Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hickenlooper - Just Stupid?

This from the Rocky Mountain News this morning, reports that Denver's Mayor John Hickenlooper is "...sick and tired..." of the conflict and controversy that traditionally--since, at least, 1991-- surrounds Denver's Columbus Day parade. The Great Hick, in a letter to both the Italian folk and the protester folk, wonders why we all can't just get along; he urges both groups to seek alternative celebrations of their heritage.

What has occurred, however, is that the LEGALLY SANCTIONED parade through the streets of Denver has seen an attempt by the protester folk to deny the First Amendment rights of the Italians by blocking their path, hurling obscenities and other matters of substance at the marchers.

Okay. Fact: The Italian folk traditionally apply for a permit to have their little parade through the streets of downtown Denver on Columbus day. Their parade is legal. Their parade celebrates the First Amendment rights of all Americans.

Fact: Russell Means and Glenn Morris and Ward Churchill and other "ethnic" folk (although I do believe Ward Churchill is full of crap with his assertion that he is part Native American) traditionally attempt to deny the Italian folk's First Amendment right to express their pride in their heritage which, incidentally, isn't so much about Columbus as it is about their ancestor's trek from the Old Country to the fabulous promise of America.

I read recently in our neighborhood newspaper (I live in an old Denver neighborhood that was originally occupied by LEGAL Italian immigrants) that when the Italian kids would--amongst themselves as they played in the front yards of their modest homes--start conversing in Italian, a parent would inevitably burst through the front door of the house and admonish the children to speak English. "We're American, now," the parent would scold. "Speak English."

Well, Hickenlooper believes that the Italians are equally to blame for the conflict which surrounds the Columbus day parade imbroglio caused by the likes of Ward Churchill and Russell Means and Glenn Morris and other gosh, I really need to get my face on t.v., ethnic folk who traditionally attempt to subvert the right of the Italian folk to celebrate the holiday.

Vincent Carroll, an editorial writer for the News, provided this response to Hickenlooper's ridiculous assertions which reads, in part:

With the exception of a few lines, however, the letter promotes the grotesque fiction that the "volatile situations" of the past few years are equally the fault of the parade organizers and those who try to shut it down. In fact, those "volatile situations" are solely the fault of protesters who do not believe in free speech, do not respect the Constitution, and who elevate their political agenda above the rights of everyone else.

However much Hickenlooper deplores the parade, he should at least be able to acknowledge that much.

Congressman David Dreier - Closeted Gay Neocon Rises in the Ranks

This from AlterNet this morning is a good read on the ascension of closeted gay Congressman David Dreier within the leadership of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

Wonder how James Dobson of Focus on the Family views this curious game of musical chairs engendered by the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for campaign sleaze?

I, like many of my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, generally respect any person's decision to remain in the closet. But, quoting from the AlterNet piece:

Is it right to out a closeted gay politician? Doug Ireland follows the openly gay Democratic Congressman Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) rule: "Outing is only acceptable when a person uses their power or notoriety to hurt gay people."

And David Dreier's record fully qualifies him for public exposure. Ireland writes:

He opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have banned discrimination against gay people in hiring; voted for the gay-bashing Defense of Marriage Act; voted for banning adoption by gay and lesbian couples in the District of Columbia (3,000 miles away from Dreier's district); voted to allow federally funded charities to discriminate against gays in employment, even where local laws prohibit such bias; and voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The AlterNet piece also reports:

It is widely assumed that Dreier's partner is none other than his chief of staff, Brad Smith. Janice Nelson, Dreier's Democratic opponent in 1998 and 2000, was aware that Dreier and Smith were living together at the time, saying, "Brad was like an invisible presence. They really have the routine down slick." As Byrne of Raw Story discovered, Smith makes $156,000 a year -- only $400 less than Andrew Card, who runs George Bush's shop in the White House. It's also been reported that Dreier and Smith traveled to 25 countries together using taxpayer funds. Doug Ireland provided a corollary to this kind of arrangement: "New Jersey Democratic Governor Jim McGreevey was recently forced to resign when it was about to become public that he had put his boyfriend on the public payroll at a salary slightly less than the one which Dreier pays Smith."

