Friday, September 30, 2005


Democratic Underground, in the Top Ten Idiots section, surmises what the concluding paragraphs of Frances Townsend's report on the response to Hurricane Katrina might look like:

So as you can see, the federal government is in no way responsible for anything that happened to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Clearly the only people to blame for the aftermath of Katrina are the governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans.

Upon further investigation it has become apparent that Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin are also responsible for America's massive budget deficit, the failure to find Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the deaths of almost 2000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq, the recent leap in gas prices, and the outing of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. They also killed Kenny, shot J.R., and ate the three bears' porridge.

No word on whether or not they're part of the conspiracy out to get Tom DeLay--but you have to ask yourself if either spent time on the grassy knoll.
Baghdad Brownie

He could do a heckuva job as information minister. Hat tip to WIIIAI.

I see an uncanny resemblence.
Day 4

Apologies to all 5 of y'all who are regular readers--and anyone else who might stumble upon's been hectic again, with class, etc.

Might be able to put a reasonable effort later, but right now it's just not possible.

Back the meantime, Tbogg posted a link to Neil Shakespeare's blog, which I took a good long look at last night. If you prefer something equally good, check out Schroeder, who writes People Get Ready. Or HumidHaney, who recently started the Humidbeings forum. Or any of the fine sites on the right hand side of this page.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

But I Wonder How it Would SOUND...

Thanks to BabelFish, I can at least see how Bill Bennett's vicious little screed LOOKS when translated back into the original tongue:

Ich weiß, daß es zutreffend ist, daß, wenn Sie Verbrechen verringern wollten, Sie konnten -- wenn der Ihr alleiniger Zweck waren, konnten Sie jedes schwarze Baby in diesem Land abbrechen, und Ihre Verbrechensrate würde unten gehen. Die würde eine unmögliche, lächerliche sein, und moralisch reprehensible Sache zu tun, aber Ihre Verbrechensrate würde unten gehen. So dieses sind far-out, diese weitreichenden, umfangreichen Extrapolationen, ich denken, tricky.
Day 3

In class again, but on my quick break, I managed to hit the following sites:


All of them have stuff worth reading/looking at.

Back to school...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Sorry to cut and paste today's posts, but here's something that's worth seeing in its entirety--a speech delivered by Eton Thomas at last week's antiwar rally.

I'll admit that part of me is sympathetic to views like Steve Gilliard's or James Wolcott's--that is, a rally should try to keep things focused. If it's an antiwar rally, focus on the war, and why it should be stopped (and PLEASE keep it short--most folks demonstrating have a good idea WHY they support or oppose someone or something. We don't need education--we're looking for inspiration). However, Thomas's words are as powerful as his persona--and establish the essential connection between the racism of imperial war abroad and the racism of institutional violence here at home:

"Giving all honor, thanks and praises to God for courage and wisdom, this is a very important rally. I'd like to thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts, feelings and concerns regarding a tremendous problem that we are currently facing. This problem is universal, transcending race, economic background, religion, and culture, and this problem is none other than the current administration which has set up shop in the White House.

In fact, I'd like to take some of these cats on a field trip. I want to get big yellow buses with no air conditioner and no seatbelts and round up Bill O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Trent Lott, Sean Hannity, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Bush Jr. and Bush Sr., John Ashcroft, Giuliani, Ed Gillespie, Katherine Harris, that little bow-tied Tucker Carlson and any other right-wing conservative Republicans I can think of, and take them all on a trip to the ‘hood. Not to do no 30-minute documentary. I mean, I want to drop them off and leave them there, let them become one with the other side of the tracks, get them four mouths to feed and no welfare, have scare tactics run through them like a laxative, criticizing them for needing assistance.

I’d show them working families that make too much to receive welfare but not enough to make ends meet. I’d employ them with jobs with little security, let them know how it feels to be an employee at will, able to be fired at the drop of a hat. I’d take away their opportunities, then try their children as adults, sending their 13-year-old babies to life in prison. I’d sell them dreams of hopelessness while spoon-feeding their young with a daily dose of inferior education. I’d tell them no child shall be left behind, then take more money out of their schools, tell them to show and prove themselves on standardized exams testing their knowledge on things that they haven’t been taught, and then I’d call them inferior.

I’d soak into their interior notions of endless possibilities. I’d paint pictures of assisted productivity if they only agreed to be all they can be, dress them up with fatigues and boots with promises of pots of gold at the end of rainbows, free education to waste terrain on those who finish their bid. Then I’d close the lid on that barrel of fool’s gold by starting a war, sending their children into the midst of a hostile situation, and while they're worried about their babies being murdered and slain in foreign lands, I’d grace them with the pain of being sick and unable to get medicine.

