Friday, July 28, 2006

Too Much Sacramental Wine, I Guess

The Passion of the Mel: DWI Edition.

And, yeah, I know, it's not a "real" news story, but damnit, Attaturk already DID the picture I wanted to post (minus the caption he added).
Shrub Del Dotto

Years ago I worked the night shift and often found it difficult--even with the help of, ahem, various medicinals--to fall asleep at anything approaching a reasonable hour...and, with the internet really on the cusp of evolution to an in-house service (another, um, "ahem" here: I actually remember spending an obscene amount of money for one of the first 14.4 kbps modems on the I could race through the various "gopher" sites then available...and, yes, I'm hanging my head in shame and embarrassment)...ok, back to the point...Anyway, I ended up half-paying attention to any number of late-night infomercials on non-cable TV during this somewhat dismal stretch of existence...they kept me company at 3 in the morning, and, again with the help of "medicinals," could prove mildly entertaining, at least to a cynic.

One that really caught my ear one night was Dave Del Dotto's real estate "secrets." Aside from his amusingly alliterative moniker, I was struck by the degree of smarminess as he gleefully talked up the joys of pouncing on and flipping foreclosed property. I think he later had some legal troubles before resurfacing as a vinyard owner up around Napa.

Del Dotto's oily Californian accent was something between used-car salesman and strip-club proprietor. And while our present Smirk-Chimp-in-Chief sounds more like a mix of used-car salesman and strip-club PATRON, his remarks at today's "press availability" instantly had me googling Dave, hoping I could provide some evidence for my intuitive comparison.

Well, all I could find re: Del Dotto, were a bunch of references to wine. But I think this might catch some of his, um, flavor, at least as channeled by Smirk:

Today the Prime Minister and I talked about the ways we're working to advance freedom and human dignity across the world...The Prime Minister and I have committed our governments to a plan to make every effort to achieve a lasting peace out of this crisis...We recognize that many Lebanese people have lost their homes, so we'll help rebuild the civilian infrastructure that will allow them to return home safely...

This is a moment of intense conflict in the Middle East. Yet our aim is to turn it into a moment of opportunity and a chance for a broader change in the region...

And so one of the things that the people in the Middle East must understand is that we're working to create the conditions of hope and opportunity for all of them. And we'll continue to do that... That's--this is the challenge of the 21st century.

There's more here.



You know, on second thought, I might have to Del Dotto, who might be considered a fucking genius compared to pReznut Smirk-Chimp the Codpieced. Good god. "Hezbollah is not a state." ?!? Or "And one of the challenges, of course, is to convince people that Muslims would like to be free, that there's other people other than people in Britain and America that would like to be free in the world. There's this kind of almost -- kind of weird kind of elitism, that says, well, maybe certain people in certain parts of the world shouldn't be free; maybe it's best just to let them sit in these tyrannical societies. And our foreign policy rejects that concept. We don't accept it." ---this was in response to David Gregory's asking Shrub about the loss of American influence in the region. He continued:

Well, David, we went to the G8 and worked with our allies and got a remarkable statement on what took place. We're working to get a United Nations resolution on Iran. We're working to have a Palestinian state. But the reason why -- you asked the question -- is because terrorists are trying to stop that progress. And we'll ultimately prevail, because they have -- their ideology is so dark and so dismal that when people really think about it, it will be rejected. They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people, don't come and bother us because we will kill you...

Good grief: the "leader of the free world," in all probability, would be unable to pass a Political Science 101 midterm. And the best he can offer in the face of several ugly crises, mostly of his own making is "the world sees suffering, but I see opportunity." ?!?

People are literally DYING, in extraordinarily ugly ways, on an hour-by-hour basis, thanks to this serial sociopath/loser's dimwitted and lackluster "policy." But, like the used-war salesman he is, Shrub denies the harsh glare of reality while pretending to see some sort of shiny thing on the ground that'll somehow turn a trainload of shit into a tidy box of shinola.

Well, it's awfully goddamned easy for HIM, given his unearned, coddled station in life. The rest of us will have to live with the some certainly are, particularly along the Gulf Coast, where, while visions of democratic Middle Eastern sugar plums danced through Shrub's head, disasters, the results of nature and negligence, were ignored. That son of a bitch. Literally.

He ought to be dragged to ALL the places where he's brought his leaden touch--and then forced to live in the rubble of his making while he sorts out just exactly what his "vision" is...
Christmas in Baghdad

Something tells me they won't be saying "Merry Christmas" OR "Happy Holidays"

In sort of an anti-Christmas present, Herr Rumsfeld decreed four more months of combat deployment for the 172nd Stryker Brigade, which, by my calculation, keeps them there through the Yultide.

