Friday, October 07, 2005

What BushCo Learned from the Hurricanes

Nothing.

FEMA is trumpeting putting out $400 million in contracts out for bid that were originally awarded without competition like it's a big deal. What paltry percent is that of the billions awarded? But buried at the end of the NYT article was this little gem:

Mr. Paulison's appearance before the Senate came the same day the House voted, 347 to 70, to approve on the Department of Homeland Security's 2006 fiscal-year budget, which reduces financing for the Federal Emergency Management Agency by 12 percent, to $2.6 billion. The Senate is expected to vote on the department's overall $31.9 billion budget soon.

[snip]

That evoked immediate criticism from emergency management experts.

"It's difficult to understand the logic behind another round of budget cuts to FEMA at the same time Congress is questioning their ability to respond to future disasters," said Trina R. Sheets, executive director of the National Emergency Management Association.
Absolutely un-fucking-believable.

Has Peace and Democracy Flowered in Iraq Yet?

Not so much.

Bomb blasts killed six Marines in western Iraq, and U.S. forces killed 29 militants in U.S. offensives aimed at uprooting al-Qaida insurgents ahead of the country’s vote on a new constitution, the military said Friday.

The American deaths brought to 1,950 the number of U.S. troops who have died since the beginning of the war in 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
And if all of this sacrifice in lives and money is supposed to keep us safer here at home, what's up in New York? And Oklahoma?

But really, why would you believe anyone who invades countries because a voice in his head told him to? (SO not kidding.)

Nobel Peace Prize a Smackdown to BushCo?

IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize for the yeoman's work he's done as head of that agency. I'm not sure whether or not there was an explicit message for the Bush maladministration, but one could certainly be excused for thinking that there might be an implicit one.

This portion of the article was hidden at the bottom but is telling:

Norway’s outgoing Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik said it was “gratifying” that IAEA and ElBaradei won the peace prize.

[snip]

“Mohammad ElBaradei is an outstanding leader with great integrity. He has always sought to achieve results by negotiations. We saw this clearly during the period before the Iraq war, when he all the way to the end requested that the international weapons inspectors continue their work.”

Ultimately a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq and no weapons of mass destruction were found. An international occupation force remains in the country.
Emphasis is mine.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Is Southwest Airlines a Major Republican Contributor?

They must be, based on this:

Lorrie Heasley, of Woodland, Wash., was asked to leave her flight from Los Angeles to Portland, Ore., Tuesday for wearing a T-shirt with pictures of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a phrase similar to the popular film title "Meet the Fockers."
You've got to be kidding...

Squeal Like the Pig You Are

Please, oh please...

Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give 11th hour testimony in the case of a CIA officer's leaked identity but have warned they cannot guarantee he won't be indicted, according to people directly familiar with the investigation.
Either Karl is going to take a plea deal and send a bunch of "friends" to the slammer, or he's going to take the fall himself. Actually, most likely is that both will happen.

Please, oh please...

Bush to Have Mental Breakdown at 10:10 am

What else could he do?

Obviously, with all the troubles brewing for BushCo, including likely indictments for Uncle Karl, he'll try to distract us with talk of freedom arising in Iraq. He'll talk about final throes and how the world is better off without Saddam. He'll spin a mighty spin.

But perhaps, just maybe, Americans are waking up.

The most recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll showed only 37 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq, with 62 percent disapproving
And then of course there's this:

Two suicide car bomb attacks in eastern Baghdad on Thursday killed a total of 12 Iraqis and wounded 15, police said.

[snip]

The attacks came a day after 25 people were killed and 87 wounded in a bomb explosion at the entrance of a Shiite Muslim mosque in Hillah, south of Baghdad.
No matter how much he tries, there just is no way to spin the situation in Iraq as anything other than - as we used to call them in the Army - a "cluster fuck."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

How F***ed Up Are Conservatives?

According to Shakespeare's Sister (new to my blogroll, BTW), really, really fucked up:

[Indiana] Republican lawmakers are drafting new legislation that will make marriage a requirement for motherhood in the state of Indiana, including specific criminal penalties for unmarried women who do become pregnant "by means other than sexual intercourse."

According to a draft of the recommended change in state law, every woman in Indiana seeking to become a mother through assisted reproduction therapy such as in vitro fertilization, sperm donation, and egg donation, must first file for a "petition for parentage" in their local county probate court.

