Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging


Inspired by this:

A black bear picked the wrong New Jersey yard for a jaunt earlier this week, running into a territorial tabby who ran the furry beast up a tree -- twice.

Jack, a 15-pound orange-and-white cat, keeps a close vigil on his property, chasing small animals when he can, but his owners and neighbors say his latest escapade was surprising.

"We used to joke, 'Jack's on duty,' never knowing he'd go after a bear," cat owner Donna Dickey told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday's newspapers.

Well, my own 15-pound orange-and-white one once cornered a large dog in the stairwell...but, to be fair, the large dog was my then neighbor's, and was/is one of the sweetest, gentlest canines I've ever met. Oh, and the top photo really IS a tiger cub. I paid ten dollars to get my picture taken with, if I remember right, Nike, at a medieval fest in Hammond a few years back. It was one of my best investments (shoot, it's actually one of my best pictures EVER...yep, that's as good as I'm ever gonna look. Early on, I realized that I'd better work--hard--on the "nice personality, good sense of humor" stuff).

Anyhoo--just to show that I'm not averse to giving credit where it's due, I'm glad to see Congress--with, apparently a push from the Shrubster hisself--managed to, for once, do the right thing and appropriate relief funds to the American citizens of Louisiana who look forward to rebuilding in our little corner of the American Dream--good. Let's hope minimal strings/bureauracy are attached to these funds, because plenty of actual, genuine people can and will use the money to rebuild lives and rekindle dreams that were shattered last August. And, as an expression of gratitude, I encourage y'all to take a listen to one of my favorite NOLA musicians (a transplant, but one who thrived and rioted with beautiful flowers in our sub-tropical climate), Spencer Bohren--here's C'mon Down.

See y'all Monday.
You Just Can't Get Good, Cheap Help These Days

Via Cursor, you can link to Krugman's latest online without having to pony up for Times Select. Have a look.

On the other hand, Bob Herbert's latest, to my knowledge, hasn't been liberated from behind the script wall, so I'll post it for your perusal--and note that the two columns, in the words of a friend, "dovetail nicely." They point to a not-so-recent, but certainly significant phenomenon: the shitload--literally--of people who seem to think the rest of us exist to die in their wars, or clean up their ever increasing messes, political, fiscal, and otherwise. To cite one more example of this sort of cretinism, they honestly believe that the sacrifices made by our military are, in a word, "boring."

Pretty amazing, eh?

Other People's Blood

For the smug, comfortable, well-off Americans, it doesn't seem to matter how long the war in Iraq goes on — as long as the agony is endured by others. If the network coverage gets too grim, viewers can always switch to the E! channel (one hand on the remote, the other burrowing into a bag of chips) to follow the hilarious antics of Paris, Britney, Brangelina et al.

The war is depressing and denial is the antidote. Why should ordinary citizens (good people, religious people, patriots) consider their role in — and responsibility for — the thunderous, unending carnage? Enough with this introspection. Let's go to the ballpark, get drunk and boo Barry Bonds.

The nation is in deep denial about Iraq. For years the president and his supporting cast of arrogant, bullying characters have tried to put the best face on this war.

They had no idea what they were doing when they ordered the invasion of Iraq, and they still don't. Many of the troops who were assured that the Iraqis would welcome them with open arms are now dead. And there's still no plan.

Paul Wolfowitz, who fashioned the phony intellectual underpinnings of this catastrophe, told us that Iraqi oil revenues would cover the cost of reconstruction.

He was as wrong about that as the president was about the weapons of mass destruction. (And as wrong as Dick Cheney was last June when he said the insurgency was in its last throes.)

Here are the facts: The war so recklessly launched by the amateurs in the Bush White House has already taken scores of thousands of lives, and will ultimately cost the United States $1 trillion to $2 trillion.

No one has been held accountable for this. While Mr. Bush's approval ratings are low, the public has been largely indifferent to the profound suffering in Iraq. This is primarily for two reasons: Because most Americans have no immediate personal stake in the war, and because the administration and the news media keep the worst of the suffering at a safe distance from the U.S. population.

