Friday, September 30, 2005



David H. Safavian
"Scooter" Libby
Bill Frist
Tom Delay

" Greg Alexander in Salon 11/23/04

Any of you old enough to remember the above titled TV show with David Frost, Buck Henry, Alan Alda, Henry Morgan, and Nancy Ames, who narrated in folk song? Remember how she used to sing "that was the week that was, it's over, let it go" How the Republican party must be desperately hoping we take that message to heart! The week that was was a disaster for the Elephant.

First, we have Bush administration official David H. Safavian arrested for fraud and obstruction of justice. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is indicted in Texas, and indications are that a federal one may be coming soon. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Dept. announce that both are investigating Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on insider trading charges. Vice President Dick Chaney's chief of staff "Scooter" Libby is outed as Judy Miller's source in the Valerie Plame case. Mike "Brownie" Brown further embarrasses himself and the administration while testifying on Capital Hill. The man in charge of US military forces in Iraq,
Gen. George Casey testifies that the number of Iraqi battalions capable of acting independently of US troops has fallen from three to one. He further testifies that there appears to be no way of reducing the numbers of US troops in Iraq anytime soon. Meanwhile, the body count in Iraq continues to balloon, 160 dead, including at least 5 US troops, just since yesterday! Yeah, the week that was was a week the Yellow Elephants and Phightin Phundies would just as soon we let go. Somehow, I doubt anyone will!
More people tune into American Public Radio's MARKETPLACE than any business show on the broadcast media. This week, they ran a terrific series of commentaries on poverty in America. One of the things that struck me is how much agreement there was on one premise. That people are kept in poverty because big business and the government profit from poverty. Walmart was a prime example given by one commentator. In the state of West Virginia, Walmart doesn't have to pay any taxes for 50 years, because they built one store in an impoverished area. They have discovered what the mining and timber industries knew. That if you pay folks just enough to subsist, you can become filthy rich riding on their backs.

But government has a vested interest in poverty too. Thousands and thousands of people make a living off the impoverished, from all the people employed by HHS, to all the local people working at the social services and unemployment offices. Even the police profit, as one commentator put it "the near poor riding herd on the unruly poor"

This was a really interesting series of commentaries. I hope you'll take the time to listen in.
I love Robert Reich. He is a true rarity. An absolutely brilliant man who is down to earth, funny, and can communicate on everyman's level. He has a wonderful commentary on no bid contracts and the rebuilding of New Orleans HERE
An Epidemic! Damn my daughter! She started singing the Manamana song from the Muppet Show at work today. Pretty soon it was stuck in everyone's head. I went in to buy groceries, and one of the cashiers was humming it. I've had it stuck in my head ever since! So now, I'm passing it along to you.... Manamana doo dooo doo doo doo, manamana doo dooby doo, manamana doo dooo doo doo doo de doo doo de doo doo do dooby do ba ba babba ba..... In case you somehow can't remember the Manamana song, you can see and hear it performed HERE (I DARE you!)
Finally, I had my first appointment with my new doctor today. She is terrific. Her name is Dr. Ebonee Davis. A thirysomething black woman fresh out of the Navy. A terrific sense of humor, easy to talk to, very conversational. To be honest, I know she took my blood pressure and listened to my heart and all that stuff, but I was so engrossed in the conversation I really don't remember the exam. And the REALLY good news... I've lost 20 lbs and my blood pressure was 120/80! Yea!

Now cooking at THE CHURCH POTLUCK: Country Captain Chicken

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


WHY I STILL LOVE DETROIT (and why it sometimes embarrasses me!)

Dick Wagner and Frost 1968 and 1999

I am writing this while listening to the WHITE STRIPES live web concert! If you missed this live, go to NPR.ORG and download it. Incredible! Jack and Meg are just one more thing that is great about metro Detroit. And they have got me thinking about how lucky I am to have grown up there!

I can't imagine a better place to grow up. Seven lakes within a mile of my childhood home. 400 lakes in the county (Oakland) I grew up in. 6 ski resorts within a 20 min drive of the house. Fabulous state and county parks, great recreational rivers. Fantastic fishing. Major league baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. Michigan and Michigan State football, basketball, hockey. A state with more world class universities and colleges than any but California. But most importantly, a music scene no city in the world comes close to.

Starting in 1958, when some skinny kid from Flint named Del Shannon sang about his "Little Runaway", Detroit has been a music machine. The list of singers and groups who hail from or got their start in Detroit is absolutely incredible! From Shannon, through all the great Motown performers, the hard rock revolution, through today's stars like Madonna, Eminem, Kid Rock, and the White Stripes, Detroit has been the most influential city in music.

It was an unbelievable place to be a teenager! Bob Seger, Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes, Grand Funk Railroad, the MC5, Mitch Ryder, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, all played dances at my high school. Dick Wagner (front man of Frost and later composer and guitarist for Alice Cooper, and Flo and Eddy, Eta James, Burton Cummings, and many others), not only played our high school, he graduated from there. His family lived about 1/4 mile from us, and his brother Jeff and I were classmates from kindergarten to graduation.

I saw Aretha and Gladys when they were still thin and hot! And incidentally, Diana Ross was homely in person! Every Christmas, all the Motown stars (Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton and the Parliaments, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight, Aretha, Mary Wells) would do a special show, two shows a night for seven nights, at the Fox Theatre. There were a couple of little clubs in New Center where Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell first began performing their works, rather than write for others.

Chances are, if you grew up in metro Detroit, you at least knew someone who knew a celebrity. As a sidelight, I should note that I have the distinction of being the only person at a Stooges concert more drunk than Iggy Pop. My fifteen minutes of fame! At least, that's what they tell me. It's all a bit hazy. Three and a half bottles of Boone's Farm will do that!

