Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Judy Miller "Apologizes"

Click to see the video of Miller's interview with the BBC.
And if only the press here would conduct interviews like this one.

EU Rejects Bush Agenda in Africa

Thankfully the EU is sane....
Europe, led by the UK, last night signalled a major split with the United States over curbing the Aids pandemic in a statement that tacitly urged African governments not to heed the abstinence-focused agenda of the Bush administration.
The statement, released for World Aids Day today, emphasises the fundamental importance of condoms, sex education and access to reproductive health services
The US has pledged $15bn (£8.6bn) over five years to fight the disease, most of which is channelled through the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar). Pepfar grants come with conditions, however - two thirds of the money has to go to pro-abstinence programmes, and it is not available to any organisations with clinics that offer abortion services or even counselling. The US is also opposed to the provision of needles and syringes to drug users on the grounds that it could be construed as encouraging their habit.
But the statement from 22 EU member states, released at a meeting under the UK presidency in London yesterday, calls on developing world governments to use every prevention tool, from condoms to clean needles to sexual health clinics, in a bid to slow down the spread of HIV. UNAids' latest figures show 40 million people are now infected, and the rate is rising as fast as ever.
"In reality, people have sex ... much as conservative evangelists in the US might prefer that they didn't," said Andrew George, the Liberal Democrat spokesman on international development.

Meanwhile the evangelicals had their own AIDS conference to coincide with World AIDS Day. They have decided to take on AIDS here in the US.
A spokemans for "the Human Rights Campaign Foundation — a leading gay rights organization — said he welcomed the outreach as long as it wasn't judgmental."

I wouldn't be as welcoming. I just can't see evangelicals doing their work without judgement. If they do here, what they've done in Africa, it certainly will be a step backwrds.

Gulf Stram Dramatically Weakening

But there's no global warming ......
The powerful ocean current that bathes Britain and northern Europe in warm waters from the tropics has weakened dramatically in recent years, a consequence of global warming that could trigger more severe winters and cooler summers across the region, scientists warn today.
Researchers on a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean measured the strength of the current between Africa and the east coast of America and found that the circulation has slowed by 30% since a previous expedition 12 years ago.

Hey Give It Back!

Whoever has Atticus' star...Give it back now!
LOS ANGELES -- Gregory Peck's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was stolen by someone who cut it out of the sidewalk where it had honored the actor for more than four decades, officials said Tuesday.

"They just left a big hole out there," said Johnny Grant, 82, who serves as Hollywood's honorary mayor and oversees ceremonies honoring star recipients. "Somebody went out there with a cement saw and carved it out of the black terrazzo."

It Pulls Me In

I have never meant for this to be a blog about NOLA and Hurricane Katrina but I have done quite a few posts on that. And just when I think it will be my last there is another story that pulls me back in to it again. There has been just such complete devestation and such horror that it is beyond compelling. It reaches my humanity to the core and I feel such empathy for victims and survivors. I wonder what would I have done in their place? How would I cope in the aftermath?

The story of St. Rita's Nursing Home touches all of that. In the initial aftermath of the storm it was believed that the owners had abandoned the residents. Now it is found that this is not true. Though they must face consequences for not evacuating we learn that the owners and staff were present among others and fought to save lives as a wall of water came crashing down on them. Here is how some experienced that.....

Alonzo recalls the floodwaters flowing from the direction of the lake, a few miles north of St. Rita's.

Trishka Stevens, Jodi Hanson's grandmother, says that when the water burst into the building, it cascaded through air-conditioning vents "like Niagara Falls." Stevens, 75, who has not walked in five years, was in her bed in Room 407 as water rose around her.

"It was up to my chin," she says.

In the pandemonium that followed, nurses and aides waded and then swam through the halls, unhooking the straps that held the wheelchair-bound upright and pushing them onto mattresses. They then shoved the mattresses outside so the evacuees could be taken to higher ground by boat.

Alonzo, 55, says he put his 52-year-old brother onto a mattress, then grabbed Carlos' roommate, Harold Kurz. Alonzo recounts the frantic effort by nurses and others to save as many as possible:

"You can't get out a door, so they're kicking out windows to float the residents out on mattresses to put them on the roof. In every room, people were hollering. They were screaming like somebody was murdering them (and) ... for God to help them. It was a horror scene."

Stevens was saved by Steve Snyder, 29, an offshore oil rig worker who had motored past St. Rita's in a boat while fleeing his own flooded house nearby. By then, Snyder says, rescuers at St. Rita's were chopping holes in the roof to pull out residents who were floating just below the ceiling.

Snyder says he and his brother-in-law swam from room to room, searching for survivors. They gave up, he says, when "we just didn't hear no more screaming, no more people calling for help."

I doubt one gets those screams out of their mind perhaps ever. That's trauma. Alonzo faced another......

Alonzo returned to St. Rita's a month after Katrina to get belongings from his ruined car. He calls the place haunted, and says he will never go back.

"Can you imagine being in your wheelchair ... and that water came up over your head? I guess that's why people are so mad."

He tears up, and then says quietly he wasn't strong enough to hold onto both his brother and Kurz. "You can't swim with two people. I had to let Harold go. I still think about that when I fall asleep."

Maybe I can't let go because people like Alonzo had to.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Republican Corruption

If you missed it down below here is a new video to help corral all the Republicans in trouble.
Not sure I got them all........

Click here to down load ........"REPUBLICAN CORRUPTION"
Doesn't take long at all

Click here to view with no download. Beware this site seems to overload frequently and may be down. But if you get through hey all the better.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Drownie Brownie Inc Presents.....

Got a scoop ......
Here's a copy of Michael Brown's Power Point Presentation to prospective clients of his emergency consulting firm.
He wows 'em.
It's boffo.
And a musical.
To view the Drownie Brownie's Power Point Presentation CLICK on Image (My Pitch) BELOW.....
sometimes the site gets swamped so if does not work you can....
Download complete video Click here ....(WMP).
Bonus "Dean Commercial" as A. puts it......Click here for "REPUBLICAN CORRUPTION" (download WMP)
Click here to view with no download. Beware this site seems to overload frequently and may be down. But if you get through hey all the better.

If you have any trouble here is a shortened text version.....

"Drown In My Own Tears"

It brings a tear,
Into my eyes,

When I begin,
To realize,

I've cried so much,
Since you've been gone,
I guess I'm drowning in my own tears,

I sit and cry,
Just like a child

My pouring tears
Are runnin' wild

If you don't think
You'll be home soon
I guess I'll drown in my own tears

I know it's true
Into each life
Some rain, rain must pour

I'm so blue
Here without you
It keeps raining
More and more

Why don't you

Come on home
Oh yes so I won't
Be all alone

If you don't think
You'll be home soon
I guess I'll
(drown in my own tears)

Ooh, don't let me

(drown in my own tears)

When I'm in trouble, baby
(drown in my own tears)

Oh, yeah, baby don't let me

(drown in my own tears)

I guess I'll drown in my own tears

Oh, mmmmm

Friday, November 25, 2005

Brown: "Media Can't Be Trusted"

Well he just won't go away. The Rocky Mountain News reports that Drownie "has formed a consulting firm to help clients avoid the kind of mistakes that sunk his career." The opening line of the article says this ......"He learned his lessons, and now they're for sale."

