Saturday, September 10, 2005


Ok. I grant you, it's almost getting to the point where it's too easy a shot. Almost, but not quite. TalkLeft sez:

Rep. Tom ("The Hammer") DeLay (R-TX,22) visited (i.e., made a photo op trip) evacuees in Houston. As noted on Domeblog of the Houston Chronicle and picked on Raw Story he talked with two young boys:

While on the tour with top administration officials from Washington, including U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao and U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, DeLay stopped to chat with three young boys resting on cots.

The congressman likened their stay to being at camp and asked, "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?"

Yes, Mr. Representative, it is, they replied. It's gangs of fun. Wanna trade? No? We didn't think so.

I may be wrong, I thought we said...

I know that one or two of you in my vast reading audience don't think the nomination of John Roberts is the end of the world when it comes to rights for women, gays and other "minorities."

I invite you to read this history of his cases compiled by The New York Review of Books. It's long, so here are a few excerpts in hopes of hooking your interest.

Nowhere in any of the memos that have been made available did John Roberts acknowledge the effect of the many years of disenfranchisement on black citizens. Instead his concern was about the effect of an imagined quota system on whites, a concern that twenty-five years later has proved to be groundless.

After three and a half years in private practice, Roberts returned to the federal government in 1989 as principal deputy solicitor general, under Kenneth Starr. In this new capacity, while he supported civil rights claims in one case before the court, arguing that desegregation obligations be strengthened at colleges and universities in Mississippi, his work was mostly a resumption of his campaign against extending remedies for civil rights violations.

Some have said that Roberts's views expressed in government briefs during his time in the solicitor general's office should not be held against him because he was "just a lawyer representing a client." While that view may be persuasive when it involves lawyers who were civil servants in that office and were bound to follow government policy if they wanted to hold on to their jobs, it is unconvincing in the case of John Roberts. He held the number two position in the office—principal deputy solicitor, popularly known as the "political deputy." He was a policy maker, not a policy follower.

There is another reason why Roberts should be held accountable for his actions in the solicitor general's office. That office, while part of the executive branch, has a unique responsibility to guide the Supreme Court to the "right" result in cases before them (a responsibility that has led some to dub the office "the tenth justice"). At least three times in the past, solicitors general have refused to participate in cases where they believed the policies they were directed to follow by the administration were wrong. That was not a dilemma faced by John Roberts. Indeed in several civil rights cases his briefs were merely extensions of policies he had advocated in his previous stints at the Justice Department and the White House. Indeed, in the unlikely event that Roberts had changed his mind on a policy, and the expressed views in the case were dictated by Solicitor General Starr, Roberts could simply have refrained from signing the briefs.

Nowhere is there a statement of the values that animate Roberts's apparent belief that government should play only the most limited part in helping or protecting people. From the record we have,[*] we can only conclude that there is not a large space in his thinking for Madison's concerns about the dangers of dominant majorities or the concerns in the Bill of Rights for the rights of minorities to speak, assemble, and practice their religion.

[*] The record on the other side is almost bare. It consists of his handling of a few pro bono cases, one of them involving public assistance benefits that had been denied in the District of Columbia. He also participated in a preparatory session and gave other advice to help lawyers arguing for recognition of gay rights in the Supreme Court.

Like it says up above there, I may be wrong, and it looks like I kinda have to hope that I am. But I truly think that this man is a Trojan horse. And once he gets in, there's no getting him out, and our children are going to have to live in a world that he will to a very large degree shape.

Are you fine with that?

And then, Ben realized that republicans were actually clinically insane

Wow. That's all, From the Powerline republican blog:

Here’s my point: whatever you think of the mechanics of a particular poll, the direction of President Bush’s poll numbers is clear. And it seems clear that Hurricane Katrina, and the outrageous attacks that the Democrats have pursued over the past week, have dealt him, and the Republican Party, another blow. I see no evidence that the Democrats are paying a price for their dishonorable tactics. And they won’t pay a price, unless the Republicans start defending themselves and attacking the Democrats the way they deserve to be attacked. The “turn the other cheek” approach that the administration has followed for years–don’t respond to attacks, no matter how unfair, just try to ride out the news cycle and move on–has resulted in one needless wound after another, and cumulatively they have now damaged President Bush’s standing with the public, likely beyond repair.

