Friday, September 30, 2005

Will Dick Cheney fire Libby? Likely not, esp. since Bush hasn't yet fired Rove.

Wow, the entire GOP contingent in Washington is one big rotting, festering stink hole. If their voters are not embarrassed and ashamed at this point, then nothing will do it.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Foreman William Gibson [says] he did his duty and that bound him to look at Tom Delay as just another Texan accused of criminal conspiracy... "I like his aggressiveness and everything, and I had nothing against the House majority man, but I felt that we had enough evidence, not only me, but the other grand jury members," Gibson said...

The evidence is there to prove Delay was involved in wrongdoing and also prove that he and his fellow grand jurors acted independent of political influence, Gibson said.

"It wasn't Mr. Earle that indicted the man. It was the 12 members of the grand jury," Gibson said.
The standard GOP line on Ronnie Earle is that he's a partisan Democrat on a political witch hunt, nothwithstanding the fact that only three of the 15 politicians Earle prosecuted prior to going after DeLay were Republicans. (Earle once even prosecuted himself because his campaign was late in filing his financial disclosures.)

In DeLay's version of reality, this makes Earle a "partisan fanatic."


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Regarding the DeLay indictment, don't fall for the GOP talking point that DA Ronnie Earle is politically motivated. As Media Matters reports, "Earle's record includes the prosecution of significantly more Democratic officials than Republicans." The Coulters and Hannitys are already out in full-force trying to spin this away -- but it ain't gonna work this time.
Andrew Sullivan:
There is a clear stench of corruption coming from the Republican power-structure in Washington. It's been there for a while now. The Abramoff case illustrates it perfectly. With their incoherent big-spending policies already exposing them as conservative frauds, and with each day finding another ethical problem with the GOP leadership, the conditions are ripe for a Democratic come-back in 2006. The only question is whether the Democrats are still too pathetic to take advantage of this.
I am so relieved that the Republicans restored honor and integrity to Washington. There hasn't been even one blow job in that town since they took power.

UPDATE: I spoke too soon when I said earlier that there have been no blow jobs in Washington since the Honor and Integrity crowd took over.

I just watched Brit Hume "interview" Tom DeLay.

-- Digby

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

  • "Most corrupt" in Congress listed. Eleven of the 13 are Republicans.

  • GW is reportedly getting ready to push a second energy bill, with the main focus being easing of regulations on refiners. In other words, to allow them to pollute at will. Oh, and as I've been saying, once again no mention of conservation in the form of public policy.

  • From "What a process. Enact unnecessary tax cuts, mostly for people who don't need them. Spend like a drunken sailor. Borrow money from foreign governments and future generations. And when the red ink mounts to a degree that your own political base gets disgusted, then get out there and spin!

    If Democrats can't figure out how to exploit the ongoing tragi-comedy of Republican fiscal policy, then we don't deserve power."

  • Many are asking: is GW drinking again? Apparently it's OK to know about Clinton's BJs, but to ask this question about GW -- an admitted alcoholic -- is seemingly beyond the pale to many (not me!).
  • Chrysler Group is ignoring the supply/demand dynamics of higher gas prices and is betting on SUVs, preparing five new models for launch over the next few years. But then again, the SUVs have a big non-free-market advantage: favorable tax treatment. You'd think in their infinite wisdom that this administration and the GOP-controlled Congress would rescind any tax breaks for purchasing huge, gas-inefficient vehicles at a time when gas should be conserved and tax revenue is needed to help fund hurricane relief efforts?

  • A Saudi prince just bought over 5% of Rupert Murdoch's Fox Corp. Well, that's one way to garner favorable reporting. What are the odds we'll now see Hannity or O'Reilly blaring anti-Saudi rants? Nil.

  • From AP, "Blind trusts are designed to keep an arm's-length distance between federal officials and their investments, to avoid conflicts of interest. But documents show that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist knew quite a bit about his accounts from nearly two dozen letters from the trust administrators." But Frist is a God-fearing, righteous do-gooder -- it's not possible that he would choose dishonesty and greed over doing what's right!

  • Regarding the Katrina relief efforts, the NY Times reports, "More than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency alone were awarded without bidding or with limited competition." Favoritism and rewarding cronies continues. It's good to see the free-market Republicans crying foul about this -- not.

  • From Stephen Roach at Morgan Stanley, "In the US, the worker compensation share fell to a 30-year low of 65% in 2005 whereas 'economic corporate profits' currently stand at a near-record 11% share of GDP." Just wonderful. Wages at a three-decade low to GDP and yet corporate profits at a new high. Where's the trickle down to employees? Basically sums up the Bush/Cheney economic plan.
  • Sunday, September 25, 2005

    Since Bush/Cheney have been in office, we've had to witness their cavalier dismissals of anything resembling legislation towards energy conservation. Rather, they've urged and endorsed a single-note message: use even more oil.