So what did he learn? From reading Brown it is that talking to the media was his biggest mistake. He's still focused on the fact that he only "mis-spoke " when he told the media he just learned of the Convention Center debacle. He said...
The lesson, he said, is that sometimes leaders need to "take inventory" of everything that's going on "so that you give the absolute correct message to the media, because the media can't be trusted to, one, always get the message correct, and then when you yourself give the incorrect message, that just exacerbates the whole communications problem."

Yes it is the media's fault for what you say on their programs. Kill the messenger for letting you on TeeVee.
Brown continues to offer excuses in the article, gives no substantive examples of mistakes he made in dealing with the Katrina response and continues his feel sorry for me drumbeat.
Drownie also said.....
he was just days away from resigning before Katrina hit. "The original plan was to be gone before the start of hurricane season," he said. "It couldn't quite get done in time, and so . . . my leaving was delayed slightly. And the rest is history."

It certainly is.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Why Does Sony Hate the Troops?

Stars & Stripes reports that "the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which operates Power Zones and other stores that sell CDs is offering customers (the troops) a full refund for opened or unopened packages."

Why? The anti-piracy software on Sony CD's alters computer operating systems which could result in a security threat to the military....
Military network analysts are assessing a possible security threat that could result if the software is installed on government computers, according to Tom Ryan, an information assurance manager with the 5th Signal Command based in Mannheim, Germany.“It’s not so much [a threat] on the classified network because everything on it is already encrypted,” Ryan said. “But as far as [operational security], on the unclassified side it’s possible for somebody to pull down enough information to put together some really sensitive stuff.”

Come on Sony stop endangering the troops.
Stop denying the troops their much needed tunes.
Boycott Sony!
I smell bi-partisan here. This is something everyone can get behind. Support the troops and well if it gets that crap off our CD's in the process would that be so bad?
Afterall we could use a little uniting.......what Bush promised, let the Sony boycott deliver.

US to Get Humanitarian Aid from Chavez

Ouch! This must piss off Bushco. From the BBC....
Officials from Venezuela and Massachusetts have signed a deal providing cheap heating oil to low-income homes in the US state.
The fuel will be sold at some 40% below market prices to thousands of homes over the winter months. Local congressman William Delahunt described the deal as "an expression of humanitarianism at its very best".
Talks are under way to agree a similar deal to provide discounted heating oil from Venezuela to low-income residents in New York's Bronx district.

Chavez is also kicking a US missionary group out of Venezuela.
"The New Tribes are leaving Venezuela," Mr Chavez said at a ceremony to present land titles and farming equipment to members of Venezuela's indigenous population.

"This is an irreversible decision that I have made. We don't want the New Tribes here. Enough colonialism!"

He added that he had yet to sign the expulsion order and was giving New Tribes time to "gather their stuff".

I have to say I get a kick out of Chavez.

Michael Brown Quit Lying To Us
And Just Go Away

Really I have heard enough lies from Drownie Brownie. There is nothing more for him to say to us if he is going to continue to lie his way out of responsibility. I just finished watching "Frontline: The Storm" and I am just disgusted with Brown.

Frontline has the best analysis of what went wrong with the Katrina response to date. The program will be available online tomorrow at 5pm ET.

Brown laid blame often incorrectly on the local officials, state officials, Congress, Adjutant General Landreneau [head of the Louisiana National Guard], the press and private companies. But as for himself....

Frontline: Did you fail?

Brown: I did not fail. We made mistakes. I'll make a great confession here. FEMA makes mistakes in every disaster. They always occur. Everybody makes mistakes. That's just the nature of the business. That's the nature of disasters.

That's the world that we live in, and I'm not going to lose sleep over it, because I know what the truth is, and I didn't lie or embellish. And life goes on.

Ok that's bad enough but here is the point of the interview at which I wanted to throttle Brown. He was discussing how he "mispoke" when he said THREE times to the press that he had just learned of the people stranded at the Convention Center......

Frontline: So you said it three times.

Brown: I said it three times.

Frontline: How do you misspeak three times? I don't understand.

Brown: I'm not going to make excuses for it. The facts are that we learned on Wednesday around 12:00, 12:20 in an e-mail that I received from one of my people on the ground that the spontaneous evacuation had occurred. People were now flooding into the Convention Center.

And I'm not trying to make excuses here. But you get into this cycle -- you're being asked questions. And what people don't see behind the scenes is that I'm still running a disaster. And after an [interview] take finishes, I don't sit and say: "How did I do? Did I answer it right?" I'm either signing a document, giving someone an assignment, making something happen, working on about 12 hours of sleep. And I simply misspoke three times.

And when I go back and look at those, I understand why people can now look at that tape and say: "Brown's saying he just learned about that? He really must be an idiot." I simply misspoke. I knew about it 24 hours before, and I should have said, "We just learned about it 24 hours ago, Brian."

He says no excuses but then goes on to offer nothing but excuses.

But here it is. Drownie got PISSY with Frontline on the follow-up question. One must see it to get the full effect but with a smile on his face and his voice dripping with sarcasm he said.....

Frontline: I just don't understand how you would misspeak three times about that situation.

Brown: Well, I'll tell what we'll do. Next time there's a really big disaster, we'll put you in charge of it. We'll not give you any sleep, and we'll put you on this side of the camera. And we'll pepper you with questions for a couple hours at a time and see how tired you are.

Well Sooooorry Mr. Brown. Who knew you were the victim here. Go tell it the dead Drownie.

I know there is blame for many here but it is only Brown that time and again will not accept ANY responsibility and in fact wants us to feel sorry for him. I don't see other officials playing victim in this way. I'm sick of it. Brown offers nothing anymore to what little public discourse there is on Katrina. So just go away Drownie. Go far far far away. Silently.

Guardian: Documents Show US Views Al-Jazeera as Al Qaeda Front

The Guardian reports they have seen documents that show an al-Jazeera cameraman being held in Guantanamo Bay was offered to be released if he would spy on al-Jazeera which the US military apparently views to be an Al Qaeda front.......
Mr Hajj was arrested in December 2001 on the Afghan-Pakistani border while on assignment. His allegations are contained in notes of visits he received in Guantánamo in June this year from his lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith. The notes have been declassified by the US military.

The documents appear to show that the American military views the broadcaster, which is popular in the Arab world and is about to launch an English language channel, as an al-Qaida front.

Mr Hajj said that in one session of questioning he was offered US citizenship if he became a spy: "They have said, 'If you work with us, we will teach you journalism, we will get you a visa to live anywhere you want, we will even give you US nationality, we will protect you, we will give you money. We will help you write a book and then we will publish it. This will help make the al-Qaida people contact you, and work with you.'"Mr Hajj is a Sudanese national and is married with a five-year-old child. In the documents he also alleges that the US military threatened his family if he accepted release and then refused to spy on al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera has angered the US by broadcasting recordings of Osama bin Laden threatening the west.

