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Friday, September 30

To Surrogate With Love

Why I'm in Love with Bill Maher and want to have his love child.

New Rules--by Bill Maher

To all the conservative women out there: If you're so sure the embryos needed for stem cell research are precious human life that can't be destroyed, then implant one in your uterus and bring it to term. That's right, put your cervix where your mouth is.

Right now in America, there are thousands of stem cells sitting in fertility clinics that are not allowed to be used for research, will be destroyed after a year or two, and could be right now implanted in a lady's hoo-hoo to make a screaming, mewling infant that would ironically make you sorry you were ever born.

Here's how far back along the chain of life stem cells are: They're called stem cells because they haven't even decided what kind of cells they're going to be, so it's very close to declaring that life begins when you're just thinking about fucking somebody. Which is just about how most right-wing prudes like george bush would like it. This is, after all, an administration that absolutely hates Planned Parenthood--but then again, judging by Iraq, they hate planned anything.

Did you know that our president spent the entire month before 9/11 on his ranch, working on the stem cell issue, trying, as he said, to bridge the worlds of ethics and science? Seriously, could there be anything george bush knows less about than ethics and science?

Here's something that may be life: a tiny speck of subatomic goo. Here's something that is life. Michael J. Fox. One is invisible to the naked eye, the other was in Back to the Future.

With stem cell research properly funded, scientists believe we could do everything from curing Parkison's to regenerating spinal cord tissue in Democrats.

So, ladies of the right, what do you say? There are thousands of extra embryos sitting around in fertility clinic freezers all over America right now, just waiting for a good home. So if you're not gonna finish those eggs, come on, go ahead, knock yourself up.
.

"Who Did You Torture During The War, Daddy?"

Or, We Are All Torturers Now

By Ted Rall

09/29/05 "ICH"-- -- NEW YORK--"Never miss the Saturday paper. Because it's the skimpiest and least-circulated edition of the week, it's the venue of choice for lowballing the stories the government can't completely cover up. September 24's New York Times, for example, contained the bombshell revelation that the U.S. government continues to torture innocent men, women and children in Iraq.

"An army captain and two sergeants from the elite 82nd Airborne Division confirm previous reports that Bagram and other concentration camps in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan are a kind of Torture University where American troops are taught how to abuse prisoners who have neither been charged with nor found guilty of any crime. 'The soldiers told Human Rights Watch that while they were serving in Afghanistan,' reports The Times, 'they learned the stress techniques [sic] from watching Central Intelligence Agency operatives interrogating prisoners.' Veterans who served as prison guards in Afghanistan went on to apply their newfound knowledge at Abu Ghraib and other facilities in U.S.-occupied Iraq...."

The rest is at Tom Feeley's Information Clearing House.

Letters To America From the Front

From Raw Story

The American Legion is starting a new campaign. Postive News from Iraq.

"America needs to hear the good news first hand from those who are fighting the war in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Legion National Commander Tom Bock in a statement. "It's about time that the American public hears about the positive things our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and coastguardsmen are doing for our country and for the Afghani and Iraqi people."

The Legion, which has 2.7 million members, previously declared war on "public protests" and "media events" against the war.

"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples," Thomas Cadmus, another national commander, told delegates in August.

Gee, I for one would love to hear some good news from Iraq. So bring it on, AL. Bring it on. On the other hand, I am not going to stop protesting the war. I most certainly am NOT encouraging terrorists or trying to bring the troop's moral down. As a matter of fact, I think the war is what is bringing them down, not those of us who do give a shit about our boys being sent over there WITH NO BODY ARMOR (which the Pentagon has not reimbursed them for if they bought their own, the bastards) to blow up and occupy another country for oil. It is immoral to go into another country and blow it up. Sorry guys. Morality first.

A Friend In Need

I just hate it when someone I know gets screwed big time. Shakespeare's Sister got laid off the day after her property taxes were doubled. Show her some love, some prayers, a company that's hiring and/or some $'s.

I'm Sooo In Love

Via Crooks and Liars, I bring you the best rant by Hunter (heart heart heart) at Kos

Incoming FDNY chaplain questions 9/11 story

This was on the cover of Newsday today. Wow. Can't wait to read the letters that are published tomorrow.

"An imam slated to be sworn in Friday as the second Muslim chaplain in Fire Department history said he questioned whether 19 hijackers were responsible for the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and suggested a broader conspiracy may have brought down the Twin Towers and killed more than 2,700 people.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Imam Intikab Habib, 30, a native of Guyana who studied Islam in Saudi Arabia, said he doubted the United States government's official story blaming 19 hijackers associated with al-Quaida and Osama bin Laden." read on


UPDATE: Attentive Blondesense reader alerts us that the chaplain resigned already. Read it here.

Bombs Kill 105; U.S. Toll Grows

The clusterfuck from hell continues in Iraq. You should read all the excuses in the article. oy. We are sooo losing. And no, I don't hate my country. I'm just horrified at the leadership.

Judy Is Free

Judith Miller has agreed to testify. It will be interesting to see whom she was defending in the administration. Some journalist.

UPDATE 11:32am : Judy fingers Scooter.
(you have such a dirty mind, Peter)

Run away!

Best of luck to you near the fires, Southern Californians. Be safe. We're pulling for you and all the 3,000 firefighters.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up!

ABC NEWS Sept. 29, 2005 — William Bennett Defends Comment on Abortion and Crime

After pondering on his radio program how aborting every black infant in America would affect crime rates, best-selling author and self-styled "Values Czar"
Bill Bennett is vehemently denying he is a racist and defending his willingness to speak publicly about race and crime.

On the Wednesday edition of his radio show, "Bill Bennett's Morning in America," syndicated by Salem Radio Network, a caller raised the theory that Social Security is in danger of becoming insolvent because legalized abortion has reduced the number of tax-paying citizens. Bennett said economic arguments should never be employed in discussions of moral issues.

If it were your sole purpose to reduce crime, Bennett said, "You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.

"That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down," he added.

This maroon was once the Secretary of Education, thank you very much. And he defends his statement! oy my gawd!

How about proper education for all American children (like actual books in all the classrooms across America for example) and racist pigs like Bennett keeping their big mouths shut would make the crime rate go down. asshole. How about not exporting jobs overseas so that there would be jobs here, would keep the crime rate down? How about the government not aiding and abetting drug importers keeping the crime rate down? How about not cutting needed social programs would keep the crime rate down?

I know from my experience even here on my little island that the crime rates are higher in the neighborhoods where the school districts suck... and these school districts have a large number of black students. Why are these schools underfunded? Because the tax base is poor. They have no books, no computers, and lousy administration. Yet one village over, where the schools are well funded, the crime rate is low except for occassional overflow.

When I have suggested in my county that we skim some funds from all the well funded school districts and give some to the underfunded districts everyone scoffs. The reasoning I use to get through to the racists is that I just don't want to be mugged. There are gangs forming in those neighborhoods. This is serious. They don't get it. They just don't drive through those areas. Well that's just fine, Christian fucking hypocrites and Jewish so-called liberals.

Excuse me while I throw up.
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Thursday, September 29

judging from what was said, judging is political

John G. Roberts called the bipartisan vote for his nomination a "confirmation of what is for me a bedrock principle, that judging is different from politics."

Well, by commenting on the political process, he certainly is letting us know that he is a political actor.

The Court is a political institution. It always has been, always will be because it is impossible to dismiss politics from any human endeavor. Judging is a political act and politics is an element in our judicial criminal and civil systems. To pretend otherwise is to ignore or devalue or disguise the politics of our human institutions and interactions.

Next nominee? I am betting that it is Attorney General and Alberto Gonzalez or Judge Janis Brown. Whomever it is, it will be a political decision made by a political actor in a political atmosphere.

Breaking News: New Abu Ghraib Pictures to Be Released

Judge orders release of dozens of Abu Ghraib prison pictures
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS via Newsday
September 29, 2005, 2:23 PM EDT
NEW YORK -- Pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released despite government claims that they could damage America's image, a federal judge ruled Thursday.


Many of you readers have made the point in the past that these heinous war pictures need to be made public to put a face on the war. I suppose you are right. It hurts me as a parent to see what the military can do to our young people who sign up thinking that they will build strong character. It hurts me as a human being to see what people do to each other. Everyone was once somebody's baby, someone's precious angel. Let's hold our leaders accountable for every atrocity that is photographed. These asstards think that we will achieve peace through war? Morons. Not unless our troops kill everyone else will we ever have peace at this rate.

joy yesterday, justice tomorrow

I hope that you enjoyed Tom DeLay's indictment and public shaming yesterday, because as of this morning, it's all over but the smack of the gavel.

Because Dick DeGuerin is representing Tom DeLay.

Just read this story from the Round Top Register.


He’s a lawyer made from the same stuff as legends like Richard “Racehorse” Haynes, F. Lee Bailey, Melvin Belli and his own mentor, Percy Foreman. He’s a modern day Daniel Webster, and if what some of the D.A.s say is true, there’s a little bit of the devil in there too.

