September 30, 2005
In Case You Missed It
Bill Bennett, the self-proclaimed authority on virtues, morals and doubling down, shares his thoughts on reducing crime:
(If) "you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."Don't believe someone could actually say that? On nationally syndicated radio, no less? You can listen to it here.
From The Huffington Post:
Donald Rumsfeld began yesterday's daily briefing for the president by stating:
"Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq."
"That's disastrous," the President reportedly exclaimed, "That does it: we have to withdraw!"
His stunned staff reportedly watched the president slump with his head in his hands, until he finally looked up, his face ashen, and asked:
"How many is a Brazillion?"
Arnold Schwarzenegger terminates gay marriage billEven though English is his second language, Arnold's really getting a handle on Newspeak, don't you think?California's embattled movie star governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, formally vetoed a landmark law that would have legalized gay marriage in the Golden state.
The action hero, known for his support of gay rights, scuppered the bill which was approved by California's legislature early this month. The issue should be decided by voters or the courts, not by new legislation, he said.
"This bill simply adds confusion to a constitutional issue," Schwarzenegger said in a statement explaining why he returned the bill without his signature.
"If the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, this bill is not necessary. If the ban is constitutional, this bill is ineffective," he said.
September 29, 2005
Hello, I Must Be Going
The next step in the criminal proceedings against Republican leaderBut one could dream...
Tom DeLay is a trip to Austin to be fingerprinted and photographed.
DeLay was indicted Wednesday on one count of criminal conspiracy for his alleged role in a campaign finance scheme that helped give Republicans power in the Texas House and in Congress.
DeLay's attorneys were working out the details of when the 11-term congressman would return to Texas in hopes of saving him from further embarrassment, they said.
"What we're trying to avoid is Ronnie Earle having him taken down in handcuffs, and fingerprinted and photographed. That's uncalled for and I don't think that's going to happen," said Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's attorney.
September 28, 2005
Oh Man, This Stuff Is Genius
Join the party party, hosted by RX, here. All of RX's remixes are great but "Dick is a Killer" nearly made me spew (in a good way).
Definitely not work safe. Thanks to onegoodmove for turning me on to this.
Please (Insert Deity of Your Choice), Can We Make It Three for Three?
"Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff bragged two years ago that he was in contact with White House political aide Karl Rove on behalf of a large, Bermuda-based corporation that wanted to avoid incurring some taxes and continue receiving federal contracts, according to a written statement by President Bush's nominee to be deputy attorney general."
(Image stolen from Rising Hegemon)
Two for Two?
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist faces a near-term ordeal unwelcome to anyone, particularly an ambitious politician: an official probe into his personal financial dealings by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission...
The Department of Justice is also investigating the matter. HCA said Sept. 23 that it received a subpoena from the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, and Frist said he will cooperate with the prosecutor's office. HCA also said it ``intends to cooperate fully.''
"House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been indicted on one count of criminal conspiracy...
House GOP rules require any member of the elected leadership to step down temporarily if indicted, and it would be up to the rank and file to select an interim replacement."
I'm as happy as a lit-tle girl...
Wal-Mart: The Movie
Go here to watch some clips...
Overheard At Our Dinner Table Last Night
...while waiting more than 20 minutes for our bottle of wine to arrive:
"It's a good thing we're alcoholics and not raging alcoholics."I'm not naming any names.
September 27, 2005
"Because Nobody Knows How Much I Fucked Up Better Than I Do"
Former FEMA director Michael Brown is continuing to work at the Federal Emergency Management Agency at full pay, with his Sept. 12 resignation not taking effect for two more weeks, said Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke.
CBS News Correspondent Gloria Borger reports that Knocke told her that technically Brown remains at FEMA as a "contractor" and he is "transitioning out of his job." The reason he will remain at FEMA about a month after his resignation, said the spokesman, is that the agency wants to get the "proper download of his experience."
During that time, Brown will advise the department on "some of his views on his experience with Katrina," as he transitions out of his job, Knocke told the Associated Press.
September 26, 2005
If you're ever feeling blue, go here and turn that frown upside down. It's Krup-Guaranteed!
What A Difference A Brain Makes*
100,000+ protest the war on Saturday...
and only 400 show up for the pro-war rally on Sunday
*(Oh, did I say brain? I meant to say day. My bad.)
Anybody else catch this line from last night's Simpsons?