    With Katrina, we saw 10% of U.S. refiners shut down, with half of the 10% comprised of just four refineries. Bush then instructs refiners to run at 100% capacity and skip maintenance, in an effort to make up for the short fall. BUT, such breakneck production will likely lead to dangerous outcomes (accidents, equip. failure, etc.) and even more supply disruption.

    It's very obvious that our dependence on oil is a huge and growing problem, esp. with little if any push from our top leaders to conserve and invest in alternatives. The longer we wait and postpone the inevitable need to diversify our energy needs away from oil, the more vulnerable we are as a nation to destructive forces out of our control -- whether it be terrorist acts or natural disasters.

    It wouldn't require as much sacrifices as Cheney et al would have us believe. Technology is already available to help in this regard; it's just not being used. Look at the hybrid cars -- why did they just "suddenly" appear? Do you think Toyota and/or Honda locked some engineers in a room and ordered them to crank out a hybrid for their release? No, the technology was 95% already there, it just took gas rising a bit (again, hybrids pre-date $3 gas by at least a year) and the typically ingenious Japanese to realize a market existed for "green" consumers. All of this with zero help from Bush/Cheney or the U.S. auto companies.

    Again, to stay solely entrenched with oil as prime energy source will increasingly be shown to be not just foolhardy (given its diminishing supply) and reckless (given global warming), but also a grave national security threat.

    In the end, what we have is just another example of GW's #1 priority: reward cronies, and the future of the country be damned. When has he ever done anything good for the country that didn't have a special interest or contributor on the other side, hand fully extended?
    The United States is on the wrong economic track and finds itself in a deepening hole of debt, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin said Friday. Rubin's opinions and views are always worth strong consideration. He was only one of the best Treasury Secretarys in this country's history -- one of many excellent Clinton choices.

    Friday, September 23, 2005

    "The Pentagon has no accurate knowledge of the cost of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan or the fight against terrorism." This from a GAO report as cited in a truly astounding and maddening story in the Washington Post. The report states, ""Neither DOD nor Congress can reliably know how much the war is costing and details of how appropriated funds are being spent." DOD has reported spending nearly $200 bil. thus far on this war and yet according to the GAO it's not known how or where this money is being spent. Is it any wonder $8 bil. was widely reported as simply missing? How many more billions of taxpayer money is unaccounted for, money that could go to Katrina and Rita relief efforts? When will the GOP-controlled Congress seriously investigate this scandal -- one that is far more serious than the thoroughly-investigated UN oil-for-food scandal?
    Not that anyone cares (thankfully), but if ever you wondered what a Steve Forbes presidency would look like, just read his column in his magazine to get a good sense.

    As an example, to help bring down skyrocketing energy prices, he recently lists the following solutions:

  • Build more refineries. And as for environmental regulations concerning such, he states, "Why not scrap them altogether?"

  • Open up ANWR to exploration. Estimates have reserves there pegged at enough to run the U.S. for about ten months -- quite a long-run solution. Oh, and he says the land there is not "sweeping" or "awe-inspiring" implying all the more reason to start drilling.

  • Permit drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). OK, so more drilling, we get it.

    Wow, am I crazy or do these recommendations sound awfully familiar? 100% find-more-oil as the theme with zero recommendations for conservation, more efficiency, renewables, R&D investment, etc. Yup, he sounds like just another short-sighted oil guy -- like the two clowns currently sitting in the #1 and #2 spot. The only thing missing for Forbes -- and it's a biggie -- is he doesn't have the evil mastermind Rove, without whom Bush absolutely would not have won an election, ever.
  • Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Regarding the impending Roberts vote, I stand by what I wrote two months ago.
    DeLay stated House Republicans will be looking high and low for wasteful spending that can be cut to offset expenditures to rebuild the Gulf Coast. That said, he has ruled out any tax hikes to help pay for the relief effort and in fact struck down Treasury Secretary Snow's suggestion that perhaps the extension on existing tax cuts would be postponed. In addition, DeLay did not invite the revisiting of the recent energy bill passed which was astoundingly overloaded with wasteful pork spending. Finally, proposals by Republicans to delay the full implementation of the Medicare bill -- a huge government payout to the pharma firms -- until next year was also ruled out by DeLay.