So we have claims that the US views al-Jazeera as basically the enemy. Perhaps the Mirror is on to something with their report that Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera. (See last post)

Report: Bush Wanted to Bomb al-Jazeera

The Daily Mirror is reporting that on April 16,2004 Bush discussed the bombing of al-Jazeera's Qatar headquarters, according to a leaked Downing Street memo. Blair talked Bush out of the idea. One official said Bush wasn't serious however other sources said he was.......
A source told the Mirror: "The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush.

"He made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere. Blair replied that would cause a big problem.

"There's no doubt what Bush wanted to do -- and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it."

Another source said: "Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair. That much is absolutely clear from the language used by both men."

If this is true (it is the Mirror after all) but if true, my first question.......Is Bush mad?
And what other hair brained ideas has he discussed with world leaders?

My other question is was the April 2003 airstrike against a building housing Arab media in Iraq which resulted in the death of Tariq Ayoub of al-Jazeera, deliberate? Al-Jazeera certainly thought it was but the Pentagon "adamantly maintain(ed) U.S. military forces "absolutely did not" target Al-Jazeera."
You have to wonder now.

And a final question...... was Eason Jordon actually wrong when he apologized for his remarks on the US targeting journalists saying they were "not as clear as they should have been"?
Perhaps his original claim was all too clear and accurate.

You say Potato I say....

Looks like when we use White Phosphorous it is NOT a chemical weapon but when Saddam used White Phosphorous it WAS a chemical weapon.

Think Progress reports a 1995 Pentagon document that discloses....


How many times have you heard Saddam used chemical weapons on his own people (Kurds) as a justification for war. What does it mean if we have done it?

Monday, November 21, 2005

6644 Still Missing After Katrina

USA Today reports that 6644 are still missing in the Gulf area post-Katrina. Many will likely be acoounted for however.....
However, Pasqualini says those counting the victims are particularly concerned about an estimated 1,300 unaccounted-for people who lived in areas that were heavily damaged by Katrina, or who were disabled at the time the storm hit. The fact that authorities haven't been able to determine what happened to them suggests that the death toll from Katrina could climb significantly.

It makes one wonder how many dead may remain in the Lower 9th Ward and elsewhere in the Gulf.

Calling On Their Nation

The Times-Picayune ran a front page editorial entitled:
"It's Time for a Nation to Return the Favor" in which they called on the Federal government for help.

Here is part...

Some voices in Washington are arguing against us. We were foolish, they say. We settled in a place that is lower than the sea. We should have expected to drown.

As if choosing to live in one of the nation's great cities amounted to a death wish. As if living in San Francisco or Miami or Boston is any more logical.

Great cities are made by their place and their people, their beauty and their risk. Water flows around and through most of them. And one of the greatest bodies of water in the land flows through this one: the Mississippi.

The federal government decided long ago to try to tame the river and the swampy land spreading out from it. The country needed this waterlogged land of ours to prosper, so that the nation could prosper even more.

Some people in Washington don't seem to remember that. They act as if we are a burden. They act as if we wore our skirts too short and invited trouble.

We can't put up with that. We have to stand up for ourselves. Whether you are back at home or still in exile waiting to return, let Congress know that this metro area must be made safe from future storms. Call and write the leaders who are deciding our fate. Get your family and friends in other states to do the same. Start with members of the Environment and Public Works and Appropriations committees in the Senate, and Transportation and Appropriations in the House. Flood them with mail the way we were flooded by Katrina.

Remind them that this is a singular American city and that this nation still needs what we can give it.

Last week I urged people to call on their reps to demand a search of the Lower 9th Ward for the bodies that remain. One conservative blogger, the aptly named Hubris INDC, thought this was stupid as it was not a federal case. I guess he'd be one of those Washington voices that views the people of NOLA as having acted as if their skirts were too short and invited trouble.
But the editors of the Times-Pic make the case for more federal help.......Do as they ask, call your reps.

Turkee Day: Catch "Off to War"

Discovery Times channel will re-air all the episodes of the series "Off to War" beginning on Thanksgiving Day through Saturday. This is a great series that follows an Arkansas Guard unit from the time it learns it will be deployed, through training, deployment in Iraq and their return home.

I started watching the "Off to War" series when it premiered last year. It is riveting. It follows 7 members of the unit in Iraq and their families at home over the course of their 18 month deployment including one year in Iraq...April '04-'05. You see very young men claim they are going to get Saddam for 9/11. Many episodes later in Iraq they see the headlines of the 9/11 Commission that Saddam had nothing to do with Iraq and are disgusted and ask Why are they there?
I knew of soldiers digging through scrap heaps for metal to up-armour their vehicles long before it became a story because I had seen it on "Off to War". (BTW once back in Kuwait at the end of their deployment, they had to remove it, as one soldier said..."for the next poor bastards")
Lot of people talk about supporting the troops and I wonder if they even know what they are talking about. This series will let you see. So when Bush makes his inevitable "surprise" visit (read photo op) to Iraq or Afghanistan this Thanksgiving Day turn him off and switch on "Off to War." Beware.... you'll get hooked and want to see it all.

Amy Goodman has an interview with the film makers.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Loving Our Troops to Death

As John says and he says it so well, so go read him at AMERICAblog

Update: AMERICAblog also has the video of Jean Schmidt's shameful remarks yesterday.

NOLA Death Toll Increases then Decreases reports....

The number of verified storm-related deaths in Louisiana inched downward Friday as more homicides or other non-storm deaths were identified.

The total number of bodies at the St. Gabriel morgue and in parish coroners' offices since Hurricane Katrina rose to 1,079, but 26 of those deaths were not related to the storm, the state Department of Health and Hospitals reported.

That put the storm death total at 1,053 -- three below the total released Monday, when 20 deaths out of 1,076 were listed as unrelated to the hurricane also has an interesting map of toxic substances left by Katrina and also a link to satelite images of NOLA.

Friday Cat Blogging

Teddy seems a little lathargic lately.
Sleeping a bit more and playing less.
She threw up the other day but that isn't all that unusual.
I don't know if I'm reading too much into it
or should take her to the vet..
Any thoughts?

Fitzmas Could Last for Years

Don't take down your Fitzmas decorations just yet. Via Atrios......

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in court filings that the ongoing CIA leak investigation will involve proceedings before a new grand jury, a possible sign he could seek new charges in the case.

In filings obtained by Reuters on Friday, Fitzgerald said "the investigation is continuing" and that "the investigation will involve proceedings before a different grand jury than the grand jury which returned the indictment" against Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

So That's What Happened to Jane Arraf

Jane Arraf was CNN's Senior Baghdad Correspondent and Baghdad Bureau Chief. She was seen often on CNN but I noticed her absence recently. It is because she is now the Edward R Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and on leave from CNN.