Only women who are married will be considered for the "gestational certificate" that must be presented to any doctor who facilitates the pregnancy. Further, the "gestational certificate" will only be given to married couples that successfully complete the same screening process currently required by law of adoptive parents.
Seems that not only are single women who want to be mothers out of luck, but seems these folks also (not surprisingly) include lesbian and gay couples in their ban. As with all of these types of bans, I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult for heterosexual couples with enough money to buy their way around the law. But the others, the real targets of conservative hatred will have no such luck. Of course this law has absolutely no chance of surviving a consitutional challenge at either the state or federal level; but it's particularly revealing of their fundamental hatred of everyone not "them."

Shakespeare's Sister is new to my blogroll, but I'll be reading her blog regularly now that I've discovered it. Head over and check it out, you'll be glad you did.

Molly Ivins

Do I really need to say any more?

Via Steve at Yellow Doggerel Democrat, I found Molly's recent opinion piece about Shrubby-boy's Supreme Court pick Harriet Miers. She lays out some pretty good evidence that Miers is classic BushCo.: uber-Loyal to Bush and a true late-to-the-party, holier-than-thou fundamentalist.

Molly, after discussing the increasing intrusion of religion into politics, then closes with a great quote usually attributed to James Madison:

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

BushCo.: Mortally Wounded or Dangerously Wounded?

Over at AmericaBlog, Rob from Baltimore has written a well-thought out post claiming that with the nomination of Harriet Miers, the Bush presidency is "over." While I agree with Rob's list of all the constituencies that have now abandoned Shrubby-boy, I tend to be more pessimistic about what that means for the next three years. Here's part of Rob's post:

See, they had been waiting. Waiting for The Moment. The moment when they would finally enshrine their ideology into the Supreme Court for at least two generations. The Moment came. And it passed. They didn't get what they wanted. So why should they stay. Really, why should they stay? It's not going to get any better. Republicans have it all, and Conservatives got screwed again.

So, of these 30s, let's take a conservative estimate that half are Movement Conservatives. They, clearly, have now walked from him as well. Where will that leave Bush? With something just shy of 20% of the American public actually supporting him. That means roughly 4 in 5 Americans don't support this President.

Less than one year after being reelected, this Presidency has failed. It's over.
But rather than thinking this leaves BushCo. mortally wounded and impotent, I think we should perhaps be thinking of this administration as a wounded water-buffalo. Here's how I put it in part of my comments to Rob's post:

I'm afraid what we'll see for the next three years is this administration, cast adrift from any anchoring constituency, flailing about in its death throes. What that means is completely unknown, although their past actions might give some hints. Iran, Syria, North Korea. Declaring some sort of national energy emergency and gutting all protections for public lands and the environment. Declaring a national security crisis (see above) and declaring an "emergency, short-term" draft.
On most days, the water-buffalo, uninjured and unmolested, is one of the most dangerous large mammals in the world. Injured, backed into a corner with no escape, it is even more dangerous.

An Early Christmas Present to Us All

This made me so happy!!

Calvin & HobbesIn celebration of the anniversary of Bill Watterson's strip, "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes" – a three-volume collection of the duo's adventures – is set to be released on Tuesday. Reprinted "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strips began reappearing in newspapers nationwide in August in a four-month run-up to the book's release.
I will definitely be buying the collection. I had most of the previously released books but, between my daughter and I, we read the ink right off the pages...

I'm disappointed that my local rag didn't reprint any of the strips. But then I'm almost always disappointed in my local rag.

Be (Almost) All You Can Be

Seems that at least some people are paying attention to the toll on our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is NOT a good thing:

Army Secretary Noel Harvey and vice chief of staff Gen. Richard Cody said Monday that the Army was using looser Defense Department rules that permitted it to sign up more high school dropouts and people who score lower on mental-qualification tests, but they denied that this meant it was lowering standards.
The article also states that the Army hasn't been so far behind its recruiting goals since 1979. Can a draft be far behind?

One Thousand Nine Hundred and Forty-One

Lost amid all the Miers news and the legal and moral lapses that continue to accrue to top Republicans is this:

The deaths raised to at least 1,941 the number of U.S. military members who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to a count by The Associated Press.
You can be sure that when the toll passes the 2,000 mark it will be dutifully buried by a still-compliant press after the news is released late on a Friday afternoon by a still-criminal administration.

Don't forget.

Monday, October 03, 2005

DeLay Indicted Again

How much schadenfreude can one take?

"Brownie-ism" Run Rampant

I suppose this answers the question of whether or not Shrubby-boy learned anything from appointing political hacks to important jobs:

President George W. Bush has chosen Harriet Miers, White House counsel and a loyal member of the president's inner circle, to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court, a senior administration official said Monday.