When Maggie comes down with the chicken pox, Homer actually takes some advice from Flanders and holds a "pox party" so his friends could have their kids infected. After one too many Marge-aritas, Kirk and Luanne van Houten decide to get back together. However, Milhouse realizes they're too interested in each other and not interested in him, so he tries to break them up by planting a bra in his parents' bedroom. One problem: Luanne discovers it's Marge's bra, which leads to Homer and Marge breaking up yet again.It was, of course, Bart's idea to plant the bra which led to this bizarre exchange:
Lisa to Homer & Marge: "What exactly happened between the two of you?"Bizarre because it takes 6-8 months to produce an episode of The Simpsons. I guess the writers are psychic.
Bart: "Lisa, we don't need to know how. It's a natural thing that happens, like a hurricane or going to war."
(Lisa glowers at Bart)
And, perhaps my wife and I are hearing things because I believe we are the only two humans who heard the F-word on Fox's Prison Break two weeks ago. It was uttered by Lincoln Burrows' son, LJ, who answered a question about his step-dad by saying something like this: "If you're talking about the guy who's f*#king my mom..." Ah, the bizarre, contradictory world of Rupert Murdoch.
September 24, 2005
"Ghettos of Despair"
Nearly four weeks after Hurricane Katrina displaced more Americans from their homes than any event in at least 60 years, efforts to find housing for 200,000 families along the devastated Gulf Coast are bogging down, according to federal, state and private sector officials.Good job, Brownie...
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials complain of a drastic shortage of sites suitable to state and local officials for the huge trailer parks FEMA hopes to establish for evacuees.
Local and parish leaders say FEMA's plans to supply the trailer parks with water, sewer, electricity and other services are haphazard or nonexistent, and the encampments, some of which could include 15,000 units, are bigger than any the agency has ever established...
"We seem to be in this new state of chaos," said Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "Nobody's on message because everybody's got their own message"...
Federal officials told Congress on Sept. 8 that as many as 1 million people were displaced by the storm and 450,000 families were homeless, numbers that echo assumptions in a FEMA hurricane planning exercise last year.
In reality the numbers are far more murky. FEMA now estimates that about 300,000 families are displaced and expects 200,000 will be unable to find temporary housing on their own, said Jim McIntyre, FEMA's chief housing spokesman.
Those left behind are among the least self-sufficient. Surveys of evacuees in Houston show that roughly two-thirds do not have bank accounts, credit cards or insurance, most had family incomes of less than $20,000 and half have children under 18.
To house them, FEMA has ordered 125,000 trailers that it planned to deploy as close as possible to affected cities, following a playbook the agency relied on after four Florida hurricanes and its New Orleans exercise last year...
As of Tuesday, FEMA had 1,825 trailers in the region.
But in Baton Rouge and Washington, some state and federal officials say FEMA's reliance on trailers is increasingly unpopular at all levels of government and both political parties.
Some are alarmed at reports that FEMA trailer cities in Florida have regressed into "ghettos of despair," in Newt Gingrich's words, with high rates of poverty, crime and social strain.
September 23, 2005
"Mr. President, How Many More Soldiers Have To Die For Your Mistake?"
"We as families of soldiers who have died as a result of war are organizing to be a positive force in our world to bring our country’s sons and daughters home from Iraq, to minimize the “human cost” of this war, and to prevent other families from the pain we are feeling as the result of our losses."
Go here to watch the Gold Star Families for Peace commercial.
(U.S. casaulties as of 9.23.05: 1,914)
Here's Something Guaranteed To Give Even Gay Men Nightmares:
I apologize in advance. But, if you must, go here to watch the commercial for Alan Cumming's new fragrance, um, Cumming...Unless you are at work...Then you definitely will get in trouble...Unless you work in the narrow field of "Gay Comedy Porn." Personally, I just hope the dog wasn't harmed in any way.
Never Get Drunk And Call An Ex-Girlfriend
Is George's recent binge drinking causing him to pine for this woman?
THE PRESIDENT: Bianca. Nobody named Bianca? Well, sorry Bianca's not here. I'll be glad to answer her question.Or is this the mysterious woman Georgie was looking for, fetish model Bianca Beauchamp:
Q I'll follow up.
THE PRESIDENT: No, that's fine. (Laughter.) Thank you though, appreciate it. Just trying to spread around the joy of asking a question.