No, just become someone shares my sexuality, it is not okeydokey for them to celebrate their hypocrisy, their sleaze, their Roy Cohn mentality, their demagoguery within the safe clutch of the Republican party.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dumbyer and Dumbyer

Dubya has asked us all to start conserving gas by driving less. This from the NY Times provides the details.

Um, let me see now... I do believe Dubya--after having learned the lessons of Katrina--is making his seventh trip to the Gulf...the in-charge President, the visible President, the goofball fratboy who demands bedtime stories from Karl Rove and a little shot of, oh, say Jim Beam before he nods off; yes, Dubya is heading down to the Gulf again in Air Force One which, I heard today, costs about $6,000 an hour to operate (all that fuel, personnel, etc.).

Let's conserve folks. Yeah. Right!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Coors Field - Just Before Dusk

This was Saturday. Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants. (WE WON!!!)

Sorry, my San Francisco Friends. WE WON!!!

Sweet Melisa Smiles

Sweet Melisa Smiles, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

For your Monday... A Sweet Melissa smile. Note the maple leaves on the grass. I think we're actually going to have a real fall this year.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Aspens changing

Aspens changing, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

David and I took his parents to Central City today to do a little gambling. On the way back, we stopped and took some shots of the Aspens turning color. In about a week, they'll be even more beautiful, giving us reds and oranges and yellows.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Phil Donahue vs. Bill O'Reilly

This via AlterNet is a must read. Watch the video.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Shame of Pork (As in Barrel)

Paul Campos, in the Rocky Mountain News this morning, provides a good read on the "business as usual" mentality of the U.S. Congress.

Paul provides, in part, that:

This is the story of two pieces of pork. The first is a sausage that Merlene Maten, a 73-year- old grandmother and church deaconess, is accused of stealing from a deli in a New Orleans suburb the day after Katrina struck.

The second piece of pork is in the process of being looted from the U.S. treasury. It's a $231 million slice of taxpayer money, which is going to be used to build Ketchikan, Alaska's infamous Bridge to Nowhere - a structure that will be nearly as long as the Golden Gate Bridge, and several hundred times less busy.

Ketchikan is a small town (pop. 8,000), with a tiny airport that handles seven commercial flights per day. The airport is on an island that's now reached by a seven-minute ferry ride. Ketchikan is also in the district of U.S. Rep. Don Young, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, which this summer spit out a $285 billion highway bill, packed with more than 6,000 "earmarked projects," some of which are just as outrageous as building a $300 million suspension bridge that will be used by a couple of hundred people daily (if users of the bridge were charged fees that covered its cost, they would have to pay more than $100 per trip. The ferry ride costs $6).

Monday, September 19, 2005

Monsignor Clark - Hetero Highjinks From A Prince of the Catholic Church!

William F. Buckley, Jr., whose writing skills and power of logic I respect immenseley, provides this from his National Review magazine on the indiscretion of Monsignor Eugene Clark, lately prelate of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan.

National Debt

I've added the "U.S. National Debt Clock," site to my links sections.

Does it bother you that the US is now a debtor nation, owing roughly $7.9Trillion dollars to the People's Republic of China, South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia?

It bothers me. It bothers me a whole lot.

And, dare I ask, where is Dubya going to get the $200Million to rebuild New Orleans?

Um, I believe that $200Million will put us over the $8Trillion mark.

Democrats, where are you? Do you realize Dubya's spending has not been equaled even by Lyndon Baines Johnson who gave us Guns and Butter--neither of which succeeded?

Is Dubya Evil? From Bill Maher

Via Crooks and Liars, the video of Bill Maher's last HBO program is probably one of his best. If you've got the time, you should really, really take a look at the "New Rules," by Bill Maher video.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Our Canadian Friend

Our Canadian Friend, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

This guy became just a little perturbed when I got too close to him.