I'm sure it's all part of the glorious "plan" for victory--you see, sending preznut Codpiece out on an aircraft carrier to declare "major combat operations have ended" while standing underneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner, plus his directive to "bring 'em on," must've all been a ruse to plant a false sense of security in the insurgency.

Looks like it's working...well, at least by Team Bush definitions, which also include "up is down," "war is peace"...and "freedom is slavery," among other bon mots (if you'll, ahem, pardon my French).

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Taking the Cheney Approach...

The Israeli Ambassador to the UN demands an apology from Kofi Annan.
A Bit of Formaldehyde With That Trailer, Ma'am?

Compassionate conservativism in action--shelters as "toxic tin cans:" (thanks to my sister for sending the link)

For nearly a year now, the ubiquitous FEMA trailer has sheltered tens of thousands of Gulf Coast residents left homeless by Hurricane Katrina. But there is growing concern that even as it staved off the elements, it was exposing its inhabitants to a toxic gas that could pose both immediate and long-term health risks.

The gas is formaldehyde, the airborne form of a chemical used in a wide variety of products, including composite wood and plywood panels in the thousands of travel trailers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency purchased after Katrina to house hurricane victims. It also is considered a human carcinogen, or cancer-causing substance, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Air quality tests of 44 FEMA trailers conducted by the Sierra Club since April have found formaldehyde concentrations as high as 0.34 parts per million – a level nearly equal to what a professional embalmer would be exposed to on the job, according to one study of the chemical’s workplace effects...

Dr. Scott Needle,
(Michael: you've gotta love the name...imagine as a kid going to see "Dr. Needle") a pediatrician in Bay St. Louis, said he noticed some unusual and persistent health problems among his patients living in the trailers well before the possible link to formaldehyde exposure surfaced.

“I was seeing kids coming in with respiratory complaints – colds and sinus infections – and they were getting them over and over again,” he said. “…Almost invariably, these families were staying in the FEMA trailers.”

A class-action lawsuit also has been filed in Louisiana, naming the federal government and trailer manufacturers as defendants and alleging that “the temporary housing is unsafe and presents a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of plaintiffs and their families.”...

Fumes forced couple to flee

Sounding a similar warning, though one born from personal experience, are Paul and Melody Stewart of Bay St. Louis, who say formaldehyde forced them out of their FEMA trailer and into their truck.

The couple said that even though they had a friend air out the Cavalier trailer and run the heater before they arrived, the smell when they walked in was overpowering. And Melody said she had a nosebleed the first night they stayed in it.

“(The smell) was really bad, but we went and ahead and went to bed,” she said. “Within hours, I woke up to the smell – it was that strong – and I was gasping for fresh air. I ran to the window.”

The couple continued to ventilate the trailer and also tried removing composite wood panels from beneath the bed and table bench and replacing them with solid wood, but nothing seemed to help.

Finally, when their pet cockatiel took ill, they decided they had to do something.

“We got up one morning and the cockatiel was lethargic, wouldn’t move, was losing its balance,” said Paul, a police officer in neighboring Waveland. “… (Later), the vet told us unequivocally, ‘Look, you either get the bird out of that environment or he’s going to die.’”

The Stewarts complained to FEMA and received two replacement trailers – the first of which also smelled of formaldehyde and a second that had swathes of mold and a stove top that looked like it had been “used at a Waffle House,” Paul said.

Fed up, they called FEMA and told the agency to come take the trailer away, then spent five days living in their truck before using their last $50,000 in savings to buy a “fifth-wheel” trailer devoid of any formaldehyde odor.

“We took what resources we had left, and what we really should have used to rebuild our house, and went out and bought our own camper,” Paul said.
"I was brought up in Washington. When you are brought up in a zoo, you know what’s going on in the monkey house. You see a couple of monkeys loose and one is President and one is Vice President, you know it’s trouble. Monkeys make trouble."

If for whatever reason you don't have time to check out this entire interview with Gore Vidal, here are some choice quotes...well, aside from the title above:

re: 9/11: I’m willing to believe practically any mischief on the part of the Bush people. No, I don’t think they did it, as some conspiracy people think. Why? Because it was too intelligently done. This is beyond the competence of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld. They couldn’t pull off a caper like 9/11. They are too clumsy.

re: the press/media: When you’ve got a press like we have, you no longer have an informed citizenry...A huge number of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. You have a people that don’t know anything about the rest of the world, and you have leaders who lie to them, lie to them, and lie to them.

