Friday, October 26, 2007

WWJB--Who Would Jesus Blame?

It'd be one thing if the red staters cited in this article Oyster and Scout Prime linked to admitted that they were just a bunch of socially inept nazi wannabees doing their best to fan the flames of racial hatred...

But something tells me that, probably to a man (and you know they're men) would insist that, no, they're "good Christians," and I dunno, maybe they really are so perverted that they actually think Christ's message, as expressed in the Gospels, demands that they loudly proclaim themselves to be uncivil, idiotic, racist creeps.

Either that or they really are a bunch of cynical bastards. Or maybe they're just scared of everything from dying to their own (black) shadow...
Class Act Versus First Class Ass

Say what you want about Meemaw, but damned if she's not a class act compared to the national dipshit in chief.
Potemkin Presser

SoCal, as you can see in the picture above, is rebounding remarkably fast. And FEMA's doing a heckuva job...pretending to be reporters.
Yeah, I've Got a Question

Are you stealing cookies, Mr. Giuliani?

No, not that question, but I've got one; unfortunately I don't have a video camera with an internet connection, nor do I really think it would stand out among what I'm sure are ALL excellent queries, but nonetheless, it's short, I think it's relevant, and it would tell us a lot about the underlying attitudes of any or all candidates (and it's a question you could ask any candidate):

"[candidate]--how would you have prevented 9/11?"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blurred Vision

I think this CNN story might be worth a look in light of all the supposed "experts" and eyewitnesses eagerly offering their "informed opinions" as to Louisiana's "problems" versus Southern California's "successes."

"Mistaken eyewitness identification has long been the single biggest factor in the conviction of innocents," said Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project.

And, for those who can stomach it, today NPR had a few prime examples of this sort of smug stupidity, including a caller from right here in Red Stick. Thanks for being such an asshole, whatever-your-name-was (and yeah, I'm glad I forgot it).
And They're Responsible for Receding Hairlines and Bald Pates, Too

Ah, the Al Qaeda fires of SoCal, 2007...sure, why not?

You know, if the general public's dumb enough to believe it, then maybe we deserve the government we've got. Geez.

So, what's next?

Here's an Al Qaeda spawned nor'easter. They hate our freedom...and our lobsters.

Here's the Al Qaeda generated Blizzard of 2006. Guess they didn't get the global warming memo.

Betcha didn't know about Osama's hand in the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964. It wasn't a coincidence that it occurred on Good Friday.

The super staph and e coli bacterium? Mr. President, I smell a big fat Al Qaeda rat...

I'm still working on (ahem) but don't yet possess any clear visual evidence linking Al Qaeda to the southeatern U.S. drought, but it wouldn't surprise me...nor would I be surprised if Osama flapping his arms in Pakistan set off a chain of events leading to tornados in Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, or Kansas...or maybe even the summer floods in Ohio. After all, that's the sort of diabolical stuff they'd think of: instead of just talking about the weather, they'd DO something.

And I'll bet they also are responsible for the monster in the closet...

But New Orleans and the Gulf Coast? Nah, that wasn't Al Qaeda, and it sure wasn't the Great Decider, George W. Bush. THOSE people brought it upon themselves...
Shrub Talking About Fiscal Restraint is Like...

...Bill Bennett lecturing about the evils of gambling.

While it's nice to see Pravda-Upon-Hudson occasionally call bullshit, a single editorial versus the mind-numbing repetition of the wingnut noise machine is unfortunately about as effective as a bathtub drain plug against a floodwall breach.

President Bush waited until he had vetoed a relatively inexpensive children’s health insurance bill before asking for tens of billions of dollars more for his misadventure in Iraq. The cynicism of that maneuver is only slightly less shameful than the president’s distorted priorities. Despite a pretense of fiscal prudence, Mr. Bush keeps throwing money at his war, regardless of the cost in blood, treasure or children’s health care.

Mr. Bush is threatening to veto most of the 12 domestic spending bills now before Congress because Democrats want to provide $22 billion more than the $933 billion he has requested. His argument? Something about the president’s responsibility to rein in lawmakers’ “temptation to overspend.”

