I'm currently seeing them come up at the waaaaaay bottom of the leftright hand (damned dyslexia) sidebar.

I'll check it again in the morning and hopefully, make it into comments.:)

Question of the Day: 9/11

It's been four years, today.

What is your single greatest sorrow since that day?

And as an extra bonus question, do you see any hope at the end of the tunnel now or just a rather desperate continuation of the current bizarre game plan?

Testing Archives


So Why Do People in

dry, never flooded areas of New Orleans, people who already have some basic services restored, have to leave, too?

Mind you, I'm not offering a conspiracy theory. But there's a lot not adding up here.

Black, White, and Wet All Over

A Jimmy Breslin column worth a read.

Poor Blacks No Longer Welcome?

If I were you, I would read this post by Amanda at Pandagon and then follow the link to Feministe. But I'm not you (and you're not me, which explains why your uterus isn't cramping and you're not snapping at people for being nice to you).

Something is going on in New Orleans that has nothing to do with what Katrina itself did and everything to do with what some people are willing to pay to have done to turn New Orleans into the place they want, where the poor and the black and the non-corporate, non-rich need NOT apply.

The Truth Told

(And thanks to Laura at War and Piece for pointing this out.)

From the LA Weekly:

.No one could have anticipated that, suddenly, TV’s two prettiest-boy anchors would be boldly and tearfully (CNN’s Anderson Cooper and FNN’s Shep Smith, to their immense credit) relating horror whenever and wherever they found it, no matter if the fault lay with Mother Nature or President Dubya. The impact was felt immediately. The depth of their reporting, along with that of other TV newscasters who were similarly unashamed to show their outrage, bested almost anything written by the most talented and experienced newspaper reporters. And the rawness of that televised despair spurred a still-new generation of Internet blogs and Web magazines to abandon their potty-mouthed snarking for long enough to start snarling at the proliferation of government lies and lying liars who tell them...

Contrary to the scripture so often quoted in these areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, the TV newscasters knew the truth, but the truth did not set them free. And the truth telling soon turned to backslapping. Lost amid all the self-congratulation by broadcasters once the crisis point had been passed was the fact that TV journalists went back to business-as-usual by the weekend. Their choke chains had been yanked by no-longer-inattentive parent-company bosses who, fearful of any FCC regulatory fallout from fingering Dubya for the FEMA fuckups, decided yet again to sacrifice community need for corporate greed.

Now comes the real test of pathos vs. profit: whether the TV newscasters will spend the fresh reservoir of truth and trust earned with the public to challenge FEMA’s attempt to perpetrate a campaign of mass deception. That’s the only way to describe what Reuters says is the agency’s attempt to block the news media from photographing the dead — maybe 10,000 corpses — as they are recovered from flooded New Orleans. Yet again, as it did with the coffins coming home from the Iraqi War and its violent aftermath, the Bush administration wants to hide from the public the lethal consequences of its flawed programs and policies....

East New Orleans - What's Up?

Again and again, I hear everywhere but in most mainstream media that NOTHING in East New Orleans, the most poverty stricken part of the area - is being touched. Anyone trying to fly or row in there is being met with huge numbers of loaded M16s. Food isn't being dropped there, nor is water. Rescue missions aren't being flown there. Nor are recovery missions.

If someone somewhere would like to avoid more conspiracy theories like the much repeated ones about levees being blown up arond poor areas to save rich areas, one would think they might explain what the fuck's going on in East New Orleans.

"God" Cleaned Up Public Housing with Katrina - Sheesh!

Posted at Lenin's Tomb:

Here's another dickhead who should be out of a job and possibly have his head put on a spike:
    Two shaky House incumbents, Democrat Melancon and Republican Boustany, hope response to hurricane rallies voters behind them. House Republican campaign chief Reynolds touts chance to market conservative social-policy solutions; Rep. Baker of Baton Rouge is overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

Meanwhile, the first head rolls, sort of - FEMA director Michael Brown is removed from Katrina 'relief'. Not good enough. This guy and the administration that put him there should be dismissed and the President impeached, (or sent to the Hague, tried and jailed in Abu Ghraib). You know what's really unfair about New Orleans, for him? Standard wage bills. With all this destruction and chaos, someone should be able to make a quick fortune - so, Bush has allowed the reconstruction companies curently filling their gullets in New Orleans to lower the wages they pay employees.

USA Today Offers Tough Words for Mr. Bush and the BushTones

See here.

Which Would Be More Comprehensively Correct?

Is CNN's "news" anchor Kyra Phillips:

a) a Bush brown-nosing twit, or
b) a Bush brown-nosing twat?

If This is How the Feds Respond to a Predictable Disaster, Why Do We Think We Can Trust Them with Anything Else

Excellent letter in Friday's Times:

President Bush tried to pass off national criticism of his response to Hurricane Katrina as a "blame game" (news article, Sept. 7) and suggested that it diverted attention from immediate tasks.

Focusing on his Supreme Court nominations may have diverted attention from the recovery, but addressing the incompetence in the Department of Homeland Security is an immediate need.

If we cannot respond to disasters that strike known vulnerabilities with advance warning, what can we, or potential terrorists, expect when disaster strikes without warning?


How Kind of Them: The Court is Sending a Convicted Murderer to Jail This Time

Remember Edgar Killen convicted in the Civil Rights workers' murders only to complain he was too sick for prison? Well, apparently Mr. Killen got well as soon as they let him out on "sympathy" leave.

I'm sure they'll be giving Eric Robert Rudolph long unsupervised weekend furloughs soon, too.

Michael Chertoff: The More You Hear From Him, the Less You Want Him in Charge of Homeland Security

[See Dedalus' post at Blah3 for other remarks]

So today, (Rich White) Homeland Security Chief, also in charge of depts like FEMA, Michael Chertoff, makes this HUGE point of telling us that even though the big bad media is forcing a wonderful guy like Michael Brown out of being in charge of killing even more people in Katrina-struck areas back to Washington to continue drawing his large salary without getting his endangered species loafers wet. Chertoff gets kind of nasty about it too, telling the media that they can't understand plain English.

This isn't the first time Chertoff has fallen over himself contragulating the FEMA guy either.

Neither Chertoff nor Brown deserve a pat on the back; a good swift kick is more like it, and doing hard time in the putrid waters of New Orleans (no manicures allowed) seems appropriate penance.

Only in America

See Trent Lott's porch (well, sort of).

Though one wonders what's wrong with America that I'm getting network server too busy errors trying to access this on a warm Friday night. I know gas is getting expensive but there's always sex, people.

