Tuesday, September 27, 2005


It's been a century since Einstein's paper on inertia and the energy content of matter was published. Today you can hear Einstein, or any of several other famous physicists explain his formula, or view any of several hundred other publications by the Great Professor, on subjects from religion to psychology to politics.

Democratic Underground : : Thoughts on Katrina From a Professional Engineer

This post by 'T Roosevelt' makes some interesting observations about apportioning blame. A more reality-based contrast to the blither and spin Mr. Brown is spewing this morning in Washington.

Monday, September 26, 2005

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

The administration recently tried to appoint a male veterinarian to the position of acting director of the FDA's Office of Women's Health. Molly Ivins, as you may expect, has something to say about this:

What's wrong with a vet? They know a lot about birth and udders and stuff. If the mother is having trouble giving birth, you grab the baby by the legs and pull it out -- it's not brain surgery. Then you worm 'em, you tag 'em and you spray for fleas. Why the fuss?

Hush Money

This just in: disgraced and inarguably incompetant former FEMA director Michael Brown has been retained by the agency 'as a consultant' and is not, as you'd expect, gasping out his last through a homemade noose somewhere. My favorite part of all this is the peek it gives into an alien mindset. Witness this quote, and recall that this individual is speaking of a person whose incompetance is directly linked to thousands of deaths:

Less than a week after FEMA's dismal Hurricane Katrina response forced Brown out of the agency, he has been shopping his resume to headhunters and Washington PR firms. And it's not working. "He's radioactive," said one exec. An ally of Brownie in the PR world said he should have waited a month before starting his job hunt. "It's just a bad play."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Armed and Dangerous

It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest...

New Budget Plan: Sell The National Parks!

Scale back the tax cuts for the wealthy?
End the staggeringly costly war in Iraq?
Perhaps stop giving massive welfare to the most prosperous companies on Earth?
No, but perhaps we can find some spare change in the couch cushions if we sell off some national parks! All that unspoiled beauty was getting in the way of corporate profit, anyway..

As a note - this measure isn't expected to be passed - it hasn't even been introduced. It's been suggested as blackmail, essentially, to get drilling in the ANWR moving along. Which doesn't make it any less reprehensible..

The Ethnic Clensing of New Orleans

part 1: Purging the Poor:

Wearing a donated pink T-shirt with an age-inappropriate slogan ("It's the hidden little Tiki spot where the island boys are hot, hot, hot"), Nyler tells me what she is nervous about. "I think New Orleans might not ever get fixed back." "Why not?" I ask, a little surprised to be discussing reconstruction politics with a preteen in pigtails. "Because the people who know how to fix broken houses are all gone."

I don't have the heart to tell Nyler that I suspect she is on to something; that many of the African-American workers from her neighborhood may never be welcomed back to rebuild their city. An hour earlier I had interviewed New Orleans' top corporate lobbyist, Mark Drennen. As president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc., Drennen was in an expansive mood, pumped up by signs from Washington that the corporations he represents--everything from Chevron to Liberty Bank to Coca-Cola--were about to receive a package of tax breaks, subsidies and relaxed regulations so generous it would make the job of a lobbyist virtually obsolete.

Listening to Drennen enthuse about the opportunities opened up by the storm, I was struck by his reference to African-Americans in New Orleans as "the minority community." At 67 percent of the population, they are in fact the clear majority, while whites like Drennen make up just 27 percent. It was no doubt a simple verbal slip, but I couldn't help feeling that it was also a glimpse into the desired demographics of the new-and-improved city being imagined by its white elite, one that won't have much room for Nyler or her neighbors who know how to fix houses. "I honestly don't know and I don't think anyone knows how they are going to fit in," Drennen said of the city's unemployed.

part 2: Old-Line Families Plan The Future:

The power elite of New Orleans -- whether they are still in the city or have moved temporarily to enclaves such as Destin, Fla., and Vail, Colo. -- insist the remade city won't simply restore the old order. New Orleans before the flood was burdened by a teeming underclass, substandard schools and a high crime rate. The city has few corporate headquarters.

The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically," he says. "I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out."

part 3: Relocation or ethnic cleansing?:

Since Broussard's nationally broadcast testimonial, there's been a torrent of charges leveled at FEMA. The National Guard was prevented from attending to the sick and wounded, desperately needed busses were unexplainably returned to Baton Rouge, assistance was rejected from Chicago and other cities, helicopter rescue teams were reprimanded for rescuing people trapped on their roofs and checkpoints were set up to prevent poor Black people from leaving the city.

