-- reconstructing FEMA.
MR. RUSSERT:  Mr. Broussard, let me ask--I want to ask--should...
MR. BROUSSARD:  You know, just some quick examples...
MR. RUSSERT:  Hold on.  Hold on, sir.  Shouldn't the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility?  Couldn't they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?
MR. BROUSSARD:  Sir, they were told like me, every single day, "The cavalry's coming," on a federal level, "The cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming."  I have just begun to hear the hoofs of the cavalry.  The cavalry's still not here yet, but I've begun to hear the hoofs, and we're almost a week out.
Let me give you just three quick examples.  We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water.  FEMA turned them back.  They said we didn't need them.  This was a week ago.  FEMA--we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish.  The Coast Guard said, "Come get the fuel right away."  When we got there with our trucks, they got a word.  "FEMA says don't give you the fuel."  Yesterday--yesterday--FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines.  They cut them without notice.  Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, "No one is getting near these lines."  Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America--American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.
But I want to thank Governor Blanco for all she's done and all her leadership. She sent in the National Guard.  I just repaired a breach on my side of the 17th Street canal that the secretary didn't foresee, a 300-foot breach.  I just completed it yesterday with convoys of National Guard and local parish workers and levee board people.  It took us two and a half days working 24/7. I just closed it.
MR. RUSSERT:  All right.
MR. BROUSSARD:  I'm telling you most importantly I want to thank my public employees...
MR. RUSSERT:  All right.
MR. BROUSSARD:  ...that have worked 24/7.  They're burned out, the doctors, the nurses.  And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me.  The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything.  His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son?  Is somebody coming?" [starting to cry] And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you.  Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday.  Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday.  Somebody's coming to get you on Friday."  And she drowned Friday night.  She drowned Friday night.
MR. RUSSERT:  Mr. President...
MR. BROUSSARD: [continuing to cry] Nobody's coming to get us.  Nobody's coming to get us.  The secretary has promised.  Everybody's promised.  They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences.  For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.

New Orleans Quotes: "Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs. Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports.Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl." --Maureen Dowd..."You're killing my city. You're killing my city." --Mayor Nagin, Saturday night. Nagin on Air American tells Laura Flanders that FEMA will not allow the Red Cross (or any other non-U.S. Government aid organization) into any part of New Orleans, including West New Orleans, where there isn't any flooding. FEMA wants to close down the entire city and send everyone elsewhere. Nagin says that's not necessary. The people in safe West New Orleans don't want to leave the city. It appears as though Bush and FEMA have other plans for the entire city of New Orleans on both sides of the Mississippi, and it doesn't include the city's citizens. --Politex..."These troops are battle-tested. They have M16s and are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and I expect they will." -- Kathleen Blanco, the Democrat governor of Louisiana... "The words "homeland security" now have a terribly hollow ring in the anarchic south: 35% of Louisiana's National Guard is serving in Iraq, where four out of every 10 soldiers are guardsmen. And recruiting is down because people fear being sent to Iraq. The priority given to law and order seems a troubling inverse reflection of what happened after the fall of Baghdad. Is it really more important to use deadly force against looters than to deliver humanitarian aid effectively?" --Guardian Ed..."Bush Finds Weapons Of Mass Destruction: "I am not looking forward to this trip. It's as if the entire Gulf coast were obliterated by the worst kind of weapon you can imagine." --G.W. Bush... After the Friday Bush Visit: "I continue to hear that troops are on the way, but we are still continuing to protect the city with 1,500 National Guardsmen," Mayor Nagin complained, challenging government claims that 30,000 guardsmen were on hand. He estimated that 50,000 people were still trapped in the city, thousands of whom would die unless relief arrived immediately." --Independent...“Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city. There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area—Saulet Condos—once they tried to get cars from there. . . well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.” --Michael Barnett, Interdictor...“Around 200 frightened Japanese, European, and American tourists, who had been thrown out of their hotel on Thursday morning, told how police fired over their heads as they attempted to get to buses to take them to safety.” ---Agence France Presse...“The medical condition is bad. We don't have any DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team) support—we have been told they are all being used in Baton Rouge. Acadian Ambulance set up a triage area which somehow morphed into the city-wide evacuation center. It is located under an overpass on I-10. It is an amazing site. There are thousands of evacuees there. Some are uninjured and waiting to get on buses to go somewhere. Others are waiting hours for triage. Helicopters are landing in the grass at the rate of 2 - 3 per minute. They are full of evacuees. . . . Later today the unit was pulled from operations because conditions worsened. Once law enforcement improves, they'll resume rescue operations. Is this really America?” --Dr. Richard Bradley, UT Med School..."Speaking on Cuban television tonight, Castro revealed that on Tuesday, while George Bush was still on vacation playing with his spiffy new guitar, and a day or two before the Secretary of State went shopping for shoes, Cuba contacted the State Department and offered no less than 1,100 doctors to assist in dealing with the crisis. Doctors who, unlike the hospital ship which has yet to leave its berth in Baltimore and isn't scheduled to be in New Orleans until NEXT Saturday (!), could have been on site by Wednesday if the Cuban offer had been accepted. It wasn't." --Eli Stephens, Lefti..."I'm 62 and I remember the riots in Watts, I remember the earth Quake in San Francisco, I remember a lot of things. I have never, ever seen anything as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans. Where the hell is the water for these people. Why can't sandwiches be dropped to those people that are in that Super Dome down there...This is Thursday...This storm happened five days ago. It's a disgrace and don't think the world isn't watching." --Jack Cafferty, CNN...

