Saturday, September 3, 2005

Signs of the times 2

Stockbridge, GA.

Like I said, criminal

Via Atrios:

WASHINGTON - Several states ready and willing to send National Guard troops to the rescue in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans didn't get the go-ahead until days after the storm struck - a delay nearly certain to be investigated by Congress.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard on Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday. [my emphases]

[. . .]

I don't want somebody fired, I want people in jail!

And just a question for the commanding generals of the Guard forces: What the fuck are you doing sitting around waiting for paperwork? You go when people need you and worry about the paperwork later, you desk-bound, pencil-pushing, bureaucratic motherfuckers. Has it been that long since you had to work for a living? Are your stars and your career worth more than your humanity, assholes? Has the flag officer corps really turned into a bunch of pussies or what?


Speaking of criminal:

. . . That's not a defense, guys. That's genocide. . .


Stolen from my friend the CultureGhost:

[I had stolen the graphic, but somehow it was playing Hell with my template. Click on the link to go see it.]

Questions, questions

Jill has questions:

Where the hell is Cheney, anyway? Is he alive? Dead? Hooked up to tubes in a persistent vegetative state? It seems odd that we haven't heard so much as a statement from him. [Seems he's on vacation too - F-man]

[. . .]

Maureen Dowd has a few of her own too:

[. . .]

Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses.

Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs.

Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports.

Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl.

[. . .]

'Useful idiot'

Consortium News via Farnsworth:

[. . .]

In the 1980s, when I was covering the wars in Central America, neoconservative theorists liked to call U.S. peace activists "useful idiots" because their opposition to the hard-line Reagan administration was seen as unwittingly aiding and abetting communists and other leftist enemies. In that vein, is Bush now al-Qaeda's "useful idiot"?

[. . .]

The answer is a resounding yes. Time to impeach him, indict him, and send him, and his minions, to Leavenworth for the rest of their natural lives.

I told ya

Don't piss off the spooks. Via Cookie Christine:

Former CIA director George Tenet, said to be the target of what the Washington Times called "a scathing report by Inspector General John Helgerson" - may go public with embarrassing disclosures about the Bush administration and its actions leading up to Sept. 11, 2001.

[. . .]

The report, delivered to Congress this week, recommends punitive sanctions against Tenet, former Deputy Director of Operations James L. Pavitt and former counter-terrorist center head J. Cofer Black.

Roberts writes, "George Tenet is not going to let himself become the fall guy for the September 11th intelligence failures, according to a former intelligence officer and a source friendly to Mr. Tenet."

[. . .]

In his rebuttal, Tenet, Roberts warns, "treads perilously close to affirming the account of Richard Clarke, the former NSC terrorism official who claimed the Bush administration's had delayed adopting a strategy against al-Qaida."

[. . .]

They've classified the report and Tenet's rebuttal, but I can't wait until this shit starts leaking out (you know it will). Comes at a perfect time too. Remember how I talked about the coming shitstorm? The housing bubble, the automakers' problems', the steady deterioration of the Iraq situation (haven't heard anything about the new constitution lately, have ya?), and now Katrina. Tenet's rebuttal should be the capper on the Republicans' chances this election season. Unless the Democrats seriously shoot themselves in the foot (which is not out of the question with some of the leadership we have), the Repubs should be big losers in '06.

Note to Dems: Don't fuck this up.

Friday, September 2, 2005

It figures

Via Pam:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 ( -- The US Navy asked Halliburton to repair naval facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the Houston Chronicle reported today. The work was assigned to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary under the Navy's $500 million CONCAP contract awarded to KBR in 2001 and renewed in 2004. The repairs will take place in Louisiana and Mississippi.

[. . .]

Kill me . . . please.

Signs of the times


This one was so good, I've posted it in two places. My apologies to the source - I can't remember where I found it.

America needs a leader

Go read John Howard.

Go see Pauly too.

Who Lost New Orleans?

I'm holding a gun on my finger to get it to type this: Go read Pat Buchanan. What he says makes sense, but he says it like it's a bad thing.

Gulf Coast Overload

There is just soooo much today on the twin disasters in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, both the human tragedy and its exacerbation by our highly paid administration, that I will simply direct you to Cursor. Scroll and click.


South Knox Bubba may be using his real name these days, but his powers are undiminished. He's still on the case. Via Are You Effin' Kidding Me?

Forgotten lessons from the Pacific War

Today is the 60th anniversary of the formal end of the Second World War. Philippe Pons brings up some analogies for today.

Asia's history up until the day after the War in the Pacific is especially rich in lessons about mistakes. Thus, Japan's creation in 1932 of the puppet state of Manchukuo presents - in spite of the obvious differences - troubling analogies with Iraq: both cases were the work of rightist radicalism from a superpower (regional, in Japan's case, global, in America's) combined with a manipulation of public opinion and defiance of international rules, notes the political scientist Kang Sang-jung. In both cases, a war of aggression was waged in the name of a messianic vision (the "liberation" of Asia; the "democratization" of the Middle East) and out of a conviction that military superiority would conquer all: the creation of the state of Manchukuo in fact marked the beginning of a fifteen-year-long war.
Finally, George Bush's messianic "vision" singularly recalls the redemptive message of Japanese militarists when they invaded Asia: "Without conveying the United States' pretensions to universalism, Japanese Imperialist ideology drew from the same source," writes American historian and Japanese history specialist Herbert Bix, author of Hirohito and the Making of a Modern Japan (Harper Collins), "The Japanese were taught to believe in their moral superiority and to be proud of the Light of which they were the bearers. Like Americans today. And when they encounter resistance in the country they invade, they behave no better than the Japanese in China." Decidedly not so distant, the Pacific War...

I absolutely differ with "...they behave no better than the Japanese in China." Our troops don't bet on how many civilians they can behead in a given period or kill millions of people, at least I hope not. Other than that, food for thought.