Information Clearinghouse has put together an impressive list of articles that detail the FEMA obstructions:

--Note: edited to remove incomplete or non-working links.--

FEMA turns away experienced firefighters
FEMA won't let Red Cross deliver food
FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans
FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid
FEMA turns away generators
FEMA: "First Responders Urged Not To Respond"
FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel
FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital on board
FEMA to Chicago: Send just one truck

There's a much longer list here. See also: Hurricane Pam, a FEMA training exercise from which they appear to have learned nothing.
And isn't it odd how many of these disasters were immediately preceded by a very similar training scenario? Or interrupted one, in the case of the London bombings..

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Sorrows of Pluto

This article, about one of the recurring efforts to define a 'planet' that seems likely to leave Pluto in the cold, reminded me at once of the comic above. Thanks to Tim Kreider for a comic you should be reading every week. Yes, you.

Friday, September 23, 2005

No Way Out

The administration's new economic plan seems to be: leave all the poor folk to die and then everyone will be doing well!
Those that don't get shot for oil profits can just learn to breathe water..

Thursday, September 22, 2005

"We Can't Figure Out Why It's Not Moving At All"

So the people entrusted with coordinating the evacuation of Houston - did not expect traffic jams to happen as a result of having the entire population moving in one direction at once.

Have these people ever been to Houston? The mind boggles..

Good News!

The current spate of increased hurricane activity will only last another 20 years!

Gee, it's a good thing we didn't put all our oil refineries in the Gulf...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Blanco Says Feds Pledged Buses

Not that this should surprise anyone:
Hours after the hurricane hit Aug. 29, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a plan to send 500 commercial buses into New Orleans to rescue thousands of people left stranded on highways, overpasses and in shelters, hospitals and homes.

On the day of the storm, or perhaps the day after, FEMA turned down the state's suggestion to use school buses because they are not air conditioned, Blanco said Friday in an interview.

Of course, this is what a sacraficial lamb is for: all sorts of blame can be heaped upon his head, so as to avoid accountability elsewhere..

Poker Strategy For Democrats

From the Los Angeles Times:
For example, take a player who has never acted with initiative -- he has never raised, merely called. Now, at the end of the evening, he is dealt a royal flush. The hand, per se, is unbeatable, but the passive player has never acted aggressively; his current bet (on the sure thing) will signal to the other players that his hand is unbeatable, and they will fold.

His patient, passive quest for certainty has won nothing.

The Democrats, similarly, in their quest for a strategy that would alienate no voters, have given away the store, and they have given away the country.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Pray The Praying The Gay Away!

A follow-up article: many people's prayers were answered recently when the Tennessee State Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities finally shut down Love In Action's Christian re-education camp in that state. It was the media focus on the program as an 'ex-gay' ministry - through the convenient symbol of one of its enrollees - which finally led to enough societal pressure to close it down. This stands as a contrast to the many other programs in which 'problem' teens continue to be coerced, brainwashed, beaten and tortured into submission.

As a bonus - check out the website of one of Love in Action's founders.

The Ongoing Bureaucratic Cock-Up, Part 4

Up in flames: hundreds of tons of food that will be denied to the starving refugees because of USDA obstructionism:

HUNDREDS of tons of British food aid shipped to America for starving Hurricane Katrina survivors is to be burned...

..."It is perfectly good Nato approved food of the type British servicemen have. Yet the FDA are saying that because there is a meat content and it has come from Britain it must be destroyed.

"If they are trying to argue there is a BSE reason then that is ludicrously out of date. There is more BSE in the States than there ever was in Britain and UK meat has been safe for years."

"I could have saved her life but was not allowed to try":

Refugees from New Orleans died after private doctors were ordered to stop giving treatment because they were not covered by United States government medical liability insurance, according to two American surgeons.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Long Emergency Begins

Jim Kunstler:

George W. Bush, and the party he represents, are headed into full Hooverization mode. After Katrina, nobody will take claims of governmental competence seriously.

The new assumption will be that when shit happens you are on your own. In this remarkable three weeks since New Orleans was shredded, no Democrat has stepped into the vacuum of leadership, either, with a different vision of what we might do now, and who we might become. This is the kind of medium that political maniacs spawn in.

Also, from an insightful commenter:

When did we decide that there was no possibility of government doing good? It was our government that wrote the constitution, won WWII and the peace that followed; thought in ways big enough to bring electricity to rural America. And now it’s not a question of making it better, but the necessity to “drown it in the bathtub.”

