Politics, Sex, Religion, and all those impolite Human Conversations...

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Location: Oaksterdam, California

Friday, September 30, 2005

It was the best of times, it was the end of times...

There are some days that you think the world is coming to an end or just feels like it.

The Slacktivist wades hip deep in the apocryphal mire that is the Left Behind series.

What is apparent is that Le Haye and Jenkins did not forsee a site that after you're raptured would send out this email:

Dear Friend;

This message has been sent to you by a friend or a relative who has recently
disappeared along with millions and millions of people around the world.

The reason they chose to send you this letter is because they cared about you
and would like you to know the truth about where they went.

This may come as a shock to you, but the one who sent you this has been taken
up to heaven...

I'm glad to see there is no gloating in the missive. However, I see cruel internet hoaxes if this ever goes off prematurely. They have dead man switch after all, and all men are mortal...

Judy 's done her time

Judith Miller got out of the pen and is going to testify. For her homecoming I'd like to offer this traditional paean and horrible midi track.
I'm comin' home, I've done my time
Now I've got to know what is and isn't mine
If you received my letter telling you I'd soon be free
Then you'll know just what to do
If you still want me
If you still want me
Whoa, tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree
It's been three long yearsmonths
Do ya still want me?
If I don't see a ribbon round the old oak tree
I'll stay on the bus
Forget about us
Put the blame on me
If I don't see a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree

Stay on the bus Judy. Please stay on the bus.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Hammer in the Slammer

Newly indicted Tom DeLay faces a possible sentence of up to two years. In Texas as felon he would lose his right to vote and could miss voting in the midterm elections and the 2008 race.

Eventually his right to vote could be restored. But what do his fellow Texans think about that? Not much, if this op-ed in The Daily Texan is the rule and not the exception. To wit:
Texas lets ex-felons vote after they have completed probation and/or parole. This is completely unacceptable. Ex-felons throughout the United States should be completely disenfranchised. Bush's actions in Florida are reprehensible.

Felons commit a crime which carries a set potential sentence of least a year, and they must complete whatever time is actually set in the courtroom in order to even walk the streets again. It is important to say that there is no such thing as an ex-felon. There are people who have committed felonies (felons) and people who haven't (citizens).

But there is also another act underlying any felony crime, an act which is against the rest of society, regardless of the victim of the crime. We live in a society of laws, and respect for them is fundamental. Not respecting the laws is akin to not respecting society. We owe nothing to those who would not respect us and our laws. Those felons are neither owed nor deserve the vote. They have opted out.(emphasis added)

In a way, this fate could be crueler to the Bugman than if he did hard time on the chain-gang busting rock.

Oh the humanity!

Update: Smoking Gun has a copy of the idictment and here is the Texas Penal Code on Criminal Conspiracy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

American Lie

You've seen the picture, but did you know the song?

New ‘American Pie’ Lyrics: by GW Bush
A short, short time ago ... I can still remember
How politics used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
I could make white people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while

But August ‘05 made me shiver
With every poll drop I did quiver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about them widowed brides
But something touched me deep insides
The day the music died

So bye-bye, My American Joke
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was broke
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’ "This’ll be the day that George dies
"This’ll be the day that George dies"

Did Laura write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If Billy Graham tells you so
Do you believe in rock ‘n roll
Can music save Clinton’s mortal soul
And can you teach me how to read real slow...

The song goes on for at least three more days.

(via Other Crap)

Vampire Batteries

As Bush is calling for federal agencies to conserve energy and asking us to forgo unnecessary travel, it's time to resurrect one of his former schemes:
President Bush says the U.S. government will set an example of energy conservation by seeking to avoid buying "vampire" appliances that use excessive amounts of energy when they are on stand-by power.

The stand-by "vampire" devices, which can be found on telephones, televisions, fax machines, washers, dryers and other appliances, "use about 4 percent of the electricity in the average home," President Bush said June 28, speaking to employees at the Department of Energy. "If we multiplied the vampire devices' energy consumption across the country, we're talking about 52 billion [52,000 million] kilowatts hours of power a year, or the equivalent of 26 average-sized power plants," he said.

Bush announced he will sign an executive order directing all federal agencies to purchase, when cost-effective, appliances that meet a one-watt or less per hour standard while on stand-by. "Vampire" devices consume four to seven watts an hour.

Dontcha' think Bushy the Vampire Slayer seems more macho than any Carter comparison?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

BARBARBARians' Night Out in the East Bay

If you were blindsided and are a bit groggy from Talk Like a Pirate Day come recover with Bay Area Resident Bay Area Bloggers and Readers who'll be speaking their own brand of political patois.

