Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday Random 10

The rules: Take out your iPod or other musical device. Put it in "random" mode. Hit "play." Write down the first ten tracks that come up--and no fair putting in ones you think will make you look cool, or omitting ones that make you look like a total dork.

Without further ado, here are mine for today:

1. Signed, Sealed, Delivered -- Stevie Wonder
2. New Slang -- The Shins
3. Come as You Are (Unplugged) -- Nirvana
4. Help! -- Extreme
5. Rollover D.J. -- Jett
6. Not the Doctor -- Alanis Morissette
7. Winding Road -- Bonnie Somerville
8. You Got Lucky -- Tom Petty
9. Somebody Told Me -- The Killers
10. Pepper -- Butthole Surfers

(a la Michael and Flamingo)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Birth Day

I have some exciting news to report. As of noon this fine autumn day, I am the proud father of a black iPod nano named Luther.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

B-A-D for the G-O-P

Oh sugar, the United States House of Representatives has a new majority leader. The old one was indicted by a Texas grand jury Wednesday on a charge of conspiring to violate political fundraising laws, forcing him to temporarily step aside from his GOP post.

The indictment alleges that the DeLay-founded Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee accepted $155,000 from companies, including Sears Roebuck, and placed the money in an account. The PAC then wrote a $190,000 check from that same account to an arm of the Republican National Committee and provided the committee a document with the names of Texas State House candidates and the amounts they were supposed to receive in donations.

And in another part of the country, the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is examining a stock sale by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, has upgraded its initial informal inquiry to a formal investigation.

DeLay Down

From CNN:
DeLay faces a single conspiracy count stemming from a long-running campaign finance investigation, the county clerk's office in Austin told CNN.

A grand jury in Austin charged DeLay, 58, and two associates already facing criminal charges with a single count of criminal conspiracy, accusing them of improperly funneling corporate donations to a DeLay-founded political action committee to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002.
Poor guy.

Continuing the Marine Theme

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

When Flipper Attacks

DR EVIL: You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here! What do we have?

Apparently, we have 36 dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, equipped with "toxic dart" guns. Oh, and apparently they're missing.

Affleck for Public Office

Hodgepodge

Of all the things to be thinking about on my trip home from work on this rather gorgeous day, I was debating the existence of moral absolutes with myself. I was once asked by my preacher's wife if I believed in them, believed in absolutely defining an action as good or bad. I don't.

We were debating the moral puzzle that surrounds the issues of a woman's right to choose and capital punishment. How can one be murder and the other "social justice" if moral absolutes abounded in this God-created world? Killing is killing, right? The Bible says, "Thou shalt not steal." Easy enough, right? But what about stealing food to feed your family? Stealing from the rich to give to the poor? Stealing an object from somebody who stole it from you? Are these necessarily morally repugnant, or are they moral loopholes of generosity and justice?

But that's not actually what my post was originally going to be about. I just wanted to share yet a little piece of my theology.

Some hoopla is being made today about FEMA's plan to use taxpayer money to reimburse churches and other religious organizations that have opened their doors to provide shelter, food and supplies to survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I don't understand the problem. The churches weren't acting as such, weren't proselytizing, weren't denying people refuge based on their religious affiliation. These churches did what millions of Americans have done in the wake of these disasters; they opened their doors to aid the victims any way they can. We shouldn't hold them to blame for doing the right thing at the right time because of their affiliation with a cross, or a crescent, or a star. They did what the federal government could not do, and for such should be reimbursed and commended.

However, the recently-legislated ability of Head Start to choose their employees based on religious convictions stinks of putrid garbage. Head Start receives federal money to provide preschool services to underprivileged children. Period. Being a religious institution does not give them the right to throw anti-discrimination legislation out the window.

"Forced worship stinks in God’s nostrils," thundered the dissenter Roger Williams as he was banished from Massachusetts for denying Puritan authority over his conscience. That stunk, this sucks.

Just That Bad

Monday, September 26, 2005

Feeling Blah

Sorry to all who come here hour after hour looking for new posts -- you know who you are. I'm really sick and haven't been feeling up to posting the last few days. Today was pretty bad, but I think tomorrow is going to be worse. It's always worse before it gets better, right? You know, vomitting hasn't happened yet. Fingers crossed that it won't happen!

Okay, maybe I'll be enlightened with something to write about here in the next few minutes. If not, I'm going to bed and I'll catch you all tomorrow.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Bucking the Talking Point

Damn. I hate it when the right-wing whackos don't get the GOP talking points before they start vomitting their views to the media. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal is saying that Iraq is moving toward disintegration, and war there could spread to its neighbors. And here we're lead to believe the insurgency is "in its last throes."

Friday, September 23, 2005

Values, My Ass

What's it say for a party claiming to be superior when it comes to "values" when the two most powerful people in Congress -- both Republicans -- are being investigated for ethical improprieties?

American Equality

In the same vein as the last post, a group of House Republicans are showing the callousness that comes with years of being heartless. Their plan proposes offsetting the costs of relief and rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina by trimming military quality-of-life programs, including health care. These reduced health care benefits could save $2.4 billion over 10 years. Scrapping the elementary and secondary schools for military family members could also be closed, saving $788 million over 10 years.

That's roughly $3.2 billion saved and rerouted to the Katrina relief effort. But at what cost? Again, the administration is calling upon the poorest of its citizens to bear the brunt of the nation's sacrifices, while allowing the richest of the rich to continue being richer than rich. Is this America?

The Party of Stinginess

Showing exactly how greedy and ugly he is inside and out, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is refusing to give up any of the over $100 million he secured in pork for his home district (on top of the $324 million in funding credits for Houston's light rail construction), while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said that she's willing to return the $70 million earmarked for her district of San Francisco. Pelosi's money, and DeLay's money should he be willing to part with it, would go toward the mounting deficit brought on by Hurricane Katrina -- estimated to be $200 billion.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

What Character of People?