Moore's letter to Bush

Michael Moore

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.

I wonder when Bush will don some chest waders and declare "Mission Accomplished"?

Our 'Can't Do' Government

Paul Krugman

I don't think this is a simple tale of incompetence. The reason the military wasn't rushed in to help along the Gulf Coast is, I believe, the same reason nothing was done to stop looting after the fall of Baghdad. Flood control was neglected for the same reason our troops in Iraq didn't get adequate armor.

At a fundamental level, I'd argue, our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.

Yesterday Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk.

So America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can't-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes those excuses, Americans are dying.

Their incompetence and contempt for us has come spectacularly to light in recent days. Even the MSM has noticed, so it must pretty obvious. They'll try to spin their way out of responsibility like they always do. This time, let's not let 'em.

It is the time


[. . .]

"[T]his is not a time for politics -- not only for moral and ethical reasons, but for political ones as well. That is, politics itself mandates that these days not be political."

Stop right there. First of all, "politics" mandates nothing. It's an abstract noun. It's like beginning a sentence "Morality dictates that..." Morality dictates nothing. It's how people interpret morality, and how they apply it in certain situations which evolve over time. Politics are people, and what they make of their political situation, and when the realities of their lives demand that the political and economic circumstances of their lives change. It isn't something to put on a shelf and used only when the climate of opinion permits.

Armando again: "Yes Bush and his administration have much to answer for. But what of the government of the State of Louisiana? The government of the City of New Orleans? I for one believe all have to answer for this. But not now. Maybe next week. But not today."

I don't mean to pick on Armando, but has he learned nothing under Bush? There is no "next week" when it comes to getting answers and fixing accountability for failure under this president. Next week never comes. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

Like I said the other day, Bush and the Repubs own Katrina and the aftermath of her visit. This isn't just a random natural disaster. This is the result of the corrupt, failed, and flawed policy of the Chimp administration, their enablers, and their apologists.

Dear President Bush

From our friend and esteemed colleague, the CutureGhost:

Dear President Bush;

Your services are no longer needed. Please submit your resignation and return to Texas.

Thank you,

The CultureGhost

Short, sweet, and to the point. As we've seen over the past few days, we're on our own anyway.



A government that cannot provide basic protection and support to its people, let alone a government in the most powerful nation ever with the most money ever that lets this happen is a government that is beyond corruption.

[. . .]

You know the helpless, frustrated feeling you have about all this? That's the way people feel who discover they've just been scammed by a con artist. We've been scammed in the biggest way possible.

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

Princess Shayna says she'll shoot death rays from her eyes at George Bush for his ineptitude and criminal acts. "He shouldn't be allowed to have a dog," she was heard to say.
Hat tip: Disgruntled Chemist.

Thursday, September 1, 2005


I've been permanently pissed off at Bush since 2000, but this time I'm ashamed of the sonofabitch. Ashamed that he calls himself an American.

I've been watching the NOLA news, like we all have. What I saw is disgraceful. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people sitting around the Convention Center with no food or water. People are dying of dehydration.

A leader would have been burning up the phone wires getting help for these folks. The Corporal of the Guard of the 443rd Mess Kit Repair Battalion could do better than the Chimp-in-Chief.

It ain't rocket science, folks. Load up a goddam old CH-46 Sea Knight from some reserve squadron in Podunk with water, fly it over the thirsty people and kick it the fuck out. Hell, George, put on your fancy flight suit, load up that big blue motherfucker that we paid for and let you fly around in, fill it with bottled water, fly low (we know the best pilots in the world can do that 'cuz they did it yesterday), tie your ass to a stanchion, sit on the deck, open the door, and you do the kickout. Just once, earn your fuckin' money. Maybe if you're feeling extra compassionate, throw in a few sandwiches.

The relief people won't fly into an area because they heard a fuckin' gunshot, fer chrissakes. 82 school buses aren't highballin' it to get people out because a couple of the drivers are scared to go in. Instead of helping folks, cops and guardsmen are detailed to prevent looting (if they're black) aka stealing to survive (if they're white). They oughta be helping the folks break down the fucking doors to get food, water, medicine. Let the sonsabitches who are stealing TVs get 'em up the three flights to their cribs, then make 'em take 'em back to the store if they won't turn on.

I'm sorta reminded of the so-called Siege of Khe Sanh in Vietnam. Many, many flights went in every day to supply the Marines with food, water, ammo, typewriter ribbons, etc. They used transports, helos, air drops, LAPES, all with background music by B-52s. All this NOLA deal calls for is food, water, a few Corpsmen. Don't need to fly in tons of artillery rounds, and these relief flights are only gonna get shot at by a couple loonies instead of by the whole fuckin' People's Army of Viet Nam.

Goddammit, George, these are Americans you're leaving in the fuckin' lurch. They work, and pay taxes just on the off chance you'll help them in time of need instead of throwing the money down some sand hole.

Get off your ass and tell Rumbo to cut loose with whatever assets we've still got, get 'em in the fuckin' air, and GO HELP THESE PEOPLE!

Better yet, call that young Corporal in Podunk. He'll get it done quicker because he gives a shit.

Ranting is filled. For now.


Froggy at Skippy's:

i heard that awol announced yesterday that he has "zero-tolerance for looters." does that mean he is going to finally stamp out the war-profiteers like halliburton and its subsidiary, kbr, who have stolen billions and billions of dollars from the u.s. treasury and u.s. taxpayers since the war in iraq began?

[. . .]

She's at it again...

...and this time Angry Old Broad is pissed!


Mustang Bobby's got the links if you feel obliged to give.

Just a question

When the going gets tough, why does the Chimp always call Daddy and Bill Clinton?

Link via Maru.