This from a leader who turns federal surpluses into deficits, believes that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars can be financed on a separate set of books with borrowed money, and keeps having to go back to Congress for “emergency funding” because he cannot or will not tell the truth about what it is costing to fight these wars.

And I've got a question not unlike Pravda's own in a subsequent paragraph: if you're spending $400 billion dollars a year on "defense," what do we need extra, off-budget funds for? $400 billion dollars every year is a LOT of money.

Come to think of it, for $400 billion dollars a year, we really should be a lot further along than what amounts to a stalemate in Iraq and Afghanistan...unless that money isn't actually being spent on "defense."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Newsflash: Pot Criticizes Kettle

"And as with all totalitarian systems, Cuba's regime no doubt has other horrors still unknown to the rest of the world. Once revealed, they will shock the conscience of humanity."

Speak for your own regime, Shrub.
T-Shirt Not Included

$2.4 trillion dollars. With a "t." Hope you wingnuts really like killing people and destroying things for NO good reason, because you're sure as hell not going to get anything good out of it. Not even a T-Shirt.
Sadly Instructive

Digby's essay entitled "The Art of the Hissy Fit" is particularly relevant in light of first, the completely unecessary and asinine Pete Stark apology in all its ritual lunacy, and second, the very deliberate NON-apology proffered by Condoleezza Rice to Maher Arar. Arar, you may remember, had the misfortune to pass through New York City while returning to his home in Toronto, resulting in a yearlong diversion to a Syrian torture mill...which probably defines Team Bush as well as anything: fascist, thuggish, and stupid (you see, Arar was the wrong guy).

You know, if anyone should be groveling for the next eternity and then some, it's yer GOP, who've managed to do a bang-up job of total fuck-up on an unprecedented scale. Yet, for whatever reason, it's the goddamned Dems who opt for the mea culpas and role of defendant in the show trial kabuki.

My guess is that its got something to do with the corporate donor base. Sad to say, the government really is a case of evil and more evil, and corporate dollars run the show, to the point where the national interest and special interests, at least in political shorthand, have managed a rather stunning 180 degree reversal. Under those circumstances, I guess it becomes a game of "no mea culpa, no money."

Which is too bad--because at times, one of life's pleasures, and one of the best electoral strategies, is telling someone in power to fuck off, especially when it's well deserved. And no one deserves a bigger F.U. than Team Bush.
More Perspective

Again, I'm not trying to minimize the scope of the Southern California disaster, but it maybe it will offer yet another way to explain the scale of 2005's storms and federal flood.

Losses in California are being reported as over $1 billion dollars. Billion with a "b." That's not small change.

Losses due to Hurricane Katrina are, as of now, reported at $81 billion dollars, with the final figure possibly topping $100 billion. Hurricane Rita caused another $11 billion dollars in damage, Stan an additional $1 billion, and Wilma almost $30 billion. It's worth keeping those figures in mind, particularly if (or maybe I should say when) morons like Brian Williams imply or implicitly state that some sort of innate superiority (read: skin color) is responsible for the "rapid" recovery in California versus the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts.

Aside: surprisingly, CNN has a reasonably decent story comparing conditions in California and Louisiana that's worth a look, and here's a decent graphic from Pravda-Upon-Hudson.

And yet again I'll note that this is still the United States. No, I'm not in California or even near the West Coast, but a disaster affecting one part of the country affects ALL of the country. Interstate rivalries can be amusing, in a silly sort of way, and sure, there are cultural differences, but this is still a single country, despite wingnut attempts to rip everything to shreds...which happens to prove wingnut ignorance on so many levels it's damn near impossible to list them in a single blog post. So, hell yes, let's hope that the recovery in SoCal proceeds with all due speed and all appropriate focus. These are our fellow citizens who've been affected, and the government has a duty to respond.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Channeling His Inner Wingnut

Well, Brian Williams not only establishes his 'nut bona fides, he proves he's a lying sack of shit.

In a word: disgusting.

The last goddamned thing ANYONE needs right now is some sort of bizarre competition, but that's EXACTLY what Williams, a known Lamebone affectionado, does.

As Scout Prime notes, he's factually incorrect--twice over--and viciously ignorant.

I wish there was a hell, Williams, for you to eternally rot in.
Market-Based Solutions...