It’s so stupid, everything that they say. And the media take on it is just as stupid as theirs, sometimes worse. They at least have motives. They are making money out of the republic or what’s left of it...

The New York Times gave up being anything except a kind of shadow of The Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post is the court circular. What has the emperor done today? And who will be the under-assistant of the secretary of agriculture? As though these things mattered.

Ah, what the hell--here's the rest:

Q: Is the U.S. more like Sparta than Athens?

Vidal: We’re not so good as either. We certainly are not warlike. Spartans were based upon military service. We don’t want that. We want to make money, which I always thought was one of the most admirable things about Americans. We didn’t want to go out and conquer other countries. We wanted to corner wheat in the stock market or something sensible like that. So we are very unbelligerent. We were dragged screaming into World War I. Well, we were slightly enthusiastic about that, but we were very innocent farm people in those days. In World War II, we fought to stay out of that war. And every liberal figure in the United States from Norman Thomas on was anti-war. They were isolationists in the old populist tradition. So we never had a chance of being Sparta.

Q: Talk about the role of the opposition party, the Democrats.

Vidal: It isn’t an opposition party. I have been saying for the last thousand years that the United States has only one party—the property party. It’s the party of big corporations, the party of money. It has two right wings; one is Democrat and the other is Republican.

Q: What can people do to energize democracy?

Vidal: The tactic would be to go after smaller offices, state by state, school board, sheriff, state legislatures. You can turn them around and that doesn’t take much of anything. Take back everything at the grassroots, starting with state
legislatures. That’s what Madison always said. I’d like to see a revival of state legislatures, in which I am a true Jeffersonian.

Q: Do you see any developments on the horizon that might suggest an alternative?

Vidal: Newton’s Third Law. I hope that law is still working. American laws don’t work, but at least the laws of physics might work. And the Third Law is: There is no action without reaction. There should be a great deal of reaction to the total incompetence of this Administration. It’s going to take two or three generations to recover what we had as of twenty years ago.
Reductio Ad Absurdum

Note: photo posting is dead--again--today. Blogger itself is VERY iffy...and, of course, there's nothing on the status page.

This piece in Counterpunch captures, to a degree, what's been on my mind over the last couple of days while watching the lunacy enter into an extended waxing phase:

Thirsty in New Orleans

On Sunday, August 29th of last year, the hurricane we'd been watching metastasize in the Gulf of Mexico crossed from sea to land, disfiguring and permanently altering the city of New Orleans. Our beloved and often backward backwater became instant front page news across the country, in Europe and nearly everyplace else--a 9/11-style catastrophe (in truth, much larger in scale) that was soon on everyone's lips...

The suffering in Israel's Occupied Territories, however, is not the result of mismanagement or indifference. Instead, it is the consequence of premeditated, often cruelly ingenious strategies to strip an oppressed population of cropland, housing, security, education, basic services, medical care, freedom of movement, functioning government, olive groves, citrus trees, nightly sleep and water.

Harth draws a comparison between Palestinians and New Orleanians...however, I think we can further add Lebanese, Iraqi, and Afghan civilians to this, as well as men and women in uniform.

I'm not, by ANY stretch of the imagination, a naiive, Kumbaya optimist, but it continually amazes me to watch an almost comical-if-it-wasn't so maddeningly, frustratingly tragic search for "an enemy" on the part of the professional fear-mongers while those actually victimized are, for the most part, folks without so much as a dog in the fight.

Billmon, as usual, seems to capture this much better than I can:

The ultimate result, of course, is a truly insane combination of bed partners, with the Iraqi prime minister giving a stemwinder of a speech against Zionist aggression in Baghdad one day, and then flying off to Washington the next day to vow enternal vigilance against terrorism in front of the most pro-Israel body on the planet -- the U.S. Congress. Meanwhile, Iranian-backed guerrillas are killing Israeli soldiers in Lebanon while an Iranian-backed government in Iraq sends its troops out on patrols with the U.S. military, which is speeding bunker buster bombs to the Israeli military so it can go kill more Iranian-backed guerrillas.

Yet, while this almost unimaginably complicated making and breaking of alliances plays itself out, we've got people in Gaza, Lebanon--and Israel--forced to play an obscenely deadly game of rocket or air-strike lotto on a daily basis, Iraqis are even WORSE off (yesterday something a Lebanese civilian said really hit me; paraphrasing here, it was about how Israel 'is trying to make us the next Iraq.' If that ISN'T the final nail in the coffin of the neo-con fantasy of 'reshaping the Middle East,' then it's most certainly ONE of the last ones).