[I just watched the announcement. After the Chimp was done, he just left Bill and Daddy standing there as he stalked off. The boy's losing it. Bill and the elder Bush didn't know what to do for a second and as the camera watched them walk off, the Chimp was nowhere to be seen. Seems that once again, the adults have to clean up Chimpy's mess. What a dick.]

Heh . . . again

We can't afford our gasoline (video). Via Glen.


I was reading an article at Spiegel Online similar to the Molly Ivins piece posted below, only with more depth. The last line made me blow up another blood pressure monitor. Good thing I get 'em by the case.

On the day the levees burst in New Orleans, Bush delivered a speech in Colorado comparing the Iraq war to World War II and himself to Franklin D. Roosevelt: "And he knew that the best way to bring peace and stability to the region was by bringing freedom to Japan." Bush had boarded his very own "Streetcar Named Desire."

In his deranged attempt to compare himself to FDR, a man who actually did some good for the nation and the world, by calling WWII an attempt to "bring freedom to Japan", he has once again showed his contempt for facts and history, and, by extension, for all of us. On the one hand, he likens himself to one of our great Presidents, while on the other he is trying to undo everything Roosevelt did for the American people and the rest of the world.

By the way, even as a Machiavellian politician, the Chimp ain't a pimple on FDR's ass.

I hope the son of a bitch lives long enough to hear what history has to say about him. It won't be too long in coming. Then we can hang him.

New Orleans: It's about us

Molly Ivins

One of the main reasons New Orleans is so vulnerable to hurricanes is the gradual disappearance of the wetlands on the Gulf Coast that once stood as a natural buffer between the city and storms coming in from the water. The disappearance of those wetlands does not have the name of a political party or a particular administration attached to it. No one wants to play, "The Democrats did it," or, "It's all Reagan's fault." Many environmentalists will tell you more than a century's interference with the natural flow of the Mississippi is the root cause of the problem, cutting off the movement of alluvial soil to the river's great delta.

But in addition to long-range consequences of long-term policies like letting the Corps of Engineers try to build a better river than God, there are real short-term consequences, as well. It is a fact that the Clinton administration set some tough policies on wetlands, and it is a fact that the Bush administration repealed those policies -- ordering federal agencies to stop protecting as many as 20 million acres of wetlands.

Last year, four environmental groups cooperated on a joint report showing the Bush administration's policies had allowed developers to drain thousands of acres of wetlands.

Does this mean we should blame Bush for the fact that New Orleans is underwater? No, but it means we can blame Bush when a Class 3 or Class 2 hurricane puts New Orleans under. At this point, it is a matter of making a bad situation worse, of failing to observe the First Rule of Holes (when you're in one, stop digging).

Just plain political bad luck that, in June, Bush took his little ax and chopped $71.2 million from the budget of the New Orleans Corps of Engineers, a 44 percent reduction. As was reported in New Orleans CityBusiness at the time, that meant "major hurricane and flood projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now."
In fact, there is now a government-wide movement away from basing policy on science, expertise and professionalism, and in favor of choices based on ideology. If you're wondering what the ideological position on flood management might be, look at the pictures of New Orleans -- it seems to consist of gutting the programs that do anything.
The Louisiana National Guard also notes that dozens of its high-water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators have also been sent abroad. (I hate to be picky, but why do they need high-water vehicles in Iraq?)
The levees of New Orleans, two of which are now broken and flooding the city, were also victims of Iraq war spending. Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, said on June 8, 2004, "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq."

This, friends, is why we need to pay attention to government policies, not political personalities, and to know whereon we vote. It is about our lives.

Hear, hear.

Impeach and institutionalize

The lovely Jane:

[. . .]

After three days of golf, staged Medicare events and other random acts of mind-boggling indifference to the disaster whose death toll is still untold (although the WaPo now says it could be in the thousands), I have to say I was wrong. George W. Bush does not give a flying fuck about the suffering of anyone. Ever. Period. [my em]

[. . .]

Bush is a sociopath. It's time he's removed from office and put in a place where he belongs. May I suggest a room with rubber wallpaper at Bellevue?

My boys

I was wondering if my old unit would be called on to help.

Release No. 050805
August 31, 2005


HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - Air Force Special Operations Command will fly an MC-130 aircraft into New Orleans International Airport tonight with a small team of special operations forces to work to reopen the runway.

A team of combat controllers and a small medical team will work to establish operations at the airport, which has no electricity or air traffic control. Combat controllers are certified air traffic controllers and special operators who can open airfields deep behind enemy lines or in other hazardous areas.

The combat controllers will set self-powered lights and other navigational aids, then function as air traffic controllers with portable radios so that other military aircraft can land and help evacuate around 2,500 ill, or injured persons from the New Orleans area.

The deployed aircraft include 19 HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters specifically designed to find and recover individuals in hazardous areas. AFSOC has also deployed 11 C-130 aircraft with various special mission capabilities, including helicopter refueling and the ability to operate from dirt or unimproved airfields.

AFSOC has sent pararescuemen and combat controllers to Jackson to work in conjunction with the aircraft. Pararescuemen are highly trained emergency medical technician special operators. Combat controllers and pararescuemen are accustomed to operating in the most difficult and hostile conditions and are trained in numerous special operations skills such as SCUBA and parachute operations.

Pardon me my pride.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Some questions for you, Mr. President

This appeared today in my local paper, the Sierra Sun. It was written by a local and I want to share it with you. Not blockquoted due to length. I've highlighted a couple of my favorites.

Jennifer Montgomery
August 30, 2005

"I'm the commander - see, I don't need to explain - I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

- President Bush, Nov. 19, 2002

In light of the dramatically falling support for the President and his war, maybe it's time to start explaining. Here are 20 questions to start.

1) Mr. President, who is the mastermind responsible for 9-11?

2) Mr. President, where is he now?

3) Mr. President, you've compared the war in Iraq to WWI and WWII. Will you compare it to Vietnam, as well, or will you leave that comparison only for war hero Republican Senators to make?

