"Evil isn't Salem's Lot. It's Trent Lott."

From Bill Maher just now and PERFECT.


Awful thing about this is that I don't think there's any way in hell that I, as a US citizen in a supposed country of free speech and great standards, could read anything to learn about Hugo Chavez that isn't horribly skewed. No matter how much I read about him, I don't feel I have the start of a handle on whether Chavez is really a good or bad guy.

I also think it's very likely that he's right, that we were or are planning to hit Venezuela. It's an important oil source for us and Bush will move heaven and earth (or two larger but less heavenly bodies, Rove and Rumsfeld) to get rid of Chavez. And if we are planning to invade Venezuela, we should be doing something to stop it.

I know, easier said than done.

Fat Boy Jeb's Boy - the Great Almost White Hope of the Bush Dynasty - Arrested

And it's fairly hard to get arrested in Bush America if you're a Bush, too.

Oops, sorry, this is little George's little brother (on Jeb's side).

So How Do YouFeel

about having Karl Rove now in charge of New Orleans disaster relief?

"Subterranean Halliburton Blues"

Karlo at Swerve Left connects us up or you can surf straight into Zen Comix.

Talking Points Come True

We'd heard over the last few days that the GOP had decided their talking points would be "we'll throw every dollar we can find and then some at the Gulf Coast and make people believe we're going to make it all spiffy and peachy-keen-arino. Last night, that's exactly what Bush promised.

Oh, he's GREAT at throwing huge piles of money at Halliburton, Bechtel, et al. But we never see the results of this except that Halliburton and Bechtel's values keep rising at the same time Bush keeps handing them big tax breaks. Before Katrina, we were told, "we've prevented untold number of attacks - just trust us on this."

Based on Katrina, do you think you've been saved anything?

From Blah3:

Gergen, Jay Carney and Mark Whittaker are all pointing out that he just floated what is probably more than $200 billion in ideas, with no indication of how they'll be paid for. And Gergen pointed out that between the gulf Project, Iraq, and Bush's tax cut, this country is going to go completely broke unless something is sacrificed.

My take is this - Bush is real good at promising lots and lots of money to everyone, and then counting on the fact that people will remember the promise and assume the money was paid. No Child Left Behind, anyone? That's how Bush works.

Update: People over at Dem underground are reporting that Tucker Carlson just announced that Bush will lose the conservative base with that speech - and said Bush was a bigger spender than Clinton, and that whatever gains he makes among moderates will be evened out by defecting conservatives. He may have just made a bad situation worse.

"Is that the Rapture scheduled on your calendar for next Saturday or are you just trying to get out of toxic cleanup weekend?"

Posted by Hunter at DailyKos:

The person who is being placed in charge of the Gulf Coast rebuilding effort, in the wake of stunning government bungling of a national disaster due to political patrons who had no expertise in their ostensible "duties" for which they were collecting paychecks: yes, Karl Rove. And apparently, nobody in the media has a problem with this, because we're essentially all used to the notion that the manner in which, for example, primarily-black neighborhoods in New Orleans get rebuilt, or not, is a task best left to the President's loyal election strategist...
True Conservatives are tonight up in arms over the cost of rebuilding New Orleans, and demand budget cuts to pay for it. Budget cuts deemed necessary to pay for the Iraq War? None. Zip. Nada. Well, a few minor levees that nobody really cares about or will ever notice...

Insane Foaming Monkey Conservatives are working themselves into a more foamy state than usual, and apparently have some sort of blastfax campaign going on over the design of the Flight 93 Memorial which -- shudder -- is crescent-shaped. I hereby predict the next wingnut attack will be upon... the accursed, goddamn, communist moon. Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the moon, the news reports will gush, as the rockets are readied in order to square that damn puppy for once and for all...

Pre-Inquisition Conservatives are proudly hawking the notion that dinosaurs and blue-eyed white guys were holding bake sales together 5,000 years ago. Because it's not enough to merely believe God created the universe -- he also specifically planted an entire false history of the universe to screw with you, you sodomy-loving, DNA-believing-in, post-Newtonian bastards. You just wait, we're only a few months away from digging up an authentic handcrafted dinosaur saddle that will prove that at least one prehistoric Big 5 Sporting Goods Store survived the Biblical flood. Presuming you're among the Pre-Inquisition Conservatives who acknowledge the existence of dinosaurs at all, mind you -- and if you are, the rest of the non-believing-in-dinosaurs movement hereby condemns you for falling for another of God's devious nature-based soul mousetraps: yep, you're going to Hell.

But hey, on our own side of the ideological divide, I just followed a circuitous trail of links and trackbacks taking me to one single very astute opinion that... ugh. You know, never mind. Insert your own war here, I don't care which one. Suffice it to say that if conservatives had a lock on every half-baked unnecessarily conspiratorial premise on the planet, I'd die a happy man. But they don't, and I won't. The salad fork goes on the left side, dammit, or it proves you may not carry the holy mantle of Blogtopia, which is big and shiny and knows all and is all powerful and likes me better than you and could easily beat Chewbacca in a fight as long as nobody had blasters!

That's it. I'm done. You might as well kill me now, because it's the Apocalypse. All life on this planet is no doubt mere days away from coming to an end, because really -- mankind couldn't possibly get any stupider. Not possible.

In my life, I've seen 70's-era fashions that seemed to be based on the fabric equivalent of haggis. I had to listen to Ronald Freaking Reagan being praised as The Great Cultural Father. I've watched Britney Spears become famous. I've seen a Leading Religious Figure hawk videos during his Happy CouchPotato Prayertime Hour detailing how President Clinton was incontrovertibly a Central American drug lord. I've watched Orwell become praised by the right. I've watched Ozymandias become a Republican military strategy guide. I've seen the pilot episode of Manimal.

And this is worse. This, finally, is the long-awaited Apocalypse. Clearly, Terri Schiavo was the glue holding the last threads of the universe together, just as Tom DeLay had foretold in his Holy But Questionably Legal Checkbook Prophesies.