[snip]

Miers, who has never been a judge, was the first woman to serve as president of the Texas State Bar and the Dallas Bar Association.
Emphasis, as if it's needed, is mine.

Now the question is whether the Senate Democrats can reach down far enough to find the testicular fortitude needed to fight this nomination. Because, as they've done in the past, the Rethugs will cast any opposition to Miers as bias - in this case as misogyny. Is there anyone from the left side of the aisle who can make a cogent case for why a Supreme Court pick should have experience from the bench? Doesn't seem to be that difficult a job. This is so far beyond "mere" nepotism... this is cronyism at its absolute worst.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Brilliant

This is spreading around the blogosphere like wildfire. It's well worth the time to give it a read. Pass it on...

Cries from the Lake of Fire

Where is the Money Going?

We know the connection between Halliburton and all of its subsidiaries to Republicans and those connections have ensured that Dick Cheney's former employer is getting a large share of the dollars spent in hurricane relief efforts. But who at Carnival Cruise Lines is a major contributor? What else could explain the latest twist to the deal to rent two of Carnival's ships to house refugees in New Orleans (which are mostly empty, by the way)?

Two senators on Thursday asked federal officials to explain their decision to sign a $236 million deal with Carnival Cruise Lines for Hurricane Katrina housing, saying Greece was ready to provide two ships for free.
And it's not just big ticket items like ships and shipping (see previous post) that FEMA is overpaying for. Even for something so simple as the now-ubiquitous blue tarps that cover so many damaged roofs in the South FEMA has managed to overpay.

The blue sheeting - a godsend to residents whose homes are threatened by rain - is rapidly becoming the largest roofing project in the nation's history.

It isn't coming cheap.

Knight Ridder has found that a lack of oversight, generous contracting deals and poor planning mean that government agencies are shelling out as much as 10 times what the temporary fix would normally cost.

The government is paying contractors an average of $2,480 for less than two hours of work to cover each damaged roof - even though it's also giving them endless supplies of blue sheeting for free.
Oback Barama (D. IL) is doing yeoman's work along with Tom Coburn (R. OK) to get Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff to explain what's going on and to control spending in the relief efforts. So far, their efforts are to no avail.

I have no problem with spending the money it will take to help our fellow citizens in their time of need. I'd just like to know that we're getting the most for our money and that it's not going to line the pockets of the already wealthy and well-connected. It seems I'm hoping against hope.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

FEMA Fiscal Responsibility

No bid contracts, little accountability. Yep, FEMA is spending our money responsibly.

In response to reports that FEMA may be paying up to $4-$6 per mile and taking equipment out of the available carrier base, IARW [International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses] conducted a quick survey of members to see just how serious and widespread the problem might be.

One member, who contacted all his major carriers to inquire about the FEMA issue, found that over half of them were called by FEMA and asked to commit resources. As of five days ago, none of that equipment had been diverted to the FEMA program. He reported, however, that brokers with whom he regularly works are having difficulty, as their carrier base, the owner-operators, were accepting FEMA offers.

An East Coast member reported hearing the pay is $4/mile, plus hefty layover pay. They have been finding it difficult to hire owner-operators on a regular basis, especially in the past few weeks, and especially in Florida and the mid-Atlantic. He thinks carriers may have been pulling ice to the hurricane areas and in some cases paid to layover until the ice could be distributed.

After Katrina and just prior to Rita, another member reported that carriers were already at a premium in both the Southeast and Midwest. This member said that over 100 trucks had been sitting at an Air Force base outside of Montgomery, AL waiting for directions. It was said that they were being paid $600 a day to sit and wait.

Another member who is feeling the hurricane impact agrees that FEMA and others are paying considerably more in freight rates to secure trucks, particularly in the South. This member heard that FEMA may be paying up to $1,500 per load, when a normal rate would be $600. He is seeing truck shortages throughout the industry and is unsure when the carrier base will return to normal.

At Least He Has Body Armor

A recent story detailed how some of the bullet-proof vests sold to the Presidential detail, including those for the President and First Lady, were potentially defective. That also means that some of those used by the Secret Service detail were defective. Not a good thing. But at least they had them.

Unlike - still - our soldiers in Iraq.

Oh, you thought that problem had been solved? Please.

DeLay Shoots the Messenger, But...

Who will be the first rat to bail on this sinking ship?