A senior White House budget official who resigned abruptly last week was arrested Monday on charges of lying to investigators and obstructing a federal inquiry involving Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist who has been under scrutiny by the Justice Department for more than a year.

The arrest of the official, David H. Safavian, head of procurement policy at the Office of Management and Budget, was the first to result from the wide-ranging corruption investigation of Mr. Abramoff, once among the most powerful and best-paid lobbyists in Washington and a close friend of Representative Tom DeLay, the House majority leader.
-- Philip Shenon, New York Times, September 20, 2005

"I will restore honor and integrity to the White House."
-- George W. Bush, 2000

Liar.

Damn Activist Congressmen

Old news, but a goodie.
Amid a pep-rally atmosphere, Massachusetts legislators on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected an attempt to halt same-sex marriages here...
-- David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post, September 15, 2005

Monday, September 19, 2005

"We're Sunk"

But at this stage of the game, barring some imaginative political moves that bear some resemblance to the Bush Administration circa 2002, Republicans on Capitol Hill and even some longtime Bush team members in various Cabinet level departments say this Administration is done for.

"You run down the list of things we thought we could accomplish and you have to wonder what we thought we were thinking," says a Bush Administration member who joined on in 2001. "You get the impression that we're more than listless. We're sunk."

Too pessimistic? Maybe not. Rumors are flying through various departments of longtime senior Bush loyalists looking to jump, but with few opportunities in the private sector to make the jump look like anything more than desperation.
-- American Spectator, September 19, 2005

Desperation, the new cologne for Republicans.

Must See TV Week

The new television season is upon us, beginning last night with the Simpsons, Family Guy and American Dad. What's coming up this week? Here's what I'll be watching. (All times are Eastern Standard Time, because all others suck.)

MONDAY

8:00pm, Arrested Development on FOX
8:30pm, Kitchen Confidential on FOX
At 9:00pm, I may sneak a peak at Prison Break on FOX, though I've never seen it before. I heard good things. And hello!
10:00pm, probably will switch to ABC Family for Whose Line, or TBS for Family Guy, if I stay in front of the television that long.

TUESDAY

8:00pm, maybe Bones on FOX. If not, nothing else.
9:00pm, most likely House on FOX, but I will most definitely be turning on NBC for...
9:30pm, The Office. Far and above the funniest show on TV. *swoon* *swoon*
10:00pm, maybe Nip/Tuck on FX. Highly doubtful, though.

WEDNESDAY

8:00pm, maybe I'll catch last season's finale of Lost on ABC -- a show I never saw before -- so I can watch...
9:00pm, Lost on ABC. But there's a good chance that I will give E-Ring on NBC a try. We'll see what kind of mood I'm in. This is typically my time for West Wing on NBC, but the bastards moved it to Sunday nights. Sons of bitches.
10:00pm, I'll give Invasion on ABC a try.

THURSDAY

8:00pm, Survivor on CBS. No doubt.
9:00pm, CSI on CBS. No doubt.
10:00pm, perhaps Criminal Minds on CBS. (Where's Without a Trace?! *hummina*)

FRIDAY & SATURDAY

Where crappy television goes to die.

SUNDAY

8:00pm, West Wing on NBC, Cold Case on CBS or Simpsons on FOX. Decisions, decisions.
9:00pm, Desperate Housewives on ABC. Wild horses couldn't drag me away.
10:00pm, maybe Crossing Jordan on NBC, but most likely nothing.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Allah Allah Ice Cream

This is rather amusing. And if you take a look at the pictures abutted with each other, the amusingness reaches orgasmic proportions. Allah on a Burger King wrapper. Who knew?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Something to Think About

Greetings from the Canary Islands. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Hawaii of Europe, these seven islands off the coast of Morocco are one of the continent’s most popular tourist and expatriate destinations, and thus, an efficient locale for taking the Euro pulse on any subject -- particularly America, on which virtually everyone seems to have an opinion.

Last October, when I visited here for the first time, it was the war on Iraq that was on everyone’s mind.

People were asking the straightforward question of what the Iraq conflict had to do with 9/11, getting no answers, and creating their own. One night I was at the hotel bar listening to an anti-American broadside worthy of Lord Nelson when the owner, seeing my consternation, pulled me aside and said “Well, Paul, you have to understand, these days everyone thinks of Americans as Nazis.’

He wasn’t kidding.

A year later, the talk is now of New Orleans, which has shocked the European mind on multiple levels. I was speaking with a Belgian recently whose reactions epitomize the crowd. The first thing he noted was that until Katrina hit he had no idea how many poor people there were in America. “You have to understand, we always considered America to be a land of plenty. Americans had everything. And now this,” he said. “Now we know that a quarter of the population of New Orleans was living below the poverty level.”

The second shock has been the perceived indifference of American society -- not just the government, but our entire system -- to the plight of its own people. The carefully manufactured Brady Bunch image of American life has been shattered by the reality of bodies floating through the streets. The perpetual advertising of the American brand, blaring effectively from a million media outlets, has been suddenly drowned by CNN.

This, in turn, has served to confirm the deepest suspicions of Europeans about the nature of American society, and their faith in their own social models. “It is clear now,’ said my Belgian friend, “we are on a very different path than you.” That path has been further confirmed by the recent Norwegian parliamentary elections, which have moved that country toward the left at a time of tremendous prosperity. According to the UN, Norway now has the highest quality of life in the world, offering government-subsidized perks like free college tuition and generous maternity leave that are anathema to the American way.

But the most poignant revelation of all, for an American, has been psychological, not political. Lying beneath Europeans’ increasingly angry criticisms of the United States, from Iraq to New Orleans, is a profound sense of disappointment, a tragic sense of loss that now goes to the bone. Only when you see this do you realize how much these people (particularly northern Europeans) once believed in America and the moral principles it publicly champions. If Katrina had hit virtually any other nation in the same way, it would not have generated this much bile. But in the eyes of many Europeans today, America is a fallen hero.