No Resignation for FEMA Director Michael Brown, Just Strong Margherita and Trip Back to Washington

So now we're now going to pay Michael Brown to continue doing his job badly elsewhere WHILE we - nearly at the beginning of the third week - now pay someone else not only to do Brown's job in the ravaged areas but ALSO pay a whole new contracting group to oversee the new guy's work.

Wouldn't you rather see some of the wasted money go to oh.. I dunno... disaster relief?


Larry Johnson: MSNBC Spins

Larry Johnson posting at TPMCafe offers some excellent perspective on how the cable news networks are spinning NOLA to protect the prez. Worth reading, IMHO.

Bush: What Didn't Go Right Last Week?

That's what Nancy Pelosi said Bush told her when she suggested the federal response to NOLA wasn't good.

From The Carpetbagger Report - I knew they'd have it when I just caught a few words of it on TV -

Congress' top two Democrats furiously criticized the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina on Wednesday, with Sen. Harry Reid demanding to know whether President Bush's Texas vacation impeded relief efforts and Rep. Nancy Pelosi assailing the chief executive as "oblivious, in denial." […]

t a news conference, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush's choice for head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had "absolutely no credentials."

She related that she had urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Michael Brown.

"He said 'Why would I do that?'" Pelosi said.

"'I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'"

"Oblivious, in denial, dangerous," she added.

Miltary Punishes Two Helicopter Crews for Saving People

Democracy Now! also reported today that two helicopter crews, assigned to perform routine duties around the gulf last week, have been punished (one by servicing a kennel for the dogs of top brass) because they rescued more than 100 people instead.

The Shrub Doesn't Fall Far From the Bush

From Niagara Falls Reporter:

Scientists might well start researching the question: Are questionable reactions to foreign crises, wars, hurricanes and the economy genetic?

The degree to which George W. Bush's presidency is mirroring his father's, and magnifying it, seems to indicate the answer is a ringing YES.

While Dubya's dad tended to respond a bit more rapidly when huge crises developed for the country -- and usually more prudently -- he sometimes displayed the same lack of focus, concentration and productive followup that his son is now getting torched for by citizens and media alike.

This writer was with Bush the Elder in the last week of August 1992, covering the current president's father in New England while he campaigned for re-election. When an aide informed him of the devastating effect of Hurricane Andrew, which had just hit south Florida, that president quickly canceled all political appearances and flew directly to the struggling state. But while he offered tsk-tsk bromides and isn't-this-awfuls, the father was roundly criticized for the delay that surrounded provision of meaningful federal aid to the 300 square miles of almost total devastation.

As the mammoth Hurricane Katrina wiped out New Orleans last week, Bush the Younger doubled that lame performance in spades. He gave the initial appearance of not caring at all. Where are his political minders? Even as the monster storm hit, Bush the son was counseling victims from afar to just tough it out -- and was photographed happily strumming a guitar provided to him by country star Mark Wills at a meaningless San Diego event before flying back to his ranch. It could only have been worse in terms of bad symbolic publicity if Dubya had been handed Nero's fiddle to play.

Even as he started to react, Dubya failed to look after important details. His secretary of state was a noted no-show at the first Cabinet meeting called to respond to Katrina. The vacationing Condoleezza Rice -- a native of the similarly hard-hit Alabama -- was caught by vitriolic New York media shopping for thousand-dollar shoes at Ferragamo on Fifth Avenue, and later laughing to tears while attending a Monty Python comedy on Broadway.

There were other blunders in terms of federal response imagery. The newspaper trade publication "Editor and Publisher" noted that in Biloxi, Miss. -- also devastated by Katrina -- survivor victims of the storm who were gathered in a junior high school shelter waiting for help and food and medicine could look across the road and watch Air Force personnel performing calisthenics and playing basketball. Transportation was no excuse there. The potential responders could have aided the victims with a five-minute stroll.

When local reporters asked the base brass why they weren't helping relief efforts instead of following physical training routine, they were told picking up beach litter would be pointless at this juncture of the calamity.

Andrew was a Force Five storm that eventually totaled $43 billion in damage, killed 41 residents directly, boosted unemployment in south Florida to 14 percent, and wiped out almost 10 percent of Florida agriculture. Like Katrina, it veered northwest, gathered moisture and force over the warm Gulf of Mexico, and then lashed north to hit Louisiana and cause another couple of billion dollars' worth of damage. Bush the Elder eventually responded with massive assistance -- almost 30,000 military personnel, and enough tents and food for a like number of victims.

Ironically, in mid-August of last year, in the midst of his campaign for re-election, Bush the Younger toured Florida with his brother-governor Jeb -- two days after Hurricane Charley ripped Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte -- and commented on the slow response for which their father was criticized a dozen years before.

"That was then, this is now," said President George W. Bush. "The lesson is, respond quickly." Words that are surely ringing in Dubya's ears.

Poor, Poor Jonah Goldberg

From The Poor Man:

POOR ME [Jonah Goldberg]
I’ve been catching a lot of flack recently for my comment that poor people are getting too much sympathy for their suffering in the aftermath of Katrina, at the expense of better-off victims. Look, I agree that it’s real sad that I bunch of poor people died. Boo hoo. But the fact remains that playing the class card simply lets extra special poor people off the hook for the bad decisions they’ve made in their lives that landed them in this position. I mean, they knew perfectly well the hurricane was coming, and yet they didn’t even think of sojourning to their summer houses in the Hamptons until the storm passed? Why didn’t they take some time to travel Europe, and maybe bum around Prague for a while pretending to be a novelist? And if none of that appeals to them, they should join the army, because there are lots of people like me who just don’t have the time. It’s of course tragic that tens of thousands of poor people drowned, but will no one spare a tear for all the stolen plasma TV’s?
Sounds a lot like Jonah, too.

Another Quick Question

Have I missed George, Dick, Rummy, or Rove saying yet that NOLA was Clinton's fault?

I mean, everything else is Bill's fault according to them.

They Put This Out Now, When No One is Paying Attention

But For is recalling 3.8 million SUVs and trucks based on a problem that can start an engine fire.

3.8 million!

Body Count Estimates

I've now heard talk of trying to prepare for up to 50,000 human bodies from NOLA alone.

There Are Always a Lot of Dead People on George Bush's Watch

But as much as he can control it, there are NEVER photographs of the dead - not in Iraq or Afghanistan, and not in downtown NOLA.

The U.S. agency leading Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts said Tuesday that it does not want the news media to photograph the dead as they are recovered. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, heavily criticized for its slow response to the devastation caused by the hurricane, rejected journalists' requests to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims.

