People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Archive for January, 2006

Invasion of the body snatchers

Posted by schroeder915 on January 27, 2006

Once again, on a lighter note … this just came into focus for me … the Bush agenda … WE’RE BEING TAKEN OVER BY ALIENS!!! Klaatu barata nikto. Laura Bush is one of the emissaries, but they don’t want peace, they’re pod people.

View the full picture to take in the horror of the lifeless gaze.

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My plan for Louisiana

Posted by schroeder915 on January 26, 2006


Parishioners of Antioch Spiritual Church on Flood Street in the Lower Ninth Ward move soggy, moldy pews to a garbage pile in the street.


The doors to the church were opened for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, revealing a soggy muddy mess over four months after floods devastated New Orleans.

Maybe if Preznit Bush wasn’t AWOL from New Orleans for so long; maybe if he hadn’t just cruised St. Charles Avenue in the presidential motorcade the last time he was in New Orleans; maybe if he actually got some mud on his shoes and clothes from tromping around in the sewage-laced muck like these guys did to clean out their church; maybe if he just weren’t so friggin’ cocky; maybe then he’d realize that the problems in New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast are beyond the pale, beyond comprehension, and involve issues that are impacting the well-being of hundreds of thousands of American citizens. Maybe if he actually spent some time here for more than “goddamn press conferences”, well, maybe then he’d finally get it — that he can’t just hang back and expect solutions to fall in his lap. He needs to be pro-active.

After he shot down the Baker bill, for example, which would have compensated owners for at least 60 percent of the value of their homes, well, then isn’t the ball in his court? (For the record, I think homeowners deserve more than what Baker was offering). Shouldn’t Bush have to offer a legitimate alternative? Instead, he sent his waterboy Donald Powell to say that the feds would help the 20,000 people whose homes flooded in areas that weren’t in designated flood zones. Hey fuckers! That still leaves about 300,000 people hanging in the balance! I’m not even counting the 1.5 million people across the entire Gulf Coast who were impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita all the way from Lafayette, Louisiana to Mobile, Alabama.

Aren’t that many American citizens more important than Iraq? Elections in the Palestinian territories? Counterfeiting in North Korea? The White House is developing plans to deal with those problems? Why can’t President Bush get his fucking ass down here to New Orleans for more than a couple of hours every few months — not for photos — but TO HELP!!! Instead he’s waiting for a nation with a short pop-culture attention span to forget about the ongoing misery (nine out of ten hits I’m getting lately are from people just looking for chocolate city T-shirts).

Which reminds me of what Hurricane Czar Donald Powell’s mission really is — it appears that President Bush appointed a former FDIC official not to cooperate in creating a bold vision for New Orleans’ resurrection, but instead to pinch pennies and to crush the hope of hundreds of thousands of citizens.

Hey you fuckers! Let me tell you something. We don’t need to beg to you monkeyshit-for-brains chickenhawks to give us a goddamn thing. We already produce at least a quarter of the nation’s domestic oil, at least a quarter of the nation’s seafood, and almost all of the grain and other merchandise destined for export from the Midwest travels through the Port of New Orleans.

So we don’t need a handout. We’ll just take the plan you had for financing your blockheaded invasion of Iraq — remember how you said it would pay for itself with Iraqi oil revenues? We’ll pay our own way. Just give us the $5-8 billion in annual off-shore revenues, 100 percent of which, to date, you’ve been spending in Washington. Then we’ll keep all of the federal taxes we pay, we’ll tax the Midwest for their exports and imports, and we’ll tax the seafood the rest of the nation consumes.

We’ll build Category 5 storm protection. We’ll restore the coasts. We’ll help everyone return and rebuild their homes. And we’ll make New Orleans the city of the 21st Century that will be even more the envy of the rest of the country than it was before Hurricane Katrina.

So hey you fucker Bush — why don’t you just go get yourself a blow job so we can impeach your cheap monkey ass! Like your Vice President is prone to say, Go Fuck Yourself!

How’s that for a plan asshole!

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Let them eat moldy sheetrock

Posted by schroeder915 on January 26, 2006

That’s monkeyass Bush’s answer to the citizens of New Orleans.

“I’m just the president. It’s not my job to come up with a plan. That’s your job. I’m givin’ yer some sheet pilin’ and some more dirt and rocks and stuff. Now get busy and clean up your own mess.”

President Bush talking about New Orleans in today’s press conference:

Q Okay, can I —

THE PRESIDENT: No, it’s —

Q But, sir, I’m sorry —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s unfair to the other people.