He’s a criminal defense attorney and he’s one of the best. Who says so? Why none other than the State Bar of Texas. In 1994, they named him “Outstanding Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year.”

He was in Waco representing David Koresh during his standoff with the FBI and the ATF. He pushed Barbara Piotrowski’s wheel chair into the courtroom after she was allegedly shot by exercise mogul Richard Minns. He sat by Lilla Paulus in Houston when she was tried for her involvement in the murder of John Hill. He stood with U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson while she was fighting for her political life against DA Ronnie Earle in Austin. He represented Ramsey Muniz, La Raza Unida’s candidate for Governor, as he fought a losing battle over drugs and he took up for Juana Leija, the mother who tried to drown all six of her children and herself, when the DA wanted the death penalty.


Case closed.

Breaking: Roberts To Be Confirmed

WASHINGTON - Chief Justice nominee John Roberts is taking his place as the next leader of the Supreme Court, with a commanding majority of the Senate backing him to lead the court through turbulent social issues that will affect generations to come.

...

About half of the Senate's Democrats oppose Roberts, saying he could turn out to be as conservative as justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence "Long Dong Silver" Thomas, the Supreme Court anchors on the right.

"I hope I am proved wrong about John Roberts," said Sen. Edward Kennedy the Senate's longtime liberal stalwart. "I have been proved wrong before on my confirmation votes. I regret my vote to confirm Justice Scalia, even though he, too, like Judge Roberts, was a nice person and a smart Harvard lawyer."

The Bush administration wants the Supreme Court to reinstate a national ban on a type of late-term abortion, and the court already has scheduled arguments on whether New Hampshire's parental notification law is unconstitutional because it lacks an exception allowing a minor to have an abortion to protect her health in a medical emergency.



UPDATE: According to Bob Geiger, here are the Dem Senators that voted for him. Did you remember to write to them before hand like I asked you?

Max Baucus (D - MT)
Jeff Bingaman (D - NM)*
Robert Byrd (D - WV)*
Thomas Carper (D - DE)*
Kent Conrad (D - ND)*
Christopher Dodd (D - CT)
Byron Dorgan (D - ND)
Russell Feingold (D - WI)
Tim Johnson (D - SD)
Herb Kohl (D - WI)*
Mary Landrieu (D - LA)
Patrick Leahy (D - VT)
Carl Levin (D - MI)
Joe "Mentum" Lieberman (D - CT)*
Blanche Lincoln, Blanche- (D - AR)
Patty Murray (D - WA)
Bill Nelson (D - FL)*
Ben Nelson (D - NE)*
Mark Pryor (D - AR)
Jay Rockefeller (D - WV)
Ken Salazar (D - CO)
Ron Wyden (D - OR)

The senators with *'s are running for re-election next year.

Judge Upholds Lawsuit by Two Muslim Men

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- "A judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit against top federal officials brought by two men who claim they were beaten and starved in a roundup of Muslim men after the Sept. 11 attacks".

Read the rest at The Associated Press.

Letter To Ms Hughes on Women's Silly Rights

Dear Ms Hughes,

I read that you met with anti-American war hating women in Turkey. It must have been so jarring to have a session with foreigners who had the audacity to speak their own minds... especially women. The US Embassy there did not handle the guest list as per usual, but allowed a radical fringe group that supports women's rights to invite guests. You must have been outraged. I was. It is absolutely necessary to hand pick those who meet with members of the bush administration or else gruesome people who hate war seem to come out of the woodwork. They must have been women who don't color their hair or shave their legs.

You really won my heart and mind when you responded to that silly woman who said, "War makes the rights of women completely erased, and poverty comes after war -- and women pay the price." You said, "You're concerned about war, and no one likes war. But to preserve the peace, sometimes my country believes war is necessary." Right on sister. You sure put her stupid comment to rest. In a time of bringing peace and democracy to the world, we must not be so selfish to worry about women or poverty. It's our duty as women to pay the price for war! Sometimes I get so upset by women and their needs that I over-brush my long blonde hair and forget to cook dinner for my man or vacuum the house before he comes home from work.

Thankfully the story about your meeting with those who are not receiving US funding made the news this one time because it is important for us to see the anti-Americanism that lurks out there in the rest of the world if for a minute. If you don't mind though, lets get back to only speaking with those who love America and benefit from America so that my heart doesn't have to skip a beat and sink so low, that I accidentally whitened my teeth twice in one day, when I hear about women who complain about their silly rights. It's just not fair.

Sincerely
The Blonde One

Wednesday, September 28

Sucking a Fishermen's Friend could get you into trouble

Police in Germany are warning motorists that sucking a Fishermen's Friend could get them into trouble.

It comes after a 24-year-old driver was found to be over the legal drink-drive limit during a routine control in Munich.

He was taken to the police station where blood tests found he had no alcohol in his system.

The man was released after officers found the strongest thing he had taken was a Fisherman's Friend.

Forensic doctor Thomas Gilg said the essential oils contained in the throat sweets reacted in the same way as alcohol on hand-held breathalysers.

He said in tests they found just three of the mentholated sweets could cause a motorist to test three times over the legal limit.

ANANOVA.com

Breaking: DeLay Indicted on FELONY CHARGES!

Bob Geiger writes:

News breaking that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been indicted on one count of criminal conspiracy by a Texas grand jury. More later, but these are very serious criminal charges and DeLay is out -- probably by the end of today.

The indictment came on the last day of the grand jury's term and it comes on the heels of indictments of a state political action committee founded by DeLay and three of his political associates.

House Republican Party rules require leaders who are indicted to temporarily step aside from their leadership posts. The Associated Press just report that House Speaker Dennis Hastert is going to appoint California Republican David Dreier to replace DeLay as Majority Leader.

DeLay, of course, has denied any wrongdoing and says that this is all a political attack by Democratic district attorney Ronnie Earle.

But maybe we're finally about to see some justice for these people!

--------------

UPDATE: David Dreier is allegedly a closeted homosexual and avid gay basher who has worked tirelessly against gay rights and subsidized housing for those with AIDS for over 20 years.

UPDATE AGAIN: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously elected Roy Blunt of Missouri as their majority leader, replacing Tom DeLay...

So much for the gay basher.
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Shitheads

Frist is in big trouble.

He said that he didn't know that the stock he sold was about to plummet in the company HIS FAMILY FOUNDED. Ahem.

Tom DeLay is in big trouble.

The grand jury is wrapping up its case today. DeLay and associates are accused of violating the Texas state election code.

ExxonMobil, the president's favorite American corporation, is in trouble.

Democrats in the US Senate called for an investigation into allegations that oil giant ExxonMobil has artificially pushed up the price of gasoline in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Brownie is in trouble

Gosh, even the very partisan investigation is not going well for Brownie.

"I'm happy you left," said Rep. Christopher Shays R-Conn. "Because that kind of, you know, look in the lights like a deer tells me that you weren't capable to do the job."

At several points, Brown turned red in the face and slapped the table in front of him.
John McCain Met with Cindy Sheehan

"He is a warmonger, and I'm not," Sheehan said after meeting with McCain. "I believe this war is not keeping America safer."

Tuesday, September 27

never get in a fight with a man who has gallons of ink

I am angry at Houston Chronicle columnist Ken Hoffman over his column criticizing local news coverage of Hurricane Rita and have been exchanging emails with him today.

He penned the following column on September 24, 2005

I threw a hurricane party Friday night, but the guest of honor stood me up.

Anybody want to buy 10 packs of D-cell batteries and 32 bottles of water?

Hurricane Rita barely brushed Galveston and pretty much missed Houston. A little of me was disappointed, I wanted to see what a hurricane felt like, but a lot of me was relieved.

When this is over, and everybody's home, two things need to be investigated and corrected: Houston's evacuation plans and television news' role in making us all crazy this past week.

Despite what newscasters had been predicting, I woke up Saturday morning to leaves and branches in the street, but nothing that an ordinary heavy rainstorm wouldn't cause. It was windy, but nothing scary. Marvin Zindler's toupee was safe.

I played tennis outdoors at 8 p.m. Friday. Later that night, I saw two neighbors ballroom dancing on the sidewalk.

I have weird neighbors.

So ... why were there power outages in cities like Bellaire, where the wind hit maybe 35-40 mph? Reliant needs to name stadiums less, and fix its equipment more.

I knew the hurricane was a no-show when my satellite TV signal never went out. Usually, I can tell it's drizzling in Conroe when my television goes blank in Houston.

And how come fuel trucks couldn't make it to Houston, but Tom DeLay and Sheila Jackson Lee had no problem getting here? The wrong bags of gas got through.

Did four different TV stations need to be doing 24-hour hurricane coverage without even a commercial break? After a while, I couldn't tell the difference between Dave Ward and Tom Koch and those two idiots in the drive-through at Sonic.

Did I really need to watch KRIV's news on Channels 20, 26 and 55?