Condi Rice is Not an Asshole; At Least Once a Day, an Anus Proves Useful

From Think Progress:

On the “deadliest day of violence in Baghdad since the U.S. invasion more than two years ago,” Bill O’Reilly sat down with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to examine the real issues in Iraq: It’s all about the lattes.

Watch Rice: Streaming QT
    O’Reilly: The truth of the matter is our correspondents at Fox News can’t go out for a cup of coffee in Baghdad.
    Rice: Bill, that’s tough. It’s tough. But what — would they have wanted to have gone out for a cup of coffee when Saddam Hussein was in power?

Bush's Sleight of Hand Last Night

Only a few places have outlined how much fakery was involved in Bush's speech last night, save for Keith Olbermann and a few.

Atrios points to another:

More reporting like this, please. Brian Williams:
    I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. 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.

Note from a "Tax and Spend" Liberal

The VP just had TWO - count them, TWO - months off at our expense.

But he waits until he just bothers to return to work to go out for aneurysm surgery (ALSO at our expense)?

Go read Cookie Jill at Skippy for the rest.

hey...don't mention it.what we didn't hear last night
no mention of exemptions from the bankruptcy bill.
no mention of easing up on tax cuts for the wealthiest or cutting the estate tax.
no mention of bringing troops home to help with rebuilding and future disasters.
no mention of any independent commission despite the ongoing hurricane season.
no mention of a preventing future hurricane disasters by targeting global warming or saving wetlands.
no mention of dropping no-bid contracts.
no mention of the administration's connections to the those who won no-bid contracts to clean up the devastated gulf states
no mention of paying reconstruction workers a prevailing wage.
no mention of putting a reconstruction expert (rather than his political expert) in charge.
no mention of removing political cronies from positions where they have no relevant experience.
no mention of restoring the levee funding cut by administration.
no mention of or explanation for why he, his vice president, etc. were awol for so many days.
no mention of punishment for anybody in his administration.
no mention of scaling back the pork-laden transportation bill.
no mention of how to pay for the reconstruction.
no mention of exactly which government land will be used for "homesteading" (the government owns a number of superfund cleanup sites in new orleans)

(On a side note: MAN IS THAT FLOP SWEAT BAD!)

Presidential Disaster Relief Cronyism

Captain Skippy points us to this at Sysiphus Shrugged:

Newsrack points out that not only are the press being blocked from watching the gathering of the dead from Katrina, the job has been outsourced by FEMA (although after they awarded the job Governor Bianco ended up having to pay for it, because FEMA doesn't do the contract thing so good) to Kenyon International Emergency Services, a subsidiary of SCI.

This SCI
    AUSTIN – A former state funeral home regulator who said she was wrongfully fired for investigating a large funeral home chain operated by a longtime family friend ofGeorge W. Bush has settled her 2-year-old whistleblower lawsuit for $210,000.

    The state will pay Eliza May and her lawyers $155,000 and Houston-based Service Corp. International will pay $55,000, said sources familiar with the agreement.

    Ms. May contended in her lawsuit that she was fired in 1999 as executive director of the Texas Funeral Service Commission after SCI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Waltrip met with Joe Allbaugh, a top aide to Mr. Bush while he was governor, to complain about the agency's investigation of the company's homes.

    After the investigation, fines totaling about $450,000 were assessed against more than 20 of SCI's affiliated funeral homes for using unlicensed embalmers. SCI has appealed, and a state hearings officer is expected to rule soon on the case.

    Neither SCI, Mr. Bush nor any of the other defendants admit wrongdoing under the terms of the settlement. Attorney General John Cornyn, who was also named as a defendant as a result of a legal opinion he wrote that was favorable to SCI, represented the state in the case.

FEMA Gives New Meaning to "Rush"

Keith Olbermann reports that today, just 18+ days since Katrina struck land, FEMA opened its first emergency support office in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Were they waiting for the president to be able to spell it first?

Countdown on MSNBC was also talking about we're paying for all these ice and water trucks to sit or be sent from one state to the next again and again because FEMA isn't sure where it should go. [backspacing over my rude suggestion]

Zero Tolerance on NOLA Looting Unless Looter is Named Halliburton or Bechtel

From the International Herald Tribune:

President George W. Bush told the television network ABC on Thursday, "there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this, whether it be looting or price-gouging at the gasoline pump or taking advantage of charitable giving or insurance fraud."

Zero tolerance is meaningless when the White House lets the biggest looters of Hurricane Katrina walk off with billions of dollars.

We are not referring to the people crashing through storefronts and wading through chest-high water with clothes, food and pharmaceuticals. Some folks are disgusting in their thuggishness, but many others are simply desperate, having gone for days without food or water. The latter are living out one of the most famous hypothetical problems in moral reasoning: Should a husband steal a cancer drug he cannot afford for his dying wife?

Our President is Just Sooooo Funny

From the wire services:

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - John Bolton's reputation as a difficult diplomat gave his boss, U.S.
President George W. Bush, an opportunity to tease the new American ambassador to the
United Nations.

"How's he doing? Has the place blown up?" Bush asked U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan as the president and Bolton arrived at U.N. headquarters on Tuesday for a world summit.

The president's jest was captured on videotape by a U.N. television crew.

Anyone Else Notice?

Our Belooped Leader buttoned his shirt wrong before speaking on national TV.

Link here.

Bush's Cure for Everything: More Tax Cuts for the Ultra-Wealthy

From TBogg:

    From Krugman:

    It's a given that the Bush administration, which tried to turn Iraq into a laboratory for conservative economic policies, will try the same thing on the Gulf Coast. The Heritage Foundation, which has surely been helping Karl Rove develop the administration's recovery plan, has already published a manifesto on post-Katrina policy. It calls for waivers on environmental rules, the elimination of capital gains taxes and the private ownership of public school buildings in the disaster areas. And if any of the people killed by Katrina, most of them poor, had a net worth of more than $1.5 million, Heritage wants to exempt their heirs from the estate tax...
If a giant asteroid were hurtling its way towards Earth, the Heritage Foundation would propose weaving a giant safety net out of poor peoples bodies to stop it. That and another tax cut.