The killing of American troops is usually kissed off with a paragraph or two in the major papers, and a sentence or two, at best, on national newscasts. (Imagine if someone in your office, sitting at a desk across from you, were suddenly blown to bits, splattering you with his or her blood. You wouldn't get over it for the rest of your life. This is what happens daily in Iraq.)

The many thousands of Iraqis who are killed — including babies and children who are shot to death, blown up, or incinerated — remain completely unknown to the American public. So not only is there very little empathy for the suffering of Iraqis, there is virtually no sense among ordinary Americans of a shared responsibility for that suffering.

Despite the frequently expressed fantasies expressed by President Bush and some of the leading politicians of both parties, the idea of a U.S. victory in Iraq is an illusion. The nightmarish violence is rising, not receding. Iraq is not being pacified. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a bustling market in Basra over the weekend, killing 27 and wounding scores. On Sunday, 20 people were stopped and pulled from their vehicles on a highway near Baquba and shot to death.

John Burns, writing in yesterday's New York Times, told us: "The death toll in one of the most grisly recent attacks, in the village of Hadid, near the Diyala provincial capital of Baquba, rose to 17 on Tuesday when the police delivered nine severed heads to the Baquba morgue in the fruit boxes in which they were found in the village."

Eight other heads had previously been found.

Instead of beginning to pull our troops out of Iraq, we are sending more in. The permanent Iraqi government, which was supposed to be the answer to everybody's prayers, is a study in haplessness. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Al Qaeda's man in Iraq, remains at large. (As does Osama bin Laden, somewhere in Pakistan.)

As was the case with Vietnam, the war in Iraq is a fool's errand. There is no clear mission for American troops in Iraq. No one can really say what the dead have died for. And yet the dying continues.

When it all finally comes to an end (according to President Bush, on somebody else's watch) we'll look around at the hideous costs in human treasure and cold hard cash and ask ourselves: What in the world were we thinking?

Of course, the wingnuts will latch on to the fact that Herbert completed his column before Zarqawi's either met his well-deserved fate or before the official announcement, then they'll continue their group gloat, neither knowing nor caring that it doesn't make a damn bit of difference in the whole, supersized, ugly-mess scheme of things, particularly for the soldiers they sent off to die on their whim.
From Hammer to Whimper

Next Stop...state and federal court...

One good bit of news is DeLay's first of many departures--today, from the halls of Congress (Scout links both to the NY Times story and a hilarious Stephen Colbert "interview" with the Hammer) noted above, the next stop will be the courts...then, if justice is served, the Hammer cum Whimper will receive his striped or orange uniform, a number of his very own...and a 6 x 8 foot semi-private cell, or whatever the standard is these days. Sure, it may take time before Mr. DeLay's receives this particular assignment. But I'm patient.

I can think of a few more folks deserving of the same, ahem, treatment.
The New Iraq: Before and After Zarqawi's Death


See the Difference?

The ongoing experiment in governance by juveniles continues--Grand Vizier Shrub, sounding like a sophomore competing in a high school oratory contest, managed to finish his statement yesterday re: the successful targeting of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, without blurting out something profoundly stupid like "bring 'em on." Though, perhaps to avoid obvious embarrassments--like his pathetic pronounciation of "Abu Ghraib"--his handlers opted to limit Shrub's identification to "al Zarqawi."

Meanwhile, the various pashas and muftis in his administration--as well as the eunuchs comprising the press corps--trotted out the usual timeworn, threadbare expressions of fealty and unfounded optimism that greeted other "turning points" in the ever downward spiral of Operation Enduring Clusterfuck (see "death of Hussein, Uday," "death of Hussein, Qusay," or "Capture of Hussein, Saddam," etc.).

For public consumption, we've been treated to a charmingly framed, large format photo portrait of Zarqawi's corpse upon which to vent our rage, a nice medieval touch...sort of a modern equivalent of displaying his head on a pike along the London Bridge promenade.

(and, maybe it's just me, but the picture of Zarqawi corpse looks like it could just as easily be a sleeping Gene Simmons--in bad need of a decent shave. But I've never been a KISS fan, and I'll leave speculation to the real tin-foil hat types)...