Q No, I’m just — I’m just following up —

THE PRESIDENT: You’re trying to hoard. (Laughter.)

Q I’m not trying — I have a question about New Orleans, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: This is — I agree with you. I can see the expressions on your colleagues’ faces that it’s —

Q Well, I hope it will be worth your time. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: They don’t think so. (Laughter.)

Q The administration has rejected a local plan to rebuild New Orleans, and your administrator down there, Don Powell, said that the focus for federal money should be to rebuild for those 20,000 homeowners who were outside the flood plain. Critics, local officials say that that ignores so many people in New Orleans, the poorest of the poor, the hardest hit areas, people who didn’t have flood insurance or didn’t expect the levees to break. And they feel, sir, that this is a certain betrayal of your promise that New Orleans would rise again. So why did you reject it? And do you think that the people of New Orleans have to expect that there is a limit for the extent to which the city can be rebuilt?

THE PRESIDENT: The Congress has appropriated $85 billion to help rebuild the Gulf Coast. And that is a good start; it’s a strong start; it’s a significant commitment to the people whose lives were turned upside down by that — by those — by that hurricane.

Secondly, we have said that we look forward to the time when each state develops its recovery plan. I, early on in the process, said it’s important for the folks in Mississippi to come forward with a recovery plan. And it’s important for New Orleans and the state of Louisiana to work together to develop a state recovery plan. And the reason I said that is because I was aware that folks in Congress will want to spend money based upon a specific strategy. We’ve got to get comfortable with how to proceed. Those plans haven’t — the plan for Louisiana hasn’t come forward yet, and I urge the officials, both state and city, to work together so we can get a sense for how they’re going to proceed.

Now, having said that, I recognize there were some early things we needed to do to instill confidence. One of them was to say that we will make the levees stronger and better than before, and study further strengthening of the levees. In other words, I recognize that people needed to be able to say, well, gosh, we can’t even get started until we got a commitment from the federal government on the levees.

A lot of the money we’re spending is prescribed by law, but we also went a step further and proposed to Congress, and they accepted, the CDGB money so that monies can actually go directly to individual families that need help. We’ll continue to work with the folks down there. But I want to remind the people in that part of the world, $85 billion is a lot, and secondly, we were concerned about creating additional federal bureaucracies, which might make it harder to get money to the people. …

QUESTION: … Mr. President, as you’re saying Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath is one of your top priorities…

BUSH: Yes.

QUESTION: … why is it that this administration is not allowing the senior staff, your senior staff that you conversated with prior to Hurricane Katrina, during and after, to testify, to interview or talk with congressional leaders?

And why not push Michael Brown, who is now a private citizen, to go before them, as he is what many are calling the lynchpin for the whole issue?

BUSH: Well, let me make sure you have the facts.

We have given 15,000 pages of White House documents to the investigators, congressional investigators. Some, I think it’s 600,000 pages, administrative documents.

BUSH: We have sent a fellow named Rapawanna (ph) up there to talk about — he’s a White House staffer — to talk to the committee.

There have been a lot of interviews. There have been public testimony.

As a matter of fact, we are so concerned about this that we’ve started our own investigation to make sure that we understand the lessons learned from this. This is a problem we want to investigate thoroughly, so we know how to better respond on behalf of the American people.

And so we’re fully cooperative with the members of the House and the Senate. And we’ll do so without giving away my ability to get sound advice from people on my staff.

You see, here’s — and this is an issue that comes up all the time. And you might — we’ve had several discussions like this since I’ve been the president.

If people give me advice and they’re forced to disclose that advice, it means the next time an issue comes up, I might not be able to get unvarnished advice from my advisers.

BUSH: And that’s just the way it works.

But we’ve given thousands of pages of documents over for people to analyze.

QUESTION: Does that include Michael Brown?

BUSH: Pardon me?

QUESTION: Does that include Michael Brown?

BUSH: People who give me advice — it will have a chilling effect on future advisers if the precedent is such that, when they give me advice, that’s going to be subject to scrutiny.

Now, we’ve analyzed — we’ve given out all kinds of pages of documents for people and we’re cooperating with the investigators. And that’s important for the American people to know.

What’s also important is we want to know how we can do a better job. And so we’re having a lessons-learned investigation led by Fran Townsend.

And anyway, we need to know.

