perhaps they should mention that this administration is destroying the very government agency people on the gulf are clamouring for. just imagine louisiana, mississippi, florida, alabama and georgia trying to clean up katrina's mess all on their own. beware. it's a reality coming to a disaster area near you.
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.
fema will be survived by state and local emergency management offices, which are confused about how they fit into the national picture. that's because the focus of the national effort remains terrorism, even if the department of homeland security still talks about "all-hazards preparedness." those of us in the business of dealing with emergencies find ourselves with no national leadership and no mentors. we are being forced to fend for ourselves, making do with the "homeland security" mission. our "all-hazards" approaches have been decimated by the administration's preoccupation with terrorism. - wapo
one should fear this administration more than osama bin laden. awol and his cronies are doing more to destroy america than al quaeda.
the end of august may not be the end of summer officially (that's either labor day, for you working stiffs, or the autumnal equinox, for you astronomers), but we're happy to give you the results of our question to our readership: name your favorite summertime song and/or movie.
the response was large, and varied. several bizarre songs and movies that don't call up feelings of summertime, except for the individuals that nominated them, were submitted. many various artists covering the same songs were named, and a lot of movies, some obvious, some not so, were also given. let's see what you said:
to be frank, four folks specified the gerswhin number (including mad kane, brian boru, esstoessorall, who nominated the joplin version, and richard dimatteo, who likes nina simone's rendition).
three others mentioned the jamies, including rose (who likes see's candy in the summer), steve b, and curtis e. flush. but several, among them screwy hoolie and sailor, nominate summertime by any one of the artists who covered it.
other songs mentioned: summer wind by sinatra, in the summertime by mungo jerry, nat king cole's lazy hazy crazy days of summer, hot town summer in the city by lovin' spoonful, and hot fun in the summertime.
here's some songs that evoke the feelings of the season without mentioning its name: under the boardwalk, afternoon delight, up on the roof, myrtle beach days, carolina girls, saturday night fish fry, palisades park, kodachrome, sugarcane and rock lobster, all fine songs.
movies nominated: dazed and confused, the goonies, caddyshack, suddenly last summer, the long hot summer, cat on a hot tin roof, the wicker man (takes place on summer isle, says decorticator), blue crush, and special mention goes to dr. zhivago, nominated by grace nearing, who says it makes her feel cooler.
we have no inclination to find out why some songs evoke summer to those who suggested them. drew likes tori amos' cornflake girl. karenm likes itchy globo blo by the cocteau twins. greg likes impossible love by ub40. and our personal favorite that we can't figure out, gd's choice of stairway to heaven.
kudos to those of you who said our original example of meatballs was impossible to top. and patriside ran their own summertime song survey. and, if you need a authority figure to tell you what songs you should listen to in th esummer, here's the ball state university music department's choices.
finally, in case you were wondering, the linkmeister tells us that summertime blues was recored by:
eddie cochran - 1958 blue cheer- 1968 the who - 1970 jim mundy - 1977 alan jackson - 1994 also recorded by: t-rex; beach boys; ian hunter; bobby fuller; heinz; robert gordon; the crickets; vipers skiffle group; stray cats; ritchie valens; bobby vee; the surfaris; the ventures.
thanks to everyone who participated! we're sorry summer is over, but we're looking forward to the fourth annual skippy christmas carol survey coming up in december!
i'm blogging on the reasons why no polling organizations have followed up on the june poll by zogby which found "42% say they would favor impeachment proceedings if it is found the president misled the nation about his reasons for going to war with iraq."
this follows the final report that there were no wmd's in iraq in 2003. it also follows the revelations in the downing street memos that the "intelligence and facts were fixed around the policy" of invading iraq.
after the lewinsky scandal broke, only 26% of americans favored impeachment of president clinton. yet dozens of polls included this question:
this land is my land, this land is my land but I'll let cheney have the new york island we'll be the last guys who can even buy land when this land belongs to dick and me.
ooh, that guitar ... two guitar-playin' bloggers (me and my pal agi t. prop) were talkin' about it just today. sez agi: "as a guitarist i am deeply troubled at the sight of bush touching my favorite instrument..." so I say, i didn't know you were a (etc etc). and seeing as it's a good point at all, I try to reassure my buddy by sayin'
at least kerry took lessons, and dean can actually plunk out a tune. bush isn't even making a real chord on that thing. it's like watching the high school cheerleader guy (wait - he was a high school cheerleader!) try to make the moves on your girlfriend. you don't feel jealous, just sorry for her.
so he sez, yeah but
it looks like he's trying to play a g position higher up the neck but I doubt he knows what the hell he's doing. the only sound he could possibly make is muffled out of tune scratching noises. ... seeing the presidential seal on the guitar really pissed me off. what buffoon put that on the guitar?