Q Mr. President, could we talk more about --
THE PRESIDENT: Are you Bianca?
Q No, I'm not. Anita -- Fox News.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay.
Q Just a quick question --
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. I was looking for Bianca. I'm sorry.
Looks Like Someone Just Saw His Latest Poll Numbers
According to the American Research Group:
"This was not in the plan." "Well, duh."
Thousands of furious evacuees sweltering for hours on traffic-choked freewaysSome helpful facts:
Thursday put a stain on what had been a generally successful response by state and local governments faced with back-to-back weather emergencies in Texas.
"This was not in the plan," County Judge Robert Eckels said, turning away from the lectern after a news briefing dominated by questions about the gridlock that resulted from the evacuation ahead of Hurricane Rita...
"The number of people, the amount of cars, the amount of compliance with this (evacuation order), there's some things you can predict and some things you can't, that are unpredictable," (state emergency operations center coordinator Jack) Colley said. "We are compensating. They may run out of gas, but we're going to get them gas."
"It has been completely predictable. You try to shove all that traffic onto a freeway system, and it ain't going to work. There's only so much roadway," said Bill King, a lawyer and former Kemah mayor who's long said the region wasn't adequately prepared for a large-scale evacuation.
"All this about the running out of gas? Well, duh," King said.
- Houston is the largest city within the state of Texas, fourth in the United States, and the second-largest economic area of the Gulf Coast region.
- Population (entire metro area): 5,180,443
September 22, 2005
Yep, He's Drinking Again
BUSH'S BOOZE CRISISBe careful Laura...Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal.
Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe.
Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.
His worried wife yelled at him: "Stop, George."
Following the shocking incident, disclosed here for the first time, Laura privately warned her husband against "falling off the wagon" and vowed to travel with him more often so that she can keep an eye on Dubya, the sources add.
THE TRANSISTOR WIDOW (No. 010)
Untitled, Will McRobb (2005)
September 21, 2005
Operators Are Standing By
So I just got around to watching the Presidential Recovery Speech, live from Jackson Square, New Orleans! Wow, what a powerhouse our prez is!!! I was so impressed, I compiled a few highlights for you, my blogging public. Click the pic to watch.
September 20, 2005
Sen. Reid Says He'll Vote Against RobertsHillary? Joe? Anyone else want to show some spine?Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he would oppose confirmation of Chief Justice-nominee John Roberts, questioning Roberts' commitment to civil rights and accusing the Bush administration of stonewalling requests for documents that might shed light on his views.
At the same time, Reid readily predicted Roberts will win Senate confirmation, coupling the forecast with a warning of sorts to President Bush as he considers candidates for a second vacancy on the Supreme Court. "No one should think that just automatically they're all going to be easy like this one," he said...
"This is a very close question for me. But I must resolve my doubts in favor of the American people whose rights would be in jeopardy if John Roberts turned out to be the wrong person for the job," he said.
Referring to publicly released memos that date to Robert's tenure as a Reagan administration lawyer, Reid said they showed the young attorney "played a significant role in shaping and advancing the Republican agenda to roll back civil rights protections."
"No one suggests that John Roberts was motivated by bigotry or animosity toward minorities or women," Reid added. "But these memos lead one to question whether he truly appreciated the history of the civil rights struggle. He wrote about discrimination as an abstract concept, not as a flesh and blood reality for countless of his fellow citizens."
Reid also said Roberts followed a "disingenuous strategy" at the confirmation hearings of suggesting that the views in the memos were not his own.
Democrats have tried without success to persuade the administration to release documents from Roberts' tenure as principal deputy solicitor general, a senior Justice Department job he held in the administration of the first President Bush.
"The failure of the White House to produce relevant documents is reason enough for any senator to oppose this nomination. The administration cannot treat the Senate with such disrespect without some consequences," Reid said.
U.S. casualties. How long must we sing this song?
Artists erect giant pink bunny on mountain
An enormous pink bunny has been erected on an Italian mountainside where it will stay for the next 20 years.And speaking of erect pink bunnies...
The 200-foot-long toy rabbit lies on the side of the 5,000 foot high Colletto Fava mountain in northern Italy's Piedmont region.
Viennese art group Gelatin designed the giant soft toy and say it was "knitted by dozens of grannies out of pink wool".
Group member Wolfgang Gantner said: "It's supposed to make you feel small, like Gulliver. You walk around it and you can't help but smile."