You know, what's amazing about this story isn't just that homeowners are about to get a poke in the eye by the same companies many have paid premiums to for years...but the fact that such treatment by insurers is now considered "normal."

Normal by wingnut standards, perhaps. But has anyone noticed that wingnuts tend to be the social equivalent of pond scum and rarely emerge from their parents' basements (or attics down here in the cellar-less south)?

Just sayin'.
Life Imitates Art?

Christopher Dickey suggests Deliverance as a metaphor for the Iraqi quagmire...ouch. Oh, it isn't actually THAT--Lewis, the Burt Reynolds role, becomes Team Cheney-Bush in Dickey's interpretation, and this rings particularly true with the voting scene--but I still can't help but feel that the entire country's gonna be feeling like Ned Beatty when all is said and done...
A Sense of Perspective

I hope people don't think I'm trying to minimize the effects of the SoCal wildfires--to the contrary, it's an absolutely horrible situation. But perhaps it also provides some insight to the tragedy here along the Gulf Coast.

The latest report notes that upwards of 1500 structures have been lost to the blaze.

Katrina, Rita, and the federal flood destroyed approximately 275,000 homes and who knows how many additional structures (and you can add infrastructure issues like damaged roads, water and sewer systems, gas lines, and electrical grids, etc.)

Again, my thoughts and heartfelt sympathy goes out to those folks in California who've lost their houses--or worse. And, to paraphrase something I wrote just yesterday (yeah, yeah, citing myself, I know...), we are all Californians, we are all New Orleanians, we are all Kansans, we are all New Yorkers...last I checked, it was still the "United" States, not the "It's Not My Problem" States.
The Aristocrats! Kleptomaniacs!

This is just plain embarrassing, and when you add in the other instances of the same, it's embarrassing at the level of Joseph Mobutu embarrassing...

Geez--a classically corrupt politician of, say, the Louisiana variety would find it insulting to be lumped in with crooks like those in the Cheney in the Gret Stet, citizens at least receive some measure of goods and/or services in exchange for what amounts to chump change when compared to the Cheney Administration wholesale looting of public money...for which we've received less than nothing...thousands of battlefield casualties and billions of dollars wasted...

The State Department so badly managed a $1.2 billion contract for Iraqi police training that it can't tell what it got for the money spent, a new report says.

Because of disarray in invoices and records on the project -- and because the government is trying to recoup money paid inappropriately to contractor DynCorp International, LLC -- auditors have temporarily suspended their effort to review the contract's implementation, said Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart W. Bowen Jr.

Bowen had been trying to review a February 2004 contract to DynCorp awarded by the State Department's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). The company was to provide housing, food, security, facilities, training support, law enforcement staff with various specialties as well as weapons and armor for personnel assigned to the program.

"I guess it's a familiar theme," Bowen said Monday, in that problems have previously been documented with both DynCorp and the agency overseeing the contract.

Although training has been conducted and equipment provided under the contract, the bureau is in the process of trying to organize and validate invoices and does not believe its records accurately show the reasons for most payments that were made, the report said.

"As a result, INL does not know specifically what it received for most of the $1.2 billion in expenditures under its DynCorp contract for the Iraqi Police Training Program," Bowen said in a new 18-page report.

The contract, now in its third year, is to support training programs in Iraq and Afghanistan -- to help stand up local forces that can take over from coalition forces and provide for their own security in each nation. Bowen focused on the Iraq program in the new report.

"Lack of controls" and "serious contract management issues" at the INL bureau made it "vulnerable to waste and fraud," Bowen said.

Generations from now, they're really gonna wonder just how stupid we could be...sigh.

Monday, October 22, 2007

No Laughing Matter

Ouch. At this point, I guess all we can do is hope and/or pray (if you're religious) that the loss in lives and property is minimized to the extent that it can be.

And, while I've never met any of them, I believe there are a number of bloggers out that way whom I read (or read) with a high level of frequency. I hope they--and everyone else--manages as best as they can.
What Passes for the Wingnut Mind

Yes, Glenn Beck really DOES talk right out of his ass.
"The Future, Mr. Gittes, the Future." *

Here are a couple of articles in Pravda that are worth a look, especially in light of the latest wildfires out west...and the not insignificant drought in the southeast.