Student Strike Sept 26th; Info from Political Switchboard

Here, here at Political Switchboard

What Mr. Bush Won't Say/Raise Tonight

Cookie Jill from Skippy brings us one hell of a list... start here, read the rest there:

    report offers 'grave' view of impact on environment. as the water recedes, it leaves behind a sludge so laden with petroleum that federal officials are having trouble analyzing it. houston chronicle

    katrina leaves a toxic nightmare. hurricane katrina is rapidly becoming the worst environmental calamity in u.s. history, with oil spills rivaling the exxon valdez, hundreds of toxic sites still uncontrolled, and waterborne poisons soaking 160,000 homes. dallas morning news

    katrina lays bare superfund woes. the receding floodwaters in new orleans and other parts of the gulf coast are exposing hazardous chemicals and other dangerous waste. but they're also revealing the accomplishments - and the limits - of government programs designed to clean up such pollution. christian science monitor

    deq: rail cars pose hazards. hundreds and possibly thousands of railcars in the area hit by hurricane katrina could be an environmental hazard. baton rouge advocate

    new orleans: raze or rebuild? the water in the lower ninth ward is thickening into a glassy, fetid slick as the gasoline, oil, solvents and sewage from thousands of submerged vehicles and homes leaches out. the nation

    floodwater deals blow to lake pontchartrain. the effort to bail out new orleans is sending plumes of contaminated water into lake pontchartrain, setting back years of effort to restore the lake. chicago tribune

    seafood, sugar, coffee getting harder to come by. the louisiana department of wildlife and fisheries estimates a $1.3 billion loss in fisheries revenue at the retail level and a $296 million loss in oyster revenue in the next two years. the losses result from storm-induced pollution and damage to oyster beds. houston chronicle

    heavy contamination of new orleans sediment hinders testing. the sediments in parts of new orleans and the surrounding parishes are so contaminated with petroleum products that the epa hasn't been able to sort out what other potentially hazardous chemicals are spread across the region. knight ridder newspapers

    katrina's cost to agriculture: $3 billion and still rising. cotton fields are flattened. hundreds of chicken houses are destroyed. timber and pecan trees are splayed across the ground. more than $2 billion in agricultural damage is reported in mississippi and $1 billion in louisiana. philadelphia inquirer

    environmental impact on texas unknown. scientists are becoming increasingly concerned about the effect of pollution from hurricane-ravaged new orleans on the gulf of mexico. fort worth star-telegram reg. req.


Wonkette chimes in with two particularly interesting pieces.

First, that Jack Cafferty is beginning to get more interesting. Recently, he's gone off on the Bushies more than a few times. Today, this:

Never having been a fan of Jack Cafferty's grumpy granddad schtick at "American Morning," we are the last people we thought would say this: What he needed was more time on camera. Given the debut of CNN's "The Situation Room" network, Jack has given his crotchetiness full flower, allowing him to turn it onto the show itself. Just now:
    WOLF BLITZER: That's fascinating, watching a friend or relative flying some place, you go there at flight explorer.com and you can see it almost realtime. Thank you. Useful information in "The Situation Room." Let's get more useful information, Jack cafferty. I almost said useless information, Jack, but i corrected myself.

    CAFFERTY: Has that been a Freudian slip? How many hours have you been on your feet? Too many? They should pay you by the hour. This show is a telethon without a disease. It goes on and on and on.
Actually, we think there is a disease, and it has cure: The amputation from CNN of Jon Klien.
And here's a tiddle bit more, this one entitled, "Michael Brown, Genius":
In an interview, Mike Brown explained his inability to cope with the Katrina disaster to the Times as being a result of the storm. Apparently, no one could have predicted, well, anything. "Until you have been there," he said, "you don't realize it is the middle of a hurricane." Also, until he pulled it out, he didn't realize his thumb was up his ass.

Ex-FEMA Chief Tells of Frustration and Chaos [NYT]

Say Hello to....

OpEd News
Official Newswire
Political Switchboard

and, oh yes, ....

Impeach Bush Coalition.

Microsoft to Buy Parts of AOL from Time Warner

Story here.

In the interest of full disclosure, I happen to have had the pleasure to work for both organizations for a combined 11-12 years.With the right project and people, I'd sign on again in a heart beat. Microsoft, you've got my number. And I've got yours. ;)


Cooking the Katrina Body Count

Try as I did last night, I could not get this one posted, but Mr. Natural at Left Edge North apparently abuses Blogger less than I do, meaning: he posted here.

Basically, one of Bush's cronies is now in charge of keeping official count of Katrina deaths. Guess who has such a vested interest in keeping the number of dead beneath certain levels (I mean, you don't want 3,000 because it takes emphasis from 9/11).

This is like a really black comedy except for all those poor creatures and people dead.

But Mr. Natural also points us to this Flash animation on Katrina and The Onion's Halliburton Gets Contract to Pry Gold Fillings from Mouths of Katrina Victims.

Trailing Edge: Pissing into a Swirling Wind

[Ed. note: I think it is fundamentally unfair that men are designed in such a way that they can be far more expressive with their urine than we can. But then, our parts don't get stuck in the zipper. But this is a serious matter noted below.]

From our good friend DR at TrailingEdgeBlog:

Right-Wing Myths About Katrina, DebunkedThere are a lot of right-wing myths about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. ThinkProgress has created this guide to help you set the record straight.

(My Comments)It breaks my heart that I am getting e-mail (from some of the people whom I care for very much) that depicts the stranded school buses in New Orleans after Katrina struck and the levees failed. These indicate that Mayor Nagin should have used the inoperable vehicles to transport the poor and infirm out of the affected area.