I always wondered about Arraf's reporting as at times it struck me as not exactly balanced. Now as a fellow at the CRF she is speaking out on politics and perhaps I can see if my perceptions were valid. She appeared today on CNN International and she also has a post at TPM Cafe.

Bush Corruption.....Influence-Buying That Just Keeps On Giving

Pam's House Blend has a link to The Austin Chronicle story entitled "Funeralgate Hits Texas."
Funeralgate involved Service Corporation International (SCI).
Kenyon International, the company that FEMA hired to collect bodies post Katrina, is a subsidiary of SCI.

Unfortunately Funeralgate is the all too familiar story of Bush corruption that we've come to know.

Bummer for PNAC

Holden at First Draft points us to new polling that show Americans aren't into the Empire thingee.
Why do Americans hate neo-cons?

BTW how about giving the hamsters and ferrets a break and donate to First Draft while you are there.

A dog is a dog is a dog......

From Matt Taibbi's story on the Pakistan earthquake in The Rolling Stone.....

Even at the level of the individual earthquake victims, there was a perception that the West was uninterested in helping Muslims. Time and again I was asked by quake victims why America hates Muslims, is always making war with Muslims, etc. Two refugees insisted that Osama bin Laden did not exist; one college-educated Muslim aid worker asked me if it was true that Americans called Muslims "dogs.

This sentiment is so widespread that it made it relatively simple for Islamic fundamentalists, in the wake of this accident, to connect three obvious dots. Just like the Falwells after 9/11, local Islamic political groups were quick to ascribe the quake to divine punishment by a politically active God -- in this case one angry with Pakistan's West-leaning policies. They then quickly settled on a rhetorical formula that went something like this: The quake was brought upon Pakistan as punishment for the pro-American policies of Musharraf, who was too corrupt and busy helping the infidel war on terror to help the victims, the proof of which you can see in his incompetence and sloth in sending aid

Taibbi was on MSNBC and the woman interveiwing him on this point had an air of how could Pakistani's buy this crazy notion. Ahhh the irony of it all. Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan ascribe divine political power to God the Smiter just as Christian fundamentalists do in the US. Maybe we're more alike than people think. As for fundamentalists ...a dog is a dog is a dog.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

CBS Reports on NOLA Homes Not Searched

CBS News did a report on residents returning to their NOLA homes to find the dead bodies of their loved ones.

Click to view video
At site scroll down to "Gruesome Finds in New Orleans"

" It's time to bring them home"

More leaders like this man please

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) called for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
I watched the replay of his statements on CSPAN. If you haven't seen it go to Crooks & Liars.

Rest in Peace Now

This was Ethel Mayo Freeman

She was laid to rest yesterday.

From The Times Picayune........

Ethel Mayo Freeman, at age 91, took her last breath while stranded outside the city's Convention Center in the dreadful, desperate days that followed Hurricane Katrina. Anonymous and curled up in her wheelchair beneath a blanket, she became the haunting figure in photographs that circled the globe as evidence that the government's response to the disaster had a death toll.

The elderly woman's body, which contained a pacemaker and a feeding tube, gave out Sept. 1 as she and tens of thousands of others languished in the New Orleans heat with little or nothing in their hands.

To read on....

Blanco Interview on NOLA Body Searches

Anderson Cooper of CNN interviewed LA Gov. Blanco tonight. She discussed conducting DNA tests on victim's remains and searching for bodies that still remain. Here are the remarks regarding ending the search for bodies in NOLA.....

COOPER: October 3, the state called off house-to-house searching for the dead. Since then, 104 bodies have been found. Do you think it was a mistake now to call off the -- the searches so early?

BLANCO: Anderson, you know, we have suffered great tragedies here in Louisiana. And an extensive effort was made to recover all the bodies. The great tragedy is that the nation still doesn't understand the dimensions of our tragedy and how difficult all of this has been on us. We are still asking for help, you know. We have not dismissed the cries for assistance but sometimes we think they're falling on deaf ears.

COOPER: That's a good point, and I want to get to it. But, I mean, the formal searches, massive searches, house-to-house did stop October 3rd. I know they have resumed in some areas because they keep finding these bodies in the homes. Do you know what the thought process was or who made the decision to stop those searches on October 3rd?

BLANCO: Well, I'm not sure who made the decisions or how the decisions were made specifically about that date, Anderson.

COOPER: But you yourself had said that it's important to look back and that mistakes were made at all levels. And, frankly, so far you're the only government official who has had the courtesy to actually step forward on this program and talk to me, because the mayor won't even talk to me anymore. I can't get an interview with him. I'm not trying to be critical or mean or anything but I mean I do think -- and I think everyone agrees that, you know, no one wants this to happen again. Democrats are calling for an independent review of what happened. No one in Washington seems to be talking about that.

BLANCO: I would love an independent review. I think that it's important. I am going to Congress, you know, at the behest of the Senate and the House, not a bipartisan effort whatsoever, but partisan committees. And I expect to be answering the specifics, whatever questions they ask me. I'll be happy to tell them what happened and what we did and what our expectations were. And...

COOPER: When you go to Washington, do...

BLANCO: ... what expectations failed us.

COOPER: Do you feel like there's Katrina fatigue?

BLANCO: You know, here in Louisiana, we feel like we are citizens of the United States who are nearly forgotten. It is a very frustrating thing. People are weary. They want to move on. They want us to move on. It's going to take us a while. And we still need help from Washington. COOPER: Well, when I hear other people talking...

BLANCO: And I'm worried that we're not going to get it.

COOPER: When I hear people talk about Katrina fatigue, I just want to kind of shake them and say, you know, you want to know who has Katrina fatigue, you talk to the people in Louisiana, you talk to people in the Gulf Coast. People in Washington shouldn't be talking about Katrina fatigue.

BLANCO: You are so right. The only people who are deserving of Katrina fatigue are the Louisiana folks who have been in the trenches now for over two months. We are fatigued. And but it's so disheartening not to have enough sympathy.

COOPER: I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us, Governor Blanco. Thank you.

BLANCO: Thank you, Anderson.

It is certainly difficult to determine responsibility for searches and body collection. It appears flawed planning and a convoluted process involving state gov't, federal gov't and a private contractor prevailed throughout.
FEMA said body collection was not their responsibility as they had never done it before. The state said they didn't have the resources to collect bodies.
The state does not have the resources to search for and recover the bodies, said Robert Johannessen, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. "I am not aware of any document out there that says whose responsibility it is."
One week after Katrina hit FEMA hired private contractor Kenyon International Emergency Services Inc. to collect bodies. (A contractor with a sordid past by the way) In short time Kenyon complained it didn't have a contract and it too didn't have the resources to do all that was being asked of them. According to WaPo "the company spurned FEMA and went to work for the state of Louisiana." WaPo cited numerous other problems with FEMA and contractors.....well worth reading. If FEMA initiated a contract to collect bodies obviously at that point in time they felt responsible for the task. It appears it eventually fell upon the state through the ineptitude of FEMA though.