This is a problem that goes well beyond the White House, to the very heart of the American Dream: our unlimited faith in the free market. As my Belgian friend concluded, “I don’t know why you think that everyone acting selfishly is going to create a great country.”


-- Paul Stiles, Huffington Post, September 16, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

All for a Sausage

A 73-year-old diabetic grandmother and church elder who fled Katrina's floodwaters for the safety of a hotel ended up in prison instead for more than two weeks -- all over a bite of food.

Police in this New Orleans suburb arrested Merlene Maten the day after the hurricane on charges she took $63.50 in goods from a looted deli. Though never before in trouble with the law, her bail was set at a stiff $50,000 and she was shipped away to a state penitentiary....

Despite intervention from the nation's largest senior lobby, volunteer lawyers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and even a private attorney, the family fought a futile battle for 16 days to get her freed.

Then, hours after her plight was featured in an Associated Press story, a local judge on Thursday ordered Maten freed on her own recognizance...

Defense attorney Daniel Becnel, family members and witnesses said police snared Maten in the parking lot of a hotel after floodwaters swamped her New Orleans home. She had paid for her room with a credit card and followed authorities' instructions to pack extra food, they said.

She was retrieving a piece of sausage from the cooler in her car and planned to grill it so she and her husband, Alfred, could eat, according to her defenders....


-- Associated Press, September 16, 2005

Screwing the Dead

Wait a daggone minute. So the president is attending memorial services for the victims of Hurricane Katrina? What about these people? They get the cold shoulder?

Raising Bush

The youngest son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was arrested early Friday and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest, law enforcement officials said.

John Ellis Bush, 21, was arrested by agents of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission at 2:30 a.m. on a corner of Austin's Sixth Street bar district, said commission spokesman Roger Wade.
-- Associated Press, September 16, 2005

Noelle Bush, the governor's daughter, was arrested in January 2002 and accused of trying to pass a fraudulent prescription at a pharmacy to obtain the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. She completed a drug rehabilitation program in August 2003 and a judge dismissed the drug charges against her.
Them Bushes sure know how to raise their children right. At least they didn't grow up to be homosexual or anything embarrassing like that.

(Please tell me that's not the shirt he wore out on the town. Don't be a fashion victim on top of being pubicly intoxicated. It's bad form, really.)

You Go, Glen CoCo

This is simply friggin brilliant.

Paging Flamingo Jones -- now's your chance to give back to the state that's given you so much.

Down Down Down

It would seem that the president's approval rating and the national deficit are inversely proportional. A federal deficit of 873 billion dollars by 2015. That, my friends, is not fiscal conservatism. And if you think for a second that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay ever manages to tell the truth, reconsider. He may claim "victory" in the War on Government Fat, but the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation reports otherwise. Since 2001, the number of annual pork projects jumped from 6,000 to 14,000. Just another lying pseudo-conservative.

Jumping to Certain Conclusions

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.
-- Brian Williams Blog, MSNBC, September 16, 2005

Mostly Minuses

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.
-- Bill Mahrer, on the Bush Presidency, September 15, 2005

Bubble Boy

Even though we know W. likes to be in his bubble with his feather pillow, the stories this week are breathtaking about the lengths the White House staff had to go to in order to capture Incurious George's attention.

Newsweek reported that the reality of Katrina did not sink in for the president until days after the levees broke, turning New Orleans into a watery grave. It took a virtual intervention of his top aides to make W. watch the news about the worst natural disaster in a century. Dan Bartlett made a DVD of newscasts on the hurricane to show the president on Friday morning as he flew down to the Gulf Coast.

The aides were scared to tell the isolated president that he should cut short his vacation by a couple of days, Newsweek said, because he can be "cold and snappish in private." Mike Allen wrote in Time about one "youngish aide" who was so terrified about telling Mr. Bush he was wrong about something during the first term, he "had dry heaves" afterward.
-- Maureen Dowd, New York Times, September 14, 2005

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Evidence of Fabulousness

Investigators appointed by the Vatican have been instructed to review each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for "evidence of homosexuality" and for faculty members who dissent from church teaching, according to a document prepared to guide the process.
-- Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, September 15, 2005

Like a Judy Garland CD, or what? The questionnaire also asks whether faculty members "watch out for signs of particular friendships."

Back to Normal?

I think it's back to where it once was.

Blogger Ass

Hmm, yeah, Blogger ate my template. And, hmm, yeah, guess who can't find the back-up of said template? That would be me. I found a cached version of Zac Attack on Google, so hopefully I can use that and turn it back to the way it was.

Best of Commenting

Very busy again today, so I will post later on this evening. I must run some errands now, but I wanted to share a new feature here at Zac Attack. On the sidebar, right below the Sam Adams' quote, I will be posting some of my favorite comments we receive to our posts. Some may be intellectually stimulating, some may be stupid and some may be entertaining. But, above all else, these spotlighted comments are ones that I took a liking to. Enjoy, and keep commenting.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

It's Partisan Time!

From here:
This morning the House Judiciary Committee voted on a resolution to compel the Attorney General to share information about the Department of Justice investigation of the Valerie Plame leak. This resolution was opposed by every Republican voting, and was defeated on party lines, 15-11. When opposing this vote, Republicans explained that we should not look into a matter that is being investigated by the Justice Department. This excuse may sound like a broken record by now. That is not and has never been our standard. This year alone, Congress has held hearings on allegations of criminal misconduct in the United Nation's Oil-for-Food Program; the same misconduct being reviewed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Congress also has been looking into the Jack Abramoff scandal at the same time as the Justice Department. Let us not forget the endless hearings held in this Committee and others on alleged Clinton-Gore campaign finance violations, the Whitewater claims, and Clinton White House Travel Office firings. These were matters all under Justice Department review at the time of our hearings.
Republicans covering their own, making a laughingstock out of their 'commitment' to national security? I don't believe it.

