Saturday, September 24, 2005

Maybe Bush Could Send His Photo Op Entourage to Work the Phone Lines

Chicago Tribune, from dailykos:

Reuniting families could take `months'

In Louisiana, the state hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina, the center has opened 3,783 cases of missing children or children looking for their parents, an increase of 788 cases since the beginning of the week.....

After volunteers take the basic information, the report is sent to one of 15 paid case managers--up from nine on normal days before the storm--who try to locate children and return them to their families.

It's All About the Image

Few Decisions to Make, Much Time to Be Seen

David Sanger of the New York Times discusses the difficulty the White House has had in coming up with the right image for President Photo Op.

AUSTIN, Tex., Sept. 24 - As he emerged Saturday morning ....President Bush caught sight of a famous image of himself []....

Mr. Bush was pictured in command centers, a deliberate effort by the White House to strike a different image...

his initial presence at the ranch and images of him viewing the disaster from the climate-controlled comfort of Air Force One reinforced the image of a leader detached....

And of course, the famous image of Bush [] is the ultimate photo op:

Bullhorn in hand at Ground Zero on Sept. 14, 2001.

which Sanger refers to as though it were REAL is hard to find command moments like that one.

Command moments? Does Sanger not know that the so-called "bullhorn moment" was nothing more than a photo op, that Karl Rove asked to have Bush hauled up on the truck with the bullhorn? There was no command moment. There was a photo op, and for more than four years the media has pretended that a photo op had some real world meaning. It was a set up picture for the MSM, which bought it hook, line and sinker. The emperor never had any clothes. He's been naked all along, except for his puppetmaster Traitor Karl.

Those Reptilian Eyes

Judge Roberts, Reptilian?

Glad to know I'm not the only one thinking "reptile" when I look at Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

Why I Want a Hybrid

From the Houston Chronicle's Hurricane Rita blog:

Why you want a hybrid

Here's why you want to buy a hybrid electric/gas-powered automobile.

Mike Matthews, the Chronicle employee whose evacuation journey was blogged here and here, finally made to his destination of Palestine -- 30 hours after leaving Clear Lake.

Via instant message, he followed up:

FYI, Renee and I finally got to Palestine, TX at about 5:45 AM -- 30 hours after leaving our house in Clear Lake. The Prius still has about 1/4 tank of gas...

Jury Out on St. Patrick's Four

from the Ithaca Journal:

No verdict for four Ithacans

The 12 men and women of the jury debated the case for nearly six hours in Binghamton's federal court before calling it quits Friday night.

President Photo Op, First and Foremost

Bush's Crisis Itinerary at Mercy of Weather, Even Nice Weather

When Mr. McClellan announced that the president had scrapped his trip, he said that with the search-and-rescue team preparing to move with the storm, "we didn't want to slow that down."

Another White House official involved in preparing Mr. Bush's way noted that with the sun shining so brightly in San Antonio, the images of Mr. Bush from here might not have made it clear to viewers that he was dealing with an approaching storm.

Because it's all about the photo op. No actual governing intended.

Katrina & Rita: Global Warming 2.0

Derrick Z. Jackson in the Boston Globe:

Global warming? You better believe it

AS THE MEDIA screams about the one-two punch of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the question becomes how many more times does America need to be knocked to the canvas before we answer the bell on global warming.

The Incompetence, the Corruption, the Cronyism: Sept. 24th, 2005 edition

The Incompetence:

FDA head steps down abruptly

Washington -- Lester Crawford, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, resigned abruptly Friday, causing further upheaval at an agency that has been in turmoil for over a year.

Crawford, who was confirmed just two months ago, on July 18, did not say why he was stepping down....

On Thursday, a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine titled "A Sad Day for Science at the FDA" said that "recent actions of the FDA leadership have made a mockery of the process of evaluating scientific evidence," disillusioned many scientists, "squandered the public trust and tarnished the agency's image."...

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said the agency had been "politicized and degraded" under Crawford, whose leadership she described as "tepid and passive."

At the FDA, as at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Mikulski said, the Bush administration had brought "incompetent leaders into critical positions."

The Corruption:

Frist Knew About Blind Trust Investments

WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., was updated several times about his investments in blind trusts during 2002, the last time two weeks before he publicly denied any knowledge of what was in the accounts, documents show.

The updates included stock transactions involving HCA Inc., the hospital operating company founded by Frist's family.

Frist's sale of HCA stock is under scrutiny by the federal government. Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA said Friday it had received a subpoena from prosecutors for the Southern District of New York, asking for documents the company believes are related to Frist's sale of company stock this past summer.

The Cronyism:

Amid Many Fights Over Qualifications, a Bush Nomination Stalls in the Senate

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 - Faced with accusations that the Bush administration is stocking the government with unqualified cronies, the Republican chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is holding up the nomination of a lawyer [Julie L. Myers] with little background in immigration or customs to head the law enforcement agency in charge of those issues.

In addition to the questions about Ms. Myers, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan has objected to the nomination of Stewart Baker to be assistant secretary of homeland security for policy. Mr. Baker, who won committee approval despite Mr. Levin's opposition, is an accomplished technology lawyer, but he has little experience in disaster management.

At the same time, the Center for American Progress, a research institute for out-of-office Democratic policy experts, has questioned whether Andrew B. Maner is qualified for his position as chief financial officer of the Homeland Security Department, which has a budget of about $35 billion and more than 180,000 employees. Mr. Maner's main government experience before joining this administration was a job in the White House press office under the first President Bush.