    Uh, so where is he going to find the "wasteful" spending to cut? Me thinks it will be funds allocated to education, social programs, and the environment.
    Just in case one doubts the new low in GW's poll numbers, just look at the recent behavior of Republican politicians; it will help you become a believer.

    When asked about his continued double-digit trailing poll numbers for re-election, true-blue GW buddy Rick Santorum laid blame at Bush's feet. You have NYC Mayor Bloomberg looking to actively avoid being seen with Bush and/or other Republicans. Even Ahnold is instructing Bush to stay away.

    GW is now like kryptonite to many Republicans.
    From The Note:
    There are two fundamental political realities that we have hinted at for several days that are known to everyone in the know in the inner circle of American politics (a/k/a: the Gang of 500) and we feel you should know them too.

    The first one involves the Republican Party and precisely stated, it goes like this: The potential for the political interests of the White House and congressional Republicans to diverge is greater now than it has been since George W. Bush took office.

    The second one involves the Democratic Party and precisely stated, it goes like this: Every negative impression that the Democrats have had about George W. Bush's policies and competence is being reaffirmed in the minds of party elites these days and they are as certain as they have ever been that the country at-large will begin to see what they have long seen.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    From Buzzflash:
    Hugh Kauffman, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency who specializes in emergency response, told Morning Sedition hosts Marc Maron and Mark Riley that a government cover-up is taking place right now, as we speak, to hide information about the dangerous toxins in the flood waters of the Gulf Coast region. Kauffman, a 35-year EPA veteran who has served in Republican and Democratic administrations, says that the Bush administration is preventing the EPA from releasing information that oil and chemical companies are mandated by law to provide. Kauffman says the Bush administration’s cover-up is endangering residents and relief workers throughout the Gulf Coast region, who are being exposed to dangerous levels of toxins, some of which have been proven to cause cancer and birth defects. Kauffman, who was the chief investigator for the 9/11 clean up, also said that the Bush administration engaged in the same practice after 9/11—covering up the truth about the dangers in the air and water and lying to the public in the weeks after the disaster. Kauffman said that over 75% of the heroes who responded to 9/11 have gotten sick and in some cases have died because of exposure to toxins at Ground Zero, and that he fears a similar fate will befall relief workers and residents in the Gulf Coast now.

    Monday, September 19, 2005

    A Fiscal Runaway Train

    So we have GW pledging $200+ bil. to Katrina recovery efforts, a federal deficit of $500+ bil., the cost of the Iraq occupation estimated to be $400-600 bil. by 2010, combine all of this with billions upon billions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy. Throw in boondoggle bills, like this last energy bill which has more gratuitous pork than purposeful spending. Finally, energy prices are zooming up, laying the foundation for an economic recession, which would translate into even less tax revenue to pay for the spending.

    How ironic to have a GOP president with the nation's financial house in such a mess. I thought it was the "tax and spend" liberals that were supposed to do this? Yet, if memory serves, it was Clinton who successfully attained fiscal prudence and grew the economy (tremendously).

    GW has simply rewarded friends (cronies), pure and simple. He cut their taxes and rewards them with legislative graft in the form of federal outlays, pork projects, privatization efforts, etc. It's got nothing to do with large or small government; rather, just greasing the palms of buddies at our expense.

    Sunday, September 18, 2005

  • Because of his own incompetence re Katrina, Bush has no problem using our taxpayer money ($200+ bil.) to revive his sorry-ass image. Just classic.

  • On his long walk across the fake turf in New Orleans to give his highly-staged speech, Bush must've quickly grabbed a memo from the right-wing Heritage Foundation. Look for many of the supposed solutions to NO's woes to come from this "think" tank. Apparently, it's been cranking out numerous proposals and of course Bush/Rove have been listening. My favorite: in an area that is a toxic stew of chemicals, sewage, and other poisons, the HF urges the suspension of environmental regulations.

  • As he did with 9/11, Bush is stiffly opposing the creation of an independent panel to look into the mistakes made with Katrina, instead favoring a GOP-led inquiry body. Once again, imagine the GOP's reaction if Clinton did this -- amazing.

  • More outrageous gall: Bush installs Karl Rove as the person in charge of the reconstruction effort in New Orleans. Forget the fact that Rove should've been fired due to the Plame outing, what credentials does Rove have to lead this effort? The only thing he's ever reconstructed is GW's image -- over and over and over again. Look for incredible staged imagery and billions of our dollars handed over to Friends of George.

  • Frank Rich has been churning out one excellent column after another of late. One reason why: he's f*cking angry!

    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.
    Yup, Katrina allowed the public to (finally!) see that the emperor had no clothes.