Such a Noble Nose!

Such a Noble Nose!, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

This handsome guy was in the Berkeley Park Off-Leash Dog enclosure this morning.

This Morning on the Lake

This Morning on the Lake, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

David and I hiked about six miles through our neighborhood this morning, hitting both Rocky Mountain Park (Lake) and Berkeley Park (Lake). This is a shot of Berkeley Lake.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Presidential I.Q.

Mr. President: "What are your feelings about Roe vs. Wade?"

The President: "Well, I really don't care how people get out of New Orleans!"

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Couple "Gay" Things

One of my recent posts ended with the question: "Do ya'll remember Senator Joseph McCarthy?" The question was in the context of a post about Pat Robertson, the essence of which was:

He said employees at the Christian Broadcasting Network had put together a list of 283 nominees, presenters, and invited guests at the Emmys known to be of sexually deviant persuasions.

If you don't remember Joseph McCarthy and what came to beknown as McCarthyism, please take a look.

This story from the New York Times reminded me, once again, of that very dark and dangerous period of American history when the drunken, disturbed Senator from Wisconsin destroyed so many good and decent lives. The Times story reads, in part:

Investigators appointed by the Vatican have been instructed to review each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for "evidence of homosexuality" and for faculty members who dissent from church teaching, according to a document prepared to guide the process.

Experts in human sexuality have cautioned that homosexuality and attraction to children are different, and that a disproportionate percentage of boys may have been abused because priests were more likely to have access to male targets - like altar boys or junior seminarians - than to girls.

But some church officials in the United States and in Rome, including some bishops and many conservatives, attributed the abuse to gay priests and called for an overhaul of the seminaries. Expectation for such a move rose this year with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, who has spoken of the need to "purify" the church.

Two points: Pedophiles are sick human beings who steal the innocence of the young. It doesn't matter if they're priests or t-ball coaches. To suggest that all gay men are pedophiles is as absurd as suggesting that all straight men are pedophiles.

If the Catholic Church wishes to purify itself, a McCarthyistic witch hunt , in my humble opinion, ain't the way to do it.

Another question: Ya'll ever hear of the Inquisition?

Massachusetts uber alles!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Couple Things - John Roberts -Dubya

From the Advocate comes the full text of Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts', response to the fact that he provided pro bono assistance in Romer vs. Evans, a Colorado case that ended up in the Supreme Court.

Romer vs. Evans involved a statewide referendum that was passed by the electorate in 1992, with the result that several anti-discrimination ordinances which included sexual orientation in their verbiage were, via the referendum, ordered to be modified. Several Colorado cities-- including Boulder, Aspen and Denver-- had established these ordinances and the referendum, Amendment 2, wiped out the verbiage in these ordinances relating to sexual orientation.

Amendment 2 read: "No Protected Status Based on Homosexual, Lesbian or Bisexual Orientation. Neither the State of Colorado, through any of its branches or departments, nor any of its agencies, political subdivisions, municipalities or school districts, shall enact, adopt or enforce any statute, regulation, ordinance or policy whereby homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships shall constitute or otherwise be the basis of or entitle any person or class of persons to have or claim any minority status, quota preferences, protected status or claim of discrimination. This Section of the Constitution shall be in all respects self-executing."

Amendment 2 was overturned in the Denver District Court and the Colorado Supreme Court. It was taken up by the US Supreme Court with the conclusion of the majority, written by Justice Kennedy: We must conclude that Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else. This Colorado cannot do. A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws. Amendment 2 violates the Equal Protection Clause, and the judgment of the Supreme Court of Colorado is affirmed.

The dissent from the Supreme court was led by Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas. The dissent begins: "The Court had mistaken a Kulturkampf for a fit of spite." Lawd give me strength. (Kulturkampf)

You can make your own judgment about John Roberts' really non-committal response to Senator Arlen Specter's question with regard to Roberts' pro bono work on behalf of the queers in the Romer vs. Evans case. For me--even though I believe Roberts to be a superb Supreme Court scholar and very, very smart judge--he scares the bejesus out of me. I mean, look who he, as Chief, would be working with on the Court. Scalia and Thomas aren't going anywhere. And, besides that, Roberts is only fifty. His influence could be exerted on our lives for the next thirty or more years.