he rightfully brings this disturbingly lame-0 quote to my unpleasantly surprised consciousness:
-- white house spokesman scott mcclellan quoted bush as saying, ``it's devastating, it's got to be doubly devastating on the ground.'' among other things, the president saw an amusement park with the tops of wrecked rides protruding over bridges covered by water.
he thinks it's only doubly devastating? how about 1700 times more devastating!
how typical, sez i - he knows the gestures, just doesn't know how to do the real thing. and I don't put stickers from my job on no damn guitar. so here's another "this land" verse (with hats off to my friend marian, who likes to make up new verses to that particular tune):
the gulf coast people were lost and hurtin' but not these jokers behind the curtain, don't let them sell it to halliburton - this land was made for you and me!
i just watched awol's little "presentation" at the white house....all, what 4 minutes of it. millions of lives destroyed and all he could bare to spare were a few lousy minutes at the podium saying happy, shiny words that are supposed to make people feel all gushy and proud. not a single word of compassion toward americans affected.
as the extent of hurricane katrina’s devastation became clearer on tuesday — millions without power, tens of thousands homeless, a death toll unknowable because rescue crews can’t reach some regions — president bush carried on with his plans to speak in san diego, as if nothing important had happened the day before.
katrina already is measured as one of the worst storms in american history. and yet, president bush decided that his plans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of vj day with a speech were more pressing than responding to the carnage.
a better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource to rescue the stranded, find and bury the dead, and keep the survivors fed, clothed, sheltered and free of disease. - the ultra conservative manchester union
if he really wanted to help people, he wouldn't have cut funding for fema and corps of engineer projects to strenghening the levees.
a couple of comic strips have come on our radar lately. first, we can totally empathize with zipper of doonesbury, whose blog was mentioned on cnn:
and secondly, tho we are not fans of middle american corn, we highly value longevity, which is another way of saying successful perseverance, and we are simply wild about deconstructionism. so it's with great pleasure that we are following blondie and dagwood bumstead prepare for their 75th anniversary this coming sunday, by inviting all the other comic strips to celebrate with them. for instance, bill keene's family circus stopped by yesterday:
this is not about red states v. blue states...this is not about left v. right...this is not about liberal v. conservative...
the people in louisiana, mississippi and alabama are americans. this is about america. and americans have historically always rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to help out their fellow countrymen in need.
skippy has donated $100.01 to the red cross for hurricane relief. and now, skippy challenges everyone who writes a political blog, no matter what side of the spectrum they inhabit, to do the same.
but that's not all of the challenge. skippy then dares everyone on his blogroll (who will be receiving an email with this double-dog dare), after they donate, to (a) blog about it, and (b) send an email to everyone on their blog roll.
the $100 is to make a difference. if every political blog donates $100, think of the hundreds of thousands of dollars the red cross can use to buy food and supplies for the people that need it now.
and the 1 cent is to let everyone know where that the donations came from blogtopia (yes! we coined that phrase!) and know that for once, in reality, the blogs are making a difference. [ed. note: you can donate to any charity of your choice, not just the red cross. and then please email us to let us know when you did, how much you sent, to whom you sent it, and if you blogged about it.] if the server is busy, call 1-800 help now.
if you can't contribute $100.01, then make it $50.01 or $20.01, or at least $5.01 (the minimum the red cross requires, plus 1 cent). give up your saturday movie date this week, take your lunch to work instead of eating out, do something!
americans are starving, with no place to live, in conditions that are rapidly deteriorating. it's time we all pitched in and helped our fellow citizens! do it!
skippy needs a million dollars...to go to the red cross!
addendum: dc media girl has a great list of charities, along with the red cross, that can help...donate to any one of them (but be sure to add on that 1 cent, so they know it came from blogtopia! and yes! we coined that phrase!)
double addendum: glenn reynolds of instapundit is also on the case, with many more charities to donate to, and links to other blogs who are touting same, including our righty buds chuck simmins and n.z. bear.
triple addendum: the lovely ann (formerly of two tears in a bucket , and who donated yesterday) also recommends checking out the united methodist committee for relief ("umcor") which has suggestions on tangible supplies that you can donate. and thanks to blogtopus for being the first to answer the skippy challenge, and for donating even more than us!
quadrulple addendum: here are the updates on the skippy challenge--
but enough money to offer sunnis to sign the draft declaration of "independence"
the united states have offered to sunni representatives usd 75 million to sign the draft constitution of iraq, ria novosti announced, citing information of source close to the constitutional committee of the country, published in the saudi daily al vatan. - focus i news and information clearing house
don't know if this is true....but if it is....it will only show in greater detail how evil this administration is.