    He offers us a hint of what we can expect from Rove now in charge:
    Mr. Rove has been officially put in charge of the reconstruction effort. The two top deputies at FEMA remaining after Michael Brown's departure, one of them a former local TV newsman, are not disaster relief specialists but experts in P.R., which they'd practiced as advance men for various Bush campaigns. Thus The Salt Lake Tribune discovered a week after the hurricane that some 1,000 firefighters from Utah and elsewhere were sent not to the Gulf Coast but to Atlanta, to be trained as "community relations officers for FEMA" rather than used as emergency workers to rescue the dying in New Orleans. When 50 of them were finally dispatched to Louisiana, the paper reported, their first assignment was "to stand beside President Bush" as he toured devastated areas.
    It will certainly be style over substance. Hopefully the public has finally spit up the Kool-Aid and will see through all the superficial bullsh*t (midnight flight re Schiavo, flak suit on aircraft carrier, etc.).

    Rich sums it up:
    What comes next? Having turned the page on Mr. Bush, the country hungers for a vision that is something other than either liberal boilerplate or Rovian stagecraft. At this point, merely plain old competence, integrity and heart might do.
    Here, here!
  • The New York Times Magazine recently had an in-depth article recounting just how Osama bin Laden was able to escape in Tora Bora.

    A key segment:
    One of them was Brig. Gen. James N. Mattis, the commander of some 4,000 marines who had arrived in the Afghan theater by now. Mattis, along with another officer with whom I spoke, was convinced that with these numbers he could have surrounded and sealed off bin Laden's lair, as well as deployed troops to the most sensitive portions of the largely unpatrolled border with Pakistan. He argued strongly that he should be permitted to proceed to the Tora Bora caves. The general was turned down. An American intelligence official told me that the Bush administration later concluded that the refusal of Centcom to dispatch the marines - along with their failure to commit U.S. ground forces to Afghanistan generally - was the gravest error of the war.
    Apparently, the public needs to be reminded that 1) after fours years since 9/11, Osama is still free to roam the planet and yet Saddam has long been locked up, and 2) CIA director Goss said just a few months ago that we have an "excellent idea" where he's located.

    I once again must invoke the Clinton rule: just imagine the above under a Clinton presidency. The rabid GOP would hoist on us constant reminders of Osama's relative freedom and the bungling of his capture. We would've seen Willie Horton type images of such in campaign ads.

    And yet the Osama screw-up is just one of many instances that have accumulated proving GW and his gang to be as clueless and inept as any administration in history. I have always taken consolation in one thing: in the years ahead when GW is put into proper perspective by historians and the like -- undoubtedly casting him in the brutally negative light deserved -- I'll be able to tell my curious son and daughter, "no, I never voted for him."
    Great column in The New Yorker by Elizabeth Kolbert concerning the increasing intensity of hurricanes due to global warming. Ironically, she points out that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners was to hold a conference in New Orleans on this very subject.

    GW is on record stating his withdrawal from Kyoto was because it was too costly to America. Kolbert rightly states, "As Katrina indicates, this argument, too, is empty. It's not acting to curb greenhouse-gas emissions that's likely to prove too costly; it's doing nothing."

    And the cost won't just be in dollars but also in human lives.

    Friday, September 16, 2005

    Seeing the trees for the forest.

    The U.S. soldier death toll in Iraq is about to exceed 1900. On a daily basis, we read news reports of 4 dead in Iraq, 7 dead, 28 dead, etc. We quickly absorb the tragic news and move on. That's wrong.

    Granted, it's not the same as thousands dying all at once due to planes smashing into buildings or massive floodwaters. But a death is a death is a death.

    For each reported dead soldier in Iraq, there's a family tragically affected. Always try to imagine that family could be yours and that father or mother could be you. Empathize, tremendously.

    Don't do as Bush and his neocon cadre do, treating the reality of the dead as simply aggregate data or tolerable statistics. Always humanize the numbers and translate the figure, no matter the size, into "1". Yes, 1000 dead is worse than one dead, but by overly calibrating your reaction of horror based on the magnitude of the number dead distorts the fact that one dead person is as bad as several. In either case, it's wrong.

    Similarly, when Princess Di tragically died, millions of people around the world grieved her death. However, in the end, hundreds if not thousands of people around the world died of one thing or another on August 31, 1997, and their deaths on that day were just as tragic as Princess Di's. A death is a death is a death.
    Lies, lies, and more lies. Oh, they just can't stop.

    Media Matters reports that a Bush lackey falsely stated on CNN that poverty has declined under Bush rather than Clinton. A flat-out lie. In fact, it's the opposite.