AlterNet this morning provides a good read by Robert Scheer entitled, "Finally Fooling Most of the People None of the Time." Just a couple paragraphs:

Unfortunately, what the Bush White House is good at when it comes to national security is providing flash over substance, as Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana found out the hard way. After riding in a helicopter with the president and seeing machinery apparently working on the breached 17th Street levee, she was shocked the next day to find the work mysteriously stopped. "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," said the senator in a press release.

For far too long, this kind of shenanigan worked well for Bush, allowing him to narrowly win a second term. His administration was asleep at the switch on 9/11 even though "the system was blinking red," according to the then-CIA chief. Bush grabbed a bullhorn at ground zero and remade himself as a "war president" -- and suffered no real political damage from the failure to either capture Osama bin Laden or find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Scheer is right on. But, then, a whole lot of us have known Dubya's game for years. Funny how a war that has no end and a hurricane named Katrina can--as the polls are showing--open a whole lot of folk's eyes to the incompetency extant in the White House.

But, what the hell, the damage is done. The Rocky Mountain News printed an article this morning warning pretty much of the inevitability of a recession...SOON. Hundreds of billions of dollars (which the government DOES NOT HAVE) are, once again, enriching the rich in the rebuilding of the Gulf. One of Haliburton's subsidiaries was the first to pop up down there, foaming at the mouth and ready and willing to loot to an extent no poor, desperate, hungry black folk in the Big Easy ever imagined.

"...and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right..."

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, I Am Waiting

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Sweet Melissa

Sweet Melissa, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

Since Sweet Melissa just had her 12th birthday, I thought I'd post this "baby" picture that never ceases to crack me up. She's asking, "What the hell do you expect me to do with this?" She never really did get into playing with stuffed toys.

Oh My... Pat Robertson At It Again. Alzheimer's or Just Another Good Christian Act?

I'm sure this is old news by now, but Pat Robertson has blamed the destruction of Katrina on the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for choosing Ellen Degeneres to host the Emmys.

Dateline Hollywood provides this story that reads, in part:

In order to avoid further tragedy, Robertson called not only for the Television Academy to find a new heterosexual host, but to bar all homosexuals and bisexuals from taking part in the ceremony.

He said employees at the Christian Broadcasting Network had put together a list of 283 nominees, presenters, and invited guests at the Emmys known to be of sexually deviant persuasions.
“God already allows one awards show to promote the homosexual agenda,” Robertson declared. “But clearly He will not tolerate such sinful behavior to spread beyond the Tonys.”

Hmmmm... Do ya'll remember Senator Joseph McCarthy?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sweet Melissa - Birthday Girl

Sweet Melissa turned twelve this past Friday. She was a little disturbed (as you can tell from this photo) that I took her to have her teeth cleaned the day before.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Fair and Balanced - Brownie's Resume from Time Magazine - Neocon Read on the Blame Game

Let me be a little fair and balanced on this one.

First, take a look at Time Magazine's investigation into FEMA Director Michael "Brownie" Brown's resume, which reads, in part:

Brown's FindLaw profile lists a wide range of areas of legal practice, from estate planning to family law to sports. However, one former colleague does not remember Brown's work as sterling. Stephen Jones, a prominent Oklahoma lawyer who was lead defense attorney on the Timothy McVeigh case, was Brown's boss for two-and-a-half years in the early '80s. "He did mainly transactional work, not litigation," says Jones. "There was a feeling that he was not serious and somewhat shallow." Jones says when his law firm split, Brown was one of two staffers who was let go.

Okay. Now, something from the other side.