In short, the articles suggest that long term climate change carries with it not just the threat of rising oceans, but DIMINISHING supplies of fresh water, which, particularly out west, could have catastrophic consequences. Additionally, low water levels up in the Great Lakes place restrictions on trade and commerce (lower water levels mean ships have to carry less cargo).

That said, it doesn't necessarily doom any particular region; however, any sort of long-term program of mitigation will require an significant investment of public funds...just as a significant investment of public funds is needed along the Gulf Coast, in our case to hold back the water.

You know, you could probably go pretty much anywhere in the country and find the same thing--projects that doubtless could improve the quality of life for ourselves and our descendents are waiting to be started. All that's needed is the will to begin.

And perhaps the intelligence to avoid unecessarly wars.

As a citizen of the United States--and not just Louisiana, or the Gulf Coast, or whatever--I'm more than willing to see public funds spent on quality projects all across the country. After all, California's fate--or Nevada's, or Atlanta's, or Oswego's--is my fate, just as New Orleans' fate is the country's, too.

Or is the concept of "American" no longer applicable?
"I'll Take Wanton Destruction for $46 Billion More, Alex"

Shrub pushes for additional funding for Operation Maintain His Ego Salve.

For the record, ONE TENTH of this latest request would completely fund the gap in the Road Home program.

And who knows how else we might have spent the now $455 BILLION dollars appropriated for the war (not to mention the cost in lives)...a war that's managed to do what was almost impossible to even conceive: turn Iraq into an even bigger hellhole than it was under Saddam. It takes a special mix of stupidity and mendacity to accomplish that.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

By the Numbers

Well, shoot: after reading these two Advocate articles I was all set to run with a post titled "The Unbearable Whiteness of Bobby," complete with graphic--well, I hate to waste work...

But then I started doing a bit of number crunching, courtesy of, in order, the Secretary of State's election returns page, the same office's archive,
and the "miracle" of computers 'n stuff, in particular Microsoft Excel...


OK, I've been trying to post the excruciating details, but without boring you with...the excruciating details...for the better part of the afternoon. Well, I guess I'll bore you just a little bit: Jindal scored higher than his 2003 runoff totals in 54 parishes, he gained a total of almost 25 thousand votes, and his totals in northern parishes amounted to a gain of just over 20 thousand. That said, IF--and emphasis on IF--IF everything else had been equal, that would have been just short of an outright majority, and while I'll be the first to admit that looking at the numbers in what amounts to a vacuum is wide open to debate, it's just as possible that, if there hadn't been Katrina, Rita, and the Federal Flood, AND a net loss of around 130 thousand votes overall, we might well be reading about Kathleen Blanco's re-election today...anyway...

OK, if you don't mind a few more stats: from a very quick analysis, and if I'm wrong, feel free to correct me, but I counted Jindal scoring outright majorities in 35 parishes, and pluralities in 25 more. Campbell picked up pluralities in exactly 2 parishes, Georges barely eked out a plurality in Orleans, and Boasso did the same in St. Bernard. In short, it was as clean a sweep for Jindal this time as it was for Blanco in 2003 (when she carried 52 parishes).

Oh, and if anyone's interested, Jindal carried La Salle Parish with a majority.

So, what does it mean? Well, it means a few hours of me not doing chores, for one...otherwise, well, I dunno, but maybe some of y'all might find it interesting, and if I can find a place to post the spreadsheet I'll try to clean it up a bit and do so. Otherwise, least Jindal, through no effort on his part, will assume office at a time when government finances should be surprisingly good--state tax revenues should remain sound as people continue to rebuild and buy things like large appliances, and excise revenues should likewise be decent as the Team Bush train wreck continues to keep oil prices up in the stratosphere. Then, I guess the question becomes whether or not Jindal uses the revenues to invest in the state, or whether he plays the Team Bush game of rewarding glad-handers and cronies...we'll see. more thing: was it just me, or did Bobby's acceptance speech make noted orator Bill Clinton seem terse in comparison? Just wondering...
What Happened Happened

So the Jindal era begins.

in contrast, here's a salute to tradition