Give them health benefits that barely cover the common cold. John Q. would become their reality as HMOs introduce them to the world of inferior care, filling their lungs with inadequate air, penny pinching at the expense of patients, doctors practicing medicine in an intricate web of rationing and regulations. Patients wander the maze of managed bureaucracy, costs rise and quality quickly deteriorates, but they say that managed care is cheaper. They’ll say that free choice in medicine will defeat the overall productivity, and as co-payments are steadily rising, I'll make their grandparents have to choose between buying their medicine and paying their rent.

Then I'd feed them hypocritical lines of being pro-life as the only Christian way to be. Then very contradictingly, I’d fight for the spread of the death penalty, as if thou shall not kill applies to babies but not to criminals.

Then I’d introduce them to those sworn to protect and serve, creating a curb in their trust in the law. I’d show them the nightsticks and plungers, the pepper spray and stun guns, the mace and magnums that they’d soon become acquainted with, the shakedowns and illegal search and seizures, the planted evidence, being stopped for no reason. Harassment ain’t even the half of it. Forty-one shots to two raised hands, cell phones and wallets that are confused with illegal contrabands. I’d introduce them to pigs who love making their guns click like wine glasses. Everlasting targets surrounded by bullets, making them a walking bull's eye, a living piñata, held at the mercy of police brutality, and then we’ll see if they finally weren’t aware of the truth, if their eyes weren’t finally open like a box of Pandora.

I’d show them how the other side of the tracks carries the weight of the world on our shoulders and how society seems to be holding us down with the force of a boulder. The bird of democracy flew the coop back in Florida. See, for some, and justice comes in packs like wolves in sheep's clothing. T.K.O.d by the right hooks of life, many are left staggering under the weight of the day, leaning against the ropes of hope. When your dreams have fallen on barren ground, it becomes difficult to keep pushing yourself forward like a train, administering pain like a doctor with a needle, their sequels continue more lethal than injections.

They keep telling us all is equal. I’d tell them that instead of giving tax breaks to the rich, financing corporate mergers and leading us into unnecessary wars and under-table dealings with Enron and Halliburton, maybe they can work on making society more peaceful. Instead, they take more and more money out of inner city schools, give up on the idea of rehabilitation and build more prisons for poor people. With unemployment continuing to rise like a deficit, it's no wonder why so many think that crime pays.

Maybe this trip will make them see the error of their ways. Or maybe next time, we'll just all get out and vote. And as far as their stay in the White House, tell them that numbered are their days."

Dave Zirin, who posted this, says "it has the power to topple tyrants."
What He Said

Playing catch-up here late in the day, I found this at Hullabaloo:

So, we have a federal probe implicating the president's number one political advisor and the vice president's chief of staff in the violation of laws protecting CIA agents and possibly lying to federal investigators.

We have a multi-pronged investigation into a lobbyist who happens to be a very close associate of Tom DeLay,Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, Karl Rove and the entire Republican leadership going back to their youth as members of the College republicans. This lobbyist is now implicated in a mafia murder plot and has been arrested on charges affiliated with that crime.

A member of the Bush administration who is a good friend and associate of all of the above was arrested this week for lying to the Feds about his good friend the lobbyist.

The majority leader of the Senate is now officially under investigation by the SEC and federal prosecutors for insider trading involving potentially many millions of dollars.

The majority leader of the House was just indicted by a Texas Grand jury for violating laws prohibiting the use of corporate money in campaigns.

I am so relieved that the Republicans restored honor and integrity to Washington. There hasn't been even one blow job in that town since they took power.

Update: Oh and that reminds me --- David Drier is now the majority leader of the House of Representatives.


Update: um, Roy Blunt apparently took over, not Drier.
About Time

The military is finally getting around to launching an investigation whatever the website is that's offering free porn in exchange for...war porn:

The Army has opened an investigation into whether American troops have sent gruesome photographs of Iraqi war dead to an Internet site where the soldiers were given free access to online pornography, Army officials said Tuesday...

Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman, said that if soldiers had posted the images, their actions could violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which defines conduct unbecoming an officer or enlisted soldier.

Another Pentagon official who reviewed the Web site said it raised questions, as well, of whether the acts could be viewed as a violation of the Geneva Conventions, which set standards for treatment of remains of those killed in a combat zone.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based civil rights and advocacy group, called for an investigation after details of the photographs were described in news media and online reports.

