Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dividing Line

There are a lot of dividing lines in the US. I suspect one dividing line in the death photos for porn is between those who are more upset about the porn versus those who are more upset about the necrophotographia.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Comrade, Celebrate the Party's Martyrs! or else....

Steven Clemons catches (and modifies just a bit), a voice mail that Commerce Department employees got encouraging them to march in the ironically named "Walk for Freedom."

And apparently the voicemail workd -- at least a bit:
"When I consulted with various members of the media who covered the so-called Freedom Walk that co-mingled a memorial to 9/11 victims with a rally for our actions in Iraq, they reported that many of those who attended the several-thousand person rally were "unenthusiastic civil servants" from the Labor, Commerce, and other Departments who were pressured to attend."

Apparatchiks unite!


Will they try to undercount the deaths due to the Hurricane? Maybe so.

Looks to me like the undercounting may have already started, and in a huge way:

From the Times-Picayune blog:

Lee reports on deaths in Jefferson
Friday, 10:05 p.m.

"Sheriff Harry Lee said Saturday night that the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s office had processed 152 bodies, but only 20 of those were deaths related to Hurricane Katrina. He said the coroner’s office was picking up bodies that are reported lying in the street and handling them to FEMA’s specifications. He also said that body count does not include bodies that may have been taken to the morgue in St. Gabriel. "

They've processed 152 bodies, but only less than 1/7 of those deaths are due to the Hurricane? Huh?

Does FEMA have standards for what counts as a "death due to Hurrican Katrina?" If so, what are those standards?

State, Local, Federal

Republicans and republican mouthpieces want to blame the local and state authorities for the response to Katrina. At least for this Democrat, I'm fine with that.

With the added caveat that follows: who is surprised when the notoriously clueless governments of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana really screw things up? If they'd have done an exemplary job I'd have been more suprised.

But one expects the Feds to actually get things done, and they failed horribly.

And, of course, Bush's failures -- from hiring Republican hacks with no emergency experience for Fema jobs, to staying on vacation while people were dying -- were a big part of that failure.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Macy Gray wearing a "Barack Obama 2008" tee shirt tonight on CNN.

I've been thinking about Barack Obama recently. And he's got some good things to say about the current situation.

That is the deeper shame of this past week - that it has taken a crisis like this one to awaken us to the great divide that continues to fester in our midst. That's what all Americans are truly ashamed about, and the fact that we're ashamed about it is a good sign. The fact that all of us - black, white, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat - don't like to see such a reflection of this country we love, tells me that the American people have better instincts and a broader heart than our current politics would indicate.
His whole statement is really nice.

Even worse than the 38 per cent

Quite a few have pointed out the 38 per cent approval rating Bush enjoys in the recent Newsweek poll

Just as important to me is the dawning realization among the public that Bush isn't much of a leader in a crisis:

More critical to President Bush—and the GOP’s future as the nation’s majority party: most Americans, 52 percent, say they do not trust the president “to make the right decisions during a domestic crisis” (45 percent do). The numbers are exactly the same when the subject is trust of the president to make the right decisions during an international crisis.
And, from the same poll:
Demonstrating the widespread havoc that Katrina has wrought on the president’s political fortunes—even far from issues of disaster response—for the first time in the four years since 9/11, more Americans disapprove of Bush’s handling of terrorism and homeland security than approve of it.
Remember, Bush was taking an extra long vacation (and avoiding meeting Cindy Sheehan) so he could make crisp decisions:
"I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy," he said when asked about bike riding while a grieving mom wanted to speak with him. "And part of my being is to be outside exercising."

I'd hate to see how horrible the Katrina aftermath would have been if his decisions hadn't been so damned crisp.

Karen Hughes Defines Her Job

Karen Hughes was appointed to help mend America's image abroad in spring. Showing how important this image-mending is to Bush, she was sworn in on Friday, mere months after her naming!

Also showing how skilled she will be in communicating with the world, she opens her tenure with this horseshit:
"The images of crime being committed in the face of an awful natural disaster is hard for anyone to understand, people around the world and Americans. It sickens me as an American," she said. "How could criminals prey on vulnerable elderly citizens and children during a time of such horror?"