Let's take a poll: Do you think that local TV news went overboard covering Hurricane Rita? My e-mail address is below.

Channel 11's Lisa Foronda: "Hello, (weatherman) David Paul, the last time we saw you, you weren't wearing a rain poncho and now you are. So I can assume you're getting soaked?"

David Paul: "Uh, not really."

Jeff McShan was reporting live from Galveston when his baseball cap flew off. The Channel 11 anchors used that as an indication the hurricane was whipping up.

My baseball hat flies off when I run from second to third in the West U Coed Softball League. It's not a big deal. It's certainly not a meteorological event.

I give credit to Paul. He was the first weatherman I heard flat out say, "Harris County will not experience hurricane force winds tonight."

Instead, he said, Houston faced "minimal tropical storm conditions."

Great, so let's switch over to regular programming and the Late Show with David Letterman.

No chance.

Reporter Amy Tortolani said "the rain hasn't started yet, but the wind is blowing debris around." The camera showed, I swear, an empty plastic Ozarka water bottle rolling gently to the curb.

Another reporter described "a sea of people" rushing into a Wal-Mart for last-minute supplies. I saw maybe five people casually walking through the parking lot.

CNN interviewed a pop culture professor from Syracuse University and asked him to comment on TV news going berserk with Hurricane Rita coverage. He said, after Katrina, it was to be expected.

That's why Channels 2, 11, 13 and 26 stayed on around the clock, even though nothing was really happening. Nobody wanted to be the first to blink. It was a contest, who cares more about Houston?

If one of the stations had gone back to regular programming, it would have been the first 100 percent rating in the history of Houston television.

How many times did you hear an anchor say, "Prepare for the worst, hope for the best?"

"Hunker down" and "dodged a bullet" were very big, too. I wondered, did somebody type those cliches into the teleprompter, or were they ad libbed cliches?

TV weathermen two in particular looked like they needed to be sent to Vienna for
clinical depression when Rita sidestepped Houston.

For Channel 13's Tim Heller, this would have been his first Big Story, the chance to make a name for himself in Houston. For Channel 11's Dr. Neil Frank, this could have been his last rodeo.

Funny, when he was director of the National Hurricane Center from 1974 to 1987, Frank advised local TV weather forecasters against making their own predictions when hurricanes threatened. Just stick with what the National Hurricane Center gives you, he said.

Now that he's a local guy, Frank was among the last to cry uncle and admit the hurricane would likely miss us.

My response to Hoffman and the Chronicle :


Ken Hoffman http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/features/hoffman/3368508 has made much of his sophomoric view on life in Houston. In fact he has parlayed his shtick and happy go lucky boy-man confounded by modern life into a Chronicle newspaper column and now on Pat Gray's equally sophomoric KPRC radio program.

His recent Chronicle column (September 24, 2005) criticizing local television stations doing wall to wall coverage of Hurricane Rita was as snarky as any written by a frustrated college journalism student left alone on a Friday night to paste up the paper on his own.

His act is old. The only thing missing in it is a drummer to crash a cymbal at the end of his deflated jokes.

I am no big fan of local media. The monthly strip club stories for ratings masquerading as "hard news" are tedious. A weather crawl during a network program is rare. A weather report breaking into national radio programming like Limbaugh or Martino is a miracle. But this time, the local media got it right. Hoffman has cable/satellite and could have readily watched ESPN women's volleyball or bullfighting, but many Houstonians don't have cable. They have their little homes and little televisions and local media was their window on the world.

There is little sense of old fashioned community in Houston and one show of community was local media coverage of the hurricane. Callers let the local media know how much they appreciated the coverage. Reporters in the field actually helped people reach their families. Hoffman bemoaned the lack of Letterman, of course, a brother in Hoffman's world, but even Letterman, who had been a local weatherman, knows the television value of local people perplexed by events surrounding them. It is even a staple on Letterman's show.

Why is Hoffman complaining? Because he can. Hoffman and many local radio commentators find the tin foil lining in local events. Complaining about how unhappy they are in this modern world is their one joke stand up routine.

The coverage was not supposed to be watched non-stop by those who are smarter than the rest of us, but it did comfort those who were not able to get in print or on the radio to complain about how they were not able to watch something more interesting than human interest stories. When I worked in radio and television news viewers would call in to complain when we interrupted their soap operas with news events. I completely understand how disorienting it must have been for Mr. Hoffman to miss Letterman. Although many of our callers thought that our television anchors could see into viewer's living rooms, I don't think that Mr. Hoffman's narcissism has reached such delusional proportions.

Hoffman didn't appreciate Tim Heller, Frank Billingsley, or Neil Frank the local meteorologists. He believes that the anchors looked "depressed" and needed counseling in Vienna. He thought the weathermen should just rip and read reports from the National Weather Service. If Mr. Hoffman would follow the real news instead of so intensely pursuing his overly active fantasy life of an upscale television buffet, he might realize that the local meteorologists are not working with much from the National Weather Service because the federal budget to the NWS has been cut. There was a huge fight to even keep a weather service to observe hurricanes in Texas. The local weather forecasters educated viewers. What did you do for readers, Mr. Hoffman?

May be Mr. Hoffman would like to talk to those "gas bags" as he called them, Congressman DeLay and Jackson-Lee about federal funding for weather forecasting, crisis management, highway construction or high speed rail to get the gridlock moving. The biggest news story of the year is how the federal government failed during Hurricane Katrina. Members of Congress are supposed to come back to the district to help their constituents. How did your column further life in modern Houston? Mr. Hoffman would rather chew tin foil, think of himself, and not people who were isolated, afraid, in their homes or wondering if they would have a home when the storm was over. Are you going to be snarky with the evacuee's as they try to get home to find water in their houses? Since you know every fast food restaurant between here and Oklahoma, perhaps you can make some calls and see if they can help feed returning Houstonians in hot cars loaded with crying children and carsick pets.

He replied:
Dear Ms. Sutter:

I received your e-mail. I respect your opinion, we just disagree. I thought that TV went way overboard and kept repeating the same old stuff over and over and over.Some of it was just silly, like showing a plastic water bottle rolling gently to the curb as an example of wind whipping debris around.

In my column, I asked readers, do you think that TV's coverage was overblown? So far, I have received more than 1,000 e-mails. Only 11 people, including you, think TV did a calm, reasoned, responsible job of covering the hurricane. The rest thought it was overblown, overdone and overhyped.

But that's what makes out country great. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Like I said, we just disagree.

Ken H.

I replied:

Never underestimate the stupidity of large numbers of people.

He replied:

Dear Ms. Sutter:

I want to make sure I understand your point. Do you think that our local TV stations did a good job of covering the hurricane from start to finish? Do you think the reporters did a good job of honestly illustrating the conditions where they were? Do you think the weathercasters did a good job of keeping the public informed of what was really happening? Do you think the overall coverage was sound and informative and did not resort to scare tactics and sensationalism? And you don't think the coverage went on too long after Houston was clearly out of the woods?

You and I just disagree on this. I thought some of the stuff I saw was just embarrassing. And I thought some of the anchors, when left to defend for themselves and think on their feet, did a poor job of handling the situation.

Tell me which reporters or anchors or weathercasters you felt did a top notch job.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I, along with most readers, was simply stunned by some of the stuff I saw.

Again, we just disagree.

Ken Hoffman

I replied:

People lost there lives evacuating. People were terrified of the storm surge. The biggest news story of the year is how FEMA failed New Orleans and media here (which I do have my issues with) were really concerned they had the same story in their own back yards. Houston may have been out of the woods, but Beaumont gets her news from Houston. People there are dead.

The problem was the pictures from last month and Katrina. People were terrified. The plastic bottle of which you speak, I didn't see, but I have the sense not to watch the whole thing. But I did see Galveston burning and with transformers blowing all around us, it is a wonder there weren't more fires.

Frank Billingsley took calls from people who were frightened for their lives, property and loved ones. He was terrific. Sure he is stuck doing the weather with a dog because some suit at the Washington Post/Newsweek is too stupid to shine their own shoes, but he was a pro. People told them on the air that they appreciated it.

I am no big fan of Belo, Inc. My husband was a plaintiff in the largest libel lawsuit in American history (Feazell et. al v. A.H. Belo, Inc.)a former weather man and one amazing press secretary. We know media and Doc Neil did a great job. He can't rip and read because Congress has slashed funding to NWS and there forecasting capabilities are terrible. Commercial weather forecasters are better and they told oil companies to get the hell out of here. They knew it was serious. That is why the stations reacted the way they did. The damn thing could have stalled or come back out and gone back in.

Usually the local news is ridiculous. No argument there. Stories about the local stabbing and prostitution in River City are just silly. Enron happened under their noses and they missed it. Their coverage of major political issues is just dumb. They have failed their calling of being the on going political educator in a democratic society. I really hate the titty bar stories and the baby pictures, but this was serious stuff.