From here:
Senate Republicans on Wednesday scuttled an attempt by Sen. Hillary Clinton to establish an independent, bipartisan panel patterned after the 9/11 Commission to investigate what went wrong with federal, state and local governments' response to Hurricane Katrina.
Same old, same old.

Only good news to come out of this:
Separately, Senate Homeland Security Committee chair Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Wednesday that Post-9/11 changes to improve the government response to catastrophic disasters failed their first major test in Hurricane Katrina's wake.

Despite billions of dollars to boost disaster preparedness at all levels of government, the response to Katrina was plagued by confusion, communication failures and widespread lack of coordination, said Collins as she opened hearings into the disaster.

"At this point, we would have expected a sharp, crisp response to this terrible tragedy," Collins said. "Instead, we witnessed what appeared to be a sluggish initial response."
Thank you, wise Maine senator. At least some Republicans voice their opinions, not the party line. No wonder she's a target.

(thanks to The Agitator)

Even Presidents Number Two

Answering the age-old question of whether presidents expel their waste like everyone else, President Bush lays to rest the controversy. A Reuters' photograph shows the president writing a note to secretary of state condolleezza rice today at the UN Security Council meeting, saying
I think I MAY NEED A BATHROOM break?
In case that photo is ever taken off the site -- which would be a travesty -- it can be found here. Enjoy.

(via Editor & Publisher)

Baby Steps

From Newsday:
With a rare but simple declaration -- "I take responsibility" -- President George W. Bush said for the first time yesterday that he would bear the blame for mistakes in the widely criticized federal response to Hurricane Katrina.
Thank you, Mr. President, for taking a superficial first step. When someone has a certain responsibility and that responsibility isn't met, there should be repercussions.
Bush took pains yesterday to draw a sharp line between the government's initial bureaucratic response, and the recovery and lifesaving efforts. "I'm not going to defend the process going in," Bush said, "but I am going to defend the people who are on the front line of saving lives."
Of course, Republicans are going to paint this as 'hating the rescue workers' and being in league with the hurricane, right? Because, you know, Bush is saying exactly the line of many Democrats on the Iraq War. So yeah, I'm waiting for the Republican backlash from people who think he is hurting the relief effort by admitting mistakes and those who think he shouldn't apologize in the first place.

Now then, if Bush could only apologize for some other mistakes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Earth Calling Bush. Come in Bush

How out of the loop is the president? When asked if he had a comment on the resignation of FEMA chief Michael Brown, Bush said, "Maybe you know something I don't know. I've been working." You know, on his strategery.

Satan's Panties

"Christian yoga is an oxymoron," agrees Laurette Willis of Tahlequah, Okla. She says yoga led her to dabble in a rootless New Age lifestyle until she became a Christian in 1987. Willis now speaks to Christian groups against yoga, offering instead a series of poses called PraiseMoves.
-- Stretching for Jesus, Time Magazine

What the firetruck?!

When New Ideas Dry Up

What, by chance, would the world look like without original thought, or even a handy thesauraus?

OR

How do you try too hard to make a catch phase stick?
Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.
-- George W. Bush, speech at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, June 28, 2005
Our strategy can be summed up this way: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down....
-- George W. Bush, speech in Morgantown, West Virginia, July 4, 2005
As Iraqis stand up, Americans and coalition forces will stand down.
-- George W. Bush, speech in Grapevine, Texas, August 3, 2005
Our approach can be summed up this way: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.
-- George W. Bush, press availability, Crawford, Texas, August 11, 2005
Our approach can be summed up this way: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.
-- George W. Bush, weekly radio address, August 13, 2005
Our military is strategy is straightforward: As Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down.
-- George W. Bush, speech in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 22, 2005
And as I'll remind the good folks of Idaho, our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down.
-- George W. Bush, press availability, Donnelly, Idaho, August 23, 2005
Our approach can be summed up this way: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.
-- George W. Bush, speech in Nampa, Idaho, August 24, 2005
Our strategy is straightforward: As Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down.
-- George W. Bush, weekly radio address, August 27, 2005
As Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down.
-- George W. Bush, remarks at the White House, September 13, 2005

Wascally Woberts

I think I'm pretty ok with Roberts being chief justice. I mean, there's certainly something creepy about him, but it seems like he's a good supporter of precedent and acknowledges that the judiciary branch isn't supposed to be creating laws. The big problem that I had with him was that it looked like he didn't believe in a right to privacy in the Constitution, but...
John Roberts, the nominee to be U.S. chief justice, told a Senate panel that the Constitution contains a right to privacy, disavowing comments he made as a Reagan administration lawyer in the 1980s.

"The right to privacy is protected under the Constitution in various ways," Roberts, 50, said in answer to a question from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter in Washington.

The Supreme Court has recognized a constitutional right to privacy guaranteeing access to abortion and contraceptives as well as the freedom to marry and procreate. Roberts's views on the subject had been in question, in part because of the language he used in a 1981 Justice Department memo, referring to the "so- called 'right to privacy.'"

Roberts, beginning a full day of questioning from senators in Washington, today said that memo was designed to reflect the views of Harvard Law School Dean Erwin Griswold, who had recently given a speech on the topic. He said the document didn't convey his personal views.
Frankly he's sounding pretty good to me, and certainly much better than other possibilities. I just hope that, when confirmed, he performs according to how he says he will.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Birth Day

Welcome to the world, Alice Richmond. Your mom is hot.

Bye Bye Bye

See Mike. See Mike resign. Resign Mike, resign.

"I'm turning in my resignation today," Brown said. "I think it's in the best interest of the agency and the best interest of the president to do that and get the media focused on the good things that are going on, instead of me."