Now the same people are sending me talking points about how the blame should be assigned to the local officials of the storm ravaged area. I am beyond shaking my head at this point…I am full of wonder that intelligent people will pass on this type of e-mail without doing a lick of research before hand.

In the hope that some will take the initiative to click on the link above, and read the material with an open mind…I hereby promise to throw water on any politician that happens to burst into flame in my proximity with an equal sense of urgency to that recently displayed by FEMA in the Gulf Coast region.

Oh Yes, and Speaking of Recruitment

Cough (you're right, Jane, I may cough myself to death).

Do you know what the Bushies have been pushing? From almost day one of the Katrina disaster - or at least as day one as the feds bothered to participate - people in shelters, on emergency transports, in food lines are being bombarded by recruiters telling them it's how they can have the money to start over.

[Parenthetically, I've heard they're mentioned signup bonuses lower than the $10-$15K offered many - I mean - why would you pay desperate people the same? They should be happy with whatever we deign to give 'em, right? - excuse me while I gag.]

I read of one place where parents were complaining because their teenagers would get targeted, lured away from the family group often without obtaining the parents' permission, and then, after gifting the teen with something they aren't normally getting at the shelter, start making a pitch like, "You know, you're just a burden on your poor folks right now. They're desperate and what can you do for them, just sitting in this shelter. But you could make a big difference: enlist and then give your folks your signup bonus. This could make all the difference between them making it or falling apart, hungry and homeless. It's all on you, kiddo, and you can't go back home again no matter what you do."

Now, all of this I've read thus far is mostly done as background, slipped into deeper "color" sections in an article about something like that. But if even any part of this is true, God damn them.

Rummy's Big 9/11 Freedom Walk a Bust

The wondrous MissM points us to AmericaBlog's coverage of Rumsfeld's big 9/11 remembrance wargasm called "Freedom Walk" which, paid for by us lonely taxpayers, was supposed to be a rally the Bushies, no constitutional free speech amendment allowed event hosted by Clint Black.

To summarize, the Freedom Walk wargasm was about as well attended as a military recruiter's office in downtown New Orleans these days.

An Irate Soldier's Open Letter to President Bush

Reader KP - thank you very kindly - links us to this.

As should come as no surprise, a foot note indicates this soldier may be facing court martial. I'm doing some checking.

DHS Head Chertoff Ignored Katrina's Disaster

TPM does the best overall coverage here:

Last night we noted the new Knight-Ridder article which shows DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff waiting some 36 hours to make the determination that Katrina was an 'Incident of National Significance'. Before that, Chertoff, not Michael Brown was in charge. And before Chertoff did that, Brown -- who's taken the big drubbing -- actually had little power to act.

This 'incident' finding is part of the new National Response Plan, which is supposed to govern federal responses to domestic disasters. Yet the plan appears to have been largely disregarded with Katrina.

But a TPM Reader pointed something out to me that suggests that Knight-Ridder might have gotten one detail wrong (or at least missed one) -- one which if anything makes the administration seem even more disorganized.

If you click here you can see a copy of the Chertoff memo which invoked the 'incident' finding.
But the reader points out that on page 7 of the Plan, it says quite clearly that "while all Presidentially declared disasters and emergencies under the Stafford Act are considered Incidents of National Significance, not all Incidents of National Significance necessarily result in disaster or emergency declarations under the Stafford Act.."

And if you go back to August 27th, this is just what President Bush did. He declared a state of emergency in the state of Louisiana under Title V of the Stafford Act.

Ergo, Katrina became an Incident of National Significance on August 27th -- two days before the storm. But Chertoff apparently didn't realize this and waited till a day after to make the determination on his own, one that according to the flow chart had already been made.

Bush at UN: Condi, Can I Go Potty?

From Editor and Publisher:

In what seems destined to become one of the most yakked about photos of the month, if not year, a Reuters photographer today seems to have captured President George W. Bush scribbling a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a session at the United Nations. On the note is a message revolving around the need to take a "bathroom break."

The photo by Denver-based Rick Wilking, taken over a man's shoulder, shows an official -- identified in the caption (at Reuters' official site) as President Bush -- scribbling in pencil on a small white piece of paper that already contains the words: "I think I MAY NEED A BATHroom break?"

Congratulations to Rita Cosby and Dr. Phil

They're doing their best to wrest attention off all those poor blacks and dead people and back on Natalee Holloway where it so righteously belongs.

So Why Did 54 GOP Senators Say NO! to Katrina Investigation?

Story here.

Prepare to Choke at These Tom DeLayisms

Posted by Holden at First-Draft:

It appears that the repeated criminal indictments handed out to his buddies and his own frantic efforts to evade prosecution have finally pushed poor Tom DeLay over the edge.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an "ongoing victory," and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.

Mr. DeLay was defending Republicans' choice to borrow money and add to this year's expected $331 billion deficit to pay for Hurricane Katrina relief. Some Republicans have said Congress should make cuts in other areas, but Mr. DeLay said that doesn't seem possible.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet," the Texas Republican told reporters at his weekly briefing.

Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good."


Frightening, Frightening Stuff

Posted by James Wolcott in a piece appropriately named "New Orleans Died for Bush's Sins":

From the aptly named From the Wilderness:>
    "When we talk about collapse as a result of Peak Oil, New Orleans is an exemplary – if horrifying – glimpse of what it will look like for all of us. In the case of New Orleans, however, it’s happening about two or three times as fast as we will see it when Peak Oil becomes an unavoidable, ugly, global reality. How long? Months. If we’re lucky, a year. As of August 2005 it’s not just a race to make sure that a particular region is not eaten by warfare and economic collapse. Mother Nature is obviously very hungry too. What region will be the next to go? What sacrifices can be offered before the inevitable comes knocking at our own personal door? Who can be pushed ahead of us into the mouth of the hungry beast in the hopes it will become sated?"