An agency spokeswoman said space was needed on the rescue boats. "We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media," the spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

Free Thread

Y'know, as opposed to the ones you have to pay for (cough).

Post links to NOLA, to anything else appropriate in the ongoing dialogue.

In Memoriam to Bob Denver...

Attaturk at Rising Hegemon puts the Bush Administration to Gilligan's Island theme music.

A Nawlins Journal

Vince at Spazzzdic Musings points us here, with NOLA info.

Remember there's NOLA.com, too.

So How Much Does Race Play into NOLA Disaster?

Democracy Now! today was filled with stories and filmed video of people talking about the black inhabitants of parts of New Orleans, especially the Ninth Ward, as crazy, felonous, not bright, etc.

Certainly, there's been a lot of talk on how the city's 70% black population with between 30 and 40% of them subsisting below the US poverty level, factored in the response.

But there's more. I suspect the population is also factoring into the dire estimates, the forced evacuations, etc. Did anyone suggest New York should be forgotten because of 9/11? No one suggested moving the folks out of Hurricane Country in Florida last year when hurricanes kept striking the same area.

I think some very "smart" business folks have decided that this is the way they can get property cheap and reshape the city away from poor blacks. To do this, however, they need the holdouts to leave so this can go on outside of America's view.

Note that Reporters Without Borders is noting that NOLA is a very dangerous place for journalists, especially those doing their job. What is not so outright but what is implied is that some of the dangers come not from angry, desperate holdouts but from the military and quasi-military infrastructure that has been sent in.

NOLA Police to Evacuate People Forcibly

One final piece from Reuters:

New Orleans police will try to force Hurricane Katrina's survivors to leave the fetid city on Wednesday as the political storm grows over the botched response to the crisis and cost estimates rise to as high as $150 billion (81 billion pounds).

Flood levels in some areas were said to have dropped a foot (30 cm) but Mayor Ray Nagin said 60 percent of the city was still under water, hampering efforts to recover the thousands of people feared killed in the hurricane and its aftermath.

Nagin said floodwaters also threatened those still clinging to the life they knew before Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast last week, with garbage, oil and putrefying bodies floating in the stagnant pools inundating New Orleans.

After days of trying to change the minds of some 10,000 people who have refused to leave, authorities began to enforce a mandatory evacuation on Tuesday.

Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass said his men would evacuate residents, if necessary against their will.

"We'll do everything it takes to make this city safe. These people don't understand they're putting themselves in harm's way," Compass said.

But die-hard inhabitants of a city mainly known for jazz and Mardi Gras before it became a disaster area of Third-World proportions say they fear evacuation to parts of the country where they have no family or means of support.

Martha Smith-Aguillard, 72, said she was brought against her will to an evacuation point at the city's wrecked convention centre. Her foot was swollen after she trod on a rusty nail and she said she needed a tetanus shot.

Nonetheless, she refused to board a government helicopter.

Updates to Iraq Charter Constitution Fail

Also reported by Reuters:

Iraq's main Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim sects abandoned efforts to amend a draft constitution on Tuesday and a version rejected by many Sunnis will be printed.

"The talks have ended. We did not reach any agreement on making changes to the draft. It will be printed in the form it was read to the National Assembly last week," Bahaa al-Araji, a member of the parliamentary drafting committee, told Reuters.

"No changes will be made," he said, adding that five million copies will be printed, starting on Thursday.

The constitution, due to be voted on in a referendum by October 15, has been a source of tension in Iraq as Sunnis, long the dominant political force, fear losing influence to majority Shi'ites, who were oppressed under Saddam Hussein.

Gaza Militants Kill Yassir Arafat's Cousin

From Reuters:

GAZA (Reuters) - Scores of masked Palestinian militants dragged former security chief Moussa Arafat from his Gaza home and shot him dead in the street on Wednesday after battling his guards for more than half an hour.

He was the most senior figure killed in factional violence that has stirred doubt about whether security forces can keep order in the territory, seen as a proving ground for Palestinian statehood once Israelis leave.

Major-General Arafat, a cousin of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was a Gaza strongman kept as an adviser by President Mahmoud Abbas after being fired as head of military intelligence in an anti-corruption crackdown...

CNN's Jack Cafferty on NOLA Blame Game

Atrios posted this:

Why are we talking about the "blame game" - there are thousands of people dead because government officials failed to do what they're supposed to be doing. That's criminal behavior. I mean, that's no game. There are poeple dead in the city of New Orelans and up and down the gulf coast because people charged with seeing to their welfare failed to do that. I don't understand this relecutance to say, Mr. Brown, you failed in your assignment. You're out of here. Go away. Go back to Colorado and go back to working for the Arabian Horse Association that we got you from.

A Referral

CK recommends these:

You have got to see this:http://home.comcast.net/ ~j.swail...UsAndThemLG.mov ( requires Apple quicktime on your machine) and a box of tissues.and this:http://img144.imageshack.us/img1...6/ Fallen_lg.jpg

Rove on Attack Against Those Who Criticize Prez

Read the story on Blah3. Dan Froomkin of WaPo appears to have seen through Rove's cloaking fat layer.

If You're a Bushie, You're Otherwise Engaged

A couple of "hey, the press is awake" pieces from Ed and Pub:

The seemingly carefree behavior of top Bush administration officials early last week, who stuck to their vacations as tens of thousands cried for help in New Orleans, gained another twist with revelations that Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld was taking in a ball game in San Diego last Monday night--about 24 hours after Katrina hit.

Rumsfeld has come under increasing criticism for the military's lack of early intervention in the rescue.An E&P reader tipped us off to a column in last Tuesday's San Diego Union-Tribune by regular columnist Diane Bell. One item reads:"Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield wasn't the only VIP who joined Padres President John Moores in the owner's box last night at Petco Park. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, here to join President Bush at the North Island Naval Air Station today, took in the game, too. Three weeks ago, Winfield stopped by the Pentagon with his family and later joined the Padres as they visited wounded soldiers at the Army's Walter Reed Hospital during a road trip. "Winfield was very moved by the experience," says his agent, Randy Grossman. So he invited Rumsfeld to the Padres game. "After the first few innings, the plan was to shift to dugout seats, for a closer look at the action."
. And here, where the WH press corps rents a pair of testicles for today's WH press conference with Scottie McClellan:



Posted by Cookie Jill at Skippy:

a british tourist stranded for five days with his wife and seven-year-old son in a new orleans hotel has called the us relief operation a "shambles".

ged scott, 36, of liverpool, told bbc news hotel staff and guests had received no help from the authorities.police officers had taken "souvenir" photographs of stranded people begging for help, he added...he said at one point a group of girls was standing on the roof of the hotel lobby and called to passing rescuers for help. they [the authorities] said to them 'well show us what you've got' - doing signs for them to lift their t-shirts up. the girls said no, and they said 'well fine', and motored off down the road in their motorboat

....when they were finally rescued it had been by louisiana game wardens, who had entered the hotel with rifles and fixed bayonets, mr scott said. - bbc

New Evidence: FEMA Chief Only Send Help After Storm Ended and Basically Told Them Not to Hurry Down

What can even be said?