On that token, goodbye Mr. Rumsfeld.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

No Caption Necessary

Dr. No Speaks

Many reasons have been given for why we fight and our youth must die in Iraq. The reasons now given for why we must continue this war bear no resemblance to the reasons given to gain the support of the American people and the United States Congress prior to our invasion in March of 2003. Before the war, we were told we faced an imminent threat to our national security from Saddam Hussein. This rationale, now proven grossly mistaken, has been changed. Now we're told we must honor the fallen by "completing the mission." To do otherwise would demean the sacrifice of those who have died or been wounded. Any lack of support for "completing the mission" is said, by the promoters of the war, to be unpatriotic, un-American, and detrimental to the troops. They insist the only way one can support the troops is to never waver on the policy of nation building, no matter how ill-founded that policy may be. The obvious flaw in this argument is that the mission, of which they so reverently speak, has changed constantly from the very beginning.
-- Republican Congressman Rep. Ron Paul (Tx.)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I'm Going Home!

The wildly incompetent, under-qualified director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who was just sent to the corner to think about what he had done -- or hadn't done, rather -- is going to the press about his public spanking. He's not sure why he was sacked.

"You'd have to ask Secretary Chertoff why he made that decision," Michael Brown said.

But Maureen Dowd over at the New York Times can sum it up for us.
W. trusted Brownie simply because he was a friend of a friend. He was a college buddy of Joe Allbaugh, who worked as W.'s chief of staff when he was Texas governor and as his 2000 presidential campaign manager.

It sounds more like a Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson flick than the story of a man who was to be responsible for the fate of the Republic during the biggest natural disaster in our history. Brownie was a failed former lawyer with a degree from a semiaccredited law school, as The New Republic put it, when he moved to Colorado in 1991 to judge horse judges for the Arabian Horse Association.

He was put out to pasture under pressure in 2001, leaving him free to join his pal Mr. Allbaugh at an eviscerated FEMA. Mr. Allbaugh decided to leave the top job at FEMA and become a lobbyist with clients like Halliburton when the agency was reorganized under Homeland Security, stripping it of authority. Why not, Mr. Allbaugh thought, just pass this obscure sinecure to his homeboy?

Time magazine reported that Brownie's official bio described his only stint in emergency management as "assistant city manager" in Edmond, Okla. But a city official told Time that the FEMA chief had been "an assistant to the city manager," which was "more like an intern."

...The breakdown in management and communications was so execrable that the president learned about the 25,000 desperate, trapped people at the New Orleans convention center not from Brownie, who didn't know himself, but from a wire story carried into the Oval Office by an aide on Thursday, 24 hours after the victims had been pleading and crying for help on every channel. (Maybe tomorrow the aide will come in with a wire story, "No W.M.D. in Iraq.")

...FEMA was a disaster waiting to happen, the minute a disaster struck. As The Washington Post reported Friday, five of the eight top FEMA officials were simply Bush loyalists and political operatives who "came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters."
That, Mr. Brown, is why you're dead to us.

Coming to Terms

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell feels "terrible" for misleading the world in his now-infamous speech to the United Nations on Saddam Hussein's alleged and ultimately nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. Huh. Another man who can admit when he's wrong.

That's an F

President Bush's job approval has dipped below 40 percent for the first time in the AP-Ipsos poll...
-- Associated Press, September 10, 2005

Thirty-nine percent, baby.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Harvest Moon

My county is making national news yet again this week with the unveiling of the national memorial for Flight 93. You would think that this weekend would be a somber time -- a few days before the fourth anniversary of 9/11 -- but controversy has been stirred up, not in the county but in a far off place called the blogosphere.

People who've probably never visited Pennsylvania are complaining that the memorial's prominent semi-circle bears too close of a resemblance to the Crescent Moon of Islam. Boulderdash, I say. And I thumb my nose at those who would think otherwise.

Besides, I think the real controversy should be over the fact that the arc will consist of concrete walls. Concrete walls that will need cement and.. masons. Freemasons, perhaps. Must they have their grubby fingers in everything? Sheesh.

(Thanks to Tom for the tip.)

The Shunning

Did you know that Katrina looked like "a 6-week unborn human child"? Me neither. And did you know that there's controversy about the reason for New Orleans being wiped clean by this God-created Brillo pad? It's either because it housed five of Louisiana's ten abortion clinics or because it's our modern day Soddom and Gomorrah. Either way, God's one unhappy camper.

You're Fired

The Constiwhat?

From Guardian:
In a victory for the Bush administration, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that the government can continue to hold indefinitely an American accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive 'dirty bomb'.

"The exceedingly important question before us is whether the President of the United States possesses the authority to detain militarily a citizen of this country who is closely associated with al-Qaida, an entity with which the United States is at war," Judge J. Michael Luttig wrote. "We conclude that the President does possess such authority."
From our Constitution:
Amendment XIV

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
(emphasis mine)
Ridiculous.

VisionAmerica.us

I love subscribing to the newsletters of weirdos. I read them, giggle, and then usually delete them, but I wanted to send this one along in case any of you are in the DC area and are fed up with the obvious and spiteful attack by the left on Christians.
Dear Zac,

Are you

Disgusted by Hollywood's attacks on Judeo- Christian ethics?
Outraged by media slander of Christians?
Incensed by judicial assaults on Americans' right to publicly acknowledge God?
Sick and Tired of seeing our children indoctrinated in the homosexual lifestyle?

Learn how and why the left is relentlessly attacking people of faith -- and how to stop it!

Countering the War on Faith

Leaders in the battle for the soul of America share their perspective on the challenges confronting us.

Hear first-hand accounts (from the front lines) from legislators, leaders, authors, activists, commentators and clergy.

Ample time for questions and answers following panel discussions.

DATE: October 17-18, 2005
LOCATION: Omni Shoreham Hotel
Washington, D.C.
I'd go, but I'm washing my hair that week.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Who Needs to Save Lives?