Tonight at Ben & Nick's Bar & Grill , we'll meet around 6 PM and stay until they kick us out, Bart closes, or we strangle someone for saying something really stoopid...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Scurvy Buccaneers

Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day which precedes Talk Like Bill O'Reilly Day -- Shut up!.

Being a pirate is all about accessories like the iPatch.

By far the best paean to piratehood came by the way of Roger McGuinn:
The sun came up on the Spanish sea
our homeland far behind us
Being hunted by the King´s Navy
It´s sure he´d never find us
Pull away, me lads o´the Cardiff Rose
and hoist the Jolly Roger

We brought her into the looward wind
and made for the Caribbean
For thoughts of what it might have been
destroys a human beein´

But thoughts about the Spaniards´gold
and learning to desire it
can make a man so brash and bold
He´ll soon become a pirate
Pull away, me lads o´the Cardiff Rose
and hoist the Jolly Roger

Now a gleam came into the Captain´s eyes
as he spied an English clipper
"She looks the perfect shape and size
Let´s all aboard and strip her"

We fired a shot across her bow
and eased ourselves beside her
With our keels as close as she´d allow
we swung from the deck to ride her
Pull away, me lads o´the Cardiff Rose
and hoist the Jolly Roger

Up she stumbles and starts to pitch
and signals for assistance
We tightened our hold another hitch
and ended her resistance

Now there´s many a day on the Spanish sea
I served aboard that raider
But we never did nothing more beautifully
than the way that we belayed her
Pull away, me lads o´the Cardiff Rose
and hoist the Jolly Roger

Her hold was hot as St.Elmo´s fire
Her chests were filled with treasure
We took as much as we´d require
then took more for our pleasure

Now there´s many a day on the Spanish Main
but none I hold so dear
as the happy day I first became
a scurvy buccaneer
Pull away, me lads o´the Cardiff Rose
and hoist the Jolly Roger

For a non-musical rendition click here.

I must admit there are other song lyrics, like, Therion - Under Jolly Roger Lyrics

Proposition 75

I just saw a local GOP talking head on TV defending Arnold's measure against unions and political speech. He said, "If the union gave money to the Republican Party you wouldn't have any say."

Put that way, I want to vote against unions giving money to the GOP

In other unrelated news, gun control advocate literally shoots himself in the foot to prove guns are bad if held by irresponsible people.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Mumbo Gumbo

If you've ever had Chicken a la Mafia*, then you'll love Katrina a la Bush:

1 - Great American City
1 - Class-4 Hurricane
1 - President on vacation
1 - Grover Norquist bathtub

Read the rest of this mouth-watering recipe for disaster. The preparation will take your breath away...

*where all the bones are broken.

(via Bifurcated Rivets)

Thursday, September 15, 2005


This is going to be the next big thing amongst red-staters Report: More Kids Being Home-Churched :
BIRMINGHAM, AL—A new trend in the religious upbringing of children has recently emerged in the heart of the Bible Belt. "Home-churching," the individual, family-based worship of Jesus Christ, is steadily gaining in popularity, as more parents seek an alternative to what they consider the overly humanist content of organized worship.

Norville Tucker, who moved his family to the woods outside Shelby, AL in 1998 to "escape the damaging cultural influences of urban Mobile," is widely credited with pioneering the home-churching movement. Tucker said he was inspired to home-church when his 10-year-old son Macon returned from Sunday school singing a lighthearted song about Zacchaeus, a tax collector befriended by Christ, and then later recited the parable of the Good Samaritan.

"I couldn't believe that the liberal elite had infiltrated even the study of our Holy Scriptures," Tucker said. "It was bad enough that my youngsters were being taught evolution in public schools, but when I discovered they were learning to embrace foreigners and Big Government in Sunday school, I drew the line."

Alas, it's too true to be true!

(via Fark)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Number one or number two?

Bush just got caught passing notes about his physical needs to Condi.

For another pisser:
Q: What is Bush's position on Roe vs. Wade?

A: He doesn't really care how people get out of New Orleans.

(via Talk Left)

The John Roberts Job Interview

The confirmation hearings of John Roberts, for Supreme Court Chief Justice, ridiculously have not resulted in any revealing or meaningful answers on how he might rule in future cases. Since this is basically a job interview, why not ask job interview questions that many of the rest of us have to go through these days?

Answers to these questions would probably tell us more about the man who will have the ability to mess with our live for years to come.

Here are a sample of interview questions I'd like to see put to him. I can only imagine his answers.
-Where do you see yourself in five years?

-If you could change your life, what would you do differently?

-What do you do on your free time?

-What's the most important part of the sandwich?