The Blame Game

Exhibit 1: the fishing expedition:
The Justice Department is seeking information about whether lawsuits by environmental groups hindered efforts to improve New Orleans levees...

Exhibit 2: crass opportunism!:
"[Arizona Sen.] Jon Kyl and I were talking about the estate tax. If we knew anybody that owned a business that lost life in the storm, that would be something we could push back with."

And finally: Nobody really wants to get to the bottom of this, do they?
Senate Republicans on Wednesday scuttled an attempt by Sen. Hillary Clinton to establish an independent, bipartisan panel patterned after the 9/11 Commission to investigate what went wrong with federal, state and local governments' response to Hurricane Katrina.
Meanwhile, a recent poll indicates that 81% of Americans want an independent panel to investigate Katrina, while only 18% trust Congress to do the job. "John in DC' calls these 'Terry Schiavo numbers'.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

FEMA Messes Up, Lets One Get Out Alive

Attytood relates the story of Mr. Edgar Hollingsworth, age 74, who was recently rescued from his flooded home in New Orleans despite FEMA's best efforts:

In the past few days, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has ordered searchers not to break into homes. They are supposed to look in through a window and knock on the door. If no one cries out for help, they are supposed to move on. If they see a body, they are supposed to log the address and move on...
...But Fell broke the rules and ordered his men to bash open the door, launching a series of events that would save a man's life and revitalize California Task Force 5 from Orange County. In the past two days, the 80-member task force had identified seven dead bodies in the same neighborhood, and they had rescued no one...
The rescue pumped up the spirits of Task Force 5, which has been mostly marking the locations of bodies for the last week. Earlier, they had been frustrated when FEMA delayed their deployment for four days, housing them in the Hyatt Regency in Dallas.

And that's the good news today - top-down incompetence claims one fewer innocent victim than it could have.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Teacher, May I Be Excused?

Well, now, I wonder when this became part of the Secretary of State's job description?
Closeup here.

We Had To Kill Our Patients

The Daily Mail reveals the fate of those too sick, too old, and too poor to 'evacuate' themselves out of the path of Katrina, in the words of the doctors entrusted with their care:

One emergency official, William 'Forest' McQueen, said: "Those who had no chance of making it were given a lot of morphine and lain down in a dark place to die."

Google Blog Search

Just what it says on the tin: Google's new blog search utilty samples and indexes RSS feeds. Technorati has competition.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Daily Kos : : Blanco didn't goof on state of emergency

Kos notes a recent Congressional report(.PDF):

# All necessary conditions for federal relief were met on August 28. Pursuant to Section 502 of the Stafford Act, "[t]he declaration of an emergency by the President makes Federal emergency assistance available," and the President made such a declaration on August 28. The public record indicates that several additional days passed before such assistance was actually made available to the State;

# The Governor must make a timely request for such assistance, which meets the requirements of federal law. The report states that "[e]xcept to the extent that an emergency involves primarily Federal interests, both declarations of major disaster and declarations of emergency must be triggered by a request to the President from the Governor of the affected state";

# The Governor did indeed make such a request, which was both timely and in compliance with federal law. The report finds that "Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco requested by letter dated August 27, 2005...that the President declare an emergency for the State of Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina for the time period from August 26, 2005 and continuing pursuant to [applicable Federal statute]" and "Governor Blanco's August 27, 2005 request for an emergency declaration also included her determination...that `the incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of disaster."

Now, somebody tell Fox News...

Monday, September 12, 2005

From The Department Of No Shit

Evidently this Washington Post article contains information that may be news to someone, somewhere:

Judging from the blistering analyses in Time, Newsweek, and elsewhere these past few days, it turns out that Bush is in fact fidgety, cold and snappish in private. He yells at those who dare give him bad news and is therefore not surprisingly surrounded by an echo chamber of terrified sycophants. He is slow to comprehend concepts that don't emerge from his gut. He is uncomprehending of the speeches that he is given to read. And oh yes, one of his most significant legacies -- the immense post-Sept. 11 reorganization of the federal government which created the Homeland Security Department -- has failed a big test.

Besides the two seminal articles, stories in the New York Times, The Washington Post, the LA Times, and Time Magazine are mentioned. The latter supplies my favorite quote:

"Leaders were afraid to actually lead, reluctant to cost businesses money, break jurisdictional rules or spawn lawsuits. They were afraid, in other words, of ending up in an article just like this one."