    As MM states, "the poverty rate declined every year Clinton was in office, from 15.1 percent when he took office in 1993 to a low of 11.3 percent in 2000; it has risen every year that Bush has been in office, from 11.7 percent in 2001 to 12.7 percent in 2004."

    The rule remains: you can't trust anything Bush people have to say -- nothing, zilch. You must doubt first, and then do research and confirm. (9 times out of 10 you'll discover they're wrong).
    I've written in the past about WSJ columnist James Taranto, specifically pointing out the lengths to which he'll twist and contort something so that ultimately he can conclude with a smug, "humorous" one-liner. You read his column and literally feel your skin crawl. He's revolting.

    Well the terrific Keith Olbermann recently voted him "Worst Person in the World" on his nightly show. Keith could've just thrown a dart at any one of Taranto's columns to come up with material deserving of this title, but here's the one that was cited on the program. And as Keith concluded on air, Taranto is still (amazingly) employed by the WSJ.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

  • The Arizona Daily Star has rid itself of columnist Ann Coulter. The editor, David Stoeffler, stated "Many readers find her shrill, bombastic, and mean-spirited. And those are the words used by readers who identified themselves as conservatives." Of course, right wing voices deserve to be heard -- but surely Coulter should embarrass any respectable r-winger.

  • From the Center for American Progress: "The highest priority for any president should be to keep the American people safe. When George Bush appointed Michael Brown to direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency he committed presidential malpractice. Brown lacked any relevant experience or skills before joining FEMA, but Bush appointed him anyway because Brown had the right political connections. When Hurricane Katrina struck, Brown was unprepared, uninformed and unable to respond effectively. (Bush's reaction: 'Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.') We will never know for certain how many lives could have been saved or how much suffering could have been avoided had there been a competent federal response."

    Also from CforAP, truly frightening news about how detached and removed King George is from the events that are deeply affecting this country: "In the first days of the Hurricane Katrina crisis, White House staff became worried that President Bush was out of touch with of the dire reality of the situation. Newsweek reports, 'Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor [Dan] Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.'" My god, they had to burn a DVD of disturbing sound bites to shock GW into action! Our Walter Mitty.

  • More evidence proving Bush's infamous statement (that the levee breach was a total surprise) was false: the existence of a strategic plan, Coast 2050, that was published in 1998. The plan recognized that New Orleans was vulnerable to flooding due to deficiencies in the levees. The fact that the breach surprised our non-reading numbskull in charge is the big no surprise.

  • Have you noticed the lack of post-Katrina support coming from many nations in the world? Bush has been a diplomacy fiasco. His go-it-alone swaggering and lack of respect for the opinions and views of other nations has left America with fewer allies than we had 5+ years ago. The next president is going to have to spend a great deal of time and effort repairing this damage.

  • New Orleans will likely be dangerous for human habitation for the next ten years, says the EPA. Toxins have mixed in with floodwater saturating all areas of the region. It will be interesting to see if Bush's gutted, neutered EPA will now do anything meaningful about this dire threat -- or like the toxic air around the WTC post-9/11, choose instead to scuttle the issue and attempt to make it vanish.
  • Over at Technorati, meta search engine for over 17 mil. blogs:
    Top Searches This Hour: #1 "Impeach Bush"

    Monday, September 12, 2005

  • "Key rebuilding projects in Iraq are grinding to a halt because American money is running out." Just wonderful. If we're scaling back and can't pay for projects in Iraq, what does this say about available dollars for the Katrina disaster? Yet Republicans still plan to slash services -- as well as $70 bil. more in taxes for the rich. The Dems should increasingly make the tax cuts more of a lightning rod / bugaboo issue for GW and the GOP.

  • Hurricane Simulation Predicted 61,290 Dead.

  • 25 Mind-Numbingly Dumb Quotes About Hurricane Katrina And Its Aftermath.

  • Many cities are like New Orleans in that they're dependent on frail, underfunded levees. And recall that our infrastructure in this country is in need of a $1.6 trillion fix-up (and this was before Katrina's damage). Instead, we send hundreds of billions to Iraq, and cut billions more in taxes for the rich.

  • Iran is getting stronger. And what if Iran turned off the oil spigot to the U.S.? Strategically, now would be as good a time as ever for them, with gas at the pump over $3.