At an earlier point, Bush could have provided political cover for scandals that touched one or another Republican elected official. But with his approval ratings in the low 40s, there is little to prop up the party's image when congressional leaders are under investigation. Already there have been signs that Bush's influence with members of his own party was beginning to wane as House Republicans look to 2006. Without DeLay in power, the prospects of further splintering increase, adding to perceptions of a party in growing disarray.
Can you say schadenfreude?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Death Porn

The liberal blogosphere is abuzz over a story that it seems the main-stream media are ignoring: soldiers in the Mid-East theater of operations are trading photos of themselves with dead Iraqis or pieces thereof for access to an amateur porn site (no link from me). The military has given some rather wishy-washy answers about whether or not this is legal. Two blogs that I read frequently have some excellent posts: Blonde Sense and AmericaBlog. Lots of others are writing about it as well.

My interest in this subject has a very different tack than these other bloggers. As an ex-soldier, I have some insight into at least part of what's going on here.

It's a well known phenomenon in military history that governments, societies and military leaders take great pains to dehumanize their enemies. This is a necessary psychological step prior to and during wars; citizen-soldiers have to be given a reason to overcome their ingrained aversion to killing fellow humans. Without this important step armies could not function during wartime. With the rise of what some term the "professional army," taken from volunteers as opposed to draftees, and the expansion of our "national interests" to far corners of the globe for extended periods we see the rise of a perpetual dehumanization of the enemy-of-the-day. It's not too hard to imagine this animus extending to everyone "not us," to all non-Americans. Everyone outside our borders has become "them."

What we're seeing in events like Abu Graib, the developing story on more abuses by the 82nd Airborne Division and this story are all a result of the dehumanization of our current foes.

Are any of these things "right," whatever that means? No. I don't think anyone would claim that they are (except a few extreme-right-wingnuts). But perhaps instead of "is it right?" we should be asking another question. It's not an easy question to ask and it's even harder to answer - in fact, no answer will be completely satisfactory to anyone. And perhaps that ambiguity itself has a lesson to teach us about the things we do as humans, as a society. The answer could help illuminate our path forward in the post-Cold War era.

So what is that question?

Are we willing to accept the results of the necessary dehumanization of our "enemies" in order to effect our national policies?
I'll be very interested to read your responses.

Is Your Shoe Ringing?

Don Adams
Maxwell Smart
Tennessee Tuxedo
Inspector Gadget

I can't beleive Don Adams is gone. I grew up watching him in the first two roles and I watched him (well, listened to his voice) in the last role with my daughter as she grew up.

Monday, September 26, 2005

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Bids!

This took much less time than I thought to come out...

More than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to clean up after Hurricane Katrina were awarded without bidding or with limited competition, the New York Times reported Monday.
There are some very familiar names in the list of contractors cited; I'm sure you can name most of them without even reading the article.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Navy Assisted CIA in "Rendition" Operations

This is very disturbing:

A branch of the Navy secretly contracted for a 33-plane fleet that included two Gulfstream jets reportedly used to fly terror suspects to countries known to practice torture, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
It was one of these planes that was used to fly suspects from Italy to Egypt; a case in which Italy has issued arrest warrants for several suspected CIA agents. Can you imagine the uproar if some country were to kidnapp US residents and send them to Syria for "interrogation?"

Friday, September 23, 2005

Iraq Disintegrating

Even Bush's closest allies are moving off the reservation on Iraq:

Iraq is heading towards disintegration, raising fears of a wider regional conflict, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal warned on Thursday.
And then there's this:

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says the Bush administration did not heed some Saudi warnings on occupying Iraq and that he doesn't believe a new constitution and elections will solve the emerging nation's problems.

Miscellanea

I took today off; it's a beautiful, early fall day, we have company coming this afternoon and I just couldn't stand the thought of sitting in my office all day today. I could live like this...

We're watching the appraoch of Rita on The Weather Channel and CNN, hoping that friends we have in Houston, who couldn't get out due to the traffic, are going to be safe. Seems that as prepared as Texas thought it was, the exodus didn't go nearly as well as they thought it would. Anyone know why it took them so long to make all lanes on the evacuation routes one-way?

Enjoy the end of your week and have a great weekend. I'll try to get another post or two up for the weekend, but no promises.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Brilliant Bit of Flying

This had to have been one of the most intense things I've ever watched on TV (since 9/11). It also has to be one of the most incredible bits of flying I've ever witnessed in all my years of flying.