-If you are going to receive an award in 5 years, what is it for and who is the audience?

-If you look at a clock and the time is 3:15, what is the angle between the hour and the minute hands?

-If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?

-If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?

-If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?

-If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

-If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

-If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs - such as food and water - were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

-Do you believe in Leprechauns?

-Why is it that when you turn on the hot water in any hotel, for example, the hot water comes pouring out almost instantaneously?

-If you had only six months left to live, what would you do with the time?

-If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be and why?

-If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be?

-If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?

-If you were a car, what kind would you be?

-How are M&Ms made?

-You have been assigned to design the President bathroom. Naturally, cost is not a consideration. However you may not speak to the President. What would it look like?

-If you could gather all of the lawyers in the world together into one room and then tell them one thing that they would be compelled to do, what would it be?

-What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Here are the some of the sources of the questions above. Suggest what Roberts' answers might be in the comments.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Born on 9/11

Another anniversary of the day that change the world, at least for me -- I plopped out at 7 pounds and 11 ounces after a long protracted birth in the early hours of a September morn.

As my mother was fond of telling the story: I was born in a small hospital in the mountains of California. So small, in fact, their single surgery doubled as the delivery room once it was set up. While the room was being prep, my mother sat in the waiting room with her suitcase of clean linens and baby supplies, munching graham crackers and marshmallows between contractions.

When it looked like I was about to crown and she needed to give that final push, she puked up all the graham crackers and marshmallows which had the opposite effect of what was needed. This prolonged her labor for few more hours carrying my birth over to the 11th of September.

My mom told this story to every girl I brought home. Mothers are funny that way.

Over the years,I have discovered birthdays are notorious for pointing out, in a melancholy way, the passage of time.
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

If at the beginning of this post you thought I was going to say the terrorist attack of 4 years ago changed the world, let me remind you of what I said last year:
They say it is the day the world changed. Yet cruelty and acts of inhumanity have always been with us and I doubt that will ever change.

They say it changed everything. Rather I believe they want to use this day to change everything- to limit our liberties, to settle old grudges, and to advance their economic agenda.

On a more positive note, here are some good things that came forth on this day:
  • 1773 - Benjamin Franklin writes "There never was a good war or bad peace"
  • Born: O Henry (1862) [William Sydney Porter], short story writer
  • 1875 - 1st newspaper cartoon strip
  • Born: D. H. Lawrence (1885 - 1930) English novelist, short-story writer, poet; He is best known for "Lady Chatterley's Lover", 1928 which was banned in the U.S. and England for many years.
  • 1897 - A ten-week strike of coal workers in Pennsylvania, WV, and Ohio came to an end. The workers won and eight-hour workday,semi-monthly pay, and company stores were abolished.
  • 1929 - SF Mayor Rolph inaugurates new pedestrian traffic light system
  • Born: Valentino (1932) Milan Italy, fashion designer
  • Born: Brian DePalma (1940) Newark NJ, film director, (Body Double, Dressed to Kill)
  • Born: Leo Kottke (1945) Athens Ga, guitarist, (Ice Water, Greenhouse)
  • 1959 - Congress passes a bill authorizing food stamps for poor Americans
  • Born: Neal X (1960) Rocker, (Sigue Sigue Sputnik)
  • 1962 - Drummer Ringo Starr replaces Pete Best of the Beatles
  • 1966 - Rolling Stones perform on Ed Sullivan Show
  • Born: Harry Connick, Jr. (1967)
  • 1972 - BART begins service with a 26-mile line from Oakland to Fremont
  • 1997 - John Lee Hooker received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Thanks everybody for stopping by and I wish you a happy Rastafarian New Year.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Quotes, boy do we have quotes!

Quote of the the day comes from Bill Maher talking about the "catastrophe that walks like a man," the President of some of the people:
On your watch we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon, and the city of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky...

THE BRAD BLOG has links to the video from show that produced this catalog of calamity.

Also here is a round up of the 25 Mind-Numbingly Stupid Quotes About Hurricane Katrina And Its Aftermath.

(via Daou Report)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Damn, that's fast...

If you're like me you've notice that Technorati has become almost useless. Try Technorati: Accelerated, it cuts the waiting down to almost zero.

(via Kottke)

He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.

I think we have all overheard heartless, assholic, self-righteous pontificating while dining. Sometimes you just want to slap someone silly. In the following case I doubt I would have the restraint of The Black Commentator:
This is an open letter to the man sitting behind me at La Paz today, in Nashville, at lunchtime, with the Brooks Brothers shirt:

You don't know me. But I know you.