As far as the ending of searches it appears FEMA pulled out first leaving the task for the state and Kenyon. The Times Picayune reported on Saturday October 1st that "The Federal Emergency Management Agency completed its role in Joint Task Force Katrina's search for survivors and bodies in the New Orleans area on Wednesday" which was Sept 28.

On October 3rd the state ended searches for bodies as reported by the AP....... "The search for bodies of people killed by Hurricane Katrina has ended in Louisiana, and more searches will be conducted only if someone reports seeing a body, a state official said Monday." This official is not named.

It appears FEMA pulled stakes and left an already overburdened state and private contractor to hold the bag. The state should have protested this or perhaps they did to no avail. I'm sure there is more to this than is known now. I doubt anyone is clear of blame regarding the ending of the searches. An independent commission is certainly needed to look into a myriad of concerns regarding Katrina including this.

What is clear is that bodies remain in unsearched homes in NOLA.

What is also clear is that Lousiana is stretched to the breaking point. The state has a $959 million deficit. The LA House just approved $606 million in painful budget cuts to offset the massive deficit. 842 vacant positions cut. 65 filled jobs cut. Medicaid cut by 1/3. Universities cut by $70 name a few.
NOLA is facing unbelievable problems which can be seen from just a cursory look at The Times Picayune headlines....


Parish fears flooding by clogged waterways

Orleans yet to open doors to any school


Legislature OKs school takeover

National Guard soldiers arrested in looting

Officials move teachers to where kids are

Katrina to redraw region's political picture

Lawmakers urge citizens to push for protection

Housing, levees, loans urged

Health risks in wake of storm hard to gauge

Kenner heavy on no-bid storm jobs

Locked out of the Lower 9th Ward

Storm tips homes' residents over edge

Jeff hiring help to speed up permits

There's more but hopefully you get the picture of what NOLA and other cities of the Gulf are facing. Imagine your city starting over completely with infrastucure, schools, housing, jobs, health care, on and on. Do you think it could be accomplished without the ongoing moral support and financial resources of your nation's government?

I think Blanco's call for more attention and assistance from the federal government is valid. Which leads back to my call yesterday for readers to contact their representatives to ask that the Lower 9th ward be searched for the remaining bodies. This is America and we are a nation that ought to come to the aid of its citizens in a time of great need. We should not leave the corpse of any American to rot and decay in their home for any reason. We are better than that or at least we were.

If you haven't called your representative yet please do so. Ask that the Lower 9th ward be searched by December 1st prior to the residents return. This simple act of caring for our dead with respect and dignity should not and need not be a partisan battle. Rather it is the responsibility shared by all of us. Let some healing begin now, for NOLA and for all of us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

NOLA Death Toll: 1076 reports the death toll as of today for NOLA is 1076. As the demographic breakdown below is only for about 1/3 of the dead it seems pre-mature to draw anything from the stats. It remains to be seen if any of this will stand after all bodies are recovered and processed.

At this time, state officials, [Loiusiana only] working in conjunction with coroners from local parishes, have recovered 1,076 bodies. This is an increase from 1,074 recovered bodies reported on Nov. 9, 2005.

St. Gabriel Morgue Facility Totals:
883 – Total bodies examined at the morgue
358 – Released to Families
155 – Ready to be released; attempting to locate family members
49 – Identified; awaiting autopsy
321 – Identity unknown

Demographic Breakdown of the 338 Storm-Related Deaths:

African-American - 161 bodies (48% of total)
Caucasian – 160 bodies (47%)
Hispanic – 12 (2%)
Native American – 2
unknown – 3 (3% combined)

170 males (51%)
168 females (49%)

Parish of Residence:
Jefferson – 20 (6%)
Orleans – 254 (75%)
St. Bernard – 51 (15%)
unknown – 6 (2%)
East Baton Rouge – 1
Lafayette – 1
St. Tammany – 1
Washington – 1
Plaquemines – 2
out of state – 1 (2% for all combined.)

After going through the list of the 338 identified victims I determined that 76% were 60 years of age or older.

Black Bodies Remain Still.....Part II

Imagine this...
You watch on TV the news that your mother's city has been destroyed by the latest disaster. For days you wait to hear from her. Days pass into weeks but still no word. Your hope of finding her alive fades. Frantically you call everyone in government but to no avail. You tell yourself to let the rescuers do their job. You await word from the morgue but it does not come. You hear they are backed up so you wait. Two months later you are allowed to go to her home. Hoping to retrieve what you can..... documents, the precious family photos, you enter her home only to find your mother's decomposing body in her living room. You stumble out and fall to your knees in anguish asking.... "Why, How could she have been left like this?"

This would never happen in America you say? It is.

On Oct 3 the search for bodies in NOLA was called off despite the knowledge that bodies remained in unsearched homes in NOLA's 9th Ward (see previous post) The plan was for people to call 911 if they found a body despite the fact that people were not even allowed into the 9th ward. On October 12th, parts of the 9th Ward were opened for a "look and leave." The death toll rose as bodies were found. And the lower 9th ward, perhaps the most devastated area of NOLA, will not open to residents until December.

Yesterday CNN reported this....
You know, it's hard to imagine anything worse than coming back to your home in New Orleans and finding it completely destroyed. But, tonight, as you're about to hear, there is something worse, much worse. Dozens of families have returned to what is left of their homes and found, lying amidst the mold and the wreckage, a body, forgotten, abandoned. Maybe it's their mother or their grandmother, sometimes even their missing child.

The state called off searching house to house in New Orleans well over a month ago. They said they completed the job.
There was no joy for Paul Murphy (ph) in this homecoming. When he walked into his house in New Orleans' Ninth Ward last month for the first time since Katrina, it was shock and anger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I'm thinking that, OK, I was going to come and salvage a few pictures or something. And I walk in here. I found my grandma on the floor dead.

DORNIN: Since November 1, 10 bodies have been found in the ruins of the Ninth Ward. The last area, known as the Lower Ninth, will open to residents December 1. Coroner Frank Minyard worries about what people will find.

(on camera): You're fully expecting that more bodies will come in once they open the Ninth Ward?

FRANK MINYARD, ORLEANS PARISH CORONER: Yes. And I think it's -- it's going to come in for a good while. There's so much rubbish around that they might find people in the rubbish. DORNIN (voice-over): They already have. And there are still many bodies left unidentified and unclaimed.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: You warned us October 3. When the state stopped house- to-house searching for -- for -- for the deceased, you said, it was a bad idea, that there were more people out there. Now the death toll, it turns out, has jumped by 104. And -- and families are returning to find the bodies of their loved ones still in their homes. How does -- it's got to infuriate you.

JACK STEPHENS, SAINT BERNARD PARISH SHERIFF: Well, you know, you just wonder what provoked that decision.

A month ago, we were still very much in the midst of a -- of a crisis. And the National Guard was conducting the house-to-house searches. And if you go through, Anderson, the neighborhoods right now that were searched then, a lot of them bear the mark of "N.E.," which means no entry.