when the flood calls, you have no home, you have no walls... in the thunder crash, you're a thousand minds within a flash. don't be afraid to cry at what you see -- the actors gone, there's only you and me. and if we break before the dawn, they'll use up what we used to be. lord, here comes the flood. we'll say goodbye to flesh and blood. if again, the seas are silent in any still alive, it'll be those who gave their island to survive. drink up, dreamers, you're running dry. drink up, dreamers, you're running dry... (peter gabriel, "here comes the flood")
in 64 a.d. a great fire left much of the city in ruins, and while it is not certain that nero himself had the fires set, it is true that his ambitious building campaign, which followed the fires (and in particular the construction of the domus aurea), represented to many a private selfishness at a time when public reconstruction was most needed. in 65 a.d. nero's artistic inclinations, present since his accession, became truly public, and in a display which shocked conservative tastes he appeared on stage and sang for audiences.
nero's reign was not without military operations but his neglect of the armies was a critical error. he left rome not to review his troops but to compete in greek games, and as a further slight had left a freedman, helius, in his place at rome to govern in his absence. the suspicion which surrounded him after the treason trials and the conspiracy set the stage for a series of civil upheavals. - online encyclopedia of roman emperors
poverty rate continues to climb - 2004 census data show labor market is still struggling - despite robust economic growth last year, 1.1 million more americans slipped into poverty in 2004, while household incomes stagnated and earnings fell, the census bureau reported yesterday. the number of americans without health insurance rose by 800,000, to 45.8 million.
if you're goal is to transfer tax burdens to the middle class and increase corporate earnings for the shareholder class - you're going to impoverish a lot of people who depend on wages to survive. we had thought that the fate of louis xvi would have rather argued against the current republican drive for establishing the ancien regime in america. but they must think they know something.
brothers in arms, but sisters at odds - no love lost between conservative groups with shared parent - steve moore's children don't get along. when moore, a longtime anti-tax activist, joined the wall street journal editorial board earlier this year, he left behind two washington political groups he started: the club for growth and the free enterprise fund. the two groups have been squabbling, acting out and showing other signs of sibling rivalry.
unity around an ideology that it is no more complicated than "more for me, now!" may prove more difficult than the reds anticipated. more like this please.
good thing the president insisted upon meaningful conservation efforts in the energy bill
gas could top $3 this weekend - extent of damage to energy production in gulf from katrina still unknown - oil prices surged yesterday and gasoline prices were poised to top $3 a gallon by labor day weekend as oil companies and federal officials began assessing hurricane katrina's damage to the heart of the nation's energy production.
oh wait...we were dreaming about the gore presidency.
the language could undercut dozens of pending state and federal lawsuits aimed at forcing coal-fired plants to cut back emissions of harmful pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, said lawyers who worked on the cases. [--snip--]
power plants account for two-thirds of the country's sulfur dioxide emissions and 22 percent of its nitrogen oxide pollution. both have been shown to cause respiratory and heart disease.
what part of "the energy industry bought this president and they darn well are going to get their money's worth" don't you understand?
message to republicans in congress: all is not well
but dems shouldn’t get on high horses just yet. message from the public to dems: LEAD, for god’s sake. more wapo:
rising gas prices and ongoing bloodshed in iraq continue to take their toll on president bush, whose standing with the public has sunk to an all-time low, according to the latest washington post-abc news poll ...
the survey also provided bad news for democratic leaders, who are judged as offering bush only tepid opposition. slightly more than half of those surveyed expressed dissatisfaction with congressional democrats for not opposing bush more aggressively.
hillary ... joe ... john (and john) ... is there anybody out there?
haley barbour, former head of the republican national committe and now republican candidate for governor of his native mississippi, is the focus of this post by josh marshall. it deals with barbour's links to a company called new bridge strategies, that was set up to consult with businesses interested in doing business in the new iraq. specifically, according to its web site, "its activities will seek to expedite the creation of free and fair markets and new economic growth in iraq, consistent with the policies of the bush administration." as marshall explains, this has all the outward appearances of crony capitalism at its worst.
our all-volunteer military draws its soldiers disproportionately from the south. some small towns in mississippi have had their entire police forces called up into active duty, because many of them were serving in the reserves. soldiers from mississippi are being killed in the iraq war. and haley barbour wants to be governor of mississippi to cut the already inadequate public services in the state, while he positions himself to rake in the bucks from war profiteering.
interesting to see who one of his partners for this "new bridge strategies" is: joe m. allbaugh (chairman and director).... served as the director of the federal emergency management agency (fema) under president george bush until march 2003. billmon over at the whiskey bar called this matter.... "the scum also rises."
oh...can't forget that little "money laundering" haley did for the rnc
at issue is $2.1 million in collateral that hong kong businessman ambrous tung young provided to guarantee a loan that went to barbour's npf in fall 1994. young's hong kong company loaned the money to a florida subsidiary, which put it as collateral for the npf loan.