Have I mentioned that Detroit also has best pizza in the world? Not to mention best hockey franchise. I've probably never mentioned that several of the Red Wing players lived on the same lake as we did (this was in the days before million dollar contracts) when I was a kid.

So, like I said, it was and is a great place to be grow up.

But occasionally, like that odd ball Uncle nobody wants to admit to, she embarrasses me. And you can bet that most of the time, race is involved. Metro Detroit is about as segregated a place as you can visit. Which breeds intolerance. So sadly, it is not a surprise, although that doesn't make me any less angry, that Detroit is suffering through a rash of cross burnings. Every time I think we have run these Klan types out of town on a rail, they resurface a few years later.

I have no doubts that the good folks of southeast Michigan will again rise to the challenge and threaten, harass, and physically abuse these people into leaving for friendlier pastures (that's the Detroit way). But in the meantime, know that the real Detroit and burbs are the one I described above, not what you see portrayed in the news!

View a partial list of bands that got their start in Detroit here: DETROIT ROCKERS (note that this lists only rock bands and acts, and doesn't include the dozens of Motown, Pop, R&B and Hip Hop artist originating from Detroit)

Friday, September 23, 2005


GREAT STUFF FOR YOUR WEEKEND (plus same old bad news)

NPR has a really great website ! Not only can you hear current and past shows on line, but they have some great web only features. I really love their concert series! Coming up on Sept 27, THE WHITE STRIPES (pictured left) in concert w/ M. Ward and the Shins. You can also hear past performances including Lucinda Williams, Bloc Party, Interpol, Secret Machines, Kings of Leon, and many others.

Last week, NPR and WBGO Jazz 88, sponsored a concert to benefit Katrina victims at New York's Rose Theatre. Those performing included Norah Jones (pictured, right), James Taylor, Paul Simon, Wynton Marsalis, Aaron Neville, Elvis Costello, Bette Midler, Dianne Krall, Robin Williams, Buckwheat Zydico and many, many others. You can here all five hours, in one hour segments here: HIGHER GROUND CONCERT.

There are some really great performances here. I really loved Paul Simon's performance! Norah Jones was terrific, as were all of the performances!

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors are investigating Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's sale of stock in HCA Inc., the hospital operating company founded by his family.

In a statement released Friday, the Nashville-based company said federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York issued a subpoena for documents HCA believes are related to the sale of its stock by the senator.

Frist's office confirmed the SEC is looking into the sale. Read the entire story HERE


The arrest of Bush administration budget official David Safavian is the latest in a widening web of arrests and indictments related to controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Under investigation for fraud, Abramoff has had close ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and other high-profile conservatives. Read the entire story: HERE

Even hard core Republicans are increasingly disgusted with their parties performance!

in Sept. 23, 2005 CAPITAL HILL BLUE

In "Crash," Hollywood's finest movie so far this year, a prosperous black filmmaker tells a black gangbanger: "You embarrass me. You embarrass yourself."

As a Republican, I say to the even more rapacious GOP Congressional leadership: "You embarrass me. You embarrass yourselves."

Not long ago, the Republican Congress at least pretended to be serious about keeping federal spending plausibly sane. While they hurled massive expenditures in every direction, at least their rhetoric honored the grassroots-Republican expectation that they would respect taxpayers' money.

But, save for a band of fiscally responsible backbenchers (about whom more soon), profligate Congressional Republicans have surrendered on this front.

Their leaders no longer try to restrain spending, nor do they even say the right things about stewarding tax dollars.

As the House of Representatives approved $62.3 billion in universally applauded assistance to Hurricane Katrina's survivors, fiscal conservatives attempted to reduce other spending. House leaders rebuffed their amendment.

"My answer to those who want to offset the spending is sure, bring the offsets," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, told reporters Sept. 13. "But nobody has been able to come up with any yet." Asked if Washington operated at top efficiency, DeLay made free-market jaws drop when he said: "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority, we've pared it down pretty good."

That's right. And Elvis died of anorexia.

Since the "Republican Revolution" of 1994, domestic discretionary spending has grown from $259 billion to $466 billion, an annual average of 5.5 percent, Cato Institute scholar Stephen Slivinski calculates. Under President Bush, this figure has accelerated 8 percent per annum, on average, far ahead of inflation.

On President Clinton's watch, the 1998 highway bill groaned under some 1,850 pork-barrel items. The 2005 highway bill, written and signed by Republicans, virtually suffocated beneath 6,371 fishy projects (including $2.5 million for the Blue Ridge Music Center), a 244 percent increase in fiduciary recklessness.

Consider the disgraceful $223 million bridge between Ketchikan, Alaska, and Gravina Island _ population 50. This equals $4.46 million per-capita.

Obscene? This is fiscal pornography. The bridge's $223 million price tag could have very generously awarded 892 storm-swept families $250,000 to rebuild or relocate. Asked if he would reallocate this notorious bridge's budget to Katrina's victims, GOP Rep. Don Young, chairman of the 75-member House Transportation Committee, said: "Kiss my ear."

For its part, the GOP-supervised bureaucracy resembles Luciano Pavarotti inhaling a chocolate sundae.

According to columnist Robert Novak, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a fiscal hawk, discovered that shoddy accounting generated $41.5 billion in federal overpayments.

At NASA, the sky's the limit. It just unveiled a $104 billion plan to return to the Moon in the six-astronaut Crew Exploratory Vehicle. "Think of it as Apollo on steroids," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said Monday...(view rest of article HERE)

Bears note: bold and italic emphasis mine

Now cooking at the Church Potluck: Caramel Dip For Apples

Sunday, September 18, 2005



De Ja Vu all over again? The government brings back REEFER MADNESS! (you may have to view a brief ad before you get to this article, but trust me, it's worth it). We are truely ruled by idiots. The guillotine is definitely in order!