I watched you as you held hands with your tablemates at the restaurant where we both ate this afternoon. I listened as you prayed, and thanked God for the food you were about to eat, and for your own safety, several hundred miles away from the unfolding catastrophe in New Orleans.

You blessed your chimichanga in the name of Jesus Christ, and then proceeded to spend the better part of your meal – and mine, since I was too near your table to avoid hearing every word – morally scolding the people of that devastated city, heaping scorn on them for not heeding the warnings to leave before disaster struck. Then you attacked them – all of them, without distinction it seemed – for the behavior of a relative handful: those who have looted items like guns, or big screen TVs.

I heard you ask, amid the din of your colleagues "Amens," why it was that instead of pitching in to help their fellow Americans, the people of New Orleans instead – again, all of them in your mind – choose to steal and shoot at relief helicopters.

I watched you wipe salsa from the corners of your mouth, as you nodded agreement to the statement of one of your friends, sitting to your right, her hair neatly coiffed, her makeup flawless, her jewelry sparkling. When you asked, rhetorically, why it was that people were so much more decent amid the tragedy of 9-11, as compared to the aftermath of Katrina, she had offered her response, but only after apologizing for what she admitted was going to sound harsh.

"Well," Buffy explained. "It's probably because in New Orleans, it seems to be mostly poor people, and you know, they just don't have the same regard."

She then added that police should shoot the looters, and should have done so from the beginning, so as to send a message to the rest that theft would not be tolerated. You, who had just thanked Jesus for your chips and guacamole, said you agreed. They should be shot. Praise the Lord.

Your God is one with whom I am not familiar.

Two thoughts.

First, it is a very fortunate thing for you, and likely for me, that my two young children were with me as I sat there, choking back fish tacos and my own seething rage, listening to you pontificate about shit you know nothing about.

Have you ever even been to New Orleans?

And no, by that I don't mean the New Orleans of your company's sales conference. I don't mean Emeril's New Orleans, or the New Orleans of Uptown Mardi Gras parties.

I mean the New Orleans that is buried as if it were Atlantis, in places like the lower 9th ward: 98 percent black, 40 percent poor, where bodies are floating down the street, flowing with the water as it seeks its own level. Have you met the people from that New Orleans? The New Orleans that is dying as I write this, and as you order another sweet tea?

I didn't think so.

Your God – the one to whom you prayed today, and likely do before every meal, because this gesture proves what a good Christian you are – is one with whom I am not familiar.

Your God is one who you sincerely believe gives a flying fuck about your lunch. Your God is one who you seem to believe watches over you and blesses you, and brings good tidings your way, while simultaneously letting thousands of people watch their homes be destroyed, and perhaps ten thousand or more die, many of them in the streets for lack of water or food.

Did you ever stop to think just what a rancid asshole such a God would have to be, such that he would take care of the likes of you, while letting babies die in their mother's arms, and old people in wheelchairs, at the foot of Canal Street?

Your God is one with whom I am not familiar.

But no, it isn't God who's the asshole here, Skip (or Brad, or Braxton, or whatever your name is).

God doesn't feed you, and it isn't God that kept me from turning around and beating your lily white privileged ass today either.

God has nothing to do with it.

God doesn't care who wins the Super Bowl.

God doesn't help anyone win an Academy Award.

God didn't get you your last raise, or your SUV.

And if God is even half as tired as I am of having to listen to self-righteous bastards like you blame the victims of this nightmare for their fate, then you had best eat slowly from this point forward.

Why didn't they evacuate like they were told?

Are you serious?

There were 100,000 people in that city without cars. Folks who are too poor to own their own vehicle, and who rely on public transportation every day. I know this might shock you. They don't have a Hummer2, or whatever gas-guzzling piece of crap you either already own or probably are saving up for.

And no, they didn't just choose not to own a car because the buses are so gosh-darned efficient and great, as Rush Limbaugh implied, and as you likely heard, since you're the kind of person who hangs on the every word of such bloviating hacks as these.

Why did they loot?

Are you serious?

People are dying, in the streets, on live television. Fathers and mothers are watching their baby's eyes bulge in their skulls from dehydration, and you are begrudging them some Goddamned candy bars, diapers and water?

If anything the poor of New Orleans have exercised restraint.

Maybe you didn't know it, but the people of that city with whom you likely identify – the wealthy white folks of Uptown – were barely touched by this storm. Yeah, I guess God was watching over them: protecting them, and rewarding them for their faith and superior morality. If the folks downtown who are waiting desperately for their government to send help – a government whose resources have been stretched thin by a war that I'm sure you support, because you love freedom and democracy – were half as crazed as you think, they'd have marched down St. Charles Avenue and burned every mansion in sight. That they didn’t suggests a decency and compassion for their fellow man and woman that sadly people like you lack.