npf immediately took the loan proceeds and gave $1.6 million to the republican party to repay part of an earlier debt - money that the party put into campaigns on the eve of the gop's historic election victory that gave it control of congress. - ustoady
joe conason wrote of this little funny money incident
let's see now: millions funneled from a hong kong company into the rnc, a visit to top officials in beijing, pro-china propaganda in an american political party, aircraft sales -- why, this is beginning to look like the chinese influence-buying racket that mr. barbour accused the democrats of running. as he put it on may 13, "they did something indirectly that if they had done directly, would have been illegal. that's the real scandal. that's the real corruption."
claiming that the group was created "exclusively for social welfare" and had no legal connection whatsoever to the rnc, the republicans were able to raise big bucks from noted "social welfare" groups like the national rifle association and philip morris without reporting any of it to the federal elections commission.
so now haley is in front of the cameras wanting money for "social welfare" for a hurricane ravaged state....where there is a shortage of national guards 'cuz they're fighting for "freedom" in iraq to the financial benefit of haley. what guarantee is there that any fema money given to haley doesn't get "laundered" in the dirty water off the biloxi/gulfport and end up straight back in the rnc's pocket?
i have great love for mississippi, new orleans, and all of louisiana - the people, the culture, the geography, the architecture, the food, the literature ... being a music guy, all i have to offer are these special random 10's, with a few of my most beloved mississippi & louisiana performers and songs as a tribute. for some of you this might seem frivolous in a time of tragedy, but it's not to me. it's a form of prayer and mourning.
so, in no special order, here's the louisiana random 10:
"don't you think i've paid enough?," rod bernard
"tipitina," professor longhair
"family rules," guitar junior
"whiskey heaven," fats domino
"the jealous kind," bobby charles
"clifton's waltz," clifton chenier
"i love that swamp pop music," boogie kings
"getting married soon," prine la la
"who shot the la la?", oliver morgan
"qualified," dr. john
"teasin' you," willie tee
"brother john," wild tchoupitoulas
"stop and think it over," dale & grace
"just because," lloyd price
"freedom for the stallion," allen toussaint
with our love, thoughts, and prayers for the people there. yes, I know there are fifteen songs in this "random 10" ... but there's more of everything in louisiana.
now here we go for mississippi-born musicians, where i had even less restraint:
"miss maybelle," r. l. burnside
"only the strong survive," jerry butler
""i just want to make love to you," muddy waters
"good rockin' tonight," elvis presley
"smokestack lightnin'," howlin' wolf
"serves you right to suffer," john lee hooker
"sugar mama," big walter
"all night long," junior kimbrough
"christo redemptor," charlie musselwhite
"the snakes crawl at night," charlie pride
"honest i do," jimmy reed
"my whole world ended the moment you left me," david ruffin
40,000-50,000 people in the superdome, including seriously injured people, and evacuees from the hospitals. there are no running water or sewage facilities -- and no power. temperatures are in he 90's within the building .
one man just committed suicide by jumping. 'unrest' is growing within the superdome -and their are there are now military as well civilian police on the scene. there are now several; major fires in view of city. there is evidently a fair amount of oil and gas floating on the flood waters.
water is still rising and the mayor is just now being evacuated by helicopter as city hall is now surrounded by water that can only be reached by small boat, water is about 3 feet deep at the steps of city hall.
80% of new orleans is totally submerged now, and will likely become 100% submerged tonight the depth of the water in the biz district is around 6-10 inches at this time.
this is a result of 2 major breaches of the levee. the first one ,is about 400 feet long, and appears to have given way around 9PM last night. the corp of engineers have now said there is also a second breach as well. within the hour the pentagon will be taking over the coordination and manpower / machinery to assist in closing the 2 breaches.
the coe indicates there is no other way to resolve the problem, and they will be using huge cranes, barges of sand and intend to 'plug' the breached area. until that is accomplished, news orleans will continue to fill up with water no time table is known on how long it will take. the coe indicated they have 'great concern' for the a specific pumping station - the largest in the world -- and it will be eventually used to drain the water out of the city after the levee has been repaired.
this is turning into a 'slow motion version' of the worst case scenario for new orleans. over 1,200 people have been rescued by 40 coast guard recovery helicopters where people are standing on roofs - since yesterday. untold numbers of dead - likely in the hundreds and possibly near 1,000 or more disease is expected to take a heavy toll within days. this could claim thousands of lives. the key seemingly is to somehow to evacuate everyone from the city. whether this can be done i have no clue.
pray for the people of new orleans. better still,
donate to the red cross to help with katrina relief...or call 1-800 help now.