I haven't done any downloads lately, mostly because I haven't come across any I thought were worth bothering with. Then all at once I come across four:

Amy Rigby is a throwback rocker with a great sound. I have had this song in my head since I first heard it!
(note to Laura and Andrea: Amy's gonna be a Schuba's on Oct. 29. I'm planning on being there. Let's party!)

I have always been fan of Beck. I can't quite put my finger on what it is that intrigues me about his music, but it does.

I have been a big fan of Guitar God Richard Thompson since 1969, when a buddy of mine came back from England with an album (Liege and Leif) by this new group who had invented something called folk rock. The band was Fairport Convention, and Thompson was their guitarist extraordinaire. Rolling Stone lists him as #19 on the 100 greatest guitarists of all time (well ahead of such legends as Chet Atkins, Les Paul, George Harrison, and Dire Straits' Mark Knoefler)
UNINHABITED MAN-Richard Thompson

I have also been a big fan of Janis Ian since 1966, when, as a 15 yr old, her single Societies Child reached #1 on the charts and stayed there for several weeks. She was only a year older than me, and it was amazing to see this teenager performing on the Tonight Show and Merv Griffen! At 17 is still one of my all time favorite songs. I've seen her perform a number of times, and she is just great!

Great commentary from THE ANONYMOUS LIBERAL:

Over the last two decades, the Republican political machine has engaged in a relentless and systematic assault on all of the institutions in our society that have traditionally served as checks on excessive partisanship. They have attacked the press, the judiciary, academia, even the very concepts of science and empiricism. Their goal is to discredit and disable the referees, to politicize, marginalize, and co-opt any and all non-political institutions, and thereby eliminate any meaningful policing of political discourse. And they have been remarkably successful. In a relatively short period of time, conservatives have managed to convince a large segment of the population (including most of the Republican base) that the media, the judiciary, and even science itself cannot be trusted. Beyond damaging their credibility, this withering assault has actually transformed the institutions themselves. Fear of the "liberal bias" charge has effectively emasculated much of the press corps. The federal judiciary has been disproportionately stacked with reactionaries and Federalist Society-types. And our scientific and empirical knowledge has been polluted and corrupted by pseudo-science and ideologically-driven research. We've reached a point where nearly all truth is politicized. The line separating facts from spin has been hopelessly blurred, and political discourse has become a joke.

Unfortunately, I suspect that the only way out of this partisan trap is for the party that started it all to be confronted by the real world consequences of its near-sighted and reckless policy decisions. Bad policy and bad governing inevitably lead to bad results, and as we've seen in the last week, there are some facts and some failures that are nearly impossible to ignore or spin. Sooner or later, there will be a reckoning.

Saturday, September 17, 2005



Photo: New Orleans, 11 days after Katrinaa

In case you missed it, Friday's Morning Edition had two excellent and very disturbing stories on Katrina. One on how FEMA's top management ignored warnings of the impending disaster, and the other on race and class in the Katrina aftermath. The following is the prologue to the story FEMA Official Says Agency Heads Ignored Warnings:

In the days before Hurricane Katrina hit land, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, FEMA Director Michael Brown and other top Homeland Security officials received e-mails on their blackberries warning that Katrina posed a dire threat to New Orleans and other areas. Yet one FEMA official tells NPR little was done.

Leo Bosner, an emergency management specialist at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., is in charge of the unit that alerts officials of impending crises and manages the response. As early as Friday, Aug. 26, Bosner knew that Katrina could turn into a major emergency.

In daily e-mails -- known as National Situation Updates -- sent to Chertoff, Brown and others in the days before Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast, Bosner warned of its growing strength -- and of the particular danger the hurricane posed to New Orleans, much of which lies below sea level.

But Bosner says FEMA failed to organize the massive mobilization of National Guard troops and evacuation buses needed for a quick and effective relief response when Katrina struck. He says he and his colleagues at FEMA's D.C. headquarters were shocked by the lack of response.

"We could see all this going downhill," Bosner said, "but there was nothing we could do."

Listen to Laura Sullivan's story and view the National Situation Updates HERE

EVEN MORE DISTURBING is Juan Williams' piece Examining Race, Class and Katrina, which examines "what the response to Hurricane Katrina says about race and poverty in the United States." Listen to the story HERE

Currently at THE CHURCH POTLOCK, Apple Torte w/ Carmel Sauce . Coming soon: Hearty Recipes for Fall

Friday, September 16, 2005



Jillian Bandes

So much really good stuff in the news this morning. A whole weekends worth of blog material! But first, to the funny stuff!

I saw this on MOUNTAIN GIRL'S site and had to try it. Google the word failure. The first item that comes up is (no shit) THE BIOGRAPHY OF GEORGE W. BUSH! Try it! I damn near fell outta my chair laughing. As of this writing, it was still working!

JESUS' GENERAL is on a roll! Check out She's Like Ann Coulter Without The Penis!

The General came across a column in THE DAILY TARHEEL (the UNC student newspaper) in which it's author, Jillian Bandes, advocates, among other things, strip and full cavity searches for any one of Arabic descent coming within 100 yards of an airport. The following is a copy of a letter I have sent to Ms. Bandes:

Dear Ms. Bandes

I am amazed and disappointed that the faculty advisors of your newspaper would allow such a factually inaccurate and blatantly racist piece of pap to be published in your newspaper. I am speaking, of course, of your commentary titled IT'S SAD, BUT RACIAL PROFILING IS NECESSARY FOR OUR SAFETY.

We'll get back to your comment about full body and cavity searches. Let's look at the factual inaccuracies first.

"And you can't debate that while most Arabs are not terrorists, sadly, most terrorists are indeed Arab."

Let's see; Bombing of the hotel in Bali. Indonesians. London subway bombings: Pakistani. Shoebomber: English. Russian school hostage crisis: Chechen. None of these folks were Arab. BUT, they were all MUSLIMS! So perhaps we should do full body searches on all the followers of ISLAM!