Atrios has a few words to say about this:

We're just seeing one narrative that everyone knew was bullshit possibly (don't get too excited) being replaced by another one closer to the truth.

Zen Filter

Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion.
From today's entry:

“When you meet a teacher who presents complete Awakening, do not be concerned with family or nation, appearance, faults, or behaviours. Rather, if you value her wisdom, you should provide offerings every day of a million coins of gold.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Facts and Rumors: Federal Power in a State of Emergency

Emily Messner tackles (somewhat indirectly) some prevailing spin in the wake of Katrina:

Fact: In the supplementary information for the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System legislation, it says... :

Section 303 of the Stafford Act authorizes the President of the United States to form emergency support teams of Federal personnel to be deployed in an area affected by a major disaster or emergency. The President delegated this function to the Director of the FEMA under Executive Order 12148. Under E.O. 13286 of February 28, 2003, the President amended E.O. 12148 to transfer the FEMA Director's delegated authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and under Homeland Security Delegation No. 9100, delegated the Secretary's authority under Title V of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which includes the Stafford Act, to the Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R).

Fact: The Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response is Michael Brown.

Thus, Mr. Brown had the power to dispatch personnel to the disaster scene, on his own, right away. Instead, there was no FEMA response until two days after the hurricane had made landfall.

We found that without state requests, FEMA could assess the catastrophic area, assess what assistance the state needed, start mobilizing that relief, present its recommendations to the governor, and, if necessary … get in the governor's face to force the issue of accepting federal help.

Again, that's without the state's needing to request any aid at all - though the Governor did call for help on the 27th.

Making Louisiana Disappear

For those folks who think the solution to over-engineering is more engineering - or those among the growing body of people blaming Katrina's victims for the very location of their city - this article details the damage our 'flood management' programs have done to Louisiana's coastline over the past decades.

Before the levees were built to channel and “control” the Mississippi and other nearby rivers, floodwaters would spread out and slow down as they flowed over the delta. When the flow slowed, the river would deposit its burden of silt, forming a new layer of earth. But the levees, which now constrict floods along a 1,200-mile corridor of the Mississippi, keep the floodwaters from spreading across the delta. Instead, the river-borne silt is lost off the edge of the continental shelf.

The delta, primarily mud that already filled the Mississippi River valley before the levees were built, is continuously being compacted under its own weight. As it compacts, it loses elevation, and without floods, no new sediments can arrive to build the land back up.

What Went Wrong In Ohio

Harpers discuses the report Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio(.PDF):

At least fifty-nine daily newspapers that backed Bush in the previous election endorsed Kerry (or no one) in this election. The national turnout in 2004 was the highest since 1968, when another unpopular war had swept the ruling party from the White House. Yet this ever-less-beloved president, this president who had united liberals and conservatives and nearly all the world against himself—this president somehow bested his opponent by 3,000,176 votes.

How did he do it?

See also: this article (and this (.PDF) report) validating those oft-dismissed 2004 election polls. More election 2004 resources here.

A Social Autopsy of Disaster

"...a city, in its decision to operate like a corporation, experienced the breakdown of massive social services..." -- Eric Klinberg, on the 1995 heat wave which claimed over 700 lives in and around Chicago.

25 Stupid Quotes

Callous, ill thought-out, and just plain dumb quotes about Katrina, from the party of compassionate conservatism, assorted media spokesholes, and Mary Landrieu.

13) "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." –Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA) to lobbyists, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal (Source)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday Bunnyblogging

Thinking calming thoughts, now...

Yuebing is always good for that.

American Style Capitalism

Now that the guy who ran a horse registry into the ground has been 'recalled' - padded resume and all - and the 'accountability moment' has passed, it's time to begin making some money and rewarding our cronies! Even silly wage standards can't be allowed to interfere with our buddies's profits!

The Big List of Good and Bad NOLA Charities

DogEmperor has compiled a handy list of charities, meritorious and otherwise, to which you might consider sending support. Hopefully this will keep some people away from Pat Robertson's blood diamond smuggling enterprise, which has inexplicably been promoted heavily by the adminstration in recent days..