Arsalan Iftikhar, the group's legal director, asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to "investigate this troubling phenomenon and do whatever is necessary to bring it to an end."

Billmon, AmericaBlog, and The Rude Pundit all wrote about this...

Gotta get back to class.
Class, No Class

More study for me--oh well, it's kind of important. However, I was happy to hear on my lunch break that Tom DeLay will finally learn the meaning of personal responsibility.

Gotta run.
Day 2

I'll be in class again today, and any break time will likely keep me busy with personal stuff...anyway, heard on NPR that Blanco will get her chance in front of the GOP and two Democrats today--should be interesting to watch her refute Bullshit Brown.

Also, kudos to Gene Taylor (D-MS) (he and William Jefferson are the two Dems). He refused to put up with Brown's bullshit.

Otherwise, saw that Limbaugh's doctors are being questioned about Rush's habits and his doctor shopping for pills--don't have much time to write about it, but one can always hope to read about Lamebone's spectacular crash.

On the way into work, I heard a report on Condoleezza Rice's trip to Haiti--good god. The only apt comparison would be a Soviet visit to an East Bloc satellite nation back in the 60's--except that Haiti's even poorer. Listening to her bark about the virtue of democracy after the United States launched a coup against...a democratically elected government...makes me feel a little ill.

And, I'm sure you all heard that Eddie Compass resigned--I really can't offer much of an opinion, except to say I hope it's his own decision. Maybe he just needs to rest after living through hell on earth.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Full of Shit

"Brownie" stands for the color of his nose--and what he regularly consumes with relish:

Brown's testimony painted a picture of disorganization and miscommunication in the days before and after Hurricane Katrina. But the story he told in the hot seat Tuesday is a far cry from the picture he painted for us just hours after Katrina made landfall.

Ask Mike Brown what went wrong during Katrina and the blame is anywhere but with himself.

"My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional," he said.

Brown made similar comments in a New York Times interview shortly after his resignation, with harsh words for Governor Kathleen Blanco. But on the day Katrina hit, he told 9 News, live on the air, a completely different story:

He said, "The state, local, and federal governments are tied at the hip right now, we've got a good inter-agency command structure. What we planned for and what we exercised is what you're seeing being put into action now." (my emphasis)

That's not his only lie:

...while testifying under oath, Mike Brown claimed that Louisiana Gov. Blanco’s August 27th request to the President for a federal emergency declaration excluded Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquerines parishes...

In fact, Blanco requested the President to declare a disaster in “all the southeastern parishes,” which includes Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines. See the request for yourself HERE.

You can read his entire testimony bullshit session here.

And remember, Mike Brown-nose has/had/has his position in government because of his connections. To put it bluntly, I don't think his behavior is any different from the guys who put him there.

Consider what that means.
Just Plain Vicious

Following up on a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the new bankruptcy law--the New York Times confirms what I'd already suspected: James Sensenbrenner is an asshole.

Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, rejected the notion of reopening the legislation, saying it already included provisions that would ensure that people left "down and out" by the storm would still be able to shed most of their debts. Lawmakers who lost the long fight over the law, he said, "ought to get over it," according to The Associated Press...

In the meantime, many victims of Hurricane Katrina - and the much smaller group ruined by Hurricane Rita - will face a kind of Catch-22. Those who try to beat the Oct. 17 deadline in hopes of filing under the less-onerous current law may find it impossible to do so, because residence rules generally require that individuals seek protection against creditors in their hometowns. (Assuming people in New Orleans can find their lawyers and records, they can file for bankruptcy protection in their bankruptcy court, which has reopened and is sharing space with another court in Baton Rouge.)

Moreover, most people displaced by the storm will probably not know for months if they even need to file for bankruptcy. By that time, the tougher new law will be in force...

Personal and business bankruptcy filings usually reach a peak two to three years after a hurricane, according to a study about bankruptcy and hurricanes, soon to be published in The Nevada Law Journal, by Robert M. Lawless, a law professor at the University of Nevada.

Mr. Lawless said he was surprised by the pattern. Previous research on bankruptcy filings and natural disasters had not shown a connection, he said, apparently because analysts were looking only at the months immediately after floods or storms.

He said his finding was in keeping with research on the overall level of economic activity after hurricanes, which shows there is often a short-term growth spurt as federal aid and construction money are pumped into disaster areas. The bankruptcy filings come later, as people who have lost their houses or jobs are overwhelmed by the debts they incur while trying to rebuild.