Anyway, back on the reality front...for a price of almost 2,500 American lives, plus an extra 20,000 or so non-fatal casualties, plus over a hundred thousand permanently "liberated" Iraqis...and $300 billion dollars (and counting)...we've managed to eliminate three certifiably "bad guys," Uday, Qusay, and Abu Musab, and we've got one more in the dock (Saddam). Not exactly a bargain. And especially not exactly a bargain when it's obvious to anyone with a brain that none of these creeps was a direct threat to the United States. To top it all off, genuine threats to the United States are being ignored while Team Bush stupidly and obsessively clings to the notion that something can be salvaged out of the mess they've created.

Tossing a few plastic cups--or beercans--that sat for weeks on the floor doesn't constitute a cleanup anymore than killing Zarqawi will constitute any sort of victory (particulary when, as anyone who follows things knows, he could have been taken out four years ago, but wasn't. Team Bush wanted him around as additional "justification" for war). And watching the increasingly pathetic attempts to justify a perfect storm--the war was both a dumb idea AND they've managed to display epic ineptitude in their handling of it--one can only hope the adults manage to take control BEFORE Team Bush engages in any more lethal foolishness.

I mean, geez: the more I look at them, the more I think the Bush administration is the moral equivalent of putting Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in charge of things. Seriously. And we've got to do better than that.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Back Up and Running

Glad to see Blogger took care of their problems...of course, this is around the time I usually take care of chores or kick back for the evening.

Here's hoping tomorrow--during the day--the new Blogger power source, pictured above, has ample supplies of food and drink. Until then...
An Expert's Opinion

"Arguably over the last several years, no single person on this planet has had the blood of more innocent men, women and children on his hands than Zarqawi," said Rumsfeld.

Must be professional courtesy...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tea and Sympathy and More

OK, Blogger's hiccup has at least given me the chance to note a long overdue update to my blogroll. To wit:

People Get Ready: Schroder's posted a good graphic showing subsidence in Orleans Parish of late. I've linked to him any number of times, but was lazy in updating things...hopefully you're already checking him out every day.

Dangerblond: maybe I should've posted an Angie Dickenson picture, but...

Welcome to T. and Sympathy, who is nice enought to add a Red Stick denizen to her blogroll...

You'll also see Moldy City, Wet Bank Guide, Adrastos, Looka, Suspect Device...and if there's anyone out there I'm missing, let me know.

Update: Damn, how could I forget Ashley Morris?! Oh--see the next paragraph. Apologies.

Anyway...the drugs have started to take hold, so I think the remainder of this evening will be devoted to reading a book, browsing around the internets...or maybe watching a movie. Catch up with y'all tomorrow.
Um, Is This Thing On?

Blogger had such a massive fork sticking out of it for most of the day that they even posted an update on the status page...

Anyway, if the muse strikes me, I might try putting something together later. Otherwise, catch y'all tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ever More Surreal in Iraq

Having stumbled rudely upon the latest from uber-puke Rush Limbaugh earlier today, well, first, I can't help but think what passes for brain matter in his drug-addled, thick as a brick skull must be revisiting recent nightmares from his pre-plea bargain (P.P.B.) days. Or maybe it was more of a Freudian slip/revelation of an inner fantasy that, c'mon, I sure as hell DON'T want think about any more...

Anyway--back in the reality based community, Patrick Cockburn dispenses with the surrealistic cheerleading:

The Iraqi government was voted into office by members of parliament meeting in a stuffy hall in the heavily fortified Green Zone. Anybody entering the zone has to pass through at least seven lines of sand bagged checkpoints, razor wire and sniffer dogs. At 6.30 am, a few hours before parliament met a bomb exploded in Sadr City, the impoverished Shia bastion in east Baghdad. It killed 19 and wounded 58 people, most of them day labourers who had gathered near a food stand as they waited to be hired. This atrocity was probably in retaliation for attacks by black- clad Shia gunmen, probably from the Mehdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr, on two Sunni districts in west Baghdad the previous day. Loudspeakers on the minarets of Sunni mosques in the rest of the city announced that the al-Jihad and al-Furat neighbourhoods were being assaulted and called on people to go and help them.

The sectarian civil war in Baghdad is sparsely reported but from the mixed provinces around the capital there is almost no news. It is too dangerous for Iraqi as well as foreign journalists to go there.