    "Bottom line: my assessment is that New Orleans is never going to be rebuilt and that US domestic oil production will never again reach pre-Katrina levels. The infrastructure is gone, the people are gone, and the US economy will be on life support very, very quickly. If people are griping at $5.00 gasoline what will they do when it’s $8.00? $10.00? Start shooting (the wrong people)? How difficult is it to rebuild in that kind of social climate? And if US oil production does not soon exceed pre-Katrina levels then the US economy is doomed anyway. It’s a catch-up game now. I think it’s quite likely that the Bush administration is responding so ineptly in part because it is in a complete crisis mode realizing that the entire United States is on the brink of collapse and there’s very little they can do about it. The Bush administration doesn’t know how to build things up, only blow them up. They aren’t worrying about New Orleans because they’re frantically triaging the rest of the nation and deciding what can be saved elsewhere."


    "The people in New Orleans and Mississippi are being sacrificed just as surely as the World Trade Center, Pentagon and airline victims were sacrificed on 9/11.

    "The most chilling thing I have heard is that hurricane Katrina fell on the thirteenth anniversary of Hurricane Andrew which devastated Florida in 1992. Hurricanes are named alphabetically. Andrew was the first tropical storm of 1992. Katrina was the eleventh of 2005 and the hurricane season is just beginning. There are more storms forming now. Some of them will most likely become very large hurricanes because water temperatures are so high in our dying oceans.

    "Go ahead. Tell me we’ve all been wrong about Peak Oil, about climate collapse, and the metastatic corruption of our government and economic system. Now it’s an easy bet and one that we will not have to wait long to settle. I’ll take your wager."

Koolaid Consumption Down

New poll says 3 in every 4 Americans believes we are no more safe for the next terror attack than we were on 9/11; many cited the government's poor response to Katrina as an indicator.

Yesterday's Terrible Violence in Iraq Apparently Being Followed Up Today

With well more than 150 deaths from yesterday's horrific 500-lb car bomb, a new bomb had gone off with at least 15 dead, 10 of them Iraqi police.

Rich Santorum: A Dog's Best Friend

From General JC Christian (see it all).

Note to Culture of Lifers

Somebody call Randall Terry: the American public seems just about ready to pull the Bushies' feeding tube and I don't think they'll offer a morphine drip either.

Oh, what the hell: let's pull Terry's too.

Anyone see Terry out there helping storm victims? Didn't think so.


"Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Take..."

Head exploding, indeed. From DC Media Girl:

Only the irony-free zone that is the Bush administration, or maybe Kim Jong Il’s regime, could have come up with something like this:
    Organizers of the Pentagon’s 9/11 memorial Freedom Walk on Sunday are taking extraordinary measures to control participation in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined with police and the event closed to anyone who does not register online by 4:30 p.m. today.

    The march, sponsored by the Department of Defense, will wend its way from the Pentagon to the Mall along a route that has not been specified but will be lined with four-foot-high snow fencing to keep it closed and "sterile," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense.The U.S. Park Police will have its entire Washington force of several hundred on duty and along the route, on foot, horseback and motorcycles and monitoring from above by helicopter. Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford.The event, the America Supports You Freedom Walk, is billed as a memorial to victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and a show of support for those serving in the military, topped off with a concert by country singer Clint Black, known for his pro-troops anthem, "Iraq and Roll."

    Organizers said they expect 3,000 to 10,000 participants.Of course, the event is being held to show the terrorists that they haven’t won, that we support the democracy the troops are fighting and dying for, and that we heart the freedoms enumerated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, particularly that of assembly. What better way to celebrate the aforementioned than to hold a walk for which one has to register beforehand, and where rogue walkers and Clint Black "fans" may face arrest?
Now you see why my head came close to exploding this week.
While you're there, read what she wrote about Nawlins.

Katrina and Other Super Storms, Mr. Bush and Reality, As Seen Thru the Eyes of New Orleans and Beyond

Really, really interesting piece from CorpWatch.

I suspect there' s a LOT of pretty bad stuff - kind the government ordered or manufactured secretly - that is mixed up in that awful, awful muck in the water there. It's a lot more than some spilled petro, dead bodies, and sewer overload.

Bush and the R Word

The Carpetbagger Report takes on the issue of Bush supposedly claiming responsibility today. Now, I've copied liberally just because I think it's such a good post and I want you to read it in whole, so forgive me before you report me. ;)

Bush doesn't talk about taking responsibility very often, so when he does, it's noteworthy.
President Bush on Tuesday said he takes responsibility for the federal government's failures in responding to Hurricane Katrina.

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government and to the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said during a joint news conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

According to the White House website, this is only the second time Bush has used the exact phrase "I take responsibility" since becoming president. The first time was a little over two years ago when Bush acknowledged that he is responsible for putting Americans troops into action in Iraq. (He said, at the time, that it was because "Saddam Hussein was a threat to our security." How quaint.)

He's toyed with similar admissions — just two weeks ago, Bush said, "I take personal responsibility for everything I say" — but in general, the president has gone out of his way to steer clear of the "r" word, at least with regard to his personal accountability.

Now, however, we get to understand what he means when he says it.

To be sure, Bush accepting responsibility today was an encouraging development. And while the last thing I want to do is get into a semantics argument with the president, usually "taking responsibility" means something along the lines of consequences.

In one sense, Bush accepting responsibility for Katrina-related failures means he's accepting blame. Who messed up? The administration messed up, and since he's in charge of the administration, that means the buck stops at the president's desk. Good.

But in order for the phrase to have real meaning, there has to be a penalty or cost of some kind. If someone "takes responsibility" but nothing happens, it's purely rhetorical. It's at empty phrase. It's tantamount to saying: The administration was negligent, Bush accepts responsibility, and we can all get on with our lives now.

The question now becomes: what will Bush do with this responsibility?

Today's Bush Lie is the Most Egregious, Outlandish...