"Areas hit by major hurricanes will suffer great financial distress and that distress will linger for long after the media glare has disappeared," Mr. Lawless writes.

Sensenbrenner's attitude is typical--here's a guy with a net worth of $9.3 million--a good bit of which was inherited--taking a little bit of extra time to kick folks who've already been punched in the stomach. God, what a cretin--and a lardass to boot.
Class, Crass Part II

Still in class, but I managed to take a quick glance at the headlines...Mike "I ain't Superman" Brown put on a show--or maybe had a scene, eh?


I'll be in a training class for the morning, and possibly the posting will be slow.


Mike Brown will evalutate FEMA's response to Hurrican Katrina. Hmmm. Will he interview himself?

"I'm sure I'm wondering why I called myself in today, Mike..." etc.

Well, one thing's certain: that guy knows failure--like the back of his hand.

Monday, September 26, 2005


No, SWAG in this case doesn't stand for "com" as in "com versus kind." It stands for "Sophisticated Wild Assed Guess:" (hat tip to YRHT)

The Washington Post reports today on a GAO report (.pdf) finding that the Pentagon can't count its money. Specifically, that it has "no accurate knowledge of the cost of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan or the fight against terrorism".

Oyster found in his archives a personal take on the matter.

Waste on a scale that makes King Midas look like a pauper is NOT being strong on defense. It's pissing money away that Intel Dump rightly notes could be put towards the public interest. Corruption ISN'T in the public good; neither is bungling.

However, corruption and bungling are the pillars of the so-called "security" administration (and calling them "security" minded is like calling Warren Harding a paragon of clean government). Oh--speaking of Harding, my source passed along Frank Rich's latest from the black hole known as Times Select--included the following:

[Tracy Henke]...ordered the highly regarded nonpartisan head of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Lawrence Greenfeld, to delete a reference to politically embarrassing data in a government press release for a report on racial profiling. When Mr. Greenfeld complained, he was demoted.

...Even as it fills its ranks with Abramoff golf-junket partners, political flunkies and underemployed relatives, the administration silences those who, like Sherron Watkins at Enron, might blow the whistle on any Kozlowski or Ebbers or Rigas fleecing or betraying the taxpayers. Three weeks before Mr. Safavian's arrest, the Army Corps of Engineers demoted another procurement official, Bunnatine Greenhouse, who was a 20-year veteran in her field. Her crime was not obstructing justice but pursuing it by vehemently questioning irregularities in the awarding of some $7 billion worth of no-bid contracts in Iraq to the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root.

Sounds like bungling is the junior partner.

For some twenty years, the public has been regaled with stories about welfare cheats. Turns out, the biggest frauds perpetrated seem to arise from the most sacred of sacred cows--the never to be questioned Pentagon budget. Duh. Even Willie Sutton knew where the money was.
Noble $600, or the Chargecard of the Light Brigade

Call it democracy in action--efforts to privatize the rebuilding of Iraq have netted a whopping six hundred bucks:

An extraordinary appeal to Americans from the Bush administration for money to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq has raised only $600 (£337), The Observer has learnt. Yet since the appeal was launched earlier this month, donations to rebuild New Orleans have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars.

The public's reluctance to contribute much more than the cost of two iPods to the administration's attempt to offer citizens 'a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq' has been seized on by critics as evidence of growing ambivalence over that country.

This coincides with concern over the increasing cost of the war. More than $30 billion has been appropriated for the reconstruction. Initially, America's overseas aid agency, USaid, expected it to cost taxpayers no more than $1.7bn, but it is now asking the public if they want to contribute even more.

It is understood to be the first time that a US government has made an appeal to taxpayers for foreign aid money. Contributors have no way of knowing who will receive their donations or even where they may go, after officials said details had be kept secret for security reasons.

USaid's Heather Layman denied it was disappointed with the meagre sum raised after a fortnight. 'Every little helps,' she said.

Two whole iPods...

And in the ongoing clusterfuck, it appears that it doesn't matter how newly painted a school is--vicious, violent death can crop up just the same:

A group of armed men burst into a primary school in a town south of Baghdad today, rounded up five teachers, marched them to an empty classroom and executed them, a police official said. All of those killed were Shiite.

School was just getting out in Muilha, a suburb of Iskandariya, a town about 30 miles south of Baghdad, when about 10 gunmen dressed in police uniforms entered the building at 1:15 p.m. and shot the teachers, all men. As the gunmen fled the building, they also shot and killed the teachers' driver, who was waiting outside to take them home.