WASHINGTON - The government's disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina had already struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security workers to support rescuers in the region — and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents.

Now They Will Force People Out

One has the right to ask what right the mayor or anyone else has to order citizens to leave or be taken out when the mayor left them there all last week. But as of now, rescue groups are under orders to drag people out.

Nice to Know the Cheneys and Rumsfelds Can Live So Damned Large!

From WaPo.

BTW... Has Anyone Heard Anything More at All About

State or Fed cops blowing away citizens and US Army Corps of Engineers workers? This, I believe, stemmed from an AP report.

The "City of Louisiana"

No doubt, you heard the FEMA director refer to LA as a city.
But you shouldn't miss this from Keith Olbermann; snippet here but please, please read it all:

No one is suggesting that mayors or governors in the afflicted areas, nor the federal government, should be able to stop hurricanes. Lord knows, no one is suggesting that we should ever prioritize levee improvement for a below-sea-level city, ahead of $454 million worth of trophy bridges for the politicians of Alaska.

But, nationally, these are leaders who won re-election last year largely by portraying their opponents as incapable of keeping the country safe. These are leaders who regularly pressure the news media in this country to report the reopening of a school or a power station in Iraq, and defies its citizens not to stand up and cheer. Yet they couldn't even keep one school or power station from being devastated by infrastructure collapse in New Orleans — even though the government had heard all the "chatter" from the scientists and city planners and hurricane centers and some group whose purposes the government couldn't quite discern... a group called The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

And most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection — or at least amelioration — against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological. It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.

Mr. Bush has now twice insisted that, "we are not satisfied," with the response to the manifold tragedies along the Gulf Coast. I wonder which "we" he thinks he's speaking for on this point. Perhaps it's the administration, although we still don't know where some of them are. Anybody seen the Vice President lately? The man whose message this time last year was, 'I'll Protect You, The Other Guy Will Let You Die'? I don't know which 'we' Mr. Bush meant.

For many of this country's citizens, the mantra has been — as we were taught in Social Studies it should always be — whether or not I voted for this President — he is still my President. I suspect anybody who had to give him that benefit of the doubt stopped doing so last week. I suspect a lot of his supporters, looking ahead to '08, are wondering how they can distance themselves from the two words which will define his government — our government — "New Orleans."

For him, it is a shame — in all senses of the word.

Great Jon Stewart Line

"Hurricane Katrina is George Bush's Monica Lewinsky. The only difference is that tens of thousands of people were NOT stranded in Monica Lewinsky's vagina."

Compassion Denny Hastert Style

From the Sun-Sentinel:

WASHINGTON · House Speaker Dennis Hastert began his day Friday explaining that he really does not want to see New Orleans bulldozed, and he ended it defending his absence from the Capitol when Congress approved a $10.5 billion hurricane aid package. In between, a former president hinted he would like to throttle the Illinois Republican.

Hastert was still reeling from reaction to his comments earlier this week about the storm-ravaged city. "It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed," he said in an interview with the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. Asked whether it made sense to spend billions of dollars rebuilding a city that lies below sea level, he told the paper, "I don't know. That doesn't make sense to me."

"Greta! Please Bring Back Poor Natalee Holloway!"

Someone - I'm still not sure how - I ended up over on Greta van Susteren's subsite at Fox News over the weekend. And do you want to know what kind of mail this credentialed lawyer gets?

Just like the headline above. Faux News watchers are tired of the hurricane news and want to get back to "important" stuff like a three-month old white-girl-goes-missing story from another country.

Reality: something Faux staples, folds, AND mutilates.

All the Bushies Were "Gone Fishing" For Katrina

From Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

Small world. The Times and the Post note that one possible reason for the White House's slow response to Katrina was that so many key appointees were on vacation. A number, for instance, were in Greece for the wedding of White House communications advisor Nicolle Devenish.

It so happens Devenish is marrying Mark Wallace, who, it turns out, took over from the esteemed Michael Brown as General Counsel of FEMA when Brown ascended from General Counsel to Deputy Director.

Wallace was General Counsel at FEMA as the agency was being transitioned into the Department of Homeland Security in 2002 and 2003. After that he took a different job at DHS before becoming Deputy Campaign Manager of the Bush-Cheney 2004.

According to The Hotline (10/16/03), Wallace got his start in politics as Jeb Bush's driver in 1994.
Condi was vacationing in New York through five days of people starving; Bush stayed on vacation four days past his notification, Rummy was a VIP at a ballgame, and there's some question whether Cheney is even back from vacation now (he usually takes about two months off - July AND August - each year).

Third World Scenes

WaPo about the NOLA airport:

NEW ORLEANS -- The wretched shelters at the Superdome and the convention center were finally emptied this weekend, so the last place you could really grasp the enormity of what happened here was the airport. You thought you were in Haiti or Angola, not the United States, and you understood why so many of the people who survived the past week are filled with exhausted rage.

On the lower level, where normally you would come to meet an arriving flight, thousands of people stood in a ragged line, wearing and carrying all they had in this world. I saw maybe a few dozen whites; all the rest were black. It was one of those Third World lines that goes nowhere for a long time, then lurches forward, then backs up, then stalls again. Hundreds of rifle-toting soldiers were there to keep order, but no one had the inclination or energy for disorder.

Upstairs, where normally you would have checked in for a flight, was much worse.

A big atrium was being used as a field hospital, where patients lay on row after row of cots, just a foot or two apart. Most were elderly, and many seemed to be just clinging to life. The place stank of urine and sweat. A steady stream of ambulances came to deposit more patients, who were carted in by more soldiers, but there were never any sirens. What would be the point? What wasn't an emergency?

Throughout the rest of the long terminal, past all the check-in counters, ran another endless line of bedraggled survivors -- this was the head of the line that began outside. These people were about to be put onto planes. Some didn't even know where they were going, just that they were going away and might never come back.