Mr. Fish: Cartoon: George W. Bush speaks to a man as a woman sits weeping in the background. Bush says: "Find out if she lost her family in the hurricane or if she lost a son in Iraq so I knew whether or not she deserves my sympathy."


Sunday, September 4, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world by the editors of Bush Watch
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Opinion: Lord, The Flies, Bill Smith
Bodies floating. Bloating. The indignity. An unholy embarrassment of bodies left on the street, people covered by ratty blankets and soiled sheets and left where they died on benches, in their wheelchairs. It's just awful watching the slow, sudden death of an entire city. New Orleans won t be New Orleans again. And, of course, that s all fine and dandy by Dennis Hastert and Pat Robertson's lights: Any populace that's 67 percent you know what is too darned smoky and already lost drinking, drugging, dancing bound for damnation.
Oh, sure, the French Quarter is going to be alright, I guess. But an estimated three hundred and fifty thousand homes, though still standing, are gone, too saturated by standing water under and over the eaves. All of them are bound to crumple and slide into useless bits of soggy debris like a baby's drool-drenched cracker or so many cardboard boxes sinking softly in a pool. They'll rebuild most of it or try their damnedest to what end, though, when so little character remains, anywhere? That's what happens when everything becomes a facsimile. People forget what's real. They'll loot the past for all sorts of baroque rococo trash. Sugar packets. Wrought iron curlicues on shotgun shacks.

And it all makes me wonder what sort of interest-free government loan I could wrangle to build on a half-acre lot after the levees are tamped whole and higher and wider (now that the shore-up funding isn't a problem --plenty of devils and demented policies to blame before Katrina, see: Bush, Iraq, Congress, the Army Corps of Engineers, Voodoo Economics--) and the water's been pumped and all the slime's been removed and buried. Toxic. Urban blight. Even so, my odds aren't so good. I got no sway or swag to speak of. Saints like Harry Connick, Jr. will march in to become the Crescent City's answer to Magic Johnson. Steve Winn and The Donald to follow. Glorious Casinos rise to be staffed by people who can t afford the gas to get to work because they haven't suffered enough to merit a living wage.
That stinks. It always has in the struggle between Progress and the Greedy SOBs who always seem to win the tug of war. New Orleans. NAwlins. May God continue to bless our country. Right. "Project Hope," my ass. Floods, Tourism, and Crime like it ever was.