The questions of credentials are not limited to homeland security. For example, the main experience of Brian D. Montgomery, who in June became assistant secretary for housing and federal housing commissioner, was performing advance work in the Bush presidential campaign of 2000 and in the current administration's first term.

Mr. Montgomery's responsibilities now include overseeing the $500 billion Federal Housing Administration insurance portfolio. His background in housing is limited to a few years as communications director of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

The Republicans Stole Ohio and the 2004 Election

A must read, the story of how the Republicans stole Ohio and therefore the 2004 Presidential Election, with the blessing of their good and great friends the corporate media:

None Dare Call It Stolen
Ohio, the election, and America's servile press

The press has had little to say about most of the strange details of the election—except, that is, to ridicule all efforts to discuss them. This animus appeared soon after November 2, in a spate of caustic articles dismissing any critical discussion of the outcome as crazed speculation: “Election paranoia surfaces: Conspiracy theorists call results rigged,” chuckled the Baltimore Sun on November 5. “Internet Buzz on Vote Fraud Is Dismissed,” proclaimed the Boston Globe on November 10. “Latest Conspiracy Theory—Kerry Won—Hits the Ether,” the Washington Post chortled on November 11. The New York Times weighed in with “Vote Fraud Theories, Spread by Blogs, Are Quickly Buried”—making mock not only of the “post-election theorizing” but of cyberspace itself, the fons et origo of all such loony tunes, according to the Times.

Such was the news that most Americans received. Although the tone was scientific, “realistic,” skeptical, and “middle-of-the-road,” the explanations offered by the press were weak and immaterial. It was as if they were reporting from inside a forest fire without acknowledging the fire, except to keep insisting that there was no fire.[2] Since Kerry has conceded, they argued, and since “no smoking gun” had come to light, there was no story to report. This is an oddly passive argument. Even so, the evidence that something went extremely wrong last fall is copious, and not hard to find. Much of it was noted at the time, albeit by local papers and haphazardly. Concerning the decisive contest in Ohio, the evidence is lucidly compiled in a single congressional report, which, for the last half-year, has been available to anyone inclined to read it. It is a veritable arsenal of “smoking guns”—and yet its findings may be less extraordinary than the fact that no one in this country seems to care about them.

Here's the Conyers report (pdf file, requires Adobe reader)

and the Executive Summary of the Conyers report, from

The Poor Are Left Behind: The Story of the Bush Presidency

From ThinkProgress:

Rita Evacuation Exposes Class Divide

The rich are safe and sound, the middle class is struggling, and the poor are left behind. It’s the story of the Bush presidency.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Power Outage/No Blogging Today

No blogging today, unexplained power outage during today's designated blogging hours.

Back tomorrow.

New blog to check out: Newsfare, an accumulator of lefty blogs. Yes, they pick me up!

Lafon Nursing Home: "Officials Eventually Recovered 22 Corpses"

From Friday's Washington Post:

At Nursing Home, Katrina Dealt Only the First Blow
For Days, Nuns Labored in Fatal Heat to Get Help for Patients

The fatal mistake:

But at Lafon, the nursing home run by the order, more than 100 other elderly patients stayed where they were. Sister Augustine McDaniel, the nursing home's administrator, had weathered other hurricanes in her 68 years and decided that she -- and the patients in her care -- would tough this one out, too.

Faced with moving her fragile patients on jammed roadways, or keeping them at Lafon, a sturdy, low brick building that had survived other hurricanes, McDaniel decided her staff and patients would be better off staying. If things got rough, she would move everyone to the second floor.

The result:

Originally told 14 had died, officials eventually recovered 22 corpses.

Read the entire sad story. There are more tragic nursing home stories to come.

Previous posts:

What Happened at the Lafon Nursing Home?

Lafon Nursing Home Update

There Are A Lot More Nursing Homes In New Orleans: Here's the Story of One.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bush is Drinking Again

Blogtopia is agog over the National Enquirer's report that President Bush is back on the sauce.

See, for example, Art Pottery, Politics and Food (one of my favorite blogs, BTW)

Bush's Booze Crisis!

But if you've been paying close attention, Bush's drinking has already been confirmed by the MSM. In last month's Washington Post, Dana Milbank reported:

Bush's Media Barbecue: No Grilling
President Treats Press To Off-the-Record Bash

Sipping their Shiner Bocks at sunset (Bush drank nonalcoholic Buckler), many of the journalists were forced to acknowledge that Prairie Chapel Ranch is not such an awful place after all.

Of course, as any member of AA can tell you, there is no such thing as nonalcoholic beer. Non-alcoholic beer (NAB) is a slightly misleading term used to describe beer with very low alcohol content, usually 1/2 a percent or less. As a sober loved one told me when I asked him about Bush drinking Buckler: "That's not sobriety!"

Bush has certainly displayed the poor decisionmaking I associate with alcoholics.

Leahy, Kohl and Feingold (D - Spineless) Vote for Roberts

Senate Panel Endorses Roberts's Nomination as Chief Justice

Dear Senators Leahy, Kohl and Feingold:

F**k you. When "Justice" Roberts starts eroding civil rights protection and votes to overturn Roe v. Wade, it's your fault. Spineless bastards.



"The important thing is that we all work together to rebuild Trent Lott's house"

get your war on

"Homeland Security was designed to fail"

Project Censored Top 25 of 2006: "The news that didn't make the News"

#25 on the list? "Homeland Security Was Designed to Fail"

The failure of the mainstream media to acknowledge the fact that Homeland Security has been a complete washout further signifies the cozy relationship it enjoys with the halls of power. Protection of the homeland has been an area where the president has received consistently high marks from the country—ostensibly because this is the one area where he has stayed strong and focused. It would have been helpful for the country to know if this wasn’t true.