I think too that alot of people are not that sophisticated. Little old shut-ins with their televisions and they don't have much more. They really count on the television and in their minds it was Katrina all over again. I was surprised I didn't have to watch some "reality" television show without knowing what was going on. Most of the time they don't dare break from network programming but they were trying, and remember they aren't the brightest media people, (as if there are any in the business) they did what they thought was right.

Mr. Hoffman, comedy is tragedy with better timing. Your column would have been funny a week from now, just not right now while people are trying to calm down.

Everything would just be so much better if people would do exactly what I told them to do.

A Serious Ethical Question

Randi Rhodes was ranting about this on Friday afternoon- US troops are exchanging gruesome photos of mutilated Iraqi's as currency for access to an amateur porn site where their credit cards wouldn't work from overseas. The heinous photos of disfigured corpses are available for all to see, yet the amateur porn requires paid registration. The site is nowthatsfuckedup.com.

I kind of took a look with my hands over my eyes and I didn't go very far due to the nausea factor, but one thing I noticed were the comments by those who visited the site. The comments just may have been more disgusting than the pictures, if that is possible. The titles of the pictures written by the troops were equally horrifying.

If you ask me, taking picture of people you just killed and posting them on the internet is most unethical and horrifying, yet there is something to be considered about what happens to those who are sent into battle -those who participate in a most barbarian part of being human that most of us hopefully will never experience- war.

Who or what is responsible for this behavior? The troops who traded gore for porn? Those who they killed in self defense? The webmaster of the site? Human being's fascination with the macabre? God? The military leaders who obviously don't have a clue as to what is going on? World leaders who send young people into war for political and economic reasons?

How many times have you slowed down on a highway to view a car crash? Compelling yet revolting, isn't it?

Eastbayexpress.com has a take on the phenomenon:
One soldier, who would not reveal his name or unit, defended his decision to post pictures of the dead, which he did after returning home. "I had just finished watching the beheading of one of our contractors that was taken hostage over in Iraq," he wrote in an e-mail. "I figured since that was all over the Web, maybe these pictures would make some potential suicide bomber think twice after seeing what happens AFTER you pull the pin.

"What you interpret [as] maliciousness and bravado may be how [soldiers] react to situations where they almost die or they just saw their buddy get killed," he continued. "I will not defend the people who have posted pictures of dead, innocent Iraqis, but in my opinion, the insurgents/terrorists that try to kill us and end up getting killed in return have absolutely no rights once they are dead."
Online Journalism Review has this from a soldier:
"Yes I have posted kill photos on other forum sites," Burke wrote me in his e-mail. "The computers are military financed if not owned by the military. I think that with all the service members who are over here it was obvious that photos of dead insurgents would surface as time went on and it is not a new occurrence. There have been pics from all wars of the fighters standing over the bodies of the enemy. The insurgents are more than willing to showcase our dead and wounded so if people have issues with what's shown on this site then they need to stay away and quit bitching about things they know nothing about.

"I made it real clear in most if not all of my posts how I feel about the Iraqi people in general and that feeling has not changed a bit in my time here. I [put] a good friend of mine [in a body bag] just a week ago and that really clinched it for me and my teammates. We will always shoot first and ask no questions, period. The military brass will always try to sanitize the effects of war, no matter when or where, and yes if it was possible they would censor all media coming out of this country, pics and stories."
and this:
Capt. Chris Karns, a Centcom spokesman, told me that there are Department of Defense regulations and Geneva Conventions against mutilating and degrading dead bodies, but that he wasn't sure about regulations concerning photos of dead bodies. He noted that the Bush administration did release graphic photos of the dead bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein to the media.
and from the owner of a similar site regarding people's fascination with porn and mutilation:
"They both seem to be particularly arousing in an emotional way," Most said. "Emotional stimuli can be rated in different ways. You could see something and rate how positive or negative it is. But separate from that is how arousing the image is. A positive picture of a cute puppy dog could be positive but not that arousing, whereas a picture of an opposite sex nude could be just as positive but be rated as extremely arousing. And a picture of a mutilation could be rated as extremely negative but highly arousing. Lately there's been a lot of theories saying that what we're drawn to is the arousing nature of an image regardless of whether we see it as negative or positive."
More reports at TheNation.com, IsThatLegal.org, Nur al-Cubicle, and Americablog.

Thanks to reader Auntie Roo for all the links.

On Considering a Move To the Mainland

It took me 3 hours to get to NJ on Friday afternoon on my way to VA for the march in DC. With no traffic, it would take less than an hour. Our hostess called us from VA thinking we were in NJ somewhere and I told her that we were still in Brooklyn overlooking Coney Island. We had the top down on the car and were working hard on our suntans though. We crawled over the Verrazano Bridge from Brooklyn to Staten Island and then spent far too much time in that tiny island -about 2 hours breathing truck fumes.

The problem with the NY Metro area is that we have all these bridges and tunnels. It's a huge series of bottlenecks. We cannot escape Long Island unless we go through NYC to NJ or take a ferry from eastern Long Island to Connecticut. It's no wonder that I don't go anywhere by car except New England.

When hurricanes or nor'easters are coming our way, we raid the supermarkets and gas stations and then hunker down while those on the coastal areas move inland. The problem is after about 10 miles or so of going inland, you are not going inland anymore as the island is only about 20 miles wide. Fortunately hurricanes are rarely over cat 2 because the Atlantic is cooler up here -70º in summer.

Gawd forbid we ever had to actually evacuate this island. There are something like 8 million of us here. I have suggested that Guylanders and New Yorkers have cyanide pills on hand in the event of an incoming nuke, catastrophic hurricane, tidal wave or powerplant meltdown.

So far, it's mostly the millionaires that have used FEMA money as they insist on building their mansions along the coastal areas and are so shocked when the ocean encroaches their "cottages" and breaches their barrier islands which shouldn't have any construction because they are about 2oo feet wide, if that. Coastal erosion is a fact of nature.

Of course the rich don't die in a storm because they helicopter or sea plane to one of their other homes. Yet the Army Corps of engineers are always dredging the bottom of the sea for them or importing sand using tax payer dollars. You don't see any poor people living on the water in these parts. Perhaps they did at one time... but they couldn't go back after a huge storm or maybe they drowned. Coastal areas are for the rich.

I found an interesting book Against the Tide online and chapter 3 deals with one of Long Island's barrier islands. Excerpt of interest:

But for many environmentalists and coastal scientists, West Hampton Dunes is a dismal example of what happens when people disregard the realities of the coast, build on an unstable landform, and then try to avoid the inevitable consequences by armoring the beach. To suit their own purposes, they jettied inlets rather than letting them close naturally to restore the natural flow of sand. When erosion worsened, as it inevitably would, they built groins. When the groins made the problem even worse, they turned to federal, state, and local governments-that is, to the taxpayers. The taxpayers, in turn, find themselves committed to spending tens of millions of dollars to protect the property of people who, in many cases, had every reason to know that they were building or buying in an unsafe place and who, in most cases, were already eligible for additional assistance from the federal flood insurance program. According to initial estimates, the eventual cost of the project works out to about $300,000 per house in the damaged area-about what it might have cost then to buy them out.
I don't know what my point is exactly. I just know that it costs taxpayers a lot of money to take care of those who live in low lying areas. As for NOLA, they ought to get Netherlands engineers in there to oversee the rebuilding of the levees once and for all. Enough is enough. Others ought to reconsider their choice of living so close to the gulf considering we are now in a 25 year cycle of stronger hurricanes. Well that's my opinion, I could be wrong, but then again, I would love nothing more than to live by the sea, but my rationale kicks in, and I realize that I couldn't afford the consequences. I'm still waiting for my rationale to kick in regarding living in an area that cannot be evacuated in an emergency come hell or high water. I've got Arizona on my mind.

There's Always Three Squares and a Rack in Debtor's Prison -- I Hope.

Bankruptcy May Be a Smart Move Before Law Changes: John Wasik

(Bloomberg) -- "We're all vulnerable to financial disasters that can lead to personal bankruptcy, whether they involve natural disasters, divorce, illness, disability or death of a bread winner.

"Some of the conventional advice concerning financial calamity is best ignored. Bankruptcy isn't always a good solution and it can create even more financial headaches.

"Odd as it may sound, it may make sense to consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy before Oct. 17, when a new law goes into effect that is more hostile toward debtors. This means you may be able to wipe out your debts and have an easier time of starting over. After that, bankruptcy will be more onerous than ever.

"While the new bankruptcy law shields as much as $1 million in retirement funds, it offers less protection for every other asset, including homes and cars.

"Only $5,000 per child is protected in education savings. And you can't exempt more than $125,000 in home equity unless you've resided in a state for three years and four months. I know that sounds bizarre, but this is one tough law for consumers.

"Unlike the present law, the new legislation requires mandatory credit counseling, a debt-repayment program and filing of numerous forms such as tax returns, which then become public documents".

Read the rest at Bloomberg.com.


Strict bankruptcy law new blow for victims

"When Congress agreed this spring to tighten the bankruptcy laws and crack down on consumers who took on debt irresponsibly, no one had the victims of Hurricane Katrina in mind.