There I met John Mullen III, a retired schoolteacher who told me how he came to be in that line.

Mullen, who is African American, lived in the Lower Ninth Ward, an almost all-black neighborhood. He was in bed when the levee failed and the fast-rising water woke him up. "By the time I could walk across the room, it went from here," and he indicated mid-calf, "to here," he said, raising his hand to mid-thigh.

He and the rest of his family somehow made it out of the house and saw that a neighbor's boat had floated loose, so they and others managed to grab hold, 18 people in all. "We paddled over to Martin Luther King Elementary School, where I used to teach," he said. As they passed houses at the roofline, he remembered seeing that "the cockroaches had climbed as high as they could, and the redfish were just snapping them up."
Thanks to Buzzflash for the link.

Elsewhere in the Empire of Bush

Remember when the president told us we were fighting in Iraq so we wouldn't see the terrorists here? Well, he's either doing an extraordinarily good job or a (my lord) very bad one.


U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday that Iraq has become an even greater “center for terrorist activities” than Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Annan, speaking to British Broadcasting Corp., said many young Muslims are angry, and their anger has been exacerbated by what is happening in Iraq.

“They feel victimized in their own society; they feel victimized in the West. And they feel there’s profiling against them,” he said. “And the Iraqi situation has not helped matters.”
So we've actually turned Iraq - with better conditions - into a better epicenter for bad guys (from our perspective) than Afghanistan. That's REALLY hard to do, btw.

Captain Bill O'Hero... er.. O'Liely er.... O'Reilly

From the General (the sound of choking and wretching uncontrollably, however, is completely and exclusivel mine).

More Perspective

Xavier's got some great stuff about Katrina at Pibbshow (with a bow toward Peter).

Er... What Was I Saying About Not Posting?

In the meantime, if you've got some non-Katrina stuff you want to discuss, you know how to do it, right?

You just pucker up and type.

GOP Friendly NY Daily News Goes After Bush's FEMA and Pat Robertson

Here (although the piece was written by Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now!:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has done it again.

Already under fire for its woeful response to Hurricane Katrina, the federal disaster agency appears to have turned hurricane relief donations into a political payoff - until it was challenged.

All last week, FEMA bureaucrats gave prominent placement on the agency's Web site to Operation Blessing, the Virginia-based charity run by controversial right-wing evangelist and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson.

For anyone wishing to donate only cash, the agency's site listed the names and phone numbers of three groups: the Red Cross, Operation Blessing and America's Second Harvest, a national coalition of food banks.

That first list was followed by a second, longer list of several dozen religious and nonsectarian charities. This second list was for anyone who wanted to give either cash or noncash gifts.

Just as in an ordinary election, however, top ballot position makes it far more likely you'll get noticed and chosen.

The same FEMA list was then disseminated by state and local governments throughout the country. Both Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, for example, placed the same top three FEMA charities on their Hurricane Katrina press releases and Web sites last week.

Those familiar with Robertson and his charity were flabbergasted.

Operation Blessing, with a budget of $190 million, is an integral part of the Robertson empire. Not only is he the chairman of the board, his wife is listed on its latest financial report as its vice president, and one of his sons is on the board of directors.

Back in 1994, during the infamous Rwandan genocide, Robertson used his 700 Club's daily cable operation to appeal to the American public for donations to fly humanitarian supplies into Zaire to save the Rwandan refugees.

The planes purchased by Operation Blessing did a lot more than ferry relief supplies.

An investigation conducted by the Virginia attorney general's office concluded in 1999 that the planes were mostly used to transport mining equipment for a diamond operation run by a for-profit company called African Development Corp.

And who do you think was the principal executive and sole shareholder of the mining company?

You guessed it, Pat Robertson himself.

Considering the Horrible, Horrible Mess Iraq and Afghanistan Are In...

why the hell would they give Rumsfeld control over some of the Katrina-hit land.

Rummy will want to bomb people who won't move, calling them "deadenders".

Say Hello to

Save The Court.

Geraldo Does it Again

Keith Olbermann tonight on Countdown on MSNBC said Geraldo made some elderly, hurting, starving 79 yr old refugee and her dog do multiple "takes" of her being faked rescued by Geraldo.

BTW, for some odd reason, I caught some of Imus this morning - something I don't do. Boy, Donny did everything but call Bush words that would get bleeped. He was rip roading made about Katrina and ridiculed anyone who voted for Bush (which I actually assume(d) Imus had done).

Fuck Impeachment

">Daily Read at Trailing Edge Blog points us to two excellent posts elsewhere on NOLA and Bush. The first is from Shakespeare's Sister.

There are those now calling for Bush’s impeachment. Fuck impeachment. The whole lot of them—every last conservative ideologue who has advocated “starving the beast,” every last one of those selfish, soulless, anti-American bastards—ought to be rounded up and sent to the Superdome to live in the river of shit and piss until every single refugee has been provided safe sanctuary and a warm meal. Then Bush and his gang of cretins can clean up the trail of scattered corpses. Let the blood that belongs on their hands be a literal lesson for these pitiless pieces of human refuse. It’s long overdue.

Mr. Natural at Left Edge North has posted an excellent round-up of more eloquent comments put together by Shakespeare’s Sister.

"Blowin' in the Wind"

Karlo at SwerveLeft points us to a site offering some good protest songs in MP3 format. If you like some of the music you hear on interludes on Democracy Now, etc., then you might like some of these.

The (UK) Guardian: The Failure to Save New Orleans Shows America's "Hidden" Begotry and "Lie" of Equal Opportunity

This piece by Gary Younge is very powerful.



Katrina did not create this racist image of African-Americans - it has simply laid bare its ahistorical bigotry, and in so doing exposed the lie of equal opportunity in the US. A basic understanding of human nature suggests everyone in New Orleans wanted to survive and escape. A basic understanding of American economics and history shows that, despite all the rhetoric, wealth - not hard work or personal sacrifice - is the most decisive factor in who succeeds.

In that sense, Katrina has been a disaster for the poor for the same reason that President Bush's social security proposals and economic policies have been. It was the result of small government - an inadequate, privatised response to a massive public problem. And if there was ever any bewilderment about why African-Americans reject such an agenda so comprehensively at every election, then this was why.

"No one would have checked on a lot of the black people in these parishes while the sun shined," Mayor Milton Tutwiler of Winstonville, Mississippi, told the New York Times. "So am I surprised that no one has come to help us now? No."

