Friday, April 18, 2008

A Man, A Plan, A Canal

Today's Pic online has a pretty good feature focusing on the fact that high water also brings large amounts of sediments...that unfortunately are floating out to the open Gulf:

More than a billion dollars of coastal restoration projects are on the books, including a slew of river diversions that equate to a wholesale replumbing of the river, but many of them are likely years away from completion due to past financing issues. Instead, river water is cascading into the Bonnet Carre Spillway and Lake Pontchartrain, where blankets of algae leading to fish kills may soon result. Floodwater billowing into the Gulf is expected to have similar effects.

As many in the coastal restoration community say the state has less than a decade to avoid disastrous land loss, the missed opportunity to harness the river's power has broad implications for the coast's future, and puts state and federal agencies under heightened pressure in upcoming years...

The state's master plan for coastal restoration, approved last year, proposes a series of diversions beginning at Donaldsonville and extending to the river's mouth. But the blueprint has not been fully financed. Another long-awaited restoration study from the corps, delayed since last year, is expected by December.

Projects at Violet and Myrtle Grove in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, along with upriver projects designed to stimulate the Lake Maurepas area, were specifically mentioned in last year's Water Resources Development Act passed by Congress. Although authorized, the appropriations for those projects have not come through.

Just in that bill, authorizations for diversion projects total more than $700 million, and they address only portions of the river system. Next month, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority will decide on how to spend $300 million in state surplus money set aside for hurricane protection and coastal restoration projects. Other money will be available through Louisiana's share of offshore oil and gas revenue, and a 1990 bill known as the Breaux Act.

I dunno--maybe we oughta change the name of the river to "Terry Schiavo." Perhaps that would wake up the clowns in Washington.
Because as They Say, The Clothes Make the Man...

"Suitable" for High Office I guess the accessories make the president, at least in the eyes of what the big bloggers call The Village.
Deadeye Dickeye

The all war all the time and damn the consquences Bush-Cheney policies...have consequences, like a global drop in living standards.

Nice going, wingnuts:

That anger is palpable across the globe. The food crisis is not only being felt among the poor but is also eroding the gains of the working and middle classes, sowing volatile levels of discontent and putting new pressures on fragile governments.

A brand new Iraqi army rifle--never been fired, and only dropped once:

A company of Iraqi government troops in Sadr City retreated when they came under attack from Shiite militiamen who used the cover of a sandstorm, police said Friday...

The reports of the latest setback for the Iraqi army come after government officials acknowledged that during fighting last month against Shiite militias in the southern city of Basra, more than 1,300 Iraqi soldiers and police deserted or refused to fight.

The police officer said militiamen belonging to the Mahdi Army of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr launched their attack shortly before midnight on army positions in Sadr City, a sprawling slum area of some 2.5 million people in eastern Baghdad.

The company responsible for that section withdrew, abandoning their positions, including their command post in al-Nasir police station, he said.

When you consider that we barely controls the Green Zone, and that we really don't have anything to offer the Iraqis, why is anyone surprised to see them abandoning their positions?

The rest of the article is equally dreary--take a look.

The idea that somehow the Bush-Cheney administration can do anything but hang on by their fingernails is absurd. And, speaking of absurd, the other night I guess Dick told a few jokes at some sort of journalist/politico dinner...everyone had a good laugh.

They should've run his ass out of town on a rail.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Plan? What Plan?

Figures, doesn't it...either they expect to just wing it...or, more likely, never considered making a plan at all to deal with Al Qaeda.

But what do you expect? It's not like they think of terrorism as anything more than a useful domestic political tool...something they can use to scare the shit out of people.
Shrub, The Closet Anarchist?

Bill Lind details the administration's "success" in smashing the Mesopotamian state.
The Political Equivalent of a Cheetos and Weenie Diet

Greenwald nails it down in his column and book excerpt, placing one Karl Rove at the center, but noting that the genesis can be traced back to at least Lee Atwater-may-he-rot-eternally (and that's still not punishment enough).

They--the skank alliance and revolving door system of various political factions, elite media, and various 'consultants,' really do hold the American public in a remarkable degree of contempt. What they foist upon us is really the worst sort of political junk food/empty calories...which they insist is "what we want" (see more of Greenwald, particularly his smack-down of someone named Megan McArdle, who, as best as I can tell, is such an air head that she'd probably float up to the stratosphere if not firmly tethered) know, one thing's for sure: the perverse media circus that defines the modern political process sure has made them a hell of a lot of money, and, provided you've got no qualms about the fate of your soul, I guess it makes sense to praise the system that allows you to rake in so much...although the literal demise of civil society sure is a hell of a price to pay, particularly when you consider that said demise WILL one day affect us all...and at that point, all the dollars you've got stashed away won't be worth the paper they're printed on...
The Outrage Manufacturing Facility

Weenie's Weenies...the more you know, the less you like...

Spin stinks, and I'm sick and tired of the smell--and THAT'S why I didn't watch DebateMania XXXVIII or whatever the number of times it's been that Hillary and/or Obama and/or the supporting cast "debated."