"we have 80 percent of our city underwater. in some parts of the city, the water is as deep as twenty feet.
"we have people still trapped on their roofs.
"we have an incredible amount of water in the city. both airports are underwater."
"the twin spans in new orleans east are destroyed. they're gone.
"we have three huge boats that have run aground. we have an oil tanker that is also run aground. and leaking oil.
"we have a serious levee break at 17th canal. it's causing waters to continue to rise in certain sections of the city.
"we have houses that have literally been picked up off of their foundations and moved.
"the yacht club on the lake has burned and is destroyed.
"i must tell people who are driving around that if you drive on the highrise, we're not sure about the structural soundness of the high-rise, because it appears that a barge has hit one of the main structures of the high-rise.
"all of slidell is under water."
"we have gas leaks that have sprout out, and even when they are under water, you will see a flame shooting out of the water. it's not a pretty picture."
now homeless and out of work in louisiana, mississippi, alabama and georgia, congress is poised to slash funding for welfare, food stamps, medicare, etc. when they come back from "vacation"
to help compensate the nation's projected $368 billion deficit, bush has proposed a plan that would cut about $35 billion by Sept. 16 from a number of mandatory programs, including medicaid, medicare, social security, community development and community services block grants and food stamps. - the spectrum
lawmakers are drafting proposals that would cut billions of dollars from the growth of medicaid, slice into student loans just as students return to college, pare back food stamps, and trim farm price supports in the midst of a midwestern drought. - boston.com
"the effort by the administration to understate the extent of economic hardship in the u.s. serves their broader and extremely troubling agenda to reduce or eliminate social programs that play a positive role for low-income americans, while pursuing egregious tax cuts for the wealthy," said deepak bhargava, executive director of the center for community change...
less help is available! $35 billion dollars in cuts have been mandated from low-income programs like medicaid, food stamps, and student loans in the fy 2006 budget that congress will consider in september. another "reconciliation" bill to be considered in september includes more than $100 billion in new tax cuts for the wealthy. - communitychange.org
need to come clean with the folks of new orleans and let them know why this administration didn't want to give them money to shore up their levees. (read here)
it's a little late to do that now.
a large section of the vital 17th street canal levee, where it connects to the brand new "hurricane proof" old hammond highway bridge, gave way late monday morning in bucktown after katrina's fiercest winds were well north. the breach sent a churning sea of water from lake pontchartrain coursing across lakeview and into mid-city, carrollton, gentilly, city park and neighborhoods farther south and east. - the times-picayune
a few updates on what is happening in nawhlins now:
hospitals with no power and rising waters are bringing patients to the superdome. (wwltv)
times-picayune evacuating it's offices in downtown n.o.
governor blanco - "worse than our worst fears."
a spokeswoman describes jefferson parish as a "very dangerous" place. jackie bauer says there's gas leaks everywhere, water needs to be boiled, there's no commercial power, no pumping stations and the water's toxic. and there's still some deep water in some neighborhoods. bauer says there are other dangers -- snakes in the water, other vermin, loose dogs and cats everywhere. she says -- quoting now -- "we kind of have to fight for survival with them."
here's to another "30" years flying high in blogtopia (y!sctp)
jo..... don't know if we can get you all of whatyou want for your special day...
"what i really want is for the 1600 crew to come clean, for the democrats to deserve to win in 2006 on the merits of their politics, not because of gop fatigue, and for the winning powerball lottery ticket so i can buy a old huey and spend every weekend flying off to go fly fishing in the mountains out west. "
no wonder cheney had "other priorities" than vietnam.....
within months of james j. maddix's departure for iraq, his big daddy taxi service in kalamazoo, mich., bit the dust.
big daddy, which specialized in driving people home from bars, was bringing in about $175,000 a year when mr. maddix, 30, was sent on active duty in december 2003. without him at the helm to orchestrate an operation that paid part-timers to operate his 10 vans, the business quickly fell apart. "i hired a manager, but within a month, it wasn't working out," mr. maddix said.
when he came home in february after 14 months overseas, mostly at camp anaconda northwest of baghdad, he found himself $110,000 in debt. now, he says, his only way to survive and start a new business is probably to declare bankruptcy.
in ways that do not make headlines, the war on terror is taking a rising toll on small business, and congress is aiming to do something about it. - nytimes
our oilman president is apparently unaware that even if the oil in the strategic petroleum reserve isn't under floodwaters in the louisiana salt mines where it's stored, you have to have working refineries to use it. i guess no one, like our oilman vice president, bothered to tell him that 9% of our refining capacity is in three units at new orleans.
one would think the corporate media might find some questions to ask the 1600 crew knowing that fact....but, alas, they are not keen nor are they observant.