But wait. The Oklahoma City, Atlanta Olympic, Atlanta Lesbian bar, Atlantic coast Gay Bar, London Gay bar, London nail bombs in Bangledeshi and Afro-Caribbean neighborhoods, as well as abortion clinic bombings, shootings, acid attacks, etc. too numerous to mention. ALL perpetrated by fundamentalist CHRISTIANS.

So here's the deal. If you are willing to do full body and cavity searches on anybody coming within 100 yards of any hospital, medical facility, or Gay bar who looks like they might be Christians, I'm willing to to do full body and cavity searches on Arabs at airports.

In the meantime, here's hoping that on your next visit to an airport, a very matronly looking dyke is in charge of security and takes a very personal interest in you. Enjoy the search!

Mark Spurrier

Read the reactions of Arab students and professors interviewed for this article on Ms Bandes wanting to see Arabs "all sexed up" HERE

UPDATE: Ms. Bandes has been fired for misrepresenting the opinions of those whom she interviewed. She is already being held up for martyrdom by Ann Coulter and Apparently, no disciplinary action has been taken against the editors who allowed this piece of crap to run.

Thursday, September 15, 2005



Check out Barb's recipe for Apple Torte w/ Carmel Sauce! And make sure you click on the link to a nice new cooking site I've discovered.... SMORGASBORD SUNDAY!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005



Once again, that great patriot, Gen. J. C. Christian comes up with a fresh perspective. Which is why JESUS' GENERAL remains one of the funniest blogs in the sphere!

Let us pray for effective prayers

Frank Williams

Dear Mr. Williams,

It seems like every time I fire up the old computer, I'm bombarded by emails about cheap Viagra, Russians who want to do things with my little soldier , and requests to pray for someone or something. Although I try to avoid responding to the first two, I spend many hours every day fulfilling the prayer requests.

I can't count the number of times I've responded to Pat Robertson's pleas by asking our Lord to smite various activist judges and foreign leaders, and I've answered The Presidential Prayer Team's call to bless the Our Leader so many times that my knees are now thick with calluses--people are beginning to mistake me for the White House harlot Jeff Gannon.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be working. The activist judges and foreign leaders continue to walk around committing acts of activism and foreignness without suffering even a minor scratch. And let's not even talk about Our Leader's lack of blessings.

I've tried everything I can think of to make the prayers more effective. I've fasted; I've whipped myself with everything from a belt to a strand of barbed wire; and I've followed your instructions and prayed "that God would use to motivate people throughout America to sincerely pray for our nation," in the belief that sheer numbers might get God off the dime. None of it has worked.

I'm wondering if perhaps there might be too much praying going on. Perhaps the Lord is overwhelmed by it all and is suffering some kind of information-overload-induced paralysis, or worse yet, answering prayers so fast, he's getting them wrong--that would explain Rehnquist and Our Leader's domestic and foreign policies.

Maybe we should consider combining all the prayers together so that we no longer overwhelm Him. I think it would look something like this:

Heavenly Father, please use to motivate people throughout America to rise up in an angry mob and smite activist judges and foreign leaders and beat the shit out of whoever is advising Our Leader.

Yeah, that would cover just about everything, What do you think?

Heterosexually yours,

Gen, JC Christian, patriot

Check outTHE DAY HELL FROZE OVER at Capital Hill Blue

Sunday, September 11, 2005



The South Bend Tribune's long time (and excellent) political commentator Jack Colwell asks: "As we head beyond the fourth anniversary of 9/11 terror, can't we finally handle homeland security in a way that won't have Osama bin Laden laughing? Or is the plan to cause him to die laughing?"

Osama bin Laden, that murdering jihadist who wishes ill for all of us, must be a very happy guy on this fourth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our nation.

If he feared that our expenditures and planning for homeland security would lessen the impact of the next terrorist strike, he must have exchanged high-fives, or engaged in whatever jihadists do to celebrate, as he and his buddies watched the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans destroyed.

Bin Laden has dreamed of destroying an American city. Aware now of the bureaucratic bumbling in preparations for and the aftermath of Katrina, he surely is encouraged that he can indeed someday soon take out another of our cities without any help from a hurricane.

The political babbling here must give him cause for hearty laughter.

Some partisan commentators actually suggest that Louisiana got what it deserved because it elected a Democratic governor.

Some political partisans on the other side actually suggest that Louisiana got what it deserved because it went Republican for President Bush.

No laughing matter, except for a guy like bin Laden.

He can rejoice that all the finger-pointing in seeking to affix blame for 9/11 apparently has not done much to find solutions for dealing with a homeland disaster. We don't have enough fingers to point at all the mistakes in dealing with Katrina. And what good is pointing, if those pointed out are not replaced and if the problems pointed to are not solved?

Katrina was a threat spotted out in the Gulf way in advance. Bin Laden plans no warning. He will seek again, as on that day four years ago when terror struck out of the blue, out of beautiful blue skies, to provide another surprise. If we can't cope, even with days of warning, how will we cope with the next surprise disaster?

Cartoonists like to portray bin Laden as a bedraggled and sickly figure holed up in a dark, spider-filled cave somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan, cowering helplessly. If only it were so.

Living in a cave, if that's where he is today, is no hardship if you don't care about comforts we enjoy, if you still can frustrate those who hunt you and if you still find ways to dispatch orders to do evil to those you despise. And any cave abode no doubt has been pretty nicely furnished by now by his loyal backers in jihad.

Bin Laden must laugh a lot at how he has been able for so long to avoid capture by the most powerful nation ever.

He probably never expected to survive so long. Nor does he necessarily care that much, convinced as he is that his death will bring martyrdom, rally jihadists for ultimate victory and provide the rewards he anticipates in heaven.