I was always under the impression that there would be a hard- target search at some point following that to determine whether or not there were any casualties left in those dwellings. As of right now -- in fact, the day before yesterday, in my own jurisdiction, a family came home to discover a family member who had been reported missing.

COOPER: Oh, my God.

STEPHENS: It was a horrible -- it was a gruesome sight. Very -- and again, people don't deserve any more grief and pain than they're going through right now. I mean, this whole process has been so excruciatingly screwed up and slow that, I mean, you're starting to feel a real sense of anger and hostility on the part of people locally and, my God, it's well-deserved.

It is a disgrace that this is happening in America. This is the country that took great pains to recover every little bit of human remains at Ground Zero after 9/11. Now we won't even bother to search homes in which we know bodies remain. This is not a matter of time or resources. The authorities simply chose not to take the time or allocate the resources to Do the Right Thing.
And more disgraceful is they are getting away with it. I have seen no reports of this other than 2 on CNN. Yet given the dozens of links and comments from my previous post I know people do care and were shocked to learn of this.
It is time to DEMAND of your representatives that the government fulfill the most basic of duties and search the lower 9th Ward before December. No more families should have to go through the horror of finding their loved ones abandoned and decomposing in their homes.
Call your representatives today.

(Enter your zip code and click through for your reps phone number)

Tell them in America you expect that No Body Will Be Left Behind.

Additionally demand that FEMA stop quibbling over who will pay for DNA testing and begin that testing now so the 636 321 bodies that remain in the morgue may be identified and returned to their families for burial.
Don't let them set this precedent. It could be your mother some day.

UPDATE: I have been calling Congressional reps including Senator Susan Collins who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee which has oversight of FEMA. Her staffers say they have been receiving calls on this issue.
Please Call Sen. Collins office: 202-224-2523
as well as your reps

Ask that the Lower 9th Ward be searched by Dec 1st.


The aptly named Hubris at INDC thinks calling your reps is a waste of time. Hubris googled a few sites and says this...
"Hey, I got lucky! I looked back at the news in October and it turns out my guess was right." His guess is that the state has a contract to pick up the bodies after FEMA pulled out saying it's done all it can.

Hubris should have done more research and he would have found out it wasn't as simple as he googled and guessed. Here's how it went according to WaPo regarding the contract for removing bodies....

When the storm swept through the Gulf of Mexico six weeks ago and left hundreds of bodies to decompose in homes and streets, Louisiana officials looked to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help removing them. But since cities and localities had historically recovered bodies from mass casualties, FEMA says, it had made no arrangements.

So a week after the monster storm struck, FEMA hired Kenyon International Emergency Services Inc., a Texas company that specializes in mobile morgues. Within a few days, however, Kenyon officials complained that the company still had no contract and that it was caught in a "bureaucratic quagmire," asked to do far more than was called for in the original agreement.

The company spurned FEMA and went to work for the state of Louisiana.

The lack of a contract to manage body collection, and the difficulties with Kenyon, fit a pattern of breakdowns in FEMA's relationship with the private sector, a relationship that has become crucial to the agency's workings but that contributed to its flawed response to Katrina. With relatively few resources of its own, FEMA relies on the private sector to provide the manpower and logistical help necessary to deal with a major emergency, but there were major gaps in the arrangements it had made. Many of the contracts it did have were poorly executed because of miscommunication and lack of planning.

So Hubris and others of this ilk may want to push this solely upon the state (read Dem Gov) but
it's quite a simplistic and disingenuous argument.
FEMA screwed up and it is entirely fair for anyone in America to call their rep and say so.
More important....tell them the job needs to be done.

UPDATE: Nov. 17--Some Progress on the DNA testing.
From CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.......
Rusty Dornin:Finally an agreement has been reached between the governor and FEMA. It looks like FEMA is going to pay 100 percent of the DNA testing at least until November 26th. Now what they're going to do is deposit $12 million or $13 million in an account. The state will begin processing the bodies in their lab and they will drawdown money.

But by November 26th, now remember, that's only next week, nine days from now, then they will have to pay 10 percent on the money that's left. Now Governor Blanco says the state will do that because it's their moral obligation to do so, however, even though their state covers are empty.
Perhaps your calls did some good. Now about searching the Lower 9th before Dec. 1st....keep calling.

UPDATE: December 6......More bodies found

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Aaron Brown Speaks

Aaron Brown is finally talking about the loss of his job and what he's doing in his free time. He doesn't say much about CNN in the Philadelphia Inquirer but he did say this to the NY Post (via Mediabistro .......)

'CNN in the old days had a clear vision. It knew what it was. It's lost its way today.'


Bush's 'Offense'

Though Bush attacked the Dems in yesterday's speech AmericaBlog point out that Republicans are questioning Iraq policy and how that "completely undermines the current White House strategy of attack and smear opponents."
I agree and I think this move to get back on the offense by Bush will fail with the American people. Bush obviously is trying to push back against Polls that show the majority of Americans believe the administration misled the country into war. But that ship has sailed. I suspect though Americans do care about how we got INTO this war, they are more concerned about what can be done now to get OUT of this war. While Bush looks backward, the American people are looking forward. And as Bush rails about the past he will look even MORE out of touch. Even Congressional Republicans are looking to develop a plan for getting out and Bush is in Alaska talking about the vote to get into the war? Talk about being out in the cold. It's a crappy offense and it will not move the poll numbers anywhere but further down. So why do it? They don't know anything else. Bush only knows how to campaign and knows nothing of how to govern.

Dr Evil & Mini-Me

Check out the pic at firedoglake

And read why they think it a bit dubious that Scooter is just falling on his sword for Cheney.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Who Wants On O'Reilly's List?

I could have got more. I don't know.
If I'd just... I could have got more.
If I'd made more money...
I threw away so much money.
You have no idea. If I'd just...

So Bill is making a list.
He can't be serious.
Perhaps it is another "satirical riff"

Well not to ruin his hunt for you "smear merchants" of the Internet
but I say we'll make our own Damn List thank you.
So all you "guttersnipes" stand up and be counted.

To place your name on THE LIST leave a name in the comments.

The names will then be carefully compiled

Loose Lips: OK If You Are Republican

This is one hell of a leaky bunch of Republicans.
It belies reason that Americans thought Republicans would keep them safer given their penchant to leak classified information.
But it's ok apparently.......
The Senate Ethics Committee has ended its intelligence leak investigation of Sen. Richard Shelby, who was under suspicion of giving the news media classified messages from the eve of the Sept. 11 attacks.
In a letter obtained Sunday by The Associated Press, the panel's chairman and vice chairman notify Shelby that it considers the case closed, but they don't say whether they blame him for the information getting out.
At issue were two messages intercepted by the National Security Agency a day before the Sept. 11 terror attacks. News accounts attributed to anonymous sources said those messages contained the words "the match begins tomorrow" and "tomorrow is zero day," but they were not translated from Arabic until Sept. 12.