Not long after some 1,000 firefighters sat down for eight hours of training, the whispering began: "What are we doing here?"

As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters -- his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week -- a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta.

Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers. Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA.

On Monday, some firefighters stuck in the staging area at the Sheraton peeled off their FEMA-issued shirts and stuffed them in backpacks, saying they refuse to represent the federal agency.
-- Lisa Rosetta, Salt Lake Tribune, September 6, 2005

What an unconscionable waste of an important and immediate resource.

My Sentiments Exactly

"Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney."

(via Think Progress)

Update 11:08pm: The video was just shown on the Daily Show. Excellent.

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

Two-thirds said the president could have done more to get relief efforts going quickly, according to [polling by the Pew Research Center].
-- Associated Press, September 8, 2005

Where We Were Whacked

Oh Canada

Louisiana state senator Walter Boasso is praising the rapid response of rescuers who arrived in New Orleans to assist in saving trapped residents as the waters from the corrupted levees began to rise the day after Katrina. The surprising aspect of the senator's praise was the fact that he wasn't referring to the United States military or FEMA. He was praising the Canadians.

The forty-six member Vancouver-based Urban Search and Rescue Team arrived in the St. Bernard Parish which lies east of New Orleans a full 5 days before American rescue units, and the volunteers worked 18-hour days rescuing 119 people in total.

...A St. Bernard official offered sincere gratitude and told the team that the Canadian rescuers were their first sign of relief.

St. Bernard Parish was home to 68,000 people but was virtually forgotten by U.S. officials who were concentrating their search and rescue efforts on New Orleans which is only a few kilometers away.
-- HalifaxLive.com, September 8, 2005

Canadia rocks.

Distance from Crawford, TX to New Orleans, LA: 551.3 miles
Distance from Washington, DC to New Orleans, LA: 1085.6 miles
Distance from Vancouver to New Orleans, LA: 3021.9 miles
Knowing that your president is incompetent: Priceless.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

No Caption Necessary

Refreshingly Blunt

From The Register:
British Home Secretary Charles Clarke has warned that European citizens will have to accept that civil liberties may have to be bartered away in exchange for protection from terrorists and organised criminals.
At least he's honest about what the trade-off is. At least he isn't still pretending to be on the side of civil rights.

Bush the Lesser

As New Orleans took on the atmospherics of a John Carpenter movie, George W. Bush, a man reluctant to distinguish between desperation and lawlessness, much less make the connection between the two, proved at last he is his father's son.

Thirteen years earlier George Bush the Elder saw a black population mired in poverty and alienation riot after a California jury blithely acquitted the posse of Los Angeles cops who beat Rodney King half to death. His response was to deliver an indignant speech about law and order, proving only that he was blind to the nuances of plain justice.

Last week, with the poor stranded on rooftops, then huddled, hungry and abandoned inside a leaking stadium and a sweltering convention center, George the Lesser watched in seeming amazement when they ran riot. First came looting born of hunger and thirst when a federal government adept at moving armies to a foreign desert for a fraudulent war proved incapable of shipping food and medicine across state lines for a flooded city.

By week's end gunshots and rapine broke loose. Enraged and unfed victims, many too poor to reach the high ground available to wealthier New Orleans suburbanites, turned on their keepers. That is all they had -- keepers. Only someone who shows up with nourishment and medicine can be called a savior, and the saviors of the Department of Homeland Security seemed oblivious to the depth of the plight in the Delta. A reporter for National Public Radio, the administration's designated Voice of Satan, could not convince Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, the man responsible for knowing such things, that the Convention Center was a place of starvation, with human bodies discarded in open view.

Bush the Younger? He made a statement decrying all looting, drawing no distinction between hooligans who grabbed televisions for which there was no electricity and frantic parents swiping bread from broken store windows after the fashion of Jean Valjean. Informed that gasoline had spiked to $3 a gallon, Bush, who returned home from a one-month vacation aboard a 747 jumbo jet amd travels by armored limousine, told people not to purchase gasoline unless they needed it. In a country in which mobility had just been shown to be the difference between life and death, Bush's answer was to tell people not to buy what they inevitably will need.

The facile idiocy did not stop at an executive branch run by a man congenitally unable to comprehend the plight of anyone living below six figures.

Dennis Hastert, the tone-deaf speaker of the House, gave an interview to the hometown newspaper in which he said he saw no sense in using federal dollars to rebuild New Orleans because it lies seven feet below sea level. Hastert, who previously distinguished himself by once blocking the appointment of a Catholic as chaplain of the House of Representatives, said such a thing about the predominantly Catholic and black and multicultural city to which dispossessed Acadians of Canada were banished by their Anglo conquerors. Possibly, when Venice next floods, Hastert will instruct the archbishop to abandon the place and move to Prussia.

Bush has shown, first in a distant land, where the corpses are foreign, and from which dead Americans can be smuggled home with photographers banned, and now, inside his own borders, that he has no grasp of how policy and outcome are interconnected. Consider his words as New Orleans swamped and its poorest and least stable population sweltered, starved and then broke into the equivalent of a prison uprising:

"We view this storm as a temporary disruption that is being addressed by the government and by the private sector." On Thursday he denounced looting and insurance fraud. Think about it: Ordinary people were so locked in anarchy and helplessness they stole food as the more venal among them stole guns and shot at aid helicopters. The president denounced insurance fraud. He might as well have weighed in on poaching while he was at it.

Invited to criticize oil companies for price gouging, he instead suggested they donate to hurricane relief. Four years earlier, as the government rushed aid, medicine, rescuers and insurance to the high-rent district of New York, Bush had a license he chose not to use. It was the moment to tell his nation that it was time to set a crisis deadline to free the country of its need for the Mideast oil that gave root to 9/11, just as it now gives wing to the sudden shortage of gasoline created by a single hurricane.