Too often we fail to understand that our views and values are not his.

Sometimes bin Laden is pleased with our success. He surely was delighted when our invasion of Iraq took out an infidel he hated, Saddam Hussein, and those Baathist unbelievers who had rejected and cruelly suppressed creation of an Islamic state.

Now, he is delighted that terrorism flourishes in Iraq, with hope for civil war that could lead to an Islamic state of the Iran type. We dare not leave Iraq with the job unfinished, but do we know how to finish it? He must laugh at our dilemma. Can we keep bin Laden from having the last laugh?

How bin Laden must laugh, contemplating how our best and brightest to react to new terror includes the Arabian Horse Association guy who heads FEMA. Does al-Qaida have incompetent patronage appointees, too? Do they have a lot of bureaucratic paperwork before they can strike?

How bin Laden must laugh, contemplating how Congress prepared for the long-feared New Orleans disaster by cutting requested funds for frills like stronger levees.

How bin Laden must laugh, contemplating how we play the blame game now, making more divisive the split between the red states and the blue states. In disaster time, couldn't all the states be red, white and blue?

How bin Laden must laugh, contemplating how racism brings hatred in our homeland. Some see racism where it played no part. Others refuse to see it where it was a factor.

It's nice to spread happiness. But to bin Laden, that murdering jihadist?

As we head beyond the fourth anniversary of 9/11 terror, can't we finally handle homeland security in a way that won't have Osama bin Laden laughing? Or is the plan to cause him to die laughing at us?

Republican Representative Christopher Shays: Bush's Katrina response indicates " a real sense of arrogance. Loyalty and never admitting a mistake matters more than the truth. It has a Nixon feel to me."

Conservative columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan believes Katrina unmasks Bush's weak management style: "I must say that the Katrina response does help me to understand the situation in Iraq. The best bet is that the president doesn't actually know what's happening there, is cocooned from reality, has no one in his high-level staff able to tell him what 's actually happening, and has created a culture of denial and loyalty that makes fixing mistakes or holding people responsible all but impossible. "

Micheal Brown isn't the only unqualified yahoo Bush has appointed to FEMA. Take a look at the regional directors, one of whom is a wife beater with a business degree from an unaccredited correspondance school. From Jesus' General, view the whole sorry lot HERE!

Friday, September 09, 2005


BEST OF WEB II: The Smoking Gun

SMOKING GUN (with red hot barrel) Thanks to Vancouver Calling for the heads up on this one!

The above address is the site of the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security. If you scroll down to the national news section and click on "Important Information For First Responders", this is what you will find.

First Responders Urged Not To Respond To Hurricane Impact Areas Unless Dispatched By State, Local Authorities

Release Date: August 29, 2005 Release Number: HQ-05-174

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), today urged all fire and emergency services departments not to respond to counties and states affected by Hurricane Katrina without being requested and lawfully dispatched by state and local authorities under mutual aid agreements and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

"The response to Hurricane Katrina must be well coordinated between federal, state and local officials to most effectively protect life and property," Brown said. "We appreciate the willingness and generosity of our Nation’s first responders to deploy during disasters. But such efforts must be coordinated so that fire-rescue efforts are the most effective possible."

The U.S. Fire Administration, part of FEMA, asks that fire and emergency services organizations remain in contact with their local and state emergency management agency officials for updates on requirements in the affected areas.

"It is critical that fire and emergency departments across the country remain in their jurisdictions until such time as the affected states request assistance," said U.S. Fire Administrator R. David Paulison. "State and local mutual aid agreements are in place as is the Emergency Management Assistance Compact and those mechanisms will be used to request and task resources needed in the affected areas."

Paulison said the National Incident Management System is being used during the response to Hurricane Katrina and that self-dispatching volunteer assistance could significantly complicate the response and recovery effort.

FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.



Got a busy weekend ahead. Making Pulled Pork BBQ today in preparation for tommorrows big Michigan/Notre Dame fooball game. GO MAIZE AND BLUE! A dozen or so of us are viewing the game at Pat O'Hara's house on the campus of Notre Dame. Pat is the father of my son's girlfriend Sarah, and proud owner of a very large flat screen tv. Even though we will be on the ND campus, the Michigan fans will slightly outnumber the Fighting Irish fans. Also on the menu for tommorrow; Skillet Beans, Cheesy Taters, Mexican Salad and Teriyaki Wings. Sunday we will be canoeing on a yet to be determined stretch of river chosen by Canoe Girl in Battle Creek.

So for the weekend, I will excerpting from the best of other blogs.

Because the Katrina disaster has shown the leadership of the Christian right as the shallow, selfish, blowhard hypocrites they really are, it is easy to forget there are thousands of Christians, liberal and conservative, who are working their asses off helping storm victims. Nicole Boedeker is one of those conservative Christians. And in my mind, one of the true heroes of this story. From her Blog As My World Turns:

What can I say about this weekend? My heart is just heavy and sad for the loss that the people I have been taking care of have suffered. Here is my recap of my weekend:

My dear friend Amy called me on Friday night and said that she wanted to help. Amy is a home health nurse with the disabled and elderly in Marble Falls and also one of my critique partners. She wanted to do something to help so we made plans for her to come in to town Saturday to volunteer with me. I normally would have volunteered through my CERT team, but they were not working the areas that I wanted to work on so I decided to volunteer myself separate from them and I am glad that I did. I’ve put in about 30-32 hours on Saturday and Sunday

