Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Cat and Storm Blogging

Tigger, doing what he does best.

Across the street. I took the picture Tuesday, the debris pile is still there today. I don't think the angle gives an idea of just how much stuff there is. If you look closely, you can see a deactivated parking meter.

Where I live is a mix and match of residences and businesses, particularly law offices. On an average day at least four or possibly five cars will be parked there.

For all sorts of reasons I'm at home right now, and am looking outside at gray skies and blustery conditions, with on and off rain. We're on the very edge of Hurricane Ike's outer bands. Thank heavens it won't be the second coming of Gustav for us.

People along the Louisiana coast aren't so lucky though, particularly those who dealt with Gustav's full force. Likewise, it looks like the Houston/Galveston area will be hit hard.

As I said earlier this week, you don't wish this sort of stuff on anyone. Hope anyone in the path was either able to evacuate or otherwise stays safe.
Memo to Wingnuts

Not that I expect any of you to give even half a shit, but, for over thirty Iraqis, "the surge" ended in a rather brutal and ugly fashion today.

Of course, for wingnuts, Iraqi deaths aren't even really forgotten so much as denied in the first place.

Take with Kool-Aid.
Palin Observes Moon, Demands Recognition as "Expert Astronaut"

And you're just a big sexist librul meanie if you think otherwise.

Inspired by this.

I'll admit though, everything thus far indicates her head is--In. The. Clouds.
A GOP Approved Voting Machine

Jude and Hullabaloo both point to this latest example of Rethuglican contempt for the democratic (small 'd') process...along with yesterday's news coming from Michigan, it's also indicative of Rethug fear--an understanding that the public is sick of, they seek to get themselves a different public, or, at the very least, a narrow, limited public.

Government 'of, by, and FOR the people' is anathema to them.

I asked a question in Jude's comments regarding a element of Wisconsin election law that should be the model for all States: on-site voter registration. When I lived in Madison I tended towards annual change of addresses (the infamous August 15th mass migration.) Voter registration, though, was easy: I'd bring a utility bill or something similar to the polling place, fill out my registration card, vote...and then several weeks later my receipt of the official registration card in the mail was sufficient proof for officially counting my vote. It was a simple, painless process.

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, back to government 'of, by and FOR the people.' This is a little off-topic, but of late I've been hearing quite a bit of whining from the Rethugs about the gall of people to expect government assistance during or following a disaster. Well, I've got a few words to say to said Rethugs, beginning with Lehman Brothers...oh, also Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Bear Stearns.

And that's just for starters: what about all the various subsidies, incentives, guaranteed cost-plus contracts, tax breaks, infrastructure improvements, and so on that corporations have come to expect as a matter of day-to-day business? When they give it all back, THEN we can begin a conversation about what WE should expect by way of services from our government following a disaster--particularly if the disaster ISN'T "natural."

After all, it's OUR government, too.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Little Fat Boy Willing to go to Great Lengths for More French Fries

OK, actually it's just Haley Barbour being his usual shit self. But there IS a rough equivalence.
The High Priests of the Cult of 9/11

Paul Campos:

Here are some basic truths, truths so basic that arguing for them is an insult to the reader’s intelligence:

*Terrorism, Islamic or otherwise, doesn’t pose anything like an existential threat to the United States of America.

*There isn’t a trace of an indigenous Islamic terror threat anywhere in America, or indeed a significant terror threat of any kind.

*With some notable exceptions – if for example you happen to be a poor, and/ or if you don't have health insurance, and/or if you belong to a demographic that makes up much of the world's largest prison population – contemporary America is about as low-risk a society as has ever existed on the face of the earth. In particular the contemporary American suburb, although full of often-terrified people, represents as close to a risk-free environment as human ingenuity has yet constructed.

*We’re all going to die one day, but the odds that any particular American will die in a terrorist attack can be estimated as essentially zero.

*The money being spent, and the nations being invaded, and the suspects being tortured, and the laws being broken, in the name of fighting the so-called global war on terror, represent a fantastically out of proportion response to the threat that terrorism actually poses to our nation.

Consider that for every American murdered by terrorists on September 11, 2001, fifty have been murdered by ordinary everyday made-in-America violence in the seven years since.

Consider that for every American murdered by terrorists, somewhere between 200 and 600 Iraqis have died as a direct consequence of our invasion of that country: a country which had nothing to do with 9/11, although perhaps 100 million Americans still don’t understand this -- a fact which itself is a direct and intended consequence of the Bush administration’s calculated lies.