--courtesy of Oliver Willis

Here's a little something to rock you to sleep tonight

From Mark Kleiman. Emphasis mine.

I simply can't construct a plausible justification for leaving Michael "Helluva Job Brownie" Brown as the head of FEMA while virtually admitting that he's not actually capable of coordinating the federal response to Katrina by putting one of his subordinates in charge. What is the job of the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency if not to manage emergencies?

If someone -- say, the still-at-large Osama bin Laden -- decides to celebrate the fourth anniversary of 9/11 with some appalling atrocity, will still a third official be designated to run the necessary disaster-relief process?

Of course, Brown should lose his job, because losing your job is what's supposed to happen when (1) you weren't competent to have the job in the first place; (2) you lie about your qualifications; and (3) you utterly and completely screw up a major assignment. That's called "accountability." (If we truly had a President with the sensibility of a CEO rather than that of lazy, spoiled, party-hardy frat boy, he'd know that without needing to be told.)

But critics of the current ruling oligarchy shouldn't concentrate on Brown's deficiencies and on demands that he be replaced. He's an important symbol of what's wrong with FEMA, but the problems at FEMA are much deeper. And the problems at FEMA are themselves just a random sample of what's wrong with this administration. A fish rots from the head.

ETA: And if anything does happen in Seattle, I'm screwed. Our regional FEMA person got his job because he was county campaign co-chair for Bush in 2000. But don't worry, he has a degree from a diploma mill.

Via Eschaton, where you'll also find a link to look up your regional FEMA person.

For a grim, but slowly growing smile

Try a look at this page about what it would have been like If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History. Then swallow hard.

Poetry Corner

I dreamed I met my muse
In a movie theater, with my best friend from high school
Though I did not know it was her

In the intermission, I chased a tiny dollar
No one seemed to notice
But when I got back to our seats, somebody had taken one
I started to say "We're back," until I saw that my friend
Was sitting in the row ahead.

So I sat with my muse and we watched
A preview for a movie
In which CGI nuclear missiles and UFOs
Destroyed the world and then each other

My seat was higher than the rest, I suddenly realized
And wondered if I was disturbing the other patrons.

I drove my muse home and she said
That our eyes were the same
I looked, and they were the same color
And I saw something in them that I've seen
In other people
And myself

She said
"When my son laughs, nothing else in the world matters.
But when you move, you don't even disturb the birds."
And before I could tell her I wanted to see her again
She was getting out of the car
She told me I could meet her at an intersection
But it wasn't until I woke up that I remembered her white robes
And knew her for what she was
But I have forgotten the numbers of the streets


Friday, September 09, 2005

Man, I'm looking forward to this guy running again

John Edwards:

Today, the relief effort is focused on providing, food, shelter, and clothing to thousands of men and women. That’s the right thing to do.

But the victims of Katrina want more than life’s necessities. They want a chance to rebuild their lives. Many of them also want to help rebuild a city and a coastline that mean so much to them, and so much to all Americans.

We ought to give them the chance to help through a New America Initiative. This initiative, which is modeled after the Works Progress administration, would help them rebuild a devastated region and offer good-paying jobs and hope to the displaced. Join me and say no to President Bush’s failed leadership in a growing call to take this tragedy and turn it into an opportunity. It is not enough to talk about it; we will have to show this Administration that the real leadership means visionary action.

Via Oliver Willis

Brown out. Right on, a good start, but...?

All you need to know about Mike Brown's reassingment is contained in this 'graph by Josh Marshall:

Michael Brown's non-dismissal dismissal is a day late and a dollar short. Actually, we're two weeks into this, so it's two weeks late. The responsibility for putting a nincompoop in charge of federal disaster relief doesn't rest with the nincompoop. It goes right to the top -- to the person who put him there.

Your Federal Emergency Management Agency, ladies and gentlemen

Three Texas truck drivers under contract with the federal government to bring in storm relief supplies for Plaquemines Parish have been arrested for allegedly looting toys, dolls, women’s lingerie and other merchandise from a Belle Chasse Family Dollar store, authorities said.