Early Saturday morning, Amy and I went shopping for supplies and then went to my church to help put together hundreds of personal care packages including washcloths and towels, toothbrush, shampoo, toothpaste, etc for about 300 people. My church has a wonderful mission’s pastor who I have been keeping in contact with as far as needs, etc. I also set up for the Sunday school classes to write letters to the children at the shelters that I would pick up after church on Sunday. There is a huge need for those kids to hear from other kids and know that other children care what has happened to them. After a brief lunch we went to the Burger Center to volunteer, only to find that they had closed it for general evacuees. Everyone had been moved to the Convention Center. Austin was getting too many evacuees for the Burger Center to hold. Amy was told to go to the Convention Center b/c she was a nurse and they needed nurses down there to triage. I stayed behind at the Burger Center to do cleanup with the Red Cross. A couple of hours later, right as the clean up was ending, I got a call to go to the Palmer Events Center which is where they were taking medical needs patients that were beyond basic triage but not critical enough to go to the hospital. Amy was sent there too so we paired up. Some times it was slow; some times it was fairly busy. I did stuff like talking to the patients, working on getting them to talk about what happened b/c so many were holding it in. I also did stuff like run prescriptions to the onsite pharmacy and pick up the meds once they were ready, ran and got food from the other side of the center for those in the medical area, etc. I originally brought my camera to capture some things on film, but decided against it. There was too much to do, and these people deserved privacy. I left my camera at home on Sunday.

Most of what people were looking for was a shower and clean clothes. They wanted more than anything to get clean b/c they hadn’t showered in about a week or longer. And surprisingly (or not), after shower, clean clothes, food and sleep, the next most requested item was a Bible. Most people hadn’t been able to take theirs with them or had lost them or the Bibles had gotten wet. Many found comfort in reading the scriptures. We actually ran out of Bibles on Saturday night, but thankfully, on Sunday, one of my former junior high teachers, Fireman Fred Dougherty, who had become a pastor, had literally an armful of Bibles with him and was passing them out to those who wanted one and not one person that he asked turned them down. Most of the medical symptoms that were coming in were diabetics, elderly people who hadn’t had their meds for a few days, people with ugly red rashes on their legs from the toxins in the water, cuts, scrapes, puncture wounds and breathing treatments. One of the ladies I worked with, her name was Esther, had been pushed down and stepped on when people surged forward to try and get on the buses and planes that were evacuating people. She said that the people that stepped on her also stepped on a baby b/c they didn’t care about anything but saving themselves. She had some pretty good bruises. She actually had to be evac’d via stretcher b/c she had been so trampled by the people. She didn’t know what had happened to the baby. Her husband, “T”, had gone without sleep for 48 hours straight b/c he was protecting her from the thugs that were roaming the Superdome. While I talked to her, got her situated, got her food and a drink, he was out like a light, having the first safe sleep in over a week.

Next up was the Friday night poker club. They were nicknamed that b/c they were a group of 4 elderly black gentlemen who just seemed like they would be ones to sit around a smoke some stogies and play poker or dominoes or something like that. They were in their late 60’s-late 70’s. I just adored them. There was Mr. Marigny, Mr. Howard, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Charles. They were so sweet and so funny and in spite of it all, they kept their faith, which was so strong. They kept on saying, “God is so good!” and they meant it. They were funny and kind and flirty and just so wonderful. They won everyone over who talked to them. They had one in a wheelchair and one walked with a crutch and we got them clothes, showers and hot food. Two of them wanted Bibles, b/c they hadn’t been able to take them. The other two had theirs and had been able to keep them dry. I was sad to see them go back to the general shelter b/c they were so delightful and brought a smile to everyone who spoke with them.

Most of the people that we treated and that were at the shelters were so thankful and kind and appreciative of what we were doing. There are those that are extremely bitter and are trying to make life unpleasant for everyone, including their fellow evacuees, but those are only about 5% out of the 5,000 or so that we already have here in Austin.

Probably the worst story that I heard that day was of a mother who handed her 2 year old baby up to people on a bus so that she could get on next. As soon as she handed the baby up, she was pushed out of the way by other people and pushed down. The bus left without her and she hasn’t seen her baby since. She has no idea where her baby is. I can only hope and pray and pray some more that they are reunited and are both safe. My heart is broken for that woman. I can’t even begin imagine the full extent of the horror she is feeling.

Amy and I left Saturday night, or Sunday morning, I should say, after 1:00. I got to sleep around 2:00. I was so exhausted and ready to hit the hay. When we woke up Sunday morning, Amy said that she had dreamed about Katrina and the floods and the stories that we had heard. I didn’t that night, but Sunday night I sure did. Last night too.

Sunday morning found Amy heading to the Palmer Center early, around 9:30. I went to church to pick up the letters from the Sunday school children. All ages from 3 through 5th grade wrote letters. I had close to 200 letters by the time they had collected them all. I went and dropped them off to the Convention Center as that was where the kids were sheltered at. I headed back to Palmer to work with Amy again and we were assigned to the geriatric patients. There weren’t too many, but they had varying needs such as a double amputation and his wife (Fred and Carolyn), progressive lung disease that needed breathing treatments (Louis – pron. Lewey), a wheelchair bound diabetic (Henry, a retired minister), a severely depressed elderly woman who, at first, refused to take her meds and preferred to just die (Myrtly – pron. Myrtle), Miss Cleo – no not the “psychic” – who was severely confused and had a serious incontinence problem (she was later sent to a hospital b/c her condition was diagnosed as too serious to be in a shelter situation, then we had our trio of the week. Eldon, Chester and Emelda. Eldon and Chester are friends and Chester and Emelda are married. Eldon and Chester wanted to ditch Emelda and Eldon wanted to go out drinking. Emelda and Chester both thought they were in New Orleans. They wanted to go home and Chester wanted to go to church. Just wanted to get away from Emelda. We’re not really sure why b/c Emelda was very nice, if extremely confused. Both Chester and Emelda showed signs of Alzheimer’s on top of dementia. Emelda was getting her hair done by two African-American volunteers and she was just sweet as pie. Preening and acting all coy. She wanted to pay them for doing her hair b/c she thought she was in NOLA at a beauty parlor. Chester decided that he was going to go come hell or high water (bad reference, I apologize). We had to physically stop him from leaving the shelter at the events center.