The buck has never stopped with him. It won't now. Go look at the tape, look at his body language and his eyes.

Not a Beg or a Pitch But a Note

Occasionally, people kindly drop me notes asking if I'd like to be gifted with anything to support the blog (to which I always awkwardly say aw shucks) and others kindly send me books they think I might like.

This isn't an appeal, but if anyone happens to be in the mood, a gift subscription to The Times Select would be nice since those [expletive deleted] are placing Krugman et al behind a sub wall.


Roberts' Hearings Such a Disappointment

Every GOPer is using this as a way to explain and justify why Roberts has to answer no questions about Roe v Wade and to tell us the "overwhelming number of Americans" are as right-wing a turdball as each of them are. The Dems are apologizing for feeling differently.

Residents of Nola Can't Get In, But Black Ops Hired to Protect the Wealthy Can

One hell of a story in the Guardian, which reports that hundreds of contractors from Blackwater alone - and there are a shitload of other companies involved - are being allowed in with major fire power to protect mansions.

Think God Was Telling Us Something About the Senate Hearings and John Roberts with the LA Blackouts?

Yeah, me too. ;)

A Patriot Writes Robert Novak (Not Someone I Would Call a Patriot But Your Mileage May Vary)

General JC Christian is writing his delightful, informative letters again:

Robert Novak
White House Enforcer

Dear Mr. Novak,
I'm concerned that you've had fewer exclusive character assassination pieces in your column as of late. It use to be that when Mr. Rove wanted somebody done in, he'd give you first crack at the job. And you did the job well, your betrayals of Valerie Plame and the CIA front for which she worked were Machiavellian masterpieces.

Over the last few months, however, it seems that Mr Rove is giving you the very same assignments he gives other reporters. It's as if he no longer deems you worthy of an exclusive hit. I think I know a way for you to regain his trust.

As you know, the attacks on Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin have not born fruit. I'm sure Mr. Rove is desperately looking for someone else to blame. You can supply him with that scapegoat.

Over the Summer, the Presidential Prayer Team for Kids tasked America's children to pray for Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff and FEMA chief Michael Brown and ask the Lord to give these men wisdom as they exercised their responsibilities. Obviously, the children of America failed miserably--the Chertoff-Brown Team reacted to Katrina like they were Curley and Shemp doing a little side stooging on Moe's day off.

Write a column exposing America's children as the faithless little bastards they are. Drag secular education into it for good measure. If you're successful, voters will forget who was really responsible for this fiasco and you'll become Mr. Rove's go-to guy, again--at least until Ms Malkin writes a column about the need for internment camps for godless children.

Black and White, Red and Blue = Purple

Digby (worth a trip to visit, IMHO):

When you all get a chance to read Rick Perlstein's new book (which he generously allowed me to excerpt a bit of here) you will see how fragile and ephemeral the consensus that allowed the civil rights bills to pass in the mid-60's was. You will see that almost immediately the backlash formed against the anti-poverty programs despite the fact that, contrary to myth, they worked quite well and actually lifted a lot of people out of poverty, black and white alike. Racism informs many Americans' ideas about poverty. It is also one of the darker philosphical underpinnings of our vaunted American individualism.

From the beginning we had problems because government programs often had to help blacks as a last resort. It is why today many people believe that welfare has a black face even though far more welfare recipients are white. It is why we have developed the idea that the poor (pictured in our minds' eye as black and brown) are lazy and shiftless rather than unfortunate. (Europe, with its long history of class division doesn't see poverty this way.) It's why certain people made the assumption that the poor and black in New Orleans were all on welfare rather than the truth, which is that many of them are members of the urban working poor. There are certainly many conservatives who hold a philosophy of small government for different reasons than racism. They may believe that power corrupts or that big government is inefficient. But there is no sense of economic self-interest in working class whites being against high taxes for millionaires and corporations and there is no reason that they should be worried about big government takeover of healthcare when thiers is terrible if it exists at all. And yet many of them vote against the party that promises to tax millionaires and corporations and provide national health insurance.

The sad fact is that in that great sea of Republican red, there are many whites who would rather do without health care than see money go to pay for programs that they believe benefit blacks to the detriment of whites. Their prejudice overwhelms their economic self-interest and always has. They vote for the party that reinforces their belief that government programs only benefit the undeserving african american poor.

That is why liberals have to accept that race must be part of the argument. We are making progress. Things are better. But progress requires staying focused on the issue and ensuring that there is no slippage, no matter how difficult and cumbersome this debate feels at times. The liberal agenda depends upon forcing this out of the national bloodstream with each successive generation not only for moral reasons, which I know we all believe, but it also depends upon forcing it out of the bloodstream for practical reasons. Until this knee jerk reaction to black poverty among certain whites (and Pat Buchanan), particularly in the south, is brought to heel we are fighting an uphill battle to muster the consensus we need to create the kind of nation that guarantees its citizens a modern, decent safety net regardless of race or class.

FEMA Director Resigns

I guess that was one hell of a margerita Michael Brown made himself upon his return home.


You also really must check out this RJ Eskow piece at Skippy's as well.

More Clowns, Bushie Style

Posted by Cookie Jill at Skippy:

according to der spiegel a german plane delivering 15 tons of food to the us has been turned back on the grounds that the german army food rations might be contaminated with bse....(or mad cow disease as we know it in the us)the german spiegel link:

der spiegel claims military personnel in pensacola, florida, doubt the official version that fear of bse contamination is the reason for the refusal. they think it's more a case of the bush administration wanting to avoid the embarrassment of having to accept food aid from europe. those german army rations btw, are cleared by nato as bse free and are regularly eaten by us soldiers sharing duty with german soldiers in afghanistan...also at reuters and the guardian

For All the Griping About What's Gone on in Katrina's Wake

and how badly especially the feds are handling it, you have to be amazed at the people in the hurricane areas. People out trying to rescue, feed and shelter people and animals, doctors and staff trying to pull hospitals together, people trying to pull neighborhoods together, et al. And no, I'm not talking about Halliburton and Bechtel and certainly not that comedy act, George and Dick (and oh, what a dick!) but Joe, Remy, Jane, and Ted Citizen.