Even worse is the stench that wafts forth from the supposed "analysis," and since I really can't afford to buy a new TV, I literally switched over to Animal Planet before giving the set a rest lest I throw a brick through it...and that's how odious I find the ever more dessicated Patrick Buchanan as he strained to manufacture shit sausage last night.

Good god: Patrick Buchanan whining about the alleged moral turpitude of Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright really is like a old whore whining about the loose morals of today's youth, especially given Mr. Buchanan's previous employment and religious adherence. I just wish someone would've brought that up (and I really wish someone would unceremoniously dump him into whatever ashbin of history is reserved for useless talking heads).

Nonsense...plain unadulterated nonsense...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not Dead...Not Even Past

Another example of how the civil rights struggle wasn't just a matter of a few marches over minor inconveniences, as the wingnuts would like you to believe, but a difficult conflict against an entrenched political and social apparatus that fought (and continues to fight) a zealous and ugly battle to maintain an unjust system.

Dan Klores, a New York filmmaker and former public relations executive, has been thinking about Orangeburg and its obscurity in the historical memory for decades, since he was a student at the time at the nearby University of South Carolina in Columbia. He said he hoped his latest film, "Black Magic," about basketball players at historically black colleges, will open people’s eyes to Orangeburg. (The film made its debut on ESPN on March 16.)

Mr. Klores said that Orangeburg was only obliquely related to the topic of "Black Magic," but that he was looking for any reason to delve into the incident. During his research for the film he discovered that one of the Orangeburg fatalities was a star high school basketball player who was on campus because his mother worked at the college as a maid.

"That gave me the excuse," Mr. Klores said. "That’s all it was. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I said, 'That’s fine, it’s my film.' "

Another film, a documentary produced by two Boston moviemakers, Bestor Cram and Judy Richardson, was in the research phase for nearly 10 years before the pair finally received financing last year. Titled "Orangeburg," it is scheduled for broadcast this fall on PBS.

"We were up against two problems," said Mr. Cram, a principal at Northern Light Productions in Boston, explaining why it took so long to finance the film. "People actually wondered why they hadn’t heard of it. Number two, everyone thinks the civil rights story has been told."

FYI, I happened to watch both parts of Black Magic (it ran on successive nights) and it's very much worth a look, even for a non-sports fan. And I can't help but think that if wingnuts were subjected to even one tenth of what they routinely expect "those people" to merely put up with as a matter of course, we'd likely be seeing ugly, violent episodes on pretty much a daily basis...
You Can't Make an Omelette Without Breaking a Few Eggs

Greenwald explains:

The point is that having our elections decided primarily on substantive issues isn't an option, precisely because the Right and the shallow, slothful media ensure that petty personality controversies predominate. The only choice is to engage them or to ignore them, thereby allowing them to rage unchallenged.
I Suppose You Could Argue There's Some Consistency in the Wingnut Position

SCOTUS opts for different uniforms

So, the same faction that brought you Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, with humiliation and waterboarding on the side has likewise proffered a "what the fuck if execution is excruciatingly painful" for domestic criminals...because, after all, it's not like either system has made any mistakes, right? And since the system is perfect, it's only sub-humans like Khalid Sheikh Muhammed that get it, and ain't that what they deserve? I mean, it's the Christian thing--doesn't the Bible say, "Judge not, lest ye be judged, jury, executioner...and then kick back and have a good long lunch"?

Oh sure, it's not like torture and execution actually accomplish anything, but hey, boyz will be boyz...
Our Iraqi Allies

Click for SFX

For only the four thousandth time or so--multiply by ten or more if you're mature enough to actually show some concern/empathy for the people we "liberated"--anyway, it's appropriate to say "pathetic if not so tragic:"

A company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions on Tuesday night in Sadr City, defying American soldiers who implored them to hold the line against Shiite militias.

The retreat left a crucial stretch of road on the front lines undefended for hours and led to a tense series of exchanges between American soldiers and about 50 Iraqi troops who were fleeing.

While it's certainly possible that things could get even worse, anyone who doesn't understand that the situation in Mesopotamia has devolved into what is presently the Mother of All FUBARs is truly delusional.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Digging for a pony...? What the hell is that--this year's version of "catastrophic success?"
Tweety's Rose Colored Glasses

Matthews gets his man crush on.
Meet Your Press

This entire article from Brad at SadlyNo is worth a look, but the closing paragraph is spot-on, out of the park:

What is so depressing about our press corps' bizarre penchant for picking and choosing which members of the ruling class are "genuine" and which ones are not is that the United States simply cannot afford to have another election decided by this trivial nonsense. For the past eight years, sane people have watched in horror as George W. Bush chain-sawed the country's coffers with tax cuts, trampled over both international and domestic law and inexplicably got us involved in an endless bloody war in Iraq. While I can't claim to speak for Real Americans -- after all, I don't eat cheese steak or clear brush on a regular basis -- I can speak for myself when I say that I don't want my political leaders to be my friends; I only ask that they not actively try to destroy the country and the rest of the world. And at this point, I don't care if our next president is the unholy love spawn of Richie Rich, Thurston Howell and Charles Emerson Winchester III. As long as they can end the Iraq war, provide national health insurance and generally make life in this country stink less than it has under Bush, then they've got my vote.
The Wingnut Baseless-Smear-Of-The-Week

From "too [African-American] religious" to "Marxist" in barely a few weeks...