Intelligence officials said disclosing the Sept. 10 interceptions was harmful not because of their substance, but because the disclosure might have tipped off terrorists that one of their channels of communication had been compromised.

Well that doesn't tells us alot. Perhaps this is why it is necessary to have such investigations conducted outside of Congress by an independent prosecutor.

And who did Shelby Leak to?

The Washington Post reported in 2004 that Shelby leaked the information to Fox News reporter Carl Cameron after a classified briefing to the Intelligence Committee. Cameron said he talked with the FBI but denied identifying Shelby as the leaker.
You may remember Carl Cameron
in the film "Outfoxed" which showed Cameron in a cozy off camera talk with George Bush about his family including all the work Cameron's wife did campaigning for Bush. (If you have not seen it, do click on this link to view "Cameroni" in action. That's Bush's nic-name for Carl. Beware Cameroni's brown-nosing suck-up schtick may make you ill)

Or perhaps you remember Cameron's Fake Story about John Kerry (I'm a metrosexual getting my nails manicured)

To sum up.....
Senate Leak Investigation findings: IOKIYAR and IOKIYAFN

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Chalabi: I'm against the Death Penalty

Time asks Chalabi 10 questions.
One question is whether he will watch Saddam's execution. Ahmad states, "I am against the death penalty."
Well there is that, rich as it is.

Most of the answers are self defense/delusion. But this is disturbing...

Chalabi: We put forward the idea that Iraq should buy American weapons. It will go a long way toward raising the morale of Iraqi troops and giving them something serious to work with. We discussed Syria and how we stop infiltration from Syria by getting the Syrian government to act responsibly.

Great, just great......... Chalabi and the administration planning how to deal with Syria. Why do I feel no good will come of that?

And just for the record he says this of Judy...

I think Judith Miller is a good reporter. Over there she did very good reporting for the Times, and she tried to check the facts and examine the evidence. I think she has been made into a scapegoat for the media. If you count the number of newspapers and media outlets that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, you'll find many all around.

Rest in Peace Now

Helen White was laid to rest Saturday. Ms. White and her older sister, Willie Mae Minor drowned in the attic of their New Orlean's 9th ward home.
For remembrance of one and for all of the 1050 who died in NOLA, please read all of it.....

"Almost 11 weeks after she drowned in her attic during Hurricane Katrina, Helen J. White, 54, lay inside a polished coffin beneath a resplendent carpet of flowers, no longer an "unidentified black female" languishing in a morgue.

Some 200 relatives, colleagues, church friends and neighbors crowded into a funeral home here on Saturday to mourn and celebrate both Ms. White, a disaster loan specialist, and New Orleans, a city that could ill afford to lose its disaster specialists. It was a requiem for an individual and a community, but it was not entirely sad. Rather, the grieving seemed cathartic, an outlet for a preacher without a pulpit, a church without a building and a neighborhood without habitable homes.

As the horror of the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina fades from national consciousness, the grim, belated task of burying the victims forces the scattered citizenry of New Orleans to relive the cruelty of the storm.
The rest.......

Mistake or 'Un-Intelligent' Design?

I think many Americans found the incompetence of FEMA's Katrina response shocking and wondered how could this happen. It would be even more shocking to Americans if this incompetency was by design. Yet a case could be made that striving to render the federal gov't incompetent is taking place by design as part of the the conservatives desire for "starving the beast" or Grover Norquist's homicidal penchant for drowning.

FEMA lost many experienced workers during the Bush administration....
Some employees felt they were viewed as Clinton administration carryovers and not welcome in the Bush administration; some employees felt they could no longer do their jobs; and some employees were ready to leave and found opportunities in the private sector because of a demand for homeland security expertise, she said.

Then today we learn that a similar house cleaning is taking place at the Justice Dept......
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, which has enforced the nation's anti-discrimination laws for nearly half a century, is in the midst of an upheaval that has driven away dozens of veteran lawyers and has damaged morale for many of those who remain, according to former and current career employees.

Nearly 20 percent of the division's lawyers left in fiscal 2005, in part because of a buyout program that some lawyers believe was aimed at pushing out those who did not share the administration's conservative views on civil rights laws. Longtime litigators complain that political appointees have cut them out of hiring and major policy decisions, including approvals of controversial GOP redistricting plans in Mississippi and Texas.

Conservatives' actions of routing out experienced employees is an insidious means of rigging gov't towards incompetence. When this happens it is far easier to convince the American people gov't doesn't work and thus "drowning" it is just a-okay.

Brokeback Mountain

I want to see this movie
when it
"comes out"......


(via AmericaBlog)

Let Freedom Ring.....Hollow

Wolcott .....

"Torture, black sites, indefinite detention and deprival of due process--the United States has forfeited its right to lecture other nations about freedom and democracy. Red, white, and blue are no longer the true colors of this country's flag; the flags that fly in the Capital should be henceforth be prison gray."

Habeas Corpus ("you have the body") is one of the great principles of this democracy so much so that it is part of the Constitution. Every citizen who loves this country and the principles upon which it was founded should be alarmed by what the Republicans have done in stripping detainees of the right of habeas corpus.

Any call to patriotism, by any citizen who will not speak out against this assailment on the principles laid out by our founding fathers, now rings hollow. It is that simple.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Happy Birthday Aaron Brown-Belated

Aaron Brown turned 57 yesterday. I must admit I liked Aaron Brown and I miss his hour of news. I think Brown cared about journalism as a profession. He had a reverence for the print media....Headlines. He rarely brought on 2 people of opposing views to scream at each other. He wasn't glitzy and I liked that from the person serving up my news. I also liked his dry humor and here's some commentary reflective of that (from Mediabistro)
Good evening again, I'm Aaron Brown. Here's a depressing thought, I turned 54 over the weekend and that means I only matter for another 364 more days. That's right. On the day I turn 55, I am irrelevant. Not completely irrelevant of course -- some of you will still like me -- but to advertisers, irrelevant.

Advertisers, or at least the people who advise them, figured out that when you reach the ripe old age of 55 you are no longer willing to change your mind so you don't matter. If at 54, you decided you preferred Heinz over Hunts, well that's the way it's going to stay. At 54, you're willing to try new and improved Dawn. At 55, you stick with Palmolive.

But that seems too simplistic, Brown said. He concluded that in the next year, "I'm going to try everything this year, a new beer, a different car, dump my old insurance company, say goodbye to my barbecue sauce, my soap, all of it and live large while I can." His last sentence is a bit sad; "I want to make the most of being relevant for as long as it lasts and the clock, sadly, is ticking."
So what's left for me? Keith Olberman of course. I always fear they will pull him but given his numbers I feel safe for now at least that Keith will be there for me. It's tough for him in his time slot....

8pm: O'Reilly: 3,132,000 / Zahn: 791,000 / Countdown: 574,000 / Grace: 743,000 / Apprentice: 215,000

But he's beating out every other MSNBC show.......