Send in the Clowns

You have to see this from Attaturk at Rising Hegemon.

Louisiana Doctors: We Helped Our Sickest Patients to Die

Update: The Ingenius One forgot the link. Doh! I tell you, there are days when I'd qualify with a job with the Bushies I make so many mistakes. Thankfully, those days are relatively rare.

Heart-wrenching and published in England:

Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leaving them to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive.

In an extraordinary interview with The Mail on Sunday, one New Orleans doctor told how she 'prayed for God to have mercy on her soul' after she ignored every tenet of medical ethics and ended the lives of patients she had earlier fought to save.

Her heart-rending account has been corroborated by a hospital orderly and by local government officials. One emergency official, William 'Forest' McQueen, said: "Those who had no chance of making it were given a lot of morphine and lain down in a dark place to die."
And yet I know these doctors and staff will face incredible scrutiny for their decision. But can you imagine what it would be like to be dying anyway and then be forced through one of the messiest, most miserable evacuations ever?

Roberts' Hearing - Part Deux

I know it's bad when even the moderately bright Dem senators are pissing me off.

Stop to think: women have had the right to vote FOR LESS THAN a century.

Roberts is the kind of man who will work extremely hard - and will be exceptionally well rewarded by other than direct means - for a return to a time when anyone who was not a white male landowner is less than fully a citizen.

Roberts' Hearing

Who's watching?

I don't think there's any hope of keeping him off the court or, unfortunately, out of the top seat.

These Death Counts

I know the government keeps telling us there will be fewer deaths in the Katrina aftermath but I think that, with so much as yet unchecked, it is ridiculously premature to suggest the death counts will be so much lower. Sure, it's obvious this is being done for PR sake, but let's not forget that no matter what the final tally is, it wouldn't have been so high had leaders responded better.

Condi Won't Be Reading Mr. Bush Newsweek This Week, That's For Sure

From this week's issue. Title? "How Bush Blew it!" Katrina, of course.


Texas Governor Keeps Appearing at Events with Minister Who Says Katrina Killed New Orleans to Wipe Out Gays

Here, with a nod to Buzzflash for the link.

However, the right is going to march all over New Orleans; no way do they want it to return to what it was.

Help a Politician or a Disaster Survivor?

Josh Marshall points us to this piece in Monday's WaPo:

Frederick L. Webber, a longtime denizen of Washington's lobbying corridor, showed up at work one day last week and found on his desk a dozen fundraising requests from members of Congress.

He threw them all in the trash.

In a self-described epiphany, Webber, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, drafted a large check to help families displaced by Hurricane Katrina and decided that an imperative of his vocation -- political giving -- had finally gone too far.

How could lawmakers be asking for money for their reelections, he asked himself, when thousands of Americans were desperate for aid along the Gulf Coast?

"It really hit home when I was writing out that check," Webber said. "Political fundraising in this town has gotten out of control."

Read Transcript of New Orleans Mayor on "Meet the Press"

He's still not too happy. Says not one damn piece of ice has reached the center of New Orleans while other areas have been well serviced by emergency supplies.

Does Bush Believe He Can Spin Reality Back His Way?

From the Stranger at Blah3:

Good op-ed here.
    Welcome to the real world, Mr. President. Any ideas on what to do now? I'm looking forward to seeing this investigation Bush intends to personally launch.

    But why go through the motions? Just put out the report now blaming every failure on Louisiana's Democrats. Early on, Bush decided that his administration would adopt a "perception equals reality" approach to governance and stick to that playbook regardless of what America's lying eyes saw: a "Healthy Forests" initiative that opened federal forests to aggressive logging, a "Clear Skies" proposal that allowed more mercury emissions and air pollution from coal plants.

    It was an easy magician's trick, since only those pointy-headed poindexters would appreciate the implications. But pictures of people - Americans - trapped atop flooded houses with bloated bodies floating by, while our secretary of state buys overpriced shoes on Fifth Avenue and the president stumps at a golf resort, can't be dissembled.
I'm betting that Bush and his thugs feel that they're finally starting to spin back the ill will that a week of letting Americans die generated.

I kinda doubt it.

Bush to Halliburton and Bechtel: Don't Worry About Having to Pay Minimum Wage for People to Risk Lives in Louisiana...

From Light Up the Darkness:

At a time when the ramification of low wages and poverty has been made abundantly clear, the Bush Administration STILL doesn’t get it. Nancy Pelosi was exactly right, this man is oblivious which makes him dangerous. Well I already knew that and I suspect Nancy did too, but this just makes it crystal clear. I am stunned. I wasn’t too sure that this was the time for Bushville, but I am now. This man is a monster.

Bush lifts wage rules for KatrinaPresident signs executive order allowing contractors to pay below prevailing wage in affected areas.
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.

    In a notice to Congress, Bush said the hurricane had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to take such action under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi…

Mr Bush Drawing Parallels Between 9/11 and Katrina

But The (UK) Guardian cries foul!

In the New Islamic Extremist/al Qaeda Threat Today

I noticed the fellow was saying Allah brought the hurricane and 9/11 and financial disaster.

What? Allah didn't bring up Bush and Cheney and Santorum-the-Dog-Fucking-Weasel?

National Guard Was Ready for Katrina, But Told to Sit Tight

From NPR:

Just days before Hurricane Katrina hit, officials from state, local and federal agencies were hearing that this could very likely be the big one -- the one they knew could devastate the city.

They spent the weekend in almost non-stop conference calls -- making sure all the plans for food, water and security were in place. But even before the storm hit, some of the plans started to fall apart.

National Guard troops in other states sat ready, waiting for orders that never came. Instead, they were told to wait for an official plan and a chain of command to be established.