  • Now lets see if he fires many others who need to go.
  • What the Katrina (or as another out-of-touch Bush family member called it, Corinna) debacle symbolizes about this administration:

    1) Rampant cronyism.
    2) The limits of privatization (Bush has been shrinking FEMA for years, looking to privatize it; remember this re Social Security).
    3) Haves vs. have nots. (Reward the rich with tax cuts; Iraq fought by the have nots; ultra-stiff bankruptcy bill passed; chance of audits MUCH lower for the rich than for average citizens)
    4) Inept, scant planning. (Arrogance? Lazy? Incompetence? All??)
    5) Accept no blame; be not accountable; finger point.
    6) If cornered, lie.
    7) Etc. etc.

    Sunday, September 11, 2005

    For all those fence sitters during the election in 2004, and for all those who continue to not have a clue when it comes to knowing what's going on in this country politically, believing they don't have the time or smarts to try to figure it all out, Molly Ivins has penned an excellent column. A must read.
    From James Wolcott:
    Hurricane Katrina has broken the post 9/11 spell that held everyone in thrall to terrorism and terrorism alone as the paramount menace on the horizon. (Compare the lyrical emoting Peggy Noonan has done since 9/11 with her dry, chapped response to Katrina.) Whatever the final numbers are from Hurricane Katrina, it will be harder for the WOT [War on Terror] propagandists to ritualistically invoke the "3000 dead" to the same sonorous effect. Those deaths have reached their expiration date, not for mourning, but for political, cultural, and military exploitation. Here we are coming up to the 4th anniversary of that horrible day, and Ground Zero still lacks a memorial or even a palatable design, Osama Bin Laden is unapprehended, Iraq is a vale of tears, and a dorky "Freedom March" is being staged in Washington. One can only hope that the dead of New Orleans receive a more decent and deserving memorialization than the dead of 9/11 have gotten.
    Kristof today:
    "The available scientific evidence indicates that it is likely that global warming will make - and possibly already is making - those hurricanes that form more destructive than they otherwise would have been," declares an analysis by five climate scientists at

    Hurricanes derive their power in part from warm water, and so forecasting models show future hurricanes becoming more severe as sea surface temperatures rise. One summary of 1,200 simulations published in the Journal of Climate last year showed that rising levels of greenhouse gases could triple the number of Category 5 hurricanes.

    Moreover, there's empirical evidence that hurricanes have already become more intense (but not more frequent). Nature magazine this summer reported a new study by Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane guru at M.I.T., indicating that by one measure hurricanes have almost doubled in intensity over the last 30 years.

    Friday, September 09, 2005

    Mike Malloy played a clip of OxyMoron (Rush Limbaugh) saying the yokels in the Katrina debacle should drown in their own showers. Rush assumed an African-American caller was 1) speaking for his race, not himself (a racist assumption), and 2) that this person was asserting the disaster was due to racism.

    First off, it never fails that Rush (or his type on the radio) simply assume that any minority caller voices opinions not representative of only that person, but rather of the entire race. It's Rush who jumps to the racist conclusion that only white people can state views that are their own -- not meant to be cast as race-based general statements.

    But more so, it's the Republicans who all speak for each other via talking points memos. A recent example: they've all been spouting about how newspapers had the headline, "New Orleans Dodges A Bullet." Homeland chief Chertoff repeated this, then Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers, and several Bush lackeys on TV, all stating this exact same sound bite. What newspapers are they talking about? You'd think they'd be citing the NY Times, Washington Post, etc. Do a Google search and you'll come up with not one major newspaper having this headline -- they lied! Surprise!

    The point is it's not a coincidence. They all get the same daily memo (from Rove) laying down the sound bites, buzz words, talking points for the day. Go on the air and regurgitate the lies and distortions. Happens everyday.

    Hannity is notorious for repeating outright falsehoods, then being corrected, only to repeat the same lies the next day. Same with O'Reilly, Rush, etc. Just more of the hypocrisy we've come to expect from these louts.

    And if there's any racism going on here, how about the fact that FEMA's plan did not consider the poor population, that approx. 30% are in poverty and over 100,000 people do not own a car? It's like trying to open a beer bottle with a fork: wrong tactic/tool for the reality of the situation.

    Also, what about Barb Bush? Not just her comment that Katrina was a stroke of good fortune for these not-so-rich Americans, but her fear ("it's scary") that these minorities would perhaps stay and reside in Texas.

    She raised King George and it's extremely evident. Arrogance, no compassion, twisted reality -- it obviously runs in the family.

    Thursday, September 08, 2005

    Read and get outraged (if not so already).

    But those who need to truly wake up and finally let out a shrieking scream are those zombies who voted for this incompetent boob in '04. The rest of us have long understood that GW is our national nightmare; he's the antithesis of what our Founding Fathers put in place.