It certainly would have been helpful to New Orleans.

"Where Are The Buses?"

From attytood:

They have learned nothing

The woman pictured at the top of this entry is named Hortense Davis. She is 73 years old and lives in a flood-prone section of Houston, directly in the path of Category 5 Hurricane Rita.

Clearly, George W. Bush is not focusing on her. Because Hortense Davis desperately wants to get the hell out of Houston. And no one is helping her. It is New Orleans deja vu all over again.

The president, and the people around him, have learned nothing from the worst natural disaster in American history.

Here is Davis' story, from an excellent hurricane blog started by the Houston Chronicle. This post is titled, and you'll be sick to your stomach when you see this: "So Many People, So Few Buses."

Hortense Davis is waiting at the Houston Greyhound station for a bus that may not be coming.

The 73-year-old woman called the Red Cross today to find out what she should do about the storm. She said she was told to go to the bus station and tell them she had no money and needs to get out of the city.

"But when I got here, they said they couldn't help me," she said. "So now I'm just sitting here."....

Doesn't anybody remember what New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said just 20 days ago?

I'm like, "You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."

Where are the buses? Where's Michael Chertoff, and where's R. David Paulison? Most important, where's Bush? Rita is about 39 hours from land. Somebody needs to get their asses moving. And focus.

The St. Patrick's Four

I received the following email from a friend yesterday:

I hope the Rossie column that ran today in the Ithaca Journal makes it into blogtopia. It is a localish issue, The St. Patrick's Four, Ithaca Catholic Workers who protested the Iraqi invasion even before Shock and Awe by pouring their blood around a Lansing Army recruiting office. Local D.A. couldn't get a conviction so shopped it to the feds and they are being tried now in Binghamton. Destruction of government property.

I'd never heard of the case, so I did a little research. These folks are getting railroaded by the Bush Administration after New York State tried but failed to get a conviction. We're bring freedom to Iraq, President Photo Op keeps saying, but you aren't free to say war is wrong and immoral in this country. No, the government tries to put you in jail for speaking truth to power.

I grew up south of Binghamton and am pessimistic about the St. Patrick's Four's chances in front of a jury drawn from the federal pool in that area. Federal juries are notoriously conservative, being drawn mostly from landowners and registered voters. And the Southern Tier is a pretty conservative place. Plus the judge has gutted their defense by ruling out evidence of their motive. Hopefully the jury will figure out the truth that's being hidden from them by the rules which protect the rich and powerful. (Do you think that if an oil company was on trial for profiteering they wouldn't be able to say why they did it? Can you imagine? Of course not.)

Trial of the St. Patrick's Four: Defendant won't say who drew blood
De Mott held in contempt of court after cross-examination
(Binghamton Press, Sept. 22, 2005)

St. Patrick's Four Trial Update (WICZ-TV, Fox40, Sept. 22, 2005)

Rossie: Not much new as demonstrators exchange cliches (Dave Rossie, Binghamton Press, Sept. 21, 2005)

For the benefit of anyone who has been vacationing in Patagonia for the last month, the four attention-seekers are better known as the St. Patrick's Four because they chose that saint's day in 2003 to enter a military recruiting office in an Ithaca suburb, where they spilled blood on walls and the American flag, to protest the approaching U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The sore loser is Tompkins County District Attorney George Dentes, who, having failed to get a conviction of the four in Tompkins County Court, persuaded the U. S. attorney for the region to file charges against them in federal court.

The others need no introduction; they're old acquaintances in a way. They may be divided philosophically, but they are united by a single objective that has become a cliche: Support Our Troops. The antiwar people want to support them by bringing them home. The pro-war people, it would appear, want to support them by keeping them in the midst of an escalating civil war, thereby increasing their chances of getting killed or wounded. Some support.

Prominent among the antiwar activists outside Binghamton's Federal Building on Monday were a number of men wearing shirts and caps that identified them as "Veterans for Peace." If there was a comparable contingent of "Doves for War," it was not apparent.

The nearest thing to that category was a gaggle of college kids from Ithaca who showed up on Sunday to whoop it up for the war -- provided, of course, that some other, non-college kids were fighting it.

If all this appears cynical, I'm sorry. The St. Patrick's Four, I'm sure, are sincere in their beliefs. They wouldn't risk going to prison if they weren't. But they made their point by doing what they did in Lansing, assuming their point was to call attention to the Cheney/Bush Gang's war against a country that posed no threat to the United States, a war preceded by a walking barrage of lies.

Dentes originally offered the four a plea bargain that would have avoided jail time, but they refused, went to trial, which ended in a hung jury -- nine for acquittal, three for conviction -- and a mistrial.

That should have been the end of it, but Dentes, apparently feeling he'd been sandbagged when the judge allowed the four to make their anti-war motivation the focus of their defense, persuaded the feds to take the case, which was then moved to Binghamton. The presiding judge, Thomas McAvoy, has ruled that the four will not be able to use their antiwar beliefs as a defense, which seems a bit odd in that they did what they did out of conviction that the war is both illegal and immoral. Apparently, that standard lawyer term: "It goes to motive, your honor" will not be allowed in this case. This case will be strictly about damaging government property.

War Protesters Ask Jurors to Heed Their Consciences (NY Times, Sept. 21, 2005)

Trial of the St. Patrick's Four: Jury selection takes 7 hours
Opening arguments set for today

Photo Gallery, St. Patrick's Four Trial

Protesters face charges from another era
Four on trial in what may be first conspiracy prosecution of anti-war activists since Vietnam
(Albany Times Union, Sept. 20, 2005)

A group of Catholic activists who say their beliefs compelled them to protest the war in Iraq went on federal trial in Binghamton Monday, marking what may be the first conspiracy prosecution of war protesters since the Vietnam era.
The case, which is drawing national attention, raises questions about the right to protest, the true measure of faith and government control.