Letters: Bush Watch readers respond.
It's already started in Washington, the usual. Representatives from both sides of the aisle, frustrated with the slow response for relief for the victims of Katrina, are promising hearings, and I m sure we'll hear from Bush, promising to appoint a commission to look into the whole farce. Several million dollars and a couple of years down the road, when enough time has passed and the American public has calmed down from an obvious drop of the ball on this administration's part, they will come out and say they did all they could under the circumstances, know one could have foreseen this catastrophe, blah, blah, blah.
It sickens me to my core that our government let people suffer like this: babies died, the old died, the worst in people came out, taking advantage of the situation to vent frustration from just being poor and forgotten. Thank God for the nature of Americans when their own are in trouble, because, while our President and the unqualified idiots that he has put in key government positions they have no place being in were still trying to figure out what was going on, the American people mobilized a relief effort to try and give aid to those left in the wake of this storm. --Krow

New Orleans Quotes: In front of the Superdome, noon, Saturday:"There's still an estimated 10,000 here. The [air] evacuation is going on at a hundred an hour, but buses are arriving. The dead man was shot while attacking another man with scissors. Another was shot dead while attempting to rape a 13 year old girl." --Geraldo, FOX...FOX is calling its New Orleans disaster coverage "The Cost of Freedom." What in the world are they thinking? The phrase for the day is "The Blame Game," used over and over and over in an attempt to cover Bush's butt. --Politex...A CNN observer with experience of Iraq battle conditions says medical facilities presently are more primitive in New Orleans. --Politex...Fact: Saturday morning, after the Bush visit on Friday, Superdome evacuation stalled. No buses. 2,500 remained without plans to leave for the fith day in NO's Convention Hall. Fact: Volunteers and supplies from around the country remain unused because there is no processing system in place. -CNN..."The stench of the dead on the streets is significant...The General in charge has a cell phone with a dead battery for communication. This is not the kind of communications the US military is used to. This is why this is taking so long. There is no infrastructure." --LA Gov, Saturday morning, CNN...CNN's Paula Zahn was incredulous. "Sir," she said, "you aren't just telling me you just learned that the folks at the convention center didn't have food and water until today [Thursday], are you? You had no idea they were completely cut off?" "Paula," FEMA's head, Michael Brown replied unequivocally, "the federal government did not even know about the convention center people until today." --NYT..."W. drove his budget-cutting Chevy to the levee, and it wasn't dry. Bye, bye, American lives." --Maureen Dowd...Asserting that the whole recovery operation had been "carried on the backs of the little guys for four goddamn days," Col. Terry Ebbert, director of homeland security for New Orleans said "the rest of the goddamn nation can't get us any resources for security."..."Someone described [ GOP House Speaker Hasterts' comments that New Orleans "should be bulldozed" and it "doesn't make sense" to rebuild the city.] Had they been in the same place when the remarks were made, [Bill] Clinton said, 'I'm afraid I would have assaulted him.'" --WP ..."It really makes us look very much like Bangladesh or Baghdad." --David Herbert Donald, retired Harvard historian...Convention Center "evacuees said that seven dead bodies littered the third floor. They said a 14-year-old girl had been raped." --NYT "I have one message for these hoodlums," said Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. "These troops know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so if necessary."..."Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country." --Mayor C. Ray Nagin from his damaged Hyatt office newar the Superdome..."I am in utter shock. There is just total disarray. This far into the cleanup and they are still understaffed? I am just so disappointed. It's just a terrible, sad situation." --Jonathan Williams, Hartford architect...."I believe it's wrong for the state to reap a [gas] tax windfall in this time of urgency and tragedy," Governor Purdue, Georgia.."I think we've got to see this as a serious problem of the long-term neglect of an environmental system on which our nation depends." --Andrew Young..."I think they were too slow to respond. Maybe the response would have been quicker if it had occurred in some other area of the country, for example in New York or California where there's more money, more people who are going to object, raise their voices....Those people are the poorest of the poor in Mississippi and Alabama, and it seems they had no access to anything." --Dr. Kauser Akhter, Tampa..."There is no question that we can see now with our own eyes the two Americas of which John Edwards began speaking a year and a half ago." --Tom Oliphant..."We cannot allow it to be said that the difference between those who lived and those who died" amounted to "nothing more than poverty, age or skin color" --Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland..."Everything just broke down for the folks who needed help the most. And when government cannot provide for those who need help the most, it makes everybody else feel less secure." --Clarence Page...I knew in Charleston, looking at the Weather Channel, that Gulfport was going to be destroyed. I'm the mayor of Charleston, but I knew that!" --Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

Sunday Bible School: (Actual test answers.)
Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which says to do unto others before they do one to you.