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Actions and Consequences

The catastrophe on the Gulf Coast should remove any doubt that cronyism is a bad idea:

The three top jobs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Bush went to political cronies with no apparent experience coping with catastrophes..
..FEMA's No. 2 man, deputy director and chief of staff Patrick Rhode, was an advance man for the Bush-Cheney campaign and White House...
...deputy chief of staff Scott Morris, was a PR expert who worked for Maverick Media, the Texas outfit that produced TV and radio spots for the Bush-Cheney campaign...
.."The Bush administration has apparently transformed FEMA from a professional, world-class emergency responder into a dumping ground for former campaign staff and political hacks,"...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Let Them Eat Cake

...it's got to be doubly devastating on the ground."

" The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see
it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf
Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house --
he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house.
And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch"
-- our President

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you
know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she
chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."
-- and his mother, demonstrating that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

'Is this kind of fun?' -- Tom DeLay, noting that - apart from losing everything they've ever had - being a Katrina refugee is just like camping.

Democratic Underground : : 'Catapulting' Katrina.

Part of an exhaustive series of links and documents posted by one 'reprehensor' today:

The flooding in New Orleans was foretold over and over again:
'Drowning New Orleans'
October, 2001
'Keeping Its Head Above Water'
New Orleans Faces Doomsday Scenario
December 1, 2001
'Washing Away'

The Bush administration crippled FEMA:
Ex-officials say weakened FEMA botched response
The Chicago Tribune
Storm Exposed Disarray at the Top
The Washington Post
FEMA takes brunt of hurricane relief criticism
The San Jose Mercury News
See also this chronology of FEMA and flood control screwups under the current administration, courtesy of the Washington Monthly.

A failure of 'privitization':
FEMA contracted Innovative Emergency Management to 'lead the development of a catastrophic hurricane disaster plan for Southeast Louisiana and the City of New Orleans'. In July, 2004, they held the 'Louisiana Catastrophic Hurricane Planning Workshop':
Driven by a predetermined scenario, entitled Hurricane Pam, the participants developed 15 functional plans over the course of the week, including: pre-landfall activities; unwatering of levee enclosed areas; hazardous materials; billeting of response personnel; distribution of power, water, and ice; transport from water to shelter; volunteer and donations management; external affairs; access control and re-entry; debris; schools; search and rescue; sheltering; temporary housing; and temporary medical care...
...The outcome of these workshops is a series of functional plans that may be implemented immediately. Along with these plans, resource shortfalls were identified early, saving valuable time in the event an actual response is warranted. It is because of the dedication of every workshop participant that Louisiana is much better prepared for a catastrophic hurricane.

IEM is now scurrying to cover up its failure.

Firing people who counter your agenda - could be a bad idea! Who knew?
As levees burst and floods continued to spread across areas hit by Hurricane Katrina yesterday, a former chief of the Army Corps of Engineers disparaged senior White House officials for "not understanding" that key elements of the region's infrastructure needed repair and rebuilding.

Mike Parker, the former head of the Army Corps of Engineers, was forced to resign in 2002 over budget disagreements with the White House. He clashed with Mitch Daniels, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, which sets the administration's annual budget goals.

Inaction in action:
Where's FEMA?
The Mississippi Press
An open letter from the Times-Picayune to the President:
Despite the city’s multiple points of entry, our nation’s bureaucrats spent days after last week’s hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city’s stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.

Welcome to Lake George

Rhetoric 101 has a side-by-side accounting of the weekend's events, from the Gulf coast's perspective and from the President's, replete with links and purdy pictures. Think Progress has another, with more links and fewer pictures. Wikipedia's is predictably the most dry. The Angry Panda looks further back, to 1995 and the creation of SELA, and goes a more detailed account of recent events than almost any other source. BaseTree has an almost purely visual record of the disaster, while Kos's is rich in detail and commentary. Salon, as ever, has the 'sit through an annoying commercial to get to our information' side of things well covered.

The Ongoing Bureaucratic Cock-Up, Part 3

A few snippets from the 'Poor Planning' LiveJournal community today:

The pissing contest threatens to drown us all!

FEMA continues to turn away aid:
Airboaters stalled by FEMA
Daley 'shocked' at federal snub of offers to help
Other nations offer aid, sympathy - and criticism
USA thanks Russia for offer of help, says it can handle crisis.
Firefighting gear stockpile unused
LA Homeland Security *confirms* [Red Cross] kept out!
Larry King on FEMA's turning down aid

Firsthand accounts of Emergency Mismanagement:
Holiday in Hell
The Real Heroes
Three Duke Students Tell of 'Disgraceful' Scene
Briton Slams US Rescue 'Shambles'

Of course, performing any helpful work must take a back seat to the President's photo op!

But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast - black and white, rich and poor, young annd old - deserve far better from their national governmeent.