Four members of Ithaca's Catholic Worker movement admit they entered a military recruiting center in the Cayuga Mall outside Ithaca on March 17, 2003, and poured small vials of their own blood in the vestibule. They say they knelt, read a statement and prevented no traffic in or out. The self-described "The St. Patrick's Four" used blood to symbolize the effects of war and the sanctity of the Eucharist.

Daniel Burns, 45, sisters Clare Grady, 46, and Teresa Grady, 40, and Peter DeMott, 58, all of Ithaca, face up to six years in prison and $250,000 in fines if convicted.

What will they say 30 years from now? (Dave Rossie, Ithaca Journal, Sept. 19, 2005)

And sometimes war causes casualties without ever leaving home. That is what has happened to four young people whose friends and supporters have dubbed them The Saint Patrick's Day Four, because their protest was staged on March 17, 2003 ... St. Patrick's Day. The four were among a group of about 20 anti-war activists who gathered outside a military recruiting office at the Cayuga Mall in Lansing, near Ithaca, days before the Bush administration launched its invasion of Iraq. The four: Clare Grady, Daniel Burns, Teresa Grady and Peter De Mott, then entered the office where they sprinkled a small amount of blood, which they said was their own, and were consequently arrested.

They were charged with third degree criminal mischief, but not convicted. Their trial in Tompkins County Court ended in a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The county district attorney then dropped the charges, but for reasons best known to himself persuaded a U.S. Attorney to charge the four under federal statutes. Now the four face a September trial in U.S. District Court in Binghamton. The charges: Injury and damage to government property; entering a military station for unlawful purposes, and then re-entering the property after being removed. If convicted they could face prison time and fines. The federal judge should toss the case after opening arguments.

William Rivers Pitt: The Blood of the Righteous

During the Vietnam war, a number of anti-war activists were prosecuted and jailed for taking direct action against recruiting stations and draft board offices. Files were burned and blood was poured on records. Few activists during this time were as dedicated, or as prosecuted, as the brothers Daniel and Philip Berrigan.

In 1967, Philip Berrigan poured his own blood on Selective Service records in Baltimore, and handed out Bibles while waiting to be arrested. In 1969, Berrigan used home-made napalm to incinerate 378 draft files in Catsonville, Maryland. In 1980, the Berrigan brothers entered a General Electric nuclear missile factory in Pennsylvania, hammered on the nose cones, again poured their own blood, and again were arrested.

In every instance, the Berrigan protest actions were grounded in their Christian beliefs. Both brothers were Roman Catholic priests. After the 1969 Catsonville action, Philip Berrigan said, "We confront the Catholic Church, other Christian bodies, and the synagogues of America with their silence and cowardice in the face of our country's crimes. We are convinced that the religious bureaucracy in this country is racist, is an accomplice in this war, and is hostile to the poor."

As the American people grew more and more hostile towards the Vietnam war, actions of conscience taken by people like the Berrigan brothers became more and more threatening to those in government who wished to see the war continue. Punishments became harsher, threats became more dire, all in an effort to derail a popular wave of resistance against the war, and against those who pushed the war.

The wheel has come around again.....

"War is bloody," said the four protesters in a statement they read after their action in Ithaca. "The blood we brought to the recruiting station was a sign of the blood inherent in the business of the recruiting station. Blood is a sign of life, which we hold to be precious, and a sign of redemption and conversion, which we seek as people of this nation. The young men and women who join the military, via that recruiting station, are people whose lives are precious. We are obligated, as citizens of a democracy, to sound an alarm when we see our young people being sent into harm's way for a cause that is wholly unjust and criminal. Blood is a potent symbol of life and death."

"Blood is the sacred substance of life," they continued, "yet it is shed wantonly in war. As Catholics, when we receive the Eucharist, we acknowledge our oneness with God and the entire human family. We went to the recruiting center using what we have - our bodies, our blood, our words, and our spirits - to implore, beg, and order our country away from the tragedy of war and toward God's reign of peace and justice."

After Hung Jury, 4 Who Poured Blood at Upstate Army Center Face U.S. Trial (NY Times, Sept. 18, 2005)

You can also follow the case and other Ithaca-area issues on the Ithaca Action Network blog.

The Incompetence, the Corruption, the Cronyism: Sept. 22nd, 2005 edition*

The Incompetence:

Ice for the Big Easy goes a long way
Trucks haul excess to Gloucester storage
(Boston Globe)
GLOUCESTER -- First, the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent them to the Gulf Coast, a rumbling, rolling convoy of tractor-trailers hauling 170 million pounds of ice bound for victims of Hurricane Katrina, whose food and medicine supplies were rapidly spoiling in the relentless sun.

No sooner had they arrived, when FEMA handed down another order: Never mind. It turns out that most of the victims had already been brought to shelters in Texas and other states with working refrigerators and freezers.

Now, 114 of the big rigs have ended up here, 1,000 miles north of the hurricane zone, on the briny, ocean-cooled shores of Cape Ann in Gloucester.

The Corruption:

Frist Stock Sale Raises Questions on Timing (Washington Post)

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has maintained for years that his stock holdings in the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain posed no conflict of interest for a policymaker deeply involved in health care matters. He even received two rulings in the 1990s from the Senate ethics committee that blessed the holding of the stock in blind trusts.