Apropos to the post below, the only thing left is for Dumsfeld or Dubya to dismiss this, or even ascribe the inane label "temporary setback" to yet another sign of imminent civil war. James Wolcott wrote about the upcoming tragedy yesterday, and it seems as if the only folks denying reality are those associated with the administration. Well, at least they're showing consistency: they were in denial as hurricane Katrina all but delivered a calling card announcing the upcoming pounding of NOLA.

But...back to the title of this post...six hundred bucks. That's it. Wingnuts are not merely chickenhawks--they're stingy ones at that.
Adding Insult

If anyone needs additional evidence of how totally corrupt this government is at the highest levels, take a look at the lengths to which they've distorted and/or covered up events surrounding the death of Pat Tillman, killed in Afghanistan in 2004. Geez.

Note: Blogger is acting up today, so I might be a little slow to post...sorry.

For those who haven't seen it yet, here's the latest Keyboard Kommandos installment.
Two From Think Progress

This post summarizes the options available for evacuees succinctly:

Guess who is being talked about:

"They’re in Washington," Gov. Bush said. "Their house (in Houston) is all boarded up."

The storm’s march toward land sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the nation’s fourth-largest city in a frustratingly slow, bumper-to-bumper exodus.

Local officials said public housing residents are not being evacuated.

The last line is the giveaway.

And, following their link, we find out that wingnuts are capable of learning, although their, um, progress (pun intended) should raise eyebrows...three weeks ago the whole 'nut crowd was insisting that disaster response was a state/local concern:

The speed with which the federal government marshaled significant military and other resources to evacuate, rescue and care for victims of Hurricane Rita raises new questions about why Washington was so slow to respond to Hurricane Katrina less than four weeks earlier.

The Bush administration says it's researching whether the federal government needs to have greater authority to respond to disasters - and whether the military should be in charge.

The response to Rita, however, suggests that the government had plenty of authority to respond to Katrina and that what was lacking during Katrina was an understanding of when to use that authority.

"The atmosphere here is very, very different than it was in the days following Katrina," said John Pine, Louisiana State University Disaster Science and Management director. Pine was in Louisiana's emergency operations center in Baton Rouge on Sunday and said that nearly as many federal officials were present as those from state and local agencies...

To be sure, the devastation wreaked last month by Katrina appears to have been far greater than that caused by Rita. But experts say the threat posed by both should have prompted similar preparations and responses - and similar high-level attention from the Bush administration.

Both storms barreled through the Gulf of Mexico toward large population centers. Both reached Category 5 strength before weakening slightly as they made landfall. And both storms had similar potential for catastrophe - with the approach of Katrina perhaps causing even greater concern because of its track toward New Orleans' below-sea-level population, which was at risk both from the storm and from levees long known to be vulnerable to a direct hit.

Federal officials have been avoiding a detailed discussion of what went wrong during Katrina, when President Bush and other top federal officials were on vacation. (my emphasis)

But in praising response to Rita, they provide some guidance, even if unintended, in assessing the government's response to Katrina, which killed more than 1,000 people in Louisiana and Mississippi.

"On vacation." There's an ongoing war in TWO countries, AND you had the kind of natural disaster that telegraphs its arrival in advance. Their response? R&R...

That's just plain pathetic.

So, they got it right the second time around--big goddamn deal. This administration has been in office for almost FIVE years and they're still TRAINEES? Lord help us--I can't imagine how inept their response would be to a terrorist attack.

On second though, maybe I can...
This is Your Wake-Up Call

To move away from storm tracking (btw, the latest personal news, if anyone's interested, is that my mom and sister are fine, they didn't flood, and mom even has sister is getting by with a generator).

Anyway, this post from Billmon and this from America Blog should give anyone a real sense of just how bad our position is in Iraq. If the whole sorry enterprise was a business, we'd already be in jail for everything from insider trading to deliberate misrepresentation of shoddy product. And each day brings more grim news.

Listening to the war's apologists is beyond ridiculous--it's like having a serial wife beater tell you how, this time, it'll all be ok (provided, of course, that the bitch she just LISTENS, blah blah blah). Watching the lame attempt at nation building merely distracts from the wholesale theft of the US public treasury--and the Iraqi treasury, but let's not kid ourselves--Iraq is no sovereign entity. The government is a sick joke. And, for those who haven't seen it yet, this adds to the whole Lord of the Flies scene.

Brought to you courtesy of the administration of George W. Bush--the man who never ran a business that DIDN'T go belly up.