Of course, you really have to hear the speech to appreciate the fact that the ol’ boy’s hittin’ the bottle again (refresh the page if you don’t get a prompt to play or save the file — the host is a little buggy), but we understand, ‘cuz bein’a preznit’s … you know … HARD … HARD WORK … waitin’ fur pra-POH-sals … and readin’ DOC-YOO-MENTS … and tryin’ ta understand POWER-POINT presen-TAY-SHUNS.

Well — and you know you can’t believe anywhere from 5 to 95 percent of what you read here — but I was talking to someone who was going to cover some dull Laura Bush visit to New Orleans today, and the conversation revealed that it would be more interesting if, for example, they caught her smoking — because it turns out Laura’s a bathroom smoker. Now, I always suspected it. Just look at those wrinkles around her lips. That’s not something you get just from being a pursed-lips, frigid apologist for a lazy son of a jackass.

(Hat tip to whichever New Orleans radio station I scanned to yesterday morning that aired a drunk Bush speech. Today’s actual press conference can be viewed at normal speed at the White House Web site, or go directly to the file here if you’re worried that the NSA is watching which sites you visit).

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Just one question …

Posted by schroeder915 on January 25, 2006

How did Alberto Gonzalez get to be the AG? Not because he wasn’t going to have to change the monogrammed towels.

Hint: I don’t think Benjamin Franklin would be proud.

Photo.

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Just one question …

Posted by schroeder915 on January 25, 2006

How did Alberto Gonzalez get to be the AG? Not because he wasn’t going to have to change the monogrammed towels.

Hint: I don’t think Benjamin Franklin would be proud.

Photo.

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Snap! Oooh … my bad!

Posted by schroeder915 on January 25, 2006

I goofed when I suggested in a previous post that President Bush shirked his responsibility to respond adequately to Hurricane Katrina after he learned about the dire predictions of the disaster to come.

I forgot! He couldn’t have known that a Powerpoint briefing was emailed to the White House Situation Room. He wasn’t even there! He was on vacation! He was nowhere near the White House Situation Room.

Whew! Boy, am I glad. I was starting to worry that he didn’t care. It turns out that he was simply enjoying his vacation and didn’t want to be bothered by one of the biggest mutha falutin hurricanes to bear down on the Gulf Coast in history. That’s a lot to have to deal with. He’s just a guy trying to be the President of the United States. It’s hard … you know … hard work.

I can imagine that all that hard work — reading documents and watching Powerpoint presentations — can wear the guy down to the point that he needs a nice month-long vacation from being King of the World.

Turning back the clock to last summer — what seems like another time in another universe — let’s review President Bush’s vacation. In the month of August 2005, I wrote four posts to PGR about Bush’s vacation to break all vacation records. Recall that was the month that Cindy Sheehan was making news by camping out in front of the Crawford Ranch to get a meeting with Bush to talk about her son’s death in Iraq.

This chart shows that monkey boy was then well on his way to setting a new record as the most-vacationing president ever. With another three and a half years to go in office, he was on target to beating his daddy’s previous record as the most-vacationing president ever.

Newsday observed that “prior to his August slumber, Bush had spent 40 percent of his time away from the White House,” and the Guardian noted that Bush’s August trip to Crawford was his 50th visit to the ranch.

Recall as well that it was after a previous month-long August vacation George W. Bush was caught off-guard when — despite dire warnings — terrorists struck the United States.

Here’s David Letterman on Bush’s 2003 vacation:

How many of you get a month vacation? Well President Bush will be getting his month-long vacation. The White House is calling it a ‘working vacation.’ And I am thinking, well that pretty much describes the entire presidency, doesn’t it? … Bush says he is going to be very active, he plans to exercise every day. And he says he exercise every day because it clears his head. Hey, mission accomplished.

Hey, do any of you see room for a projector on the presidential pontoon boat? Of course not. Get real! Give the guy a break!


Photo: AP/Susan Walsh, published on Yahoo.

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Snap! Oooh … my bad!

Posted by schroeder915 on January 25, 2006

I goofed when I suggested in a previous post that President Bush shirked his responsibility to respond adequately to Hurricane Katrina after he learned about the dire predictions of the disaster to come.

I forgot! He couldn’t have known that a Powerpoint briefing was emailed to the White House Situation Room. He wasn’t even there! He was on vacation! He was nowhere near the White House Situation Room.