"But four weeks after New Orleans flooded and tens of thousands of other residents of the Gulf Coast also lost their homes and livelihoods, a stricter new personal bankruptcy law scheduled to take effect Oct. 17 is likely to deliver another blow to those dislocated by the storm.

"The law was intended to keep individuals from taking on debts they had no intention of paying off. But many Katrina victims are likely to be caught in the net".

Read the rest at Indystar.com.

Monday, September 26

My post-didn't-make-it-to-the-protest-march-funk (old) rant

(If this is a rerun, I apologize. If not, then excuse the brain-fart.)


EPITAPH
2/5/98--7:30P

How do you want to be remembered? Like the woman-hating drunk at the bar, earlier tonight, who verbally assaulted one of our beloved bartender-goddesses? Like Mike says, as I walk up tonight, "Are you gonna fuck us tonight, JO-ANN?" To which I reply, "EXCUSE ME?" "Are you going to fuck-up and verbally abuse all us "BAD MEN" of poor character?" To which I replied, "Don't hurt my feelings, Mikee--or I'll take your iguana." {You've kinda gotta see his hat to understand that one.}


Fiona Apple on the cover of the Rolling Stone in all her ethereal-waif glory. Marilyn Monroe in the Sunday-paper-coupon-pull-out-section as a collectible plate with lots of realistic cleavage. Gloria Steinem has had the same haircut and the same stupid ideals & illusions for 20 years. And I'm confused--does America hate women so much, or does America teach us to hate ourselves, or do we teach our daughters to hate themselves because we'll never be "good enough"? And good enough for whom? Who the fuck are we trying so goddamned hard to impress, that we starve ourselves and stick fingers down our throats and razor blades in our skin and silicone injections in our lips and our asses and our not-quite-perky-ENOUGH tits?

And women fight with each other, to no good end, other than catty one-up-woman-ship. Fiona fights with Janeane Garafalo, because Janeane made vicious fun of Fiona's eating-disorder-fuck-you-I've-been-raped-chicness. As opposed to Tori Amos's pity-me-I'm-a-wood-sprite-who-got-raped-I'm-so-miserable-ela`n. Janeane is a chunky, blotchy, angry woman who likes to fuck with the world in general. Sometimes Janeane is amusing. Sometimes she is right. Sometimes, she grates on me like a fingernail on my cervix. Fiona is a thin, pale, angry woman who likes to rip @ her own flesh when she's nervous. Sometimes, Fiona is amusing. Sometimes, she is right. Sometimes, I just want to grab her by her skinny neck and cram a box of Twinkies into her pretty, pouty mouth.

Marilyn Monroe is still our madonna/whore American idol, a slut that we can contain and worship for her bright, hidden eyes and those voluptuous hips and that broken spirit. She had to die. Her sex identity was too powerful--it threatened June Cleaver and American frigidity-repression that kept women "in their place". And we only remember Norma Jean as a dumb bombshell who wound-up naked & dead.

And we only remember Janis Joplin as a Southern-Comfort-swiggin'-hippie-chick, cryin' and singin' the blues over some man. Well, most of America only see that--and that damn, "Bobby McGee." (I hate that fucking song. Like it's the only one she ever did.) They never want you to remember anything she SAID--just that Hollywood motel-room floor where she croaked in her own puke.

And I worry about these girls who are the drowning-water-goddesses-of-The-Rape-Club. From what I see, I wonder if there are any women in America who haven't been raped. And all these little vegan-hippie-chick-stoner-singer-broads who bitch & moan about "SAVE THE ANIMALS" as they poison their own bodies.

But this "blossoming SOCIAL CONSCIENCE" bullshit gets old, when you realize that these angry little martyrs don't SAY A FUCKING THING about the Bosnian Muslim women and the Czech women who are murdered and raped and forced into farm-tool abortions--FOR "ETHNIC CLEANSING"--just like all the American Indian mothers and sisters and daughters who were treated like less than flesh by those "brave Union soldiers." And you never see them protesting the ritual sexual mutilation of women and girls in Africa that continues to this day. Maybe our modern suffering poster-girls just don't know. Maybe they're too busy protecting cows and pigs from my dinner table.

But is that all they want to be remembered for--whining and crying and starving on tofu? I hope not. Is all I'm going to be remembered for is that one-note, off-key song of mourning for that one boy who was too selfish to take his knife out of my back? Will speaking the truth only be remembered as “feminazi” bullshit, man-hating complaints, because I LOVED A MAN TOO MUCH?