And, as Harth points out, there are people here in the United who've likewise been victimized, by a government desperately seeking an object of hate...but a government that can't be bothered to provide basic services, must less develop a recovery plan for a region devastated to an extent every bit as great as what you'd expect from a war.

By the way, while the Gulf Coast--and New Orleans--are merely the most conspicuous examples of governmental failure, I doubt seriously they're the ONLY examples. There are regions throughout this country that have been systematically abandoned every bit as ruthlessly as the Crescent City--and, indeed, The Big Easy had been left for dead BEFORE the both Rethuglican AND Democratic administrations. They've both played the fearmonger card while ignoring REAL problems.

For example: Saddam Hussein, for all his thuggery, didn't have squat to do with the abysmal condition of the NOLA public school system OR the outrageously high rate of crime. Osama bin Laden, lunatic that HE is, didn't turn Washington DC into the murder capital of the United States. Hezbollah, Hamas/Fatah/the PLO and Israel didn't cause the vast amount of urban decay visible in pretty much ANY city here (or the similarly dismal outlook in rural regions).

No, the REAL enemies are the folks desperate to find a suitable counterpart with which to scare the hell out of as many people as possible, while they loot the public treasury, send people off to kill and/or die for no reason, destroy vast swaths of territory...and allow the rest to rot (even as they wall themselves in).

The other day, I noted the cynicism of some news organization--probably FAUX, but I don't remember--trying to rally us to Israel's "cause" by recycling, with a twist, the line from Le Monde after 9/11 (Nous sommes tous les Américains)--the "updated" version was "We are all Israelis."

At first, I dismissed this as typical sleazy propaganda...but on second thought, it seemed like a decent enough beginning: yes, we are all Israelis...just as we are all Lebanese, we are all Iraqis, we are all New Orleanians, and so on. We are ALL being victimized by the various demagogues who seem to view all of us as expendable fodder in their ridiculous but deadly game of "my god's bigger than your god...and my bigger god will ensure me a bigger place in history."

Again, without trying to sound so naiive, I just wish for once more people would be able to see through their bullshit.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Things Fall Apart

It's hard NOT to have a smidgen of schadenfreude watching Keystone Kondi fumble away the chance to broker a much needed diplomatic solution to the present crisis in THAT part of the Middle East...but I keep trying to consider what the hell life would be like for ME if someone decided that a solution to, oh, I don't know, let's say gang violence, required two weeks plus of more or less indiscriminate aerial bombardment, with the added bonus of that same someone BLAMING me for allowing the gangs to exist in the first place.

That's what Israel expects the Lebanese to do re: Hizbollah:

According to retired Israeli army Col. Gal Luft, the goal of the campaign is to "create a rift between the Lebanese population and Hezbollah supporters." The message to Lebanon's elite, he said, is this: "If you want your air conditioning to work and if you want to be able to fly to Paris for shopping, you must pull your head out of the sand and take action toward shutting down Hezbollah-land."

However, Israel is finding out that Hizbollah, regardless of your or their opinion of the organization, isn't exactly running scared from ANYONE right now. Instead, they're proving to be as difficult to impose a "Final Solution" upon wipe out as another insurgency, ahem, across what used to be called the Trans-Jordan (Iraq, for the history/geographic challenged).

Of course, knocking out a UN command post after being REPEATEDLY warned by that the bombs were getting awfully close adds to the sour feelings all around. After all, even IF the mission had been successful (right now it's proving to be singularly UN-successful), you'd need some sort of follow-up presence. But who'd want to "volunteer" after something like that?

Well, at any rate, I've been expecting a meltdown in the Middle East for quite some time, given the Monument Valley level of stupid in the Team Bush foreign policy...and, lo and behold, to paraphrase Dubya the Clown Prince, they done "brought it on." That said, I can't say I'm real HAPPY to see what they've wrought, given the inevitable: massive human suffering, the embitterment of large numbers of people (which will almost certainly result in some sort of reaction...a reaction Team Bush is woefully unprepared for), huge expenditures in what might well be a vain attempt to restore some form of what Condi yesterday called "the status quo ante" (Condi's use of two-dollar phraseology is inversely proportional to her evident diplomatic skills, as even her nominal allies will attest)...