Shortly after that we were told that they were going to move all the med patients to the large shelter. The doctors that were there were furious and tried desperately to stop it. The last thing these elderly people needed was to be moved again. All their efforts were in vain. I packed up medical supplies in the back of my mini-van and followed the bus over there. Once we got there and got everyone off the bus, we were sent to the 2nd floor of the center. Our patients needed to be isolated without easy access to exits b/c of the issue with Chester earlier in the day.

We got them fed and set up sleeping cots. By this time it was about 7 in the evening. Most of them went down without any troubles. Mr. Henry, the pastor was taken to the worship service by one of the other volunteers, while most of the rest of them sat or lay in their cots to read or sleep. Emelda and Chester were another story though. More on that in a minute.

There was some really good news out of all of this! Carolyn and Fred’s daughter and niece found them. They had driven from Virginia and went to all the shelters in Houston and San Antonio and spent a day in Austin being sent between shelters more than once b/c the computers still showed them to be at Palmer instead of the new place. I was outside of the door, trying to keep an eye on the volunteer who was walking with Chester and keeping him sort of distracted when this short white woman came up with two African-American women who were looking for one of their dads. I asked them what his name was. “Fred” was all that they said. “Carolyn and Fred?” I asked. “YES!!!” The look on their faces was nothing short of a Kodak moment. I told them that they were sleeping but that I would bring them in so that they could get them. I mean come on, family is just a little more important than sleep. They went in quietly and woke Carolyn and Fred up. It was a wonderful reunion, with the exception that Carolyn and Fred didn’t want to go that night. The niece brought her husband up and the five of them talked for about 45 minutes and it was agreed that Carolyn and Fred would stay the night and would get picked up in the morning. The daughter and niece weren’t about to leave Austin without them. Plus, they had to drive to Corpus Christi to see if their other family members were down there. They were looking for about 6 more people. They knew that as of Friday they were alive and being moved to Texas, but they also know that two were separated from the group of six.

Carolyn and Fred’s daughter was mistaken by Emelda for her niece Evelyn. We found out that Evelyn was in NOLA and we don’t know if she survived. Emelda finally accepted that the daughter was not her niece. She was, however, convinced that Evelyn was downstairs with the rest of the evacuees. By around 10:00 we finally convinced Emelda that we would look for Evelyn and to get in bed so the doctor assigned to them could check her out since she was complaining of pain in her knees, etc. She had been following Chester around all evening and all Chester wanted to do was get away from her. After the doctor checked her out and she had some meds, she agreed to go to bed, but only after she had said her prayers. She said them 3 times before we finally convinced her that she had already said them and that her front and back door had been locked and the windows were shut and locked and the porch lights and rest of the house lights were off. This went on for about 30 minutes. I finally got her to get under the covers and lay her head down all the way when I told her that I was not going to check any more items until she was laying down and sleeping. I started singing Amazing Grace and she hummed the first two verses with me and then was out by the middle of verse 3. Just to make sure, I sang through the end and she was asleep. I got a silent round of cheers for that one and was nicknamed the songstress of the second floor. LOL.

Chester wasn’t so easy. The doctor gave him the limit that he could have in meds to calm him down b/c he was very agitated and only grew more so as time went by. The night doctor was this great little Asian lady who, instead of trying to coax him to take his meds, which wasn’t working anyway, she shoved it in his mouth to let it dissolve – it was a wafer pill. Chester refused and refused to go to sleep, even though he was so tired he was hallucinating and picking up imaginary coins and stuff on the floor and weaving while he stood. We had to change him while he stood. With the help of two men we were able to get him into bed. After that, he was fighting the guys to get his legs up so he could get out of bed. I finally ended up singing to him too as they were trying to get his legs down. He struggled through Amazing Grace, started calming down during It Is Well With My Soul and finally fell asleep during The Lord’s Prayer. I was starting to sweat it b/c I knew they were Catholic and I didn’t know that many slow hymns that were coming to mind in the moment and I wasn’t about to sing stuff like Up From The Grave He Arose – that kind of tempo would have defeated the purpose. The only song I had left in my memory at that point was Ave Maria. If he didn’t fall asleep during that one, he was going to get Mary Poppins, Dumbo and Cinderella, etc. – the Disney songs I sing to my daughter at night. Of course, after it was over, a ton of slow hymns came to my mind.

Amy and I left after 1 in the morning again. It was really hard on Amy. She’s so used to knowing how it ends with her elderly homebound patients. And for now she doesn’t know with these evacuees and it’s really bothering her. I told her that I knew it was hard on her but that she had to content herself with the knowledge that she was the right person for this job at this time and that her experience helped to make things a lot easier during the shelter transition with the elderly patients we were taking care of. She had to believe and know that she did a good job and that she was needed at this point, at this time and that she got her job done and now it was up to someone else with the same experience to take over and continue. It really was breaking her heart. She’s a good person.

I’m still trying to get some issues straightened out b/c we’re trying to get volunteers in and while we have 3 social service workers with elderly care and adult protective services experiences, nobody is clearing them to go up there b/c nobody is really “in charge” up there. I may have to step in tonight for a little while to make sure that something happens. These workers are African-American, which is what we need for these elderly patients, especially Chester and Emelda, and they are available to work for the long term in rotating shifts. The red-tape, egocentric, bureaucratic BS on this is just frustrating the HECK outta me. If I can’t get connected with the person in charge that was there Sunday, which I’ve left a voice mail for her today, I may just end up having to take the lead on this, and I’m not sure I’m ready to take on that much responsibility. I could surprise myself though.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005



I realized today how old I have gotten. A bunch of guys were sitting around the post office this morning and the subject of Bob Denver's passing came up. I said "man, Maynard G. Krebs is gone?" They all looked at me like I was from another planet. These guys only knew Denver as Gilligan. It was then I realized how old I have gotten. The kids among you may always think of Denver as Gilligan, but to those of us of a certain a age, he will always be the lovable beatnik with the work allergy, and best friend of Dobie Gillis.

THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS was a ground breaking show in that it was the first to show teens going through growing pains and having serious issues, rather than show them as just dolts good for comic fodder. The show revolved around Dobie's (Dwayne Hickman) inability to catch a dream girl, Zelda Gilroy's (Sheila James) inability to catch Dobie, and Maynard G. Krebs ability to shirk work and screw things up.

Hickman, Denver, and James were brilliant together, Hickman the perfect foil for Denver's pratfalls and James sarcastic one liners. The show ran from 1959-63, when Hickman left to pursue other offers. A spinoff, ZELDA, was planned and four episodes filmed, but word of James lesbianism began to circulate, and the project was cancelled.

Hickman went on to star in a number of successful summer "beach" movies, then landed the role of a career... in the Oscar winning CAT BALLOU. He then decided to work on the other side of the camera, and for twenty years worked as a producer and director at CBS. He retired to work at his first love, art, and today, at age 71, is a successful artist living in southern CA.

Sheila James experience with ZELDA inspired her to go to law school. She became one of the leading feminist lawyers in the country. Today she is a California State Senator, re-elected in a landslide in 2004.

The year after DOBIE went off the air, Bob Denver landed the role he will forever be identified with, Gilligan. But the influence of Maynard lived on, inspiring the character "Shaggy" in the Scooby Doo cartoons and movies. In his later years, Denver owned a number of radio stations, and until the week before he died of cancer, did a regular Saturday morning radio show.

Hickman and Denver remained close friends for over fifty years, till Denver's death. Read Hickman's tribute to Denver HERE

Attention America: Maynard G. Krebs has finally gone home to feed his Iguana!


You knew I couldn't make it through a whole post without mentioning the Hurricane Katrina disaster. So here is my question:

How is it that our government couldn't get any rescue personnel into New Orleans till Saturday, but the CANADIAN government managed to get 45 urban search and rescue experts from Vancouver into New Orleans early on the previous Wednesday? Just curious!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005



For those who don't know Josh Marshall, he is a very well known and respected journalist who left his job to blog full time. This is directly from his blog, Talking Points Memo. If I could only read one blog daily, this would be the one!

(September 06, 2005 -- 06:44 PM EDT

On the Al Franken show this afternoon I mentioned this article from today's Salt Lake Tribune which tells the story of about a thousand firefighters from around the country who volunteered to serve in the Katrina devastation areas. But when they arrived in Atlanta to be shipped out to various disaster zones in the region, they found out that they were going to be used as FEMA community relations specialists. And they were to spend a day in Atlanta getting training on community relations, sexual harassment awareness, et al. This of course while life and death situations were still the order of the day along a whole stretch of the Gulf Coast.

It's an article you've really got a to read to appreciate the full measure of folly and surreality.

But the graf at the end of the piece really puts everything in perspective, and gives some sense what the Bush administration really has in mind when it talks about a crisis. The paper reports that one team finally was sent to the region ...

As specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

You can't make this stuff up.

-- Josh Marshall

There are an awful lot of people in this administration who simply deserve the treatment described at the end of A TALE OF TWO CITIES. I wanna run the guillotine! gwb

Saturday, September 03, 2005



If this doesn't break your heart, you, my friend are heartless. Click on the following link, and scroll to where it says "mayors interview". Listen to this interview, and tell me you are not in tears when the mayor and interviewer both break down.

BBC News

It is just heart rending and infuriating that the mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, had to spend two days castigating the federal government for it's inaction before he shamed the President into action. Not that he is the only one. Former Republican National chair and current Mississippi governor Haley Barbour has also been critical of the Feds effort. Of course, there will be the usual repercussions. A thoroughly pissed off Senate is already making plans for a full investigation. Bush and his wingnut supporters are already making feeble excuses, blaming the mayor and the governor for the administrations actions. But the buck, as it should, stops at the president's desk. And, as has been the case with virtually every problem confronting this administration, he has dropped the ball, been left holding the bag, just plain fucked up!

There is absolutely no excuse for the feeble and lame response of this administration to the Gulf disaster. They have always known the potential for a calamity in New Orleans. They had days to prepare ahead of the storm. Yet their response was woefully inadequate. And because it was, hundreds, perhaps thousands of people are dead.

As usual, the president is long on excuses. He has attempted to pass the blame to the mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, and the governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. He claims that they were late in requesting help. And that he could legally do nothing until they did. Even if you believe the first claim, if you are of a certain age, you know the second claim is pure BULLSHIT!

If you ARE of that certain age, you well remember Detroit's 12th Street Riot in 1967. At the time, it was the worst riot in the history of the country. Without any formal request from Gov. George Romney (who feared such a request would negate insurer liability), LBJ sent in the 82nd Airborne. Precedent already set. Perhaps that "student of history", George "Dubya" Bush, slept through that class at Harvard. Maybe as a Texas high schooler, he was too busy snorting up the white line to notice those pesky riots in the news.

The sad truth is that this is simply the most incompetent administration since James Buchanan left us with a looming civil war. From the Al Quida threat, to 9/11, to catching Bin Laden, to Iraq, to the Gulf Coast, George W. Bush has been a day late and a dollar short. Because of his incompetence, tens of thousands of people are dead. Forget the toll from the World Trade Center and Iraq war. Experts are saying 10,000 people may be dead just in the aftermath of Katrina. Most of these deaths will not be from the power of the storm itself, but from the woefully inadequate emergency response afterwards.

Ray Narin believes that those who were callous to his city's suffering will pay in the afterlife. Must we wait that long?????????

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?