I'm pretty sure she didn't check a single foreign public opinion poll about Katrina or even get an honest sampling of foreigners before saying that. I'm willing to bet that the looting was not the main thing that non-Americans will take away from the Katrina fiasco. Maybe massive poverty in the richest nation on the world would be noted above looting. Or third-world conditions in the first world. Or the suffering and death caused by the utter incompetence of this government.

One of those is probably top of the heap, since everyone knows the US is a violent nation and has its share of crime -- that's common knowledge and it's an idea exported via our popular culture. But Hollywood blockbusters don't generally depict utterly hopeless poverty and the existence of an ignored black underclass on the scale the world saw on CNN International.

However, to Karen Hughes reflexive Bush-promoting mind, looting at least isn't something Bush did directly, so it takes the focus off his pathetic failure.

If Karen Hughes is going to continue speaking solely to make Bush look good and not to communicate to the world at large in good faith, she is doomed to failure. Which is bad for the US. But probably not the worst failure of the Bush administration.

Also, whatcha wanna bet that she doesn't speak Arabic? What language does she speak, if any?

This little bit from her remarks indicates she probably isn't much of a linguist:

"I've got to tell you, it's impressive to be with Condi, when you're with the Russian officials, to hear her speak the Russian language"

Wow, an American who speaks one of those funny languages -- not just pidgin Spanish. It's so impressive!

Everything this Administration touches turns into a joke.

Bush's Baby

Don't forget that it wasn't just any federal agency that failed all those people along the Gulf Coast.

It was the Department of Homeland Security, created in secret by Andrew Card with input and ultimate authority of George Walker Bush.

Bush's baby. Bush's brainchild. A brand spanking new department designed and staffed (such as it is) by George W. Bush.

Bush: Massive undeniable failure.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Adminstration at Odds with itself.

Scott Mclellan claims he doesn't want anyone to play the "blame game."

Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett are doing nothing but "playing the blame game," blaming everyone but Bush for his failure.

Seems like that would warrant a few questions to McLellan and others.

What Was Said at that Photo Op?

Here's our pseudo-compassionate leader not listening to two human props for his photo op:

Bush strides up to two African American women, who are sisters. Hovering nearby is a white guy wearing shades and shorts.

With the cameras rolling, Bush hugs the two women, one of whom starts sobbing.

Here's a partial transcript:

Bush to women: 'There's a Salvation Army center that I want to, that I'll tell you where it is, and they'll get you some help. I'm sorry . . . They'll help you. . . . '

Woman 1: 'I came here looking for clothes. . . . '

Bush: 'They'll get you some clothes, at the Salvation Army center. . . . '

Woman 1: 'We don't have anything. . . . '

Bush: 'I understand. . . . Do you know where the center is, that I'm talking to you about?'

Guy with shades: 'There's no center there, sir, it's a truck.'

Bush: 'There's trucks?'

Guy: 'There's a school, a school about two miles away. . . . '

Bush: 'But isn't there a Salvation center down there?'

Guy: 'No that's wiped out. . . . '

Bush: 'A temporary center?'

Guy: 'No sir they've got a truck there, for food.'

Bush: 'That's what I'm saying, for food and water.'

Bush then turns to the woman who's been saying how she needs clothes and tells her: 'You need food and water.'"

I'll tell you what you need, even though I met you sixty seconds ago. I won't listen to what you say. You're a prop in my photo op.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Red Tape?

CNN.com - Cut the red tape, Lott says - Sep 5, 2005: "Sen. Trent Lott berated both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and his own state's emergency management, MEMA, for being mired in red tape at a time of urgent need given the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina."

Of course, even blaming red tape is blaming Bush and his FEMA. "Emergency management" means you have the red tape worked out before the emergency, or find means to overcome it quickly during the emergency.

Therefore, this is not due to red tape: it's just more of the atrocious planning and management we've come to expect from this administration. Incompetence, thy name is Bush.

Lake George

A fitting name for the shit and poison soup that is currently New Orleans. George diverted funds to Iraq from levees and other flood control for New Orleans.

Lake George it is.
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