4) Mr. President, if the war in Iraq is like WWII, why haven't taxes been increased to pay for the war, oil, gas and food rationing instituted, and troop strength increased to fight the war?

5) Mr. President, when you compared this war in Iraq to WWI and WWII, you did not specify whether our role in Iraq is similar to the Allied or the Axis viewpoint. Are we like the Axis, who invaded Poland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, or are we like the Allies, who fought the Axis after their invasions?

6) Mr. President, in light of statements by the intelligence community and the Pentagon that terrorists in Iraq are now getting training and experience in Iraq and then leaving to attack other countries and train terrorists there, I have to ask, do you ever talk to your intelligence community and your Pentagon? Do you listen to them?

7) Mr. President, you say that we must stay the course in Iraq to finish what we started and honor the memory of the fallen. Are you aware that this rationalization was given 30 years ago as a reason why we should stay in Vietnam?

8) Mr. President, while our troops are being kept in Iraq, is there anything to keep the terrorists there?

9) Mr. President, the 1,864 US Soldiers killed in Iraq, the influx of foreign terrorists into Iraq and the increase of terrorist activity in Iraq since the invasion would seem to indicate that the terrorists are taking the fight to us, and not the other way around. Do you think that's the case?

10) Mr. President, if the Iraq war couldn't keep terrorists out of London, Egypt, and Jordan, what makes you think it will keep them out of the United States?

11) Mr. President, you've compared the War on Terror to WWII. But by the time we had been involved in WWII this long, Hitler had killed himself, Tojo had surrendered, and the Allies had won. In the current War on Terror, Bin Laden is a free man, the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan due to our troop withdrawal there, and terrorists are gaining experience in Iraq that they are taking to other countries. Do you have any comment on that?

12) Mr. President, can you explain how fallen soldiers are honored by a continued insistence on causing the injury and death of their comrades-in-arms? (Hint, it's the first rule of hole digging: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.)

13) Mr. President, in a recent speech in Salt Lake City, you said that "the only way to defend our citizens where we live is to go after the terrorists where they live." In light of terror attacks in Bali, Egypt, England, and Jordan, by citizens of those countries, are you proposing we invade those countries?

14) Mr. President, you said that we should go after terrorists where they live. Seventeen of the 19 9-11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden is a native of ... which country?

15) Mr. President, you said that we are building allies in Afghanistan and Iraq by continuing to stay there and fight. Do we expect people whose families have died because of us to become our allies?

16) Mr. President, if Iraq becomes an Islamic state with close economic and military ties to Iran, will we continue to be allied with them?

17) Mr. President, if the Iraqis affirm a Constitution denying women their rights and enshrining Sharia law, will we continue to support them?

18) Mr. President, why won't you meet with Cindy?

19) Mr. President, what is the "Noble Cause"?

20) Mr. President, How do you sleep at night?

I don't know about you, but I'd love to get some answers.

Jennifer Montgomery is a Donner Summit resident. "My Turn" is a space for Sierra Sun readers to submit guest columns that are between 500 and 850 words. Send "My Turn" columns to

Like, Wow, Duuude....

Take a little break from all the horrible shit that's going on, and go see Ask a Pothead (no, no, not here). Thanks, Old White Lady.

Note: Liquid alert!

Bush gives new reason for Iraq war

From the Boston Globe:

CORONADO, Calif. -- President Bush answered growing antiwar protests yesterday with a fresh reason for US troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.

With gas prices on the way up in the wake of Katrina, this one might help him. Hell, the damn oil's the reason we were there in the first place. It's about time he admitted it.

We're tough

No relation but I wish she was.

Exactly! . . . revisited

. . . For, if there's anything we know about this Republican government, if there's a way to exacerbate a fuck-up into a mighty fuck-up, they'll do it.

You know who.

Assessing Responsibility

From Sirotablog:

Imagine a burning apartment building. In such a scenario, you'll have the organized crowd who already has checked for stairwells to exit and will be making sure everyone gets out of the building, running through mental checklists. Emotionally caring people will get outside and immediately work to get blankets and hot chocolate to people standing in the cold and comforting people who are scared. Firefighters will be running into the building to fight the blaze (people with "firefighter" style personalities are often also the sort of people who end up starting fires). And fire inspectors will spend time looking at evidence in order to determine who started the blaze.

Each of these actions requires different strengths, but all of them share the fact that they require leadership skills. But there's something else that you could do outside a burning building, something that shows absolutely no leadership: patently denying that the drunk kids playing with matches and everclear had anything to do with the blaze.

Let's face it. The Bush Administration diverted money from safety projects in Louisiana to the Iraq War. They have helped stop the country from doing anything about global warming, despite the fact that climate change may be partially responsible for triggering this event. And the fact that they've relied so heavily on guard troops and equipment means that we're facing critical shortfalls in Louisiana.

Of course, the people at RedState are merely saying that the left is using human tragedy as a way to attack the Bush Administration. Look, the simple truth is that many of these problems were foreseen, but advice was ignored, and Bush was running around playing guitar while Rome burns. That's not leadership, it's incompetence and calling it out is called accountability. In other words, some of us need to be the fire inspectors, because getting to the truth ain't exactly the Bush Admin's strong suit.

My earnest hope is that Bush achieves understanding of what he's done to this country in the short interval between the trap door dropping out from under him and the rope jerking taut.

Katrina is a terrorist

Or she should be. She did more than what bin Laden could do with a nuke. She destroyed an American city. But that's Mother Nature you say. Yes, I agree, but look what she's done. She did what bin Laden wanted, without having to sacrifice a single Mujaheddin.

One bitchy storm will cause us the same hardships. If you don't think we've been dealt a body blow by Katrina, think again. Do you realize what $5 gas prices will do to this 'bubbly' economy? To the people with variable-interest rate or interest-only mortgages and home equity loans? To the people with big cars (right or wrong) who can no longer afford to get to work or make their payments? The effects of this storm will haunt us in ways we can't even imagine yet.