There are sporadic police reports of the violence but they are impossible to check out. On the same day that parliament met, for instance, the bodies of 15 people, all tortured before they were killed, were delivered to the morgue in Musayyib south of Baghdad; nobody knows who killed them or why. Two months ago I met an Iraqi army captain from Diyala, a province north east of Baghdad famous for its fruit, which has a mixed Sunni, Shia and Kurdish population. He said Sunni and Shia were killing each other all over Diyala. "Whoever is in a minority runs," he said. 'If forces are more equal they fight it out.'

And Juan Cole makes an interesting observation:

The US military in Ramadi fired four artillery shells at the train station, attempting to take out guerrillas who were off-loading weaponry there. AP says, "A hospital official, Dr. Omar al-Duleimi, said American forces killed five civilians and wounded 15. The U.S. military said the mission had "positive effects on the target," but it denied that civilians were killed or injured in the city west of the capital. " I suppose 5 persons are dead and 15 are wounded, but that it is unclear if they were civilians or guerrillas. Anyway, that guerrillas might even think they could openly offload weaponry at the train station in Ramadi tells me all I need to know about the state of security in the city.

Maureen Dowd (sorry, no link) notes the following ironies:

Before the war, America railed against the Iraqi leader for slaughtering innocent Iraqis. Now the Iraqi leader is railing against America for slaughtering innocent Iraqis.

Iraq is blustering about sending away American troops to make life better for Iraqis, after American troops were sent in to make life better for Iraqis...

American troops are under spectacular emotional pressure. They go out every day, not knowing Arabic, not understanding the culture, not knowing who the insurgents are, not knowing when they can go home or which of their buddies will be blown up before their eyes by an unseen enemy...

The troops were not trained for a counterinsurgency, because Bush hawks ignored the intelligence reports that predicted an insurgency and civil war. These kids were turned into sitting ducks because the neocon con to sell the war needed a gauzy prediction of Iraqi gratitude and a quick exit.

It is admirable that the Marine commanders want to morally sensitize the troops while they are in such a hostile environment, but it also seems a bit absurd, sending them to summer school in "core values."

There's no way to teach someone not to shoot an unarmed woman or child. If somebody doesn't already know why they shouldn't murder a baby, it's not clear that a refresher course will help.

The problem with brushing up on core values is that if you don't know them by a certain point you can't learn them. You can't teach remedial decency, any more than you can teach remedial ethics to White House officials who vindictively leak information about critics of the war after vowing not to leak.

As Norman Schwarzkopf said, in a quote that is part of the military's slide show on core warrior values: "The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it."

From Reverend Dimmesdale to Bill Bennett to President Bush, people who righteously preach values and aspire to be moral exemplars often get bitten in the end.
The world is now looking askance at American values, even though W. ran on a platform of restoring values to the Oval Office and was propelled to victory by "values voters."

Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld engineered the invasion of Iraq in part to revive what they saw as lost American values. They wanted to stiffen the squishiness about using force left over from Vietnam and the moral ambivalence left over from the do-what-feels-good 60's.

In their worry about a spineless America, they made America all spine — overly vertebrate. They started thinking with their spine.

They wanted everyone to be afraid of us, and now nobody's afraid. Certainly not the nutty president of Iran, whom the administration is forced to kowtow to, now that the American military is not a fearsome force in potentia, but a depleted, demoralized and disparaged force trapped in Iraq trying to police a civil war.

The invasion that was supposed to help terrorism has made it worse. The invasion that was supposed to make America more feared and beloved has made us more hated.

The invasion that was supposed to banish post-Vietnam syndrome has revived it.

The virtuecrats of the right thought they would demonstrate American virtue to the world as they imposed American democracy. But now, with murder charges expected against some marines, and a cover-up investigation under way, the values president is running a war that requires a refresher course on values. A bitter irony.

A bitter irony that's an expected result when you've got folks in charge who are mentally as well as morally stunted in growth.

I think the Democrats ought to consider an election strategy that focuses on putting adults in charge. Time to clean up the kids' mess.

Of course, the fact that Bush, who is to juvenile what Limbaugh is to puke, got elected in the first place, is more than a little ominous if you happen to agree with the adage that people get "the government they deserve."