Besides, watching the deliberate destruction of a region is pretty goddamned depressing...especially considering that, at least for me, I can personally witness plenty of non-deliberate (but criminally negligent) destruction no more than an hour's drive in EITHER direction from where I presently sit. Yet, this administration has chosen to throw THE UNITED STATES GULF COAST to the wolves while they've pissed away all the resources on foolishness overseas--foolishness resulting from an uglier-than-Ann-Coulter hubris, and abject refusal to acknowledge or even publicly recognize ANY failure, much less the Colossus-of-Rhodes scale failure that history will clearly see as their legacy.

A couple of days ago, as I'm sure most of y'all saw, William Buttfuckly freaking Buckley, for chrissakes, noted that if we had a Parliamentary-style democracy, Team Bush would already have stepped aside. And while I personally think most of the team ought to lock themselves in a room with a loaded revolver and a bottle of whiskey until they do the right thing, I'll settle for throwing as many of their Congressional cheering section out on their ear come November...and, if there really WAS a Fitzmas, some serious hearings come next spring.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Clueless in DC

If ignorance is bliss, Shrub's on a bender of the kind he hasn't known, at least officially, since 1986:

The battle for Iraq's future has come down to this: Can the country's U.S.-supported government control escalating violence in the streets of its capital?
Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met at the White House with President Bush, where they announced a plan to dispatch more U.S. and Iraqi troops to Baghdad to try to salvage a faltering security plan for Iraq's war-ravaged capital.

Without providing specifics, the leaders said the redeployment will respond to a surge in violence that has claimed more than 100 civilians a day since Bush's surprise visit to Baghdad six weeks ago.

About 9,000 of the 125,000 U.S. troops in Iraq are in Baghdad, a city of 6 million where centuries-old tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims have exploded into increasingly difficult-to-control violence. The chaos is being fueled by rogue militias and foreign Arab fighters such as al-Qaeda in Iraq, the extremist group trying to undermine U.S.-led efforts to establish a democracy in Iraq.

Bush said additional U.S. troops will be sent to Baghdad from elsewhere in Iraq and will help train Iraqi security forces to eventually take over the job of protecting the capital.

"Our strategy is to remain on the offense, including in Baghdad," Bush said. "We still face challenges in Baghdad, yet we see progress elsewhere in Iraq."

"Mission Accomplished."

"Major combat operations have ended."--May 2003

Lost complete touch with reality.--July 2006
Oh, The Humanitarian!

Yet another example of FEMA's epic incompetence--or, as the administration presumably sees it, a heckuva job: YRHT, Scout-Prime and Loki have details...short version: FEMA under Team Bush is as close to a real world/real time example of Murphy's Law you'll ever see, with an added bonus of denying basic constitutional rights for residents.

You know, at first I thought this was yet another example of the administration's pig ignorance--they don't even know how to properly construct a Potemkin Village--but on second thought, maybe this IS what they really want to do: build shoddy-assed trailer parks out in the middle of nowhere as part of the plan to sweep their Katrina/Rita debacle under the proverbial rug. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if at least some members of the cabal are thrilled to see the latest round of killing and bloodshed in the Middle East--not only does it provide a distraction from both their failure along the Gulf Coast here--and the Twin Towers of Debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan--but it additionally instills some element of fear, at least among those not eagerly hoping for Armageddon and/or "The Rapture." It also perpetuates the myth of "incompetent government," which Bobby Jindal latched onto like a sucker fish to nurse shark.

Oh, and I see that part of the package Condi "negotiated" includes some form of "humanitarian" aid. Well, for the sake of the Lebanese, let's hope they don't get the FEMA treatment THERE, although after the last two weeks, an offer of humanitarian assistance reminds me an awful lot of a line from a song by Mike West, coincidentally entitled Corps of Engineers:

now i would like an explanation
of this word "mitigation"
right now the way that it seems
you put a man from his home
then buy him a ticket to the super dome
it's like beating your kid then buying him
an ice cream
Dr. Strangeshrub

Sometimes the "cure" is worse than the disease.

Apologies for achingly slow posting today...hopefully I'll be a little more productive for the remainder of the afternoon.

Monday, July 24, 2006

When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be There Overnight

Well, when someone either pulls the right strings, or presses the proper buttons, Puppet-Boy-In-Chief sure knows how to deliver:

The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, U.S. officials said Friday.

The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign...

Pentagon and military officials declined to describe in detail the size and contents of the shipment to Israel, and they would not say whether the munitions were being shipped by cargo aircraft or some other means. But an arms-sale package approved last year provides authority for Israel to purchase from the United States as many as 100 GBU-28s, which are 5,000-pound laser-guided bombs intended to destroy concrete bunkers. The package also provides for selling satellite-guided munitions.