Our (Cough) Leaders on Katrina

About.com has a page of really insightful quotes on Katrina from Denny Hastert's very sympathetic - let's bulldoze it all - to Bush crying about poor Trent Lott's porch.


"Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well." –FEMA Director Michael Brown, Sept. 1, 2005 (Source)

"I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving.” –Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sept. 6, 2005 (Source)

"You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals...many of these people, almost all of them that we see are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold." –CNN's Wolf Blitzer, on New Orleans' hurricane evacuees, Sept. 1, 2005 (Source)
So poor, so black?

President Bush: Compassion Personified

... as long as we're talking about Trent Lott's porch on a house he spends maybe 10 days a year in; the president last week:

We've got a lot of rebuilding to do ... The good news is — and it's hard for some to see it now — that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house — he's lost his entire house — there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."
In other words, the deep South will look resplendently white and ... oh.. upper class. People who shop at Wal-Mart for the heck of it and not because it's the only way they can afford laundry detergent.

President's Third Trip to Katrina's Wake

.... and he still manages never to get very close to those most profoundly affected.

I suspect his fourth trip will be to the new Halliburton complex our tax dollars will pay for located on really cheap land Halliburton cleared on the backs of the dead and the devastated.

Our Commander in Brief

Baltimore Sun Writer: Bush Must Go

Here (worth reading it all); with snippet:

When funding for water works and levees in the gulf region is repeatedly cut by an administration that seems determined to undermine the public responsibility for infrastructure in America, despite clear warnings that the infrastructure could not survive a major storm, it seems clear someone is playing politics with the public trust.

When rescue and medical squads are sitting in Manassas and elsewhere in northern Virginia and foreign assistance waits at airports because the government can't figure out how to insure the workers, how to use the assistance or which jurisdiction should be in charge, it is time for the administration to leave town.

When President Bush stays on vacation and attends social functions for two days in the face of disaster before finally understanding that people are starving, crying out and dying, it is time for him to go.

When FEMA officials cannot figure out that there are thousands stranded at the New Orleans convention center - where people died and were starving - and fussed ineffectively about the same problems in the Superdome, they should be fired, not praised, as the president praised FEMA Director Michael Brown in New Orleans last week.

When Mr. Bush states publicly that "nobody could anticipate a breach of the levee" while New Orleans journalists, Scientific American, National Geographic, academic researchers and Louisiana politicians had been doing precisely that for decades, right up through last year and even as Hurricane Katrina passed over, he should be laughed out of town as an impostor.

When repeated studies of New Orleans make it clear that tens of thousands of people would be unable to evacuate the city in case of a flood, lacking both money and transportation, but FEMA makes no effort before the storm to commandeer buses and move them to safety, it is time for someone to be given his walking papers.

When the president makes Sen. Trent Lott's house in Pascagoula, Miss., the poster child for rebuilding while hundreds of thousands are bereft of housing, jobs, electricity and security, he betrays a careless insensitivity that should banish him from office.

Bush Friends Land Lucrative New Orleans Deals


Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President George W. Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.

One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.

Bechtel National Inc., a unit of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., has also been selected by FEMA to provide short-term housing for people displaced by the hurricane. Bush named Bechtel's CEO to his Export Council and put the former CEO of Bechtel Energy in charge of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Experts say it has been common practice in both Republican and Democratic administrations for policy makers to take lobbying jobs once they leave office, and many of the same companies seeking contracts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have already received billions of dollars for work in Iraq.

Cops Kept People from Escaping Katrina

From Washington Monthly blog/Kevin Drum:

SAVAGERY....For the past couple of days I've vaguely noticed some stories circulating about police preventing people from leaving New Orleans after Katrina hit, but there have been so many urban legendish anecdotes like this making the rounds that I didn't pay much attention to it.

Big mistake. Not only is the story true, it's worse than you can imagine. It wasn't New Orleans cops keeping people in, it was cops from other cities keeping people out:
    "We shut down the bridge," Arthur Lawson, chief of the City of Gretna Police Department, confirmed to United Press International.

    ...The bridge in question — the Crescent City Connection — is the major artery heading west out of New Orleans across the Mississippi River.

    Lawson said that once the storm itself had passed Monday, police from Gretna City, Jefferson Parrish and the Louisiana State Crescent City Connection Police Department closed to foot traffic the three access points to the bridge closest to the West Bank of the river.

    ...."If we had opened the bridge, our city would have looked like New Orleans does now: looted, burned and pillaged."

A Look at the Man Who Told Cheney to Go Fuck Himself

Story here:

So let’s get this straight: A physician with a newborn baby loses most everything he owns in the hurricane, does what most of us WANT to do and “echoes” Cheney’s words he spoke on the Senate floor last year, walks away harmlessly, mission accomplished, and then once the media cameras leave, he is treated like a foreign terrorist as Cheney’s goons waving M-16s handcuff him in front of his destroyed home? Had it not been for the media cameras filming the initial scene, I doubt Cheney’s goons would have just let Marble go after 20 minutes.

America, land of the free?

Marble and his family have been in the media spotlight before, including his wife, Lisa, and baby, Sofia Grace, who was born shortly after the storm, on CNN. Marble has also been interviewed in art magazines and the Biloxi Sun Herald about his concert fund-raisers and musical success — one of his bands, dR. O, has had at least 20 No. 1 songs on the MP3.com charts.

Long Term Psychological Damage

I believe CK posted this one in comments.

Again, What's Going On in New Orleans?

The Sheraton downtown has power again and will begin receiving guests - contractors.

Airport's gonna open back up.

But all residents have to leave, and counseling centers are telling them they will not go back. Eh?

Another thing: we keep hearing how they won't survive back there anyway because this was an act of God and insurance won't pay. Actually, the worst of the damage was done by failures of levees and pumps and poor response by federales. Manmade in my book.

Why isn't anyone asking why everyone but Halliburton and those with M16s have to leave?