Consider that the money spent, so far, on the invasion of a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks would be more than enough to pay off the entire mortgage of every foreclosed home in the United States.

You will hear nothing like this from any national politician today, because the Cult of 9/11 considers any criticism of its central principle to be a horrible heresy.

Instead we will get phony mourning and simulated grief, from our leaders and our media, as they continue to pretend that the events of that terrible day justify the money, and the invasions, and the torture, and the lawbreaking, and all the other very real transformations of our national life that have been undertaken in the name of our dread of a threat that, in all truth, might as well be as imaginary as the killer in a horror film.
Voting Shall Be Restricted To Property Owning White Males...

I guess we can file this one with their other charming habit of late, that is, referring to black people as "uppity." Must be what they mean by "old fashioned values:"

Michigan Republicans plan to foreclose African American voters

The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP’s effort to challenge some voters on Election Day.
Next Stop, Sub-Basement Level II

I've been trying not to crosspost, but it's been a bit of a busy morning...I managed to put in my Thursday post at First Draft, and will be back this afternoon over here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shop Mock the Pig

And AmericaBlog's (actually a reader/commentor out of Raleigh, North Carolina) right, too: DON'T apologize, repeat 'lipstick on a pig' or whatever it is that causes the manufactured shitstorm/hissy fit...basically tell McCain-Palin, "fuck you."

It feels good, AND it's the proper response...hell, Sarah Palin's whole tired act is basically an extended fuck you to liberals. We should respond with the same.
Fighting Fire With Fire

I agree with The Rude Pundit on this one, hence the picture above which, yes, is a little harsh, but in keeping with the spirit of hit them back just as hard...particularly in light of Scarborough's admission that he's willing to chew on whatever shit Team McCain feeds him, because they're "assertive."

Of course Obama can't personally call McCain a pedophile enabler and neither can Joe Biden, although Biden needs to stop with the McCain worship and attack him for the craven little bully he is. But the Obama team should make it very clear that two can play the game...which, at the very least, will keep the blathering idiot element of the press corpse busy enough...THEN they can smack McCain/Palin upside the head with issues.

This is a start. And I'd suggest a bit of contempt for the media as well--the public perceives ALL journalists, fair or not, as pampered little assholes (McCain knows this--which is why he's decided to do his Heathers routine and shun them, at least through the election.) Not that they really have any shame, but shame those journalists who can be shamed into actually focusing on the very real concerns of very real citizens (ok, I exaggerate, but only a little: a few reporters ARE actually noting the stench of shrill hypocrisy wafting forth from the GOP.) Hit McCain back HARD, to use a Rovian tactic, on his perceived strength. Alas, the POW nonsense is off the table, but maverick--and age--definitely aren't. Neither is fact, I'd combine some of those and have people loudly and publicly suggest that McCain SHOULD have run for president in 1988, not 2008. Hell, I'd do my best to goad Johnny Mac into one of his shitstorm temper tantrums, which might work well with his base but would cause any sane person to back away with revulsion.

Yes, it's sad that the political process has come to this. In an email to a friend I said I never thought I'd HATE watching a national campaign...but Team McCain is determined to go below even lowest common denominator and instead turn it into a freak show. Well, then give him what he deserves...and while he's whining and licking his wounds, use the space to make the race what it should be about--issues.
Lipstick on a Pig

I'm sure you've seen this elsewhere, so I won't bother with a link...but Jesus Christ on a Cracker there's no depth to which John McCain won't stoop if he thinks it'll score him a couple of cheap points.

That said, it's kind of nice to see the media recognize this for the sham--and shame--that it is. Maybe they've finally built up some sort of tolerance for McCain flavored Kool-Aid--ironically, just as McCain himself is beginning to demonstrate his real attitude towards the media, which is one of deep seated contempt.
Just Plain Sleazy

At this point likening John McCain to a morally bankrupt used car salesman is an insult to morally bankrupt used car salesmen the world over...but it's telling: John McCain is a person so blinded by his own ambition that he will literally do anything to get elected--anything.

And he's managed to find a running mate of equal moral bankruptcy.