Can you even imagine what you would do in their place?

Read the rest, it's so powerful.

It is apparrent that Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA) can't imagine being less of an asshole.

Whereas, Billmon has so much imagination it hurts, hurts bad.

(via BuzzFlash)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Whoopsi Gras

Another fine animation from Mark Fiore.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

How to talk to a Right-Wingnut if you must.

In response to many of scurrilous claims by the Bush apologists, my chosen character of Scaramouche desires to meet their arguments blade in hand. To those who write racist tracts, blame the victims, say it's God punishment for iniquity, and other such blatantly non-civil comportment I will defer the rhetoric Cyrano of Rostand in capovolta.

The Rhetorical Response:
Tell us again that poverty does not matter. We loved hearing that people living on welfare really had it pretty good, that they were driving around in Cadillacs, that the poverty line had been manipulated by liberal professors to inflate the amount of money going to undeserving people who refused to get a decent job. When we worried that maybe some people really could not live on minimum wage incomes (even supplemented by what remained of the safety net), we loved being told that poverty does not matter because over time some people move out of poverty and into higher income groups. Sure, at any given time, there might be poor people, but we were happy to hear that they need not be stuck there for a terribly long time. The people who died last week because they were too poor to leave the path of disaster might have had a shot at middle class status one day. Or the kids that they might have raised might have had a shot. Maybe. Let us hear that one again. It sounded so good.

Tell us again that discussing race is a divisive ploy, that the civil rights gains of the sixties ended any real need to address lingering issues of racial disadvantage in our country. We long for the voices that told us how racial discrimination was a thing of the past, that political concerns about race were cynical attempts to create guilty consciences in innocent hearts and minds, that there is no longer institutionalized racism, that nominally color-blind laws mean that we really live in a color-blind society. Seeing the faces of the most stricken victims of the disaster, we must be reminded that racism has been defeated. We need to hear that story again.

The Historical Response:
To make the case for a strong sovereign, Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), whom many consider Britain's greatest political philosopher, asked his readers to imagine what would happen in a state of nature. Without authority, he wrote, there would be a perpetual war of all against all, and the conditions of life would be "nasty, brutish, and short."

We no longer have to imagine a state of nature; in the wake of Katrina's devastation, we see one raging full force in our own country. Remove authority, and what you get is what you see: Although there exists a remarkable amount of heroic self-sacrifice and care-giving beyond dedication in New Orleans, humanity's most altruistic instincts are overwhelmed by images of looting, rape, vigilantism, starvation and death.

Responses to Katrina, like responses to Hobbes, can be divided into two broad camps. There are those who say that a state of nature reveals humanity as it really is; we are little more than animals, depraved creatures burdened by sin and self-interest and desperately in need of the firm guidance that only a deity or armed force can provide. For others, by contrast, the state of nature is a reminder of where we would be if we had not invented civilization; we are not animals driven by nature but builders of societies capable of keeping nature at bay. Reminded by anarchy of what a precious achievement civilization is, we transform examples of humans acting at their worst to do everything in power to help them act their best.

Remarkably for a society as modern as the United States, a surprising number of commentators find themselves attracted to the raw brutalities of nature revealed by Katrina. For them, the fact that so many of the victims are black is not just an accident; Africa, and by implications African-Americans, have traditionally been viewed by whites, especially by whites in the South, as one step removed from nature. The ever self-righteous pundits on Fox News find that images of black young men walking off with plasma-screen televisions are just too convenient to ignore. Humans as depraved as these barely deserve our help. "It makes no sense to spend billions of dollars to rebuild a city that's 7 feet under sea level," as House Speaker Dennis Hastert put it. "It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed."

In the state of nature, no one is responsible for you. The situation in New Orleans may look like chaos, our right-wing brethren say, but in reality it is not that different from a market economy in which everyone is responsible for the choices he or she makes. People may be suffering, but, as Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown put it, residents "chose not to leave the city." Left unsaid, but implicit in the idea of choice, is that we ought to be wary of extending too much help to people so unable to act in their own best interest that financial assistance is likely to be wasted on them. Of course, it is easier to choose to leave if you can afford a car, but no one ever said that fairness reigns in the state of nature.

The Passionate Response:
Republicans believe in reducing the size of the Government until it's "small enough to drown in a bathtub" in the words of Grover Norquist.

So the Republican Bush government, in charge for the last 5 years, slashes funding for FEMA and to protect New Orleans from just such an event year after year.

The Bush government fails to plan adequately for an event of this magnitude, and fails to put the resources in place with 4 day's warning before the hurricane hit.

And now the death and disease and degradation in the Gulf is the Socialists fault?