So when Frist decided in June to dump all the stock, and later cited as the reason his desire to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, eyebrows went up among ethics experts and congressional watchdogs. Why did he do it at that time?

Precisely a month later, after the stock was sold [by Frist], its price tumbled 9 percent when executives in the company -- HCA Inc., which was founded by Frist's father and on whose board Frist's brother serves -- disclosed that hospital admissions of insured patients were lower than expected, depressing profits in the second quarter.

The Cronyism:

W Marks the Spot
Bait and Switch in the Bitterroot
(From, via

Like Rumsfeld's Pentagon, the Forest Service under George W. Bush runs on pr, corporate cronyism, an obsession with secrecy and the rapid-fire deployment of fabricated justifications for cutting down old-growth forests.

*The title of this post comes from skippy: framed

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

No Wonder They're So Afraid of the Blame Game

Experts Say Faulty Levees Caused Much of Flooding

[W]ith the help of complex computer models and stark visual evidence, scientists and engineers at Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center have concluded that Katrina's surges did not come close to overtopping those barriers. That would make faulty design, inadequate construction or some combination of the two the likely cause of the breaching of the floodwalls along the 17th Street and London Avenue canals -- and the flooding of most of New Orleans.....

Congress authorizes flood- control projects -- after receiving recommendations from the Corps -- and the Corps oversees their design and construction.

John M. Barry -- who criticized the Corps in "Rising Tide," a history of the Mississippi River flood of 1927 -- said that if Katrina did not exceed the design capacity of the New Orleans levees, the federal government may bear ultimate responsibility for this disaster.

"If this is true, then the loss of life and the devastation in much of New Orleans is no more a natural disaster than a surgeon killing a patient by failing to suture an artery would be a natural death," Barry said. "And that surgeon would be culpable."

Like Jon Stewart said: "When people don't want to play the blame game? They're to blame."

Take Our Mittwit! Please!

Romney denies rumors of leading Katrina cleanup

Gov. Mitt Romney claims he's planning to finish out his four-year term, despite new rumblings in political circles he may be a leading White House pick to lead the federal government's Hurricane Katrina recovery effort.

Romney's name was floated by U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, as a possible choice to coordinate the massive federal cleanup and rebuilding effort. Sessions earlier this month called the GOP governor someone ``without a political agenda'' who could effectively manage the complicated and expensive undertaking.

Without a political agenda, my a**. He's been running for President for two years! What else could explain his sudden shifts to the far right, addresses in South Carolina, and his enormous Office of Operations and advance staff. Like he needs 9 aides and 4 state troopers to christen a sewage treatment plant in Southie.

Take the Mittwit. Please. We don't need any conservatives in libertarian clothing.

Real Looters

NY Times: Governors Ask for Inquiry on Oil Prices

The governors of eight states sent a letter on Tuesday to President Bush and Congress calling for an investigation into profits made by oil companies after Hurricane Katrina and asking for legislation that would require the companies to refund to customers any profits deemed excess.....

....gas prices surged disproportionately compared with crude oil price increases. The price markup from crude oil to gasoline has almost tripled since the hurricane[.]

LA Times: Aid Bills Unleash Capitol's Pet Causes

Energy industry lobbyists and their congressional allies also have seized on the higher fuel costs to push long-sought energy initiatives, such as relaxing a decades-old ban on new offshore oil drilling in most U.S. coastal waters and reviving a proposal by President Bush to encourage building refineries on closed military bases.

"Hurricane Katrina has shown us how poor our energy safety net is, with so much production in the Gulf Coast region," said Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.).

Barton, chairman of the House energy committee, said: "Given what's happened with Katrina, I think the country is much more receptive" to his bill, which would expedite the permit process for building or expanding refineries in high-unemployment areas.

Look over there! A black person running away with a bottle of water! Don't look at the oil companies!

Wow, when I typed that I Freudianly wrote "boil companies". They are like a boil which needs to be lanced. This country must get rid of the Bush-Cheney (b)oil regime and take our country back.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Crony Upon Crony

From dailykos, a review of Frances Townsend, the insider Bush has tagged to investigate his, her, and the rest of the Bush Administration's disastrous disaster response:

'Heckuva job, TOWNIE': Bush appoints campaign contributor to investigate his government

From the comments, we see her crony connection:

....her husband, John -- an arbitrage lawyer, a classmate of Bush's at Andover and Yale....

Billmon weighs in: Safe Hands

The Suffering Continues

From dailykos:

[UPDATE]NEWS FROM SLIDELL-Human suffering...will it ever end for the victims

....Imagine having 20 feet of water go through your home and returning to have it still with 3-9 feet of water, then having to RIP EVERYTHING out and stack in in the streets for FEMA/insurance to look at...then having to rip out the carpets and the drywall because MOLD is growing everywhere at an alarming rate...then think about HAVING TO LIVE IN THAT HOME because unless you leave the state, there is NO place to go. Then look for bleach, or ANY FUCKING cleaning supplies to try and make your 'home' 'safe'...and there is NOTHING being handed out and the mold grows back as quickly as you clean it off.

Did I tell you this is in AMERICA? Slidell to be exact.

Think of those riding out the storm in a church and going higher and higher and finally the water begins to receed...when it drains out, you still have no place else to go, because your housing is gone, so you stay in the molding and dank've been forgotten, no food, water...STILL.

Did I tell you this is in AMERICA? Slidell to be exact.....

Must Love Dogs

From ThinkProgress:

Evacuation Priorities

Shorter CNN

Bush eyes Rita as he heads to Gulf Coast

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush on Tuesday embarked on his fifth trip to survey hurricane recovery efforts amid worries that Hurricane Rita, lashing the Florida Keys with 75 mph winds, could bring new misery to the devastated Gulf Coast.