It was a wake up call to us, a microcosm of the bad decisions made over the past 5 years. The lack of funding, the lack of preparedness, the myopia of this administration (256th Louisiana is sitting in Iraq) and the Republican Party. Along with 9/11 and Iraq, Chimpy Inc owns Katrina as well.

No love beads in her jewelry box...

Go read Maureen Dowd writing about Hillary Clinton.

But by hanging back and trimming her positions, by keeping her powder dry until a more politically advantageous time, she may miss the moment when Americans are looking for someone to emerge from her cowering party to articulate their anger about Iraq or their fear about a Supreme Court that will scale back women's rights and civil rights here, as Islamic courts do the same in Iraq.

Hillary may get caught flat-footed. Or she may be right in betting that there's no need to do anything rash now, like leading.

It would be nice if someone would start leading. It may be hard to recognize leadership, we've gone so long without it.

Puckered Sphincters

Well, I picked up the Mrs. last night off a flight from Boston. As she approached me through the terminal, she had that look in her eye. As usual, she was happy to see me and I her and, after a kiss that drew comments from passersby, she looked at me and said, "they're scared".

Background: Mrs. F is an executive at a large insurance company and the only thing on anybody's lips is 'Katrina'. The last time I saw them get worried like this was right after 9/11 as they began to consider the payouts and liability. (My wife's company insured many of the companies occupying WTC.)

This isn't just a humanitarian disaster, it is an economic one. Fuck the price of oil going up, watch for a bunch of insurance companies to go under thanks to this hurricane. They're also seriously considering this:

[. . .]

Time to decide what to do next, rather than waste more money than absolutely necessary giving the once glorious, now hideously ruined, corpse the ICU treatment. Pull the plug. Now. Go inland a ways, either west towards Baton Rouge or north of Ponchartrain, and use that $25 billion to create a new city from scratch. Get today's incarnation of Pierre l'Enfant to lay out a liveable plan, and go for it. Because otherwise you're going to have Gaza On the Mississippi with refugees living in tents for years waiting to return to a town that just isn't there any more.

This is gonna hurt us more than we think. Not just the poor folks in the area but people all over the nation. It should completely unfold over the next couple months. Brace yourselves.

Update: As of 6:15 this morning, regular gas hits $3.41 on Eastern Long Island. And so it begins . . .

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Rant of the Day

Don't miss An Angry Old Broad. She more than makes up for a couple days away from her keyboard.


How fucked is New Orleans thanks to this and this?

Blowing shit up

As long time (not that a year and a little more is a long time, though if you were in Iraq . . .) readers know, I love blowing shit up. I just found this via Mark and I'm aroused. You can do this with magnesium too. Heh.


Got this from John Howard via Shakey's Sis:

If you're inclined to sport one of these on your rig, like for camouflage in a bad (Republican) neighborhood, you can get 'em for free at your local car wash. They come right off when the pressure water hits 'em.

The "Old Ay-rab" Speaks

By Helen Thomas, on the Democrats and Bush's War:

It's time for the Democratic Party to take a courageous stand and call for the withdrawal of troops from the senseless war in Iraq.
Would the Republicans have hesitated to challenge the Democrats if the shoe was on the other foot? Did the opposition party give former President Bill Clinton any slack while he was in office?

What is the logic of Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Joseph Biden, D-Del. and other so-called moderate Democrats still backing the unprovoked war in Iraq when they know they were sold a bill of goods?
Democrats have gone about their lives after giving the president a blank check to do anything he thought was necessary. They think they have absolved themselves of responsibility; It's somebody else's war.

But they might find that if they don't get some backbone and take a stand soon, the voters might not be that forgiving.

I think they feel that they're the only alternative, but that the mood of the country wants the same old shit, just a little bit less of a disaster of an administration.

"Freedom Walk" Gets a New Sponsor

'Washington Times' Offers To Sponsor Pentagon's 'Freedom Walk'

NEW YORK Two weeks after The Washington Post pulled its co-sponsorship of a controversial Pentagon-organized march to commemorate Sept. 11, The Washington Times has offered to take its place.

"We offered to help with free advertising," Dick Amberg, general manager and vice president of the Times, told E&P Monday. "It seems like a very reasonable thing to do in terms of public service."

The offer, which would include publishing public service announcements relating to next month's Freedom Walk, mirrors the support the Post had originally planned to provide before coming under fire from internal as well as external critics.

Amberg said Department of Defense officials have not responded to the offer, and it is unclear if it will be accepted. Calls to the Pentagon's Office of Public Affairs, which is handling publicity for the Freedom Walk, were not immediately returned Monday afternoon.

The Post pulled out of its commitment on Aug. 15 following opposition from anti-war groups and bloggers who saw the event as a pro-war march. Others, such as the paper's media writer, Howard Kurtz, and the local unit of the Newspaper Guild, also objected to the Post's role.

You get to the point where you can almost predict what these folks will do.....

Text of the Draft Iraqi Constitution

Don't panic. I'll just post the first couple of paragraphs. Via the NYTimes:

Differences between this text and the version Aug. 22 are in parentheses:


We the sons of Mesopotamia, land of the (messengers), prophets, resting place of the holy imams, the leaders of civilization and the creators of the alphabet, the cradle of arithmetic: on our land, the first law put in place by mankind was written; in our nation, the most noble era of justice in the politics of nations was laid down; on our soil, the followers of the prophet and the saints prayed, the philosophers and the scientists theorized and the writers and poets created.