With 15 of the 19 hijackers carrying Saudi passports, Bush still couldn't bring himself to part with his old business associates. Now, with the last of Hurricane Katrina soaking into the lawns of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, George W. Bush is as powerless to do anything about the spike in gasoline prices as he is incompetent to resolve the anarchy loosed upon one of his treasured red states by fiat of nature. And he will never see the connection. It's his nature. It is the nature of a patrician lad unwilling to recognize that his foreign friends are the enemies of his people.

It took a hurricane out of the Old Testament to send that message and still a man who routinely behaves as if he is Moses will not climb the mountain to hear the message.
-- Dennis Roddy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 4, 2005

This great article deserves a thorough read-through. Take the time to read it in its entirety before you give into your compulsion to comment.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Brownie, Brownie II

The government's disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina had already struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security employees to the region -- and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents.

Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Mike Chertoff roughly five hours after Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29. Brown said that among duties of these employees was to "convey a positive image" about the government's response for victims.
-- Associated Press, September 6, 2005

Move along. Nothing to see here.

Brownie, Brownie

The time has come to be exceedingly blunt: President George Bush needs to fire FEMA chief Michael Brown NOW if he is to stem a credibility crisis to convince all but his staunch partisans (who automatically tout the establishment line) that he truly values sound administration and protection of the public versus political cronyism and political CYA.

We already did this post which detailed Brown's less-than-stellar background to fill one of the most vital posts in American life: his last job involved overseeing horse shows, he was reportedly forced out of that due to poor administration and got his FEMA job with the Bush administration due to political connections. And what job does he have? One that is literally a life-and-death job, not just in the case of disasters like Hurricane Katrina but, conceivably, in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake or terrorist biological or nuclear attack.

There is no room for horsing around in this job and Brown seems as over his head in his job as the hapless victims who drowned in the hurricane.
-- Joe Gandelman, The Moderate Voice, September 6, 2005

Hell, this is the guy who President Bush swimmingly commended, saying "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." In fact, press secretary Scott McClellan had to dance around the comment this afternoon in his press briefing.
Q Is "Brownie" still doing a "heck of a job," according to the President?

MR. McCLELLAN: We've got to continue to do everything we can in support of those who are involved in the operational aspects of this response effort. And that's what we're going to do. There will be plenty of time --
Notice the non-answer answer.

This is what happens when you let babies play in your backyard. They make a mess of all your hard work and blame someone else for peeing in the pool.

At School

So I'm finally back online at Tufts. I'll be pretty busy, not sure how much time I'll have to post, but I should be learning some relevant things in my History of the American South and US Foreign Economic Policy classes. Also, apparently some student from Tulane will be attending Tufts this semester free of charge to try to ease the burden of Katrina. Good to see that private organizations with no mandate to selflessly aid the public are doing a more competent job of disaster relief.

In other news, I'm more than a little worried about the future of my right to privacy.

Monday, September 05, 2005

What a Wreck

Neither the death of the chief justice nor the frantic efforts of panicked White House political advisers can conceal the magnitude of the president's failure of leadership last week. The catastrophe in New Orleans billowed up like the howling winds of hell and was carried live and in color on television screens across the U.S. and around the world.

The Big Easy had turned into the Big Hurt, and the colossal failure of George W. Bush to intervene powerfully and immediately to rescue tens of thousands of American citizens who were suffering horribly and dying in agony was there for all the world to see.
-- Bob Herbert, New York Times, September 5, 2005
President Bush made landfall on the Gulf Coast on Friday, four days after Hurricane Katrina. If the visit was designed to quell criticism of the administration's lethargic reaction to the catastrophe, it came too late: By now it is clear that the federal government's initial response, which has improved markedly in the last few days, fell somewhere between the criminally negligent and the pathetically feeble. Even the president acknowledged that it was unacceptable.
-- Los Angeles Times Editorial, September 4, 2005
Each day since Katrina brings more evidence of the lethal ineptitude of federal officials. I'm not letting state and local officials off the hook, but federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized.

Here's one of many examples: The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients.

Experts say that the first 72 hours after a natural disaster are the crucial window during which prompt action can save many lives. Yet action after Katrina was anything but prompt. Newsweek reports that a "strange paralysis" set in among Bush administration officials, who debated lines of authority while thousands died.
-- Paul Krugman, New York Times, September 5, 2005

People I've talked to the past few days believe the same thing. Even in my conservative-leaning county, people are fed up of overbearing government that struts its stuff when the issues at hand don't matter and then cowers and hides when the going gets tough. Two opinions writers for the New York Times and an LA Times editorial wouldn't usually make up the general opinion of America. But in this instance, I believe it does.

Severely Lacking

President Bush asserted Monday that federal, state and local governments are "doing the best they can" to help Hurricane Katrina victims even as his third visit there exposed friction with the governor of Louisiana over the slow pace of relief efforts.
-- Associated Press, September 5, 2005

What happens when the federal government's "best" isn't good enough? A growing number of people are realizing what all a Republican president can't or won't offer them. It's about time. A year late, a dollar short.

He Passed Over Scalia?!

President Bush on Monday nominated John Roberts to succeed William H. Rehnquist as chief justice and called on the Senate to confirm him...
-- Associated Press, September 5, 2005

Saturday, September 03, 2005

No? Die!

An angry San Diego topless dancer pulled out a knife and stabbed a customer after he refused a lap dance, police said on Thursday.
-- Reuters, September 2, 2005

Where would a topless dancer conceal a knife, anyway?

Paperwork?!

Several states ready and willing to send National Guard troops to the rescue in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans didn't get the go-ahead until days after the storm struck - a delay nearly certain to be investigated by Congress.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard on Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday.
-- Associated Press, September 3, 2005

I had no idea.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Searching for Hate

I'm... honored? If you were to type "hate gays" into Yahoo! search, my post entitled "Do We Hate Gays?" comes up as the sixth result. To think that someone found my blog by searching for "hate gays." Wow.