Major John Marie with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office....said that since the relief effort began, drivers for the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been allowed to take drinks, personal grooming supplies and other small items from the Family Dollar store at 7902 Louisiana 23.

But he said the three suspects went much further, loading the cabs of their trucks with toys such as Barbie dolls, kitchen appliances, telephones, answering machines, waste paper baskets and other goods.

Nice, huh? As reported by


I got this cartoon from Mark Evanier's site; it's by a man named Richard Thompson whose work, as it was to Mark, is new to me. But I like this one. Mark gives a little more info on Thompson here.

Once again, compassionate conservativism


Rep. Baker of Baton Rouge is overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

I know one we can start with. I'm sorry, it has become clear to me that if FEMA director Mike Brown, who, we now learn, padded his resume, has one ounce of shame in his black fucking soul, he will slit his wrists in the bathtub and then blow his fucking brains out just to make sure.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

We'll get a "New Deal" for Christmas?

It's Time for a New "New Deal"

New Orleans is destroyed, the Gulf Coast's infrastructure is in tatters and tens of thousands of citizens are without jobs as gas prices nationwide rise to record levels. Television sets brought the destruction into all of our homes. But this White House seemed unable to grasp the misery unfolding before its own eyes.

Instead, President Bush treated the disaster as if he were a loutish frat boy when he joked to Americans that he had had good times partying in New Orleans as a young man and hoped in the near future to be able to sit on Senator Trent Lott's rebuilt porch in Mississippi.

--Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor, The Nation

Read on here.

Dogpile on the FEMA director!

Talking Points Memo:

I guess it's pretty much just piling on at this point. But FEMA Director Michael D. Brown turns out to be -- hard to believe -- an even bigger hack than we thought. According to this article (sub.req.), he got his law degree from a semi-accredited law school and basically gave up the practice of law fifteen years or so before he got the job as General Counsel of FEMA.

Oh yeah...I almost forgot...

It was officially announced last year that September is National Preparedness Month. You heard me, National Preparedness Month. I know "preparedness" doesn't sound like it should be a word, but I checked, it is. Not a tasty word, but a word nonetheless.

And what is National Preparedness Month? Why, it's a month dedicated to focusing on that which is attributed to all boy scouts. It was not at all an attempt to use the threat of terrorism to scare people into voting for Bush. Pshaw. Put that thought out of your mind, you commie terrorist.

You know why they don't want to play "The Blame Game?"

Because they'll lose. These are the results from a new CBS News poll:

38% Approve, 58% disapprove of Bush's handling of Katrina.

Atrios thinks:

There could be pictures of Bush with a goat, and 38% would approve, as long as it wasn't a gay goat.

Personally, I think those numbers are soft. I think Bush can dive below 30%, and below 20% is still not out of the question. But what I like about CBS news is their capacity for wry understatement:

President Bush’s image appears to have suffered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The public now has lower confidence in his response to crisis, and his leadership in general.

Now, just 48% of Americans say Bush has strong qualities of leadership – the lowest number ever for the President in this poll.
Moreover, just 32% express “a lot” of confidence in the President’s ability to handle a crisis.

There has even been a decline in just the last week in the perception of the government’s ability to protect Americans from terrorist attacks – 40% now have little or no confidence, up from 26% a week ago.

Most Americans – 69% - point to cutbacks in spending on New Orleans' levees that had taken place in recent years as a factor in the flooding – including 45% who call that a major factor.

ETA: Hoffmania observes:

There has yet to be a poll post-disaster or post-calamity where the respondents didn't rally around the president and give him a spike in the approval ratings. Until now.

ETA, again: Oh man. It gets worse. In a summary of findings from the Pew Research Center:

Uncharacteristically, the president's ratings have slipped the most among his core constituents ­ Republicans and conservatives.

For the first time since the 9/11 terror attacks, a majority of Americans (56%) say it is more important for the president to focus on domestic policy than the war on terrorism.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Sept. 6-7 among 1,000 Americans, finds that the hurricane has had a profound psychological impact on the public. Fully 58% of respondents say they have felt depressed because of what's happened in areas affected by the storm.