What the fuck are you talking about, Ma'm?

If it's socialist to believe that a government has the responsibility to take care of ALL it's citizens (yes, even the black ones) in the event of a massive natural disaster, then I'm as pink as the Pink Panther.

The "doctrine of personal responsibility" is conducive to three things:

1. Relieving any feelings of guilt that might occur. Example: "I'm responsible only for myself and I'm doing just fine, thank you very much! Those people dying of thirst and disease in New Orleans, they're responsible for themselves. Not my problem. Aaah, I feel so much better now."

2. Exonerating Bush and the Republican party who control all 3 branches of the US Government from any responsibility for their frequent massive fuckups, even those that cost American's lives.

3. Getting Americans to accept the idea of living in a 3rd world society where the rich don't contribute to the government and the rest of the people are left to fend for themselves with no infrastructure, no social services...

Personal Responsibility feels good though. It's positive thinking.

Do you realize how morally indefensible your position is? Would Jesus leave people to die just because they were poor? Would Jesus blame the victims of a natural disaster?

And by the way, to all the Right-Wingnuts and Spoiled Brat Libertarians, even the "I'm In It For The Haircut" Anarchists out there: the only way to prevent massive loss of life in a natural disaster is to have a government with adequate resources. If you find it acceptable, even desirable to live in a society where thousands of people who weren't self reliant enough to afford a car are left to die of neglect then please get the fuck out of my country.

I invite you to pose your version of fanciful ripostes in the comments and I will elevate them, if so deserving.

But then again...

Mayhaps 'tis the time to draw brightened steel is nigh and with a verse bring these maggoty fools to heel:
I gayly doff my beaver low,
And, freeing hand and heel,
My heavy mantle off I throw,
And I draw my polished steel;
Graceful as Phoebus, round I wheel,
Alert as Scaramouch,
A word in your ear, Sir Spark, I steal--
At the envoi's end, I touch!

' Bout Time Someone Said It.

Quote of the Day:
Question: Who should be held responsible for this failure? Anybody in the Administration? Should somebody be fired?

Leader Pelosi: Well the buck stops at the President's desk. The President said he was going to lead the investigation into what went wrong, he need only to look in the mirror for starters. He appointed a person to head FEMA who had absolutely no credentials to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That is the link between the Federal government and those in need in time of emergency. But I do think that it bears investigation to see more thoroughly where all the other weak links are.

Mr. President, your are the weakest link!

The Price of No Sacrifice

I've always thought that Bush was rather clever in not asking for sacrifices from the American public for his foreign follies. Clever, in that it manipulates human nature. People rarely pay attention to what doesn't touch then personally. Few look at the details of policy if there is no direct impact on their daily lives. This aspect of the citizenry requires few facts to intrude on their palpable ignorance. So what is the byproduct of eschewing any up front payments? What have we lost?

The result? Thousands of people starving and (metaphorically) bleeding to death as if this were some Third World nation without any kind of national health or emergency system. While no one could have known the exact nature of this disaster in terms of time and place, we knew full well that something like it was likely—just as we knew that bin Laden, or someone, was likely to attack the U.S. using planes as weapons. Until now, no one in America has been asked to sacrifice a thing for the war in Iraq save those giving their lives and limbs, their mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. They censored the photos of the coffins coming home—much less the mangled corpses--and lied about he budget numbers they were exploding. (What have “future generations” ever done for Karl Rove?) And a compliant media in some cases—a deliberately propagandistic media in others—played along. Now, finally, Americans are seeing just a small part of the cost of that murderous folly. Responding to disasters is one of the basic functions of government, and our government has been looted. What’s left of it—an empty shell in the case of helping the needy cope with catastrophe—is nowhere near competent, much less consistent with the measure of a great nation.

Sadly, I think more people will turn against the Administration if they ever make the connection with the price of gas and destabilization brought to the gulf, the Persian one. That would only be natural.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Rush to Judgeship.

Via a fine rant over at The Blog From Another Dimension, I see the motivation for Bush moving so quickly on filling the Chief Justice seat no matter if his candidate is qualified, or not. Towards the end of this article in WP is the clue:
Getting a new chief justice of Bush's choosing in place quickly avoids the scenario of having liberal Justice John Paul Stevens presiding over court sessions, leading private meetings of the justices and thereby influencing court deliberations. As the court's senior justice, Stevens would take over Rehnquist's administrative duties until a new chief is confirmed.

There's no way Bush would let a liberal run the court even for a second. What better way can you think of for Democrats to stick it in the eye of the administration than by filibustering the Roberts nomination?