The fact that the vast majority of those who remained in town were black was not an accident. Katrina did not go out of its way to affect black people. It destroyed almost everything in its path. But the poor were disproportionately affected because they were least able to escape its path and to endure its wrath. They are more likely to have bad housing and less likely to have cars. Many had to work until the last moment and few have the money to pay for a hotel out of town.

Nature does not discriminate, but people do. For reasons that are particularly resonant in the south, where this year African-Americans celebrated the 40th anniversary of legislation protecting their right to vote, black people are disproportionately represented among the poor. Two-thirds of New Orleans is African-American, a quarter of whom live in poverty

(LA) Times-Picayune Points Finger for Rescue Failure Straight at the President

From Ed and Pub:

While the angry barbs and finger pointing continue to assign blame for the horrendously poor response to the Gulf Coast hurricane catastrophe, Jim Amoss, the editor of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans -- now publishing out of Houma, La. -- is mincing no words. The feeble response, he says in an interview, is “ultimately his failure, and it is a colossal one that may have cost lives.”

On Sunday, an angry Times-Picayune published an "open letter" to the president -- which E&P was first to reprint on this site that morning, drawing wide national attention to it. Since then it has been republished by the Seattle Times and on CNN.com, read in full on MSNBC, and quoted in hundreds of other newspapers. Among other things, it called for the firing of Michael Brown, head of FEMA, and other top officials involved in fumbling the crisis.

Now Editor Amoss, in an interview with The Oregonian in Portland, has explained why the paper wrote it: "We needed to address the president directly .... We felt that this is ultimately his failure, and it is a colossal one that may have cost lives, and certainly much physical damage to our community."

So Some 200-400 Schoolbuses Were Abandoned...

when one of the disaster plans called for using them to round up citizens to get them out,

Had the plan been followed and these buses used, as many as 13,000 people could have been taken to safer ground much sooner or, as in too many cases, their deaths averted.

Unfortunately, I've never bought the line that first dozens, and then hundreds, and then thousands and now, today ten thousand, human bodies will be found in the city and its suburbs. While I expect authorities - especially the Bushies - to hide large counts, I believe that more likely 20 or 30,000 may have died.

Now that number is a guess-timate based on neighborhood populations and demographics, including age, income, extended family, etc.

Bush: No One Could Have Predicted a Levee Failure

Except a report that came in just before went on his 5+ week vacation, and one six months before that, and many dozens before that and... according to Slate... other reports going back as far as 1832.

Barbara Bush Again Doesn't Want to Bother Her Beautiful Mind with Images of the Dead and Dying

Editor and Publisher is on the case of the woman from whom our (cough) president got his compassionate conservatism (cough cough cough):

Accompanying her husband, former President GeorgeH.W.Bush, on a tour of hurricane relief centers inHouston, Barbara Bush said today, referring to thepoor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, "This is working very well for them." ...

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."
I've always thought Barbara Bush was much worse than her public image. Now, since Iraq, she's kept proving me right over and over again.

"...she chuckles slightly..."

Fuck You, Poor Blacks Er... Disaster Management Cheney and Rove Style

Where oh where is the Dick?

Anyway, BillMon takes a careful look at FEMA, and "rescue" Cheney and Rove style here.

Pesky Little Point

For all the president saying basically that despite the millions and millions and millions we pour into emergency preparedness, help for NOLA will come from the rest of the country donating, I notice Halliburton expects to be paid - and most lucratively - for their effort. And they just got a HUGE tax break, too.

Must be nice.

Halliburton and Bush's Campaign Man Look to Cleanup on Katrina Contracts

Also from Think Progress:

The AP reports that Kellogg, Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary that came under fire for its reconstruction work in Iraq, “has begun tapping a $500 million Navy contract to do emergency repairs at Gulf Coast naval and Marine facilities that were battered by Hurricane Katrina.
Under fire for mistreatment of whistleblowers and under investigation in Nigeria, France, and the U.S. for allegedly paying kickbacks and performing a variety of other corporate misdeeds,

Halliburton’s past performance raises serious concerns about whether they’re the right company to help pull the Gulf Coast out of what may end up being the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history.

The appropriation of hurricane recovery funds also highlights Halliburton’s special interest connections to the White House.
On February 1, 2005, The Allbaugh Company, under the name of M. Diane Allbaugh, registered to lobby for Kellogg, Brown & Root. The lobbying registration form lists Joe M. Allbaugh, former 2000 Bush campaign manager and former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as KBR’s official lobbyist.

Another Lovely Move

The feds have decided that they will NOT give food or water to anyone intent on staying in New Orleans.

They leave these people to fend for themselves for over a week, and then, when they've been stuck there this long, they can't even get a glass of water from the feds.


The heartbreaking moments just keep coming in the wake of Katrina, not the least of which is the feds' criminally poor response, but for those of you who have not heard this tape from the president of Jefferson County Parish about a mother in a nursing home who drowned because no help was available, you should.

It's at Crooks and Liars... scroll down down and down. Look for the name Aaron Broussard.

Think Progress offers the text:

The guy who runs this building I’m in, Emergency Management, he’s responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” and he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you.” Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday… and she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night! [Sobbing] Nobody’s coming to get us. Nobody’s coming to get us… read on
Can you even imagine the sense of abandonment as is stretches on to a week and more?

CNN Poll

More than 80% of those responding agree with Bill Clinton: the government failed NOLA.

The only surprise there is: what the hell are the other 20% thinking or do they just happen not to think very often?

So Why, in a Time of Grave Emergency, is the GOP Prez Refusing to Communicate with the Dem Gov of LA?

Four guesses and the first five don't count.

Here's the start of a post by Armando at Daily Kos but go read it all:

One of the charges (READ "lies") Republicans make to excuse Bush's criminal incompetence is that Louisiana governor Blanco had not filled out the right form, or said the right magic incantation or had not ceded jurisdiction to the feds and thus had prevented the sending of troops into New Orleans. Their claim is that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prevented such a deployment without the ceding of jurisdiction by the State.
There is also this by Josh at TalkingPointsMemo:
As noted, the Washington Post got burned today by a "senior Bush official" who told them that Gov. Blanco of Louisiana had never declared a state of emergency in the site -- a claim the Post printed as fact. Yet the claim was demonstrably false and by late afternoon the Post had been compelled to print a correction.

This week's Newsweek contains the same false claim -- and though their recital of the anecdote is unsourced, common sense suggests that someone or some operation fed them both the same line, which neither organization checked out before running.

Monday's Times, not surprisingly, confirms that the White House damage control operation is being run by Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett.

Add it up.