We're Watching: Martin Scorsese's "Bringing Out The Dead (Paramont)


Saturday, September 3, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world by the editors of Bush Watch
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Opinion: The Story of the Hurricane Cowboy Who Fiddled While New Orleans Drowned, Amanda Lang
Why did Bush vacation – cut wood, clear brush, bike, and read -- for days while the world watched Katrina develop, then slam as a category 4 hurricane into the Gulf Coast? Just as he did on September 11, 2001, he froze. They don’t have cable or telephones in Crawford? The unfolding catastrophe has Bush leadership skills, or lack thereof, written all over it. He treats his own citizens with the same contempt and callousness as he does the Iraqi civilians – as “collateral damage.” If a category 4 hurricane is not a “bomb” dropping on American soil, what is? Bush remained on vacation one whole day after Katrina hit, WAITING FOR WHAT? The federal government was ‘missing in action’ and has failed its citizens abysmally. And Congress... where the hell are they? They rushed back to Washington over night for one woman’s feeding tube, but can’t seem to find the way back for a destructive hurricane that most likely killed thousands. Are these Americans too poor or not expounding the right religion to garner attention the Trade Tower victims received? They all sat and watched this train wreck, now they are screwing up the rescue and salvage, probably busy searching for the ‘scapegoat’ du jour. Did the Bush administration and Congress want to create a situation where they could declare martial law? Looks like it. New Orleans has become a war zone. Martial law declared. Since when is a policy of "you loot, we shoot" appropriate for people just trying to survive until help arrives? THEY ARE DYING.

New Orleans Quotes: "I'm satisfied with the response." --George W. Bush at NO Airport..."The results are not acceptable." --G.W. Bush earlier in the day... "We're going to help these communities rebuild....Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." (Laughter.) --Bush During Disaster Tour...{"...................................."} --Dick Cheney..."No one has thought enough of us to even bring us a cup of water....Several bodies lie scattered around. Edwards pointed to an elderly lady dead in a wheelchair and said, "I don't treat my dog like that." He says he buried his dog." --Man Outside NO Convention Center..."They don't have a clue what's going on down here....They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of goddamn - excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed," New Orleans Mayor Nagin...Instead of helping people left desperate in the wake of Katrina's wrath, [the inactive U.S. Custom's three] Blackhawks actually were slated to transport a CNN news crew to take video shots of those people." --a former regional Internal Affairs supervisor for U.S. Customs...."I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." --George W. Bush 9/1/05..."The storm surge most likely will topple our levee system" New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin 8/28/05..."No one can say they didn't see it [the breach of the levees] coming." --Newhouse New Service..."Bush slashed levee reinforcement funding "down to a trickle," and New Oreans is in a Democratic Party state." --Jerry Politex..."A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource." --Conservative NH Union Leader..."It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed." --GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert..."An Act of God destroyed a wicked city." --Christianist Repent America director Michael Marcavage..."Take a close look at the people you see wandering, devastated, around New Orleans: they are predominantly black and poor." --NYT Columnist David Brooks...The people remaining in New Orleans "who chose not to evacuate, who chose not to leave the city....the federal government did not even know about the Convention Center people until today." --Bush FEMA director Michael Brown...To help in rescue efforts, "donate cash [to Pat Robertson's] Operation Blessing." --FEMA website..."Since this administration won't acknowledge that global warming exists, the chances of leadership seem minimal." --NYT Editorial

We're Listening: Dr. John's "Gumbo" (Atco) the very best!


Friday, September 2, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Letters: Readers Respond To New Orleans Disaster
I feel rather small right now. Down south there are thousands of people dying before my eyes. I feel like our government could be doing more to help these people. I feel like all the big companies that these people have bought their products from all these years should give back. We need a voice together. We need to help these people. --Jennifer Robinson
no bottled water for la. by wed., aug. 30,?, yet gas has risen to over 3.00 per gal. in upstate n.y.? poor bush had to cut his vaca. short of the 5 wks.? they need his o.k. to send water but not to gouge usa? now do we get it? --Rick Drewes
GET THE TROOPS OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND TO THE SOUTHERN STATES TO HELP WHERE THE HELP IS REALLY NEEDED. BUSH IS A WASTE OF A PRESIDENT, I AM EMBARRASSED TO CALL HIM OUR LEADER --Bush Watcher