Not that I'm religious, but I guess I've gotta think, "heaven help us."
Congressional Primer


Shameless in the Senate

The Senate almost voted to repeal the estate tax last fall, but Republican leaders postponed the vote after Hurricane Katrina. It's easy to see why: the public might have made the connection between scenes of Americans abandoned in the Superdome and scenes of well-heeled senators voting huge tax breaks for their even wealthier campaign contributors.

But memories of Katrina have faded, and they're about to try again. The Senate will probably vote this week. So it's important to realize that there's still a clear connection between tax breaks for the rich and failure to help Americans in need.

Any senator who votes to repeal the estate tax, or votes for a "compromise" that goes most of the way toward repeal, is in effect saying that increasing the wealth of people who are already in line to inherit millions or tens of millions is more important than taking care of fellow citizens who need a helping hand.

To understand this point, we need to look at what Congress has been doing lately in the name of deficit reduction.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which was signed in February, consists mainly of cuts to spending on Medicare, Medicaid and education. The Medicaid cuts will have the largest human impact: the Congressional Budget Office estimates that they will cause 65,000 people, mainly children, to lose health insurance, and lead many people who retain insurance to skip needed medical care because they can't afford increased co-payments.

Congressional leaders justified these harsh measures by saying that we have to reduce the budget deficit, and there's no way to do that without inflicting pain.
But those same leaders now propose making the deficit worse by repealing the estate tax. Apparently deficits aren't such a big problem after all, as long as we're running up debts to provide bigger inheritances to wealthy heirs rather than to provide medical care to children.

And the cost of tax cuts is far larger than the savings from benefit cuts. Under current law — what I once called the Throw Mama From the Train Act of 2001 — the estate tax is scheduled to be phased out in 2010, but return in 2011. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, making repeal permanent would cost more than $280 billion from 2011 to 2015. That's more than four times the savings from the Deficit Reduction Act over the same period.

Who would benefit from this largess? The estate tax is overwhelmingly a tax on the very, very wealthy; only about one estate in 200 pays any tax at all. The campaign for estate tax repeal has largely been financed by just 18 powerful business dynasties, including the family that owns Wal-Mart.

You may have heard tales of family farms and small businesses broken up to pay taxes, but those stories are pure propaganda without any basis in fact. In particular, advocates of estate tax repeal have never been able to provide a single real example of a family farm sold to pay estate taxes.

Nonetheless, the estate tax is up for a vote this week. First, Republicans will try to repeal the estate tax altogether. If that fails, they'll offer a compromise that isn't really a compromise, like a plan suggested by Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, that would cost almost as much as full repeal, or a plan suggested by Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, that is only slightly cheaper.

In each case, the crucial vote will be procedural: if 60 senators vote to close off debate, estate tax repeal or something close to it will surely pass. Any senator who votes for cloture but against estate tax repeal — which I'm told is what John McCain may do — is simply a hypocrite, trying to have it both ways.

But will the Senate vote for cloture? The answer depends on two groups of senators: Democrats like Mr. Baucus who habitually stake out "centrist" positions that give Republicans almost everything they want, and moderate Republicans like Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island who consistently cave in to their party's right wing. Will these senators show more spine than they have in the past?

In the interest of stiffening those spines, let me remind senators that this isn't just a fiscal issue, it's also a moral issue. Congress has already declared that the budget deficit is serious enough to warrant depriving children of health care; how can it now say that it's worth enlarging the deficit to give Paris Hilton a tax break?
Like Shooting the Wounded

"Freedom is a messy thing...stuff, Dick--you want the pocket doors or the decorative gingerbread work."

Among other things, the total absence of any committment from Team Bush to the Gulf Coast region...and to the city of New Orleans...has resulted in yet another ugly phenomenon, according to the online Pic--the picking about of what's left of the houses themselves:

With looters having stolen what they can from in and around the houses, residents say thieves are now picking apart the houses themselves, making off with architectural detail work.

On a house where three of four foundation vents have gone missing, the sign reads: "Hey thief. You forgot one," with a spray-painted arrow pointing to the lonely remaining vent.

On some blocks, the human buzzards have hit nearly every house, picking them clean of the authentic details that make New Orleans homes known the world over: doors, cornices, brackets, shutters, wrought iron fencing, decorative gingerbread work on porches -- anything that will fetch a few bucks on a black market that police and even preservationists don't fully understand. In many cases the thieves, sometimes posing as contractors, have invaded the homes to lift the interior fixtures as well, including the giant pocket doors that bisect shotgun parlors.