Come to think of it, this is a "values" election after all--it's the values of decency versus the values of, well, used car salesmen (or used war salesmen if you prefer). And whenever I manage to stomach either McCain or Palin for a few moments, I can't help but think of the Hunter Thompson conclusion to Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail:

This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it -- that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his imprecise talks about "new politics" and "honesty in government," is really one of the few men who've run for president of the United States in this century who really understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon.

McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect expression of everything he stands for.

Jesus! Where will it all end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?

John McCain has almost managed to make George W. Bush look honorable.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The People's Business

Here's John Boehner, hard at work.

I think Hullabaloo is right about the game being fundamentally rigged. Boehner knows he's lying through is teeth and out his ass (but I repeat myself). He just doesn't care because he's certain no mainstream news source will call him on it.
Generator City

Well, Pravda-Upon-Hudson took a look at the situation here one week after. And again, I can't emphasize enough that, in comparison, we are FAR better off than New Orleans after the flood...or Baghdad pretty much any day of the week since the US invasion and occupation (only costing $10 billion dollars a month or so...what a bargain.) Nonetheless, this was a major storm that caused major damage, and the effects will be significant...for a long while.

And not just here in Baton Rouge. Terrebone and Lafourche parishes bore the brunt of the storm--the damage there is awful.

For the record, the picture above is obviously a mix and match. There's the Red Stick riverfront--which is roughly where I live. It's the urban core, but BR is a suburban city. My understanding is that the areas suffering the most damage are to the north (which is mostly minority and poor) and east (a neighborhood more white and middle class, known as BR's Garden District.) Superimposed on top is what supplied all of my electrical power for three days (like I said, I was lucky--only three days off the grid, and I didn't lose, I had a place where I could recharge the thing)...the bigger item is what I broke down and ordered just in case...and I hope I never have to use it.

My sister, who was without power for I believe six days following Hurricane Rita, told me that when you're relying on generator power your life revolves around finding gasoline, not exactly an easily obtainable commodity following a major disaster. Additionally, the things are loud, dangerous, probably not very efficient...but damned necessary. The bigger portable units will will run a small a/c; the one above will power a fan, which is better than nothing, keep my food from spoiling, and give me a light, along with a choice of television or radio. And it might also offer us some insight into what must be a pretty damned miserable experience for Mesopotamians now entering year number five:

"I don't know how the Iraqis have done it," [Marilyn O'Brien] said [about living with little or no electricity]. "Your energy’s zapped, and you're wet. My clothes feel like another layer of skin. And I've not slept in a week."

You know, come to think of it, $10 billion dollars, i.e., one month's worth of Iraq, could go a long way in securing this region's, if not the entire nation's, power grid. Just sayin.'
Sarah Barracuda Pinocchio

Not that truth has been a Rethug principle (at least since they embraced racism as a central tenet post-Civil Rights Act), but Ms. Palin seems to have an especially what-may-care attitude when it comes to demonstrable facts.
Bullet Dodging

OK, so at least for now it looks like Ike will spare the Gret Stet, and I'm breathing a sigh of relief. But my thoughts, hopes, prayers--or mantras, if you prefer--are with those folks in the path of the storm.

You know, I wouldn't wish this kind of destruction on anything--not even Houston.

Monday, September 08, 2008

George and the Grateful Dead

No, not that Gateful Dead...Chimperor just can't wrap his transistor-sized noggin around the fact that his awesome little war turned out to the mother of all shitstorms for millions of people who are now either dead, horribly wounded, displaced, or otherwise far worse off.

Way to go, idiot.
Because Somebody Should Say It...

Sarah Palin is a lying, greedy little bitch. And if that makes me part of the 'angry left,' fine.
Update: Oh, and she's also pretty stupid.
Senator Johnny McUdo *

Shoving women in wheelchairs and threating to strike them is apparently the GOP's idea of true heroism.

And you're probably seen it, but Digby's right: this McTantrum is worth passing along to everyone. What. A. Sanctimonious. Asshole.

Oh, and off topic, update on the plumbing issue: ouch. Broken/cracked sewer line. To be honest, I had an idea this was the case (and it was before Gustav made its most unwelcome appearance.) I'll be forking over another large chunk of change this afternoon for the camera inspection/proof, while trying to figure out how I'll pay for the work itself. Ah, the joys of home "ownership."
Cheap White Wine for a Party of Cheap White Whiners

Link and Link.

I'd post a comment myself, but I've got to run to the house right now--a plumber is on the way to do some much needed work.