Half of those polled (50%) say they have felt angry because of what happened in areas hard hit by the hurricane. But overall opinion on this measure obscures a substantial racial divide in reactions to the disaster ­ as many as 70% of African Americans say they have felt angry, compared with 46% of whites. Blacks are twice as likely as whites to know people directly affected by the hurricane and are generally much more critical of the government's response to the crisis.

That's all I can stands and I can't stands no more

"[White House spokesman Trent] Duffy asserted that the vast spending that would be required to address the hurricane's impact adds to the need to change Social Security, which threatens to strain the budget in coming years."

--CongressDaily, via Mother Jones

Ok, you know how I told you that Tuesday night's Daily Show was one of the best they've ever done?

Well, Wednesday's was better, especially the opening segment. I'm talking laughing so hard I thought I was leaving my body. I'm talking the best televised political satire, ever. If you haven't been watching this show, make time.

No clips up yet, at least not that I've found, but TalkLeft talks a little bit about tonight's episode here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Say! You know what we haven't played in a while?

A nice, rousing game of...Who Said It?

Failure on Every Front
Impeach Bush Now, Before More Die

[Excerpt:] The raison d'etre of the Bush Administration is war in the Middle East in order to protect America from terrorism and to insure America's oil supply. On both counts the Bush Administration has failed catastrophically.

Bush's single-minded focus on the "war against terrorism" has compounded a natural disaster and turned it into the greatest calamity in American history. The US has lost its largest and most strategic port, thousands of lives, and 80% of one of America's most historic cities is under water.

If terrorists had achieved this result, it would rank as the greatest terrorist success in history.

[E]very expert and newspapers as distant as Texas saw the New Orleans catastrophe coming. But President Bush and his insane government preferred war in iraq to protecting Americans at home.

[T]he Bush Administration is damned by its gross incompetence. Bush has squandered the lives and health of thousands of people. He has run through hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars. He has lost America's reputation and its allies. With barbaric torture and destruction of our civil liberty, he has stripped America of its inherent goodness and morality. And now Bush has lost America's largest port and 25 percent of its oil supply. Why? Because Bush started a gratuitous war egged on by a claque of crazy neoconservatives who have sacrificed America's interests to their insane agenda.

Despite the most dismal performance on record, Bush's Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, said on Thursday that the Bush administration has done a "magnificent job."

The on-the-scene Mayor of New Orleans sees it differently: "They're feeding the people a line of bull, and they are spinning and people are dying."

The neoconservatives have brought these disasters to all Americans, Democrat and Republican alike. Now they must he held accountable. Bush and his neoconservatives are guilty of criminal negligence and must be prosecuted.

What will it take for Americans to reestablish accountability in their government?

Bush has got away with lies and an illegal war of aggression, with outing CIA agents, with war crimes against Iraqi civilians, with the horrors of the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo torture centers, and now with the destruction of New Orleans.

What disaster will next spring from Bush's incompetence?

Now, Who Said It? Was it...

Kanye West?
Sean Penn?
Howard Dean?

Or was it...

Sometimes I marvel at his consistency

I hear voices (don't turn out the light)

Article on Les Moonves of CBS contains some interesting statements:

Giving Them What They Want
On this particular Thursday, at 11 a.m., Moonves was considering which of the network's current shows to cancel in order to make room for new programs. He had decided to take a once-promising show called ''Joan of Arcadia'' off the air. The show was about a teenager who receives directives and advice straight from God. ''In the beginning, it was a fresh idea and uplifting, and the plot lines were engaging,'' Moonves said, sounding a little sad and frustrated. ''But the show got too dark. I understand why creative people like dark, but American audiences don't like dark. They like story. They do not respond to nervous breakdowns and unhappy episodes that lead nowhere. They like their characters to be a part of the action. They like strength, not weakness, a chance to work out any dilemma. This is a country built on optimism.''

I never watched "Joan" so I can't speak to that, but the part of his statement I think I most agree with is "They do not respond to nervous breakdowns and unhappy episodes that lead nowhere."

Exploring the darkness in the world can make for some very strong dramatic entertainment, I'm sure we can all think of some examples. But it takes expert handling and I think you have to be going somewhere.