Oh, and in case you've heard that this is excusable, or understandable, because Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco didn't declare a state of emergency: she did. Two days before Katrina made landfall.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Noone Can Say They Didn't See It Coming

The administration's bungling response to Katrina - amounting as it does to mass institutional manslaughter - is made all the more inexcusable by the ample warning they were given:

In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.

The Ongoing Bureaucratic Cock-Up, Part 2

Exhibit A: The political pissing contest!

Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D)...
..."Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals,"

Also reflected at the national level!:

For days, Bush's top advisers argued over legal niceties about who was in charge...
...While Washington debated, the situation in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast deteriorated...
...But for many, the help was arriving too late. Officials worked through the weekend trying to hammer out the jurisdictional issues.

Exhibit B: The Jefferson parish president, in a television interview today:

Three quick examples. We had Wal-mart deliver three trucks of water. Trailer trucks of water. Fema turned them back, said we didn't need them. This was a week go. We had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a coast guard vessel docked in my parish. The coast guard said come get the fuel right way. When we got there with our trucks, they got a word, FEMA says don't give you the fuel. Yesterday, yesterday, fema comes in and cuts all our emergency communications lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in. he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards said no one is getting near these lines.

In case you thought being fired for gross incompetence from a job overseeing horse shows is poor preparation for the head of FEMA..

Saturday, September 03, 2005

As If Things Weren't Bleak Enough...

Remember when I said, 'Chief Justice Scalia'? Yeah, about that..

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening at his home in suburban Virginia, said Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg.

The Ongoing Bureaucratic Cock-Up

Exhibit A: Daley 'shocked' as feds reject aid

A visibly angry Mayor Daley said the city had offered emergency, medical and technical help to the federal government as early as Sunday to assist people in the areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina, but as of Friday, the only things the feds said they wanted was a single tank truck...
... "I don't understand how you could have a situation where you've got several days' notice of an enormous hurricane building in the Gulf Coast, you know that New Orleans is 6 feet below sea level. ... The notion that you don't have good plans in place just does not make sense," Obama said.

Exhibit B: Relief helicopters were grounded upon the President's arrival in New Orleans. Three tons of food was left on an overpass exposed to the sun for hours. All so the President could have his fake photo op.

And finally, a glimpse of true compassionate conservatism: if you have money, you get moved to the head of the line!

At one point Friday, the evacuation was interrupted briefly when school buses pulled up so some 700 guests and employees from the Hyatt Hotel could move to the head of the evacuation line — much to the amazement of those who had been crammed in the Superdome since last Sunday. ... The National Guard blocked him as other guardsmen helped the well-dressed guests with their luggage.

Christian Compassion

“New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," -- some fundie nutjob

I'm sure Evelyn Turner, pictured above with the shroud-wrapped corpse of her husband Xavier, appreciates the improvement.


Friday, September 02, 2005

Friday Bunnyblogging

What the hell.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I May Be Buying A Television!

"Despite my colleagues' assurance that there appeared to be a safe distance between the prostitute and the horse, I remain uncomfortable," -- The closest thing the FCC has to a voice of reason, apparently.

So.. horsefucking. On network prime-time TV.

Yeah, that's pretty much what it would take to distract me! I love this sentence:

In the majority opinion, the [Federal Communications] commission decided the sequence was not intended to "pander, shock, or titillate."

The mind boggles, truly.

Reality Interdiction Field At Full Power!

"I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees" -- our President, this morning.

Despite continuous warnings that a catastrophic hurricane could hit New Orleans, the Bush administration and Congress in recent years have repeatedly cut funding for hurricane preparation and flood control. -- reality, trying its hardest to be heard. As is usually the case with this administration, the reality-based head of the Army Core of Engineers was dismissed in 2002.

Here is a complete timeline of the administration's latest failure. Meanwhile, instead of visiting the city or helping to restore structure and sanity to the region with his power as Commander in Chief, he's too busy talking about looters. People are starving, but some people always will value property over life.

What do you say, America? Wish you had a real President right now?

Halliburton Gets Illegal Contracts

And whistleblowers get the shaft!

The GAO determined that the administration had violated procurement law when it issued various task orders under already existing contracts and that out of eleven task orders examined, more than half were awarded outside the scope of their contracts.

As an example of the inept procurement process, the GAO report described how "a military review board approved a six-month renewal contract with Halliburton worth $587 million in just ten minutes and based on only six pages of documentation."