And Gelatin members say the bunny is not just for walking around - they are expecting hikers to climb its 20 foot sides and relax on its belly.
The giant rabbit is expected to remain on the mountain side until 2025.
George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People: The Music Video
Click the pic to watch.
Video courtesy of The Black Lantern
Toast, Hershey & Wahoo would like to congratulate Satchmo & Beckham, and of course their humans, TBogg & Mrs. TBogg, on the third anniversary of all things snark. Give them a visit. You'll be glad you did.
"Lord have mercy, what you gonna do about the people that are prayin' to you?"
Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint do their bit to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Click the pic to watch.
September 19, 2005
Waiters Who Are Nauseated By Food
Join Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell before they were Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell.
Click here to watch this skit from the very short-lived Dana Carvey Show (and, yes, I know this clip has been floating around for awhile but not everyone is as cool as "you").
There's Looting, There's Finding and Then There's LOOTING
I'm sure most of you have heard about this:
I fail to see the crime in either picture, only the crime of the photo caption editor for the AP. However, if you're looking for a real crime, you only need to turn your attention to Iraq (you remember Iraq, don't you?):
One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.And the man in charge when this looting took place?
The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad in cash and has disappeared.
"It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history," Ali Allawi, Iraq's Finance Minister, told The Independent.
"Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal."
None other than the U.S.' own hand-picked interim prime minister Iyad Allawi. Okay, will somebody please tell me one thing we did right in Iraq (and don't say it was worth spending $200 billion and counting to get rid of Sadaam Hussein. He was a problem but he was not our problem).
September 17, 2005
As Usual, Frank Rich Nails It:
Once Toto parts the curtain, the Wizard of Oz can never be the wizard again. He is forever Professor Marvel, blowhard and snake-oil salesman. Hurricane Katrina, which is likely to endure in the American psyche as long as L. Frank Baum's mythic tornado, has similarly unmasked George W. Bush.You can read the rest here.
The worst storm in our history proved perfect for exposing this president because in one big blast it illuminated all his failings: the rampant cronyism, the empty sloganeering of "compassionate conservatism," the lack of concern for the "underprivileged" his mother condescended to at the Astrodome, the reckless lack of planning for all government operations except tax cuts, the use of spin and photo-ops to camouflage failure and to substitute for action.
It's Worse Than We Thought
In the months before Hurricane Katrina, President George W. Bush sought to cut a key program to help local governments raise their preparedness, and state officials warned of a "total lack of focus" on natural disasters by his homeland-security chief, documents show.
The disclosures add to questions over the administration's emergency-response planning, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's priorities and the way the White House budgets for disaster preparedness after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Organizations representing emergency-response and security officials at state and local agencies had complained of funding shortages and what they saw as an excessive shift by the Homeland Security Department away from preparing for natural disasters, as it focused increasingly on terrorism.
In July, the National Emergency Management Association wrote lawmakers expressing "grave" concern that still-pending changes proposed by Chertoff would undercut the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"Our primary concern relates to the total lack of focus on natural-hazards preparedness," David Liebersbach, the association's president, said in the July 27 letter to Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Joseph Lieberman, a Democrat, the leaders of a key Senate committee overseeing the agency.
He said Chertoff's emphasis on terrorism "indicates that FEMA's long-standing mission of preparedness for all types of disasters has been forgotten at DHS."
FEMA, formerly a cabinet-level agency, was folded into the new Homeland Security Department as part of a major government reorganization after the September 11 attacks. The agency has borne the brunt of criticism over the delays and problems in responding to Katrina, and its head, Michael Brown, resigned after being removed from the recovery effort.
(Courtesy of artist Alex Gregory and The New Yorker)
September 16, 2005
I Can't, I Don't...or I Won't?
Check out this brilliant video compilation from this week's Supreme Court Hearings, The Silence Of John Roberts courtesy of The America Show.
$49.95 for this?
On Monday, Sept. 19, NYTimes.com will launch a new subscription service, TimesSelect, an important step in the development of The New York Times.That's right! For fifty bucks a year, you can continue to read classic stuff like this:
If a man-bites-dog story is news and dog-bites-man isn't, why are journalists still so interested in man-blows-up-self stories?Or you can search for the stuff on Google the next day and probably find it for free (you still might have to pay for your shower).