I think what Americans want, at least from their popular entertainment, is not a denial of the darkness, but to know that we can look at it, face it full on...and come out the other side.

Look at a list of the top 20 TV shows. Unless I'm wrong, what almost all of the dramas have in common is that they look in some pretty dark places...but suggest a positive outcome.

William Goldman says the difference between "art" films and Hollywood movies is that "art" films tell us truths we either don't know or don't want to believe and Hollywood movies tell us truths we already know or lies we want to believe. There's a place for both, especially when either is well-made (which both can be; I have absolutely no problem with a well-made "popcorn flick").

But a badly-made piece of entertainment that only wants to divert you and fails has only failed at that. They've wasted your time, nothing more. A storyteller who believes him or herself an artist who wants to take you through some dark lands before redemption, but who fucks up the tale in the telling leaves you stranded alone in the dark. Where sometimes the only light is an oncoming train.

They've failed at something more. They can, in a very real sense, be said to have gnawed away a little of your soul for cheap thrills and affect.

Celebrate/good times/come on?

The California legislature has become the first in the nation to endorse same-sex marriage with the passage of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.

The bill makes the definition of marriage gender-neutral, yet it permits those opposed to same-sex unions to refuse to perform the weddings. Governor Schwarzenegger has until October 9th to sign or veto the bill.

California has a history of leading the nation in civil rights legislation, or passing controversial laws which are eventually taken for granted across the nation. The state legalized interracial marriage in 1948. The U.S. Supreme Court did not strike down laws forbidding interracial marriage until 1967.

As the saying goes, "As California goes, so goes the nation." Unfortunately, it can sometimes take decades for the nation to get a clue.


I just kinda figured we could all use a breather

So check out this parody site. Silly rabbit...


Eric Boehlert on Salon, via Oliver Willis:

Forgive some of us for not celebrating the press’s coming-out party. The fact that this kind of aggressive questioning of people in power during times of crisis now passes as news itself only highlights just how timid the mainstream press corps has been during the Bush years.

Is it too much to ask for Russert to just once have shown the same passion — or even hint of outrage — when interviewing Vice President Dick Cheney about the administration’s botched occupation of Iraq in which nearly 2,000 Americans have died? (”How could the president be so wrong, so misinformed?” Russert could have demanded.) Imagine if the press had shown a glimmer of its newfound truth-telling fervor while pursuing the WMD fiasco or uncovering the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth hoax last year, or half a dozen lesser episodes in which the Bush White House mugged the truth and the press knew it but then looked away.

It’s hard to decide which is more troubling: that it took the national press corps five years to summon up enough courage to report, without apology, that what the Bush administration says and does are often two different things, or that it took the sight of bodies floating facedown in the streets of New Orleans to trigger a change in the press’s behavior.

See The Daily Show last night?

If not, you missed one of the best. If you don't get Comedy Central or don't think you'll have time to catch a rerun, Mark's posted links to video clips from his blog. Or you can also try one here through Crooks and Liars.

Here's an excerpt:

Ed Helms says:...through the President's leadership, he'll end up building a billion dollar damn in Arkansas.

Stewart: Why would he build a damn in Arkansas?

Helms: His plan will be to fight the water over there, so we don't have to fight it over here.

Doors locked/Blinds pulled

"I can't believe the news today
Oh, I can't close my eyes
And make it go away
How long, how long must we sing this song?"

-U2, "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

Reuters AlertNet:
The U.S. government agency leading the rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina said on Tuesday it does not want the news media to take photographs of the dead as they are recovered from the flooded New Orleans area.

The Bush administration also has prevented the news media from photographing flag-draped caskets of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, which has sparked criticism that the government is trying to block images that put the war in a bad light.

The White House is under fire for its handling of the relief effort, which many officials have charged was slow and bureacratic, contributing to the death and mayhem in New Orleans after the storm struck on Aug. 29.

Salt Lake Tribune-Utah:
As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters - his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week - a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta.

"Bureaucracy has murdered people in the greater New Orleans area. And bureaucracy needs to stand trial before Congress today," Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard said on CBS' The Early Show. "So I'm asking Congress, please investigate this now. Take whatever idiot they have at the top of whatever agency and give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don't give me the same idiot."