    It's those who've always pulled the "R" lever in the voting booths who need to finally look in the mirror, splash cold water on the face, and finally realize that these Republicans are like none before them. They're a new breed of the worst kind. These Republicans are the worst lot of public officials to ever govern in this country. They're abysmally incompetent and do not have the interests of most Americans at heart. Rather, like the pigs in Orwell's Animal Farm, they selfishly look out for just a select few -- those pigs who are deemed superior to the rest.

    How much more suffering and death will it take for these woefully ignorant voters to realize the err of their assumed good intentions?

    UPDATE: Perhaps they are waking up:
    Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Two new polls show Americans give President George W. Bush poor marks for his handling of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, with one survey showing that Bush is now losing support even among his Republican base.
    Kevin Drum has the best political blog on the internet (I only strive to be half as good). I was away over the long weekend and have just caught up with his take on the Katrina disaster. As usual, he's crisply on-point.

    The following are either items from his blog or items paraphrased from his blog:
  • Kevin lists several reasons why he doesn't blame GW for the woeful response to Katrina but then writes, "Obviously Bush deserves criticism for his listless lack of leadership and life-as-usual politicking in the first three days after Katrina hit. Beyond that, though, what happened was the result of a long series of decisions, all flowing out of Bush's natural conservative governing instincts, that added up to make Katrina more damaging than it had to be and at the same time eroded our ability to react to its aftermath. These decisions were deliberate and disastrous, and that's why I think Bush deserves a large part of the blame for what happened."

  • Kevin lists a chain of events leading up to Katrina, which include: 1) 2001, "Bush appoints Joe Allbaugh, a crony from Texas, as head of FEMA. Allbaugh has no previous experience in disaster management," 2) 2001, "Budget Director Mitch Daniels announces the Bush administration's goal of privatizing much of FEMA's work. In May, Allbaugh confirms that FEMA will be downsized," 3) 2001, "FEMA designates a major hurricane hitting New Orleans as one of the three 'likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country,'" [compare to GW's now-infamous "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."] 4) 2002, "Allbaugh announces he is leaving... He is succeeded by his deputy and former college roommate, Michael Brown, who has no previous experience in disaster management and was fired from his previous job for mismanagement," 5) 2004, "FEMA denies Louisiana's pre-disaster mitigation funding requests," 6) 2004, "The Army Corps of Engineers budget for levee construction in New Orleans is slashed" to help pay for war in Iraq, 7) 2005, "Funding for the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is cut by a record $71.2 million," and 8) "While New Orleans is undergoing a slow motion catastrophe, Bush mugs for the cameras, cuts a cake for John McCain, plays the guitar for Mark Wills, delivers an address about V-J day, and continues with his vacation. When he finally gets around to acknowledging the scope of the unfolding disaster, he delivers only a photo op on Air Force One and a flat, defensive, laundry list speech in the Rose Garden."

    And Kevin summarizes, "Actions have consequences. No one could predict that a hurricane the size of Katrina would hit this year, but the slow federal response when it did happen was no accident. It was the result of four years of deliberate Republican policy and budget choices that favor ideology and partisan loyalty at the expense of operational competence. It's the Bush administration in a nutshell."

  • Kevin asks a key question, "The requirements to respond to a major terrorist attack on a U.S. city are largely identical to the requirements for responding to a hurricane like Katrina: food, medicine, maintenance of order, evacuation, and temporary shelter. So what are FEMA's plans for responding to, say, a large scale chemical weapon attack on Chicago? They'd have less warning than they did with Katrina and the requirements for aid would be largely similar. What would they do?"

  • Another great quote, "The hallmarks of the Bush/Rove governing philosophy — partisan discipline, industry giveaways, and relentless lying — work pretty well as long as you can disguise the results of your policies. When you can't, it suddenly becomes obvious even to your supporters that the emperor has no clothes. It's taken two years for a lot of people to realize that about Iraq. It's taken less than a week to realize it about New Orleans."
  • The Democrats are utter fools if they do not play up the following image come election time:

    Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    It's bad enough Rumsfeld, Rove and Condi still have a job, but if Bush refuses to fire Mike Brown, FEMA head, sometime very soon, then the Dems better run HARD on this come election time. It's an outrage that Brown was ever hired to begin with given his lack of credentials and experience for the position, but for Bush to stick his neck out and protect what by all accounts is a clear, blatant, and tragic failure in job performance should not be tolerated or accepted by any American voter.
    Yesterday I was listening to Air America on the way to work and I believe I heard Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss) being interviewed on "Morning Sedition." It was interesting to hear him speak, starting out tame and controlled but becoming more critical and animated as the interview progressed. It became obvious that he was initially holding back when asked about his opinions concerning the government's response to Katrina. Why? I think the clear reason -- and one that is not unreasonable -- is fear of Karl Rove.