Whew! Boy, am I glad. I was starting to worry that he didn’t care. It turns out that he was simply enjoying his vacation and didn’t want to be bothered by one of the biggest mutha falutin hurricanes to bear down on the Gulf Coast in history. That’s a lot to have to deal with. He’s just a guy trying to be the President of the United States. It’s hard … you know … hard work.

I can imagine that all that hard work — reading documents and watching Powerpoint presentations — can wear the guy down to the point that he needs a nice month-long vacation from being King of the World.

Turning back the clock to last summer — what seems like another time in another universe — let’s review President Bush’s vacation. In the month of August 2005, I wrote four posts to PGR about Bush’s vacation to break all vacation records. Recall that was the month that Cindy Sheehan was making news by camping out in front of the Crawford Ranch to get a meeting with Bush to talk about her son’s death in Iraq.

This chart shows that monkey boy was then well on his way to setting a new record as the most-vacationing president ever. With another three and a half years to go in office, he was on target to beating his daddy’s previous record as the most-vacationing president ever.

Newsday observed that “prior to his August slumber, Bush had spent 40 percent of his time away from the White House,” and the Guardian noted that Bush’s August trip to Crawford was his 50th visit to the ranch.

Recall as well that it was after a previous month-long August vacation George W. Bush was caught off-guard when — despite dire warnings — terrorists struck the United States.

Here’s David Letterman on Bush’s 2003 vacation:

How many of you get a month vacation? Well President Bush will be getting his month-long vacation. The White House is calling it a ‘working vacation.’ And I am thinking, well that pretty much describes the entire presidency, doesn’t it? … Bush says he is going to be very active, he plans to exercise every day. And he says he exercise every day because it clears his head. Hey, mission accomplished.

Hey, do any of you see room for a projector on the presidential pontoon boat? Of course not. Get real! Give the guy a break!


Photo: AP/Susan Walsh, published on Yahoo.

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Do you know what it means?

Posted by schroeder915 on January 25, 2006

Mark from Wet Bank Guide knows …

I said, “I want to move back to New Orleans.” I expected her to spit wine all over herself in convulsive laughter. Instead, she gave me a long look, and calmly said, “Yes”. Only last week, when she had been offered and accepted a job, did she tell me why.

In September, a New Orleans jazz group–the Troy Davis Quartet–came to Fargo for a Red Cross fundraiser for Katrina relief. Late in the show, the band played “Do You Know What It Means, To Miss New Orleans”, and trumpeter Mark Braud quietly wept between verses.

That was something in that moment, she tells me, when she understood.

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Bush is the doom of New Orleans

Posted by schroeder915 on January 25, 2006

If anyone had any doubts that Bush wasn’t the worst failure of a president in United States history, if anyone had any doubts that he is simply out of touch with reality, now comes this new evidence to make the case:

Donald Powell, President Bush’s choice to oversee the Gulf Coast recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, said that grant money already appropriated by Congress — as much as $6.2 billion for Louisiana — would be “sufficient” to take care of homeowners who suffered the most in the storm.

$6.2 billion? What the fuck? Is he out of his friggin’ mind?

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The worst disaster in American history

Posted by schroeder915 on January 24, 2006

On December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court effectively appointed a man to be president of the United States who had no business whatsoever being president — a man who a majority of American voters determined was least qualified to lead the nation — a date that should be forever remembered as the worst disaster in American history.

It should be profoundly disturbing to every American, living anywhere, of whichever party affiliation or political leaning, that President Bush not only failed to heed the warnings of a hurricane strike on New Orleans, but today continues to cower in the shadows just as he has always done when called to serve his nation.

Air National Guard? Bush was such a chickenshit chickenhawk, he couldn’t even bother himself to suit up for that sweet arrangement — which his daddy worked out for him — to play soldier boy defending the United States from a Mexican invasion during the Vietnam War.

After ignoring repeated warnings of an imminent strike inside the United States by Al Qaeda, and after President Bush spent the month of August 2001 on the longest presidential vacation since Richard Nixon, Bush whined:

“Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to kill on that fateful morning I would have done everything in my power to protect the American people.”

Hurricane Katrina? Bush knew about that impending disaster as well. The outgoing Clinton administration alerted Bush to the three most worrisome disaster possibilities: an earthquake in California, a hurricane striking New Orleans, and a terrorist attack on New York City. Furthermore, a hurricane exercise just a year before identified the threat. What did Bush do?

“As a dry run for the real thing, Pam should have been a wake-up call that could not be ignored,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chair of the Senate committee’s examination of Pam’s findings at a Tuesday hearing. “Instead, it is apparent that a more appropriate name for Pam should have been ‘Cassandra’ — the mythical prophet who warned of disasters but whom no one believed.”