Steve Gilliard, The News Blog:
Occasionally, people will write that I hate Bush. Which I don't. I just feel a tremendous sadness when I think of him. He was supposed to lead and protect and he has failed. Like he has his entire life. He can lie to get elected, but he cannot govern, nor can he lead.

People think he will escape this.

This is far from over. When the funeral pyres light the New Orleans sky and there is no other way to dispose of that many dead left to fester for months in heat, his failure will be in stark and brutal relief.

This is Pearl Harbor and Bush is in charge of the port.

New Orleans Girls Gone Wild!

"At one point, there were a load of girls on the roof of the lobby of the hotel saying 'Can you help us?' and the policemen said 'Show us what you've got' and made signs for them to lift their T-shirts.

"When they said no, they said 'fine' and motored off down the road in their motorboat."

--the Liverpool Daily Post, via Feministing


Well ladies, here's a back-in-the-day remedy to make sure you keep that dainty feminine allure, you dirty, filthy whores.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Some pictures are worth...

Courtesy of See you in the morning, friends.

So. How's this all playing on the other side?

Not all that well, really:

The American illusion takes a dive - A view from across the ocean
By Siv O'Neall
Sep 3, 2005, 21:24

The abysmal negligence that led to the present catastrophe in the Gulf states has left the world aghast. The country once believed to be the world leader in terms of science and education, standard of living and general well-being has turned out to be an incompetent blundering colossus that can’t even take care of its own population, of their needs and their safety.

I don't feel good, by the way. I really, really don't feel good.

William and Jesse, Bill and Steve

William Kristol, publisher of The Weekly Standard, occasionally honest conservative, middle-aged straight male pundit expert on lesbians and neocon idea man, on Mr. Bush:

"I do think people think he could have showed stronger leadership." But Mr. Kristol expressed doubt that the hurricane would have much lasting effect on the president's personal and political fortunes, because "people are capable of saying, 'The president kind of screwed this one up, but I still basically agree with him.'"
Mr. Kristol added, "I think the Clinton administration would have done a better job in handling Hurricane Katrina, but I'm also glad Bush is president and not a Democrat."

As reported in the NY Times.

Jesse Taylor of Pandagon:

Just remember this the next time you see Bill Kristol on the street. You're gonna have to tell the police why you beat the shit out of him...

Deluded sell-out and Bush-friend, Former President Bill Clinton:

But there is a risk for Democrats, too, in appearing too political, a reality that former President Bill Clinton acknowledged on Monday, saying, "I just think right now we need to focus on the suffering of the people and how to alleviate it and where to go from here."

From the same NT Times article.

Take it, Steve:

We have been screaming for two years that Bush and his team sucked. That they had no clue. They sent soldiers to be wounded in Iraq without armored anything. And you idiots cheered him on from the safety of your keyboards. We told you he was fucking up Iraq. But no, we supported Saddam, we were racist, we blamed America.

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

We need a hero, we're holding out for a hero till the morning light...

Vote Dr. Doom! You know it makes sense...

Keith Olbermann:

...nationally, these are leaders who won re-election last year largely by portraying their opponents as incapable of keeping the country safe. These are leaders who regularly pressure the news media in this country to report the reopening of a school or a power station in Iraq, and defies its citizens not to stand up and cheer. Yet they couldn't even keep one school or power station from being devastated by infrastructure collapse in New Orleans — even though the government had heard all the "chatter" from the scientists and city planners and hurricane centers and some group whose purposes the government couldn't quite discern... a group called The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

And most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection — or at least amelioration — against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological.

It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.

For many of this country's citizens, the mantra has been — as we were taught in Social Studies it should always be — whether or not I voted for this President — he is still my President. I suspect anybody who had to give him that benefit of the doubt stopped doing so last week. I suspect a lot of his supporters, looking ahead to '08, are wondering how they can distance themselves from the two words which will define his government — our government — "New Orleans."