Interview: Who Knew? Gas Prices? Bush Spins Disaster With Diane Sawyer, with Dan Froomkin
Sawyer: "Mr. President, this morning, as we speak . . . there are people with signs saying 'Help, come get me'. People still in the attic, waving. Nurses are phoning in saying the situation in hospitals is getting ever more dire and the nurses are getting sick because of no clean water. Some of the things they asked our correspondents to ask you is: They expected -- they say to us -- that the day after this hurricane that there would be a massive and visible armada of federal support. There would be boats coming in. There would be food. There would be water. It would be there within hours. They wondered: What's taking so long?"
Bush: "Well, there's a lot of food on its way. A lot of water on the way. And there's a lot of boats and choppers headed that way. Boats and choppers headed that way. It just takes a while to float 'em! . . . "
Sawyer: "But given the fact that everyone anticipated a hurricane five, a possible hurricane five hitting shore, are you satisfied with the pace at which this is arriving? And which it was planned to arrive?"
Bush: "Well, I fully understand people wanting things to have happened yesterday. I mean, I understand the anxiety of people on the ground. I can imagine -- I just can't imagine what it is like to be waving a sign saying 'come and get me now'. So there is frustration. But I want people to know there is a lot of help coming.
"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will."
*****
Wrong.
Just for starters, how about Sunday's New Orleans Times-Picayune , which described a computer model run by the LSU Hurricane Center. "It indicated the metropolitan area was poised to see a repeat of Betsy's flooding, or worse, with storm surge of as much as 16 feet moving up the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and topping levees in Chalmette and eastern New Orleans, and pushing water into the 9th Ward and parts of Mid-City."
Or Monday's New York Times , in which New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin is quoted as saying that "Hurricane Katrina could bring 15 inches of rain and a storm surge of 20 feet or higher that would 'most likely topple' the network of levees and canals that normally protect the bowl-shaped city from flooding.
And as Andrew C. Revkin and Christopher Drew write in today's New York Times: "The 17th Street levee that gave way and led to the flooding of New Orleans was part of an intricate, aging system of barriers and pumps that was so chronically underfinanced that senior regional officials of the Army Corps of Engineers complained about it publicly for years.
*****
Later, Sawyer asked about gas prices and oil company profits.
Sawyer: "Gas prices going up at the pumps. We have seen in Atlanta the lines backing up. And some of the prices are going up to $4, $5. First of all, what do you want to say -- what is the government putting in place to guard against price gouging? And also, is this a time to call on Americans simply to pull back and not use the gas? . . . "
Bush: "First of all, you are right. We ought to conserve more. And I would hope Americans conserve if given a choice. Secondly, we have done some things to help on the gas prices. . . ."
Sawyer: "Some people have said that the oil companies themselves should simply forfeit some of their profits in this time of national crisis. One conservative commentator, a popular one, called for a 20 percent reduction in the profits. Do you -- "
Bush: "Well, what I'd like to see in corporate America, is to make sure they contribute to helping these victims. . . . "

Disaster In New Orleans: How About An Emergency Communications System That Works? William Fisher
In the months to come we'll learn that one of the many failures of protecting citizens during the New Orleans disaster was the lack of communications. Last Thursday we ran this story because we thought it was relevant to the present need to coordinate communications in event of a disaster. It pointed out that very little that has been done to date to correct our inadequate communications system that may have cost lives during the 9/11 disaster. For example, as Fisher notes, " On 9/11 there was no spectrum allocated to public safety – and there still isn’t."