Well, if that's all you hear, brother, you ain't listening--and if that's all you remember, then pucker up your senile lips, and kiss my wide, white, gelatinous fanny!


~~~
(C)1998, Joanna E. Beattie

I’m Back and I’m Begging Again

Remember last week I asked for your help regarding stopping a bill that would weaken the Endangered Species Act. Well, sad to say it’s still alive. Here’s the email I received today:

"We wanted to give you an update on HR 3824, a bill that will eliminate key protections of the Endangered Species Act. On Thursday, September 22, the bill was passed out of the House Resources Committee on a 26-12 vote. It now heads to the full U.S. House of Representatives for a vote this week.

"Please take a couple of minutes to call your representative's office as soon as possible (see contact information below). Give them your name and let them know you live in their district. Ask them to please vote NO on HR 3824. Tell them you support the Endangered Species Act as written and you want them to as well.

"If you cannot call, please send an e-mail and put "Vote NO on HR 3824" in the subject line.

"Even if you have already contacted your representative on this issue, please do so again. We need you to help stop this bill"!

Remember also last week I told you Rep. Richard Pombo was the pusher of this bill. Here’s something I found over at Daily Kos regarding Mr. Pombo.

"Rep. Richard W. Pombo: He paid his wife and brother $357,325 in campaign funds in the last four years, the report says. He also supported the wind-power industry before the Department of Interior without disclosing that his parents received hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties from wind-power turbines on their ranch."

You can find out more about what HR 3824 will do here at SaveTheManatee.org.

Cindy Sheehan Was Arrested

She was arrested at a protest in front of the White House minutes ago.



AP: Sheehan and several dozen other protesters sat down on the sidewalk after marching along the pedestrian walkway on Pennsylvania Avenue. Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests.

Pro-War Rally in DC a Bust

A whopping 400 war supporters showed up for a rally in DC yesterday. I understand that the media gave them more coverage than the anti-war protesters who still rallied there yesterday as well. Figures.

One war monger stated, "No matter what your ideals are, our sons and daughters are fighting for our freedom." How anyone can think that we are more free if our sons and daughters are blowing up people boggles the mind.

"The group who spoke here the other day did not represent the American ideals of freedom, liberty and spreading that around the world," Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, told the crowd. "I frankly don't know what they represent, other than blaming America first."


Hmm. If Americans are so pro-war, how come they couldn't attract more people to their rally? Obviously this senator has not been paying attention.

A woman whose husband is in Iraq and supports the war on Iraq said about the protesters, "I know how much my husband does and how hard he works, and I feel like they don't even recognize that and give him the respect he deserves." She also has not been paying attention. I didn't see any evidence of disrespect for those who serve in the military. No one blames the troops for going to Iraq and killing innocent people. They are doing what they are trained and forced to do. It's the leadership of our country that is in question. If the counter protesters actually paid attention, they would have been marching with us.

Hurricanes, television’s new missing white women

Seems to me that the televised hurricane coverage has taken the place of the televised stories about missing white women. Now that the awful storms are gone, we are still seeing the coverage of the damage. And, we’re seeing it around the clock. Sure, there are hints that there is a bloodletting in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we only see little drops of blood.

Of course we needed to see what was happening before the storms made landfall, and of course we wanted to see what damages had been done. We’ve seen both.

Now we need to see what damages have been done in our wars. We should be talking about the disaster that continues in Iraq and Afghanistan. Where are those pictures? Where is that aerial footage? Where are the experts and why aren’t they on our television screens? Why can’t the televised coverage of the wars take the place of the televised coverage of the hurricanes which took the place of the televised coverage of the missing white girls?

Is it because storms and missing women are more interesting than wars, even if the wars involve Americans? Do the TV people, who get all made-up and spray a ton of hairspray on their perfectly coifed locks, understand storms and missing women more than they understand wars? Are wars, in which people are being killed daily, less appealing than people dying in the streets of New Orleans? If agony sells, the television stations are wasting a great opportunity in not doing some filming in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And, what the hell? Maybe if the television viewers saw the death and destruction going on in the wars, just as they saw it in New Orleans, they might demand that the government do something about that too.

The One Trick Clown in the Center Ring

Our favorite clown will appear in the center ring at 10:55 this morning and he’ll probably try a different version of his same old trick. He’s going to speak to us about something. Who the hell knows what? He’s probably going to say that the new head of FEMA worked it out so that not only did hurricane Rita drop from a category 5 to a category 3 before it came ashore, but also that he engineered its landfall so that it skirted the larger cities in Texas. Wow, talk about a take charge kind o’ guy.

Anymore, it’s not what he says, because, well, who cares? It’s how he says it. Will he use his new favorite way of speaking? Will he say something and then follow it with, "in other words"? He does that a lot lately. It’s as if he thinks we can’t understand as adults. After he says, "in other words", he repeats his previous thought in a simpler, plainer, this is how we talk back home, doofus sort of way, always leaving the "g" off any words ending in "ing". If he is wearing his cowboy belt buckle, count on there being no words ending with "g" in his speech. You see what I’m sayin’?

As I understand it this morning he wants to put the Pentagon in charge of future search and rescue efforts. To my way of thinking that has a lot of scary possibilities, not the least of which is having Rumsfeld, or anyone around him, running anything. At last check his record is less than sterling when it comes to planning. The war in Iraq is the only evidence one needs, to know that the Pentagon isn’t up to snuff at doing anything but killing human beings. Rescue is not presently its strong suit.

The line is beginning to form. The circus is opening its gate one more time. The best seats are near the center ring. The Clown in Chief will be appearing there soon. He’ll walk in and do his trick. He has several versions of the same trick. Too bad he doesn’t realize that we’ve all figured out his trick. We know how he does it. We see what his hands are doing and we aren’t distracted by his words. But you know what? There’s something entertaining about watching him ignorantly believing that we buy his act. Some say there’s nothing funnier that a clown, but personally they scare me to death. Especially a desperate clown who knows only one trick.

Since I wrote this post, the clown did appear in the center ring. He seemed to have a very difficult problem as he performed his act. This time he tried to juggle, but it didn’t work. He dropped the ball.

Reflections on The DC March

The pictures I took from Saturday's protest in DC are now online here.
Video to come soon.



This administration and our politicians are a joke. We only have one party as far as I am concerned. This war on Iraq is an illegal war. Congress did not declare it. Of course we support the troops. They are our sons and daughters. I have yet to hear one war monger explain to me why this war was necessary and what would be the negative effects of the US pulling out other than economic. We need government who cares about the citizens in order to be a democracy. We do not need corporate whores.

We are not safe. Homeland Security was a waste of resources. If our country cannot deal with a couple of hurricanes, how could they possibly deal with terror attacks? They can't and they won't.

Very few counter-protesters turned out on Saturday in DC. I felt sorry for them as they are brainwashed and will not face reality. It's hard to believe that you sent your loved one off to an illegal war which is not making us or the Iraqi's safe or free. Yeah, reality bites and when I first faced the reality of this neo-fascist government, I didn't want to believe it either. Honestly, I would love nothing more than to find out that I was wrong and that we really are the greatest country in the world and this war will make the world a better place. I love my country and I won't sit idly by as we are hijacked by evil people and soul-less corporations. I have compassion for those still in denial and I will welcome them with open arms and console them when they wake up.

Activism: Million Phone March To Stop John Roberts

MillionPhoneMarch.com

Call or write to your senators demanding that they not vote for the confirmation of John Roberts. It's easy to do at this website.

Sunday, September 25

DC March A Success!

I just returned from DC with Billydoom where we exercised our freedom of speech for about 7 hours on our feet yesterday with the most hospitable blondesense reader, Ms Red State Blues. For me, it was deja vu and I felt like a kid again. But it was not the good kind of 'feeling like a kid again'. I was rather pissed that we had to march against war again in my lifetime. I'm getting too old for this. I'm in my golden years for gawd's sake. I am supposed to be golfing on weekends, not marching in DC against yet another quagmire.

Kudos to the organizers for doing such a great job and keeping it safe and orderly. The DCPD were cool unlike NYPD rednecks. I have no idea how many people were there, but were a lot. I imagine that the watchers in the menacing helicopter that scanned our retinas monitored the parade could give an accurate number but I doubt if they would tell you.

I observed that there were hardly, if any, 30 somethings at the march. The crowd consisted of the young, the older and the pretty darn old. Probably there were more folks in the late forties and over crowd than the younger folks. It was awesome to see the young people, who were most creative in their expression, come out for this momentous occasion. I haven't seen so many hippies in one place since the early 70's either. It was the Ben and Jerry's crowd, fer sher. It was heartening yet bittersweet to see rather elderly people marching with signs.

The counter-protesters were rather lame. Our hostess, Red State Blues, aka Cathy, admonished that small gathering of folks and criticized their pathetic turnout rather vocally. I believe I have the video. The only time we actually saw cops with riot gear was near the 50 or so counter protesters. I was not sure who was being protected though. Were the riot cops protecting the war mongers from the peaceniks? I hope not.

I will have pictures and video up sometime tomorrow.
So who went? What did you think?

Thank you Cathy! We love you!

It’s Time to Come Home

Usually I wouldn’t tell you how a story ends before you’ve even had a chance to read it, but this time is different. This time Juan Cole writes that it is not only time to bring our soldiers home, it’s mandatory. He’ll tell you why.

Here are his final words after he makes his excellent points:

"I conclude that the presence of the US ground troops is making things worse, not better.

"Let's get them out, now, before they destroy any more cities, create any more hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, provoke any more ethnic hatreds by installing Shiite police in Fallujah or Kurdish troops in Turkmen Tal Afar. They are sowing a vast whirlwind, a desert sandstorm of Martian proportions, which future generations of Americans and Iraqis will reap.

"The ground troops must come out. Now. For the good of Iraq. For the good of America."

Please read it all at Juan Cole.com.

Saturday, September 24

Meanwhile, back here in hell...