What Have They Really Learned? Part II

After all these years of BushCo. you'd think I'd learn. You'd think more of us would have learned the answer to that question. But no. It took a trip over to Paperwight's Fair Shot to get the answer to my question.

What have they really learned? Nothing; they don't want to learn anything.

...the Bush people and the modern Republican Party just don't give a tinker's damn about actually governing. It's not that they're too dumb or that every single one of them is incapable of competence (though there are clearly a lot of complete stumblebums with a lot of power in the party), it's that competence is entirely irrelevant to their practices, either with regard to policy or personnel. They're operating with a completely different set of priorities.
Make sure to go read the rest. It was an eye-opener for me.

What Have They Really Learned?

With another major hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast, every level of government from the smallest town to the Federal level is in a flurry of activity. Nobody wants to be the one responsible for a second Katrina-style response.

But the preemptive declarations of states of emergency, the pre-staging of response teams and supplies, the readying of airplanes and busses for the evacuees; all of that is easy with the images of New Orleans and Gulfport still fresh, still raw. And for FEMA and the rest of BushCo. it's easy given the administration's tanking poll numbers.

The real question is when next year's first "monster storm" threatens, or when a category 4 or 5 storm rages into the Gulf in 2007 how will everyone react? What have they really learned and what - for now - is just the tendency to react, even to over react, after the last debacle? The first hints of an answer to that question at the federal level is not encouraging with the appointment of Karl Rove to lead the rebuilding efforts on the Gulf Coast.

It would not be overstating the case to say there's an ill wind blowing...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Iraq is Making a Difference in the Middle East

Oh is it ever!

"I'm explaining to my fighters every day the lessons I learned and my experience in Iraq," he tells a NEWSWEEK correspondent. "I want to copy in Afghanistan the tactics and spirit of the glorious Iraqi resistance."

Mohammed Daud, commander of the biggest Taliban force in Ghazni province, roughly 100 miles southwest of Kabul

Forsooth Fareed!

Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria lays it out in stark terms - and gets it exactly right:

For all its virtues, the private sector cannot accomplish all this. Wal-Mart and Federal Express cannot devise a national energy policy for the United States. For that and for much else, we need government. We already pay for it. Can somebody help us get our money's worth?
The column is well worth reading - and passing on.

Going Home to New Orleans

The conflict - so far pretty low key - between New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Vice Admiral Thad Allen bears watching. It's too soon to say if there are reasons other than those advanced by Allen for people not to return to the city. All indications are that for now, there really aren't the basic services needed to support those who would return.

However, we saw the disregard for the ability of the elderly and poor to evacuate, and there have already been calls for the poor neighborhoods of the area to be returned to wetlands and swamp. And of course there have been various politicians who've questioned whether to even spend the money to rebuild the city at all.

Some of the important questions are:

1. How will those displaced by the storm return to New Orleans?

Will FEMA again run convoys of busses to reverse the diaspora? Who will want to return and who will not?
2. What will they return to?

Mini-cities of mobile homes and pre-fab buildings are supposed to spring up all around the Gulf Coast. Will the displaced want to move into these homes or will they demand to return to their old neighborhoods? What services will be available and what will they have to do without - and for how long?
3. What will the EPA have to say on the safety of the areas hardest hit?

How well will these areas be cleaned and what systems will be put in place to monitor the continuing clean up and long-term health effects of residents who return?
4. What areas will be subject to eminent domain?

Refinery capacity is badly needed in the country and other industrial areas have long needed room to expand along the Gulf Coast. Will government, at all levels, be able to resist allowing such expansion at the expense of poorer neighborhoods? Should they resist?
5. How quickly and how diligently will FEMA and other agencies work to get people out of the "FEMAvilles" they'll be moved to?

Will these people be conveniently "forgotten" in their new ghettos, with no means to return home? If so, how long will the sharks wait before moving into their old neighborhoods claiming that they've been abandoned?
I'm sure I've missed plenty of other questions to be asked but I think these are enough to get some people to pay attention. We shouldn't let the flurry of Rove's PR blitz blind us to what's really going on.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bush on Cost of Recovery: "I Can Sh*t $20 Bills!"

I'm not sure what else he had in mind...

“We got to maintain economic growth, and therefore we should not raise taxes,” Bush said, noting Americans were already paying “a tax in essence” because of higher gasoline prices. “And we don’t need to be taking more money out of their pocket.
In the original quote I'm pretty sure that he said that he didn't want to increase the taxes that "working Americans" pay. It was all I could do to not throw something and yell at the computer. "You don't have to raise taxes on the working stiffs! Raise them on the rich! Raise them on corporations!"