If you read it real fast like I did you see:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush on Tuesday embarked on his fifth trip to bring new misery to the devastated Gulf Coast.

The Bullhorn Moment Was Just Another Photo Op

Bush's 'bullhorn moment' just bull

Because we fast gave up the hunt for Bin Laden for a bait-and-switch war in Iraq that had nothing to do with the rubble upon which Bush stood at Ground Zero shouting bull through his bullhorn.

Bush has now declared that half-a-buck stops on his desk for Katrina.

But he doesn't ever mention that Osama Bin Laden is still out there roaming free and plotting more American murders. That stops on his desk, too.

Historians will refocus that bullhorn moment as the point of origin to exploit a terrible attack on America for a preconceived war in Iraq that had nothing to do with our dead.

Never let it be forgotten that Karl Rove handed him the bullhorn. It was just another photo op.

Another Crony Appointment: Resigned, then Arrested

Friday David Safavian, head of the powerful Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Office of Federal Procurement Policy, resigned. Yesterday, he was arrested and charged with making false statements and obstruction of a federal investigation.

Government Executive magazine published an article when Safavian was appointed:

"He doesn't have a lot of background in procurement, so the hope is that he's a good learner," says Steven Kelman, who served as federal procurement administrator in the Clinton administration.

His qualifications for his position? As usual, his connections.

Did I mention that before he signed on with the Bush administration Safavian worked for Jack Abramoff at Preston Gates?

And his former business partner of Grover Norquist.

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'flip-flop'.

Good overviews from the Project on Government Oversight Blog:

Top Procurement Official Safavian Arrested

Safavian the Lobbyist

And the hits just keep on coming.

George W. Bush's Sci-Fi Glow

From Tom Engelhardt. Go read the whole thing.

Tomgram: The Presidency Shines
The Can-do Bush Administration Does...
and the Presidency Shines (for twenty-six minutes)

Don't say they can't. They can -- and they did. Despite every calumny, it turns out that the Bush administration can put together an effective, well-coordinated rescue team and get crucial supplies to militarily occupied, devastated New Orleans on demand, in time, and just where they are most needed. Last Thursday, in a spectacular rescue operation, the administration team delivered just such supplies without a hitch to one of the city's neediest visitors, who had been trapped in hell-hole surroundings for almost three weeks by Hurricane Katrina. I'm speaking, of course, of George W. Bush.

That night, he gave his 26-minute "FDR" speech in a blue work shirt (meant assumedly to catch something of the White House work ethic) in floodlit Jackson Square, whose brilliantly lit cathedral had the look of Versailles amid a son-et-lumière spectacle. It was -- however briefly -- a triumph of the White House rescue team, headed, naturally, by Karl Rove, and seconded by the evangelical Christian, first-term speechwriter, Michael Gerson (once upon a pre-steroidal time known in the press as "the Mark McGwire of speechwriting"). He was brought back from White House domestic advisor-hood to shove a passel of religious imagery and Iraq-War-style catch phrases into the gaping hole Katrina had punched in the administration's political levees. Add to those two the White House's chief lighting designer, former NBC cameraman Bob DeServi, and the man long in charge of "visuals," former ABC producer Scott Sforza. The key designer of the quarter-million dollar stage set that, during the invasion of Iraq, passed for the United States Central Command forward headquarters in Doha, Qatar, Sforza had with DeServi helped produce the infamous Top-Gun-style, color-coordinated Presidential landing on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln ("Mission Accomplished!") on May 1, 2003. Both men went to Jackson Square, according to New York Times White House correspondent Elizabeth Bumiller (in a pre-speech press-pool report from New Orleans) to handle "last minute details of the stagecraft," including the "warm tungsten lighting" that was to give the President his empathetic -- or, depending on how you look at the man, his sci-fi -- glow in that utterly deserted setting.

Blame FEMA

Remember all the shots of the buses in New Orleans under water? All the conservative commentators criticizing Louisiana Governor Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Nagin for not deploying their own buses to evacuate the Superdome and the Convention Center?

Blanco says feds pledged buses

Hours after the hurricane hit Aug. 29, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a plan to send 500 commercial buses into New Orleans to rescue thousands of people left stranded on highways, overpasses and in shelters, hospitals and homes.

On the day of the storm, or perhaps the day after, FEMA turned down the state's suggestion to use school buses because they are not air conditioned, Blanco said Friday in an interview.....

The state had sent 68 school buses into the city on Monday.

Blanco took over more buses from Louisiana school systems and sent them in on Wednesday, two days after the storm. She tapped the National Guard to drive them. Each time the buses emptied an area, more people would appear, she said.

The buses took 15,728 people to safety, a Blanco aide said. But the state's fleet of school buses wasn't enough. On Wednesday, with the FEMA buses still not in sight, Blanco called the White House to talk to Bush and ended up speaking to Chief of Staff Andy Card.

"I said, 'Even if we had 500 buses, they've underestimated the magnitude of this situation, and I think I need 5,000 buses, not 500,'" Blanco recounted.

"'But, Andy, those 500 are not here,'" the governor said.

Card promised to get Blanco more buses.

Later Wednesday night, Blanco walked into the State Police Communications Center and asked if anyone knew anything about the buses.

An officer told her the buses were just entering the state.

"I said, 'Do you mean as in North Louisiana, which is another six hours from New Orleans?,'" Blanco recalled in the interview. "He said, 'Yes, m'am.'"

It was at that point, Blanco said, that she realized she had made a critical error.