i've updated my savanarola post to consider the hurricane, reflecting on how the tsumami was used by the religious right as an opportunity to blame the victims. the new lede:
this week's tragic hurricane puts the lie to the grotesque "faith-based" words of tom delay and other members of the religious right following the asian tsunami, when they blamed that catastrophe on the un-christian nature of the people affected. clearly the same logic cannot apply to the suffering people of mississippi. these words, and pat robertson's public call for the death of an elected leader last week, should serve to remind us that religio-fascism is not a unique historical phenomenon. it's happened before, many times, in places like spain under the inquisition, afghanistan under the taliban, and savanarola's florence. in each of these regimes church and state were considered one, and deviation from political or religious orthodoxy warranted some nasty punishment.
our hearts go out to the people of mississippi, louisiana, and the other areas struck by this tragedy.
i saw this and asked myself, "why is anna wintour going to prison?"
the new york times continues to drink deep from the cup of whiny entitlement, and to paint the propagandist judy miller as a martyr to freedom of speech. this freedom must be a new cause for the paper that chided columbia university for being insufficiently zealous in its investigation of academic speech, and that allowed thomas friedman to publish brutish mccarthyite threats against those who publicly explore the social and economic roots of terrorism.
the paper calls as witnesses for the defense the same french and german intellectual elites whose judgement on iraq judith miller sought to override through the use of false neoconservative propaganda. (remember "i was proved fucking right"??) via atrios, this self-pity orgy from the times:
... miller has now been in jail longer for refusing to testify than any reporter working for a newspaper in america .... with each dismal milestone, it becomes more apparent that having her in jail is an embarrassment to a country that is supposed to be revered around the world for its freedoms ...
Last week a paris-based journalists' organization ... sent around an impressive petition in support of ms. miller. It was signed by prominent european writers, journalists and thinkers including günter grass, bernard-henri lévy, the french philosopher, and pedro almodóvar, the spanish filmmaker ...
It's time for the authorities ... to recognize that continued incarceration is not going to sway a reporter who believes she is making a principled sacrifice.
mmm ... on the other hand, it wouldn't sway a criminal concealing a crime, either, would it? levy is an aggressive self-marketer with fashionably retro long hair and shirts unbuttoned nearly to the waist, who has staked out a position as america's (and its administration's) most prominent defender among the european intelligentsia.
the statement he and others signed displayed no knowledge of the facts in the miller case - that unlike, say, jacobo timmermann, she didn't fight the lies of an government suppressing the truth, but aided it in that effort. the crime under investigation, and in which she may have collaborated, is that of punishing the expressing of free speech by ruining a career and exposing a public servant to physical danger. had they understood that, I don't believe they would have signed the petition. (except maybe levy - it is publicity, after all.)
this editorial isn't really about freedom of the press or, for that matter, of supporting the government's position either. it's about an snobbish press that has traded its rights and obligations for the pampered and priveliged life of an overpaid elite. now that faustian compact appears to have been broken - which raises the question: what if you sell out and people stop buying?
(UPDATE: arianna has a great post on this editorial.)
these women are freakin' nuts. hey...ladies...if you are so concerned over starbucks, why not confront them on their aggressive marketing that puts moms and pops out of business or the poverty that is so common with coffee growers. if you think that corporations are so "influential" then start protesting over their financial involvement in political campaigns.
starbucks says it was hoping to inspire old-fashioned coffee house conversations when it introduced a campaign this year featuring the words of notable americans on its coffee cups.
but at least a few of those words are sparking more discord than discussion.
a national christian women's organization is accusing the seattle-based coffee maker of promoting a homosexual agenda because of a quote by author armistead maupin, whose "tales of the city" chronicled san francisco's homosexual community in the 1970s and 1980s.
.."corporations have deeper pockets and therefore more influence than individuals do," said maureen richardson, state director of concerned women for america of washington.
"i think it's wiser for them to stay out of these issues so that they don't offend conservatives and people of faith." - the seattle times
maureen... i am a concerned woman of america...i'm concerned about your mental state.
and veterans, soldiers and america in general. why else would it sell fraudulent ways to avoid paying for hurricane cleanup, veterans healthcare, soldier's body armour, etc. hate to remind people, but that's what taxes do...pay for things like these.
accounting firm kpmg monday agreed to pay $456 million to settle accusations it sold fraudulent tax shelters, as it sealed a deal with the government to avoid a criminal indictment that might have crippled the firm.
while kmpg itself escaped an indictment of the kind that destroyed arthur andersen when it was convicted of destroying documents, eight former partners, including its former deputy chairman, and a kpmg lawyer, were indicted for selling the tax shelters to wealthy clients. - usatoday and reuters
it's not like these folks were scrambling to get money to feed their families...
kpmg admitted it helped "high net worth" clients evade billions of dollars in capital-gains and income taxes by developing and marketing the tax shelters and concealing them from the irs.