But no, Shrubby-boy says that the rest of the federal budget will have to absorb these costs with further cuts. And I could swear I heard Grover Norquist laughing in the background over the sound of water running into a bathtub.

Potemkin on the Mississippi - Redux

If you thought that my invocation of a facade villiage in yesterday's post on Bush's choice of a location for his speech last night was a stretch, consider this:

The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

Disasters 'R Us

The problems that allowed 9/11 to happen have not been fixed.

Bin Laden is still on the loose.

Afghanistan is falling back into a Taliban theocracy.

Iraq has spun violently out of control.

The slowness of FEMA's response to Hurrican Katrina killed more people than the storm itself.

Now, just because Shrubby-boy gave another of his written-in-crayon speeches to an empty square, we're supposed to believe that he can organize the biggest reconstruction effort since the end of the Civil War? And we're supposed to be happy that the soon-to-be indicted traitor Karl Rove can be trusted with an open-ended $200-plus billion reconstruction fund?

Please.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

New Orleans: Potemkin City

If you have the stomach to watch Shrubby-boy's speech tonight - which I don't - remember this: according an anonymous White House source, there will be no live audience in Jackson Square where he'll be yapping. And the press won't be allowed out of their news trucks. The square, long a forum for all manor of truly public speech will be as empty as Bush's head.

Remember: Karl Rove has been put in charge of the BushCo. post-Katrina operation. Not someone with experience in recovery from a catastrophe of historical proportions. Much like "Drownie" Brownie, Bush has once again placed cronyism and the good of the party above the good of the American people.

Remember: the recovery effort will be as fake as the speech.

Remember.

What Bush Should Say Tonight

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has sent out a press release ahead of Shrubby-boy's attempt at recapturing that bullhorn moment of long ago. Reid says what Bush really ought to say but that you know he won't. John at AmericaBlog has the entire text. Go check it out.

It's the strongest thing I've heard from a Democrat in a long time.

Drownie Learned His Lesson

Michael Brown seems to have learned one lesson very well from his stint at BushCo.'s FEMA:

The former FEMA director who became a lightning rod for the sluggish federal response to Hurricane Katrina put the blame on state officials in an interview with the New York Times newspaper.
The lesson? The buck stops everywhere but here.

Empty Streets

New Orleans continues to be mostly a ghost town while the press, Congress and the public slowly come to grips with the fact that BushCo. was responsible for the deaths of thousands by a myriad of acts of commission and omission. As usual, so far only one relatively low-ranking individual has taken the fall for this catastrophe - Michael "Drownie" Brown.

Tuesday, Shrubby-boy declared (despite all evidence to the contrary) that he could do more than one thing at a time. And so it seems he was telling the truth.

He's also responsible for this continuing debacle:

Two suicide car bombers struck within a minute of each other just a half mile apart in south Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least seven policemen and raising the day's bombing death toll in the capital to at least 31, police said.

Earlier Thursday, a suicide car bombing killed 16 policemen and five civilians in the same neighborhood, signaling a new round of violence one day after residents suffered through Baghdad's bloodiest day of the war.

At least 160 were killed and 570 wounded Wednesday in more than a dozen bombings, for which the terror group Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility. Many of the victims were day laborers lured by a suicide attacker posing as an employer. There was no immediate claim for the Thursday bombings.
The results of this entirely one-man-made disaster? Another empty city:

The U.S. military and Iraqi police drove through Baghdad's Dora neighborhood, where the bombings were concentrated Thursday, warning residents to stay indoors because of a report that five more car bombers were ready to attack, police Capt. Ali Abdul Hamza said. Streets in the southern neighborhood were empty.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Katrina vs Khanun

Have you heard about the Category 4 typhoon that hit one of the most populous areas of China's southeast coast? Nearly as powerful as Katrina and the strongest storm to come ashore in China this year, Khanun leveled huge swathes of the coastline before heading inland to dump massive amounts of rain on the interior.

The destruction of property is massive. But the Chinese government managed to evacuate nearly one million people and only 14 are confirmed dead (although it's still too soon to know the final tally).

Perhaps in tomorrow's meeting with Hu Jintao, Bush could ask what the Chinese government did right.

Just a thought.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Blame Game

In case anyone wants to know which way to point their fingers, I've provided a convenient, all-in-one-place target. Only one finger required - I'll leave the choice of which finger up to you:



Bush, Brown and Chertoff ponder their fate...