Not in America

What if this happened in another country? The storyline would go along these line, as Empire Notes:
As a major city lies underwater, thousands of dead rot, and tens of thousands of the living starve and dehydrate, a country's autocratic ruler at first continues his vacation, declines generous offers of foreign assistance, and then minimizes the tragedy.

After a growing outcry, said autocrat switches gears, visits the affected area on a special set constructed for a photo-op, diverting or grounding rescue efforts while he's there, and makes sure to go nowhere near the masses of refugees.

His vice president goes on with his vacation while the country goes through its biggest disaster in nearly a century and his secretary of state shows her concern by shopping for $7,000 shoes.

As soon as the disaster hits, the autocrat's cadre of lickspittle sycophants jumps into action, trying to shift the blame from an increasingly unresponsive, bureaucratic, arrogant, and authoritarian government to the unworthy victims of the disaster and their supposed propensity for violence, theft, and general immorality.

Had this happened in North Korea or Saddam Hussein's Iraq, everything would have fit perfectly into America's effortless demonology, and it would simply have reinforced our views of how everything really is in this best of all possible worlds.

Instead, it happened right here in America.
So stark are the realities of the Great Flood of New Orleans and the subsequent response that, for a few days, even the hysterical self-congratulation of a culture that has lost any ability to understand itself was halted – although it seems to be reasserting itself.(emphasis added)

I weep for my country and have been weeping for the last 5 years.

Scarborough Country Chronic

I've never cared for slit-eyed Joe Scarborough who looks two bong-hits short of going blind. So guess my surprise when I find the master of faux-outrage giving it to members of his own party. Here is some of his choice words:
With so many trying to figure out why so few acted professionally in the first days of this epic crisis, I offer an insider's view of who is to blame for this national disgrace.

We begin with Harry Truman who famously declared that the buck always stops at the president's desk. For those who now define the term conservative as unwavering support for George W. Bush, even this suggestion is maddening.

But the bottom line is that despite the fact the president was strapped with two governors who bungled this crisis badly, in the end it is the president who sends in the National Guard and FEMA relief.

The president's suggestion that the size of this storm caught all by surprise just doesn't get it. His administration was 48 hours late sending in the National Guard and poor Americans got raped and killed because of those mistakes.

Wait he's not done, there are few more people in his sights.

FEMA’s Michael Brown also shoulders the burden for the suffering in New Orleans. His claim that no one knew of the suffering on the ground until Thursday defies logic. America knew the crescent city was drifting toward chaos on well before Tuesday. Why didn't the man in charge of disaster relief know the same thing?

One state over, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour continues to claim that Katrina caught him by surprise, telling one reporter that it was after all a cat one storm after crossing Florida. That useless fact doesn't erase the fact that the entire Gulf Coast was put on alert as early as Friday that this storm would be historic.

If Barbour thought Katrina would be little more than a category one storm, then he is not to be trusted organizing his sock drawer — let alone the most tragic natural disaster to ever hit his state.(emphasis added)

I don't expect smokin' Joe to keep this up 'cuz he gonna come down soon and fall back into the party line.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina, The Silver Lining... Of Pockets!

The worst and most expensive natural disaster might derail a much needed stimulus to the economy, the Estate Tax, where the scions of the wealthy and poor single-family farmers will invest in companies that have the contract to rebuild the the port and oil infrastructure in New Orleans.

God forbid we don't have another round of stimulating the economy in this time of dire need. And it'll all be the fault of those 'beer truck' stealing welfare recipients who are looting up the ol' Big Easy. With costs expected to reach 100 Billion we must have more tax breaks to trickle down into new tax revenue. C'mon we survived the Savings and Loans payback.

We must protect our nation's asset, children of the rich, who'll be double taxed on money they will inherit, not earned, because that's what Jesus would have wanted, "What profiteth a man if doesn't inherit the whole earth?" (ReMark, 8:36, Version: New Republications).

Friday, September 02, 2005

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

Here is the bestest example of the Liberal Media in one Headline.

(via Oliver Willis)

Fish on Friday No More.

This is a fascinating story about bagging lunch.Clever Whale Uses Fish to Catch Seagulls:
Michael Noonan, a professor of animal behavior at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., made the discovery by accident while studying orca acoustics.

'One day I noticed one of the young whales appeared to have come up with a procedure for luring gulls down to the pool,' the professor said. 'I found it interesting so I noted it in my log.'

First, the young whale spit regurgitated fish onto the surface of the water, then sank below the water and waited.

If a hungry gull landed on the water, the whale would surge up to the surface, sometimes catching a free meal of his own.

Noonan watched as the same whale set the same trap again and again.