Recognizing God's right upon us; obeying the call of our nation and our citizens; responding to the call of our religious and national leaders (and our national forces and politicians) and the insistence of our great religious authorities and our leaders and our reformers, we went by the millions for the first time in our history to the ballot box, men and women, young and old, on Jan. 30, 2005, remembering the pains of the despotic band's sectarian oppression; inspired by the suffering of Iraq's martyrs -- Sunni and Shiite, Arab, Kurd and Turkomen, and the remaining brethren in all communities -- inspired by the injustice against the holy cities (and the south) in the popular uprising and (burnt with the sorrows of the mass graves, the marches and Dujail and others); recalling the agonies of the national oppression in the massacres of Halabja, Barzan, Anfal and against the Faili Kurds; inspired by the tragedies of the Turkomen in Bashir, and as in other parts of Iraq, (the people of the western region have suffered from the liquidation of its leaders, symbols, tribal leaders and displacing its intellectuals, so we worked hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder) to create a new Iraq, Iraq of the future, without sectarianism, racial strife, regionalism, discrimination and (elimination).

Sounds like they're well on the way to becoming the new Vermont, don't it?

If you have a couple weeks of vacation, read the rest. When you get to the part that says "as soon as the Americans leave, this document goes out the window and we can open the ball and really settle this shit once and for all", be sure to post it.

Fucking Africa

This just so pisses me off. Forcing our 'morality' on people at the point of a gun. Blondie:

The Ugandan government had made great strides in reducing the AIDS epidemic with their condom program but the US has attached "moral" strings to funding the program. (oh yes, the US, that bastion of morality in the world)

[. . .]

Oh come on. The US is punishing innocent people by imposing restrictions on foreign governments. That's not fair. That's terrorism- Do it our way or die.

[. . .]

Is this what Jesus would really want?

We Should All Feel Safer Now

Bush Returning to Monitor Hurricane Effort
CORONADO, Calif. - President Bush will cut short his vacation to return to Washington on Wednesday, two days earlier than planned, to help monitor federal efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina, the White House said Tuesday.

"We have got a lot of work to do," Bush said, referring to the damage wrought by the hurricane along Gulf Coast areas.

The president had been scheduled to return to the nation's capital on Friday, after spending more than four weeks operating from his ranch in Central Texas. But after receiving a briefing early Tuesday on the devastation Katrina unleashed, the president decided that he needed to be in Washington to personally oversee the federal effort, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Boy I sure feel better now. I mean after all, this is a man who knows hard work when he sees it.

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't he throw all sorts of help at Florida last fall when hurricanes were heading that way? Before the hurricanes got there? (Of course it was an election year, and Florida was a key state and all of that......)


From the WaPo:

Which makes it all the more difficult to understand why, at this moment, the country's premier agency for dealing with such events -- FEMA -- is being, in effect, systematically downgraded and all but dismantled by the Department of Homeland Security.

Apparently homeland security now consists almost entirely of protection against terrorist acts. How else to explain why the Federal Emergency Management Agency will no longer be responsible for disaster preparedness? Given our country's long record of natural disasters, how much sense does this make?

What follows is an obituary for what was once considered the preeminent example of a federal agency doing good for the American public in times of trouble, such as the present.
This year it was announced that FEMA is to "officially" lose the disaster preparedness function that it has had since its creation. The move is a death blow to an agency that was already on life support. In fact, FEMA employees have been directed not to become involved in disaster preparedness functions, since a new directorate (yet to be established) will have that mission.
To be sure, America may well be hit by another major terrorist attack, and we must be prepared for such an event. But I can guarantee you that hurricanes like the one that ripped into Louisiana and Mississippi yesterday, along with tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, floods, windstorms, mudslides, power outages, fires and perhaps a pandemic flu will have to be dealt with on a weekly and daily basis throughout this country. They are coming for sure, sooner or later, even as we are, to an unconscionable degree, weakening our ability to respond to them.

The writer is director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.

To all you folks affected by Katrina, our hearts go out to you and we wish you all the best. I mean it, but having said that, there's more:

That "Compassionate Conservative" you love so much has seen to it that your National Guard is not in position to help you, he's reduced flood-control funding by 70%, and he's gutting FEMA. You'll eventually be paying more local taxes to provide emergency services that would be better if we all kicked in on the Federal level. You better hope this is the last natural disaster that befalls you. Yeah, right.

Next time, when you're floating down your street, better bring your own paddle. There likely won't be a Federal one.

But there's no Moon to howl at...

William Rivers Pitt, in an article at Truthout about how our non-reality-based government has gone barking mad, has this gem:

You want to know the really funny part, the over-the-moon wacky part? Pat Buchanan has called for the impeachment of George W. Bush in his latest column. It seems Pat is put out by Bush's immigration policies. "Some courageous Republican, to get the attention of this White House," writes Pat, "should drop into the hopper a bill of impeachment, charging Bush with a conscious refusal to uphold his oath and defend the states of the Union against 'invasion.'"

Go figure.

Go figure, indeed. While I agree that the Chimp needs to be shitcanned, I don't think that's the main issue. Nevertheless, agreeing with Buchanan makes me think I'm going bonkers, too.


Go read Sis's take on this.


Go see the squid. He's got a roundup of all the shit Chimpy Inc should be indicted with.

The shining bankrupt city . . .

San Diego has billed itself as "America's Finest City" for decades. Yet, today San Diego stands on the brink of bankruptcy. Twenty-five years of Republican stewardship have created a city that is broke and broken, needing over a billion dollar to remain solvent and billions more to repair its crumbling infrastructure.

Decades of mismanagement by acolytes of the Reagan Revolution have left San Diego with the new reputation as "America's Cheapest City."

[. . .]

Thanks to our friend and fellow veteran Jo Fish for the link. He also predicts the likely outcome on the nation.

[. . .]

We're about two election cycles away from this happening nationwide if the "adults" remain in charge. How much more "adult supervision" can this nation take?

The next time somebody calls us 'tax and spend Democrats', remind them who's gotten us into more debt than any time in our history, on both the state and national level. The old adage proves true once again. 'If you want to live like a Republican, vote for a Democrat'.