There is, at least, this:

In contrast to, and as a respite from, the main theme of this blog's reaction to hurricane Katrina--the unbelivable, heartless, would-be funny if there weren't so many people dead, Nero-like day-late-and-a-dollar-short see-no-evil ass-covering incompetence and cronyism of Bush, his administration, and the minority that still supports them-

I offer you this story about a six-year-old boy who saved the lives of six younger children.

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

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

...Deamonte volunteered his vital statistics. He said his father was tall and his mother was short. He gave his address, his phone number and the name of his elementary school.

He said that the 5-month-old was his brother, Darynael, and that two others were his cousins, Tyreek and Zoria. The other three lived in his apartment building. The children were clean and healthy — downright plump in the case of the infant, said Joyce Miller, a nurse who examined them. It was clear, she said, that "time had been taken with those kids." The baby was "fat and happy."

Deamonte began to give more details to Derrick Robertson, a 27-year-old Big Buddy mentor: How he saw his mother cry when he was loaded onto the helicopter. How he promised her he'd take care of his little brother.

Late Saturday night, they found Deamonte's mother, who was in a shelter in San Antonio along with the four mothers of the other five children. Catrina Williams, 26, saw her children's pictures on a website set up over the weekend by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. By Sunday, a private plane from Angel Flight was waiting to take the children to Texas.

Obviously none of this makes up for the aforementioned unbelivable, heartless, etc. But there is, at least, this.

I would just like to apologize on behalf of men everywhere women everywhere, for this T-shirt. That any man ever thought it up.

It's true: They have their own world.

They have their own newspapers:

On Sunday, DHS chief Michael Chertoff told "Meet the Press's" Tim Russert that one reason for the delay in getting federal aid to Katrina victims was that "everyone" thought the crisis had passed when the storm left: "I remember on Tuesday morning picking up newspapers and I saw headlines, 'New Orleans Dodged The Bullet.'"


(she chuckled)

Ladies and gentlemen, the comedy stylings of Mrs. Barbara Bush (Via Atrios):

In a segment at the top of the show on the surge of evacuees to the Texas city, Barbara Bush said: "Almost everyone I’ve talked to wants to move to Houston."

Then she added: "What I’m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed with the hospitality.

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

So it turns out they were really kind of lucky.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Good point

Isn't it amazing how rapidly the Bush White House can move on the news of William Rehnquist's death and elevating John Roberts to be the Chief Justice nominee and yet they find a way to move at a positively glacial pace to drop drinking water and save some lives in New Orleans?

Bob Geiger

Hysteria and chaos

Amanda Marcotte replies to accusations that she was hysterically screaming about the end of the world in the "Rehnquist-inspired rant" to which I linked yesterday.

...there is very real reason for people living in Bible Belt states to fear that access to female-controlled contraception could be in peril if the Supreme Court determines that women do not in fact have a right to privacy. Opposition to the right to use contraception comes out of a combination of the belief that women should have less of a right to self-determination than men and fear of female sexuality. Both of these beliefs are ones that the vast majority of Americans subconsciously respond to--feminists included, as we're human and absorb sexist beliefs, too--so really the issue for most people is not whether or not the state should supress women's reproductive rights, but just to what degree is going too far. So, without court protection of women's reproductive rights, it seems quite likely to me that some of the more hardcore sexist parts of the country will start exploring the option of banning the birth control pill.

I think those things are important for we who have no reproductive systems and/or live in the godless lands like California and Washington State to remember. For us, this is largely theoretical.

For a disturbingly large number of people, it's a very real possibility that control of a woman's body could legally be placed in the hands of men.

And personally, I like women's bodies too much to see what men will do to them, given that we (in the larger sense) tend to fuck up everything we get our hands on.

The NY Times has a pretty good piece on how the past "Chaotic Week [Has Left] Bush Team on Defensive." I should certainly hope so. Among the points they make is to underline again that the Supreme Court nominations are going to be Bush's most long-lasting legacy:

President Nixon himself summarized the stakes, when he announced Justice Rehnquist's nomination on television on the night of Oct. 21, 1971. "Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court, through its decisions, goes on forever," he said, adding: "They will make decisions which will affect your lives and the lives of your children for generations to come."

And for those of you new to the blog:

Judge Roberts has disputed the right to privacy laid out in Roe v. Wade, and urged that the case be overruled...Judge Roberts has advocated for prayer in public schools and for weakening the wall between church and state.