My friend Charley (GOPer, conservative extraordinaire) directed me to this interesting site where we can all play the Katrina blame game. Take a look!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Dubya's Buttboy, Scott McClellan, Provides the Katrina Spin

If you've got the time, you really ought to watch the video or read the transcript of the press conference provided by Scott McClellan with regard to Katrina. Part of the press conference included this exchange:

Q Well, let's talk about it. Are you saying the President is -- are you saying that the President is confident that his administration is prepared to adequately, confidently secure the American people in the event of a terrorist attack of a level that we have not seen? And based on what does he have that confidence?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, and that's what he made clear earlier today, that obviously we want to look and learn lessons from a major catastrophe of this nature.

Q Yes, but you're telling us today there will be time for that somewhere down the road. Well, what if it happens tomorrow?

MR. McCLELLAN: We can engage in this blame-gaming going on and I think that's what you're getting --

Q No, no. That's a talking point, Scott, and I think most people who are watching this --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's a fact. I mean, some are wanting to engage in that, and we're going to remain focused --

Q I'm asking a direct question. Is he confident --

MR. McCLELLAN: We're going to remain focused on the people.

Q -- that he can secure the American people in the event of a major terrorist attack?

MR. McCLELLAN: We are securing the American people by staying on the offensive abroad and working to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East.

Well, I for one, have become weary watching Dubya and his minions spin like whirling Dervishes the notion that we--the American people--are protected from terrorists attacks because Dubya is "...working to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East." This incompetent, corrupt, elitist administration can't even prepare adequately for a hurricane, much less address another 9/11 threat. I mean, for God's sake, the Director of FEMA's credentials for the job he currently holds go pretty much no further than that he's a drinking buddy of Dubya's (when he was governor of Texas) Chief of Staff and that he ran an Arabian Horse organization here in Colorado and, in fact, was asked to leave that position because he was incompetent and--some reports indicate--was strong-arming members of the organization for money.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Maybe My Last Post on Katrina (I doubt it, though...)

Anyone who has taken a taxi from the Louis Armstrong Airport to the French Quarter (Vieux Carre - Old Quarter) in New Orleans, has seen the immense and somewhat startling stark raving presence of abject poverty that surrounds the happy, unending party that is the essence of the French Quarter ... not to mention the quiet gentility of the Garden District.

I love New Orleans. Or, to be more precise, I love the French Quarter and the Garden District. I've never been outside those zones of exuberant debauchery and gorgeous fortune. And--it's probably important to note--I've never gone to New Orleans to experience Mardi Gras or Southern Decadence. No, I've experienced New Orleans in the off-season; the season when the pretensions of excess are not necessary.

Now, through all the rhetoric and editorials and comments and verbiage devoted to the Katrina horror, I found one comment particularly instructive, particularly to-the-point. Unfortunately, I can't recall and cannot find who made the comment but, to paraphrase, it suggested that in any crisis, a true democracy's first responsibility is to protect those who are least able to protect themselves. Yes, yes, yes. The poor, the sick, the elderly: these are the folks that a true democracy, during a time of crisis, must envelop within the clutch of the most potent resources of that democracy. Katrina. Dubya's shame--probably more shameful than the absurd adventure in Iraq--will be Katrina.

Another editorialist--once again, I don't remember who (God, I've read so much over that past week) suggested that one of the fundamental precepts of the GOP is that the federal government must NOT be considered the inevitable resource of last resort; the individual and state governments must be considered the first line of defense in all matters which affect our daily lives, our existence, our well-being on this earth, within the world's greatest democracy. The editorialist went on to suggest that this is where Dubya failed the people of New Orleans. The fundamental precepts of the neocon GOP failed the people of New Orleans precisely because they believe in a world where the responsibility for preserving and protecting the well-being of a country's citizens rests primarily with state and local authorities. Even given a force five (later downgraded to a force four, but what the fuck does that matter!) hurricane, the state and local authorities carry the ball.