No Rita damage for us, except for a day without electricity. Downed limbs, some minor wind damage, no casualties, and of course, up here in the hills, no flooding.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

73-year-old Grandmother Falsely Arrested For Looting In New Orleans
http://arizona.indymedia.org/news/2005/09/30691.php

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/16/AR2005091600215.html

Vatican Hinders Hunt For War Criminal
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9407155/

http://worldcrimes.com/

FBI Forms Anti-Porn Squad
"I guess this means that we've won the war on terror..."
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/09/21/MNGRSER4141.DTL

http://www.dummocrats.com/links/view_comments.php?thread_id=34795

In the face of 11 adopted/foster children being tortured/starved/caged in Cleveland, Adoption Experts Cite Screening Limits...
http://www.zwire.com/site/tab1.cfm?newsid=15221644&BRD=2700&PAG=740&dept_id=226967&rfi=6

Florida Couple Arrested For Torturing & Starving Five Of Their Seven Adopted Children
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/02/04/family.torture/

http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050915/NEWS/509150412/1004

http://www.billingsgazette.com/index.php?tl=1&display=rednews/2005/09/14/build/nation/88-adopted-kids.inc

Blues/Country/Jazz/Funk Legend Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown Dies 9/10/05 At Age 81
http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/Music/09/11/gatemouthbrown.obit.ap/

http://www.gatemouth.com/

(Some of the best Jazz Fest memories I have are of watching Gatemouth in action. This old man was so cool, it just rose up off of him in waves... or it could've been the smoke from that pipe that he packed with something that the entire audience KNEW wasn't tobacco... as the NOPD down front watched and laughed along with the rest of us, Gatemouth offered them all a hit, too... His house in Slidell, LA was destoyed by Katrina, and since he'd already been battling lung cancer and heart disease, I guess losing his longtime home was the last straw... One time, about five years ago, some convict broke out of jail and ran to the North Shore, and actually broke into Gatemouth's house while Gatemouth was home. Instead of shooting the guy as would've been most people's first response, Gatemouth sat him down, got him stoned, and talked to him until the cops showed up. He was that kind of a man.)

More Katrina-related stuff to come... Just not right yet.

Half of Europe's Citizens Know 2 Languages

THEN, OF COURSE, SOME PROMINENT AMERICANS HAVE TROUBLE WITH ENGLISH: "I can't wait to join you in the joy of welcoming neighbors back into neighborhoods, and small businesses up and running, and cutting those ribbons that somebody is creating new jobs." — George W. Bush, Poplarville, Miss., Sept. 5, 2005

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- "Half of European citizens speak a second language, according to a European Union survey released Friday.

"The poll, conducted in June across Europe, found that tiny Luxembourg had the highest percentage of bilingual citizens, with 99 percent of those questioned saying they could master a conversation in a second language.

Read the article here: Assoc. Press.

Bush is the worst president ever, but the Democrats aren't any better

[Bush] will also visit the U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Saturday to check up on coordination between federal, state and local authorities. "It's an important relationship, and I need to understand how it works better," said Bush, who last week proposed the federal government and U.S. military have broader responsibility to respond to domestic crises like hurricanes.


It is called "federalism" Mr. President and I recommend that you visit my college government courses where I am scheduled to lecture on it next week. You can sit in my class with my college freshmen and sophomores, take notes, ask questions, and learn some new words like "New Deal" and "Great Society" and review Article I, Sec. 8 and 9 of the Constitution. We will look at the Tenth Amendment "police powers" where states have the authority to deal with local laws concerning health, safety, welfare, and morality.

I would have thought being governor of Texas would have taught you something about federalism, but I guess not.

Because your vision of government is drowning it in a bathtub, I guess you don't see the possibilities of the most powerful government on earth. It is federalism when FEMA comes to New Orleans to save a drowning city or when the military comes to Little Rock to escort school children to classes. It is federalism when tax money is collected by the feds and redistributed to the cities and states to build their infrastructure.

I also teach my students that Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and even Nixon, and Clinton built this country while you and you whoring Republican sons of bitches tear it apart for your business johns. So, put me on one of those radical liberal crazy professor lists so I can write a book and go on a book tour telling everyone what a complete ass you and your followers are. Half this country is too stupid to understand the effect your administration and your Congress and your federal courts have had on this nation. Probably because the Republican budget cuts kept these patriots from going to college. Or they were taught government by some football coach in high school.

May be reality will hit Houstonians when they try to drive back home tomorrow on the highway system you mean spirited self centered thugs have underfunded for years. Our National Guard should be here to help us fill our tanks and get down the road, but you have got them guarding oil pipelines half way around the world while our people can't get gas to outrun a storm.

A word to the Democrats: If one of you cowards doesn't face this federalism issue down and whip these whore's asses, you don't deserve to win. While the hell didn't John Kerry say to Bush, you call me a coward again you drunk bastard and I will knock your teeth out? Why didn't Kerry say, "Mr. President, I am going to take my coat off to show everyone in the world that I don't need someone to whisper in my ear. Why don't you show us what is under your coat? What are you made of?" What the hell are you people afraid of? Losing? Well, you are already acting like losers when you don't stand up to these thugs. What would Harry Truman do? He sure as hell wouldn't be polite about it, either. He told Americans that they should go to hell if they didn't vote for John Kennedy. I would like to see you find your guts and vote against Roberts.

Bush ran on a platform of defending this nation. Yet the terror attacks happened on his watch. He hides from the New Orleans dead by hiding behind the New York dead. And Democrats, you aren't any better because you let him. Where is your prime time television address asking for a Katrina Commission?

Friday, September 23

Brace Yourself for "Bus Story"

Go over to The All Spin Zone and read the post by somegirl, "Bus Story".

Follow the links she gives you.

Who said it couldn’t get worse?

You Can’t Mend a Balloon Either

So damned much happening and it seems to have no end in sight. While we all sit and watch hell’s fury approaching the Texas coast with the fresh memories of what hell’s other fury did to the Gulf Coast, no wonder we are weary. It’s been a weary five years hasn’t it?

This morning we see the miles of cars creeping along in Texas. We imagine the frustration and the anxiety. Then we hear that just outside Dallas a bus filled with elderly evacuees has burned. Not only are the poor passengers suffering from their injuries, assuming there will be survivors, but that highway will be shut down for some time and the people in the cars will be delayed even more than they already were.

To make this whole surreal scene more complicated, we hear that bush will travel to Texas today to see that plans are running smoothly. In the middle of all the events occurring today, why doesn’t he keep his own required disturbance out of the way?

Here’s why. After the last hurricane bush’s inadequacies became painfully evident. Just like a faulty balloon his image finally gave way under too much pressure, and for all means and purposes, he did what a faulty balloon will do, his image deflated rapidly. He was finally seen for what he really is and his ratings popped. His handlers saw his overly inflated image shrinking and losing air. They quickly sent him to the hurricane damaged Gulf Coast area for nothing more than photo ops. But, like any other balloon with a hole in it, his image could not be re-inflated. They tried to blow air into the balloon but that just made the hole bigger as the air escaped.

Now they feel they have a do-over, a second chance. They think they can cover his flaws or mend the hole in the balloon, by sending him to Texas. It won’t work. You can never blow up a damaged balloon. You cannot mend or patch a hole in a balloon. Once the damage is done, once the flaw has given way, the balloon is useless.

So while the people in Texas try to juggle multiple disasters, the last thing they need is a president in the way as he selfishly tries to repair his own disastrously damaged image. You can’t inflate a faulty balloon and you can’t erase the faulty image of a president. Once they are damaged, both are useless.

Should All Floridians Have Evacuated?

Forida's HeraldTribune.com reported that Governor Jeb Bush unleashed his imaginary friend at a solemn swearing in ceremony naming Rep. Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, as the 2007-08 House Speaker.

Here are Bush's words, spoken before hundreds of lawmakers and politicians: "Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society.

"I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down."

Bush then unsheathed a golden sword and gave it to Rubio as a gift.

"I'm going to bestow on you the sword of a great conservative warrior," he said, as the crowd roared.
It is not reported whether the crowd was roaring with laughter or fright. Probably a little bit of both. The article goes on:

The saying was apparently quite popular with Gov. Bush's father, and referred to a legendary warrior named Chang who was called upon to settle political disputes in Chinese dynasties of yore.
The first president bush used "chang" to fix tennis games as well. The author of the article, not a good researcher, talks about Chinese Mysticism. Well this blonde, who may or may not have had an imaginary friend, did a little digging to find out what the hell this 'Chang' is and if the good people in Florida should begin evacuating now that it is unleashed.

It appears that "Chang" is none other than Chiang Kai-Shek. From The Cold War Museum:

First Taiwan Strait Crisis (11 August 1954 - 01 May 1955)
During the First Taiwan Strait Crisis the Peoples Liberation Army launched heavy artillery attacks on the offshore island of Quemoy after the US lifted its blockade of Taiwan, making possible Nationalist attacks on mainland China. The Truman Administration had resisted calls by hard-liners to "unleash Chiang Kai-shek." But shortly after his inauguration, on 02 February 1953 President Eisenhower lifted the US Navy blockade of Taiwan which had prevented Chiang's force from attacking mainland China. During August 1954 Chiang moved 58,000 troops to Quemoy & 15,000 to Matsu.
Maybe Jebby has been hitting the bottle with his bro- Golden swords, imaginary friends, capitalism (read: corporatism) and morals in the same sentence?

Maybe if Clinton had used the phrase, "unleashing Chang" during the Lewinsky Scandal, he could have stayed out of trouble. "Oh, you should have told us that it was Chang you were unleashing, Bill. You could have saved the taxpayers millions of dollars."

are we there yet?

The news story of Hurricane Rita is the traffic. The highways out of Houston are backed up for 100 miles. People are still stuck on the highway hours after they left their homes. Some of these people left their homes yesterday evening around 6 p.m. Panic about what may or may not happen and pictures of Hurricane Katrina's damage caused many in the Houston area to leave their homes even though they may not experience flooding there. Wind damage is going to occur. But not every area is going to flood.

People have literally been in the car for 12 hours and never made it out of town. Houston's highways are concentric circles of one level of hell or another. But nothing like the hell of running out of gas, overheating engines and of course a different sort of road rage. People are falling ill in the 100 degree heat. There are few service stations and they are out of gas. Tanker trucks are stuck in this same traffic jam. Some genius closed a considerable number of rest areas that once dotted our highway system in Texas. There are some still open and tanker trucks are distributing gasoline to get people to the next station. But stations as far away as Dallas are running out of gas.