Within a few months, the whale's younger half brother adopted the practice. Eventually the behavior spread and now five Marineland whales supplement their diet with fresh fowl, the scientist said.

'It looked liked one was watching while the other tried,' Noonan said of the whale's initial behavior.

The capacity to come up with the gull-baiting strategy and then share the technique with others — known as cultural learning in the scientific world — was once believed to be one of those abilities that separated humans from other animals.

But biologists have since proven certain animals, including dolphins and chimps, do this.

I'd love to see a video of this.

(via Fark)

Short, Nasty, Brutish.

I'm watching TV and see Bush has finally bestirred himself and is out hugging people of color in devasted areas.I'd really like to see him with a bullhorn down at the Superdome but that isn't likely to happen. I doubt his feet will even touch the ground in New Orleans. He'll speechify about law and order but won't accept the consequensces of his recent inaction. For good taste of what those are take a look at this post by The Rude Pundit:
And now that the President has been injected with the mad array of chemicals that are needed to jump start his brain like the coughing, oil-leaking lawnmower motor that it is, he declares that 'The results [of the relief effort] are not acceptable.' And that's great, but they were also unacceptable on Tuesday, when Bush was making one of his worthless piece of shit speeches about how mighty a battle the Iraq War is, just like World War II or some such nonsense. But the Bush adminstration has broken the basic social contract in New Orleans, the one that goes all the way back to Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, the one that says we adhere to laws because you agree to protect us, and thus the city and its citizens have returned to the state of nature, which is to survive, motherfuckers, just survive.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Life Goes Off

Life Goes Off is one blog I keep coming back to read for updates on New Orleans and its environs. Start at the top and read backwards. This post stuck a cord and I had to share it (almost in in its entirety):
Because Someone Has to Say It: To those not acquainted with New Orleans:
Yes, we realize that much of our city was built below sea level. It's kind of the first thing you learn in school. Right after that bit about that George guy and the cherry tree and right before eating paste is bad for you.
Yes, we realize our geography leaves us more vulnerable to flooding. We don't know this because we are smart. We know this because it rains a lot and we get off of school.
Yes, we tried to protect ourselves from it.
Yes, it has worked in the past with varying degrees of success.
No, it did not work this time.
Yes, we are very disappointed in this.
No, we do not think that means this situation is all our fault. This will not change despite how many people suggest it. Maybe that means we're stupid, maybe it means the 'many people' are mean and need to sit in Time Out (aka Sensitivity Training). If it's any consolation to the Blame NOLA contingent, we feel pretty bad as it is, bad enough to where feeling 100% guilty will not help things get better faster.

Now here are some other issues, perhaps call them Did You Know?:
That if you drink an Icee too fast, you get a brain freeze?
That the Port of New Orleans was an essential port to the growth of this country's industry since its inception?
That this success is based on the port's location?
That, because of all the wealth and industry coming into the area, a city naturally grew around it?
That many cities in the world are built around areas that are vulnerable to natural disaster?
That The Waterboy is not a documentary?
That, while you can see a hurricane coming, you do not know exactly where it will hit until (at most) 48 hours before it hits land?
Given this, do you think it would be wise to evacuate the entire Gulf Coast of the United States every time a hurricane enters the Gulf?
If yes, do you realize that could be 6 states evacuating as many as 10 times in 4 months?
If yes, can my Mom crash at your place?
That the city evacuated nearly 1 million people in less than 48 hours?

As for the evacuation, it is sad that there were many people who had no means to leave town. In fact, it is downright awful. Make no mistake about it. While it would have been stellar if the city and state had been able to get them out via busing or boats, their failure to do so does not mean they did not have a plan. It might mean that they did not have a great plan, there might be a better one out there, but there was one. The Superdome has always been intended to be a refuge for those who cannot leave the city. It was built to withstand a category five hurricane. While the structure held, except for two holes in the roof, the facilities needed to keep people in the Dome for an extended period of time (electricity, sanitation, food rations) did not. In the future, a more satisfactory plan will need to be drawn up. Everyone realizes this, and, as soon as they finish dealing with all the shit going on right now, they'll get on it. They might even tell you about it when they're done, assuming it's still a story.

That being said - and this is just for my own clarification - how many other cities have ever had to do 100% evacuations in the days leading up to a natural disaster? This is not a cop-out, I just want to know if there are any precedents for something like this and if there are any successes we can learn from. If anyone knows, please share it.

Personally, I am sickened by the calls to not rebuild. It's nothing more than a call to leave these people behind. It looks like some of the hardest hit areas are also some of the poorest.

For comic relief, seeing Hastert back peddle on his earlier comments is like watching a drunk on a patch of ice. You don't to, but you still laugh when falls on his ass.