    It's been shown repeatedly that Rove will stop at absolutely nothing when it comes to Swift Boating someone, smearing a person's name and positions come election time. To a point, you can't blame Thompson's caution. If the American public exhibited capable resistance to Rove's lies and distortions, Dem politicians like Thompson wouldn't be so timid. Unfortunately, there's little evidence that the public can see through the BS. Remember: Kerry was the war coward -- not GW. How Rove was able to make Kerry look less military than GW is a question for the ages.

    It reminds me of a great exchange in the movie "Mississippi Burning," when Dafoe says to Hackman, "Don't drag me down to your gutter, Anderson." Hackman fires back, "These people crawled out of the sewers, Mr. Ward. Maybe the gutter is the place we have to be." Exactly. Dafoe (read Democrats) tries to stay within the law and fight by the rules, taking the high road. But he gets nowhere and people continue to die. Hackman is the righteous realist. He knows these people and he understands that to fight them and win, you need to get down in the sewer with them.

    I realize that part of being on the good side is exactly NOT employing someone like Rove; he belongs on the side of evil. However, for good to win out, perhaps the Dems need a Hackman. They had something close to him in Carville with Clinton; we haven't come close to having someone like that since.
  • Cronyism Costs Lives. In the next several weeks and months, one of many things we'll learn from the Katrina debacle is that hiring your best buds or top fundraisers for key governmental positions, who obviously lack the qualifications for the job, is dangerous to human life. The current FEMA head (Brown what's his name) is not only toast but worse, should've never been appointed to begin with. He couldn't successfully navigate the "tough" going over at the International Arabian Horse Assoc. (!), where he was forced to resign. Typical GW fashion to hire / promote a f*cking incompetent flunky -- ultimately costing the lives of American citizens.

    Is King George the first to abuse cronyism in government? No. But it's reached monumental proportions under his rule, and at least presidents in the past looked for some remote expertise before hiring a friend. Just look at who GW appointed as head of the FDA, another key post that could cost lives: Lester Crawford, a guy with a background in veterinary medicine (yes, pets/animals) and of course worked for lobby, the National Food Processors Association. And I've lost track of how many people from industry have been appointed to key environmental positions, many of which lobbied against the regulations they're now expected to uphold. Gail Norton is a classic hire in this regard.

  • Can someone tell me why Clinton ever did team up with George Sr.? Was this necessary? Of course, I'm all for the causes they're championing, but couldn't Bill just do this on his own, receiving all of the limelight? Why did he have to share his name with GW's daddy? I was ready to throw up when I saw GW Sr. standing under a sign that read "Bush / Clinton" and had a Texas flag (!) imprint on it. Why not "Clinton / Bush"? And how could Clinton agree to that Texas flag thing -- they're not underwater? Why not the American flag?? And then Bush Sr. spoke first -- why? Did they draw straws? Then when Clinton was later asked about the failure of the government to respond to Katrina, he had Bush Sr. breathing down his neck (literally) so Bill went easy and cautiously with chosen words. Ugh! Is this just another '08 favor thrown to Hillary to get her looking more centrist? Carter didn't team-up with Ford -- enough already!
  • Friday, September 02, 2005

    For those of us in states that receive a great deal of snowfall, each winter we're used to reading at least one if not more stories like this one, where with each bad snowstorm a public official does not respond fast enough in clearing the snow and tragedy results. In nearly every case, the official(s) is forced to resign.

    Is the public official ever blamed for causing the snow to fall? No. The resignation comes due to failure to carry out one's duties in safeguarding and protecting the public. The person f*cked up and is held accountable.

    We never hear of anyone complain -- no matter the political persuasion -- when such officials are fired. So why do we hear it now with Bush? The federal government's response to Katrina's devastation was horrendously abysmal. It ranks right up there with his response time immediately following the 9-11 attacks (recall he continued to read the children's book).

    The criticism directed at him concerning this historic disaster is 100% well-deserved. Did he cause the hurricane? Of course not. Must he be held accountable for his and the government's lack of appropriate action after the fact? Absolutely. Not to mention his defunding of FEMA over the last few years and squandering valuable national resources (National Guard, hundreds of billions of US taxpayer's money, etc.) in Iraq.

    Thankfully, the American public is rightfully pissed off, disgusted, and ashamed. We won't have to wait for the spineless Democrats to finally speak out.

    Let's see Karl Rove attempt to spin this one away.