...under the scheme, kpmg marketed the tax shelters to clients who made more than $10 million in 1997 and more than $20 million per year from 1998 to 2000, according to the indictment of the nine men. - ap
and now these folks get a slap on the wrist for undermining the financial future of our country but there are folks in prison for long periods of time for having just a few ounces of marijuana on their person.
hey..why don't we test it on awol. send him somewhere far, far away.
frustrated that terrorist kingpin osama bin laden is still on the loose nearly four years after the sept. 11 attacks, a few military types and their scientific advisers are pondering a "what if" solution straight out of tvs "star trek."
wouldn't it be neat, they ask, if we could nab bin laden via teleportation? in "star trek," the characters traveled between spaceship and planet by having their bodies dematerialized, then "beamed" to another locale -- hence, the characters' familiar request to the ship's engineer: "beam me up, scotty."
although many physicists think such ideas are claptrap, it would be ideal if the united states could teleport u.s. soldiers into "a cave, tap bin laden on the shoulder, and say: 'hey, let's go,' " said Ranney Adams, spokesperson for the air force research laboratory at edwards air force base in the southern california desert. "but we're not there (yet)."
not for want of trying, though. last year, the air force spent $25,000 on a report, titled "teleportation physics study," to examine possible ways to teleport humans and objects through space. - sfgate
reader chris sends us an asspress piece about new mexico's supreme court hearing the case of the green and libertarian presidential candidates being over-charged a million dollars for a deposit on the vote recout;
the yellow dog blog gives us the monday check of the osama clock (and the ydb informs us that 4,109 national guard troops from louisiana are not at home to help protect that state from katrina, 'cuz they're in iraq!);
liberal oasis highlights this observation from a thoughtful post by peter daou on the rationalizations used by bush apologists for the iraq war:
"the problem with the bush apologists' reasoning is that using an infinite time horizon - which they are so fond of - virtually any action, no matter how egregious, can be shown to lead to some positive results ... asserting a causal relationship between a pre-emptive invasion of a sovereign nation and all future good developments in iraq and the middle east may swell the hawks' breasts with pride, but it's a dubious and dangerous way to conduct foreign policy."
not only that, it's crappy logic. the fact that a good event follows a bad event some time in the future does not mean there is a causal relationship. if it did, then you could say nazism was a good thing, because germany is now a prosperous democratic republic. stalin was great for neocons, because russia is now an under-regulated "free market" economy. pol pot was dandy because ... well, you get the drift.
peter also points out the continuing use of this false logic, framed as a challenge: "would you rather saddam still be in power?" With all due modesty, I thought I took care of that one back in march, with what's turned out to be my best-known post so far:
let's say I get disturbed by a spider crawling up the garage wall. i slam the car into it at 50 miles an hour, destroying the car and causing a few thousand dollars in damage to the garage. when my wife objects, I say:
"i have to infer from that statement that you would be happier if that spider were still crawling up the wall." no, schmuck, she says, I'd be happier if we still had a car and didn't have to fork out ten thousand dollars to fix the garage.
being big fans of the big easy, we are happy to report that the projected destruction of new orleans did not come true.
late last night (early this morning) before the skippy international staff retired for the night, katrina was downgraded to a category 4 and was shifting to the east (and has since depleted to a cat. 3 before landfall, and cat. 2 since then), so we were happy to sleep peacefully, hoping the french quarter and the cafe du mond would be spared.
they were. but this is not to say that there isn't major damage and destruction. and the hurricane winds and torrential rain is still pounding the crescent city. and the storm is creating havoc in biloxi, mobile, gulfport, and just about everywhere on the coast.
whose lives are disrupted amidst the chaos called natural disasters.
three dolphins from the beachside marine life park were moved to a local hotel pool to weather hurricane katrina.
the dolphins - katelin, cayenne and jonah - usually live in a shallow water tank. they were moved to the best western in gulfport because they needed to be at a higher elevation, said one of their keepers, dr. moby solangi. - the sun herald
when you are thinking about donating to assist those affected by katrina (via the red cross) also think about giving a little to noah's wish.
noah's wish is a not-for-profit, animal welfare organization, with a straightforward mission. we exist to keep animals alive during disasters. that's it.
the beautiful jewel that is new orleans and the fine verdant state of louisiana, home of some of the kindest and friendliest people on the planet, are struggling with a storm of almost science-fiction proportions:
hurricane katrina slammed into the gulf coast early this morning with huge waves and fierce 140-mile winds that tore off roof sections of the louisiana superdome and blew out transformers, plunging much of this city into darkness.