Reality-Challenged

As New Orleans descended into anarchy, top Bush administration officials congratulated each other for jobs well done and spoke of water, food and troops pouring into the ravaged city. Television pictures told a different story.

"What it reminded me of the other day is 'Baghdad Bob' saying there are no Americans at the airport," said Rich Galen, a Republican consultant in Washington. He was referring to Saddam Hussein's reality-challenged minister of information who denied the existence of U.S. troops in the Iraqi capital.

To some critics, President Bush seemed to deny the existence of problems with hurricane relief this week. He waited until Friday to acknowledged that "the results are not acceptable," and even then the president parsed his words.
-- Associated Press, September 2, 2005

Anarchy

From here:

New fears struck Friday morning in New Orleans, as explosions rocked the riverfront a few miles south of the French Quarter. The cause of the blasts at about 4:35 a.m. and the extent of any possible damage is not yet known.

An initial explosion sent flames of red and orange shooting into the pre-dawn sky. A series of smaller blasts followed and then acrid, black smoke that could be seen even in the dark. The vibrations were felt all the way downtown.

The explosions appeared to originate close to the east bank of the Mississippi River, near a residential area and rail tracks. At least two police boats are at the scene.
Fights and fires have broken out, looting continues to be a problem, corpses lie out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers have been shot at as the more than 80 percent flooded city spirals into increased anarchy.

The governor declared war on looters who have made the city a menacing landscape of disorder and fear.

"They have M-16s and they're locked and loaded," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said of 300 National Guard troops who landed in New Orleans fresh from duty in Iraq. "These troops know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so, and I expect they will."
Yikes. Notice, please, that they're 'fresh from duty in Iraq'. Sounds like they took Zac's advice.
About 15,000 to 20,000 people who had taken shelter at the convention center to await buses grew increasingly hostile. Police Chief Eddie Compass said he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, but they were quickly beaten back by an angry mob.
CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin reports that with 40,000 National Guard troops already called up for duty, the Army is making preparations to send in as many as 10,000 combat troops from the active duty force.
Yikes again.
An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered with a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.

"I don't treat my dog like that," 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair. "I buried my dog." He added: "You can do everything for other countries but you can't do nothing for your own people. You can go overseas with the military but you can't get them down here."
Chilling.
Many people had dogs and they cannot take them on the bus. A police officer took one from a little boy, who cried until he vomited. The policeman told a reporter he didn't know what would happen to the dog.
"This is a national emergency. This is a national disgrace," he said. "FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Little Advice

Dear Mr. President:

I'm a lifelong Democrat and you're a Republican on the ropes, but for the good of the country I will give you a little advice. If you do not want to see your already shrinking Presidency disintegrate into political nothingness, you will get every National Guardsman from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on the first thing smoking out of Baghdad. They joined the Guard with this very sort of catastrophe in mind, not to dodge IEDs in some far-off desert.
-- Trey Ellis, September 1, 2005

I couldn't agree more.

Questions Abound

Silly Pat Buchanan. What are you up to now?
Why is a Republican Congress permitting this president to persist in the dereliction of his sworn duty? Bush is chief executive of the United States. It is his duty to enforce the laws. Can anyone fairly say he is enforcing the immigration laws? Those laws are clear. People who break in are to be sent back. Yet, more than 10 million have broken in with impunity.

Another million try to break in every year. Half a million succeed. Border security is homeland security. How, then, can the Department of Homeland Security say America is secure?

Who can guarantee that, of the untold millions of illegals here, and the scores of thousands ordered deported for crimes who have disappeared into our midst, none is a terrorist waiting for orders to blow up a subway or mall and massacre American citizens?

... Twice, Bush has taken an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Article IV, Section 4 of that Constitution reads, "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion."

Well, we are being invaded, and the president of the United States is not doing his duty to protect the states against that invasion.

Some courageous Republican, to get the attention of this White House, should drop into the hopper a bill of impeachment, charging Bush with a conscious refusal to uphold his oath and defend the states of the Union against 'invasion."
-- Pat Buchanan, Tracy Press, August 29, 2005

Although he's a racist, bigotted prick, he does have a point. What is to stop a real, honest-to-goodness terrorist from escaping the immigration police and wreaking havoc upon the United States? Why can't this be categorized as an "invasion"? Why is the President so lax about border security? What's the use scanning luggage at subway stations if we're so willy-nilly about terrorists' entrance into the United States? Timothy McVeigh didn't use a subway to get to his federal building.

A Day Late, Dollar Short

George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.
-- New York Times, September 01, 2005

Holy Freakin Moly

Gas prices! I went to work yesterday and gas was 2.63. I left work and it was 3.17! Ouch! I managed to find some for 2.81, but it felt pretty silly considering that a bargain. It's supposed to reach 4 in a week or so.

Here has a good explanation of the hurricane's effect on the gas market:
Will the government's decision to release crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an emergency stockpile, help control gasoline prices?

Indirectly, yes, since it will help lower crude oil prices, one key determinant of gasoline prices. Crude oil for October delivery fell 84 cents in futures trading yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, to $68.97 a barrel.

But a shortage of U.S. refining capacity amid high demand has been just as important a reason as rising crude prices for gasoline's price increases this year. And now, eight refineries are inoperative in the Gulf, representing about 10 percent of the nation's capacity. Additional crude oil from the reserve won't get the refineries back on line any sooner.

How much higher will prices go, and when will they begin to come down again?

Nobody knows for sure but, despite a rise in gasoline futures prices yesterday and estimates that it will take months for facilities in the Gulf to be fully operational again, experts say there is some cause for optimism: Higher retail prices likely will attract more imported gasoline, which will help ease any shortages in supply and help bring prices under control, beginning in about a week.
So no, drilling in Alaska still isn't the answer.