Now, given that we've devoted hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuilding the hell that is Iraq and, indeed, that almost two-thousand good and decent young men and women have given their lives to Dubya's senseless adventure in Iraq, why, I wonder, is Dubya relying on private donations to significantly supplement the rescue and rehab efforts in New Orleans? Why has Dubya called out Clinton and George I to solicit private funding to address the Katrina disaster IN OUR OWN COUNTRY, when hundreds of billions of American taxpayer dollars are being spent to "rebuild" Iraq? Why? I don't get it. Can someone explain this to me?

You know, Katrina is a hard one for Dubya. There are no WMD's involved. It wasn't Osama or Sadam who sent Katrina our way. There's no worthless piece of shit country (albeit chock full of oil) that Dubya can attack in response to the devastation of Katrina. Dubya can't strut his strut and with good (and skewed) conscience say again, "Bring 'em on!" Yeah, Katrina is a tough one for Dubya.

I suppose it is coincidental that my first published novel became available on or about the same day the Canal Street levee broke in New Orleans and the Ponchetrain rushed into the city with such horrible destructive force. Much of the novel takes place in the French Quarter of New Orleans and Baton Rouge where magic and voodoo and the secrets of the underworld or the otherworld reveal themselves as a Circle of Magic. I suppose it is coincidental that, in spite of Dubya's sound bites and the embracing of black folk (did Karl Rove suggest this quaint tactic? "Hug 'em George, hug 'em!), the special magic, the special mysteries, the exuberant mystic energy of New Orleans will survive the horror of Katrina; will survive the fumbling of Dubya's government and will rise again, with a new and more compassionate understanding and aggressive interjection into erasing or, at least, addressing the shame of poverty and neglect that Katrina exposed.

How sad it is that it took a force four hurricane to wake-up Dubya and his minions to the fact that, no sir, we ain't all that equal yet, Massah. (It was Dubya's mommy, Barbara Bush who said with regard to the folks gathered in the Superdome: "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (she chuckled)--this is working very well for them."

Lordy, lordy. Are you looking at next year's congressional and gubanatorial races folks? I really, really hope so.

Last Rose of Summer

Last Rose of Summer, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

Just taking a moment away from the Katrina disaster to simply smell the roses ... the last of the summer.

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Dubya's Response to Katrina

From the blog, "Crooks and Liars," comes MSNBC's Keith Olbermann's video comments on the Fed's response to Katrina.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Fox News - Shepard Smith and Geraldo Reporting from New Orleans

This video of Shep Smith and Geraldo in New Orleans is as dramatic as it gets. I don't understand why Fox let this air. I mean, the report from Shep and Geraldo is, indeed, "fair and balanced." I haven't seen "fair and balanced" on Fox in, well, what? nine, ten years.

If the above link takes you to "Crooks and Liars" (which is where this video originated) blog you will have to drill down until you get to this particular video.

Friday, September 02, 2005

And Dubya Played a Round of Golf

This from the New York Times:

Col. Terry Ebbert, director of homeland security for New Orleans, concurred and he was particularly pungent in his criticism. Asserting that the whole recovery operation had been "carried on the backs of the little guys for four goddamn days," he said "the rest of the goddamn nation can't get us any resources for security."

"We are like little birds with our mouths open and you don't have to be very smart to know where to drop the worm," Colonel Ebbert said. "It's criminal within the confines of the United States that within one hour of the hurricane they weren't force-feeding us. It's like FEMA has never been to a hurricane." FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

A Blogger in New Orleans - "Lord of the Flies"

AlterNet provides this from Michael Barnett's (who is posting from New Orleans) blog, the Interdictor which reads, in part:

They broke into Winn Dixie Monday night. Do they steal food? No. Cigarettes and liquor. Store was a mess. All the meats were going to waste so the districts went over there to salvage food for officers. Many cops have been eating MREs.

The Iberville Housing Projects got pissed off because the police started to "shop" after they kicked out looters. Then they started shooting at cops. When the cops left, the looters looted everything. There's probably not a grocery left in this city.