"I assumed that FEMA had staged their buses in near proximity," she said. "I expected them to be out of the storm's way but accessible in one day's time."

It was late Wednesday. The buses wouldn't get to New Orleans until Thursday. By then, many of the sickest and the weakest were dead or dying.

FEMA: Fumbling Essentially Moronic Assholes

The Breathtaking Incompetence

Tons of British aid donated to help Hurricane Katrina victims to be BURNED by Americans

HUNDREDS of tons of British food aid shipped to America for starving Hurricane Katrina survivors is to be burned.

US red tape is stopping it from reaching hungry evacuees.

Instead tons of the badly needed NATO ration packs, the same as those eaten by British troops in Iraq, has been condemned as unfit for human consumption.....

Food from Spain and Italy is also being held because it fails to meet US standards and has been judged unfit for human consumption.

And Israeli relief agencies are furious that thousands of gallons of pear juice are to be destroyed because it has been judged unfit.

George W. Bush: Let them eat cake.

The Cronyism Continues

From the Washington Post: Immigration Nominee's Credentials Questioned

The Bush administration is seeking to appoint a [36-year-old] lawyer with little immigration or customs experience to head the troubled law enforcement agency that handles those issues, prompting sharp criticism from some employee groups, immigration advocates and homeland security experts....

After working as a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, N.Y., for two years, Myers held a variety of jobs over the past four years at the White House and at the departments of Commerce, Justice and Treasury, though none involved managing a large bureaucracy. Myers worked briefly as chief of staff to Michael Chertoff when he led the Justice Department's criminal division before he became Homeland Security secretary.

Myers also was an associate under independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr for about 16 months and has most recently served as a special assistant to President Bush handling personnel issues.
Her real "qualifications"? She's related!

Her uncle is Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She married Chertoff's current chief of staff, John F. Wood, on Saturday.

Monday, September 19, 2005


From The Morning News, a humorous look at Scotty's home gaggle:

Behind the Scenes
McClellan at Home

Battered and bullied in the press room, morning, noon, and night. What’s a normal, average press secretary to do when he just wants to spend some quality time with his wife? As it turns out, things aren’t much better there.

Worst. President. Ever.

From the Middletown, N.Y. Times Herald-Record:

Beth Quinn: George is worst natural disaster to hit country

Well, folks, the only thing left up in the air now is whether George Bush is the worst president ever. Herbert Hoover has held the title since 1933.

It's been neck and neck for a while, but I think Bush pulled ahead with his spectacular failure in handling Katrina.

George Bush is a walking catastrophe. Far more than even Katrina, he is one of the worst disasters to ever hit America. His performance these past two weeks seemed a showcase for his utter stupidity and indifference, complete with flood, fire and floating bodies.

It was an epic performance that, more than anything else thus far, has revealed his true, craven self.

CNN Dumbs Down US

Current poll question on CNN - US edition:

Would you want to live on the moon for a week?



Current poll question on CNN - International edition:

Will both sides honor the North Korea nuclear deal?


No, would you like to return to earth?

Actual Criticism of President Photo Op -- In Washington Post! Be Still My Heart!

Sebastian Mallaby: 'Whatever It Costs'
It's hard to say what's worse: The incompetence of the administration's initial hurricane response or the cowardice of its follow-up....

His promises of racial healing are entirely cynical....

What Bush really believes is that government is ineffective....

The complacency begins with the appalling state of federal staffing. It's not just that the hapless former boss of the Federal Emergency Management Agency knew more about horses than floods. It's that the government agencies that must now manage relief are missing senior of the top positions at the Department of Housing and Urban Development stand vacant....

The federal government needs to be returned to an earlier era, when more executive-branch positions went to career civil servants who didn't need to be confirmed and didn't owe their jobs to college roommates. Bush hasn't even raised this issue....

Now if we can just get it through Mallaby's head that Bush used 9/11 to promote the crazed neo-con plans.

If Bush used this moment as he used the aftermath of Sept. 11, some of this spending could be forgiven. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon exposed the nation's complacency about terrorism; Bush stepped forward and changed that.... After the terrorist attacks of 2001, Bush rose to the challenge -- perhaps rather too vigorously.

Do you understand now why we are in Iraq? Which had nothing to do with 9/11? If you get to that point, Mr. Mallaby, we will give you an "A". For now you are stuck at "B-".

But that's big step up, because until Katrina the MSM was holding steady at "F."

I Wish I'd Written That

From the Springfield, MO News-Leader:

Bush faring well in Incompetence Derby

There are those who say that George W. Bush did a good job responding to Hurricane Katrina and that the foul-ups weren't his fault. These are the same people who, if Mr. Bush were to nominate his dog Barney to the Supreme Court, would praise the president for attempting to bring real diversity to the Court.

Traitor Karl at his Repulsive Worst

Did you, like me, scoff when Arianna Huffington announced her celebrity group blog?

Nobody's laughing anymore. It pays to have correspondents who get into the best parties.

Rove Off The Record On Katrina: The Only Mistake We Made Was Not Overriding The Local Government...

Karl Rove, President Bush's top political advisor and deputy White House chief of staff, spoke at businessman Teddy Forstmann's annual off the record gathering in Aspen, Colorado this weekend. Here is what Rove had to say that the press wasn't allowed to report on.

On Katrina: The only mistake we made with Katrina was not overriding the local government...

On The Anti-War Movement: Cindy Sheehan is a clown. There is no real anti-war movement. No serious politician, with anything to do with anything, would show his face at an anti-war rally...

On Bush's Low Poll Numbers: We have not been good at explaining the success in Iraq. Polls go up and down and don't mean anything...