It really is amazing, although not in a good way, to watch the wingers abandon any and all logical pretense with their mudslinging...and equally frustrating to watch the media do little more than play contest judge in determining the "effectiveness" of what I guess could be called "Son of Swift Boat, The Sequel."

And then you've got the Hillary/Lieberman wing of the Democratic Party going along for the ride...which maybe ought to give everyone a good idea of just how limited the acceptable range of political debate really has become...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Because Foreign Auxiliaries Always Work Out So Well

We could call them the "Humvee Hessians."
Sometimes, the Proper Response is "Fuck You"

See the Rude Pundit for more; and maybe take a look at Paul Krugman's latest to get a better understanding as to why "bitter" is most definitely an understatement...the fact that Clinton, McCain, the media establishment, et al, even go through the whole fainting couch routine is damning evidence that they just don't get it (even as they probably carp now and again about how "difficult it is to get good help").

On the flip side, writing as the person most in need of just a good, solid ass-kicking, like the kind of ass-kicking Sonny Corleone gave Carlo...well, that'd be Bill Kristol.
Is Anyone Really Surprised That the Essence of Wingnuttia is Torture?

After all, their ideological underpinning is provided by the likes of Michael Weinersavage, among others...I mean, geez, there's just something about the whole condition that doesn't get concepts like civil society and all that it entails.
Why We Fight

Ah, Kleptocracy:

According to U.S. and Iraqi officials, bribery and outright theft are flourishing in virtually every Iraqi ministry, and some of those ill-gotten gains are being used to kill American troops.


"According to the report, these are some of the ministries where corruption seemed to be rampant: the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Oil, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Water Resources, Finance, Electricity, Labor, and Social Affairs, Displacement and Migration, Science and Technology. I mean, what's left?" Kroft asked.

"I was gonna ask you that. Okay? It's pretty much across the board in every ministry," [State Department’s Office of Accountability and Transparency in Iraq chief of staff James] Mattil replied.

Mattil says shortly after the unclassified report was leaked to the press last summer, the State Department decided to make it classified.

Asked for what reason it was classified, Mattil said, "The embarrassment factor, I would think."

But the State Department's decision to try and bury the report didn't change the facts in Iraq. In some cases, Mattil says the corruption involves outright theft of government funds, or bribery, with some of the money finding its way into the hands of insurgents or Iraqi militias.

"In other cases, it is the militias and insurgents themselves who control some of the ministries, who are involved in the corruption and funding their activities through these actions," Mattil said.

Asked if this is known and condoned by Prime Minister Maliki, Mattil said, "It's known and tolerated by the prime minister and other officials within the government."

"And they're aware of the level of corruption?" Kroft asked.

"Yes," Mattil said. "They would have to be."

"The point that must be clear is that that the American and the Iraqi funds are now going to the militias. And both Iraqis and the Americans are being killed with that. And this is the big problem," [former Iraqi judge and anti-corruption advocate] Radhi told Kroft.

The situation got so bad, Radhi says his investigators could not even enter certain government buildings.

Here's the entire story.

The lives of our soldiers and our tax dollars "at work." I think the only appropriate reaction is...heckuva job.
Things Move Pretty Slowly Down Here in Bayou Country...

...but eventually the storm troopers receive their marching orders and act accordingly. As an FYI--this email arrived in my inbox this morning. It's from someone who helps organize a reasonably large charity event here in Red Stick that I've participated in for the past several years. So much for leaving politics out of the mix.

Click on the screenshot to get a better idea as to the font size--I think the html code is known as "shrill." You're probably familiar with the non-story itself: the old saw about Barack "Hussein" Obama and the Pledge of Allegiance...yawn...

This time they've decided to contrast the "ni***r commie Islamo-fascist" Barack HUSSEIN Obama with a tear-jerker story told by "real, patriotic, war hero" John "as-white-as-his-hair" McCain. And don't doubt for a second that this story will rise to the top of the slag heap like shit-in-a-bucket-of-cream at least one or two MORE times before the end of this election cycle.

I'll grant the storm-trooping wingnuts one thing, and one thing only--they have an instinctive if primitive and really more than anything else tribal understanding of the art of the smear...and mindless repetition is a central component. Not for a second do they care or even want their minions to actually think. Instead, they seek to build, by any means necessary, a base level of fear and loathing, followed by regular booster shots. Like with this weekend's "bitterness" nonsense...or last week's "pay for a mistake with a baby" nonsense...or the previous week's Reverend Wright nonsense, all of which will be rerun by the wingnuts...and the television networks (after all, reruns are what they do best, right?).

I guess we've just got to hope that the public, having been fed THE most unbelievable nonsense and bullshit from the same over the last seven plus years, is tired of a diet consisting of more of the same. But that sure as hell won't stop them from trying...