There are no trains to take people north. There is air travel out of Houston's two major airports, however, many baggage screeners did not show up to work today because they wanted to evacuate, too.

What is going to happen to these motorists tomorrow when the winds and rains hit? SUVs roll over in high winds. Debris will strike some of these vehicles. Every Texan knows to get out of their cars when tornadoes strike. How many people will experience this storm from a road side ditch? Is anyone making plans to get these people out of cars? Can the National Guard pick these people up in big Chinook helicopters? Will the highways clear before the storm makes landfall?

Thursday, September 22

Next thing you know, they'll be letting BLONDES join the army:

From The Army Times.com:
GEDs no longer required

By Joseph R. Chenelly
Times staff writer

"Army recruiters now have a wider pool to find future soldiers in. The Army is reaching out to a slice of America’s youth long ineligible to serve: non-high school graduates who don’t have a General Equivalency Diploma Recruiters can now go after that demographic through the “Army Educations Plus” option, the Army announced Tuesday.

"If an individual has been out of high school for at least six months, can pass a physical exam and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, he or she may be eligible for help getting a GED.

"The program allows recruiters to enlist a high school dropout, according to S. Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. But the enlistee must have the GED before shipping off to basic training. The Army will pay for individuals to attend a course to prepare for the GED test and will cover the cost of taking the GED exam.

"Before attending the GED course on the Army’s tab, the person must enlist into the Army’s delayed entry program, Smith said.

"The regular Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard are each offering this option, as of Tuesday.

"What will not change is the Army’s cap on the percentage of how many new soldiers may enlist with a GED versus a high school diploma, Smith said. That limit is 10 percent of all new soldiers for the year.

"Smith said last week that senior Army leadership has acknowledged that the active duty Army, Reserve and Guard will each miss their respective annual goals for fiscal 2005, which ends this month".

Bianca? Paging Bianca

Whitehouse.gov
This is not made up. Check the link. Jeff Gannon may have been tied up at his wig fitting and missed the press conference.

Q Why is it taking so long to secure the border at Syria? And do you really think that the Iraqis can secure it if the U.S. troops have been unsuccessful to do it so far?

THE PRESIDENT: It takes a while to secure the border with Syria because it is a long border ...

Bianca. Nobody named Bianca? Well, sorry Bianca's not here. I'll be glad to answer her question.

Q I'll follow up.

THE PRESIDENT: No, that's fine. (Laughter.) Thank you though, appreciate it. Just trying to spread around the joy of asking a question.

Q How is the strategy outlined today by General Casey different from what the United States was doing in the past? What lessons would you say have been incorporated in it? And based on that, how much closer do you think we are to being able to turn over full control of the security situation?

THE PRESIDENT: It's going to be a while to turn over full control....

Q Mr. President, could we talk more about --

THE PRESIDENT: Are you Bianca?

Q No, I'm not. Anita -- Fox News.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay.

Q Just a quick question --

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. I was looking for Bianca. I'm sorry.


I wonder what it was that "Bianca" was supposed to ask the president?

Now That's One "Act of God!"

just for the hell of it, another old rant

7/2/98
4:30P


"Things I've Learned In New Orleans:"

The only time it's safe to call a cop "BUDDY" is in a sentence like, “Hey, BUDDY, get your hand off my ass!” A bad time would be while you’re waiting for the ambulance.

Only in New Orleans would the announcement that one has stopped drinking be met with, "Oh, I'm sorry... What will you do, now?" Like it's an involuntary career change.

99.9% of all tourists are pure, unadulterated EVIL. Not evil like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, though they do puke more and I've seen them do that thing with the spinning head--they're the more insidious evil; that kind of bland, white, "All-American", polyester-from-Wal-Mart, mini-van complacency that thinks mediocrity is the safe place to be. The kind of evil that prefers Danielle Steele and fat-free hot dogs, while their children are trying to imitate the deader-than-thou goth clones on Decatur Street. And even though they're stupid enough to voluntarily eat Lucky Dogs, they won't feel THAT payback until they're on the way home.

Only since I've lived in New Orleans have I had to actually go down my list of friends and separate the "Junkies" from the "Alkies", and cross-reference the ones who go on both lists. The ones who are really good at it can hold down day jobs. Maybe I should drink more. They can give you every possible chemical configuration of a Noritsu 7400 film developer/printer computer, but they can't remember my birthday. Apparently the drug fiends have better short-term memory than the falling-down drunks.

Since my generation doesn't have any "war" stories, we tend to "top" one another's exploits with comparisons of drug overdoses, dysfunctional family implosions, child abuse and poverty. I never realized, until I lived in a squat, how "cool" it is to wear thrift-store clothes while you're hiding from the dealer that you owe for your mom's hash. Owning a car doesn't disqualify you from the contest, though--it makes you really popular with all the pedestrians and hitch-hikers in the neighborhood.

In New Orleans, just because somebody holds your hair while you puke, doesn't mean they'll become your best friend. 'Course, it doesn't mean they won't, but, somehow, you're never surprised when the phone doesn't ring.

I also discovered that, no matter how old anybody thinks it makes me look, I'm learning to like my grey hair. God knows I earned 'em.

When the classified ad says, "Cute little fixer-upper," it means that the house is so fucked, that the roaches moved out.

When I was living in that squat a couple of years ago, I learned a little bit about ROACHES:
--They do have the quadriceps to move large pieces of furniture.
--They play so well with others, about 14,000,000 of them can live in, for instance, a bathtub.
--The only way to kill them is to wear steel-toed combat boots.

Speaking of cockroaches...(accent on the "cock")...in New Orleans, I've found that when one stands up for one's self and refuses to take any more SHIT, whether it be from a knuckle-walking bug-fucker like my last radio boss, or the balding hippie-yuppie-stoner boss at the photography job, or even the parasitic white-trash "boyfriend" of a freaky little flake who calls herself one's friend, ONE STILL GETS FUCKED. Dry, hard, no hug, no kiss, no reacharound. Apparently, those of us who don't cotton to the taste of others' feces are the "problem children."

I can walk into any bar in New Orleans--including The Pub-- and get hit-on. There are enough horny assholes out there to go around, but ONLY the assholes are attracted to me. And, NO, it does NOT bolster my ego that you tried to hide your wedding band behind a margarita whilst attempting to stick your tongue in my ear.

One-night stands are still simpler than real relationships, but not necessarily easier. The ones you want to get to know-- run, screaming into the night. And the ones you'd prefer to be a happy little memory-- NEVER LEAVE. And every once in a great while, the really persistent ones become your best friend. Even as he's being a self-centered prick who still won't put out.




©1998, Joanna E. Beattie, aka "rantress", from the as-yet unpublished, "Drama Queen"

Phil Donohue Sticks It to Billy O'Lielly

Read the transcript at News Hounds.
unreal.

"You taste like Girl Scout Cookies..."

Okay, kids, poll time:

What's the weirdest/goofiest/funniest/most unique thing that's ever been said to you by a bf/gf/lover/significant other?

(Yes, this is silly and weird and pointless, but what the hell... it's still a great quote!)

Terrorists are Jealous of Mother Nature, according to the President of the United States

While speaking yesterday, bush said

* "You know, something we -- I've been thinking a lot about how America has responded, and it's clear to me that Americans value human life, and value every person as important. And that stands in stark contrast, by the way, to the terrorists we have to deal with. You see, we look at the destruction caused by Katrina, and our hearts break. They're the kind of people who look at Katrina and wish they had caused it. We're in a war against these people. It's a war on terror. These are evil men who target the suffering. They killed 3,000 people on September the 11th, 2001."

A day without a mention of terrorist and 9-11 is like a day he can’t fathom. But my reason for quoting him is that the line about terrorists looking at the hurricane damage and wishing they had caused it, has got to be one of the most juvenile and bizarre things he has ever said. What the hell does he mean? How can he jump from hurricane tragedy to the war on terror as though they somehow follow one another? Seems to me that if anyone is using the hurricane for their own benefit, it would be him as he uses it to get the conversation away from the suffering that is still going on along the Gulf Coast and connects it in some very strange way to support his never ending war.

Does he actually think the terrorists are sitting around watching TV and they say to one another, gosh, wish we could create hurricanes and send them to the US? If he isn’t drinking, as questionably reported by the National Enquirer, then what is his excuse for behaving like a imbecile?

* Link to quote Republican Jewish Coalition

Waking Up the United States this Morning

Win Without War bought a full two page ad today in the Palm Beach Post. To see the ad, you can go to the Win Without War website and click on the space that says "view They Lied. They Died". It is truly amazing to see their ad in the paper. Damn good too, I might add. Did the ad show up in your newspaper? Which paper? Which section? The Post had it in section A.

Win Without War (Link)

Buzzflash puts a National Enquirer headline on the top of the page

Oh my!

BUSH'S BOOZE CRISIS


Has he been hitting the presidential bottle?

Jet Blue

Did you all see that Jet Blue plane landing on television last night? Wow, that was some reality show.

Roberts: Dems Divided

The Democrats are divided about how they will vote for Roberts. Naturally the Republicans will do whatever the White House tells them to do in this faux democracy. I saw Patrick Leahy on television saying that he was satisfied with Roberts and doesn't believe he has an ideological agenda, but insinuated that time will tell. Sheesh. Leahy is old. What does he care? Roberts didn't answer any questions so I find it hard to believe that anyone knows what his position is on anything. Are there any politicians with any curiosity or backbone or what? How do we get a third party started in this country?

Wednesday, September 21

Hurricane Update

From Wunderground.com

SEP 21 - 7:50PM CDT

From NHC:

DROPSONDE DATA FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT RECONNAISSANCE
AIRCRAFT AT 623 PM CDT...2323Z...INDICATED THE CENTRAL PRESSURE HAS
FALLEN TO BELOW 899 MB...OR 26.55 INCHES.

THE DROPSONDE INSTRUMENT MEASURED 32 KT/35 MPH WINDS AT THE SURFACE...WHICH
MEANS IT LIKELY DID NOT RECORD THE LOWEST PRESSURE IN THE EYE OF RITA.
THE CENTRAL PRESSURE IS PROBABLY AT LEAST AS LOW AS 898 MB...AND PERHAPS EVEN
LOWER.

FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES... A PRESSURE OF 898 MB IS ASSUMED...
WHICH NOW MAKES RITA THE THIRD MOST INTENSE HURRICANE IN TERMS OF
PRESSURE IN THE ATLANTIC BASIN. SOME ADDITIONAL DEEPENING AND
INTENSIFICATION IS POSSIBLE FOR THE NEXT 12 HOURS OR SO.

RITA CURRENTLY RANKS BEHIND HURRICANE GILBERT IN 1988 WITH 888 MB
AND THE 1935 LABOR DAY HURRICANE WITH 892 MB.

And thanks to My Pet Goat for the link.