An announcement in 2005 that Israel was eligible to buy the "bunker buster" weapons described the GBU-28 as "a special weapon that was developed for penetrating hardened command centers located deep underground." The document added, "The Israeli air force will use these GBU-28s on their F-15 aircraft."

American officials said that once a weapons purchase is approved, it is up to the buyer nation to set up a timetable. But one U.S. official said normal procedures usually do not include rushing deliveries within days of a request. That was done in this case because Israel is a close ally in the midst of hostilities, the official said.

A senior Israeli official said Friday that the attacks to date had degraded Hezbollah's military strength by roughly half, but that the campaign could go on for two more weeks or longer. "We will stay heavily with the air campaign," he said. "There's no time limit. We will end when we achieve our goals."

Well, you've gotta hand it to the Israelis in one respect: they've yet to dump a codpieced Ehud Olmert onto a carrier deck to declare "Mission Accomplished." Yet.

On the other hand, this pretty much underscores yer administration at work: Israel gets the ultimate in FedEx shipping...our troops in Iraq are constantly told to wait for proper equipment...and our citizens, like along the Gulf Coast, are given...the shaft.

Hope the supporters of this particular exercise in ugly, bludgeoning brutality are happy...but personally, I see no thrill in killing people, especially when it does...absolutely way of improving things. Meanwhile, over in Afghanistan (remember THAT war?) things are "close to anarchy," and in Iraq, it's all pretty much over except for the upcoming civil war bloodbath. Nice work, GOP. In fact, so nice, I think this is as good a "compliment" as any re: your handiwork (apologies for not remembering where I first saw this):

I cannot believe how incredibly stupid you are. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid. Stupid so stupid that it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of stupid. You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons have collapsed. Stupid gotten so dense that no intellect can escape. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid in one second than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid.

- "The Ultimate Flame," author unknown
Beancounting, DC-Style

Worrying about "the abuse and fraud" perpetrated by some receipients of aid following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is "the new black" among those who, conversely, think it's just fine to spend the same amount EACH WEEK in Operation Soon To No Longer Be a Country:

Immediate emergency aid would not exceed $500 under the new rules, instead of the $2,000 per family previously allowed. And it would be handed out only after identities and addresses were checked. Such precautions were not taken consistently last year after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, an oversight auditors said led to fraud and abuse of up to $1.4 billion.

A couple of things here: first, the $1.4 billion dollar figure, as far as I can tell, is one that, to use proper terminology, was pulled right out of their ass. Are there documented cases of fraud? Of course there are--starting with the most massive fraud of all: the assurances that the levee system of New Orleans was capable of Category 3 Hurricane protection.

OK, I've digressed a bit. Are there documented cases of fraud where storm survivors spend FEMA emergency money on non-emergency purchases? Yes, of course--geez, I've heard or read stories about everything from lap dances to plasma televisions. Go figure--some people are foolish, ignorant, criminal...whatever you want to say.

On the other hand, I don't recall anyone throwing such a similar hissy fit when billions of dollars were spent in Florida to alleviate the suffering of storm victims...or, ahem, sometimes simply spent without bothering to determine if an individual was a victim or not.

Besides, pious concern for "waste and fraud" re: Katriana victims, while not so much as raising an eyebrow re: the boatloads of money being lost in Mesopotamia is a little like a doctor obsessing over a hangnail while ignoring a slashed carotid artery.

If that particular doctor was this administration, they'd reach for nail clippers, then declare "Mission Accomplished."
The Gastlyshrub Ninnies

Title inspiration.

Note: Photoblogger is dead...Blogger itself has been up to the usual crap lately...

Anyhoo--a primer on the worst administration ever, from A to Z.

Another surprise visit to a shattered nation...shattered courtesy of Team Bush's policy of "fire, ready, aim...ah, the hell with 'ready, aim.'

"Surprise visit to..." might well define the legacy of Team Bush...that is, if we want to show some charity towards this particular cabal of assclowns. Other, more accurate terminology would include "Shitting on the Constitution," ordering the commission of war crimes, wholesale destruction of a country without regard to the citizenry, thuggishness, promotion of belief systems that promote eugenics/de facto genocide/and/or the opinion that some people are could go on and on.

Surprise visit=grasping at the straws of a foreign policy that's turned into so much flotsam and jetsam. Nice work, Team Bush.

I suppose you're EXPECTING the adults to clean up after your colossal mess.