Over 30 officers have quit over the last three days. Out of 160 officers in his district maybe 55 or 60 are working. He hasn't seen several since Sunday. HQ is closed, evacuated. No phones to contact them.

In case anyone in national security is reading this, get the word to President Bush that we need the military in here NOW. The Active Duty Armed Forces. Mr. President, we are losing this city. I don't care what you're hearing on the news. The city is being lost. It is the law of the jungle down here. The command and control structure here is barely functioning. I'm not sure it's anyone's fault -- I'm not sure it could be any other way at this point. We need the kind of logistical support and infrastructure only the Active Duty military can provide. The hospitals are in dire straights. The police barely have any capabilities at this point. The National Guard is doing their best, but the situation is not being contained. I'm here to help in anyway I can, but my capabilities are limited and dropping. Please get the military here to maintain order before this city is lost.

Can you imagine the horror of this?

Can you definitely say that you would not kill or find yourself in a position to be killed if push came to shove in a situation like this in say, oh, Des Moines or Salt Lake City or Denver? I can't. I'd protect my loved ones and my property. That I know. And, I'd do my best to feed and clothe them. That I know, also.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Rude Pundit Always Seems to Do it Best

Oh PLEASE! Dubya's Desperate Grasp for Legitimacy (Give us a fucking break! We are not idiots!)

Be Prepared

This from Knight Rider reads, in part:

Federal flood control spending for southeastern Louisiana has been chopped from $69 million in 2001 to $36.5 million in 2005, according to budget documents. Federal hurricane protection for the Lake Pontchartrain vicinity in the Army Corps of Engineers' budget dropped from $14.25 million in 2002 to $5.7 million this year. Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu requested $27 million this year.

Both the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper and a local business magazine reported that the effects of the budget cuts at the Army Corps of Engineers were severe.

In 2004, the Corps essentially stopped major work on the now-breached levee system that had protected New Orleans from flooding. It was the first such stoppage in 37 years, the Times-Picayune reported.

"It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay," Jefferson Parish emergency management chief Walter Maestri told the newspaper. "Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

The Army Corps' New Orleans office, facing a $71 million cut, also eliminated funds to pay for a study on how to protect the Crescent City from a Category 5 storm, New Orleans City Business reported in June.

Being prepared for a disaster is basic emergency management, disaster experts say.

For example, in the 1990s, in planning for a New Orleans nightmare scenario, the federal government figured it would pre-deploy nearby ships with pumps to remove water from the below-sea-level city and have hospital ships nearby, said James Lee Witt, who was FEMA director under President Clinton.

Federal officials said a hospital ship would leave from Baltimore on Friday.

"These things need to be planned and prepared for; it just doesn't look like it was," said Witt, a former Arkansas disaster chief who won bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill during his tenure.

So, just wondering here, what in hell has Dubya provided to us all with the immense concentration and federal spending on Homeland Security? Sure, airports are taking aside eighty-year-old grandmas and making them take their shoes off and confiscating nail clippers and bic lighters and all that crap which, I'm so terribly sure, is protecting us all from Al Quida's evil designs. But, isn't part of the Homeland Security mission to protect/serve the American people prior to and following a natural disaster? But, since FEMA (Federal Emergency management Agency) was brought into the Homeland Security bureaucracy, it appears the only potential threats that these myopic bureaucrats are able to focus on are Dubya's "evildoers." Category 5 (later reclassified a Category 4, but, please, what's the fucking difference) hurricanes are not a threat to our homeland security?

Why weren't the remaining (so many have been deployed to Iraq) National Guard and Reserve units of our armed forces standing-by in safe haven--Houston for example--PRIOR TO Katrina's landfall? Why weren't food, water, clothing, exit strategies, boats, planes, helicopters, anti-looting troops gathered, or at least beginning to be gathered, prior to Katrina's hit on the Gulf Coast?

Why was Duba playing golf in San Diego and speechifying in Houston while Katrina was shaping up to be pretty much the most potent evildoer of the first decade of the 21st century?

Yup, just wondering about a lot of things these days.