"They're like termites, just eating and destroying everything," said John Koeferl, a Holy Cross homeowner whose French doors recently disappeared in one of countless thefts on his street.

From the moment the storm hit, looting of all stripes has infected the city, but the continuing and widespread theft of architectural details strikes many homeowners as the final insult. One stolen shutter might not be such a big deal, but collectively the pillaging amounts to theft of the soul and character of the city's most heavily damaged historic neighborhoods, such as the 9th Ward and Mid-City.

Stephanie Bruno of the Preservation Resource Center fears that much of that character will be lost forever, particularly in low-income neighborhoods such as Holy Cross, where homeowners and landlords might not have the money or the will to replace what has been looted. Though architectural theft has cropped up citywide, the combination of Holy Cross' architectural richness and the inability of its residents to return have made it uniquely vulnerable.

"It changes the character of the houses," Bruno said on a recent tour. "Each piece individually is not that valuable. But when you go to replace them, it's not like there's a 'cornice store' or 'bracket store.' You have to have them custom-made."...

Pete McHugh of Holy Cross has been hit three times. They first came back in October and cut into his cedar wardrobe with an ax. A week and a half ago, someone broke into his garage and stole a bunch of doors and shutters he had stacked there. Then a couple of days later, they stole the shutters off the front of his house.

McHugh cursed in disgust at the sight of it. He decided to remove the rest of the shutters and stick them inside the house. At least that way they'd have to take some time and trouble to steal them.

A Marshall Plan for the region how Scout Prime accurately described the region's need. And such a plan would include adequate funds for enough police presence to at least make things difficult for this sort of looting. However, it's pretty obvious that the administration's policy towards the region is a combination of ignore the facts (ACOE levees, a federal program failed--and let it be noted that the levees WEREN'T some sort of "gift" given to the city and region, but a calculated policy by the federal government to facilitate commerce...which benefits the nation as a whole)...anyway, it's a combination of ignore the facts, blame the victims, or state/local officials...and hope the public tires of the whole things. How Christian of the most overtly Christian administration of my lifetime...and, while I'm thinking about it...New Orleans may have plenty of pagans, heretics, or hedonists, but it's also one of the most Christian of big cities I've ever visited. From St. Louis Cathedral to tiny prefab buildings, one encounters Christian expressions of faith throughout. But Christian admonitions to 'love thy neighbor' are apparently lost not only on the so-called Christians running the government, but the so-called Christians who put their blind faith in the folks running things, too.

Well, at least you cleared that up for me--your expressions of faith are as phoney as your so-called family values.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Voter Education Project--Haditha

Robert Fisk makes a valid point:

For who can be held to account when we regard ourselves as the brightest, the most honorable of creatures, doing endless battle with the killers of Sept. 11 or July 7 because we love our country and our people -- but not other people -- so much. And so we dress ourselves up as Galahads, yes as Crusaders, and we tell those whose countries we invade that we are going to bring them democracy. I can't help wondering today how many of the innocents slaughtered in Haditha took the opportunity to vote in the Iraqi elections -- before their "liberators" murdered them.

In light of the revised policy the army now takes towards detainees, Fisk asks a good question...but one that will never get answered as long as we've got mental juveniles in charge of government..and the media.

But it also means we probably won't learn a thing from our loss in Mesopotamia.
Hurricane Rita--Still Below the Radar, Eight Months Later

In the interest of maintaining a degree of sarcasm, I'll quickly note Blogger's back to its usual level of "efficiency" when it comes to posting pictures...though, to be fair, I was merely trying to add a shot of the storm track (which you can find here).

Suspect Device links to a short series of reports from the Lafayette Advertiser:

While communities prepare for the 2006 hurricane season that began Thursday, the scars of 2005's forgotten hurricane are fresh in some Vermilion and Cameron Parish towns.

Hurricane Rita slammed ashore at the Louisiana-Texas border on Sept. 24, less than a month after Hurricane Katrina swamped southeast Louisiana and Mississippi. Residents here say they are forgotten by the national news media, Congress and the nation, hidden in the shadow of Katrina and the devastation she wreaked in the New Orleans area.