And who will report this out?


Mayor to NOLA Residents

The city is destroyed; do not come back. There are no homes or jobs to return to.

Can you imagine at anytime in American history these words being uttered? Except, of course, under Mr. Bush's watch.

More than 500 NO cops have not appeared for duty, or about a quarter of the force. This is in addition to the two have committed suicide.


More Bush Faked Photo Ops

Posted by Laura at War and Piece:

There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV.

ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.

The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.

Raw Story

Lots of important stories there.

Bush Faked Levee Repair for Photo Op

Posted by John at AmericaBlog:

From a press release LA Senator Mary Landrieu sent out today:
    But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast - black and white, rich and poor, young annd old - deserve far better from their national governmeent.

"Fallujah Floods the Superdome"

Frank Rich today in The Times:

AS the levees cracked open and ushered hell into New Orleans on Tuesday, President Bush once again chose to fly away from Washington, not toward it, while disaster struck. We can all enumerate the many differences between a natural catastrophe and a terrorist attack. But character doesn't change: it is immutable, and it is destiny.

As always, the president's first priority, the one that sped him from Crawford toward California, was saving himself: he had to combat the flood of record-low poll numbers that was as uncontrollable as the surging of Lake Pontchartrain. It was time, therefore, for another disingenuous pep talk, in which he would exploit the cataclysm that defined his first term, 9/11, even at the price of failing to recognize the emerging fiasco likely to engulf Term 2.

After dispatching Katrina with a few sentences of sanctimonious boilerplate ("our hearts and prayers are with our fellow citizens"), he turned to his more important task. The war in Iraq is World War II. George W. Bush is F.D.R. And anyone who refuses to stay his course is soft on terrorism and guilty of a pre-9/11 "mind-set of isolation and retreat." Yet even as Mr. Bush promised "victory" (a word used nine times in this speech on Tuesday), he was standing at the totemic scene of his failure. It was along this same San Diego coastline that he declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln more than two years ago. For this return engagement, The Washington Post reported, the president's stage managers made sure he was positioned so that another hulking aircraft carrier nearby would stay off-camera, lest anyone be reminded of that premature end of "major combat operations."

This administration would like us to forget a lot, starting with the simple fact that next Sunday is the fourth anniversary of the day we were attacked by Al Qaeda, not Iraq. Even before Katrina took command of the news, Sept. 11, 2005, was destined to be a half-forgotten occasion, distorted and sullied by a grotesquely inappropriate Pentagon-sponsored country music jamboree on the Mall. But hard as it is to reflect upon so much sorrow at once, we cannot allow ourselves to forget the real history surrounding 9/11; it is the Rosetta stone for what is happening now. If we are to pull ourselves out of the disasters of Katrina and Iraq alike, we must live in the real world, not the fantasyland of the administration's faith-based propaganda. Everything connects.

Army Troops Met with Despair, Not Violence

Story here.

Uh.... The Army is Doing What?

Nice to know bullets are in good supply even if food, medical care, and proper shelter are (fucking) not.

From the Army Times:

Combat operations are underway on the streets “to take this city back” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“This place is going to look like Little Somalia,” Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force told Army Times Friday as hundreds of armed troops under his charge prepared to launch a massive citywide security mission from a staging area outside the Louisiana Superdome. “We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.”
Remember how little anarchy there was in the first few days? Desperate people were not behaving violently.

I don't suppose a lack of response and aid had anything to do with the change to alleged anarchy, could it?

News Flash: Bush Lied (again and again and... oh yes, again)


So far, two NOLA police officers have committed suicide on duty.

Pollster Refuses to Poll for Pro-Impeachment Sentiment

According to this piece, Gallup has specifically refused to run a poll asking how many Americans think Bush should be canned like the mystery meat called Spam.

My Pet Goat: The Sequel

From the erudite Greg Mitchell at Ed and Pub (please read it all):

This time, during a catastrophe, the president did not merely dither for seven minutes, but for three days, and his top advisors followed suit. While the media has done a good job in portraying the overall failure of leadership in this weeks hurricane's disaster, it has not focused enough on this deadly dereliction of duty.

While a rising chorus in the press has taken the White House, FEMA and the Pentagon to task for performing miserably in their response to the human disaster on the Gulf Coast, few have focused on the most telling aspect of the entire failure.

It’s not just incompetence. It’s a shameful lack of concern: The 9/11 “My Pet Goat” dithering on an administration-wide scale.Simply stated, the president and his top advisers chose vacation over action.While the media has done a good job in portraying the overall deadly failure of leadership, it has not focused enough on this deadly dereliction of duty. President Bush, in his weekly radio address on Saturday, said: “In America, we do not abandon our fellow citizens in their hour of need.” But Bush, and his top aides, quite frankly, did just that.

I was reminded of this today, seeing pictures of Vice President Dick Cheney finally showing up at the White House after riding out the storm-of-the-century in Wyoming. Perhaps he brought back with him a couple dozen trout to throw on the grill for the White House staffers.

His absence, and the president’s performance during it, can only add to the rumors that Bush is clueless without the Big Guy at his side.

This follows Bush himself remaining on vacation for more than two days after the storm hit, despite acknowledging this was the worst disaster in the nation’s history. He did take a trip during those days, not back to Washington but out to San Diego to deliver a political speech comparing his Iraq war to World War II. It got little play because nearly everyone else in the country, beyond his inner circle, was focused on New Orleans instead.

Editor and Publisher: Newspapers Conservative and Not Are Raging at This President

Well deserved, IMHO.

Bush 404 Error: This President Not Found

Mad Kane brings us this treat. Hint: look twice.

Thank you, Mad!

Words from Jesus' General

I missed them when they originally appeared at General JC Christian's site, but he kindly reprises them for us here.

The Resignation of the FEMA Director is NOT Enough

Only one man cuts the legs off FEMA so they could not respond.

That man is named George Walker Bush.

Where's the Dick? Indeed

From Xan at Corrente asking the eternal question - considering Cheney stayed on vacation in Wyoming all this week (I mean, they were just poor people affected, right?)....

Hmmmm...(via Edmonton Journal)
    U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney has postponed his visit to Alberta in order to tend to duties at home in the wake of hurricane Katrina.