windows began bursting out of top floors of high rise buildings in downtown new orleans shortly before dawn. glass splinters rained over the lobby of the hotel. From inside, it sounded like nails were being thrown against the windows.
at the superdome, which has been turned into a cavernous storm shelter, a section of the roof peeled off as the storm blew through the city, sending people inside scurrying to dryer parts of the arena. officials warned that roof pieces could turn into missiles in the strong winds, hitting other buildings and breaking windows. Power at the arena has been restored with generators, but he air conditioners are not running. Some 9000 people have sought shelter there.
the la times captures the class divisions among the struggling, as well as the long-predicted nature of the storm:
... the 45-year-old owner of a french quarter antique shop that sells diamonds and 18th century clocks, flew his family to dallas on sunday, not because he knew anyone there but because it was the only way he could get out of town. so he spent $3,000 and bought the only tickets he could find: six one-way, first-class seats to dallas.
john higgins was struggling in a different way. the 49-year-old man hobbled through new orleans as the wind picked up, carrying what he owned — a purple comb, a radio and a pack of instant coffee — on his back.
the homeless shelter where higgins usually stayed had closed because of fears that katrina would destroy it. he had no car, no money and nowhere to go, so he was trying to make his way to the louisiana superdome ...
katrina had developed into what leading forecasters had been worrying about for years: a mammoth storm bearing down on a densely populated coastal flat ... as many as 30,000 people had sought shelter at the superdome by 5 p.m. and thousands more were in line, though the city had repeatedly urged residents to consider the arena a shelter of "last resort." about a dozen other shelters had been opened, although some were full and people were turned away.
pray for them if you're the praying kind. keep them in your thoughts if you're the thinking kind. if you're the kind that does both, do both. hang in there, louisiana - we love you.
awol's been sticking it to louisiana for years... he's been slashing the corps of engineers' budget for hurricane and flood protection projects in nawhlins. he's merged fema into homeland security and cut their funding. oh, yeah...he's got some serious 'splaining to do about his "voodoo" economic theories of pillaging america.
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.
in general, funding for construction has been on a downward trend for the past several years, said marcia demma, chief of the new orleans corps' programs management branch.
in 2001, the new orleans district spent $147 million on construction projects. when fiscal year 2005 wraps up sept. 30, the corps expects to have spent $82 million, a 44.2 percent reduction from 2001 expenditures.
demma said noc expects its construction budget to be slashed again this year, which means local construction companies won't receive work from the corps and residents won't see any new hurricane protection projects. - new orleans city business
but the gambit had been warning nawhlinians about awol's evil plans awhile ago...
a disaster waiting to happen
in louisiana, requests for flood mitigation funds were rejected by fema this summer. in north carolina, a state also regularly threatened by hurricanes and floods, fema recently refused the state's request to buy backup generators for emergency support facilities. and the budget cuts have halved the funding for a mitigation program that saved an estimated $8.8 million in recovery costs in three eastern north carolina communities alone after 1999's hurricane floyd.
consequently, the residents of these and other disaster-prone states will find the government less able to help them when help is needed most, and both states and the federal government will be forced to shoulder more recovery costs after disasters strike.
..in addition, the white house has pushed for privatization of essential government services, including disaster management, and merged fema into the department of homeland security -- where, critics say, natural disaster programs are often sidelined by counter-terrorism programs. - the gambit
disaster in the making
the federal emergency management agency's diminished capacity to handle natural disasters is especially worrisome to louisiana.
"before fema was condensed into homeland security it responded much more quickly," says walter maestri, director of jefferson parish's office of emergency management. maestri has worked with fema for eight years. "truthfully, you had access to the individuals who were the decision-makers. the fema administrator had cabinet status. now, you have another layer of bureaucracy. fema is headed by an assistant secretary who now has to compete with other assistant secretaries of homeland security for available funds. and elevating houses is not as sexy as providing gas masks."
maestri is still awaiting word from fema officials as to why louisiana, despite being called the "floodplain of the nation" in a 2002 fema report, received no disaster mitigation grant money from fema in 2003 ("homeland insecurity," sept. 28). maestri says the rejection left emergency officials around the state "flabbergasted."
...fema's diminished capacity to respond to natural disasters, and to thwart preventable damage from a major catastrophe, is especially worrisome to louisiana. areas of louisiana once received hundreds of thousands of dollars from "project impact," fema's largest disaster-prevention program, until the bush administration eliminated it in 2001.
it gets worse: not only did fema reject all disaster-mitigation grant applications from louisiana for 2003, but the state might not get any funding in 2004. maestri says that as of sept. 28, fema hadn't notified his office that any grant money was available for fiscal year 2004, which ended sept. 30. - the gambit
and this horrifying headlines put it in stark black and white....
direct hurricane hit could drown city of new orleans, experts say(east tennessean)
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