Eight months after Hurricane Rita sent high winds and storm surge ashore here, pushing houses off their foundations, exploding businesses and unearthing tombs, her presence still is very visible even as the wounds begin to heal.
Team Bush Will Protect Us From the Monster Under the Bed

Look at those vicious, sharp claws...and teeth! Bet it's gay, too...and can't wait to get married...

While el delfĂ­n ominously warned us about the pressing evil of gay men and/or lesbian women hoping to "be just as miserable as the rest of us,", Raw Story reports that Harry Reid is at least trying to get the adults heard, even if they aren't in charge:

In Nevada today, gas prices are over $3.00 a gallon. Fill-ups at the tank cause emptiness at the bank. This Administration, the most friendly-to-oil Presidency in our history, refuses to buck Big Oil or the auto manufacturers...

Raging in Iraq is an intractable war. Our soldiers are fighting valiantly, but we have Abu Ghraib and Haditha—where 24 or more civilians were allegedly killed by our own—and no policy for winning the peace. However, Secretary Rumsfeld continues in his job with the full backing of the President. Not a reprimand, not a suggestion that his Defense Secretary is at fault.

We have a national debt that President Bush won’t acknowledge, but our children, their children, and their children’s children will have to acknowledge the generations of debt created by President Bush’s economic policies. Federal red ink as far as one can see. America is becoming continually more dependent on loans from China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and England.

Our world is changing as we speak as a result of global warming—a condition our President does not acknowledge, let alone attempt to reverse.

Today nearly 46 million Americans have absolutely no health insurance. Millions more of our countrymen have inadequate health insurance. This Administration has come forward with nothing of substance to address this national emergency...

There's more.

And Scout Prime reminds us that Congress continues to stall on appropriating money for recovery down here while they join the pResident in a kind of political diversion scheme that rivals the ACOE in scope/scale...and probably efficacy. Boy, it'd be nice if AmericaBlog's suggestion that people call up reps/senators supporting the idiotic marriage amendment proposal and make inquiries about THEIR sexual habits, behaviors, and proclivities got some real play in the media. No doubt you'd see the same sort of indignant about-face that Dennis "rights for me, but not for thee" Hastert provided last week re: the FBI's search of Bill Jefferson's office.

You know, if this latest example of BushRove tripe doesn't convince the public that the people in charge are a bunch of perpetual juveniles who can't be trusted to look after a house pet, much less the country (and if it doesn't convince the Democrats to adopt a relatively straightforward slogan along the lines of "Time to Put the ADULTS in Charge"), then we might as well just hang it up...Let's go ahead and amend "We the People," too, and make it something a little more descriptive, like "You wanna supersize that bucket of fries?"
Nonsense as Public Policy

Let's see: Iraq is a bloody, chaotic quagmire...Afghanistan isn't any better...hurricane season began last week...sooooo...according to Team Bush, now's the time to protect the country from...

The evils of gay marriage.

Good lord.

OK, you wanna make nonsense "the new black?" Why the hell not:

After reading YRHT's summary of Stephen Colbert's commencement address at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., I think I've come up with one possible way to get the government's attention--a visual representation is above...

What if--and, by the "logic" of DC these days, "what if" might as well be "the British government has learned..." Anyway, WHAT IF

Gay, terrorist, Category 5 storms--and, did I mention that they're gay? And terrorist? Anyway, what if

Gay, terrorist, Category 5 storms are poised on our southern border, just waiting for the chance to sneak into the country via the numerous inlets along Louisiana's thousand or so miles of coastline in order to wreak havok by obtaining gay marriage licenses and having babies that automatically qualify for citizenship...thereby perpetuating the cycle of dependency, poverty, abortion, and more gay marriage that threatens our shores with terrorist Cat 5 attacks. Oh, and 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11. Sanctity of marriage. 9/11. We mustn't forget...sanctity of marriage. 9/11.

Gay, terrorist, Cat 5. In the Gulf of Mexico RIGHT NOW.

Colin Powell is preparing remarks for address to the United Nations.

Gay, terrorist, Cat 5.

Now can we FINALLY get adequate flood control?