Such a system would have proved useful during the New Orleans disaster. Based on relevant new stories, it's clear that the communications disaster in New Orleans in the 48 hours after the hurricane passed through may be found to have contributed to a loss of lives. The combination of poor, uncoordinated communications, confused survivors who were given little help to evacuate in advance of the hurricane, the sick and the handicapped who were left behind, the growing toxic stew of heat, refuse, poisons, sleeplessness, and mental derangement, and the Bush administration's slowness to respond could lead to more loss of life. --Jerry Politex

[On 9/11] when police officials concluded the twin towers were in danger of collapsing and ordered police to leave the complex, fire officials were not notified. Four years on, families of victims, policy makers, and ordinary citizens are asking: ”Could it happen again”? And, according to virtually every expert, the answer is ‘yes’.
Public safety agencies including first responders, such as firefighters, police officers, and ambulance services, are heavily dependent on wireless radios. Wireless technology requires radio frequency capacity, known as spectrum, in order to function, and existing wireless technology is designed to work within specified frequency ranges. On 9/11 there was no spectrum allocated to public safety – and there still isn’t.

We're Reading: Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men" (Regan Books)


Thursday, September 1, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world by the editors of Bush Watch
...get our headlines in your e-mail

Report: Bush And The New Orleans Levee Disaster Linked To His Tax Cuts, His Iraq War, E+P
Even though Hurricane Katrina has moved well north of the city, the waters may still keep rising in New Orleans late on Tuesday. That's because Lake Pontchartrain continues to pour through a two-block-long break in the main levee, near the city's 17th Street Canal. With much of the Crescent City some 10 feet below sea level, the rising tide may not stop until it's level with the massive lake.
New Orleans had long known it was highly vulnerable to flooding and a direct hit from a hurricane. In fact, the federal government has been working with state and local officials in the region since the late 1960s on major hurricane and flood relief efforts. When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA.
Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside.
Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.
Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune Web site, reported: "No one can say they didn't see it coming. ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."
In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.
On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."
Also that June, with the 2004 hurricane season starting, the Corps' project manager Al Naomi went before a local agency, the East Jefferson Levee Authority, and essentially begged for $2 million for urgent work that Washington was now unable to pay for. From the June 18, 2004 Times-Picayune:
"The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we don't get the money fast enough to raise them, then we can't stay ahead of the settlement," he said. "The problem that we have isn't that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we can't raise them."... (
more

Opinion: Are We Angry Enough Yet? Jerry Politex
Are we angry enough yet?
First, Bush took us from a surplus to the most massive deficit in our history, one that incereases with each passing day, one that not even your grandchildren will be able to pay off, one that will be used as an excuse to gut social programs and seriously weaken the country's infrstructure. And, while his corporate masters plunder the country, poverty has increased each year he's been in office,increasing the gap between rich and poor, and turning the middle class into wage slaves too frightened to voice any oppositon for fear of losing their jobs.
Second, Bush took us into a war in Iraq that has sucked more money from our government, while giving it to his corporate friends involved in the privatization of the military, the servicing of his war machine, and the creation of his weapons. In so doing, we find that his reasons for invading Iraq, the reasons given to Congress and the UN, the reasons he gave to the American people prior to the invasion, were lies. Since then, we've learned that his fallback reasons for invading Iraq, the reasons he gave after the invasion, were also lies. In short, Bush has yet to give us one reason for his invasion of Iraq that has not turned out to be a lie.
Third, with the mayor's predictions of hundreds, if not thousands of deaths, massive destruction of home and infrastructure, and the Governor's call to abandon New Orleans because the inadequate levee system broke down and the city is now under water, we learn that in early 2004, as the cost of Iraq grew and the tax revenues fell, the levees protecting New Orleans from flooding remained unfinishd, even though by 1995 the Army Corps of Engineers had heeded the dire warnings and had been working to stave off disaster. Nevertheless, under Bush federal funding needed to strengthen the levees in New Orleans "dropped to a trickle" with at least $250 million in work needed to be done.
"In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding," New Orleans City Business reports. "The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded....Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now." While Bush slashed funding to protect New Orleans from flooding, he continued to talk about more tax cuts for corporations, more estate tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%, more reckless schemes to provide additional tax cuts and rewards for his wealthy friends and corporate masters.
How many deaths are acceptable? How much money rape can we stand? How many lies are we willing listen to?
Are we angry enough yet?

Verse: A Broadcasting Preacher Named Pat, Madeleine Begun Kane
A broadcasting preacher named Pat,
Who quite frequently talks through his hat,
Seems to think it's God's will
That we Prez Chavez kill.
Then we'll take all his oil, and that's that.


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