    Marisa Etmanski, spokeswoman for Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, says the White House contacted Klein's office Saturday.Cheney had planned to visit Alberta on Thursday and Friday, stopping first in Calgary and then visiting Fort McMurray and touring the oilsands. Etmanski said Klein's reaction to Cheney's change of plans was nothing but understanding.
And His Vice Dear Leaderliness has done precisely what in the way of "duties" since Katrina hit? Yeah, I know, he "issued a statement" (which turned out to be from a spokeswoman); supposedly stood up with Dear Leader at that strangely militaristic press appearance yesterday (I sure never saw him on camera live) and there was one (still) photo of him and Rove and some other flunky, which for all we know could have been taken months ago.

Weekend at Bernie's, anyone? Or is Lynn Cheney's lesser known other novel (The Body Politic) the story we're watching play out here?


I thought long and hard over this last night. It is not a partisan decision and is separate from ALL else we know about his actions that might lead a sane person to question whether the time has come....

Bush, once again, was on vacation while America suffered. He KNEW he had cut FEMA's ability to respond to shreds. We now know that he ignored special pleas from Gov Blanco of Louisiana even before Katrina struck.

Since then, almost everything that involved government's efforts has been a dismal failure that not only didn't get help to people who needed it, they have worked long and hard to keep anyone ELSE from getting in to help. He stopped rescue and food efforts for his photo ops down there.

Folks, it is time to remove him. He must be impeached before he endangers yet more. The time to act is now. I'm going to research whether anyone else is organizing this and, if they aren't, I will. It will probably come to naught, but this cancer must be removed. It should have been surgically extracted LONG ago; in fact, there's evidence he never should have been in office at all.

Tens of thousands dead in Katrina

And a rescue effort that took nearly a week to get underway.

As happy as I was to see 29 trucks filled in Montpelier, VT the last two days - they thought they might fill two - with clothes, food, and plenty of pet food, I wonder if any of that pet food will ever see those poor animals who were just left. They're in shock and dying, too.

And like with the humans, the authorities aren't allowing anyone in to help.

Any Thoughts on the Loss of Rehnquist

I mean, besides my multiple-fuckety fuck message?

Can you just imagine the loonball Bush will bring us?

Say Hello to


Chicago Trip: Bush Made Fatal Changes to FEMA to Weaken its Ability to Cope with Disasters

Story here.

And then there's this:

Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said.

The provisions, secured by U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, and state Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom, baked in the afternoon sun as Bush surveyed damage across southeast Louisiana five days after Katrina made landfall as a Category 4 storm, said Melancon’s chief of staff, Casey O’Shea.

“We had arrangements to airlift food by helicopter to these folks, and now the food is sitting in trucks because they won’t let helicopters fly,” O’Shea said Friday afternoon.The food was expected to be in the hands of storm survivors after the president left the devastated region Friday night, he said.

John McCain

I see Morbo at The Carpetbagger Report feels about the same way about John McCain I do. This man's a bit too erratic and happy to be a toady for my tastes.

What I Buy, What I Don't

Obviously, there has been huge amounts of speculation over NOLA. I mean, how does any organization, let alone a huge mass of them, all manage to fail at once and all manage to fail this spectacularly. I mean, I think we'd all admit this isn't bad: this is Herculean, Rube Goldberg-duz-Michael Jackson-duz-Keystone Kops horrific.

Some of the speculation has is that the Bushies deliberately hung Blanco, Landrieu and other dems out to dry by deliberately withholding any aid. As stories of the horror began to leak out, reporters were threatened and they tried to toss all reporters out of the city citing "martial law".

The press thing is typical Bush. They feel they own the press, and because the press today largely is mega-corps, they do to some degree.

But instead, here's what I believe: Bush has been destroying things right and left: public education, health care, Social Security, jobs and job security, the economy. This failure was at least in part deliberate, and done to assure people of the Grover Norquist philosophy that you can't trust government. The Bushies were just lucky - and knew from a very recent report which sat at the top of dozens and dozens of others - that NOLA was especially susceptible and, filled with poor, powerless blacks so Bushies felt they could make an example of how government does not work without taking the heat they would elsewhere.

Some People Believe At Least One Levee Deliberately Blown to Protect Wealthier Homes

Read this from Louise posting at DailyKos:

Friends of mine live in Dallas, and their next-door-neighbor had 9 relatives roll up from New Orleans two days ago. Their house is gone. The whole block is putting together a fund-raising party on Saturday, and the landlord of a vacant house down the street has given them three months' occupancy rent-free.

But that's not the real news. The real news is the story that the relatives tell. They lived near the 17th St. Canal, and their whole neighborhood heard two explosions that they swear was dynomite on Monday night. Perhaps it was the sound of the levees collapsing, but the people there are convinced that the levee was blown.

The theory is that the poor section of town was sacrificed to save the other, wealthier sections.

Of course it matters whether or not such an act actually occurred, but what's scarier is that so many NO residents believe that it did.

That idea - that the Corps of Engineers, a Pentagon entity, blew the levee is only going to get thrown into the mix of the incredibly slow response of the Feds, the fact that they ignored Blanco's requests, and that they won't let the Red Cross in.

Quick Roundup of Katrina Links

Bush Administration rejecting offers of assistance from the Sun-Times.

Do we need a man like this at the helm? The head of the Dept of Homeland Bullshit Security was praising FEMA for its unprecedentedly wonderful response on Thursday. Praise?

NOLA refugees kept waiting for food so Laura Bush could finish her leisurely meal.

Some Refugees Fired Upon, Killed

From Reuters:

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - People left homeless by Hurricane Katrina told horrific stories of rape, murder and trigger happy guards in two New Orleans centers that were set up as shelters but became places of violence and terror.

Police and National Guard troops on Saturday closed down the two centers -- the Superdome arena and the city's convention center -- but them penned them in outside in sweltering heat to keep them from trying to walk out of the city.

Military helicopters and buses staged a massive evacuation to take away thousands of people who waited in orderly lines in stifling heat outside the flooded convention center.

The refugees, who were waiting to be taken to sports stadiums and other huge shelters across Texas and northern Louisiana, described how the convention center and the Superdome became lawless hellholes beset by rape and murder.

Several residents of the impromptu shantytown recounted two horrific incidents where those charged with keeping people safe had killed them instead.

In one, a young man was run down and then shot by a New Orleans police officer, in another a man seeking help was gunned down by a National Guard soldier, witnesses said.

Police here refused to discuss or confirm either incident. National Guard spokesman Lt. Col Pete Schneider said "I have not heard any information of a weapon being discharged."

"They killed a man here last night," Steve Banka, 28, told Reuters. "A young lady was being raped and stabbed. And the sounds of her screaming got to this man and so he ran out into the street to get help from troops, to try to flag down a passing truck of them, and he jumped up on the truck's windshield and they shot him dead."