7pm: Hardball: 522,000

8pm: Countdown: 574,000

9pm: Rita: 382,000

10pm: Scarborough: 370,000

11pm: Situation: 275,000

Thursday, November 10, 2005

'Foggy' Rove Boasts in Face of Defeat

Karl Rove came out tonight to speak to the clavern of the Federalist Society. Rove decided to make an appearance which reaked of "I'm still here, so STFU now." As for what he actually said, well this stands out....
"In America, conservatives are winning the battle of ideas on almost every front"...
But losing the war to look at what is happening on the ground.
Look at just today's headlines....

House GOP Leaders Scuttle Budget-Cut Vote
WASHINGTON - House Republican leaders scuttled a vote Thursday on a $51 billion budget-cut package in the face of a revolt by moderate lawmakers over cuts to Medicaid, food stamp and student loan programs

Republicans can't even get their budget to a vote safely

High-Court Nominee Denies Conflicts of Interest
US Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, seeking to avert a possible controversy, said on Thursday he never to his knowledge ruled in a case in which he had an obligation to recuse himself -

Scalito isn't there yet

Fight Over Abuse Pits Bush Against Party Allies
As the House prepares to take up a proposed ban on abusive treatment of terrorism suspects, the Republican-led Congress appears headed toward a collision with President Bush.

Torture Torture Torture...A slumbering giant awakes and it ain't Cheney.

Senate Demands Report on "CIA prisons"
The U.S. Senate demanded a classified account on Thursday of whether the CIA was running a secret prison system as it debated a bill that would regulate the Bush administration's treatment of military detainees.

Americans still not down with the Gulag thing

Spending Not Such a Bad Word to Voters
Voters said yes this month to more spending by state governments, dealing a setback to anti-tax forces.

Gee the people don't think like Grover Norquist. Drain the bathtub.

'Intelligent Design' Backers Lose in Pennsylvania
The court verdict in a landmark lawsuit on "intelligent design" is weeks away, but voters in Dover, Pa., delivered their judgment this week by sweeping out eight of nine school board members who decided that ninth-grade science students must be told the concept is an alternative to evolution.

What can you say. People want smart kids.
To the members of the Kansas Board of Education....Beware. You are elected and can be booted.

US House Scraps Plan to Allow Oil Drilling in Alaska Wildlife Refuge
Republican Representative Charles Bass gained the support of 25 lawmakers from his party and convinced the Republican leadership to give up on the provision. Sen. John Kerry said, "George Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress have failed to twist enough arms and intimidate enough moderate Republicans to sneak through Congress the alpha and omega of big oil giveaways -- drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."

So the oil barrens got away with not raising their hands. They couldn't get enough hands raised by Congress for this dog.

McCain Urges Changes in Bush's Iraq Strategy
McCain said on Thursday the Bush administration must make broad changes in its strategy to confront the insurgency in Iraq, and commit more troops and resources to the effort.

That pesky McCain again. The hawks won't even stay in line anymore.

A Chastened Schwarzenegger Sets New Tone
A chastened Arnold Schwarzenegger took the blame for his election day drubbing and said on Thursday he would heed the voters' message and work closely with Democrats to solve California's problems.

Rove's conservative "ideas" won't start in CA and spread through the land as they hoped.

Wal-Mart Defends 'Happy Holidays' Approach
the company does support the generic greeting, "Happy Holidays," as being more inclusive amid year-end celebrations by numerous faiths. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights criticized the world's largest retailer and called for a boycott over Wal-Mart's approach to Christmas.

So much for Faux News "War on Christmas." Not even Wal-Mart is buying

Victoria's Secret Show Struts Back
The Victoria's Secret fashion show staged an exuberant return on Wednesday evening as the lingerie retailer brought back its sexually-charged runway extravaganza for the first time in two years. The fashion show, a multimillion dollar televised showcase of lacy titillation, was scrapped last year amid a wave of broadcasting modesty....

TV isn't "cowed" as it once was

Study Says There is More Sex on TV
Despite battles over media indecency in recent years, the amount of sexual content on television is higher than ever, according to a study released Wednesday

More evidence TV isn't cowed. What's a culture warrior to do?

Poll: Most Americans Say Bush Not Honest
Most Americans say they aren't impressed by the ethics and honesty of the Bush administration, already under scrutiny for its justifications for an unpopular war in Iraq and its role in the leak of a covert CIA officer's identity.

Perhaps the best gauge of who's winning the battle of ideas...the American people. For the majority of us, "moral values" are still pretty secular. Tough to win the war if you've lost the hearts and minds of the people.

So if Karl thinks this is conservatives winning the battle on every front, Karl is shit deep in the fog of war.

Good Riddance....Finally

Drownie Brownie is finally off the payroll.....

Initially, Brown was permitted to continue collecting his $148,000 annual salary for 30 days after he resigned. Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he extended Brown's contract for an additional 30 days, until mid-November, to help the agency complete its review of the response to Katrina.

But Brown ended his contract early, said Knocke, responding to an inquiry about House Democratic demands to remove Brown from the payroll.
Chertoff had defended keeping Brown on for an extended period, saying, "It's important to allow the new people who have the responsibility ... to have access to the information we need to do better. We don't want to sacrifice the real ability to get a full picture of Mike's experiences; we don't want to sacrifice that ability simply in order to make an image point."

And what did we learn from Brownie?
Disaster fashion sense I guess

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Rich Man, Poor Man

Looking for Bush Wanted to Bomb al Jazeera...Go here. Sorry about link.

Think this war isn't being fought by the poor or people of color? Check this out....
Last year, as U.S. casualties mounted in Iraq, only three residents in two neighborhoods of Manhattan's upper East Side - the city's richest area - joined the Army, Air Force or Navy.

Just a few blocks farther north, in a swath of East Harlem, 45 people enlisted.

At the same time, an astounding 113 joined in the Morrisania and Highbridge sections of the South Bronx.

Meanwhile, in two zip codes of Brooklyn's poverty-stricken East New York, 116 men and women joined the military.
And in the immigrant neighborhoods of Elmhurst and Corona in Queens, 73 signed up.
That's all according to the Pentagon's own personnel records, which were obtained under a Freedom of Information request and released for the first time last week by the nonprofit National Priorities Project.

The records track military recruitment by state, county, zip code and racial and ethnic group - even by high school. The Marines weren't included because they did not provide sufficient data to track recruits' place of residence.

The national figures show what you might expect: Youth from low-income areas are far more likely to end up in the military.

This is the most convincing proof yet that as the war drags on - and without a compulsory draft - our battle-weary military has become a ghastly dividing line between rich and poor and black, Latino and white.

You can check out recruitment for anyplace in the US at the National Priorities Project site.
(Click on Military Recruitment)
It's really interesting. You can get the number of recruits for your state, high school or zip code. You can search by branch of military, income, race and percent male or female.
Here in WI the largest number of the state’s recruits came from Milwaukee County (384).
3 from my zip code joined the Army.