(Source: The HRC)

He also:

played a [broad] behind-the-scenes role for the Republican camp in the aftermath of the 2000 election... -- as legal consultant, lawsuit editor and prep coach for arguments before the nation's highest court, according to the man who drafted him for the job

(Source: The Miami Herald via TPM)

And that is, as they say, the tip of the iceberg. This is a time when Senate Democrats need to remember that sometimes to speak is more important than to be re-elected.

Laugh until you cry

We would like to apologize for the way in which politicians are represented in this blog. It was never our intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed, political time-servers who are concerned more with their personal vendettas and private power struggles than the problems of goverment, nor to suggest at any point that they sacrifice their credibility by denying free debate on vital matters in the mistaken impression that party unity comes before the well-being of the people they supposedly represent, nor to imply at any stage that they are squabbling little toadies without an ounce of concern for the vital socal problems of today.

Nor indeed do we intend that readers should consider them as crabby ulcerous little self-seeking vermin with furry legs and an excessive addiction to alcohol and certain explicit sexual practices which some people might find offensive.

We are sorry if this impression has come across.

--Monty Python's Flying Circus, 1972 (slightly misquoted)

JUDITH: Reg, let's go now, please.

REG: Right. In the light of fresh information from Sibling Judith.

STAN: Not so fast Reg.

JUDITH: Reg, for God's sake. It's perfectly simple. All you've got to do is go out of that door now and try to stop the Romans nailing him up. It's happening, Reg. Something's actually happening, Reg, can't you understand?-Ohh!

She rushes out.

REG: Oh dear...another little ego trip from the feminists.

-"The Life of Brian," by Monty Python, 1979

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Going the Dixie Chicks one better

"Just so you know...we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

-singer Natalie Maines.

this whole conversation we're having now is not about substance, but procedural niceties, excuses which is it is beyond shameful for an American president to invoke in such a circumstance. We don't live in the 19th century. All you really needed was a subscription to basic cable to know almost all of the relevant details (at least relevant to know what sort of assistance was needed) about what was happening late last week. The president and his advisors want to duck responsibility by claiming, in so many words, that the Louisiana authorities didn't fill out the right forms. So what they're trying to pull is something like a DMV nightmare on steroids.

-Blogger Joshua Micah Marshall

Texas? I'm ashamed the president of the United States is from the United States.

Three looks at the death of Rehnquist

NOW President Kim Gandy thinks:

With two lifetime appointments, George W. Bush could not only upset the delicate balance on this Supreme Court, but also extend his right-wing ideology and disregard for individual rights to the third branch of government — the judiciary — thus guaranteeing second-class status for girls and women in the U.S. for decades.

Mark Evanier looks at it this way...

So now Justice Rehnquist has died. Not a huge surprise, of course, but the political climate in this country didn't need one more divisive battle at this, Congress is going to have to deal with two Supreme Court appointments from a president whose popularity will probably rival that of the B.T.K. Killer's in another month or so.

And finally, here's Amanda Marcotte on what the death of Renquist likely means:

He was no crusader for decency or anything, but nor was he a person whose ideology overruled his decisions. Those days for the Supreme Court are over. BushCo has a new appointment and can also choose the new Chief Justice.

Summary: We are fucked.

Choice is gone. And as soon as Roe v. Wade is overturned, states will start outlawing contraception, and eventually the ideologically run court will find that there's no right to privacy, period, and contraception protection will be gone.

The only thing I can say now is that people who have enough children or don't want any at all--get sterilized while you still can. As for those who want children, just not now....well, I don't know.

Pop quiz!

  1. Which of the three statements below detonated or almost detonated a presidency?
  2. Which one actually has the death of thousands of people attached to it?

Three defining Presidential quotations:

I am not a crook.

I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

I'm satisfied with the response. I'm not satisfied with the results.

"...just gives you away, The things you say...You're..."

Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially.

In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn’t known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, "We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day."

Lies don’t get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President.

Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, "You’re doing a heck of a job."

That’s unbelievable.

-The Times-Picayune, in an open letter to President Bush, courtesy of Hoffmania