I realize that we have a duty to report suicide bombings in the Middle East, especially when there's a spate as bad as in recent weeks. And I know the old rule of television news: if it bleeds, it leads. But I'm still puzzled by our zeal in frantically competing to get gruesome pictures and details for broadcasts and front pages.
During the past decade I've seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of articles on suicide bombings, but I read to the end of just three of them, and that was only because I wrote them. Those bombings occurred in Baghdad and Kurdistan during the summer of 2003, when they were still a novel phenomenon in Iraq, but even then there was really nothing new to say.
As I intruded on grieving relatives at the scene and wounded survivors in hospitals, I didn't see what good I was doing for anyone except the planners of the attack. It was a horrifying story, but it was same story as every other suicide bombing, from the descriptions of the carnage and the mayhem to the quotes from eyewitnesses and the authorities.
I suspect the public would welcome a respite from gore, like the one that New Yorkers got when Rudolph Giuliani became mayor. He realized that even though crime was declining in the city, people's fears were being stoked by the relentless tabloid and television coverage of the day's most grisly crime. No matter how much the felony rate dropped, in a city of seven million there would always be at least one crime scene for a live shot at the top of the 11 o'clock news.
Mr. Giuliani told the police to stop giving out details of daily crime in time for reporters' deadlines, a policy that prompted outrage from the press but not many complaints from the public. With the lessening of the daily media barrage, New Yorkers began to be less scared and more realistic about the risks on their streets.
I'm not advocating official censorship, but there's no reason the news media can't reconsider their own fondness for covering suicide bombings. A little restraint would give the public a more realistic view of the world's dangers.
Another Day, Another Exploitive Photo-Op
President Bush "prayerfully" commemorating the victims of Hurricane Katrina today at the National Cathedral which was conveniently packed with African Americans.
“Leadership isn’t a speech or a toll-free number”
“Leadership isn’t a speech or a toll-free number. Leadership is getting the job done. No American doubts that New Orleans will rise again, they doubt the competence and commitment of this Administration. Weeks after Katrina, Americans want an end to politics-as-usual that leaves them dangerously and unforgivably unprepared. Americans want to know that their government will be there when it counts with leadership that keeps them safe, not speeches in the aftermath to explain away the inexcusable.”- Sen. John Kerry responds to Bush's most recent
The Democratic Daily also points out the difference between Kerry and Bush in “getting the job done":
Today, the Senate passed a bill that will aid Small Businesses affected by Hurricane Katrina. That bill was authored by John Kerry.
Bush spoke of aiding Small Business tonight in his speech, as though it was something he would initiate, but the fact is that John Kerry has been working on aid to Small Businesses affected by Katrina for well over a week. Kerry’s first announcement of his legislation came on September 9. The bill was passed in the Senate with bi-partisan support and some modifications earlier today.
Perhaps, Bush needs a DVD prepared of the proceedings on the Senate floor today. I would suggest that the video of Kerry’s Floor Speech on his amendment, from yesterday, be added to that video as well, so that the President can get up to speed on how real leaders work.
Looks Like Someone Left His "Cool Confidence" At Home
September 15, 2005
Top Ten Questions For The Fema Director Application
(from The Late Show with David Letterman)
10. "Are you able to convey a false sense of security?"
9. "What percentage of your resume is fabricated?"
8. "In a crisis, which state or local officials would you blame?"
7. "What are your plans after you resign?"
6. "Do you mind if the last guy left the office smelling like Arabian horses?"
5. "Which is most serious: A disaster, a catastrophe, or a dis-astrophe?"
4. "Does Robert Blake dating again count as an emergency?"
3. "Can the president easily add '-ie' to your last name to form a nickname?"
2. "Can you screw up bad enough to take the heat off the president's mistakes?"
1. "Michael Brown...Idiot or moron?"
"We" Shouldn't Politicize Katrina
That's why Bush has appointed this man to head the reconstruction effort:
These people really are unbelievable.
"Get Your War On" Is Back!
Bad Taste Internet Groaner of the Moment
Q: What is George W. Bush's position on Roe vs. Wade?
A: He really doesn't give a hoot how people get out of New Orleans.
Bush Responsible For Another Levee Breach?
(Third picture courtesy of Rising Hegemon. Sadly, the other two pictures are authentic photos from Bush's U.N. visit. I believe our country is being run by a five year old.)
Click this to hear the conversation between John Bolton and Bush.