Let’s review President Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina as Newsday reported it.

The White House:

Responsibilities:

  • Delegates responsibility for disaster response to government agencies.
  • Declares federal emergency to allow for federal aid in hurricane relief efforts.

Response:

  • President and many top White House staff remain on vacation during initial stages of crisis.
  • White House blames state and local officials for inadequate response.
  • President relies on FEMA’s optimistic and can-do assessments.
  • President doesn’t expect the levee breaches, despite explicit warnings.

Department of Homeland Security:

Responsibilities:

  • Supervises relief and rescue operations.
  • Support state and local emregency management preparation and response.

Response:

  • Ground teams without working televisions or radios. Planes laden with communications equipment arrive late.
  • Due to communication breakdown, department chief unaware of broken levees in New Orleans for 24 hours, announces highest emergency declaration two days after first levee breach. Government unable to respond swiftly to levee damage.
  • Chief initially unaware of city’s convention center evacuees without supplies.

Federal Emergency Management Administration … well, I shouldn’t need to go into that, but feel free to read the rest of the Newsday review “Anatomy of a Disaster.”

On this day of revelations that President Bush ignored the grave warnings prior to Hurricane Katrina, this was his familiar excuse for his miserable failure:

“I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.”

We know President Bush doesn’t like to read much, so what excuse could he possibly have when the dire warnings of disaster in New Orleans were in a Powerpoint slide presentation. He didn’t even have to read the warnings! All he had to do was watch a slide presentation.

Among the predictions:

  • 60,000 deaths.
  • New Orleans submerged “for weeks or months.”
  • A communications blackout that would hamper rescue efforts.
  • At least 100,000 poverty-stricken people stranded in the city.

I’m just summarizing. I’d be surprised if you hadn’t read the story already, but if you haven’t, start with The Times-Picayune.

I could go on and on, but I’ll just close with a few choice quotes from the very timely airing of Frontline’s “The Storm”, which was re-broadcast tonight on WYES. I just want to say, I’m glad I missed it the first time around (I was either still evacuated, didn’t have electricity, or WYES was still off the air). If I had seen it, I think I would have had an aneurism.

What should be the number one priority of George W. Bush? What did he campaign on in 2004? His tenacity in keeping Americans safe from terrorism? At the rate Bush is going, we’ll all need a lot of tenacity.

George W. Bush bent the facts about WMD to start a war with a country that was no threat whatsoever to Americans, but has he actually done anything in over 4 years since September 11th to prepare us for another disaster?

On George W. Bush’s number one priority, how should he be graded?

MARTIN SMITH: If we believe this president was focused on any one thing, it was certainly preparedness and the war on terrorism. But yet four years after 9/11, we have no results on communications.

WARREN RUDMAN, U.S. Commission on Natl. Security: Yeah. Oh, I think that’s a failure. I think it’s a failure on the part of the Congress. It’s a failure on the part of the administration, specifically, a failure on the part of DHS. People should’ve paid more attention to that.

I mean, if we ever learned anything, we learned on 9/11 in New York that those valiant people who lost their lives, many of them might not have lost their lives had they been able to talk to each other. They just weren’t able to. …

You’ve got to get interoperability of communications, or else you’re going to have disaster no matter what goes on. …

If I were in a position to make a decision, the first thing I would do is to start funding interoperability for every major metropolitan area in this country. And I’d get it done this year.

(Full transcript here).

Why do we Hurricane Katrina victims care? For the same reason that Americans everywhere should care. There is a direct lineage of failure from George W. Bush’s earliest years through September 11th, the Iraq quagmire, and now Hurricane Katrina. What comes next?

Former White House National Security Council member Richard Clarke:

We have cities that bought air-conditioned garbage trucks with homeland security money without ever solving their communications problems.

And now, as we approach 5 months since Hurricane Katrina, with absolutely no commitment from the Bush administration to do anything significant to get New Orleans the Category 5 storm protection we need immediately for any private investment to take place, with no commitment to help people move back into New Orleans to temporary housing, with no commitment to help getting people back to work, with no commitment to help rebuild people’s homes, given George W. Bush’s previous failures, should anyone really be surprised?

Jefferson Parish Emergency Management Director Walter Maestri:

Is anyone out there watching this. Is anyone paying attention? Does anyone care?

There’s more strident commentary at Realitique.

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