Monday, August 29, 2005

This is why

What he's fighting for

As a U.S. Marine currently deployed to Iraq, I would like to respectfully disagree with a fellow Minnesotan who stated that people who protest the war hurt troops' morale ("Letters from readers," Aug. 26).

Public debate and discussion are vital to the health of a democracy. It is a good thing when I see Americans exercising their right of freedom of speech.

Seeing people exercise freedoms that many in other countries don't have is something that we all should be thankful for -- whether you agree with what is being said or not. Semper Fidelis!

James Haugerud,
Camp Blue Diamond,
Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

One of them Jarheads who helps the terrorists and hates America. Yeah, tell him that when he gets back. (Link via After School Snack)

Go have some fun

Mrs. G and I went for a spin yesterday to go find a better place than our driveway to take pictures of her new pickup. We ended up in the Martis Valley four miles from home, which is a big outing for the dogs as well as for us, although you could see where she works from there.

We were right across the street from Soar Truckee. Go see the crop dusters they tow the gliders with and look around their site. Soaring's a big deal around here as we have a lot of mountains and the sailplanes climb like an express elevator and stay up a long time. Be sure to check out the Northstar web cam too.

As long as we're in the neighborhood, go see Martis Peak Lookout. The third photo shows Truckee and Donner Lake in the distance, and the Sierra Nevada crest farther west. I've been there many times, and on a clear day (rarer these days) you can see Mt. Shasta, 150 miles to the north.

Now that you're all refreshed, get back to kickin' wingnut ass!

Song meme

Via PSoTD:

A good music post. Pick your high school graduation year, grab the top 100 songs of that year, bold the songs you still like, strikethrough the songs you hate, and underscore your favorite from the list.

My graduation year would have been 1980:

1. Call Me, Blondie
2. Another Brick In The Wall, Pink Floyd
3. Magic, Olivia Newton-John
4. Rock With You, Michael Jackson
5. Do That To Me One More Time, Captain and Tennille (double hate)
6. Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Queen
7. Coming Up, Paul McCartney

[. . .]

The rest below the fold . . .

The Oil Storm

If you didn't see the FX movie "The Oil Storm" when it aired earlier in the Summer, you should watch it. Actually, in the wake of Katrina you may be able to watch it in real life in the next few days or weeks.

If you didn't see the movie (when it aired in mid-June), here it is in a nutshell: a category four hurricane destroys a vital pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico...panic sweeps of the nation...speculation drives the price of crude higher and higher...U.S. government turns to Saudi Arabia for oil...Saudi extremists commit terrorist attacks, killing 300 American oil workers...America sends troops to Saudi Arabia...still major lines at gas stations...Americans begin to turn against each other...the U.S. government decides to turn to Russia for oil...the Russians help in return for an investment in the upgrade of their pipelines...oil falls from its high of $153 a barrel down to around $77...and all is right with the world.

Now go read Crawford's List.

"This is the big one. This is unmitigated, bad news for consumers." -- Peter Beutel, oil analyst
"We are still doing the math"
-- Chevron on Katrina's impact

Mr. Crawford has many links and many comments.

Bend over . . . revisited

From the lovely Jane, another whistleblower has been demoted for doing their job correctly.

. . .

A top Army contracting official who criticized a large, noncompetitive contract with the Halliburton Company for work in Iraq was demoted Saturday for what the Army called poor job performance.

. . .

And of course, Jane calls a spade a spade:

[. . .]

What a waste. If she'd only developed a talent for lying, ass-kissing, abject failure and shameless dissembling, she could've been -- oh, I don't know -- Secretary of State?

[. . .]

How dare she call bullshit on Halliburton and those in DoD Procurement who enabled this theft of the Treasury. Even if we get these guys out of power, there will be no money left to fix the shit they fucked up.

The Philadelphia Experiment


The Iraqi constitutional "process" (now careening towards a bitter and divisive referendum) has already inspired one of the silliest historical analogies I think I've ever heard, at least since Ronald Reagan shuffled off the stage. Hardcore supporters of the democratic transformation of Iraq -- i.e. the deadenders -- have taken to comparing the political camel market in Baghdad to the American constitutional convention of 1787.
The men who met in Philadelpha in the summer of 1787 were the winners of a protracted revolutionary struggle for national independence -- not the leaders of a collection of squabbling ethnic and religious factions, many of whom spent years in exile and then rode back into their native land on the backs of foreign tanks. The framers of the U.S. constitution expelled an occupying army. The founders of the New Iraq are guarded by one.
That said, though, as a student of American history it's hard not to be contemptuous of anyone who would dare compare what the framers tried to do in Philadelphia to the deal that just went down in the Baghdad bazaar. Whatever you think of their politics -- or the utter hypocricy of slaveowners and slave merchants posing as champions of liberty -- the men of 1787 were giants.

The boys of 2005 (and their American sponsors), on the other hand, are just pygmies pretending to be giants. And the Iraqi people are going to be footing the bill for those pretensions -- in blood -- for a long time to come.

Damn, he's good! Don't miss this one.

National Guard?

More than 3,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard's 256th Brigade serving in Iraq can only watch from Baghdad as Hurricane Katrina bears down on their families and homes in New Orleans and the other south Louisiana communities from which they hail. The deployed soldiers and their equipment, which includes high water vehicles, Humvees and generators, will be sorely missed as Louisiana attempts to prepare for and recover from the historic Category Five storm. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

Read the story here. I know that here in NY, we have 3 National Guard troops just to answer phones. All the rest are in Iraq. In-fucking-credible! What a clusterfuck. (Hat tip: Maru)

Holy Shit

Here's a two-fer in the "dumber'n a box o' hammers" category. Two articles at Truthout. The first is about how the christians are gonna take over South Carolina and then secede. I wish them well.