On Iraq: There has been a big difference in the region. Iraq will transform the Middle East...

On Judy Miller And Plamegate: Judy Miller is in jail for reasons I don't really understand...

On Joe Wilson: Joe Wilson and I attend the same church but Joe goes to the wacky mass...

In attendance at the conference, among others were: Harvey Weinstein, Brad Grey, Michael Eisner, Les Moonves, Tom Freston, Tom Friedman, Bob Novak, Barry Diller, Martha Stewart, Margaret Carlson, Alan Greenspan, Andrea Mitchell, Norman Pearlstein and Walter Isaacson.

Yes, repulsive Karl actually said those things while bodies, barely alive and mostly dead, were being pulled from houses in New Orleans.

Were intrepid "journalists" Tom Friedman, Bob Novak, Margaret Carlson or Andrew Mitchell going to tell you about this little soiree? About what was said while they were schmoozing with the man behind the curtain? Nope.

Journalism is dead. Long live the corporate media. Thank God for blogtopia (yes! skippy invented that term!)

FEMA's Deadly Failure

The headline says it all, from the New York Times:

154 Patients Died, Many in Intense Heat, as Rescues Lagged

So Get To It

A Fix for First Responders
By John McCain, Joseph Lieberman, Jane Harman and Curt Weldon

We urge Congress to immediately take up pending legislation that would finally provide emergency first responders with the radio spectrum, equipment and funding necessary to protect themselves as they come to the aid of those they were sworn to protect. When lives are on the line, seconds count. And reliable emergency communications become a matter of life and death.

Well, here's a great big DUH to you folks. That's your job! What have you been doing for the last four years?

Oh, John McCain, working for the re-election of President Photo Op, carrying cake together while folks were drowning in New Orleans. Joe Lieberman, approving Mike Brown's appointment to head FEMA in a 42 minute hearing. Jane Harmon, maybe she's been counting her money (she and her husband are worth $160 million collectively). Curt Weldon, maybe he forgot about the first responders while he was attending Rev. Sun Myung Moon's coronation

My level of cynicism is very high these days.

Incompetence, Thy Name is George W. Bush

War and Piece:

One billion dollars

One billion dollars in US-taxpayer funded money reportedly stolen from the Iraqi defense ministry. And another $500,000 to $600,000 in loose change stolen from the transport, electricity, and other ministries:

Originally posted at Atrios, with this priceless tagline:


Look over there! Someone's looting a bottle of water!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Sharks Took the Rest

From driftglass:

Bush Katrina Reconstruction Plan

After you read that, check out

Quint's monologue from Jaws.

Bush Falls Down

Bush Katrina Ratings Fall After Speech

September 18, 2005--Thirty-five percent (35%) of Americans now say that President Bush has done a good or excellent job responding to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. That's down from 39% before his speech from New Orleans.

Operation Photo Op: a miserable failure.

Survivor Updates

Remember the photograph of the elderly white woman in a wheelchair, with a small black girl holding her hand? The white woman holding the baby outside the Convention Center, crying that the baby wasn't responding?

The Houston Chronicle updates their stories.

Tip o' the cap to Off the Kuff.

Black Power 2005

Remember Tommie Smith & John Carlos being stripped of their medals after they gave the black power salute from the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics?

Check out this post from E Pluribus Unum.

Too funny not to reprint

I wasn't going to comment on the arrest of Jeb Bush's drunken son John, but Roger Ailes (the good one) nails it. Go to the original post for photo & links.

Grand Old Police Blotter: Idiot Son of An Asshole Edition

Officers said he intoxicated [sic] and could have posed a danger to himself and others, said TABC Captain David Ferrero.

The family biography, in one sentence.

Final (Worthy) Op-Eds from the NYTimes

Frank Rich:

Message: I Care About the Black Folks

Maureen Dowd:

Disney on Parade

Paul Krugman

Not the New Deal

Tomorrow, the $50 subscription wall begins. I'll miss these three. The rest of the gang, feh, good riddance.



A disturbing view from inside FEMA
Worker: Decision-makers lack disaster experience

How long before this guy gets fired?

Washington Post:

Lack of Cohesion Bedevils Recovery
Red Tape, Lapses in Planning Stall Relief



Donna Brazile's Brain Freeze

I Will Rebuild With You, Mr. President

On Thursday night President Bush spoke to the nation from my city. I am not a Republican. I did not vote for George W. Bush -- in fact, I worked pretty hard against him in 2000 and 2004. But on Thursday night, after watching him speak from the heart, I could not have been prouder of the president and the plan he outlined to empower those who lost everything and to rebuild the Gulf Coast.

Bush called on every American to stand up and support the rebuilding of the region. He told us that New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast would rise from the ruins stronger than before. He enunciated something that we all need to remember: This is America. We are not immune to tragedy here, but we are strong because of our industriousness, our ingenuity and, most important, because of our compassion for one another. We are a nation of rebuilders and a nation of givers. We do not give up in the face of tragedy, we stand up, and we reach out to help those who cannot stand up on their own.

Donna, Donna, Donna: Don't fall for the photo op moment. He doesn't really mean any of that crap! He's just trying to save his political hide!

Karl Rove is in charge of the rebuilding effort. Karl Rove! Traitor Karl! They're going to make it a testing ground for all of their crazy right wing nutjob ideas! Tax breaks for wealthy developers, who won't even have to pay the masons and the laborers $9 an hour! Vouchers for religious schools! The destruction of the public school system! Getting rid of affirmative action requirements!

Donna, don't expect to get a job as a political strategist with a Democrat again. By this column, you prove that you DON'T GET THE POLITICS!