Christian Exodus activists plan to take control of sheriff's offices, city councils and school boards. Eventually, they say, they will control South Carolina. They will pass godly legislation, defying Supreme Court rulings on the separation of church and state.
After scrutinizing electoral records, demographic trends and property prices, Christian Exodus members identified two upstate South Carolina counties - they will not officially say which ones - as prime for a conservative takeover. By September 2006, Burnell hopes to have 2,000 activists in one county and 500 in the other.

I will start the donations for a chain link fence to keep them in.

Scroll down for a look at what one Southern California christowhacker is doing with a famous local roadside attraction.

Cabazon, Calif. - Dinny the roadside dinosaur has found religion.

The 45-foot-high concrete apatosaurus has towered over Interstate 10 near Palm Springs for nearly three decades as a kitschy prehistoric pit stop for tourists.

Now he is the star of a renovated attraction that disputes the fact that dinosaurs died off millions of years before humans first walked the planet.
"Dinosaurs lived in the Garden of Eden, and Noah's Ark? Give me a break," said Kevin Padian, curator at the University of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley and president of National Center for Science Education, an Oakland group that supports teaching evolution. "For them, 'The Flintstones' is a documentary."

These people in both articles are the lunatic fringe. If this crazy shit blows their skirts up, I got no problem with it. More power to 'em. If this is how they see "the pursuit of happiness", so be it. They're so fuckin' loony, they're almost fun to watch, if a little embarrassing to those of us with room-temperature-plus IQs.

At least they're out where we can see them. The real danger comes from the quiet ones who stay out of the light and have developed actual political power.

Real Christians take note: they don't like you any better than they like the rest of us. You better start speakin' out in your own self-defense.


To the people of New Orleans, RUN! I wish you good luck and safety. Your stuff is probably less safe, by the way, thanks to your Fearless [cough] Leader:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has identified millions of dollars in flood and hurricane protection projects in the New Orleans district.

Chances are, though, most projects will not be funded in the president's 2006 fiscal year budget to be released today.

[. . .]

Unfunded projects include widening drainage canals, flood- proofing bridges and building pumping stations in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The Corps also wants to build levees in unprotected areas on the West Bank.

[. . .]

Hat tip: Jillian.

Fortunate Son

[. . .]

Though his handlers have done their best to conceal the truth about whether Bush fulfilled his commitment to the Texas Air National Guard, for which he applied during the height of the Vietnam War, twelve days away from losing his student deferment, there's no doubt that his family's position and connections secured him his spot, safely away from the horrors of the war raging half a world away. There was no waiting list for this Fortunate Son, and no dependence on the military as a means to a better life. He was, after all, losing his student deferment because he had just graduated from Yale [I still have no clue how that happened - F-man.]. The Texas Air National Guard was not going to help pay for his education, or provide him with marketable skills that might be turned into a good career, or be the answer to a lack of health insurance, or any of the reasons that the military is appealing for many Unfortunate Sons. It wasn't even about a chance to serve his country honorably; it was about the chance to serve [hide] without risking his life.

[. . .]

Excellent post from the Sister.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Call me when the water gets up over his mouth so he can't breathe...

Maureen Dowd
writes about how Bush is approaching the wall at high speed on Iraq, just knowing it'll move when he gets to it. After all, he's always been right so far, huh? She says it much better than I do.

He did do a few minutes of work this month, calling a Shiite leader in Baghdad a few days ago to lobby him to reach a consensus with the Sunnis, so Iraq doesn't crack apart. But the Shiites and Kurds ignored the president and skewered the Sunnis.

Iraq, it turns out, is the one branch of American government that the Republicans don't control.

She goes on with some other cultural indicators that the Bushies aren't picking up on, and ends with the promotion of the woman who tried to exorcise the racial profiling out of a Bureau of Justice press release. Go read.

Pop . . .*

Go read Frank Rich:

[. . .]

It isn't just Mr. Bush who is in a tight corner now. Ms. Sheehan's protest was the catalyst for a new national argument about the war that managed to expose both the intellectual bankruptcy of its remaining supporters on the right and the utter bankruptcy of the Democrats who had rubber-stamped this misadventure in the first place.

When the war's die-hard cheerleaders attacked the Middle East policy of a mother from Vacaville, Calif., instead of defending the president's policy in Iraq, it was definitive proof that there is little cogent defense left to be made. When the Democrats offered no alternative to either Mr. Bush's policy or Ms. Sheehan's plea for an immediate withdrawal, it was proof that they have no standing in the debate. [my emphasis]

[. . .]


Is it me?

Or have the red states been getting really pounded by hurricanes over the last few years? Ever since the Chimp took office, it seems? Maybe God's tired of you people fucking up His rep. I'd rethink my voting habits next year if I were you.


On the second anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, this letter is being sent on behalf of Veterans For Peace (VFP), a national organization of military veterans, to appeal for Congressional action to remove George W. Bush and Richard Cheney from the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States, respectively.

[. . .]

Stop by the Veterans for Peace website and sign the petition. Read the whole letter too. Thanks to the Roo for the link.


I just spent the last 3 hours trying to get this fucking page to display correctly in Internet Explorer. It's the anal German in me. Makes me a good mechanic but it also plays hell with my sanity. I hadn't looked at the page in IE for a while, and not since the last round of tweaks. Oy! Much as I hate Microsoft's browser, I realize most folks still use it, no matter how much I harp on Firefox, and I'd like them to be able to read the site with some efficiency too.

Anyway, I got most of it worked out, though I'm still getting an error message in IE. Can anybody translate this:

Line: 2
Char: 31
Error: Syntax Error

It's the only problem I have left and it's making me fucking nuts, even though I can't see where it's fucking up the display. Either that or somebody send a car bomber to my house to put me out of my misery.

(Note: I'm using 3 computers to make sure it looks the same in all of them.)